[Page] A MODEST ENQUIRY INTO THE Mystery of Iniquity, THE FIRST PART, CONTAINING A Careful and Impartial Delineation of the True IDEA of ANTICHRISTIANISM IN THE Real and Genuine Members thereof, such as are indeed opposite to the indispensable Pur­poses of the Gospel of Christ, and to the Interest of his Kingdome.

By H. MORE, D. D.

Sext. Empiric.

[...].’

LONDON, Printed by J. Flesher for W. Morden Book-seller in Cambridge. M DC LXIV.

To the READER.

READER,

1. HAD it been but onely to apologize for breaking His necessity of Prefacing before this present Trea­tise. that silence which I might seem to have impo­sed upon my self by publickly intimating the probability of it, it had upon that account been requisite to Preface something to excuse the un­expected publishing of this new Treatise.

But I have fallen upon such a Subject, as whose very Title sounds so harshly and disharmoniously to some ears, that this alone were of sufficient force to extort from me the trouble of a Prefatory Apology▪ The Idea of Antichristianism; Both those words are so heavy laden with preconceived offence and prejudice, that the Book may also be prejudged and precondemned before perused for the very Title's sake, unless I prepare the way, by due and timely information, for better acceptance.

2. Know then, Reader, that this Idea, which I present thee with, This Idea of Antichristi­inism, what the nature thereof is, and how unlia­ble to any uncivil con­struction. is not a vain, Airy, Platonical, or Chimerical Figment, as some phansy every Idea to be; nor my treating of Antichristianism, a Rude, uncivil, uncharitable, phraseological Form of railing against such Things or Persons as are not onely Innocent, but Sacred: But con­trariwise, the nature of Antichristianism is so justly circumscribed [Page] by this Idea, and so fitly limited thereby, that it is in truth a bridle to the tongues and lips of such as, not knowing what is truly Antichristi­an and what not, in every pettish mood call any thing so in Religion that does not suit with their own humour and phancy. Besides, this Treatise being written in the way of an Idea, that is to say, being an Ab­stract Description or Delineation of the nature of Antichristianism, without any application thereof to any person or persons whatsoever; what Rudeness, Incivility or Uncharitableness can this design carry along with it, unless it can be thought rude or uncivil to define Vices in abstracto, and describe them in their Parts and Objects, and in what-ever Circumstances make to the clear and perfect knowledge of them? provided it be done faithfully and skilfully. And truly, that I have not falsified anything in this my Description of Antichri­stianism, I dare with confidence appeal to the judgment of any able and unprejudiced peruser thereof. But what I have set down for Antichristian, is such of its own nature, whether it be called so or no. Which accuracy if all would imitate, nothing would tend more to the peace of Christendom, and the steddy and firm promotion of Pro­testantism in every Nation.

3. Well, be it so, will some reply, that there is nothing falsly nor unfaithfully managed in this Province you have undertook, yet is That the a­buse of the terme does not take a­way the right use of it. not the undertaking it self, though just and usefull, yet something ignoble, inglorious and ungentile, thus to tincture your style and soil your pen with the names of Antichrist and Antichristi­anism, of which the breath of the rude and ignorant vulgar usually smells as strong as of Onions and Garlick, and have so fouled these words by their unmannerly mouthing them without all aime, that they have made them now unfit to pass the lips of any civil person? In answer to which, I must ingenuously confess that the Title of my Discourse for this very reason may justly seem less plausible. But it is the true and proper Name of the matter which I handle, to which onely if these ruder people had been taught to appropriate the Term, it could never have contracted any such nauseous prejudice as it seems to have done. And I hope I am at least excusable, if not thank-worthy, in that I have taken pains to teach them the due and proper use thereof.

[Page] 4. But if there be any farther meaning in the Objection, as That the op­posing of Antichristi­anism in our sense is not at all ungentile, but rather Heroical, if it were ignoble or ungentile, and below a man of a generous spirit, to concern himself in the detecting or opposing Antichristi­anism it self; I must take leave to profess that I think the Objectour understands not what Antichristianism is, or at least not what I understand by it, or have described it by in this Idea. For that Antichristianism which I oppose, and ex­pose here to the view of the world, is nothing else but real Impiety, gross Fraud and Couzenage, and most barbarous and unparallel'd Cruelty against the harmless Members of Christ; and all this (which infinitely aggravates the crimes) under the show and pretence of Piety and Religion, nay of the most Sacred of all Religions, Chri­stianity it self. If these things therefore be not onely uncivil and ungentile, but ferine, brutish, or rather Diabolical, can it be ungen­tile or uncivil heartily and professedly to oppose them?

5. Or to plead more distinctly and more particularly to two capa­cities Made evi­dent to the judgments not onely of Believers, of men; to them first that have a conscience and belief of Christian Religion as it is delivered in the holy Scripture; I demand of them how ignoble or inglorious a thing they deem it to oppose that which is plainly and palpably opposite to the Word of God and to the Commandments of Christ Jesus; to endeavour to demolish that which does supplant and frustrate the very End of the Gospel of Christ, and is so diametrically repugnant to the Interest of his King­dom. Certainly whosoever can judge such a Design as this disho­nourable, must be of the spirit of that company whom our Saviour of old most righteously reproved in these words, How can ye John 5. 44. believe, that receive honour one of another, and seek not that honour that cometh of God onely? As it is said also in another place, For they loved the praise of men more then John 12. 43. the praise of God.

6. And now for them that think it so noble and glorious a thing But even of Infidels or Atheists themselves. to be indifferent to all Religions, or indeed to believe none, who are not so much as touched with the sense of the common Christianity, such as all who call themselves Christians agree in; yet if they have not [Page] put off the sentiments of common Humanity, (then which nothing can be more barbarous and ungentile) I demand of them, what offence can it be against the Laws of the highest Generosity, to profess a mans disgust and enmity against such a constitution of things as runs point-blank not onely against the Law of Christ and the plain Dictates of the Scripture, but against the most indis­pensable and indeleble Rules of Nature and of Reason, and against the common and universally-acknowledged Rights of Man­kind? Be it that thou thy self scarce believest that there is a God, much less any thing to come after this Life; and therefore hast a Conscience free to any Religion, be it never so wicked or foolish, and canst laugh at the imperious Impostures of the Priest, when thou hast done. But canst thou be assured that thy Chil­dren will be such, that the Wife of thy bosome will continue such, if she be so for the present? Canst thou promise for thy most in­timate Friend, which is as dear to thee as thy self? nay, canst thou promise for thy self, that God may not so powerfully strike thy Conscience some time or other, as to convert thee to the true knowledge of himself and of his Son Jesus? Now I tell thee com­pendiously and at once, That the Contexture of this Antichri­stianism which I oppose is a mere Train or Net laid or spread for the Life of thy self, thy Friend, thy Wife and Children. None can be in knowledge and judgment the professedly-faithful Servants of God and of his Christ, but they are ipso facto made ob­noxious to the bloudy salvageness of this Antichristian Monster.

But suppose thine own Conscience not yet awakened, canst thou be so devoid of natural Affection, or (whilst thou talkest so loud of Generosity) degenerate so much below the very brute Creatures, as not to be affected, may deeply and unsupportably afflicted, at the haling of thy Wife out of thy Bosome, and the pulling of thy Friends and of thy Children out of thy Arms, and committing them to noisome Prisons, and after a sad and tedious durance in these foul Cells to have them brought out in the fight of the People to the most opprobrious and torturous Death that ever is inflicted on any Malefactours; that is to say, not onely to have thy most intimate Friend, thy dear Parents, or thy [Page] Children, but thy Wife herself, as if she were a Witch, or a Poisoner of her Husband, to be burnt at the Stake, yea though with child, the birth breaking forth by the merciless Midwifery of the parching Flames: and all this Cruelty exercised upon them because they will not sin against God and their own Conscience? Which holy Sensibilitie of spirit and awfull Reverence of the Deity, though thou, according to the grosness of thy Philosophy, maiest conceive a weakness in them, yet (it being such a blemish as even in thine own judgment bears no badge of dishonour upon it, nay is exceeding honoura­ble in the prosperous, and as tenderly and feelingly pitied in the afflicted and calamitous) it cannot one jot abate the endearedness of thy affection to thy suffering Friends in this case; the Loveliness of their Personages, the discreet Obli­gingness of their Carriages, and their constant Faithfulness and Serviceableness in all Duties and Affairs having impressed so deep a character of Love and Esteem in thee as can­not easily be obliterated.

Can therefore the opposing of so barbarous a constitution of things as this, and so grievous and insufferable to thine own sense, and in thine own judgement, be upon any pre­tence accounted ignoble or inglorious, and not rather highly Generous and Heroical, unless all the Acts of Her­cules, and his celebrious victories over those destroying Mon­sters of his Age, must be reputed but the petty Exploits of some pitifull Pedant or Histrionical Whiffler? Nay, on the con­trary, we may safely pronounce, That he that has not an hearty loathing and abhorrency from so ugly and odious a Frame of things as I have described in this Idea, is not onely in a state of Unregeneratedness, and utterly devoid of the Life of God, and consequently uncapable of eternal Salvation, but even sunk below the nature of a Man, and become not onely uncivil, but either stupid and sottish, or else of a temper plainly salvage and inhumane.

7. But though Antichristianism described in your Idea [Page] (will some farther urge) be thus Impious and Tragical a busi­ness, That this I­dea of Anti­christianism is not a mere Idea, but a true Tran­script out of History yet in the mean time we are to remember that it is but an Idea; and therefore to have our affections thus raised up a­gainst mere shadows, is as foolish and furious as the Caunii their beating the empty Aire with their clubs, crying out Herodot. lib. 1. cap. 172. [...], when there was no Object before their eyes to pursue. But I need not give any new notice that our Enquiry into this Mystery is professedly modest in more respects then one. And yet I cannot dissemble but that this An­tichristian frame of things is so far emerged above the condition of a mere Idea, that it is in the main strokes thereof plainly pro­phesied of in the Holy Writ; which I think I have made good, with evidence no less then Mathematical, in a Discourse tou­ching that matter. And Divine prediction you know is a very safe pledge of future existence. Nay, the Series of time is so prefigured, and the continuance so determinately measured out, that I may safely adde that it has been more then an Idea for some Ages; and, keeping my self still within the bounds of mo­desty, may farther averre, that it is so far from being a mere Idea, that it is a lively Image, or faithfull Transcript out of History, of what has been too often, too much, and too long in Christendom: And therefore to have declared who is most concerned therein, had been needlessly to have imitated the bungling practice of the ancient ignorant Painters, who not being able to draw their Pictures lively enough, were fain to write under one, This is a Bear, and under another, This is an Horse, or a Lion, or what-ever other Animal it was in­tended for.

8. And upon the same account I must confess I thought it That he could excogitate nothing that made more for the Inte­rest of the Church of England then the draught of this Idea. needless expressly here to pronounce who is not concerned therein. But to prevent all misapprehensions, and to stop the mouths of Ignorance and Malice aforehand, I have at the end of the above mentioned Discourse not onely declared, but proved, That the Church of England is not concerned in this Delineation, nay have fully vindicated her from all suspicion of Antichri­stianism. Which I wish I could with as good conscience doe for [Page] that Imperious Lady of Rome, whom I cannot deny but to be most concerned in this Description. But for our own Church, I do profess that I could not excogitate any thing which I could think in my own judgment made more for her Interest then the framing of this Idea. For considering how she is laid at by the Romanists on one hand, and the Sectaries on the other, corroding, undermining, and wearing her away on both sides; the Romanists pretending her Schismatical, the Sectaries Antichristian: what could be more serviceable or sea­sonable then to draw such a true and genuine Idea of Anti­christianism, as that that Church which, compared with it, will appear to bear so near a resemblance thereto, may be for the future ashamed to call us Schismaticks for not Communica­ting with her; and our selves being so fully assoiled from all blemish of what ever is really and truly Antichristian, may shame the Sectaries for their Schismaticalness in refusing to Com­municate with a Church that is so apparently pure and Apo­stolical?

9. The weightiness of which design I hope may excuse the And that his zeal for her Safety may well excuse this unex­pectedness of his appearing again in pub­lick. unexpectedness of my appearing again in publick. For if Croe­sus his Son, (as has been ingeniously apply'd in the like case) at the seeing of a Souldier make at his Father with a drawn sword, forced himself of a sudden out of his natural dumbness into this articulate vociferation against the Murtherer, [...]. surely all men will think fit (forasmuch A. Gel. Noct. Attic. lib. 5. cap. 9. as my dumbness or silence is not natural, but a kind of Pytha­gorick [...] arbitrariously imposed upon my self) that I should make no scruple to break it upon so indispensable an oc­casion as the succouring my Mother the Church in so great a jeopardy, not being reached at by one hand onely, but thrust at on either side, or rather, as the Psalmist complains, being com­passed about with her enemies as with a swarm of Bees. Psalm 118. But that she may timely quench or extinguish them like the fire of thorns (as is said in the same place) by the over­flowing of the pure waters of the Sanctuary, or, which is all one, destroy them, not by the weapons of any Carnal warfare, but [Page] in the might of the Lord and by the Power of his Spirit, ought to be the earnest desire and ardent prayer, not of my self onely, but of every dutifull Son of so excellent a Mother.

10. This is a brief, but true, account of the Scope and purpose of my writing this Treatise; and therefore I am very confident that The sum­mary Con­clusion. there is no man that is an hearty lover of the Church of England, or a due resenter of the common Rights and just Security of Man­kind, but will be a candid accepter and approver of my pains.

H. M.

A MODEST ENQUIRY INTO THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY.

BOOK I.

CHAP. I.

1. That the Mystery of Iniquity or Antichristianism implies the secret undermining of the Ends of Christianity by such a Power as pretends to be Christian. 2. The inconvenience of describing Antichrist from Circumstantial characters, and leaving out the Essential parts of the Description. 3. The two general Principles of which Antichristia­nism does consist. 4. The right Artifice of drawing the true Idea of Antichristianism, with a distribution of the Draught into the two most general strokes thereof.

1. THat the Iniquity of that Mystery we are about to speak of is not open Prophaneness or plainly confes­sed Wickedness, is evident from the very Title; in that it is said to be Mysterious, covering it self under some shadow or show of Equity or Godliness▪ Which kind of Mystery, though it may in some way or measure work in, or undermine any Religion at large that was instituted for the real Worship of God and for a Fence against Atheism and Prophaneness; yet it cannot be doubted but that by that Mystery of Iniquity, that Christians so often have in their mouths, is meant such a Mystery as is directed to the defeating the Purpose, and enervating the Power and Efficacy, and to the hiddenly-un­dermining the very Foundations of that Religion which is called Chri­stian. For which reason they also call this Mystery of Iniquity Antichri­stianism, and style the chief Authour and underpropper thereof (be it [Page] [...] [Page 1] [...] [Page 2] one single person or body of men) by the name of Antichrist: whether you understand thereby one that opposes Christ, or one that puts himself in the place of Christ, pretending to act for, but indeed acting against the true Interest of his Kingdom.

2. The noise of these words and phrases hath filled Christendom with their Echo for some Ages together. But I do not remember that the hot­test pursuers after this strange Beast, no not they that had thought they had found him and taken him, have left so perfect and essential a Description of his nature prescinded from external circumstanc [...], that a man may have a due and full apprehension wherein this Mystery of Antichristianity does really consist; and therefore have left the world liable to think those things essential to this Mystery which are not, and those not to appertain to it that do: As if in the description of a Bear they should be carefull not to omit his collar and ring at his nose, and yet leave out some integral parts of the body.

But such imperfect and indistinct representations as these tend to no­thing but the raising mens passions against things that are in themselves innocent, and the conniving at those that are truly vicious and hurtfull. As if, for example, a man should declare in gross the Turk Antichrist, or the Pope; not expressing what it was that did really constitute them such: The effect thereof would only be this, namely, without any further ex­amination to congratulate our selves that we are neither Turks nor Papists, (though we may really have no small measure of the Mystery of Iniquity in us for all that) and to take offence at the sight of a Turbant, a Crosier or a Miter (or other things that have as little, or less hurt, if it be possible, then these) because they are found amongst the Turks or Papists. And yet methinks the most furious Reformers should not have so little wit in their wrath, as to think the Reformation incomplete, till with Mattocks and Spades they have dug down the seven Hills at Rome, and flung the earth with shovels towards the four winds of Heaven; for all that seems the most obvious circumstantial Characteristick of the Whore of Babylon (be that Whore who she will) that is to be found in the Scripture.

3. We see it therefore very requisite, that we may not quarrel with shadows, to seek out and propose such a Delineation of Antichristianism, as may let goe innocuous circumstances, and take in what is truely and essentially Antichristian; nor make any thing a part of the Mystery of Iniquity that has not any iniquity in it; as we cannot well any confessed Wickedness, but as it is the effect of some pretended Holiness. In these two things therefore in general does this Mystery of Iniquity or Antichri­stianism consist. First, In the instituting of such Laws, or autoritative­ly teaching such Doctrines, and promoting or commanding such Practices, as naturally defeat and frustrate the true scope and purpose of the Gospel of Christ. And then Secondly, In the doing this with such artifice and so fair pretences, that they bear the world in hand in the mean time that they are doing the work of God, and promoting the Interest of the Kingdom of his Son Jesus.

This, I say, in general is the very Nature and Essence of Antichristianism: And where this poison is imbibed into publick Authority; that either one [Page 3] Person, or Body politick, or jointly both of them together, if they be the first beginners or continuers of this Mystery of Iniquity, in a due latitude thereof, are assuredly that Antichrist there is such a noise of in the Christian world. And for others that have it not in such a measure, yet so far forth as they are Teachers, Abetters, or Obtruders of such Practices or Princi­ples upon pretence of Religion, as naturally frustrate the End of the coming of Christ, they are so far also Antichristian.

4. Wherefore he that has duly considered, and satisfied himself, what is the great Scope of the Gospel of Christ, and finds but out (which he can­not easily miss) what things are contrary thereto; if he but colour them over with plausible pretences of promoting the Interest of Christ, he has ipso facto drawn the true Image or Idea of Antichrist, whereby he may surely know him whereever he is. Now that great Scope and those main concernments that the Gospel of Christ aims at are plainly these; namely, The extirpation of Idolatry out of the world, as also A releasement of God's people from the improfitable burthen of Judaical Ceremonies, (which we may call the Privative End of the Gospel:) and The exaltation of the Divine life; whose Root is Faith in God and of a world to come; and the Branches, Humility, Charity, and Purity; as I have more at large dis­coursed in my Explanation of the Mystery of Godliness. And in this is comprized the Positive End of Christ's coming into this world.

CHAP. II.

1. The rooting out of Idolatry by the Messias prophesied of by Jeremy, That all the Gods that made not Heaven and Earth, should perish. 2. An explication of that Prophecy, and an assertion of our Saviour's right of being worshipped for ever as the Eternal Logos who made Heaven and Earth. 3. Proofs out of the Psalms, that the Messias was to root out Idolatry. 4. Several places in the New Testament wit­nessing against Idolatry and Image-worship. 5. That the Spirituality of Christian Religion indigitated by our Saviour does abundantly evidence the unlawfulness of Image-worship or of what Idolatry else soever.

1. THat God intended the rooting out of Idolatry by sending Christ into the World; appears as well by those Prophecies of the Old Testa­ment, that foretel that all Idolatry shall be rooted out (for by whom should it be done but by the Messias, in whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed:) as by several passages in the New.

Of the first sort is that in Jeremie chap. 10. where the Prophet puts this prophecy in the mouths of the Jews that were carried captive into Babylon: Thus shall ye say unto them, (saith he) The Gods that made not the Heavens and the Earth, they shall perish from the Earth and from under the Hea­vens. But the preceding context is so lively and magnificent, and so close to our purpose, that it ought not to have been omitted. At the seventh verse [Page 4] therefore, Who would not fear thee, O King of Nations? for to thee doth it appertain: Forasmuch as among all the wise men of the Nati­ons, and in all their Kingdoms, there is none like unto thee. But they are altogether brutish and foolish; the stock is a Doctrine of vanities. Silver spred into plates is brought from Tarshish, and Gold from Uphas, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the Founder; Blue and purple is their cloathing, they are all the work of cunning men. But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God and an everlasting King: At his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the Nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. And then follows this Prophetick denunciation against every undue object of Divine worship; Thus shall ye say unto them, The Gods that made not the Heavens and the Earth, they shall perish from the Earth and from under these Heavens.

2. Things are exceeding clear in this Prophecy, saving in that comparison of the King of Nations with the wise men of the Nations, betwixt whom there is that infinite disparity, that the collation seems hugely improper if the pure Deity be here conceived to be compared with any wise men what­soever. Grotius therefore ingeniously hinteth, that it is meant of some of the wise men of the Nations that had been translated into the number of their Gods, as Taautes for example: which a little helps out one terme of the comparison, these wise men being supposed to have been advanced to Divine honours after their death, and to have been reckoned amongst the Gods.

But I must confess even that in the 86 Psalm, Among the Gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord, there is none that can doe as thou doest, has often puzzel'd me, that the Prophet should vouchsafe to compare the Gods of the Nations, which were but Deified Mortals, or at best but particular Angels, or Daemons in that higher sense, with the pure, infinite, and omni­potent Deity: which has made me often suspect that such passages as these are to be understood of the Messias, who was also to be incarnated and to become the true [...], and thereupon, after his sufferings, to be declared King of Nations and the Worship of the whole Earth; according as it follows in that Psalm, All Nations whom thou hast made shall come Rev. 25. 3, 4. and worship before thee, O Lord, and shall glorifie thy Name. And you know he was the Logos or Word which was in the beginning, without which nothing was made that was made. As the Authour to the Hebrews also witnesseth, Thou, Lord, in the beginning layedst the Foundations of Psalm 102. 25. the Earth, and the Heavens are the work of thy hands. Which is spoke of the Messias, his time being there so plainly decyphered, as appears in the 22 verse, When the people are gathered together, and the Kingdoms to serve the Lord. Whence that is also plain, that Christ shall be ever the same, and that his years shall have no end; and that this Prophetick denunciation, The Gods that made not Heaven and Earth, shall perish from Vers. 27. the Earth and from under these Heavens, cannot reach him. But the worship of any thing else that is not the pure Deity, is to be cast away ac­cording to the meaning of that Prophecy.

3. That also in the 97 Psalm plainly shews that Idolatry is to goe down at the coming of Christ. Confounded be all they that serve graven I­mages, that boast themselves of Idols; worship him all ye Gods: which [Page 5] the Author to the Hebrews does expresly interpret of Christ, whereby he proves his Divinity, and doth therewith disapprove of giving any Reli­gious worship to any but that which is truly the Deity; as I have noted in its due place.

4. As for the places in the New Testament, they are more copious, and not less express. The first is that in the Acts, where when the Chap. 14. v. 14, 15. Priest of Jupiter would have sacrificed to Paul and Barnabas at Lystra, by reason of the great miracles he saw done; they rent their cloaths and ran in amongst the people, crying out and saying, Sirs, why do you these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities, unto the living God which made Heaven and Earth and the Sea and all things that are therein. And what vanities are those from which they must turn, but from the giving Acts 17. 29, 30. of Divine honour to mere Creatures? The same Apostle also at Athens, in his Speech he made to them on Mars-hill, reads them a very round lesson against Idolatry. Forasmuch then as we are the off-spring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto Gold or Silver or Stone graven by art and mans device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commandeth all men every where to repent. Which exhortation certainly Paul made with the greatest earnestness that could be, it being said verse the 16. [...], that his spirit was in a very sharp fit, in a paroxysm of zeal, when he saw the City of Athens so given to Idolatry.

Again in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, he makes Idolatry the very Chap. 12. v. 2. Character of Gentilisme, which Christ came to reclaim the world from. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away to dumb Idols, even as ye were led. And elsewhere in the same Epistle he exhorts them more copiously and Chap. 10. v. 14, 20, &c. vehemently: Wherefore my dearly-beloved flee from Idolatry. The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to the Daemonia, and not to God. Ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table and of the table of the Daemonia. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger then he? And this was only about the meat sacrificed to these Daemons; what had it then been to bow to their Idols? He speaks also very smartly on this subject in his second Epistle to these Corinthians. What fellowship hath righteousness Ch. 6. v. 14, 16. with unrighteousness? what communion hath light with darkness? and what agreement hath the Temple of God with Idols? And in his Epistle to the Galatians, he plainly reckons up Idolatry amongst the grossest works of the flesh, Murther, Sorcery, and Adultery. And therefore ac­cordingly Chap. 5. v. 20. in the Apocalyps Idolaters together with Murtherers and Sor­cerers Chap. 21. v. 8. are threatned with the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, and are shut with obscene Dogs out of the holy City. And therefore assuredly Chap. 22. v. 15. S. John is in very good earnest in his dehortation from Idolatry in the 1 John 5. 20. close of his general Epistle. And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true; and we are in him that is true, through his Son Jesus Christ: This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep your selves from Idols. Amen. From these places, I think it is abundantly mani­fest That the divulging of the Gospel aimed at the taking away of Ido­latry [Page 6] (that sottish depravation of Religion) out of the World.

5. And we may be still the more assured of it by those words from our Saviour's own mouth; The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father John 4. v. 23, 24. seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth. Where Grotius, and I think very truly, interprets [...], sublatis ut ritibus, ita locorum discrimine. And surely the Christian worship being so pure as to abhor from the voluminousness of Judaizing ceremonies, and the affixing of the residence of God to a consecrated place, as in the Temple of the Jews; Imagery and Idolatry must be abhorred infinitely more, as infinitely more inconsistent therewith. And if God may not be worship­ped with an Image, much less any thing that is not God either with an Image or without it.

CHAP. III.

1. What is meant by Grace and Truth coming by Christ. 2. Further Testimonies of Scripture to evince that Christ came to ease men of the Judaical burthen of Ceremonies. The meaning of [...], and of [...]. 3. That the Death of Christ upon the Cross was the solution of the Ceremonial Law of Moses. 4. Fur­ther proofs to the same purpose.

1. BUT now That the grossness and carnality of the Judaical Ceremo­nies and the unprofitable burthen of them was to be done away by the coming of Christ, (which is the other point to be proved) is very apparent out of several places of Scripture. For the Law was given by Moses, but Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ: that is to say, The John 1 17. Law, both Moral and Ceremonial, was given by Moses: but even that Moral Law was but such an one as could not give life, as the Apostle Gal. 3. 21. speaks; but the gracious assistance of the Spirit of God promised in the Gospel, that does give life and strength to walk according to the will of God. And then for the Ceremonial Law; both it, and indeed all things else happening to the Jews, were but Types and Shadows; but in Christ is the Truth. They were not what they made a show to be, and there­fore in that sense may be said to be false: so as he that says that the Image or Picture of a Man or Horse is a Man or Horse indeed, pronounces false. And therefore our Saviour speaks true when he saith, Moses gave you not that bread from Heaven, but my Father giveth you that true bread John 6. 31. from Heaven. Whenas yet it is said of the Manna, Psalm 78. He gave them bread from Heaven to eat. But it being but a shadow of the true Vers. 25. bread from Heaven, which is Christ, it is said not to be the bread from Heaven. As in the Epistle to the Hebrews the Law is said to have a Heb. 10. 1. shadow of good things to come: and Paul to the Colossians, Let no man judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of an holy-day, or of the Coloss. 2. 16, 17. [Page 7] new Moon, or of the Sabbath; which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is Christ's. So plain is it what is meant by Grace and Truth coming by Jesus Christ. For he is that Truth which was signified by the shadows of the Law; and by him is that Grace which was not afforded by the Law, namely the Quickning Spirit of God, the peculiar promise of the Gospel. Wherefore the Truth it self, the body of the Sun of Righte­ousness, being now risen with healing in his wings, it is time for obscure Shadows and dark Types to fly away.

2. And hence it is that S. Paul so stoutly exhorts the Galatians not to be held in bondage any longer within these shady coverts. Nevertheless Gal. 4. 30. what saith the Scripture? Cast out out the Bond-woman and her son: For the son of the Bond-woman shall not be heir with the son of the Free-woman. So then, Brethren, we are not children of the Bond-woman, but of the Free. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoak of bondage: that is to say, neither with Circumcision nor any other useless and burthensome ceremony.

And again upon the same subject he speaks very triumphantly in the above-mentioned Epistle to the Colossians, in the same Chapter, from the 8 verse to the verse before recited. In which paragraph [...] Coloss. 2. [...] the hand-writing of Ordinances seems most naturally to be understood of Ceremonial ordinances, that these were nailed to his Cross, and nulled by his death: but for that Law which is purely Moral and Eternal, and the observation whereof is the perfection of Humane nature, he came not to destroy it, but to rescue it, and perfect it by clearer glosses. Which interpretation agrees the best both with the matter in hand (which are Ceremonial ordinances, which the Apostle speaks of, Traditions of men, and Rudiments of the World;) and also with the signification of the word [...] in verse 20. If you be then dead with Christ from the Rudiments of the world, [...]; why as living in the world are ye subjected to ordinances, to the decrees and ceremonial impositions of men? As it follows imme­diately, Tast not, touch not, handle not; which he calls the Commandments and doctrines of men: and not unlike those he mentions in his first Epistle to Timothy, Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats; which in one sense of the Text he seems to term the se­ducing Chap. 4. v. 3. doctrines of Devils, as suggested by them; over whom Christ is said to triumph here under the name of Principalities and Powers, by virtue of his Cross; and so treading them down, is supposed to trample upon their ordinances, those Doctrines of Devils, which they enviously and insultingly entangled poor mankind withall. And little better then such would the Judaical Ceremonies themselves be accounted, when ha­ving been once abrogated by God through Christ, they are again re-in­forced by new imposers.

For that zeal that is inspired into men for the driving on superstitious ordinances and practices, contrary to the command of Christ and the ho­nour of the Gospel, may be rationally conceived to come from Satan, the active enemy of the Church of Christ.

3. Like to this of the Colossians, is that of the Ephesians. For he Chap. 2. 14. [Page 8] is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh (that is, by his flesh crucified on the Cross, as before) the law of commandments con­tained in ordinances; which answers to [...], the hand-writing of ordinances in the former. And by both these places it is evident That the Sacrifice of Christ upon the Cross was the solution of all the Ceremonies of Moses Law, according as the Prophet Daniel had Dan. 9. predicted; and That the everlasting Righteousness should take place, a Religion that would instruct us to worship God in spirit and in truth; and therefore should stand for ever, there being none more perfect to succeed.

4. And according to this tenour of the Gospel S. Peter, as well as S. Paul, is very earnest upon the point in that debate at Jerusalem, whether Act. 15. 10. the converted Gentiles should be circumcised; where he concludes his speech in this manner: Now therefore, saith he, why tempt ye God, to put a yoak upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our Fathers nor we were able to bear? namely, ob ingentem illum numerum praeceptorum ritualium, as Grotius has noted and superadded. And S. Paul is so zea­lous for the casting out the Bond-woman and her child, that he tells the Ga­latians roundly, Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if you be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. So industriously did the Apostles of Gal. 5. 2. Christ fling off from the Church that wearisome burthen of the Rites and Ordinances of the Mosaical Law.

And thus we are sufficiently assured of the Privative End of the Go­spel, namely, That it was to eradicate Idolatry from amongst the Nations, and to null the Law of Moses in all the Ritual or Ceremonial ordinances thereof, as a troublesome and useless incumberment upon Christianity and the Churches of God.

CHAP. IV.

1. The Positive End of the Gospel summarily proposed. 2. The several grounds of honour due to Christ, and particularly of his Paternal Title. 3. Both God the Father and Christ the Authours of our Regeneration; and how the First Hypostasis being called Father does not exclude the Second from that Title in respect of his Church. 4. The other Titles of Christ plain of themselves. 5. The Divine life with its Root and Branches, the Second part of the Positive scope of the Gospel. 6. That such a Mysterie as upon Religious pretences does really supplant all the grand Ends of the Gospel, whether Privative or Positive, is Mathe­matically manifest to be that notorious Mystery of Iniquity. 7. The method of pursuing the particulars of this Mystery more largely. 8. The Falsness, Fraud and Mischief of every member of Antichristia­nism to be enquired into. 9. The Authour's serious desire that the Truth of the Description may be perused without Prejudice, and acknow­ledged without Tergiversation by them that are convinced.

[Page 9] 1. THE Positive Scope of the Gospel, as I said, and have elsewhere proved, is The exaltation of the Divine life: which is either by giving all due honour and obedience to Christ in whom this life did so eminently reside; or by promoting the increase thereof, both intensively and extensively in his members, that it may rise to a due height where it is, and get footing amongst those where it is not; that the whole Mass of Mankind, if it were possible, might be leavened, not with the leaven of Hypocrisie, but with the sincere doctrine and enlivening spirit of the Go­spel of Christ.

2. That Honour and Homage we owe to the Person of Christ is to be considered chiefly in these five respects: As he is our King, As he is our Priest, As he is our Prophet, As he is God Blessed for ever, and As he is in a particular manner [...], as Ch. 9. Esay describes him, that is to say, the Father of his Church. As it is written concerning the Logos or Eternal Word, That, As many as received him, power is given unto them to become the sons of God: which are born, not of bloud, John 1. 12. nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God: According as our Saviour speaks to Nicodemus, That which is born of the flesh, is John 3. 6. flesh; but that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit. It is therefore the Spirit of Christ whereby we are begotten into a new creature. If any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

3. But this Spirit of Christ is also the Spirit of God the Father, and there­fore our new creation, or Regeneration, is also attributed to him. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works. And Ephes. 2 10. S. Peter in his first Epistle, Blessed be God and the Father of our Lord Ch. 1. v. 3. Jesus Christ, who hath begotten us again, or regenerated us, &c. But after in the same chapter he again brings the Eternal Word as a sharer in Vers. 23. this action of Paternity; Being born not of corruptible seed, but incor­ruptible, [...], per sermonem vi­ventem Dei & in aeternum permanentem: though it may be also ren­dred, per sermonem Dei viventis & in aeternum permanentis; and thus may refer either to God the Father, or to the Eternal Logos: As I con­ceive that may also in S. John, He that is born of God, doth not commit sin; for his seed (that is, the Spirit of Truth, which is from the Father 1 Ep. 3. 9. and the Son) remaineth in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Wherefore as Christ is said to be Head of all Principalities and Powers, though God the Father be also rightly so styled; and Christ is likewise said to be the Head of the Church, though no man can deny but that God is so also; for he that is an Husband to his Church, is also ipso facto the Head of her: So Christ in like manner may rightly be termed the Father of his Church, although that be the ordinary appellation of the First Hypostasis of the holy Trinity. And therefore there being such a real respect of Paternity betwixt Christ and his Church laid in this so re­markable ground of Regeneration by his Spirit into a new Creature, I thought it both allowable and usefull to take notice thereof, and adde this [Page 10] fifth Title to the rest, there being most hainous sins committable against Christ in this respect also.

4. That Christ is our King, Priest, Prophet, and our God, are Truths so generally acknowledged, and so exceeding plain, that I need produce no proof either of the things themselves, or of the fitness of the Phrase.

5. The other general branch of the Positive Scope of the Gospel is, The spreading and propagating, the exciting and nourishing the Divine Life in the members of Christ, to the best of their capacities. In which Divine Life is comprized Faith in God, and a Belief of a Reward of righte­ousness in the other World, as also those three excellent Evangelical Graces, Humility, Charity, and Purity. That these make up the grand Scope of the Gospel, I think any one will be sufficiently satisfied by what I have written in my Explanation of the Mystery of Godliness.

6. Now from hence it will follow with evidence and certitude plainly Mathematical, ‘That such a Mystery as in effect is a real coun­terplot and undermining as well of the Privative as Positive Scope of the Gospel of Christ, in the above-named particulars; that is to say, That Mystery that, in stead of ridding the world of Idols, pollutes the Church with multifarious Idolatry; instead of easing of the Church of the bur­then of Judaical ceremonies, fills it with a number of superfluous Rites, either Judaical, Pagan, or pretendedly Christian; That Mystery that makes Christ a King without power and laws, a Prophet without prediction or instruction, that sets up corrivalls with him in Heaven and on Earth, for both his High-Priesthood and Divinity, and eludes or prevents the inchoation or growth of the New birth by mischievous devices and practices; That Mystery that naturally tends to the super­inducing upon the world Atheism and Infidelity, by magisterially ob­truding upon mens belief the acknowledgement of such things as are not only useless to be believed, but impossible to be; and lastly, That Mystery that is the Mother of Pride, the Nurse of Uncleanness, the School of barbarous Injustice and bloudy Cruelty: This Mystery, I say, that is so horrid, and Diabolical, and so Antipodal to both the Person and Spirit of Christ, and to all the Christian Graces, (provided there be but found a colour for these gross enormities, as if they tended to the honour of Christ and the good of his Church) must needs be that famed Mystery of Iniquity, and the very body of Antichristianism, with the distinct Limbs and Articulations thereof.’

7. Whose Image I having exhibited to your sight in this contracted Draught, I shall now endeavour more fully and amply to set it before your eyes; pursuing the parts I have enumerated in a more particular manner, and in such a method as will carry along with it a reflexion upon the universal nature of the Mystery of Iniquity, as it is opposite in a general respect to the Mystery of Godliness: that is to say, As those more com­prehensive members of the Mystery of Godliness were A venerable Ob­scurity, A communicable Intelligibleness, Demonstrable Truth, and desi­rable Usefulness; so I shall trace along as I goe in every one of the above­mentioned Particulars of the Mystery of Iniquity these three general De­pravations or Malignities; as namely, in opposition to the Truth in the [Page 11] Mystery of Godliness, gross and palpable Falseness; in stead of Useful­ness, intolerable Mischievousness; and in stead of that venerable Obscurity joyned with Intelligibleness, the unwholesome and abhorred fogs of a worse then Aegyptian darkness, wherein harbours nothing but deceitfull Sophistry and self-seeking Fraud.

8. In brief therefore the Falseness, the Fraud, and the Mischief, shall be the points of inquisition upon every particular member of this Mystery of Antichristianism: whose Idea when we have fully set out, and de­monstrated to be such, we shall then proceed further to enquire Where it is actually to be found; and by virtue of the said Idea to clear our own Church, that is guiltless, from the unjust suspicions and aspersions of ma­licious or inconsiderate spirits, that either misrepresent or misapprehend things, and so pass unrightfull censures upon what is at least allowable, if not praise-worthy.

9. He that is the Searcher of hearts and the Enlightner of our eyes, so purge all our Hearts from partiality and Hypocrisie, and so clear our Un­derstandings, that what shall be penned down with truth and sinceritie, may be perused without prejudice, may be discerned with facility, and be ac­knowledged by them that are inwardly convinced without any slights or tergiversations; to the glory of God's name, the peace of his Church, and the advancement of the Kingdom of his Son Jesus, Amen.

CHAP. V.

1. Instances of several specious pieces of Idolatry introducible into Chri­stian Religion. 2. The overmuch streightening, or widening the Notion of Idolatry, taxed. 3. The usefulness of giving a true Notion thereof. 4, 5. That it is not restrained to the worshipping of Idols properly so called. 6. That any thing worshipped that is not God, be­comes ipso facto an Idol; and of the Seventy's rendring [...] and [...] as well as [...], and [...]. 7. That they likewise render [...] sometimes [...], as they do also Baalim, and [...]; which further argues that more general sense of Idol. 8. That an Idol and [...], i. e. Non-Deus, is all one in the estimate of God.

1. LET us begin then with the delineation of the first member of this hideous Mystery, opposite to the first branch of the Scope of the Gospel of Christ, which was The ridding of the world of the impure worship of Idolatry. I say therefore, if in stead of those manifold Idolatrous worships in Paganism there were introduced (upon pretence of the greater honour to God and Christ, and the better instruction of the people) the Religious worship of the Cross, as also the Image of God the Father, Son, or Holy Ghost; the devotional invocation of the blessed Virgin, or any other Saints, or Angels; the worshipping of their Pictures, or Images; and the doing Divine honours (accordingly as it was practised toward [Page 12] the Roman Emperours) to a mere man upon account of his being the Vicar General of Christ and Oecumenical Head of his Church upon Earth; and lastly, the adoration of the consecrated Bread in the Eucharist upon the imagination that it is transsubstantiated into the very body of Christ: I say, where these things are brought into the Church as true Doctrine and laudable Practice, they will not fail to make up one Limb of Antichristia­nism, and that a principal one too.

For the Doctrine is not true nor the Practice allowable, but gross and palpable Idolatry, (one of the most abhorred sins the Scripture takes no­tice of;) as you shall easily understand after I have with all possible caution searcht out the true Notion and definitive nature thereof.

2. This term Idolatry, though nothing is more frequent in the mouths and writings of men, yet there is nothing of so unsettled and fugitive a signification. For some, to excuse or palliate their grosly-disallowable Rites and Practices in Christian Religion, have restrained the sense of the word to such narrow limits, that according to their nice distinctions and restrictions the foulest Paganism will scarce be found guilty of Idolatry. Others, whether out of a fright and abhorrency of so detestable a crime, or out of an over-factious disgust and detestation of the contrary party, have so stretched the signification of the word beyond the natural meaning thereof, that not only harmless, but even laudable circumstances of Di­vine worship appointed by Authority will not fail to be stigmatized by them with that odious and reproachful name: whose zeal and passionate unskilfulness in amoving this grand errour out of the Church has had an answerable ill success, in that they have not so much wrought a cure, as changed the disease, and bartered away one great evil for several others of something a lower form; such as Scandal, rash and unjust Censure, and Superstition; which are very evil and undesirable distempers in the Church of Christ, and the necessary Authours and Fomenters of un­necessary Schisms. And indeed if I had said only, that they had changed Idolatry into Superstition, it had been enough, and all, it including the rest. For Superstition being properly a Fear of displeasing God in such things as neither do oblige him nor offend him, arising out of an opinion of the good or evil of those things that are indifferent; Those that either out of ignorance, or some worse principle, ingender in the minds of men a superstitious aversation from such harmless and allowable actions, must needs make them obnoxious to Scandal, and tempt them to rash and un­just Censures.

3. Wherefore as well to excuse the innocent, as to discover the guilty, I shall endeavour exactly to set out the bounds of this great sin of Idolatry; that thereby we may know when it is committed, and when not; when it may be called by that so hatefull name, and when again it is Injustice and Uncharitableness so to term this or that action of Religious worship.

4. That the name or guilt of Idolatry is not to be restrained to the wor­ship of an Idol only, is plain out of ordinary consent of Speech, when we discourse of Idolatrous Nations that worship the Sun, Moon and Stars; not considering whether they make any Images to them or no. For these [...], these conspicuous and sensible Deities, as Origen. contr. Cels. lib. [...]. [Page 13] they are termed by the Greeks, may easily be conceived to have allured the rude people to adore them, before they had either art or leisure to build Temples and erect Statues to them. From whence that Caveat is given by God to his own people in Deuteronomie; Take ye therefore Ch. 4 v. 15, 19. good heed unto your selves (for you saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire) lest you corrupt your selves, and make you a graven Image, &c. And lest you lift up your eyes to Heaven; and when you see the Sun, and the Moon, and the Stars, even all the hoast of Heaven, should be driven to worship them and serve them. So strongly enticing have they been to mankind to bestow Religious worship on them. These were the first Objects that gain'd the title of [...], as being in perpetual Motion, as Philo has observed; which appellation was afterwards derived upon all other Deities whatsoever. And Maimonides also lays the first foundation of Idolatry in these.

5. But Nations sufficiently civilized, as namely the Persians, made Herodot. lib. 1. c. 131. shift to be Idolaters without carved Images or Idols. For they sacri­ficed on the tops of Mountains to the visible Heaven under the name of Jupiter, as also to the Sun, Moon and Earth, to the Fire, Water and Winds; all sensible Objects, but worshipped without any sensible figure or representation. And yet I think no man learned, or Idiot, will stick to style this Nation Idolatrous: As neither the ancient Romans, who worshipped their many Gods without the use of any Idol or Image, for near two hundred years together; as both Varro and Plutarch affirm.

6. Wherefore Idolatry is not only there where an Idol is worshipped, but where any thing is worshipped which is not God, whether that thing be visible or no. In which sense In Orat. Panegyr. in Natal. Christi. Gregory Nazianzene defines Idolatry to be [...]. And De Idololatris cap. 15. Tertullian pronounces that whatsoever is exalted ultra humani honoris modum, with more then civil worship, does ipso facto become an Idol. When they are not truely [...], they become by being worshipped [...], that is to say [...] non-Dii (as some would have the notation of the word) not Gods, but [...], Idols, as it is often ren­dred by the Seventy, and also [...]. And in the first of the Ch. 16. 26. Chronicles, [...], shews plainly that [...] is to be referred also to those things that are not carved Images. For the Nations worshipped the Sun and Moon, and the Souls of men departed, which are not Imagery, but Natural things. And therefore sometimes they render [...], or [...] the lat­ter whereof must refer to those invisible Daemons themselves, who being but [...] in Scripture-account, their worship must also be Idola­try, and will without any scruple be acknowledged so by any one that either the sense of things or the force of words has left any im­press upon.

7. This might also make the Seventy careless of translating [...] always [...], when spoke of the Heathen Gods, but sometimes [...] those Deities themselves to whom Idols were consecrated being but [Page 14] Idols in this sense. And whereas they understood by Baalim those false Deities distinct from their Images (as appears from the second of the Chap. 28. vers. 2. Chronicles, where they translate [...], Ahaz made Statues, or Images, for Baalim;) yet for the same reason they several times translate it [...] the Baalim themselves, whether the Sun, or the Souls of men deceased, being but Idols in this sense we speak of.

For which reason, lastly, I conceive they also translate [...] above a dozen times, and [...] but once; whenas a learned Doctor of our Church conceives the word according to its original meaning (it signifying any cause of anxiety, grief, or frightfull passion) to note [...] themselves chiefly, whose hard usages, and affrightfull appear­ances to dismaied mankind, brought in that kind of pusillanimity which the Greeks call properly [...], the superstitious fear and dis­quieting dread of Daemons; which is so far from being supposed to pro­ceed from the Images themselves, that Grotius has noted it as the com­plaint of Varro against those that had corrupted that purer kind of wor­ship instituted by Numa, by their bringing in of Images, Eos utique civi­tatibus suis & metum dempsisse, & errorem addidisse. But every thing Grot. in De­calog. that has Religious worship done to it that is not God, becoming thereby an Idol, the Seventy may very well be excused for their proneness of rendring these words by [...], which had been more properly and expresly in such and such circumstances rendred [...]. As their proneness in so doing is also again an argument, as I have already inti­mated, of the warrantableness of their both notion and expression, who call the worshipping of any thing that is not God, Idolatry.

8. To which God himself also witnesses that it is such, by declaring himself so affected at worshipping that which is not God; as he does at the bowing towards Images, which he forbids, giving this reason, For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, Exod. 20. The original is [...]. And Deuteronomie, the 32. he says, [...] They have moved me to jealousy [...] in non Deo, by that which is not God. Whereby we seem to be admonished wherein the nature of Idolatry does immediately consist; and that the worshipping of an Image is not Idolatry as it is an Image, but as that Image is not God; no Image being God, but that true and living Image of the Father, Jesus Christ. That therefore is the true and general notion of Idolatry, To worship any thing that is not God; whereby we forsake God himself, and devotionally prostitute our selves to every evanid representation or far-cast shadow of him, such as are but [...], shadows of shadows in infinite myriads of degenerati­ons from him; and so provoke his jealousy by these multiplied Baalim, whenas He alone is to be our Lord and Husband. But this is a Truth so plain and acknowledged, that I need not have spent so much time in the verbal allusions to adde any countenance thereto.

CHAP. VI.

1. That the Israelites worshipped Jehovah in the Golden Calf, proved out of Exodus. 2. That Elohim, though joyned with a verb of the plural number, is understood of the true God; with further testimony out of the 106 Psalm, that God was worshipped in that Calf, and what [...] there signifies. 3. That the Golden Calf was no figure of the Aegyptian Apis, but a Cherub. 4. Aaron's case of making the Golden Calf compendiously opened, as also the ground of Tacitus his ridiculous errour discovered. 5. That the Golden Calves in Dan and Bethel were two Cherubim set up for the worship of the God of Is­rael, proved from Jeroboam's Politicks. 6. Also from Jehu, and Elias his zeal, and the instruction of the Assyrian Colonies by an Is­raelitish Priest. 7. That Micah's Ephod and Teraphim were also meant to the true God. 8. And yet both he and the Israelites in the Wilderness Idolaters, in their use of the Teraphim and Cherub in Divine worship. 9. That Jeroboam was also an Idolater in setting up the Calves in Dan and Bethel, proved out of Scripture. 10. Other Testimonies to the same purpose; and of the Idolatry committed in the Brasen Serpent.

1. THat which seems more seasonable to inquire into is this, Whether as there is Idolatry without the worshipping of Images; so there may not be the worshipping of Images without Idolatry, the Images being worshipped in reference to the true God.

That to worship the true God by an Image, is Idolatry, I conceive is very plain from the children of Israel's worshipping him by the Golden Calf which Aaron made. For first, that they worshipped God by this Calf, is evident from what is written Exod. 32. 4. where it is proclaimed, These be thy Gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the Land of Aegypt: And verse 8. God there telling Moses what was done, They have (saith he) made them a molten Calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy Gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the Land of Aegypt. But it is manifest that this Calf did not bring them out of the Land of Aegypt, but they brought it, I mean the materials of it: and that therefore they understood it only as a visible Image and Representation of the presence of him that did bring them out thence, namely of Jehovah the true God.

2. Nor is there any scruple to be made from the pronouncing there­of in the plural number, as if that One true God could not be meant there: For Elohim is not only as fitly said of one single Deity as of one single Image, but is really, and that frequently, said of this One God Jehovah. And Nehemiah reciting this passage, shews plainly that the sense is to be ch. 9. v. 18. understood of one; he reading, not, These are thy Gods, but, This is thy God, that brought thee up out of Aegypt. Nor does the verb being in the plural number make any infringement to this Truth. For [...] [Page 16] joyned with a verb of the plural number is notwithstanding understood of this One true God, as appears from See Gen. ch. 20 v. 13 ch. 35. v. 7. sundry places of Scripture: And to make all sure, Aaron, after he had made the Calf, is said to build an Altar before it, and to make proclamation, saying, To morrow is a Feast to the Lord, that is, to Jehovah the known God of the Israelites. And the Psalmist taxing this transgression of theirs, They made, saith he, Psal. 106. 19, 20. a Calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten Image. Thus they changed their Glory into the similitude of an Ox that cateth grass. Which Glory whether you refer to God himself, or to the conspicuous Symbols of his residence, which later Ages did more expresly call [...] the Glory (and indeed I think may be fetched higher then those times, the Ark of the Covenant being so called in the first of Samuel, and it may be Psalm 85. 1 Sam. 4. 22. Psal. 85. 9. and 63. 2. Jer. 2. 11. and according to Munster in the 63. and in Jeremie 2. if the ancient reading was [...], as Grotius would have it; and lastly in this very Psalm, if the ancient Hebrews read not [...] but [...], not their glory, but his glory, as Grotius also suggests) I say, whether it be referred to God himself, or to his Symbolical presence in the Ark of the Covenant, it is manifest that the worship was intended to God, when they adored this graven Image.

3. Which as it is most certain from these Texts of Scripture, so it will seem less strange, if we do but consider that the Golden Calf which Aaron made was in all likelihood nothing else but the figure of a Cherub, such as was after made by Moses himself, and placed in the Ark. For Cherub signifies properly [...] a Calf or Ox, from [...] to plow, and is one of those four Animals which are in the Chariot of God, in the vision of both Ezekiel and S. John. And it is remarkable in Ezekiel, that when he had reckoned those four several forms, of a Man, Lion, Ox and Eagle in Ezek. 1. 10. Ezek. 10. 14. the first Chapter, he repeating the same in the tenth, in stead of Ox puts the name of Cherub: And every one had four faces; the first face was the face of a Cherub, and the second face was the face of a Man, and the third the face of a Lion, and the fourth the face of an Eagle. The first there­fore must needs answer to the Ox specified in the former. But in the first Chapter he observes generally of them all, that their feet were as the feet Vers. 7. [...] of Calves: which is no obscure intimation that Aaron's act was not so extravagant as it seems at first sight, he erecting such a Symbol of the Divine presence as was to be afterward reposited in the Ark, namely, the figure of a Cherub, or Golden Calf: But to conceit that so holy a man as Aaron proposed to them the worship of the Aegyptian Apis, and made them an Idol of an Idol, to celebrate a Festival to Jehovah by it; is a thing so impious, incoherent and exorbitant, that it seems utterly incredible.

4. Wherefore in brief the case seems to stand thus. God having by Moses promised to his people his visible presence to conduct them into the Land of Canaan; which Symbolical presence was to be in the Ark, and especially in the Cherubim, on which he was seen to sit by Aaron when he was admitted into the sight of God in the Mount: He being therefore privy to the design of this manner of representing the presence of God by Cherubims or Golden Calves, and Moses having staid so long in the [Page 17] Mount, that both Aaron and the people took it for granted that he was dead; they requiring of him that he should make good that promise of the sensible presence of God, to make Gods to conduct them to Canaan, or at least back again to Aegypt, that they might not be lost and perish in a barren wilderness; he thought fit in this exigency of affairs to erect that Symbol of the Divine presence which was intended by Moses, and so made this Cherub in the form of a Calf, both out of skill and integrity. But it was the vainness and wickedness of the people to turn it into an Idol by worshipping it, and so to Aegyptianize in the adoration of the God of Israel.

Which he endeavoured as wisely as he could to prevent, in chusing this form rather then that of an Eagle, Lion, or Man; as being the least alluring to Religious worship: which was the reason of Moses his choice also, who is thought to have made both the Cherubims in this shape. And that idle mistake of Tacitus and others, of the Jews worshipping the head of an Asse, may probably be grounded upon the seeming vility of these figures; as being little superiour to those slow creatures: And therefore the more unlikely, say I, of ever being intended for Objects of worship, as certainly they were not, but only for Symbolical Represen­tations of the Chariot of God and of his visible appearance to the Prophets. Which Visions themselves I do not doubt but were a figure or symbol of some very noble and substantial Truths, which would be too long here to dive into.

To this purpose Moncaeus argues in his Treatise of the subject, where he pursues the matter more copiously: which, if a man duely consider, he cannot imagine but the worship given to the Golden Calf was not intended for the Aegyptian Apis or any other forein Deity, but for Jehovah him­self the Lord of Israel.

5. And there is the same reason assuredly of the Golden Calves in Dan and Bethel which Jeroboam set up, which will both give light to and re­ceive light from this of Aaron, and joyntly prove that they were both such Cherubims as were in the Ark of the Covenant, and that the Sacrifices and Solemnities of the people were intended to Jehovah: As it appears from the first of Kings Chap. 12. where it is plain that it was a fetch of V. 26, 27, 28. policy in Jeroboam to set up those Cherubims or Golden Calves in Dan and Bethel, for to keep the ten Tribes from revolting to Rehoboam King of Juda, by their going up to doe sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jeru­salem. Whereupon the King took counsel, and made two Calves of Gold, and said unto the people, It is too much for you to goe up to Jerusalem: V. 28. Behold thy Gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the Land of Ae­gypt. Which had been false and ridiculous to avouch of any strange God; and it had been the most unpolitick action that could be, and con­trary to his design, to offer them any strange God to worship. For could he hope so in a moment to take off their devotion from the God of Israel, whom they had so long served, even from their childhood; and so stop their going to Jerusalem at their set times of Solemnities? Surely no: But his meaning was, that they might serve the same God here at home, and save themselves the labour of such tedious journeys; and to this pur­pose [Page 18] he had set up two Golden Cherubs, the acknowledged Symbols of his presence, the one in Dan, the other in Bethel, before which they might meet, and sacrifice, and perform their anniversary Solemnities to the God of Israel as well as if they went to Jerusalem.

6. And hence it is that when the worship of Baal and that of these Golden Calves came into competition, these latter worshippers are cal­led the Servants of the Lord. And Jehu professes his zeal against Baal's 2 Kings 10. 23. Priests to be in the behalf of Jehovah, though he never ceased to wor­ship the Golden Calves. Elias also abets the Tribes of Israel against such of them as were turned worshippers of Baal, as allowing them to be worshippers of the true God, though the Israelitish mode of worship­ping him at that time was in those Golden Calves. If the Lord be God, follow him; if Baal be God, follow him.

And when the Assyrian Colonies were worried with Lions in Samaria, it is imputed to their ignorance of the worship of the God of the place, 2 Kings 17. 26, 27. who was known to be Jehovah; and it was an Israelitish Priest that was sent back to teach them, who dwelt in Bethel, and taught them certainly after the manner of Israel to worship him in those Golden Cherubims, as they did from Jeroboam's time to that very day. So little doubt is there but that Jehovah was worshipped in those Calves of Gold.

7. A like Instance to which I conceive is discoverable in more early times. As in that of Micah's Ephod and Teraphim, and his consecrated Son, and devout Mother that had dedicated such a summe of silver to the Judg. 17. Lord, of which an Image was made by the founder: His eager enter­taining a Levite also, in stead of his Son whom he had consecrated to the Lord, and his blessing himself for his good hap in lighting on this Levite, saying, Now know I that the Lord will doe me good, seeing I have a Levite to my Priest. All this shews plainly that these Teraphim were consulted V. 13. as the Oracle of the God of Israel, I mean as the Oracle of Jehovah: And the mention of the Ephod would easily induce one to believe that the Teraphim were, as S. Jerom conceits of them, in the form of the Cheru­bims. And this therefore was the worshipping of Jehovah by a bare I­mage, and is a second undeniable Instance of this kind of unlawfull worship.

8. For that this Religion of Micah was unlawfull, is intimated in that Epiphonema immediately subjoyned to the mention of his house of Gods, and Ephod, and Teraphim. In those days there was no King in Israel, Judg. 17. 6, but every one did that which was right in his own eyes. But to make short work. Either these Teraphim and Images were like the Cheru­bims which Moses made, or they were other prophane Idols: If the se­cond, the Idolatry is so conspicuous we need pursue the proof thereof no further: If the first, we shall yet prove that to be down-right Idolatry, and thereby evince the second to be much more.

That the worshipping the Golden Calf in Horeb was Idolatry, though the worship was intended to Jehovah, is plain, both from that height of wrath and displeasure that God conceived against them for worshipping and sacrificing to the molten Image; Let me alone, saith God, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and also Exod 32. 10. from Moses his being so transported into passion at the sight of the thing, [Page 19] that out of the heat of his Anger he cast the two Tables of Testimony, written with the finger of God, out of his hands, and brake them beneath V. 19. the Mount. To which you may adde the severe punishment, the slaying of the Transgressors, which Moses commanded, and the form of his con­fession of their sins to God: Oh this people have sinned a great sin, and V. 31. have made them Gods of Gold.

Qui fingit sacros auro vel marmore vultus,
Non facit ille Deos; qui colit, ille facit.

And this was the Sin of the people, even that great Sin of Idolatry, who by worshipping the Golden Calf that Aaron made, though they intended the honour to Jehovah, made an Idol thereof: As S. Stephen also gives sentence, They made a Calf, saith he, in those days, and offered sacrifice Acts 7. 41. to the Idol.

9. And Divine Writ gives the same censure of the Golden Calves of Jeroboam, in whose days, and till Ahab was seduced by his wife Jezebel, 1 Kings 16. 31. the worship neither of Baal nor any strange God was admitted in Israel. Yet Jeroboam, though he worshipped Jehovah in those Golden Calves, is said to have ordained Priests for the high places and 2 Chron. 11. 15. for Devils. The original has it [...] Faunis or Satyris, for the hairy Daemons of the woods or mountains. The Monticolae Sylvani I suppose are alluded to, and that in reproach to his Idolatrous worship of the true God on the high places; though the Seventy translate it only [...], which yet tends to the same sense; for they also translate [...] (vanities) [...], in several places. Again in the second Book of Ch. 13. v. 8. the Chronicles, there Abijah King of Juda speaking to Israel, upbraids to them their confidence in their multitude, and in their Golden Calves which Jeroboam made them for Gods; twitting them thereby assuredly for their Idolatry; [...] here answering to [...] in the forecited place, Dii to Daemons or Daemonia.

10. I shall only instance in one place more, in the first Book of the Ch. 14. v. 9. Kings, where Ahijah the Prophet instructed by God sends this smart mes­sage to Jeroboam: Thou hast done evil above all that were before thee: For thou hast gone and made thee other Gods, even molten Images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back. Which is the very same censure that the Psalmist gives of the worshipping of the Calf in Horeb; They forgot God their Saviour, that had done great things Pslm 106. 21. for them in Aegypt. And yet Jeroboam's and the Israelites fault was only the worshipping of God in those Calves, even that God that brought them out of Aegypt; as appears from the very Title of their pretensions in both places, These are thy Gods that brought thee out of the Land of Aegypt. But the natural meaning of the words of Ahijah is this, That they doing Divine worship to any thing besides God, make thereby a God to themselves, distinct from him whose worship is uncapable of any Corrivalry or Copartnership. But this worshipping of the Golden Calves in Dan and Bethel being so like (if not worse) to the worship of the Golden Calf in Horeb, it had been enough to have proved the former absolute Idolatry, it necessarily following thereupon that this must be so too.

[Page 20] We might adde to these a fourth Instance, which is The burning of in­cense 2 Kings 18. 4. to the brasen Serpent; which certainly was not in honour to any strange God, it being a monument of those miraculous cures done by Jehovah the God of Moses. But it is so clear already, that nothing can be clearer, That to worship an Image, though the honour be intended to the true God, is notwithstanding flat Idolatry.

CHAP. VII.

1. The worshipping that which is not God by an Image, a third mode of Idolatry. 2. Of the worshipping of an Image as such. 3. How the vulgar sort of the Heathen came to take the very Idols themselves for Gods. 4. What arguments used for the begetting an opinion of the residence of the Daemons near their Statues. 5. What indications of their presence there, and how awfull the Images themselves became from thence. 6. The conceit of the Daemon and dedicated Image's coalition into one person. 7. And that the worshipping of this Com­plicate was a fourth Mode of Idolatry.

1. THus we have demonstrated two Modes or Manners of Idolatry; namely, The worshipping of that which is not God without an I­mage, and The worshipping of the true God with one.

From whence the evincement of a third Mode will follow, viz. That the worshipping of that which is not God by an Image, is Idolatry; nay, I may say, a double-charged Idolatry.

For if to give Divine worship to each apart be Idolatry; to worship both these unlawfull Objects at once is double Idolatry. And if the re­lation of the external Object of worship to the true God makes not that Object lawfull, no not when it pretends not to be the Shape or Image of the true God, (as certainly the Golden Calf did not pretend it, nor any one think it) then surely a false God cannot make an Image an Object of lawfull worship, no not though it were like it.

2. Nor can any Image of it self without reference to some other thing be a due Object of worship. For as the true God is rightly by the Psal­mist styled [...] the God of Gods; so certainly an Idol may well be esteemed [...] the merest Nothing of all Nothings, the vainest of all Vanities, that can be proposed to be worshipped religi­ously. From which consideration arises another sort of Idolatry, which is The worshipping of an Image absolutely, without reference to any thing else, (which would be Idolatry in the strictest sense, according to the nota­tion of the word) if it were practicable. For it seems very hard to wor­ship an Image, we knowing it to be so, merely in reference to it self; the very nature of an Image referring to something else.

3. But men may possibly worship that which is but an Image, with­out reference to any other thing; the Garishness or Dreadfulness thereof strongly working upon the minds of the more simple to conceit some [Page 21] strange Divinity in it, which is not. Which according to some passages in Scripture seems to be the condition of the Vulgar sort of the Heathen. As in Psalm 135. 15. and again in the 115. 4. [...] Dolores or Terricula Gentium, The Fear and Awe of the Gentiles (that is, their Gods) are but Images of silver and gold, &c. which Images though they were the next way to bring all Religion into contempt amongst the more crafty and nasute, yet the Golden splendour and magnificency of them did, it seems, so perstringe the eyes of the simple sort, that they took them to be very Gods; as appears plainly out of these places of the Psalms, and very copiously out of the Epistle of Jeremie. Which cen­sure both of Jeremie and of the Psalmist is notwithstanding so to be un­derstood, as not to engage us to think that the Heathen had no other Ob­jects of their worship but the very Idols themselves. For (as I have above intimated) in all likelihood these [...], these awfull Objects of their superstitious worship, were first the Daemons themselves; whe­ther the Ghosts of the departed, or other Devils; who sometimes, though not so very frequently, have miraculously shown their presence in these Images or Statues; the fame whereof being continued, conciliated that superstitious reverence to these Idols from the Vulgar, as if they had been living and powerfull Deities.

4. Origen speaks of the religation of these Daemons near their Statues, Origen. con­tra Cels. lib. 7. whether by Magical incantation, or that, like so many smell-Feasts, they hankered near the Altars, to enjoy the nidorous fumes of the Sacrifices, [...], liquor somely par­taking of the diffused reek of the things Sacrificed.

It is likely the imposing Priests would pretend either of these to the people (though not in that odious scheme) as persuasions of the pre­sence of the Daemons themselves in these consecrated Places and Images. And truely the unctuous vapours from the burning of the Sacrifices seems a more suteable entertainment for them then the gross bloud: Which yet Doct. perplex. part. 3. c. 40. Maimonides says the Zabii conceived to be their repast, and therefore ate it themselves to communicate with them.

5. But as appears by Origen, in his third book against Celsus, there were yet more evident demonstrations of the presence of these Daemons in their Temples and Statues, by rendring of Oracles, by healing of dis­eases, and tormenting the superstitious if they transgressed in any punctilio of Religious service to them. These he calls [...], whom he intimates to be smart monitours to them that transgress, Origen. con­tra Cels. lib. 3. [...], to terrify the rude mul­titude. But whether these terrours were also by some frauds of the Priests, or merely from the peevishness of the Daemons, I will not here dispute. But questionless it struck a great dread into the simple people of the Images themselves, as if there were a Power and Divinity in them.

6. But yet I am not come to what I was aiming at, which is, A conceit of so near an union of the Daemon and the Statue, as if they were one sacred Animal or Person. For such certainly the Tyrians thought the Statue of Apollo, who, by binding it with golden chains, conceived they tied [Page 22] Apollo himself so fast to them, that he could not goe away. As the A­thenians also seem to have presumed concerning the Image of Victory, who, by clipping her wings off, thought to keep the Goddess herself from flying from them.

Which opinion certain prodigious passages in these kind of Images might very well foment. As that in the Image of the God Adranus, who, when the Adranites were engaged in a warre, was seen to sweat copiously, as also to shake the top of his Spear; as Plutarch relates in the life of Timoleon. And Lib. 1. c. 8. Valerius Maximus also writes how the Statues of Juno Moneta and of Fortuna spoke; the one signifying her willingness to goe to Rome, the other approving the manner of her consecration; Ritè me matronae vidistis, ritéque dedicâstis.

The Teraphim also of the Gentiles (which were made under a certain figure or constellation of the Heavens) were erected to receive answers from as Oracles, and in all likelihood are the Statuae animatae futuro­rum consciae, which Trismegist speaks of in Asclepius, and of which kind of speaking Statues are sundry stories; but I have run out too far already.

7. The case that emerges from the consideration of the occasions of the people's thinking these dedicated Statues or Images (whether it be from the fame of Truth, or mere conceit) to be real Deities, is this, Whether they can be said to be Idolatrous in giving Divine worship to them, not as to the Images of any thing else, but (according to their belief) as to true and living Gods. In which point I conceive there is very little difficulty. For if the worship of that which is not God, un­der the notion of a saving and living Deity, be not Idolatry, there will be none found Idolaters, but those that think they wipe their mouth cleanest of this Fornication, by pretending they worship not the Image for it self, but in reference to the Deity whose Image it is; but in the mean time give Religious worship to what is no Deity, but a dead Being.

But we have above proved, That the worshipping the Sun and Moon or any Daemon, though without an Image, is Idolatry, (and I think there is no Christian that did ever stick to confess it;) wherefore the worship­ping of an Image, or the Complicate of an Image and a Daemon actuating it, for a Deity, which is not the True and Only Godhead Almighty and Infinite, but a Finite Being and such as there may be many others besides, is without all peradventure down-right Idolatry, which we may observe to be a Fourth Mode thereof.

CHAP. VIII.

1. That the Heathen held One Supreme God the Maker of all things. 2. Proclus his conceit of so uniting the Supreme Deity with a Magical Statue, as that the Complicate becomes one visible and Supreme God­head. 3. Whether the worshipping of this Magical Complicate by him that is persuaded it is the visible Deity, were Idolatry. 4. Wherein the sinfullness of Idolatry does consist, and that the worship of this Ma­gical Statue was a Fifth Mode thereof. 5. The reduction of other cases to these Five-Modes of Idolatry. 6. That the worshipping any thing but God, is Idolatry; and of Numa's casting away Image-wor­ship, and of the affinity of his Religion with Pythagorism. 7. The first pollution of that Philosophy, and that the Object of Divine worship is as well One as Invisible.

1. BUT there is yet another case behind, with which we will conclude. That the better sort of the Heathen were not so ignorant of the Deity, but that they acknowledged the Unity of his Essence, his Omni­potency also, and his Omnisciency, were an easy thing to prove, if it were not admitted at the first offer. Falluntur in nomine, sed de una potestate consentiunt qui Jovem principem volunt, saith Minutius Felix. And I think he spoke sparingly in their praise in that he said they were mistaken in the name. For Jovis is so near to Jovah, that to deduce it from Juvo rather then from [...] is like fetching the notation of Fur from furvus, rather then from the Greek word [...] for which Gellius repre­hends Noct. Attic. lib. 1. c. 18. Varro.

That the inhabitants of Thebais worshipped the maker of the world, the Statue wherein they worshipped him witnesses for them, it being the Image of a man with an egge coming out of his mouth: As if the meaning Pier. Hiero­glyph. lib. 59. was so exactly Mosaical, or Christian, as to intimate not only the Crea­tour of the world, but that he created it by his word. And Dion. Chry­sost. Orat. 12. [...]. Dion Chrysostomus and [...]lax. Tyr. dissert. 38. Maximus Tyrius, both Heathens, do plainly profess that in their Images of Gold and Silver and Ivory they worshipped the most High God, the Maker and Conserver of all things. But I will not enter into any copious proof of this, the bare supposition serving my turn.

2. Let us therefore suppose that some Heathen Philosopher, who knew the true God of the Universe, but was not yet cleansed from the practice of Image-worship, should either himself believe, or at least for some ends best known to himself should fully perswade another, that there is some such mysterious Art as Proclus seems to glance at, in his short Treatise De Sacrificio & Magia: where, upon this ground, That there is such a close concatenation of Terrestrial with Celestial, and of Celestial with Supercelestial Essences, as also such a particular respect or Harmonie of several of the one with several of the other, he would insinuate to us, That there is a secret method of framing a Magical Statue out of certain [Page 24] choice materials; which Divine symbols rightly mingled, and adapted into a consecrated Image by some mysterious Priest or Magus, will be­come unum tale quale Divinum existit secundùm essentiam, and therefore by power of cognation and similitude will not fail to fetch down Jupiter Olympius himself from his highest or inmost supercelestial throne, and make him vitally actuate this Divine Statue in such sort that the Statue and Divinity it self shall become one visible Jupiter.

3. The Question now emerging from hence is, Whether if a simple soul, being struck by the confidence and canting of this imposturous Ma­gician into a full belief that this Statue is become the visible, but the true and eternal God of Heaven and Earth, should therefore worship that Divine Complicate as is pretended, (though it be really a mere figment) for the true God, this act of worship be blameless and irreprehensible, or whether it constitute a Fifth Mode of Idolatry. For it may be said in his excuse, it was well meant, and that he intended his worship for the true God; which was not in the foregoing case. But, as I said before, if Ig­norance will excuse from Idolatry, Philosophers will be the only men that will be found capable of that crime. And in the former case, though they had not so true a notion of God as is competible but to One, yet they thought they had lighted on a due Object of Religious worship, if that might plead their excuse. And he that, in this last case, had the right notion of the true God, yet misses the mark in application, and adores a mere Idol. And though it be in reference to the true God, I mean, really meant to him; yet to serve him in an Idol, is Idolatry; but to take an Idol to be him, far worse.

4. In brief, the sinfulness of any Idolatry, towards God, consists chiefly, if not solely, in either a kind of Injustice to him, or Reproach of him, or both. Now I demand of any man whether it be not a greater Reproach to the true God to take a mere Idol to be him, then to apply that worship which we use to him (and which always falls infinitely short of him) unto that which is but an Idol: or whether it be not a lesser piece of Injustice to take that mite of honour (for all that we can doe is no more) which is due to God, and give it to an Idol, then to take God from himself, as it were, by taking that to be him which is so infinite­ly debased below him. As it would be a greater piece of Injustice to steal a Prince out of his cradle, and leave a Changeling in the room, then to take away his mantle to wrap a Changeling in; and a far less Reproach to fit a Scepter and Tiara to the hand and head of Cyrus his Ape, and then doe the Persian reverence to him, then to take this Ape to be King Cyrus himself. For the other may be interpreted only a ridiculous excess of re­spect and homage unskilfully intended to the King himself in thus royally adorning and reverentially courting his Ape: But this latter the grossest and most sottish Reproach imaginable; namely, for want of a duely-pre­figured Idea of a Royal Prince, not to distinguish so Heroical a personage as King Cyrus from an ordinary Ape or Monkey. And yet that My­sterious Statue above mentioned, into which the prestigious Magus or Pagan Priest would pretend to have vitally incorporated the true God of the Universe, any one will acknowledge to be more vile then these vilest [Page 25] of Animals. So plain is it that this Fifth case will constitute a Fifth Mode of Idolatry, and that a very rank one too.

5. And these Five Instances of Idolatry shall serve our turn to have recourse to, as plain patterns of that so hainous a crime, there scarce being any case which is not reducible to these either directly, or analogi­cally. For the Religious worship of Rivers, Plants, or Animals, such as the Aegyptians worshipped, as they are natural things, are to be referred to the first Classis; as Representatives of a more hidden Numen, to the second. Pictures also to the second; and consecrated Pillars and Stones, suppose they have no Image on them, are to be referred to Statues, if Divine worship be done unto them: As that Stone which had only the Pier. Hierogl, lib. 49. footstep of Hercules on it, which the Thracians worshipped; and an­other four-square one which Maximus Tyrius says was worshipped by the Arabians. To which you may adde the Lapis Manalis of the Ro­mans, and their Terminus lapideus in the Capitol.

6. And in brief, to hold you in no longer suspence, upon the view of all particulars, the common Notion or Idea of Idolatry does undoubtedly consist in this, namely, In the giving Religious or Divine worship to any thing that is not truely God; as certainly no Visible thing is, that either Nature or Art can exhibit. And therefore it is said in Deuteronomie, Chap. 4. v. 12. You heard a voice, but saw no similitude. According to which is that Dogma of Pythagoras which Plutarch notes in the life of Numa, [...]. Which made Numa cast away all Images in Divine worship, but he erected a Temple that bore the similitude of the World, that great and august Temple of God, placing the [...], the Vestal fire, in the midst thereof. Wherein he did also Pythagorize, though he lived some ages before Pythagoras flourished. Which is a witness of an happy combina­tion of the profoundest skill in Nature and the purest Religion, in that Philosophy which was afterwards called Pythagorical, of any that ever could be found, out of the acknowledged Church of God, and may well amuse us from whence they had it, if not from thence.

7. But then the purity of this Philosophy abated, when ever they ad­mitted the worship of Angels. For the due Object of our worship is One, as well as Invisible: Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One, and Deut. 6. 4. there is no God besides him: of which the immediate consequence is, that he alone is to be worshipped; according as our Saviour Christ has also ratified it, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him alone shalt thou Luk. 4. 8. serve. And the Authour to the Hebrews arguing the Divinity of Christ, produces that in the Psalms, Let all the Angels of God worship him. Chap. 1. 6. Which, if Religious worship were not due to that alone which is God, would not infer Christ's Divinity.

And lastly, even the very second Council of Nice, who were over-favour­able to Images, did yet condemn the Arrians of Idolatry in holding Christ but a Creature, and not very God. And Nestorius was stigmatized with the odious style of [...] or Man-worshipper, in that he held Christ a mere Man. For both the Arrians and Nestorians held that Christ was to be worshipped, though he was but a Creature; which that [Page 26] Synod concluded absolute Idolatry, whether the worship be with an Image or without it. As also the Synod of Laodicea makes the praying to Angels Idolatry. And Epiphanius concerning the Persians, he says they abhor Images, and yet they worship Idols; meaning the Sun, Moon, and Fire. Gregory Nazianzen likewise (as I have above noted) places Idolatry simply in transferring that worship which is due to the Creatour, upon the Crea­ture; according to which notion Aquinas also and Bellarmine define it. And, lastly, S. Jerome roundly affirms Idololatram factum esse, si quis tres Deos credit. See Dr. Rainolds, De Romanae Ecclesiae Idololatria.

So plain is it that Idolatry is not confined to the worshipping of an I­mage, Lib. 2. cap. 9. but to the admitting of more Objects of Divine worship then that one true God. For the worshipping any more is that [...], as the Jews call it, and is most frequently and most significantly termed in Scripture Fornication, which looks more at the Plurality of the Objects of worship then the Kinds of them. For this Spiritual Fornication is committed where we worship any thing besides him that is the Creatour and Conserver of all things.

CHAP. IX.

1. The necessity of knowing what Religious worship is, for the discove­ring of Idolatry. 2. The faultiness of the distribution of Worship into Latria, Dulia, and Cultus civilis. 3. That Christ only, who is [...], has such a middle Excellency as may admit Religious wor­ship. 4. That the excess of Excellency in God above that in Saints and Angels is so infinitely more then the excess of excellency in Saints and Angels above that in Men, that it is extremely forced and irratio­nal to allot worship of one denomination to the first and second, and not rather to the second and last, which, they being fellow-citizens, might rightly be called Civil. 5. That no kind of Religious worship is due to Saints and Angels, proved by the Angel's refusing to be worshipped by S. John. 6. And also from the near affinity of our natures with theirs. 7. To whom Origen pronounces Good men equal, nor allows the glorious Stars, though they were intellectual, to be worshipped. 8. That the Religious worship of Saints and Angels is no duty of ours, as being reducible to the Precepts of neither Table. 9. That Religious worship is but One, and due to God only, proved from our Saviour's answer to the Devil. 10. As also from the Authour to the Hebrews, arguing the Divinity of Christ from Religious worship due to him, with several other testimonies. 11. An Answer to an Objection.

1. THus we have found out the adequate latitude of the Object of Idola­try; that it is whatsoever is not truely God, [...], as the Apostle speaks to the Galatians. But unless we have also the Know­ledge Chap. 4 v. 8. of what is Religious or Divine worship, and when or by what we give this worship to that which is not truely God, we shall be still at a [Page 27] loss how to discern when our selves or any one else commits Idolatry, and when not.

2. There are some who for the better palliating their unjustifiable practices have framed a smooth story; namely, That there are as many kinds of Honour or Worship as there are of Excellency; and that there­fore there being three kinds of Excellency, Divine, Humane, and a mid­dle betwixt Humane and Divine, as that Supernatural grace and glory of the Saints and Angels, there are also three kinds of Worship, Latria, Dulia, and Cultus civilis. But the distribution had had less fraud and better Logick in it, if it had been bipartite; for then would have ap­peared more plainly what kind of Worship they mean by Dulia. For they will not have it Civil worship, in that it is a distinct member there­from. It remains therefore that it must be Religious worship, though they were afraid to speak out what they harbour in their breast. For indeed Religion, which in its prime and proper sense is nothing else but Cultus Numinis, belongs de jure only to the true God; and if it be trans­ferred to any thing else, it is Idolatry or Superstition.

But if they would have dealt above-board, and like honest men and exact Logicians, they should have distributed Honour or Worship, first into Religious and Civil, and then, according to the sense that they inten­ded, subdivided Religious worship into Latria and Dulia. But this being craftily aimed at and supposed, though not so plainly expressed, and in­deed being the chief thing intended, That Religious worship is due to Saints and Angels as well as to God himself, I shall direct my answer only against this mistake.

3. First therefore I say, That that ground of allotting Religious wor­ship to Saints and Angels is very weak, namely, because they have a middle excellency betwixt God and man. For it is plain they have not in a due and strict sense; that being a Privilege belonging to Christ alone, who is the acknowledged [...], God-man, and therefore may justly be worshipped with Religious worship. Wherefore there being nothing that has truly a middle excellency betwixt God and Man, (as a Zoophyton may be rightly said to have a middle excellency betwixt an Animal and a Plant) saving the Man Christ Jesus; there is no Creature capable of Religious worship besides him: nor is he indeed capable thereof but in vir­tue of that Mysterious union with the true Godhead, and thereby be­coming as well God as Man.

4. And then again, there is another fraud, and indeed the more princi­pal and original one, in the distribution of these Excellencies immediately into three, whenas it had been more faithfully and Logically done to have distributed Excellency, first into Created and Increated; and then Created Excellency into that of Saints and Angels, and that of Men. But hereby the boldness and grossness of their assigning Religious worship to that which is but a Creature would have appeared at first sight; the Creatour stan­ding in contradiction to it, who is infinitely more Excellent then any glo­rified creature whatsoever; or rather, whose degree of Excellency above the most glorious Creature that is, is infinitely greater then the degree of Excellency of Saints and Angels above Men.

[Page 28] Whence appears what a rash and forced thing it is to hold together two Excellencies betwixt which there is that infinite distance, in one common capacity of receiving Religious worship; I mean the Divine Excellency, and that of Angels and Saints: whenas the Humane Excellency and that of Saints and Angels are infinitely nearer one another, and therefore infi­nitely more fit to receive worship of one common denomination to both. Which may very well be termed Civil, the glorified Saints and Angels and Good men being but fellow-servants and fellow-citizens of that new Jerusalem which reaches from Heaven to Earth; according as it is written, But you are come to the Mount Sion, and to the City of the Heb. 12. living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of Angels, and the Spirits of just men made perfect. Which shews plain­ly that Saints and Angels and Good men upon Earth are all of one com­munialty, Citizens of the same City, the new Jerusalem; and fellow-citizens you know do not give Religious worship one to another, but only Civil.

5. Nor yet fellow-servants; as the Angel argues to John in the Apocalyps; And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, Chap. 19. See thou doe it not; I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimonie of Jesus: Worship God. Now if the Angel here refused Civil worship, how groundless a thing were it, nay how disallowable, to have offered him Religious worship? And if he refused Religious wor­ship though present, how unlawfull is this worship, suppose but Dulia, to a Saint or Angel being absent? And if that worship tendred was Latria, and not Dulia, why did not the Angel rather say, I am thy Fel­low-creature, then thy Fellow-servant? And lastly, if Dulia be a warrantable worship, and rightly given to Angels, why was not that Angel so chari­table as to interpret John's worshipping him, to be that kind that was lawfull and warrantable? or why was he so uncharitable to the Church, or injurious to his fellow-Angels, as to vex the one with Scrupulosities about this duty of worshipping Angels and Saints, by his so nice declining the Homage, and to deprive the other of their due, by his so eminent ex­ample, that in all likelihood would be so prevalent with the Church, that it would hazard the belief of the whole duty of Angel-worship? But I believe the distinction of Dulia and Latria is so subtil, that the eye of an Angel could never spie out any such chink or least crack in Religious worship, whereby it might be broke asunder, or so divided that any the smallest part thereof may fall to the share of that which is not truely God; as Saints and Angels assuredly are not. So plainly doth it appear both from the sense of Scripture, and that infinite disproportion betwixt the distances that are found betwixt God and the Creature, and betwixt the Creatures them­selves, that only Civil, not Religious worship is competible to them.

6. But thirdly, There is not only this infinitely-vast distance betwixt God and a Creature, the best Saint or Angel that is; but there is (which I have already given an hint of) a very close cognation and near affinity of nature betwixt Saints and Angels and Good men. For as for the glo­rified Saints and Good men upon Earth, besides that they are of the same species in their natural respects, so their Graces are alike, though not [Page 29] in the like measure; they both being Regenerate by one and the same Spirit, and therefore are both in a supernatural condition. How then can that Honour due to the one and the other toto genere differre, that one must be Religious worship, the other Civil?

And there is so little difference betwixt a glorified Saint and an An­gel, that a Good man will be found to bear the same proportion of excellen­cy to both; and therefore it is plain that Religious worship is due to neither.

7. Origen, though he can admit the Sun and Stars (out of his want of better skill in Philosophy) to be [...], to be ra­tional Contra Cels. lib. 5. and vertuous creatures, nay so holy and so good as to put up their prayers uncessantly to God through his only-begotten Son; yet he does strenuously dehort from adoring them or praying to them: which crea­tures notwithstanding were vastly more glorious then any glorified Saint, if they were such as Origen surmises, [...], not only in regard of their sensible light admired by the Vulgar, but for the true and intellectual. How far think you then would this holy Father have been from allowing Religious worship to either Angel or Saint? Nay he speaks a bold word in another place; [...], But neither are the good and blessed Genii or Angels, as we call them, saith he, above men once accomplished in Reason and Vertue. How could he then ever have dream'd of giving Religious worship to Saints, in whom there is something a nearer likeness or cognation with us?

8. Fourthly, If there be any such Religious worship as Dulia, to the duties of which of the Two Tables does it belong? to the First or to the Second Table? The Second concerns our duty to our Neighbour. But if Saints or Angels be our Neighbours, how comes Religious worship due to them? If they be not, how come the Dues of the Second table to be challenged by them? If Dulia therefore have any place at all in the Tables, it must, according to our adversary's supposal, be referred to the First. But to which of the Commandments therein? Does God his forbidding to have any Gods besides himself infer Divine worship due to Angels or Saints? or his being a Jealous God, that his pleasure is to be worshipped in an Idol? For such is every thing that is not God, and yet is Religiously worshipped. Wherefore he that will assert that Dulia is a duty owing to Saints and Angels, must forge a Third Table for it, and have the impudence to adde it to the Decalogue, and blame Moses for a very great omission. For there were as worthy Angels, and as capable of Religious worship, in his time as ever there were since.

9. Fifthly and lastly, Those two places which I produced to prove That God alone is to be worshipped, will also prove That Religious worship is but One: as that in S. Luke, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him alone shalt thou serve. The force of which Answer Chap. 4. made to the Devil by Christ, when he would have tempted him to fall down and worship him, surely consists in this, That no Religious worship is to be given to any but to God alone. For that the Devil did not require that which is called Latria, is evident in that he did discover him­self not to be the Highest Numen, in acknowledging that the disposing of [Page 30] the Kingdoms of the Earth and the glory of them was but committed to him from another, [...], and therefore he had them not from himself, and consequently did not pretend to be the most High God from whom are all things. Wherefore the Devil could not be so un­reasonable as to expect, nor so foolish as to demand, that our Saviour should doe any Worship unto him as to the most High God, whenas he had al­ready confessed himself not to be so: but that which he drove at was to get him to doe Religious worship to him, such as is done to the many Gods of the Nations on this side of the notion of the most High.

But the sense of our Saviour's answer is, That there is not any Religi­ous worship at all belonging to any saving to God alone: and being out of patience (if I may so speak) at the motion to so impious an Act, he calls him Devil, for that so enormous a suggestion; none but Devils either requiring or admitting the doing of any Religious worship to them. He does not abstain from worshipping him because he was a Devil, but concludes him a Devil, because he not being the true God, would yet be Religiously worshipped. Nor did he answer, Thou shalt only worship God and the good Angels; but, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him alone shalt thou serve. Wherefore there is but one only Religious worship, namely that which is due to God.

10. The like also is manifestly inferred from that to the Hebrews, where the Authour of that Epistle proving the Divinity of Christ, cites that of the Psalms, Let all the Angels of God worship him: which questi­onless is understood of Religious worship, or else it would be nothing to the purpose; and yet if there be two kinds of Religious worship, Latria and Dulia, it will be still as little. So plain is it that there is but one kind of Religious worship, which is appropriate to God alone. Nor could the Arrians by the Council of Nice be justly deemed Idolaters, nor Nestorius an [...], if there be more kinds of Religious worship then one. For neither Nestorius nor the Arrians could mean by that worship they gave Christ, the worship of Latria; for that had been expresly to acknowledge him to be what they so obstinately denied him to be, namely, the true God.

Wherefore the Synod and S. Cyril, and as many else as judged the Arrians Idolaters and Nestorius an Anthropolatra, do plainly give wit­ness that Religious worship is but One.

11. Nor can that affectionate respect we shew either to the Bible when we kiss it, upon the taking of an Oath, or that which we doe to the holy Prophets of God, or his Priests and faithfull Ministers, when we reverence them as such, disturb our account, or pretend to an example of another kind of Religious worship. For I absolutely deny that it is any Religious either respect or affection at all to the Bible, or to a man of God; but that out of that Religious respect and affection we bear to God himself, another emerges toward those things that relate to him, but quite of an­other kind; to persons, Civil; but to inanimate things, if they be com­pared with persons that are holy, it were scarce any boldness to adventure to say it is a species of respect less then civil: But differences are where we have no names to call them by.

[Page 31] And it seems to me as absurd to infer, Because I have a respect for the Bible or any holy man of God, from a Religious regard I bear to God him­self, that this to the Bible or the holy man is also a Religious reverence or respect; as to infer, because a woman out of that conjugal affection and respect she bears to her husband, has also from thence (which otherwise she would not have) a respect and affection for his spaniel, that that affection or respect she bore to the spaniel, should either be, or be cal­led, a conjugal affection: which is harsh and ridiculous at first sight.

CHAP. X.

1. A right distribution of Worship into its kinds. 2. The Definition of Religious worship. 3. That the exhibiting of honour to any undue Object, though forcedly or feignedly, by Signes appropriate to the ac­knowledgement of the Divine Excellencies, is palpable Idolatry. 4. And that therefore there are no stints, or specifick degrees of Re­ligious worship; no Dulia, nor Hyperdulia, but all Latria. 5. That Religious worship is not applied to a thing by directing it towards it as a Circumstance, but as an Object; and therefore the misapplication thereof as to an Object is requisite to Idolatry. 6. But not that this application should be made as to God himself. 7. That the Heathens themselves never committed such a piece of Idolatry, as to give Reli­gious worship to that which they knew not to be the Supreme God, as to the Supreme. 8. That Religious worship being but One, makes every application thereof to what is not God, Idolatry. 9. That the incul­cation of the Divinity of Christ proves every Creature uncapable of Religious worship.

1. WHerefore we being so well satisfied concerning the Oneness of Religious worship, we shall be able to make a more true and logical distribution of Honour or Worship then what was above produced; dividing it immediately, first into Religious and Civil; and then Civil in­to Political, Oeconomical, and Moral; and Political again into Secular and Ecclesiastical, or else into Temporal and Spiritual, either terms being well enough known. By Moral worship I understand such honour or respect as passes from private men one to another, or at least as to private, upon account of Moral worth; such as Liberality, Wisdom, Fidelity, and the like: the rest the very words will interpret. Nor is it pertinent to my scope to meddle with any but the first, namely, Religious worship; for the understanding the nature whereof I have taken all these pains hitherto.

2. Which I conceive is rightly defined thus: A Devotional acknow­ledgement of the incommunicable Name or Excellency of God, by the per­formance of some outward Rite or Ceremonie appropriated to that end or purpose, namely, of externally signifying our inward acknowledgement of the Divine Name or Excellency. This is a true and the most general [Page 32] definition that can be made of Religious worship. For that Religion that is placed in worshipping Saints, Angels, Daemons, Images, and the like, is truly Irreligion, Idolatry, or Superstition: but is no more to be called Religious worship, then Vice Vertue, Injustice Justice, or Cowardise Fortitude, whatever abuses of the word may have crept in by the unskil­full and inconsiderate.

3. Now since the giving of Religious worship to that which is not God, is Idolatry, and that Religious worship in this true and proper sense is nothing else but a Devotional acknowledgement of the Divine Emi­nency, by certain appropriate signes significative of this our agnition; it is demonstratively evident, that where there is such a devotional acknow­ledgement by these signes made to that which is not God, it is ipso facto Idolatry.

Nay though these appropriate signes were used without Devotion by the party toward the supposed Object, (which is worthy our observation, and true; because a plenary pravity or defect is not requisite for a vicious action) and were intended only by other men to be directed thither, or only were interpretable by custom to be so directed, it were Idolatry not­withstanding: Or else the sin of Idolatry could not be forced upon any man, nor needed any either Jew or Christian to have scrupled the flin­ging incense on the Altar to any Pagan-Deity, no not to have sacrificed whole Hecatombs to them, if their purses would have born it: And who­ever died martyrs upon this account, it were to be imputed rather to their madness or folly then to any true and solid piety.

Wherefore as it would be Blasphemy, though it were extorted by fear, and that a mans heart gave not assent thereto, to say, That Jesus Christ was not the Son of God, but an Impostour: so the using of the Appropriate signes of the acknowledgement of the Divine Excellency to that which is not God, though the assent goe not along, is notwithstanding the ac­knowledging of that to be God which is not, (as that Blasphemy was the denying of him to be that was) and therefore cannot chuse but be flat Idolatry.

4. And if Idolatry be committed without the parties devotion toward the undue Object, then let a man phansy this external Religious worship accompanied with as small degrees of Devotion or inward intention as he pleases, it will not fail to be Idolatry still. Which Consectary is of singu­lar use for the convincing men of the folly of such subterfuges as are sought in these new-coyned terms, of Dulia and Hyperdulia and Latria, whereby they would signifie certain differences or degrees of Religious worship, indeed distinct kinds thereof; whenas it can be but One, according to that true Definition we have given of it. For every act or effect of our Religious affection to God, expressed toward things or persons, is not straitway Religious worship, as may plainly appear from the definition thereof, and from what we have already intimated in the foregoing Chap­ter. But to return to the matter in hand.

5. By this general notion therefore of Religious worship, we have got now a considerable step nearer the discovery when Idolatry is committed; namely, when we perform some Rite or Ceremonie, that is to say, some [Page 33] external Religious action, appropriate to the signifying our acknowledge­ment of the Divine Eminency, before, or rather unto, that which is not truly God. Where by before, or unto, I understand an intended direction (by our selves, or by others, or at least by interpretation of custom) of this Religious action, as to an Object we would honour thereby. For that is the only thing whereby the action becomes Idolatry. For there will be always a necessity of performing our Religious Rites before or towards something or other by way of circumstance of Place, which yet may be without the least guilt or suspicion of that crime. Wherefore it is the intended and accustomary application of the appropriate signes of the ac­knowledgement of the Divine Excellencies unto an Object where the Di­vine Excellencies are not, that is to say, to any thing that is not truly God, which is this hainous sin of Idolatry. Thus much, I say, must be; and thus much alone, without the superaddition of any thing else, does fully complete the nature of that sin.

6. For those that phansy themselves so marvellously slie and subtil in foisting in this requisite more, viz. ‘That the application of these signes appropriated to the signifying of that honour we owe to God must, in Idolatry, be made to the Creature, as to God himself, that is to say, with an intent of conciliating to the adored Creature the esteem of being very God; do assuredly commit a gross piece of folly in da­ring to make such an assertion.’

For as a woman that renders or gives up to one that is not her husband what is appropriate to her husband, to wit the use of her body, let her phansy what mental restrictions or directions of her intention she will in the act, is questionless a downright Adulteress: So whosoever applies the Appropriate acknowledgements of the Divine Excellency, which is Religious worship, to that which is not God, let him mince it as well as he can with mental limitations and restrictions, if he once pass this Religious worship upon this undue Object, he is thereby without all controversy a gross Idolater. And as her saying she did not doe it as to her husband, will not excuse her from Adultery; so the other's saying he did not doe it as to God, will not excuse him from Idolatry, which is Spiritual Fornication.

7. Besides, if Idolatry be not committed but when the Creature is religiously worshipped for the most high God, or as if it were the most high God, intending the worship as to such; it will be hard to find an example of Idolatry in all Heathenism. For amongst the many Gods they worshipped, there was but One worshipped as the most High, whom the Latines styled Jupiter, the Greeks [...], who was accounted the Father of the Gods, and which gave occasion to Aristotle to use this expression concerning the distribution of duties and respects, [...], That Ethic. Ni [...] lib. 9 [...]. [...] all respects or duties are not to be paid to the Father, as all Sacrifices are not made to Jupiter. But those that were not made to him (which surely were the most) were no Idolatrous worship according to this Hypothesis, nor those that were made to his Statue by them that took it not for Jupi­ter, nor those that were sacrificed to Jupiter himself as to the Father and [Page 34] Original of all things; for this is a sound notion of the true God. Where­fore by this compute very few, or none in comparison, amongst the Hea­thens will be found Idolaters. Which is so incredible a Paradox, that that which infers it must needs be concluded a falshood.

8. To this you may adde, That, in that we have already proved That Religious worship is but One, the application of it to any Object upon any terms, saving to the only true God, is ipso facto Idolatry.

9. And lastly, if the appropriate signes of Religious worship might be used in the veneration of a creature, to what end is the Divinity of Christ so expresly set down in the Holy Writ, and so zealously contended for in all ages of the Church? For the Divine worship we give him, according to the fond assertion above mentioned, might be done unto him though he were a mere man. So exceeding manifest is it, That the application of the appropriate signes of Divine or Religious worship (for they are all one) with the intention of thereby honouring that which is not God, though they do not thereby intend to worship it as the most High God, or as the true God, is an Act of Idolatry.

CHAP. XI.

1. Sacrifices, Drink-offerings and Burning of Incense appropriate Signes of Religious worship, according to Grotius, as also whatever else con­sent of Nations has made so. 2. Also Vows, Oaths, Asking super­natural Gifts, Invocating Saints or Angels while they are invisible. 3. Or to ask of them, though visible, any natural boon at an Altar, or in a Temple consecrate to them. 4. Images erected, and dedicated in Temples, or on Altars, a Mode of Divine worship; with a prevention of an Objection. 5. Songs also and Incurvations may be so framed and circumstantiated as to become such Signes. 6. That every Ido­latry is Blasphemy; as also to give the Name of God to any creature, both. 7. A general Distribution of the appropriate Signes of Reli­gious worship. 8. A prevention of a subterfuge, from the pretence of a larger signification of Religious worship then we have given, all our future convictions depending only upon the truth of our Definition of Religious worship in that sense we have declared.

1. WHerefore we want nothing now for the clear discovering when Idolatry is committed, but a distinct and determinate know­ledge of the appropriate Signes of Divine worship. Which truly I think are not hard to be known. Grotius, a person not over-forward to phansy that Idolatry which is not, has expresly named three, Sacrificium, Liba­men, Suffitus, which he calls Venerationis Signa, quae consensus Gentium Divini cultûs esse propria voluit, and so has not only afforded us Exam­ples, but a Rule how to find out proper Signes of Divine worship; name­ly, that at least those are such that consent of Nations has made so.

And I think it seasonable here (because some do so rashly appropriate [Page 35] Sacrifice to that which they call Latria, as if this signe of Religious wor­ship were adequately proper to God, others communicable to other Ob­jects) to take notice, that if they mean by Sacrifice the Mactation of living Creatures, that manner of worship not being in use amongst Chri­stians, it must needs enhance the nature of other Signes of Religious wor­ship, and make them the more apparently incommunicable to any created Object, which yet were really so, though this case were not. But this only by the bye.

2. Vows also and Oaths Grotius acknowledges to be part of this kind of Worship, as also The praying for the Holy Spirit, for Remission of sins, and for Eternal life. These then, according to him, are not to be asked of an Angel, though he were visibly present. To which I will make bold to adde the Religious invocation of any Angel or Spirit absent or invisible. For as, because God is the only giver of Eternal life, of Remission of sins and of the Holy Spirit, he that asks so high things of any Creature, acknowledges the incommunicable Excellencies of God in that Creature so also he that invokes any invisible Angel, Saint or Spirit, does in like manner acknowledge an Omnisciency and Omnipresency in this Saint or Angel, which are the incommunicable Excellencies of God.

3. Nay I adde further, That the asking of such things as are in the power of a creature to give, as suppose a fit medicine for such or such a malady, or assistance in danger upon the way in a journey; if the one be asked, suppose, of Aesculapius in a Temple and at an Altar consecrated to his Ghost, and the other of Hercules at one dedicated to his; these petitions of such feasible good offices, yea and, if you will, begged of these Ghosts or Daemons present there and visible, (and there is the same reason in Saints and Angels) would not fail notwithstanding to be Ido­latry; the Consent of Nations having made the erecting and dedicating Temples and Altars for Prayers, Vows and Sacrifices a Sign of Divine worship, and it was, you know, the formal worship of the most High God, the God of Israel, while the Temple stood, whose residence was conceived more peculiarly upon the Cherubims, which were con­cealed from the eye of the People, that they might not commit Idolatry with them.

4. But the Gentiles very depravedly used this circumstance of Reli­gious worship, and made their addresses towards the open Images, or Statues of Divine residence, consecrated to that purpose, where the God was to receive their Offerings and Prayers. So that though all Nations at all times did not use this representation of the Divine residence by I­mages, yet where it was in use (which was exceeding general) it is mani­fest that it was part of the Divinest worship, and such as they used towards the Highest Numen. And seeing that this manner of Divine presence or visible Residence by Images was not only used in the worship of the inferiour Daemons, but of such as were styled Dii coelestes, (whom assured­ly they could not think exiled from Heaven to assist at these earthly Sta­tues) it is a sign that the Image it self was reckoned for the visible pre­sence of the Deity they did adore, and consequently that this representati­on of the presence of the Deity, whether the Deity be personally there [Page 36] present or no, is that which by Consent of Nations has passed into an ordi­nary mode of Divine worship.

Nor can the erection of Temples, Altars, or other Symbols of Religi­ous worship, to them that are not Gods, make these cease to be such Signes or Symbols. For then, since they all have been after that manner abused, there would be no signes of Divine worship left at all. But rather on the contrary we are to conclude, that whatever things were consecrated to the worship or honour of the God of Israel, that to consecrate the like to that which is not God is an invading his right, and a manifest act of Idolatry.

5. Hymns also, and Incurvations, as they may be framed, will be unavoidably Signes of Divine worship: as namely, if this Incurvation be made to any particular invisible power, while he is invisible; for it is an acknowledgement of one of the incommunicable Excellencies of God, viz. his Ubiquity. For we may bow any where to the invisible God, because he is every where: but to bow to any particular Angel or Spirit, while he is invisible, is incongruous, because he is not every where. Therefore he that does this worship to him as congruous, does therewith, interpretative, acknowledge by that act an Ubiquity in him; and thereby becomes an Idolater.

Incurvation also towards an Image erected to any Creature (especially in a Temple, or on an Altar, yea though removed from both) were a sign of Religious worship or service by infallible definition, Thou shalt not bow down to them, nor serve them: that is to say, Thou shalt not doe the service of Incurvation, nor any other Religious service to them. For [...] Service is Cultus religiosus, of which Incurvation in such circum­stances is assuredly one kind; I mean, exhibited either to an invisible power, or to its visible representation in an Image. Concerning the latter whereof, Consent of Nations has also made it an appropriate Sign of Religious worship, especially in a Temple, as I noted before.

And now for Hymns, I say, the framing of a Song to the praise of any created Being, suppose Sun, Moon, or Daemon, if there be such Epithets therein as signifie the incommunicable Excellencies of God; as if one should begin, O Sol Omnipotens, or, O Luna Omniscia; this would cer­tainly not fail to be the giving of Divine worship to the Sun and Moon▪ upon which account Martial seems to me not a flatterer only of Domitian, but an Idolater, in that Hendecasyllabon,

Edictum Domini Deique nostri.

Wherein he writes after Domitian's own copy, who taught his Ministers of State this Epistolar form, Deus & Dominus noster sic fieri jubet. Which if it might be more tolerable in Pagan Kingdoms, where Dii usual­ly amounted to no more then Angeli amongst us; yet in Christian Na­tions, where God is an incommunicable name, as the Author of the Book of Wisdom intimates, the calling of any man God cannot but be Idolatry, or Blasphemy.

6. But not the less Idolatry for being Blasphemy, sith every Idolatry is so. For Idolatry, by giving the appropriate Signes of the acknowledge­ment of the Divine Excellency to a vile Creature, (and every Creature is so in respect of God) does equalize that Creature unto God, and conse­quently [Page 37] makes God as vile as that Creature. Which is a manifest revi­ling and Blaspheming of him, worse then the calling of a Prince by the name of the basest vermin. I say therefore, in such Countries as the name of God usually signifies the true God, and not Angels, to apply that ap­pellation to any man, is both Idolatry and Blasphemy: as it would be to use any Gesture to him that were appropriate to Divine adoration; which made the Greeks that they would not doe reverence to the King of Persia in the Persian mode, because that was the very posture which in Greece they used in worshipping their Gods.

7. These are the chief, if not all, the Signes of Divine worship that easily occur to my mind. And if I have let any escape my recital in par­ticular, they will easily be recalled, if not kept safe in the general Notion I have given of the Appropriate Signes of Religious worship, namely, That all they are such that either Consent of Nations, or the Use of parti­cular Countries, or the natural Signification of the thing it self, or else Divine definition has made so. Of the first sort of which are Meat-offerings, Drink-offerings, Burning of Incense, Erecting Altars, Dedicating Images, and the like. Of the second sort is such or such a posture of Religious veneration proper to such a Country, as in that example of the Greeks, which was obligatory to them of that Country. And of the third, The praying for the Holy Spirit, for Remission of Sins, Eternal life, or for what else is out of the power of the Creature to give; also The making of Vows and Oaths, they implying an absolute [...] in them in whose name they are made, and not only a knowledge of the fact, but a power of punishing out of the road of Humane laws; of which power and knowledge we have no assurance in any particular Spirit, but in God only. To which you may adde The invoking of any particular invisible powers, while they are invisible, though in such things as they are naturally able to help us in. Hymns also, or any Compellations whatsoever made to a Crea­ture, if the words signifie the incommunicable Excellencies of God. All these of their own nature, and whatsoever are like these, are the Appro­priate Signes of Religious worship, though the Consent of Nations did not give their suffrage; and are not due to any thing, nor lawfull to be given to any thing, but to the true God. Whence the misapplication of them to any other Object will certainly be the sin of Idolatry. Lastly, an example of the last sort is Bowing to Images, it being declared in the De­calogue a kind of service of them, according as I noted before.

8. And now, that no man may phansy to have found any creep­hole to evade the power and plainness of our Reason, by pretending that Religious worship is of a larger extent then what I have defined, I shall here timely advertise him, not only that I matter not what careless abuses there may be put upon a word, or what forced pullings and drawings to make proper terms to stretch for the covering and palliating unproper actions or unsound opinions; but also (and of which I would have him take special notice) that the strength of our Demonstrations will not de­pend upon the singleness of the signification of Religious worship, (which yet I have sufficiently proved to be but One) but upon the truth of that Definition we have given thereof, in that sense that is there professedly [Page 38] intended. For no man can deny but the Religious worship due to God alone (though he were so extravagant as to conceit some kind of Reli­gious worship due to some Creatures) is truly and exactly defined in the above-said Definition. And I promise here aforehand, that my con­victions of Idolatry shall be fetched, not from the supposition that Religious worship may have no other sense then according to which I have defined it in this Definition, but only from the truth of the Definition of that Religious worship which is due to God alone; to the end that there may not be the least room left for any imaginable cavil or evasion, or for any shadow or dream thereof.

CHAP. XII.

1. A brief enumeration of the parts of that full instruction we have to discern what is Idolatry. 2. That the Adoration of the Cross is Idolatry. 3. As also the Worshipping any Person of the holy Trinity by an Image or Picture. 4. That Religious worship given to Saints or Angels, though without the use of any Image or Picture, is Idolatry. 5. That the mere Invocation of any particular invisible power is also Idolatrous. 6. Certain Evasions touching the praying to Saints an­swered. 7. Another subterfuge answered. 8. Worshipping Saints by Images a double Idolatry. 9. That it is Idolatry to worship an I­mage, taking it for the Saint himself. 10. As also the Adoration of any man alive upon Earth. 11. That the worshipping of the Eucha­ristick Bread, taken for the real Body of Christ, is Idolatry. 12. That all the above said acts are Idolatrous, let men pretend what they will to cover the guilt. 13. And that [...] in S. Peter does not imply a lawfulness in any kind of Idolatry.

1. WE are now I think sufficiently instructed, partly by the acknow­ledged examples of Idolatry committed by Heathens or Jews, and partly by the knowledge of the adequate Object of Idolatry, as also of the right Definition of Religious worship and of the appropriate Signes thereof, and of the formal or essential application of those Signes, to discern and define infallibly what would be Idolatry, where-ever it was practised amongst Christians themselves, and what not.

2. As for example, To adore the Cross, or to give any Religious worship thereto, though there were no Image upon it, would be Idolatry, according to the First Instance thereof, and of such as are referrable thereto, which shew that Idolatry may be committed without an Image. And that it is here committed, is plain, in that we suppose the appropriate Signes of Divine worship used in the adoration thereof. Which done to any creature, is ipso facto Idolatry.

3. Secondly, To doe Religious worship to the Picture or Image of any Person of the holy Trinity, or of all three, or particularly to the Image of Christ, though this Religious worship is intended to pass through the [Page 39] representation to God himself, Father, Son, or Holy Ghost, is notwith­standing Idolatry according to the second Instance, where worshipping the true God by an Image is proved to be such.

4. Thirdly, The worshipping Angels, or Saints, yea the blessed Vir­gin herself, with Religious worship, though without an Image, is Idolatry: And such may be a Religious Invocation of them, the asking of them such things as are proper only for God to give, as Remission of sins, Assistance of grace, and Eternal life; or using any Epithets in Hymns or Songs to them, that signifie the incommunicable Excellencies of God; or lastly, making Vows, and Swearing in their names. This plainly appears from the first Instance of Idolatry, and from those kinds of appropriate signes of Divine worship that of their own nature are discoverable to be such.

5. And truly such is the Invocation of the help of this or that Saint, though it were not in those more conspicuous circumstances of putting up our Petitions in a Temple, or before the Image of the Saint we pray to. For the simple Invocation of a particular invisible power is of it self Ido­latry, without those other circumstances; because it consequentially attri­butes that to that power which is only proper to the true God, I mean Omnipresence or Ubiquity. For no man can be assured that an invisible power is in such a particular place, but by Supposition that he is in all places at once; which is the proper Prerogative of God.

Wherefore simple Invocation of any particular invisible power is no such slight business as some make it, but absolute Idolatry, nay I think the most fundamental part of all the Idolatry committed by the Heathen, (if rationally and philosophically examined) and the mother of the rest. Or at least whatever great exception there is, or convincingly rational, a­gainst those usual Signes of Religious worship being given to these par­ticular invisible powers, it is found here, and is allegeable against Invoca­tion. For the main is, That it implies an Omnipresence of that invisible power they worship.

And therefore the Consecrating of a Temple and Altar and a Sym­bolical residence or visible representation, and Offering of Sacrifices, and the like, cannot be competible to any but the All-present God, whom they are always sure to find at home, if I may so speak, when they make their approaches to his House. But for other particular invisible powers, who knows whether they be at home or no; or whether pur­suing, or in a journey, or asleep somewhere, as Elias sarcastically argues concerning Baal; nay I will adde, whether they be not carried away cap­tive, and confined to some other place? None can have any certainty of them where they are, or whether ever there where their visible and sym­bolical residence is erected, unless they be Omnipresent, and of necessity are there, because every-where: If not, we have no faith nor assurance of their Presence or Audience. But Prayer and Invocation supposes faith and assurance of being heard, at least in that ordinary sense; of which there being no assurance without the invisible Power invoked be Omni­present, it is plain that he that invokes an invisible Power interpretatively implies its Omnipresence, and consequently, if it be a particular Power and finite, commits Idolatry thereby.

[Page 40] 6. Nor can the demonstrativeness of this Reason be eluded or evaded by those usuall subterfuges of the Saints seeing and knowing all things by particular revelation from God, or by the exalted peculiarity of their condition in that separate glorified state they are in. For those that talk at this rate rant it, and speak unintelligible riddles, without all ground or probability of Reason or warrant of Scripture; they being mere after­figments and precarious suppositions to excuse the madness and extrava­gancy of their Idolatrous actions.

For as for the latter surmise, it is plainly a dream, to think the blessed Virgin, suppose, merely by virtue of her glorified and separate condition from this terrestrial body, can hear from Heaven at such a vast distance the devout whispers or suspirations of her affectionate Supplicants, or see through the earth their humble prostrations. For she is called upon by the inhabitants of this Globe in all postures or distances of Habitation, even by those that are Antipodes one to another: where if she assist the one, she must be at least the Earth's Diameter distant from the other, through which distance neither her sight nor hearing can ever penetrate.

And for the former Hypothesis, how childish and ridiculous is it! they pretending that they supplicate the Saints to speak to God in their behalf, whenas the Saints cannot speak to God till he tell them their errand first, who has received the message from the Supplicant already, but must impart it to the Saints to say it over to him again; which shews the incongruity of making any addresses to them, and (considering how perfectly appeasable and propitious, and how freely accessible God is through the only name and mediation of Jesus Christ) is such an useless patch and bungle in Divinity, that it cannot seem credible to any man of common sense: and therefore there is no such special revelation to the Saints of our compellation of them in our Prayers, and consequently the Invocation of them (which is proper to God, by reason of his Omniscious Ubiquity) being thus misplaced upon these particular invisible powers, must be interpretatively an act of Idolatry, there being done such an act of worship to them as implies in the Object such an Excellency as is found only in God.

7. Nor will their profession of those diminishing apprehensions con­cerning Saints in other respects (as, That they are not the true God, but only glorified Creatures, and That they are Intercessours in­feriour to Christ, and the like) excuse them from Idolatry: For the acknowledgement of any one Divine Excellency and Peculiarity of the Godhead in that which is a mere Creature, is undoubtedly Idolatry; as the betraying any one Castle to the enemy is Treason against a Prince. And the Pagans were esteemed as Idolaters in worshipping Mercury and the whole order of the Medioxumous or internuntial Deities or Dae­mons, for all their acknowledging them inferiour to the Supreme God. So that I cannot see but that the mere Invocation of Saints or Angels is a palpable, nay a fundamental, piece of Idolatry, and in reference to which all the pomp and furniture of Idolatry was superstructed; I mean the building of their Temples, erecting Altars and Images, Incensing, and Sacrificing, and the rest. For all end in, or are circumstances of Invo­cation, [Page 41] upon faith and assurance to be heard, which cannot be rationally placed in any invisible power, unless it be Omnipresent; which this Invocation does naturally and necessarily implie, else there will be no sense of the action, but it will be very incongruous and ridiculous. For other suppositions are arbitrarious, uncertain, nay incredible surmises touching an invisible power, and upon which there can be no faith not assurance of being heard.

8. Fourthly, And as this worship of Invocation to either Saint or Angel, without the use of an Image, is thus plainly Idolatry; so the in­voking them, or any other way of worshipping them with an Image; must be a double piece of Idolatry, and is referrable to the third Mode thereof.

9. Fifthly, The worshipping of the Image, suppose of the blessed Virgin or of any other Saint, upon a mistake that it is the very Virgin herself or this or that Saint, is also Idolatry, and to be referred to the fourth Instance thereof.

10. Sixthly, To worship any man yet living with Religious worship, whether in gesture, compellation, appellation, or any thing else that is an appropriate Sign of the incommunicable Excellencies of God, is also Ido­latry, and is to be referred to the first Instance.

11. Seventhly and lastly, To worship the Consecrated Bread in the Eucharist, though upon full persuasion that it is transsubstantiated into the Body of Christ, and so Hypostatically united with the Divinity, is, notwithstanding this opinion conceited of it, a real act of Idolatry, and is evidently referrable to the last Instance.

12. All these acts or what other soever of the same nature that can be found, though amongst Christians, and upon the pretence of worshipping God and Christ, are assuredly acts of Idolatry, according to the undeniable Notion and Definition thereof, which is, The worshipping that which is not God by the appropriate Signes of Religious worship, such as either use or the nature of the thing it self has made the proper Modes of our acknow­ledgement of the Divine Excellencies.

13. And now that I have proved such acts as these Idolatrous, I need not bestow any new pains to prove them unlawfull; because all Ido­latry is so, according to the vote and sense of Scripture and of all men. For to goe about to infer that some kind of Idolatry is lawfull, because 1 Ep. 4. 3. Peter mentions [...], is as weak and foolish, as if from the mentioning of Impious blasphemies against God, one should infer that the party that spake so supposed that some blasphemies against God were not Impious. Wherefore it is plain that [...] is added not by way of distinction, but of aggravation or description; as when we say Alba nix, or Corvus niger, which are not intended in common speech as notes of distinction of Crows or of the Snow into white and black, but as Epithets denoting their nature. The practice therefore of such actions as we have enumerated, if they be introduced into the Christian Church, will prove one Branch of Antichristianism, and a chief one too, and their doctrines that averre the warrantableness of them must be false and irrational.

[...]
[...]

CHAP. XIII.

1. That the professing one only true God does not necessarily quit a People from the guilt or capacity of being Idolaters. 2. That to exhibit such Modes of worship as are proper to the true God to a Creature, though we take it for a Creature, is Idolatry. 3. That the Jews were Idolaters, though they professed the only true God. 4. That the belief of the Eucharistick Bread being the real Body of Christ does not excuse the adorer thereof from Idolatry. 5. The case of the Heathen that worshipped the Sun, and this of the Bread-worshippers, compared. 6. A solution of a Sophism the Authour once put upon himself in excuse of this Bread-worship. 7. That their not thinking the Bread to be in the Eucharist does not excuse the worshippers of the Host from I­dolatry.

1. HAving thus evidenced the Falseness of the Mystery of Iniquity in this first point; according to my professed method, I shall proceed to the Fraud, which (as I have already intimated) includes the fallacious pretences and excuses, together with the Self-endedness of the drivers on of this impious Mystery.

And truly the pretences and shelters under which they would shroud themselves are very slender and scant, but their Self-ends may be gross and palpable. As methinks that would be a very poor plea for the Christians, namely, that they, forsooth, cannot possibly be Idolaters, be­cause they apertly and declaredly profess that there is only one true God, of a nature infinitely excellent above any Creature, and that therefore if they were Idolaters they should contradict themselves: Wherefore no professours of Christianity, though they did Religious worship to Saints, to Angels, to Images, to Crosses, to a piece of consecrated Bread, could be Idolaters, especially if they shamelesly stand out with it, and out-face the world they are not so.

But the insufficiency of this excuse is too-too apparent, if we consider how easy and ordinary a thing it is for men to contradict the profession of their own faith. For how many are there, even of those that do truly believe there is a life to come, that do not live as if there were any such thing, and so contradict their belief by their actions? How many are there that professing a particular Providence of God and faith therein, yet in time of streights do not depend thereon, but divert to some unlaw­full practice, or doe some wicked action to relieve themselves in distress, or secure themselves from danger? How many that will zealously de­claim against Cruelty and Injustice, as things abhorted of God and man, and yet are themselves notoriously Unjust and Cruel in the judgement of all the disinteressed, though they themselves will make a more favourable construction of their own actions, and will stand it out as stoutly for their justification, as these professors of Christianity that they are no Idolaters?

[Page 43] It may so fare therefore, that, as the Apostle speaks to Titus, men Tit. 1. 16. may profess to know God, but in their works deny him. They may say there is one only true God, yet doe that Homage which is due to him alone unto this or that Creature, without saying or intending that this Creature should be taken for the true God, or that they doe that Religious worship to it as to the true God. Which is such a piece of Idolatry as never was amongst the Heathens themselves, nor can explicitely fall into the mind of a man, no more then to believe contradictions while he thinks them so, or conscienciously to goe against the dictates of his own conscience while he thinks those dictates to be true. So plain is it, that no people can consci­enciously and devotionally give that worship which they think due to God alone, unto that which they think is not the true God.

2. But out of inadvertency, ill education, or accustomary Superstition, it is not impossible but that, not knowing or not taking notice that such or such Ceremonies or Modes of worship are properly due to the only true God, they may use them in honour to that which is but a Crea­ture, or the Image of a Creature, be it Saint or Angel; nor can the re­membring they are God's Creatures in this case secure a man from Idola­try. For the mistake in the nature of the worship they perform to them does lapse them into Idolatry, notwithstanding they conceive of the Ob­ject as of a Creature. And Ignorance can be no excuse, where there is opportunity of being better informed. Nay Incest and Adultery must be accounted and called by us Adultery and Incest, though practised in such countries as allow thereof, and we must say they are a more unclean people then our selves.

3. To which you may adde, That the Church of the Jews were some­times Idolaters, and so declared by the Prophets of God, though they had not cast away the knowledge nor acknowledgment of their Jehovah, the only true God. Why may not therefore Christians be Idolaters, though they still profess they worship the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, the very same God once incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and so living amongst men upon Earth?

4. And particularly concerning the Adoring of the Bread in the Eucharist upon a belief that it is the very Body of Christ, a Christian could not defend himself from the imputation of Idolatry, neither by the general plea before, nor by the proper plea to this case, namely, That he that thus adores it, does verily believe it to be the Body of Christ or his corporeal presence; I say, he cannot clear himself from being guilty of real Idolatry. For his Ignorance is not his excuse, no more then before.

For the sense of his Excuse is only this; That he gives this Divine worship to the seeming Bread, because he verily believes it to be God, and therefore a due Object of this worship; and that he gives no more wor­ship then he thinks is due to the Object. If there be any sense in the Reason and Faculties of a man, this is the sense of their Plea: which if it be sound and just, we doe very unjustly to accuse any Nations or persons in the world of committing Idolatry, that were serious in the action. For can they devoutly or seriously doing it, conceive at the same time they doe their divine worship to an undue Object, and that that Object is [Page 44] not capable of as much Religious worship as they doe to it?

5. There was infinitely more reason that the Pagans should take the Sun to be that true and Eternal God that made and governs all things, as he is professed to be in the fragments of their Liturgies, then that any Christian should imagine a piece of consecrated Bread to be so. And I question not but that the ancient Heathen did as firmly believe the Sun to be God, as any Christian can believe the Eucharistick Bread to be the Body of Christ: But yet notwithstanding I think it never came into any Christian mans mind to doubt but that the worshippers of the Sun were Idolaters. How then is it possible but that a Bread-worshipping Christian upon the same terms must be an Idolater too, there being nothing intrinsecal that can ex­cuse the one but it will excuse the other also?

And as for the mitigation of the fault of either side from any exteriour circumstances, I briefly adde, That the glorious lustre of the Sun, his comfortable warmth, his notable effects, and vast influence upon the world, was a far stronger inducement and more unavoidable to make the Pagans think him to be God, then Hoc est corpus meum, or any gloss there­on by the Fathers of the Church, could justly be, to make any Christian be­lieve that the Eucharistick Bread is the real Body of Jesus Christ. Be­sides that as Murther and Adultery may have several degrees of aggravation, the fact being still the same; so let the Circumstances be more or less ag­gravable, as much as men may imagine them, yet the act we speak of is certainly Idolatry.

6. I must confess time was when I marvellously pleased my self in phansying I had found out so clear an evidence, as I then thought, to prove that the adoring of the Host, as it is called, was not Idolatry in them that believed that it was the very Body of Christ. For I thought it as par­donable a mistake as I my self once committed, when I was a boy, in asking a waggish cosin of mine blessing. For in the dusk of the eve­ning, he having by chance placed himself in the Chair where my Fa­ther used ordinarily to sit, I passing by to goe up to bed, out of mistake begged, according to the custome of children, his benediction, thinking it was my Father; but he rewarding my blind devotion with a ludicrous blessing and loud laughter, I presently found my errour. (I know not how far I have transgressed the Laws of decorum in telling this trivial story of my self; but I hope the Reader will pardon this [...], it being so serviceable for my present purpose.)

Now the Charitable use I sometime made of this mistake of mine was this; That as I had not the least intention of begging a blessing or doing any act of a filial duty to that unfit person that then sate in the Chair, but to my Father only; and that therefore though a stranger had occupied the place, yet that duty was directed, intended, and indeed done to him alone, though he was not there to receive it: So I charitably concluded (and the imposing so upon my self was a great ease to my mind, being exceeding loath to find any more miscarriages in the world, in the Christian world especially, then needs must) that if a man did Divine Adoration to the Host, he being fully persuaded it was the Body of Christ, that Adoration did no more pass to the Host then my asking blessing did to him I never [Page 45] intended it for; but that as this latter was entirely directed to my Father, so the former did entirely pass to the person of Christ.

This imposement upon my self was a great ease and pleasure to the charitableness of my nature, so long as I thought more carelesly upon the matter. But after making it my business to enquire more accurately into these things, I found that saying of Solomon over-true, That he that en­creaseth wisdom, encreaseth sorrow. Nor can I apologize for this mistake on this sort, but I must also thereby excuse all the Idolaters in the World that were serious in their Idolatry. For undoubtedly they al­ways took themselves to have a due Object of their worship; and what is Idolatry but the not having a due Object thereof? Wherefore if thinking we have will excuse us from Idolatry, no devout and serious Idolater was ever guilty of the sin; which is an enormous contradiction.

Besides, there is a great difference betwixt a sudden surprizal inevitable for one single action, and a constant repetition of the same mistakes; and still greater, if we consider what a loud warning there has been given in these latter ages against this so palpable errour of Transsubstantiation; men having strained their voices, and called to them not only ad ravim usque, but till they have spit bloud, and spilt their own lives by freely and faithfully testifying against that Idolatrous falshood. And therefore where men either take up or persist in this gross errour & in the ill effect thereof, it must be now unexcusable Idolatry in the judgment of all men that believe the Eucharistick Bread not to be the Body of Christ; of which Truth there is as great a certainty as of any one thing in the world.

7. Nor, lastly, would that Evasion serve their turn, if they should con­tend that they cannot be said to adore the Bread, because they do not think it there. For the case is much-what the same with the former, and needs no new answer. But I demand, Whether is it less Idolatry to adore the Accidents of the Bread, which they acknowledge to be there, or the Bread it self? And if the Body of Christ be not there under these Acci­dents, their act of Adoration falls upon the visible Accidents of Bread: which if they be of less nobleness then the Bread it self, their Idolatry is the greater. Besides, the Heathen who adored the Sun, did not think that Being which is really the Sun to be there, (for the Sun is nothing else but an Inanimate and unintelligent masse of flammeous matter) but thought it the glorious Godhead it self, which they worshipp'd as an Intel­lectual Power that created and govern'd all things, as I have already intima­ted; and yet no man will say that this excused them from Idolatry in wor­shipping the Sun. Where then is their Excuse that pretend they are guiltless of that Artolatria they are fallen into, because, forsooth, they think the Bread is not there, that is to say, that that which they worship there is not Bread? For the Pagans did not take the Sun, in our sense and notion of him, which is the true sense, to be there; though the external species of the Sun seems alike to both us and them, as the external species of the Bread seems alike to both the Artolatra and his accuser.

CHAP. XIV.

1. The fondness of distinguishing betwixt an Idol and an Image, when they are both made Objects of Religious worship. 2. That nothing but what is essentially and infinitely Excellent is a due Object thereof. 3. That the absence of the Saints from their Images does not excuse the Idolatry. 4. The unlikeliness that there is any true Image of Christ, if it were lawfull to worship it. 5. But that it is unlawfull to worship it, though there were. 6. That the whole Decalogue is moral. 7. That the use of Images for Memory and Devotion was also the Plea of the Heathen. 8. That External Objects in Divine worship hinder the perfection thereof. 9, 10. Other material allegations against the pretended use of Images in Churches. 11. That there are many other ways of exciting Devotion in the people, infinitely sur­passing this of Images.

1. THat also would be but a lame excuse for the worshipping of the Images of Saints, namely, That they are not Idols, but the I­mages of the holy Saints of God and Christ; but that an Idol is the Image of some Heathen Deity, such as Bacchus, Venus, Apollo and the rest, which were supposed to reside in the Idols themselves, whenas the Saints are with Christ in Heaven. As if any Image whatsoever to which Religious worship is given, were not an Idol. For there is no difference betwixt such an Image and an Idol, but that the one is a Greek word, the other Latin; they both signifying the likeness of something or other. And the making of such is but an harmless piece of art: but when-ever such likenesses or similitudes of things or persons receive Divine ho­nour or Religious worship, they do ipso facto become Idols in the worst sense.

Nor is there any sufficient reason why the Image of Bacchus or Ceres, being worshipped Religiously, should become an Idol, and the Image of Peter or Paul should not; or that the Invocation of the one should be Idolatry, and of the other not. For the worshipping of the true God by an Idol is Idolatry; wherefore the worshipping that which is not God by an Idol is double Idolatry. And this is the case as well in worshipping the Image of Paul or Peter, as of Bacchus or Apollo.

2. For even Bacchus and Apollo and Ceres and the rest were Bene­factours to mankind in the gratifications of the Animal life, as I have else­where Mystery of Godliness, Book 3. noted at large. But they were not infinite Benefactours. Mars, its likely, was a valiant Warriour when he lived on earth, but he is not Jehovah Zebaoth, God Omnipotent; and Apollo was a Wise and skilfull man, but not Omniscient. Wherefore they having not these Divine Ex­cellencies in them infinitely and essentially, they are uncapable of Di­vine honour.

Now there is the same reason for our Benefactours in Spiritual and Divine matters, as in those that are Animal and Natural: For the ground [Page 47] of the unlawfulness of our doing Religious worship to Mars or Apollo, is not that they were Benefactours only in those things that concern the Animal life, but that they were not the Infinite and Essential Au­thours and Originalls of those perfections: And therefore S. Peter, S. Paul, and S. John, yea the blessed Virgin herself, though they were excellent patterns, and powerfull persuaders to the love of God and all the duties and accomplishments of the Divine life, and were singularly well accomplished therein themselves; yet they being not infinitely and es­sentially good and holy, they are as utterly uncapable of Religious worship (which in this case would become Idolatry) as any of the other. And they that would commit this Spiritual fornication with them because they are so holy and so good, would be as ridiculously impious, in my ap­prehension, as those Sectaries are that are reported to make nothing of carnal Adultery or Fornication with an holy Brother or Sister, but with the prophane and ungodly they will refrain themselves from that liberty.

3. Nor can the supposition, That the Souls of the Saints are not in the Images of the Saints, as the Pagan Daemons were supposed to be in their Idols, have the least shew of a solid excuse: For the presence of the Saints would make the act of worship seem more excusable, they being thereby more capable of such devout addresses and compellations. But these subterfuges are so slight that they are not worth the insisting upon.

4. The Apologie for worshipping the Image of Christ may be more plausible, in that he was truly God, and yet of a visible shape and figure. This indeed would be no frivolous plea for the lawfulness of making his Picture or Effigies, but will not reach the warranting us to worship it.

Besides, who knows what was the right feature of our Saviour? And then how ridiculous and foolish is that affection and pleasure in contem­plating the Picture which we take for his, when in all likelihood it is neither like him, nor any one else? For it is not probable that the sad and aggrieved Spirit of our Saviour and his serious followers had so little to doe, as to concern themselves in having his Picture drawn, who was a Esay 5 [...] man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. But being that the Divi­nity was Hypostatically united with Christ's Humanity only, and that his visible Person was of a certain shape and figure peculiar and individual, and that it is pretended from this Union only that the right of worshipping his Image does arise; if the Image be not the Image of Christ, (as it hap­pens often, they say, that the Virgin's Image is not hers, but of the fairest, though not always the chastest, of the City) but the Image of some body else, or an Image made at random, and it may be of no body that ever was, the ground of this warrant for the worship of this Image will fail, so that none can be assured but that he committeth Idolatry.

5. And besides, though it were the true Image of the Humane feature of Christ, and this the pretended ground of the lawfulness of the worship­ping it; we forget in the mean time that Christ himself is not a due Object of Divine worship but as he is [...], not a mere Man, but God also. But what Painter or Statuary can describe or carve out his Divinity? or what union is there betwixt that and his Statue or [Page 48] Picture? And lastly, what licence have we to break the commandment of God, who expresly forbids us the worshipping of the Image or Simili­tude of any thing; nay the very making of an Image or Similitude for Religious worship? For the very Title of the First Table, which is con­cerning the Honour of God and his worship, shews plainly that this is the sense thereof.

6. And for my part, I do not question but that the whole Decalogue is Moral, and that we are as precisely tied from Image-worship as from Adul­tery it self. For why should Moses mixe duties of such different natures in one short Decalogue? especially he copiously delivering his positive Laws, whether Ceremonial or Political, in other places. For the for­bidding simply the making an Image is no precept at all, but only the prohibition of making an Idol thereof; and therefore those words, Thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worship them, are added exegetically for the avoiding all mistake, and plainly intimate that Idolatry is there for­bid, and not simply the making of Images or Pictures; or Images are for­bid to be made in relation to Idolatrous worship, as I intimated before from the nature of the Title of the First Table, which concerns Religion or our duty to God.

Moreover, why were these Ten Commandments more especially said to be writ by God's own finger on those Tables of stone, but that it was typically to indigitate to us, that it was that Law which is also writ in our hearts by the finger of God, durably and permanently; and that if every mans mind were wiped and cleansed from that dirt and filth that lies on it, those Eternal Characters of indispensable Morality and Reason would conspicuously and legibly appear there, and close with the Decalogue as a most just and righteous Law? We know that our Saviour has in a very special manner honoured the Decalogue, by his pointing to it as the way to Matth. 19. 17. eternal life. And the general consent of the learned of old hath made it an abridgment of the Moral Law: Nor can any one that duely considers the nature of it but acknowledge it an everlasting Law of God to his Church, even in the literal sense thereof. But in the behalf of Christi­anity (which requires a more Spiritual worship then ordinary) so to Spiritualize the Decalogue as to leave men free to Image-worship, seems to me a spiritualizing it into gross Carnality, and to be both as impious and ridiculous, as the spiritualizing the Commandment against Adultery into an holy licentiousness of lying with their neighbour's wife without sin or shame; which they say is accounted an high pitch of Christian li­berty and perfection with some Sectaries.

7. The last excuse that occurs to my mind in the behalf of the Reli­gious use of Images in Churches is, That these are helps for Memory and Devotion, the mind of the vulgar being so gross and flagging, and so estranged from all sense and conceit of the Deity and Religion, that it must be fetched up by these palpable and visible engines, on which they can lay hold, and so bear up their Devotion and affection toward divine things by the helpfull artifice of these exteriour props. But this plea is in com­mon with the Heathens and lapsed Christians: And that Apologie must needs look fallaciously, that will serve as well a confessedly-bad cause as a pretended good one.

[Page 49] Maximus Tyrius of old defended the use of Statues in Religious wor­ship after this sort, alledging that they were only [...] Dissert. 38. [...]. [...], only signes of the honour we doe to the Deity, and a manuductive method to the re-minding us thereof. But for those (saith he) whose memory is more firm, and the sight of their Mind more directly penetrative into the Divine presence, these have not the need of such helps: But he pretends they are very few.

Much to this purpose you may reade in this Sophist, who having taken notice of the several ways of Idolatries, as we must call them, in several countries, and how all the while there may be [...], God in their Heart, though their affection be stirred up to him by some exter­nal representation, as that of Lovers is to their absent friends by their Pictures or any token else that relates to them; he at last fairly and plausibly concludes his Dissertation with this caution or admonition; [...]. That is to say, If an exquisitely-wrought Statue put the Greeks in mind of God, some holy Animal the Aegyptians, a River others, and Fire others; I am not offended at the diversity; onely let them under­stand, onely let them love, onely let them remember, [...], only let God be in their mind.

8. But truly in my apprehension, to fix a mans sight upon either River, Cow, or Statue, so as to take notice he does so, (and if he does not take notice of it, to what purpose does he look on it?) is the next way to exclude God out of his mind: For who can think of two things at once? Wherefore those Religious Symbols which will least of all take up our animadversion, or fix it to themselves, but leave it free to God, are the fittest for the more perfect worshipping of him; and (what is yet closer to our purpose) the having no Object in our worship but what is truly God, will be the safest way to lodge our Mind with him, and to think more truly, comprehensively and devoutly of him, then we can possibly while we pretend to see him or conceive him in any Statue or Picture whatsoever. For the apprehension of his infinite Wisdom, Goodness and Power, his infinite Mercy, Justice and Truth, and the effects of these, the vastness of his Providence, the sense also of his Ubiquity or Omnipresence, and that in him we live, and move, and have our Being, is a more lively representation of the Deity then the exqui­sitest art or costliest materialls can afford.

But if any seek an external Image of God that falls under the Senses; behold the best and fairest is this All that we see: which yet is but a small matter so far as our sight can discern. What a pitifull representa­tion then must any particular thing be, whether Natural or Artificial, for the setting out the Divine Majesty, and how unfit to pretend to be­come an Object, in any sense, of Religious worship? How far short must it fall of the inward representation in the Vertuous Mind, whenas that in the Mind does so hugely exceed the largest and fairest prospect the [Page 50] Eye can take of this visible Universe? Wherefore whatever is interposed betwixt God and us by way of Object in our worshipping him, is not an help, but an hinderance, to the perfection of that Worship.

9. And if we may compare small things with great, (as the Analogie does in some sort hold) the Character of the Vertuous life of any Saint is a better and more usefull Image of the Saint, and will conciliate a greater love and honour of him, then the seeing of his Picture or Statue. For no figure, posture, nor colours, can decypher or set out Sincerity. For every artificial Feature, look it never so well and devoutly, is but the livelier picture of Hypocrisie, because it is not what it would seem to be. Not to repeat my former allegation, that it is not credible that any of the afflicted primitive Christians spent their time so Idlely, as to sit to have their Pictures drawn, much less the blessed Virgin or holy Apostles of Christ. Which mistake makes Religious worship done to their Images ridiculous, as well as Idolatrous. For it is a sign that none of these I­mages are true, in that they all pretend to be so; as if all the Saints of God had been great admirers of their own earthly shadows, when there is no likelihood that any of them were. So entirely and universally con­temptible and reproveable is Image-worship in Christianity. But to return.

10. So far therefore (as touching the Deity) is this Imagery in Churches from erecting a mans mind to the remembrance of God, and a due and worthy sense and knowledge of him, that it sinks it lower, and fixes it upon mean and trivial objects; nay indeed, out of inadvertence and an heavy proneness to sensible matters, depresses it, plunges and immerges it into gross Idolatries: and (as touching the Saints) instead of warming it into an affectionate admiration of their vertues, makes it fall into such sins as were most zealously avoided and abominated by them.

11. To all which you may lastly adde, That this plea is still more weakened in the case of Christians, there being sufficient Props and Engines, nay Screws and Pulleys, if you will, to raise mens Love and Devotion in that palpable and sensible Commemoration of the Death of Christ, the Son of God and Saviour of the world. God is Love, and he that abideth in love abideth in God, and God in him. What better sense, apprehension, or representation of God can there therefore be, then that of an infinite Love? And what better means to raise us to any proporti­onable pitch of the sense of this Love, then the celebration of the Passion of Christ, who poured out his own most precious bloud for the redemption of the world?

Besides, the coming to an appointed place of publick worship at solemn times, the approaching and continuing there with reverence, the putting up plain and easily-intelligible prayers to God, the hearing of the Scriptures with easy and plain Expositions of them; certainly such duties and perfor­mances as these will bear men up more firmly by far into a sense of the De­ity, then the viewing any Imagery whatsoever. And if you adde the singing of Hymns or Psalms, whether with the Organ or without, pro­vided it be done well and tunably, it will excite the Devotion of the people much more powerfully, and with a more determinate sense and greater [Page 51] edification, then the Dumb shews of Pictures and Images, which can speak nothing, when abused to Idolatry, but the folly and unfaithfulness of their Setters up. Also domestick reading to people, or teaching them to reade, will make the presence needless of these silent Masters.

What want is there therefore of either Images or Idolatry for either improving our Knowledge or exciting our Devotion, or for the preven­ting our relapse into an utter oblivion of God and the sense of Divine things?

CHAP. XV.

1. That the general End of this impious and useless Idolatry and Image-worship is the Profit of the Priest. 2. Several artifices of making these Images gainfull to them. 3. The gainfulness of Transsubstan­tiation the cause of the admitting it to the making up the full Stature of Antichristianism. 4. What a wonderfull and powerfull intercessour the Priest seems upon this pretension. 5. Various ways of the impro­ving this gainfull persuasion. 6. The unspeakable honour that seems to accrue to the Priest from this stupendious miracle. 7. That it seems to give him a just claim to exemption from Civil jurisdiction, and saves him the labour of endeavouring after Truth and Sanctity. 8. That their Pretences for Idolatry though they be weak, yet their Self-ends therein are palpable.

1. WHerefore their Pretences for Idolatry and Image-worship being but mere Sophistry, let us consider what Self-endedness may keep up such unworthy practices. And truly the plot cannot lie so deep but every one may easily see it that is not wilfully blind. For there may be driven the same trade that was in Jeremie's time by the Idolatrous Priests of the ancient Babylon, such as he notes in his Epistle, Vers. 2 [...]. As for the things that are sacrificed unto Idols, their Priests sell and misspend: in like manner their wives lay up part thereof in salt. And not far after, Vers. 33 The Priests also take of their garments, and cloath their wives and children. In brief therefore, The End of Image-worship may be the enriching of the Priest, and all the abovesaid pretences and excuses forged and framed merely to keep up that gain. For unless there were some such Mystery of Profit underneath, it were a wonder that the Christian Priesthood should retain any such custom, that is so palpably contradictory to the Word of God, and so expresly and particularly against the Second Commandment, and so great an offense to sober and consciencious Christians, and lastly so huge a rock of scandal to both Jew and Turk.

2. It is therefore not hard to imagine how they having erected the Statue of this or that Saint, of the Virgin Mary, S. James, S. Peter, or the like, handsomely adorning them, and setting them out in a competent liveliness of personal shape; that they may teach the people (who are too prone to these Spiritual fornications, especially being animated and em­boldened [Page 52] by the counsel or example of their lenocinant Leaders) not only to open their mouths to them in prayer, but their hands also in various offe­rings; having imbued their rude minds with a superstitious fear of the Saints displeasure, if they approach empty-fisted; and, it may be, by some artifices make the Images to seem to frown or smile upon them, according to the scantness or largeness of their gifts; or at least provoke the offerers emula­tions by hanging up in view what has been given to the Image, with the names of the devouter and more liberal Clients.

The giving out also that this or that Saint has a special power for doing such or such miracles, for healing such or such diseases, for aiding in such or such streights or exigencies, were endow'd with such or such a measure of Pardons or Indulgences; how strongly would these surmises attract the devotions of the simple, even to the making Vows to them in Danger, and the going on Pilgrimages to their Temples or Chappells? where being brought into the visible presence, as it were, of the Saint himself, represented by his well-adorned Statue or Image, (either out of a conceit of some help done to them already, or in expectation of some fu­ture succour) they cannot for shame but offer at least proportionably to their ability, not doubting but the more liberal Clients of so good and powerfull a Patron shall not fail one way or other to receive at least a full peny-worth for a peny.

But they do not consider in the mean time, that the imitation of any peculiar Vertue in any of those Saints would oblige them more ( [...], if they have any knowledge of humane affairs) to doe all the good they can, then if a man should lay down all the wealth he has at the feet of one of their Statues; and that an hearty prayer directed to God through Christ would gain more favour from them, then if it had been directed to themselves. As any good Christian would sooner relieve a poor man whom by chance he found earnestly breathing out his wants to God in secret, then if he had begged relief of himself.

3. We see plainly therefore what a Gainfull trade may be driven in the maintaining of the Invocation of Saints and of Image-worship. And if some such like prop did not uphold that Mysterious conceit of Transsub­stantiation and the Idolatry thereon depending, assuredly so huge an Extravagancy, and so repugnant to Scripture, and contrary to all Sense and Reason, would not have the possibility of being any part of that Idea of Antichristianism which I am a-describing: For it could never get into the Church of Christ upon its own score, but as it served some other end or designe; at least it could not be retained there, when once seri­ously sifted, unless it were found very advantageous to the maintainers thereof.

4. What Self-ends therefore, will you say, can be served by the pre­tence of the power of doing so stupendious a miracle, as the changing the Bread in the Eucharist into the very Body or Corporeal presence of Christ? Why certainly very great ones, and mightily advantageous to the Priest. For he that is supposed to have the power by pronouncing four or five words to make Christ Jesus, who is God blessed for ever, personally and corporeally present, cannot be well imagined to be streightned so in the [Page 53] effect of his intention, but that, Christ's personal presence being thus pro­cured, he will bring to pass those very designs the Priest intended in pro­curing it. As very few doubt but that he that can raise a Spirit to be as it were [...] in an hard streight, can procure of the Spirit to assist to that end for which he was raised.

Wherefore supposing the Priest has power to bring this real [...] down into Corporeal presence by such a divine charm, as they would make it; who can suspect but that Christ being bodily there, he will assist, favour and effect any allowable end for which the Priest by virtue of the words of Consecration brought him thither? I say, Christ being thus really and Corporeally there, (Body, Soul, and Divini­ty) and being thus visibly and personally offered up by the hands of the Priest, in the opinion of the people, for the procurement of this or that favour of God; they cannot at all doubt but that he, having such a pledge in his hand, will not fail of obtaining any thing, that is not plainly sinfull, at the hands of God. For if he has thus palpably given him his own Son, how can he with-hold any thing from him? Certainly, they that believe the Priest in the first, cannot easily misbelieve him in the second.

5. Wherefore the Priest might safely pretend that by virtue of this of­fering up Christ really and personally in the Masse, and of his direction of the intent of his own action therein, this Sacrifice will be available for both the living and the dead, for the sick and for the sound, for both man and beast; that he can thereby deliver Souls out of Purgatory, free men from the plague, heal cattel, drive away fevers, or prevent the tooth-ach, recover lost goods, cure the soreness of the eyes, give victory against a mans enemies, procure a good husband or wife, and what not?

Wherefore the Sacrificer being conceived to be invested with so mighty a power; if he will but be so free and accessible, as to be persuaded upon occasions to make use of it either for love or mony, may he not certainly have his choice? Whence it is plain, that if the Priesthood would enrich themselves upon this account, it is entirely in their power; and that they would receive mony for such holy performances and so pious uses, is not unimaginable. And therefore it is no hard stroke in this Picture I draw of Antichristianism, to suppose that the opinion of Transsubstantiation may be stoutly and tenaciously held up, for the upholding and increasing the Wealth of an Antichristian Priesthood. For if the opinion be false, as most certainly it is, it is the mother of Idolatry; and therefore the Foun­ders or Abettors thereof may be justly termed Antichristian, especially it being supposed that it is maintained for the love of filthy lucre.

6. But it may not be Wealth only that is the End and Design of this monstrous doctrine, but the exaltation of their persons into a greater esteem and honour then can well be humane.

For to transform a piece of Bread into the real Person of Christ, is little less then to create our Creatour. And if the blessed Virgin, for being the Mother of God, does in their judgement deserve what they call [...], a kind of worship little inferiour to Divine honour, such as we give to God himself; what respect must they think themselves worthy [Page 54] of that phansy themselves the Creatours of that very God of which the Virgin Mary is said to be the Mother?

Certainly it would puzzle men to conceive a way of expression of sufficient honour and respect for such a wonder-working Priesthood, who in this one miracle, which yet is ordinarily and easily done by them, (though our Saviour was fain to groan for it when he raised Lazarus from the dead) who, I say, in this one miracle, of changing the dead element of Bread into the living Body and Person of Christ, do out-doe all the Miracles that Christ ever wrought, by this creating of him who was the worker of all those Miracles, and that even then when he does not cease to be; and (which is another great miracle) without making the Bread seem to any of our Senses any thing altered from what it was before. What honour or privilege may not they claim to themselves, that assure the people that they are the ordinary workers of so stupendious, so incomprehensible, and so impossible a Prodigie?

7. Verily they that have derived upon them so boundless and miracu­lous a power, which exceeds, nay is repugnant and contrary to, the strong­est Laws of Physicks, Logick and Metaphysicks, can it seem any more then a modest claim in them to challenge an exemption from all Politick Laws also, unless of their own making?

For how holy, how sacred a person must he seem to the world, who so easily and so frequently can work so astonishing a miracle? And there­fore how uncomely a thing would it be that the Secular powers should pretend any Dominion over one that is endued with so divine a power? [...]. For it is as if they would take upon them to give laws to God himself, (as Aristotle speaks of his Polit. lib 3. Heroically vertuous:) [...], For it is fit that such an one should be as a God amongst men, that is to say, such an one that is so eminently and superlatively vertuous as he there describes. What then must he be accounted that is thought to have a power (which is a more sensible Object of the peoples admiration) either equal or superiour to God himself, who, as ordinarily wise men conclude, cannot doe any thing that implies a contradiction to be done?

Wherefore if the degenerated Christian Priesthood could persuade the people that they had the power of doing so huge and incomprehen­sible a miracle, that tends so infinitely to the advancement of their esteem; it could be no wonder that they were zealous maintainers of the Impo­sture, it conciliating to them, with such as believe it, so mighty credit and respect, and saving them the labour of that harder way of winning it, to wit, by unblemished Sanctity and Exemplarity of life, and by a true and sound knowledge in the Mysteries of the Religion they profess.

8. Wherefore though the Pretences and Excuses for the Invocation of Saints, the worshipping of Images, and the adoring of the Host be slight and triviall; yet we see the Self-ends of these Idolatrous practices may be very substantial and palpable: but both put together make up that Antichristian Fraud (and assuredly it is an eminent one) that is discove­rable in this first and chief Limb of Antichristianism, which is the Intro­duction of Idolatry into the Church of Christ.

CHAP. XVI.

1. That Idolatry is the highest and most peculiar injury that can be com­mitted against God. 2. That giving Religious honour to Saints or Angels, is really a reproaching them and blaspheming them. 3. The exceeding great Mischief done to the Soul of man by Idolatry. 4. That Idolatry turns men into bloudy Wolves and Bears: 5. And is the Mother and Nurse of the foulest impurities. 6. That it is the source of all manner of wickedness, and eternal death to the Idolater. 7. The great Mischiefs it doth to the Church of Christ. 8. How the Church is lessened by Idolatry at home; 9. And the spreading thereof hindred abroad: 10. And consequently the whole World injured thereby.

1. WE will now briefly consider the Mischief of this horrid enormi­ty, which reaches either to God, (as much as any mischief can reach him) to the Saints, to the Idolaters themselves, to the Church, or to the rest of the World.

The sin of Idolatry is the most properly injurious to God of any sin, it so peculiarly touching the right of his Honour or Worship: which Ho­nour he will not give to any other, nor suffer to be taken from him. And indeed it is highly reasonable it should be reserved entire to himself, no other Tribute being competible to him but this. For God, who is that Infinite Fulness of Perfection, can want nothing; but we having all re­ceived of his fulness, and possessing nothing but therefrom, it is according to the sense of that Eternal Law of Reason and ingenuous Gratitude, as well as according to the express injunction of the sacred precepts of Scrip­ture, that there should be proper Homages of Divine honour peculiarly due to so Infinite a Benefactour, which to alienate or prophane by apply­ing to any creature, ought to be reputed the most accursed and execrable Sacrilege that can be committed.

This robbing therefore of God of his honour, of which he every where professes himself so jealous, and so wrathfull a revenger, is the highest affront or injury that can be committed against that glorious Majesty of Heaven. Which point is so confessedly true, that it is needless any further to pursue it.

2. The next seems more Paradoxical, That by the excess of honou­ring and worshipping of the Saints we should injure them and abuse them, or by giving them over-much respect become guilty of disrespecting them. And yet it is in very truth so, if examined to the bottom. For the zealous and carefull yielding of that honour which is done to them implies our belief or opinion of their acceptance: but for them to accept of that honour or worship that is due to God, (as all Religious and Divine worship is) is to be Rebells and Traitours to the Divine Majesty, usur­ping, or at least accepting of his Rights and Prerogatives, and, in stead of being Saints and faithfull Subjects of Christ and his Heavenly Kingdom, to be transformed into Titans and Giants or Children of Lucifer, that [Page 54] [...] [Page 55] [...] [Page 56] would ascend the throne of God, and divide his Empire amongst them­selves.

Wherefore whosoever pretend that the Saints accept of such Homages or services to them, do in effect proclaim to all the world that they are proud and vain-glorious, nay that they are Traitours and Rebells a­gainst God; and thus instead of honouring them, do really injure them, reproach them and blaspheme them.

3. The Mischief that is done to the Idolaters themselves is very great and obvious to observe; Image-worship and Saint-worship debasing the Mind, and making it superstitious and pusillanimous, begetting in it a crass or gross conceit of things, making the spirits course and carnal and leaning towards Corporeal matters; so that the exteriority and palpa­bility of the exercise of their affections in this sort toward Divine things inclines them with a greater proneness and readiness to be transposed upon other visible objects, and to fall quickly from caressing and embracing cold Statues and Images and such like sensible and palpable entertain­ments of their Devotions, to the courting of warm flesh, and to the pol­luting themselves with such sins of uncleanness as the ancient Pagan Ido­laters were signally guilty of.

For indeed all such Ludicrous and Superficial Religion must needs leave the body of sin entire and untouched, and the inward Mind dead and starved; so that the full raines will be given to every impetuosity of the Flesh, and foul Lust and bloudy Wrath and Zeal for those Idols of For­nication (as it fares in enraged Gallants in the behalf of their Mistresses) must rule and over-run all. The crasseness, I say, of these Superstitions leaves the mind unmortified and unilluminated, but raises a zeal for them both ignorant, bloudy and barbarous. Which, methinks, is a sad con­dition for any Soul to be found in.

4. But that this bestial Rage accompanies the love of Idols, (to omit several Examples in Scripture) is a Truth largely writ and testified by the bloud of those innumerable companies of the primitive Martyrs, who with so much reproach and so many kinds of tortures were put to death for despising or opposing the ancient Pagan Idolatry, as is confessed by all. And Idolatry, whether Pagan or Christian, will naturally dis­pose them that are really devoted to it to the like cruel fury and madness. And though the cruelty of Bear or Wolf seems more the mischief of them that suffer by them, then the evil of those beasts themselves; yet for that Circe that metamorphoses men into these salvage shapes, few or none do doubt but that she injures their humane bodies. What a mischievous Circe then is Idolatry, that transforms the Mind into such beastly salvageness?

5. And as for Uncleanness; that it is so close an attendant upon the worship of Idols, is also a Truth very often intimated in holy Scriptures: as in the Epistle to the Romans, where the Apostle expresly affirms, that Ch. 1. 26, 27. because the Heathen changed the truth of God into a lye, and worshipped and served the Creature more then the Creatour (or rather besides the Creatour;) for this cause God gave them up to vile affections; the women changing the natural use into that which is against nature, and the men [Page 57] likewise leaving the natural use of the women, and burning in their lust one toward another, men with men working that which is unseemly, and recei­ving in themselves that recompence of their errour that was meet. Also in the first Book of the Kings, upon the mentioning of the building of Ch. 14. 24. high places and Images, presently is subjoined, That there were also So­domites in the Land, &c. The places are so many and so obvious where even unnatural uncleannesses are link'd together with Idolatry, that it would be needless, as well as tedious, to recite them. And therefore it is a very suspicable thing, that where Idolatry seizeth most on the Church of Christ, all manner of uncleanness will there be most rife also.

6. But, methinks, I am too favourable in my charge against Idolatry, while I seem to restrain the Mischief of it only to Uncleanness and Cruelty. For the Authour of the Book of Wisdom does not stint the effects thereof to these, but enlarges them also to Dissimulation, Theft, Unfaithfulness, Tumults, Perjury, and what not? Ch. 14. 16, 27. For the worshipping of Idols, saith he, not to be named, is the beginning, cause, and end of all evil. And S. Paul in the above-named Epistle makes it the fountain of all manner of vices and wickednesses: which he doth not rashly, but very ratio­nally conclude. For even as they did not like to retain God in their Rom. 1. 28 29. knowledge; so God, saith he, gave them over to a reprobate mind, to doe those things that are not meet; Being filled with all unrighteousness, for­nication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murther, debate, deceit, malignity, whisperers, back-biters, haters of God, despight­full, proud, boasters, men of evil machinations, disobedient to parents, devoid of judgement, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, im­placable, unmerciful. So great a deluge of wickedness breaks in upon men by their being addicted to Idolatry. For Apostatizing from God by this hainous sin, God also forsakes them, as the Apostle intimates.

And besides, The sottishness of Idolatrous worship, that calls out the Affections to such gross and unfitting objects, does naturally lay the sense of better things asleep, and extinguish the true life of Religion, which is the renewing the Mind into the Image or similitude of God and Christ; which consists in an holy and peaceable love, and in a pure, chast and unpolluted spirit, unspotted of the vain desires of this present world. Whence the introduction of Idolatry into the Church of Christ must needs be the overflowing it with all manner of vice and wickedness. But that consideration belongs rather to the next point, The Mischief that redounds to the Church from Idolatry; to which I shall immediately pass, after I have but briefly intimated one Mischief more which falls upon the Idolater himself, and of which I think he will be most sensible, and it is only this; That he shall have his portion in the Lake that burneth with Rev. 21 [...]. fire and brimstone, which is the second Death, that is to say, that eter­nal Death and destruction that will assuredly attend all such enemies of God.

7. The Mischief that accrues to the Church from Idolatry I have partly hinted already, namely, that it is the most likely way to debauch her with all other manner of vices, and does ipso facto transform her, who [Page 58] should approve herself the pure Spouse of Christ, into the abhorred con­dition of an Harlot. To which you may adde those great agonies and aggrievances of spirit that the true members of Christ are cast into by beholding such abominable practices; besides their personal unsafety, and danger of barbarous persecutions, and those hard trialls and disquie­ting solicitudes that naturally will attempt them, as they are men consi­sting of mortal flesh and liable to all the evils it exposes them to; and finally the actual injuries, reproaches, imprisonments and multifarious Deaths that would fall upon the sincerest part of the body of Christ, for opposing, or refusing to partake with others in their Idolatrous Ab­ominations.

8. And yet this is not all: There is still a very grand Mischief behind, and exceeding considerable, done to the Church by this fearfull sin of Idolatry; and that is, The hinderance of her spreading and propagating herself in the world.

It is part of our Christian Faith, as we make profession of it in the Nicene Creed, That there is One Catholick and Apostolick Church. Which implies that the Church has a right to be Catholick, to be uni­versally spred over the face of the Earth; and that the true and pro­per Character of this Catholick Church is to be Apostolical; That whatsoever Nation or People, or part of any Nation or People, profess that Doctrine and Discipline which was delivered by Christ and his A­postles, become immediately thereby part of the Catholick Church; and those that profess and enjoyn Doctrines and practices that are Anti-Aposto­lical, run the hazzard of losing the true title of Catholick, and of making themselves indeed no part of the Church of Christ. And certainly Idolatry is as Anti-Apostolical, as contrary to the Apostolick Doctrine, as any thing can be.

Wherefore the introduction thereof into the Church of Christ is the rescinding so many Souls from the body of the Church as are persuaded to entertain it. Whence it is manifest that Idolatry is as it were a Gan­grene in the body of Christ, and eats so much away from it as it seizes upon.

9. But this is not the sole Mischief of this kind done to the Church by Idolatry, viz. The streightning the extent thereof by the divulsion of those that were her true members; but as considerable as this is The prevention or hinderance from making them members that otherwise might be persuaded thereto. For it is very visible that letting in of Idola­try into the Church of Christ, will for ever, while it there continues, ex­clude both Jew and Turk out of it, who are deservedly so great abhorrers of Idolatry. To say nothing of the Idolatrous Heathens themselves, to whom it would be ridiculous to preach, as the Apostles did, to turn from dumb Idols to serve the living God, whenas they might easily see afore­hand, that it would be but the turning from their wonted Idols to the ser­ving of new ones.

It is a fearfull thing therefore to profess the Church Catholick, and yet by introduction of Idolatry to streighten it at home, and hinder the pro­pagation of it abroad by such horrible Scandals.

[Page 59] 10. Which is not only a Mischief to the Church herself, in curbing her growth and eclipsing her glory; but a sad disaster to the whole World, (which is the the last evil issuing therefrom:) it being to them the most certain pledge of everlasting happiness, to become members of the Catholick Church of Christ; of which there is little hope in either Jew, Turk, or Heathen, that are consciencious, while this stumbling-block is in their way, and that they cannot profess Christianity without the allow­ance and practice of Idolatry. Which in my apprehension ought to be reputed a very sad calamity upon Earth.

Thus we have seen a competent Description of the First main Limb of Antichristianism, namely, Idolatry, brought into the Church of Christ, under pretence of honour to him and the Saints; with a discovery of the Falseness and Unwarrantableness of that Doctrine and Practice, and the gross Fraud and grand Mischiefs that accompany it.

CHAP. XVII.

1. That a multitude of slight Observances may amount to an intolerable burthen. 2. That no Religious observance can be slight while it has an obligation upon the Conscience. 3. Though this general estimate of the burthen of Superstition from obligation of Conscience and mul­titude of Observances might suffice, yet he will adde a more particular Draught of this Limb of Antichristianism. 4. Of Anointings, and of the Multiplicity of Sacerdotal Ornaments. 5. The pretence and Self-endedness in these Ornaments and Anointings. 6. The Mischief arising from these kind of Ceremonies to Priest and People. 7. A more full description of their Publick Service. 8. That respect to the Priest is better sought and more certainly found in the Power of Life and Doctrine, then in any Histrionical Pomp: 9. Which is so un­satisfactory to the serious, that it may hazzard their departure. 10. The Opinion of a miraculous power in religious Vestments. 11. The Falseness and Fraud of this Opinion. 12. The ill conse­quence thereof.

1. THE next Limb of Antichristianism is, The burthening and en­tangling mens minds with Scrupulosities in either unnecessary or hurtfull Observances and Opinions, laying an equal or greater yoke on Believers, by reason of the Multitude of these Rites and Superstitious con­ceits, then Judaism it self did upon the people of the Jews, and thereby frustrating that End of Christ's coming, which was, To put a period to such burthen some and unprofitable Ordinances, and to conciliate to himself a Church that should worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth.

Which Burthensomness, as I have already intimated, may arise merely from the multitude of these Ceremonies, though the things may seem slight considered singly and in themselves; as Feathers, that are singly light, may by their number grow heavier then a masse of Lead: And [Page 60] what a man may sometime doe out of Idleness or wantonness, to wit, stoop to take up a straw, or to divide clay or dirt into Squares or Oblongs; yet to be kept close to this task, how little different is it from that vile Ae­gyptian bondage of being condemned to the perpetual making of bricks or gathering of stubble?

2. Besides that every toy to which there is once a Religious obli­gation girds hard with those that are serious and consciencious. And such followers Christ expects, and therefore neither he nor his Apostles would burthen them with any thing but what was necessary. But we are exhorted rather to stand fast in that liberty wherewith Christ has Gal. 5. 1. made us free, and not to suffer our selves to be brought under the bon­dage of any servile and unprofitable burthens of Superstition. And our Saviour Christ rebuking the Pharisees tells them plainly, that they wor­shipped God in vain, while they taught for Doctrines the commandments Mark 7. of men: Forasmuch as laying aside the Commandments of God, they held the Traditions of men, as the washing of pots, and cups, and brazen vessels, and the like.

Wherefore if our Saviour Christ was so tender in the behalf of his Disciples, that he would not have them superstitiously ensnared, no not in so commendable and easy an observance as the washing of the hands ever before they did eat; certainly it is utterly against his mind to have his followers intangled and enthralled in an innumerable multitude of less usefull Ceremonies: Which, be their natures what they will, yet if by their numerosity they equallize the burthen of the Judaical Rites, this general estimate is sufficient to discover it to be no inconsiderable Limb of Antichristianism, in what Church soever such an enormity shall appear.

3. Which I speak not, as if I found it beyond my skill to pourtray this Limb of Antichristianism more articulately, with stronger sinews and more full and solid muscles. Such a draught therefore of Ritual Ordinances and Dogmatical Observances I will now draw, as I dare ap­peal to any indifferent judge, whether it will not prove an eminent part of that Mystery that opposes and defeats the purposed Ends of the coming of Christ into the world; which assuredly were to free his followers from Sin and Superstitious slavery.

4. And truly observing how tender and carefull our Saviour is in keep­ing off the least taint of Superstition from his Disciples about washings and eatings of meat, and how expresly he affirms to them in that excellent pa­rable, That nothing that enters into a man defiles the man; it will be Mark 7. easy thence to infer, that much less any thing that hangs upon him, or is a­bout him, can Sanctifie or make him holy.

Whence in the first place, though I do not lay the greatest stress on it, If we should suppose the Christian Priests to heap to themselves several sorts of Consecrated Garments for greater Ornament and Sancti­monie, insomuch that every Priest's Vestments would vie in number with the Vestments of Aaron the High-priest, and imitate also his in Ana­logie, his Breast-plate, his Ephod, his Robe, his broidered Coat, his Mitre and Girdle; and the Bishops, not content with these, should adde [Page 61] for the further adorning themselves (as if they had a mind to out-doe the Ceremonial Habiliments of Aaron himself) six more holy Ornaments, nay I will suppose nine more; besides the consecrating of these Priests with holy oyl on their shaven Crowns and in their hands; which become thereby so sanctified, that the more devout would eagerly and zealously kiss the hand of the Priest strait after his Ordination, hoping thereby to partake more fully of his devotedness and sanctity: What were this, I say, but to Judaize under Christianity, and to illaqueate the minds of men with such Superstitions as our Saviour Christ came to set them free from? Which intimation is sufficient to shew the Falsness and ground­lesness of such an Oeconomy in the Church.

5. But as for the pretence for such kind of Aaronical Ornaments, I can imagine none, unless it be the imitation of the Levitical Laws, which is a very bad one; those Laws being to be abolished by Christ. Besides that the Robes of Aaron were of a more Appendix to the Defence of the Philoso­phick Cabbala, Ch. 5. Sect. 2, 3, 4. profound and important signifi­cation then to be imitated upon any slight or superficial design: as well they as other Mosaical figures being prescribed according to a certain Pattern exhibited by God in the Mount; which being the shadows of things to come, do naturally vanish in this Meridian and Vertical Sun-shine of the Gospel. And therefore to bring in so many New shadows, is to re­envelop the Church with darkness, and divert us from the rightly under­standing of the meaning of the Old; which assuredly were all Types of that more full knowledge of Jesus Christ and of that inward and Spiri­tuall Sanctity we have in him.

But that advantage which this erroneous Priesthood might seek to it self herein is this; That by these Histrionical disguises and peculiar adornings they may become more honourable in the eyes of the People, who are much struck with outward shews, I mean the simpler sort of them; and that their Persons may be accounted very holy, whose Ordi­nation is with such pompous Ceremonie, and whose sacred Unction makes it in some sort to vie with the Coronation of Princes. Could they be more through-paced in the imitation of that great high-Priest of the Jews, and adorn themselves with what in analogie should answer to his See the Pre­face General to the Collection of my Philosophi­call Writings, Sect. 3. Urim and Thummim, that is, Illumination of mind and Sincerity of heart; that indeed would be an happy emulation, and would absolve them from an over-rigorous pursuance of the rest.

6. But so it is according to our Hypothesis, that instead of so great a good there follow these Inconveniences: That this Sacerdotal Pomp and Gayness to those Priests that understand the nature of Christianity is both a Scandal and a Burthen; to those that do not rellish Christianity in the right sense of it, it is to them an occasion of insufferable pride and conceitedness, and of great security and neglect of those true and indis­pensable endowments of the Christian Priesthood, of that Anointing 1 John 2. 27: which will teach them all things, even that of the Holy Spirit of God, which is not lodged in consecrated Garments, but in those purer habits of the Mind, in the Inward man wholy and throughly dedicated to God, by perfect and real abrenunciation of himself, and of the flesh, the world and the Devil, by entirely giving up ones self to the sincere Love of [Page 62] God and of his Neighbour, to Purity and Sobriety of life, and to unfeigned Humility and Self-denial. Which real Accomplishments should be the Foundation of respect to the Christian Priesthood, not those exteriour Ornaments that may be the covers of a Beast or Devil.

And lastly, for the People themselves; As some are liable to be mise­rably deceived by those external Pomps, so others to be much offended; I mean those who are more seriously set upon the real duties of Christi­anity, and find their wholesome appetite mock'd, not fed, with those out­ward shews in the publick Service of God.

7. Which we shall better understand, if we make a more plenary re­presentation of their Publick worship, and adde to the Consecrated Gar­ments of the Priest the dedicating of an unknown Tongue to their Publick Prayers and Offices, to the great disedification of the People. What spectacle could one behold more Antichristian? ‘To see a man in those Sacerdotal disguises, all of them consecrated and dedicated to the pur­pose, himself having had both Head and Hands anointed with holy oyl, standing in an anointed Church, and at anointed Altar, with his anointed Chalice and other anointed Utensils; whose Church-yard is holy by the consecration and benediction of sprinkled Holy-water, for the frighting the Devils from hanting that consecrate ground, and molesting the sleep of the bodies of the Dead; nay, whose very Bells of his Steeple are Christned and Chrismatized for the chasing away the foul fiends out of the Aire at the departure of a Soul, by their tolling or ringing: To see him in his holy postures now at the one end of the Altar, now at another; now turning his face toward the people, now his back-side; one while holding up his hands, another while holding them down, another while a-cross at his breast; now making with his hand a single Cross, now two or three Crosses together; now sitting, then standing, and another while stoo­ping and kissing the holy Altar; now speaking aloud, then muttering to himself in a lower tone, but always in a tongue that is not at all un­derstood by the People:’ To see, I say, such a Sight as this, and to com­pare it with that of our Saviour, The hour cometh when the true worship­pers John 4. shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him; It would necessarily extort from the Spectatour this just Censure, That these are either false-worshippers, or our Saviour's prediction not true, or else the completion thereof past in the simplicity of the Primitive times; or rather that if he would find these true Christian worshippers, he must seek them somewhere else: for here is neither Spirit, nor Truth, nor intelligible language, but all more dark and blind and dumb then in the very Midnight-shadows of the Mosaical Dispensation.

8. And therefore (as I was a-going to conclude) as the more sottish people will be liable to be even brutishly amazed and amused by this unintelligible and unedifying pomp and spectacle, and be made the more obnoxious to all the Frauds and Tyrannies of this Unchristian, though over-much Anointed, Priesthood; so the more nasute will be tempted to look upon it but as a kind of circumforaneous Masking or Mumming, nor easily be persuaded that what is so Histrionical or Stage-play-like is [Page 63] serious in any thing but in what the other Stage-players are, which is in the emungeing the people of their money.

Wherefore it would not be any wonder to see these better-spirited Christians abhor from these shews, as being so perfectly opposite to the ancient plainness and simplicity of the Primitive Teachers, who, as our Saviour himself, spake and did all things bonâ fide, and did not distance themselves from their flocks and charges by any garish pomp and multitude of sanctimonious dressings, but being even as they were, in a manner, saving that they were greater Examples of Faith, of Humility, of Bro­therly kindness, of Contempt of the world, of Patience, and of power of Speech, and effectual Exhortation, and Conviction of mens minds for the corroborating their belief, and inflaming their affections with the love of true righteousness and holiness, (which was an unimitable and in­deleble Character of their Christian Priesthood) kept and commanded the hearts of the Believers by this Authority of the Spirit discovering it self in the power of Reason and sincere Rhetorick, and sealed and tied all close to them by that indissoluble cord of a reverential and respectfull Love, which accru'd to them by the purity and unexceptionableness of their conversation; they teaching (as it was said of our Saviour) with Authority, and not as the Scribes, who taught, but did not.

9. The reflexion upon which excellent Patterns will strongly tempt the better-spirited people to look upon these Sacerdotal pomps and dis­guises as a kind of Superstitious and Hypocritical Mummery, and to urge them in the earnestness of their zeal to condescend to approach nearer to them, and to lay aside their Masks and Vizards, and to deal faith­fully and apertly, and to declare to them the Truth of Christ, and the Good will of God as it is revealed in his Word; for they profess they are willing to embrace it and to follow it, may they but understand it; nay they are hungry and thirsty after it, but find no food nor comfort in dumb shows: which if they will refuse to doe, they are those that cannot admire this way, but rather abhor it, and must leave it, and seek such Pastours as will deal with them in plainness and simplicity of heart.

For assuredly such gross and worse then Judaical Corruptions in a Church would force the most serious Believers to forsake the Commu­nity thereof, and drain it, as much as is possible, of the sincerest and best-disposed people of Christendom. And this I think is no small nor contemptible Mischief; the departure of Lot being a fore-runner of the raining fire and brimstone upon Sodom.

10. But I have not yet evolved all the intangling Superstitions that may lie wrapt up into these Religious or consecrated Vestments and Habits.

For it is not impossible but that they may befool the credulous with the belief of some miraculous virtue abiding in them by the power of Consecration or Benediction of the Priest or Bishop. As that, for ex­ample, they have the virtue of recovering men from Diseases; of fraying away the Devil and chasing him out of the possessed; of procuring remission of sins, both to Guilt and Punishment, by the putting them on; and of saving a soul from Damnation, and sending her safe to the blisses [Page 64] of Paradise. So wonderfull power lies hid under these religious Habili­ments. Which conceits notwithstanding are so ridiculously ground­less, that he deserves to be laught at that would seriously goe about to confute them.

11. But some small pretence for the truth of them may haply be fetched from that passage in the Acts, concerning the miraculous virtue of the body of S. Paul, That from his body were brought unto the sick hand­kerchiefs Acts 19. and aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them; and from the virtue of Christ's garment, the touch of whose hemme cured the woman of her Bloudy issue.

But we are to consider That Christ was the Son of God, and Paul a chosen vessel, and those first times were choice and peculiar times of the Church, that required such miraculous assistances from God for the planting of the Christian Faith: that Miracles are for the unbeliever, not for those that already believe; and that those cloaths came from or hung upon such bodies as were really anointed with the Holy Ghost, and that in a full measure; not rubbed or smeared in the hands or on the shaven crown with a little ointment, that gives only an extrinsecal Sanctity, fills no man with the Holy Spirit, much less to such height that he can work Miracles.

Wherefore to make the people believe that the Habits of either Priests or Monks have any such virtue in them, is nothing but an abuse of them into a mighty opinion of the Sanctity of those persons, the touch of whose very Cloaths is of so great virtue and Sanctity. I say, the End of this Imposture is nothing else but the extolling and magnifying the Priest and other Religious Orders of the Church, unless this esteem carry along with it also some pecuniary advantages.

12. But the evil consequence is the cheat of the people into a feeble­ness of spirit, and a neglect (I say not, of the advice of the Physician, but) of his counsel who speaks to us to buy of him white rayment, that we Rev. 3. may be cloathed and that the shame of our nakedness may not appear: or that of S. Paul, to put on the whole armour of God; to be strong in the Ephes. 6. 11. Lord, and in the Power of his might; to gird our loyns about with Truth, and to put upon us the breast-plate of Righteousness, to take unto us the shield of Faith, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.

For this furniture assuredly is infinitely more powerfull against the approach of the Devil or diseases, then all the holy Habiliments that the Wardrobe of the Church can produce; and will sooner quench all the fiery darts of the wicked, then whole pots of Holy-water squirted a­gainst him.

CHAP. XVIII.

1. Of the Enchanting or Exorcizing of Water, Oyl, Salt, Wax-candles, &c. with a general intimation of the Mischief thereof. 2. Of the Ex­orcizing of a Golden Rose and Lamb of Wax. 3. That the using of the Name of the true God in these Exorcisms does not hinder but that they may be properly termed Enchantments. 4. Other Instances of their being Charmers and Magicians; with an Anticipation of an Obje­ction. 5. The Falshood, Fraud and Mischief of these Exorcisms. 6. The derivation or distribution of these Exorcized Elements into several Superstitious uses. 7. Of the supposal of the Infant's being possess'd, and of Baptismal Spittle. 8. Of Extreme Unction, and other Superstitious practices upon the dying man: 9. As also upon his Corps laid out. 10. The Fraud and Mischief of these practices.

1. THE mention of Holy-water puts me in mind of another Classis of Superstitions, which might be invented contrary to the Faithful­ness and Simplicity of the School of Christ, to the illaqueating of mens consciences, and misplacing their dependences upon Creatures more then the Creator, and to the extinguishing of that comfortable inward sense of his invisible, but omnipotent, Omnipresence, by interposing these vain and visible Objects, which have neither force nor allowance for those uses they pretend to; I mean, the Exorcizing or Enchanting (if you will) of certain Natural Elements, without any warrant of holy Scripture, to endue them with a Supernatural power.

As if, for example, the Priest should pretend by the Exorcizing of the Creature of Salt by the living, true and Holy God, to make it become an Holy and Exorcized Salt, for the health of both Body and Soul to as many of the believers as receive it; and for the chasing away of every evil Phantasm and unclean Spirit, by the aspersion thereof: and so by the Exor­cizing of the Creature of Water in the name of the Holy Trinity, to endue it with a virtue of chasing away the Devil and Diseases and every disquieting thing out of an house by the sprinkling thereof, and should recommend the use thereof for the besprinkling their chambers ever and anon therewith, as also their sick folks, their fields and vineyards, for health and increase. The Exorcizing of Wax-candles into a virtue of putting to flight the Prince of darkness with all his Retinue, and of making them run away with fear and trembling from what-ever place they are lighted in. The Exorcizing of the Creature of Oil by God the Father Omnipotent, the Creator of all things, that whosoever uses it, the Troups of the Devil may be put to flight, and that he may never be bit by the old Serpent. Also the Exorcizing of Herbs or the Boughs of Trees; the Exorcizing of Bells and the Priestly Vestments: Is it not apparent that all these, and as many more else as can be intented of this nature, are mere Juggles and Impostures?

2. But the Imposture would be more grateful and complete, if we had [Page 66] some fine thing consecrated, that were more portable, and yet of a more universal influence, as also more durable and permanent then most of the former. And therefore the shape of some holy Plant or Animal thus ex­orcized would be of sovereign use and content, the Rose of Sharon, or the Lily of the valleys, the Dove or Lamb, whose names are sacred to every Christian eare.

Wherefore a Golden Rose, impregnated with joy and gladness from the Benediction of the holy High-priest of this Church, and full of the fragrancy of remission of sins, increase of faith, (though the effect be never found) Divine protection and all prosperity, were a Posie to wipe the Nose of a Prince withall. And so the gentle Lamb made of some more flexible matter, and elegantly limb'd, suppose out of Wax, but exorcized into powers and virtues little inferiour to that Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, as being made able by a cer­tain sacred Exorcism or Benediction to preserve them that bear it about with them from all the assaults of the Flesh, the World and the Devil, from Pestilence, Famine and sudden Death, from all perils by Land and by Sea, from Lightning, from Tempests and from Abortion, were a Present for an Emperor or Emperess.

Several such Instances as these might be excogitated, all which I must pronounce to be against the faithful plainness and true power of the Gospel of Christ, and to entrench upon the Reverence of the Name of God, and to be a trespass of the Third Commandment, Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain.

3. Against which Precept I make account those Forms of Conjura­tion do evidently offend that are found in Books of Magick, as in Cor­nelius Agrippa and Petrus de Abano, where those Divine appellations, Jah, El, Adonai, Elohim, Elohe Zebaoth, Elion, Sadai, and the like, are made the Elements of their vain and reprobate Art. Which is a manifest argument that the Priest's Exorcization in the Names of God and his holy Attributes does not excuse him from the guilt of Enchant­ment, since the Magicians themselves use the Names of the true God therein.

And as for the more general Notion of Enchantment, Agrippa defines it to be nothing but The conveiance of a certain mirificent power into the thing enchanted by virtue of the words and breath of the Enchanter. Nor will the phrases or passages of Scripture excuse the Priest from this impiety, since this is both prescribed and practised by these Magicians. Their Pentacles which they hang about their necks when they con­jure (which they forsooth for greater grace call the Pentacles of So­lomon) are adorned and fortified with such transcriptions out of holy Scripture.

Whence it is plain, if any one would take notice of all the special Characters of such an Apostate Church as I am a-describing, he could not omit amongst other Titles to brand them with the name of Enchan­ters or Sorcerers.

4. Which they might deserve upon other scores, which we have already intimated; as in that they teach people certain Prayers in an [Page 67] unknown Tongue, which they direct them to say for such and such pur­poses. For what are these but Charms? And the making of Jesus of Nazareth, (who was above sixteen hundred years ago crucified at Je­rusalem) upon the uttering a few words, personally to appear flesh and bloud and bones, all mantled over with the thin cloathing of certain Panaceous Species or loosely-hanging Accidents, is a piece of Magick above the Witch of Endor's and all the Historical records of Necro­mancy in the world. All which pretensions being so Epidemical or general in this Church we do characterize, who can miss of notifying them by the style of a Society of Magicians or Enchanters?

For in that they are mere Pretences, and have no real effect, will not excuse the desert of so goodly a Title, the profession and endeavour gi­ving the Practisers sufficient right thereto. As he that has been casting his Angle a good part of the day into the River, and brings home no Fish, may yet be rightly saluted Mr. Fisherman or Mr. Angler at his return, though not without some kind of Scommatism at the bottom: And he that professes Physick, and has it may be as yet cured none, (but such as would have recovered as well without him) though killed many, is not­withstanding by all men termed a Physician. And generally what men affectedly pretend to, though they cannot perform it, may justly by way of Scommatical reproach be entered into the particulars of their cha­racter, for the making up the whole tale of their shame and reproof.

5. What grounds they might make shew of for such Incantations as these, I must confess I cannot so easily find. For the Bloud of the Paschal Lamb wherewith the Israelites sprinkled the lintel and two side-posts of their doors was not charmed first to convey a virtue into it of frighting away the destroying Angel, but was merely a present Sign, as also a Type of the sprinkling of the Bloud of Christ, who as a Lamb without spot was to be sacrificed in future ages for the sins of the world. Nor were the Water and Ashes of the Heifer mingled together with any Exorcism or Enchantment that we reade of in Scripture. Nor did Elisha charm the Salt before he cast it into the Waters to heal them, but he used it as a circum­stance onely or sign in the healing of them: which Ceremonies Christi­anity has nothing to doe withall, nor is there any reason to bring in any more of the ancient Types or Figures then are already made use of by his choice who was unerrable.

The ground therefore of such usages is none at all: but the pretence to such power as this, so strangely and marvellously to enchant things to such mighty uses, would make much for the honour of the Priest, who cannot but hereby seem [...], a very great and adorable person to the credulous people, and these Exorcized commodities would be ready mo­ny with as many as had belief in them.

But the worst is, Faith and Temperance would be look'd less after, and Pots of Holy-water and enchanted Lambs of Wax would stop those inward living springs of the Spirit of God in the Heart, and help to ex­tinguish that sense of Innocency, then which there is not a greater Tower of defence to a believing Christian against all the fiery and thundring Ar­tillery of the Prince of the Air.

[Page 68] 6. These be the most gross and fundamental Superstitions, that look like Magick or Sorcery, which yet might be derived and deduced into various uses and practices, as in the Visitation of the Sick, in Extreme Unction, in Funerals or Burials, in Christenings, Churchings and Mar­riages, where Holy-water, Exorcized Oil and Candles might be frequently made use of, and some of them truly not without some considerable trou­ble; as in Anointing the Sick, their Eyes, Ears, Noses, Mouths and Hands, nay their Feet and the Reins of their Back: the latter whereof may cause troublesome contests betwixt natural Modesty and Religious zeal in those that have a penitent sense of the transgressions of those parts.

The conjuring the Devil also out of the Infant that is to be baptized would seem a frightful thing to the Infant himself, if he understood in what an ill plight the Priest supposes him, while he makes three Ex­sufflations upon his face, and uses an Exorcistical form for the ejecting of the foul Fiend, who is imagined very saucily presumptuous to take such timely possession of him, to whom he could not but see that Christ Jesus had apparently a better right, as being the off-spring of them who were already his, the Child being born of Christian Parents. But here may come in also (beside other Ceremonies) the use of the Holy Oil for the anointing him on the fore-head and breast, the putting upon him white Vestments, and into his hand an holy Candle. And, which is more holy then any Oil or Candle, the Priest's own Spittle is also to sanctifie his Ears and Nostrils by a gentle smearing thereof on those places. And lastly, that all may be sound and wholesome, the holy Salt may also be put into the mouth of the Child, that his words, when he can speak, may be the more savoury.

Thus may the use of the first consecrated Elements, you see, go far, and make the Christian Sacrament of Baptism exceed in Ceremonie the Judaical, nay their Circumcision it self: whenas the use of that one Ele­ment of Water were sufficient, and One dipping as significant of the Unity of the Godhead as Three are of the Trinity. Yet such large and prolix Shadows might Christianity cast, when the Sun of Righteousness grows towards his setting in the Church.

7. And it is much if something might not appear affrightful to the Women in this approching darkness. For though it be a gay thing for the Priest to be thought to have so much power over the Stygian Fiend, as to Exorcize him out of the Infant; yet it may be a sad consideration with some melancholick women laden with Superstition, to think they are never brought to bed, but they are delivered of a Devil and Child at once; and that if their Child should die before Baptism, the Devil having got bodily possession of him, will certainly carry him thither where the greatest affe­ction of a Mother dares not so much as desire to give him a visit. Which indeed would argue the necessity of speedy Baptism to the height, but withall depress the afflicted mind of the melancholick Mother with un­speakable anxiety.

The Delinition also of the Infant's Ears and Nostrils with the Spittle of the Priest may sometimes strike harshly upon the spirits of the more delicate; but it makes much for the opinion of his Sanctity, whose [Page 69] spumeous excrement is of so sacred a virtue, and will gain also the prayers of all the women in the Town, that he may ever be an hail and sound man.

8. But it were very unequal if the Load of Superstition should be lay'd wholy upon tender Infancy and our first entrance into this world. Surely that severe Goddess will make them feel her weight also in some measure who are in a way of departing out of it. And truly that Ceremonie of Extreme Unction, that pretends to make the passage more glib, to a man not Superstitious would make it more rough and troublesome.

The ripping up their Breast also by that sharp tool of necessitated Confes­sion, and then an over-reaching Satisfaction excited to the advantage of this or that holy Order, or the uses of the Church, will easily distract the mind of the dying penitent betwixt the care of his own Soul and the provision for his dear Wife and Posterity. But frequent aspersions of Holy-water shall be his dilute comfort; and he shall have before his eyes, so long as he enjoys the light, Assistants more cold and dead then those that have lien four days in the grave; the Image, suppose, of Christ on the Cross, another of the Virgin Mary, and a third of the Saint to whom he had particularly devoted himself; where he may, if he will, salute the Virgin's Idol in the very words in which the Angel Gabriel once did her. But if he would lay aside complements and speak the truth, he might take up the complaint of Job touching these liveless companions, Miserable Comforters are ye all.

However in the Interim, what the frequent sprinkling of Holy-wa­ter can doe, and making Crosses on his breast and forehead, or the ur­ging upon him the belief of every tittle the Church has defined to be true, (the Soul now so near her departure being more quick-sighted in those abstruse Mysteries) or the promise of Prayers and Oblations when he is in the other State, shall not be wanting for the ease of his Soul: which in his breathing of it out, if he should commend into the hands of our Lady, instead of our Lord Jesus, who is God every-where ready to save, that precept from the Priest would be flatly against the express Com­mandment of God, and it would prove a sad Catastrophe of his life to the dying man, to spend his last breath in so foul a sin as Idolatry.

9. But however, as if all had been rightly performed, the Body may be laid out in a decent manner, and a Crucifix put in the hand of the deceased, resting upon his breast, or at least his hands be laid a-cross in stead of a Crucifix, and Holy-water be duely sprinkled upon him; which what-ever virtue it may have to chase the Devil from the Corps, yet it will scarce wash his Soul clean from that last sin he committed, nor guard the house from being haunted with Birds of several colours and feathers, that ever smel out a comfortable refection from the fall of every such Carcass. So great a pother and clatter may Superstition make as well at the Exit as Entrance of men into this mortal life.

10. In the midst of such Formalities as these, I must confess the Priest cannot but seem a man of marvellous might and power to the ignorant by-standers, such as have been nuzzl'd up in the belief of these Super­stitions, he administring such present and conspicuous Remedies for the comfort of the sick, as the Fiend-fraying Holy-water, the Images of the [Page 70] Blessed Virgin and Tutelar Saint, holy Wax-candles, and the like, guar­ding the very Corps, by the power of the Cross and the sprinkling of that Exorcized Element, from all the incursions of the Enemie and every evil Phantasm. But the dying person what benefit he can take by the having his mind distracted and called out to these dead shows, I must confess I understand not, nor can conceive but that they are an hinderance to that more pure and collected passage of the Soul into bliss; and are to the spectatours of these Solemnities the occasion of neglecting those better and more inward Amulets against the terrour of Death and fear of the Devil.

Such I mean as the Renovation of their Minds into the Living Image of Christ, and the triumphing over the power of Sin through the taking up his Cross in the mortifying all our evil concupiscences in our life-time, and the arriving thereby to the comfortable joyes and refreshments of the Spirit, and to a permanent and habitual sense of the Mercy of God through a lively Faith in Christ Jesus, (wherein we cannot miss of the assurance of the remission of our sins;) which are the most saving and most holy Waters that we can solace our selves with or ease the grief and agonie of our minds withall, the most precious Oyl or Balsam that can be poured upon an afflicted conscience. The breathing after which excellent condition is naturally stopped and stifled by a vain belief in these external shows, and by the relying on these multifarious Enchantments of a Superstitious and imposturous Priesthood, who would bear men in hand that they can carry a Soul through safe to Heaven by exorcized Elements and Ma­gical Artillery levied against the external assaults of the Devil; not con­sidering in the mean time that the radication and growth of sin and disobe­dience makes the Soul herself in a manner become a Devil, and will ne­cessitate her to undergoe the fate of that accursed crue.

CHAP. XIX.

1. The burthen of Spiritual Cognation, and excessive Numerosity of Holy-days. 2. Perpetual abstinence from Flesh in some Religious Orders. The Fraud and Mischief thereof. 3. The burthen of vowed Coelibate. 4. The more dangerous purposes thereof. 5. The ordinary services done by the Monasticks to this Antichristian power we describe. 6. That its establishment is much corroborated by the Interest of Monasteries; 7. And enriched by being Heir to all professours of Coelibate. 8. The great Mischiefs of Coelibate. 9. Of Flagellation. 10. The in­effectualness thereof, Hypocrisie of the Penitent, salvage Pride of his Church, and the Mischiefs resulting therefrom. 11. Of Pilgrimages and Jubilees. 12. An enumeration of several other Antichristian Austerities.

1. BUT we have leapt thus from one extreme of mans life to the other, whenas there are several things yet to be considered which may [Page 71] make the middle space thereof tedious and entangled, may be unnecessary hinderances to him in his affairs of the World, may be sore afflictions and vexations to his Body, or disturb his Mind with grievous and sad perplexi­ties. I will hint only some few Instances of each.

As, for example, if persons by being Witnesses at a Christening should contract thereby such a Cognation as, though it be Spiritual, yet, accor­ding to the Canons of this Church we describe, should hinder Marriage betwixt all the Kindred of the child that is Christened and their own; what streightness must these conceits cause in the marrying of a son or daughter, whole Neighbourhoods necessarily contracting such Spiritual Affinities by doing Christian offices one for another? The plot where­of could be nothing else but to drain mens purses of mony for the procu­ring of dispensations from unnecessary Laws and restrictions.

The Number also of Holy-days may be so many, and the observation of them so superstitiously and so strictly commanded, that it may be an un­speakable burthen to the generality of the people, who live by their labour, and must starve when they cannot work. But the design is the same as before. For multitude and frequency of Transgressours brings in Mulcts and Fees to the Ecclesiastick Officers; though the smallest penalties must be very cruel that are wrung from poor Labourers that have but from hand to mouth.

2. Again, suppose a considerable number of men were tied up to the Abstinence from flesh all the days of their lives, by a religious or rather Superstitious Rule they are under, in such sort that death were more eli­gible unto them then to tast of Flesh, by reason of that hold their Vow had taken upon their consciences: What an Iron yoke would this be upon so many Christian Souls? How moped and frantick must such Monastick severities of diet, of lodging and watching make several of them that are entangled in the slavish fetters of this Babylonish Captivity? For which there is no pretence, but that they are so good-natured that they are resol­ved to merit not only for themselves but for others, and that many such Rivulets concurring together may fill up that Treasure of Merits which the Church must have the keeping of, to sell at a good rate to those Vir­gins that want oyl to their Lamps.

This is the publick Fraud: but the private is a certain Hypocrisie in these men, whereby they often shake off the indispensable yoke of Christ and the Rule of his Word, by over-valuing of, or craftily hiding them­selves under, the self-chosen Sanctity of these Antichristian Rules. And a further Mischief is, that the conceit of meriting thus for themselves and others puffs them up with pride and insolence, and makes them thereby more abominable then they who are under no such peculiar Rules or Orders of Religion.

3. But there is another Abstinence, which urged with like severity and strictness would be equally burthensome to the generality of men, if not more, and is an Institute that seems expresly contrary to the mind of the 1 Tim. 4. Apostle, who makes it a Character of a Church Apostatizing from the purity of Christianity, as he does the other also, namely, that of Abstinence from meats; but this is The forbidding to marry. Which [Page 72] prohibition is not only against the express Law of God, but of Nature also, who, unless in some few, (who may have a peculiar gift of Chastity) is a severe exacter of this Tribute to the common upholding of Man­kind. And therefore with them Marriage cannot be well omitted, without very high penalties inflicted by that Nemesis that is interwoven in the very Law of Nature thus transgressed, which I will leave to Phy­sicians more accurately to discourse.

Wherefore, I say, to make prohibitions against Marriage, suppose to all Priests and Deacons, and to an infinite number of Religious Orders of men besides, restrained to the Rules of a Monastick life, and to make such Vows as these equally if not more sacred then the very bonds of Wedlock, would be upon Christendom as Antichristian a yoke as almost any Servitude whatsoever can be devised; and would put men and women, that were seriously set to observe it, but surprized in the undertaking it, (by either superstitious menaces, or fraudulent glozings and promises) into such Agonies of Mind and afflictions and distempers of Body, that the burthen would be unsupportable.

4. But yet this designe would be sure to be driven on in a Church rancidly Antichristian, it being of so great advantage for the Ecclesiastical Powers. For there being nothing there devised with faithfulness, but for the Interest of the Church; let them that are ineptly serious under these Mo­nastick or Coelibate-Vows be pricked as much as they will, as long as there will be held no breach of this Obligation but by taking of a Wife, swarms of men will come under the profession, who becoming in such a peculiar Religious way the members, or rather vowed Subjects, of the Anti­christian High-Priest, are thereby really the Military strength of his Hie­rarchical Empire, and being either hardly or leudly brought up, may at a dead lift serve his designs in a more carnal or secular warfare.

But in the interim, such of this Note as are made more mad by Solitude and Superstition may of their own accord, or by virtue of their Vow of Obedience to their Superiours, being called thereto, approve themselves forward and zealous Assasins for the stabbing or porsoning of Kings, or dispatching any one that appears considerable against the Interest of this Church of Apostasies. Such a dangerous brood of Serpents and Vipers may crawl out into the world from the solitary dust and shades of these Monastick caverns, who may embitter the people, and poison the hearts of subjects against their Sovereigns, and, like the African Jaculi, strike through the breasts of Princes in a sudden surprizal, and spill their Sacred bloud upon the ground.

5. But this use is more remote, and lies next to the bottom. That is more overly and exposed to sight, That the profession of so hard a task as totally to abstain from the greatest pleasures of the Flesh, upon a design of a more certain merit of the joyes of Heaven, and withall to be so clad as makes a shew of being mortified to all the delights of this world, upon a firm expectation of those future contents in that to come, cannot but work much upon the simple and credulous, as if these were the most serious and earnest soliciters of Religion that one can hope to meet withall, and that that Church must undoubtedly be true of whom they [Page 73] profess themselves the devoted Members: and therefore being very numerous, and at leisure singly to assault every one, they would prove the most apt Instruments to captivate or detain the world under this An­tichristian power we describe, that any one can imagine.

6. The multiplied Convents therefore of such Angelical Fraternities, how can they but be so many Fish-ponds digged out for the draining of the Wealth of the respective Nations and Provinces wherein they are made? where every one will be forward to help them in common that pretend to possess nothing in particular, nor to use any thing but for mere necessity or for Pious uses, they being so wholy castrated and mortified to the world. But professing a life so Seraphical, and gaining to themselves even a glory with men beyond what other Atchievements of the world will easily procure, their Convents may prove honourable Harbours of retirement even to the Nobler sort of Persons who are otherwise misfortunate in their affairs, or whose birth exceeds the proportion of their riches. Which Accom­modations so largely extended is such a binding Interest with all sorts of people, that it is no small establishment, according to humane prudence, to the safety of this Antichristian Polity we speak of.

7. To all which you may briefly adde, (for I would not be over-large) that so general a Profession of Coelibate in this degenerate Church tends much to the enriching thereof, it naturally falling to her share to be heir, these devoted Members of her necessarily dying without any Issue they may own. To say nothing of what monies may come into the Holy Pontifical Purse, when it is a thing of moment to dispense with any ones Vow of Coelibate.

These may be the Self-ends that may be aimed at by this Antichristian prohibition of Marriage, against the Law of God and the directions of the Holy Apostles of Christ Jesus.

8. But the Mischiefs which I shall briefly intimate are manifold. For them that are surprized in their Vows, and seriously resolved, but na­turally unfit, to keep them, there attends them a tedious servitude under indiscreet or at least severe Governours, and an irksom and sickly solitude. But as for others, the issue is foul and noisom in them, even to the turning of this false Church into a true Sodom and a cage of unclean birds.

For this Hypocritical profession of an Angelical Chastity with them will but be the mother of Adultery, Sodomie and Fornication, and of the bloudy and remorseless murthering of poor Infants as soon as they come out of the womb, or moretimely if they can rightly hit on it.

To which you may also adde the weakening and unpeopling of Chri­stendom, and making it less able to oppose their forein enemies: This false Ecclesiastical Polity, which I am now a-delineating, being more so­licitous how without controll to domineer and tyrannize over the Lay­party, then to secure the common Christianity from the Inrodes and In­vasions of Unbelievers. But, as our Saviour said of old, The Thief cometh not but to steal and to kill and to destroy; and therefore it is no wonder if he have no care nor forecast for the safety and preservation of the Sheep.

9. But there is yet an harder burthen that Superstition may invent, and be either added to some of the Monastick Orders, or imposed as Penance, [Page 74] or voluntarily inflicted on a mans self out of a blind intoxicating zeal, the practice being applauded by this not Mother, but Stepdame Church, and it is in a word Flagellation or Whipping a mans self cruelly and bloudily for a Religious satisfaction, or else for Merits. A custom so harsh and sal­vage, that it is more befitting the Altar of Diana Taurica then the Tem­ple of Christ, and has no precedent unless in those Religions which were of the Devil's own setting up, whose sport was his Tyrannizing over poor despised Mankind. Such a Pastour as this is not onely a clipper but a flayer of his Sheep, and exquisitely opposite to his Spirit who promised his followers that his yoke should be easie, and his burthen light.

10. But such hardships as these, as they make a shew in the flesh, so they tend nothing to the right chastising and subduing of the corruptions of the spirit, and are but like the whipping the Cart and letting the Horses go free. That chastisement that reaches to amendment of life, and the bringing the Inward man under the obedience of Christ, is a resolute denial of acting any of the suggestions of the flesh. This will wound the sinning principle more home, and will really heal the Soul in the conclusion. But the other cannot well be countenanced but upon an Hypocritical affectation of a pom­pous kind of Severity, wherein this false Church may ostentate her own power over the minds and bodies of men, and take a secret joy in the relish of this wonderful Empire she has got over the World, even to a vile kind of bondage and vassalage.

But in the mean time such American cruelties as these may well hazzard the life or health of the abused Penitents, and will not fail to bring a very loathsom reproach upon the School of Christ, making it look like salvage Paganism and the Synagogue of the Devil.

11. That also were a kind of Paganical injury put upon deceived Souls, and a great wearisomness and drudgery to the Body, to be ingaged in long Pilgrimages to salute this or that Saint's Image for better reconcili­ation. But the Offerings tend to the enriching of that Church, and the Resort of Pilgrims to the enriching of the Town, and thereby to the conciliating of the affections of the Towns-men to so gainful a Religion.

But in the mean time the Pilgrims affairs at home are left at sixes and sevens, his Children to the sole government of his Wife, and his Wife to the oversight of the Ghostly Father, and what other humane Visitants shall put in for her comfort in her Husband's absence.

To Pilgrimages might be added Jubilees at the great Metropolis of this Apostatized Church, which though not so frequent, yet at their ce­lebration would be frequented from the remotest parts of Christendom with multitudes of devout Strangers, upon belief of pardon of their sins for so holy a voiage. But the end and inconveniences of this Solemnity would be much the same with those of Pilgrimages, saving that this is more peculiarly designed for the replenishing of the High-priest's coffers.

12. It were an endless business to reckon up all the manners of Super­stitious molestations which might be invented for the bodies of deceived and inslaved Christians, under the pretence of fulfilling the Laws of Chri­stianity and of the Church: Such as Going a considerable way bare-footed and bare-headed; The putting themselves into cold congeling Springs, the [Page 75] water gushing upon their bare breasts; The rolling themselves in beds of Ice and Snow; The creeping upon their bare knees on flinty Causeys to the cutting of their skin and flesh, and making all run with bloud; The wearing of hair­cloth next their skin, and a girdle of nails and needles; with many such like tragical extravagancies, concerning which I have nothing new to take notice of, but that they are quite contrary to the ingenuous Spirit that breaths in true Christianity, and (as I said before) do too much assimilate the Religion of Christians to the bloudy Superstitions of barbarous Pagans.

CHAP. XX.

1. The Burthen of afflictive Opinions. 2. The distracting puzzles of a Soul intangled with multifarious Superstitions and Conceits. 3. The illaqueations of Religious Vows. 4. Intanglements arising from a Su­perstitious trust in certain surmised virtues in the Mass. 5. Vexatious Scrupulosities concerning the Intention of the Priest in administring the Sacraments.

1. BUT to let pass these incommodations of the Body; Christianity may be made very uneasie and uncomfortable by several rackings and distractings of the Mind by unnecessary Obligations of the Conscience by entangling Conceits and Opinions: which also being innumerable, it were to no purpose to go about to reckon up all. But some few obvious ones I shall venture to name; such as The supposed duty of worshipping the Cross, the Images or Reliques of Saints; The conceit of communion of Merits; The intanglement of Vows; A superstitious trust in the Eucha­rist, and in the power of the Priest's Intention in that and other Sacra­ments; The belief of the necessity of Auricular Confession, and of the Assent to every of the smallest points of Doctrine held by the Church, though there be no footsteps thereof in the Scripture, nor any ground in Reason; The excruciating fear of a worse then Pagan Purgatory; and finally the necessity of Penal Satisfaction and Merit.

A man may pronounce these words without blistering his tongue; but if he once imbibe them as Principles obliging the Conscience, and be super­stitiously intangled in them, he will sleep as uneasily by reason of the un­settledness of his Mind, as if his bed were strowed with chopped hairs or pulverized glass. There is no redemption of the quiet of his Spirit but by taking of a lusty draught of that Soporiferous potion that will make him repose himself wholly on the faith of his Priest, to say and to doe just as he will have him without any disquisition or reasoning, and so to meta­morphose himself from a rational cautious Man into a mere passive Ass for the false Prophet to ride upon.

2. But if he were seriously set to promote his own happiness upon the account of his own judgment and diligence, how would he be distracted in the multiplicity of the Objects of his Devotion? For if it be so merito­rious to visit the Shrine of one Saint, it will be the neglect of his own Sal­vation to omit another. And if the Saints be so ambitious as to be pleased by [Page 76] our Religious Invocation of them, the invoking one may it not bring upon us the displeasure of the rest who are pretermitted? And if I make one of them my Patron, why may I not suspect that I have thereby made the rest mine Enemies by slighting them, were they thus desirous of Divine Ho­nours as we conceit them?

And as concerning their holy Reliques that are offered to be kissed by the devout, what pangs of conscience may there arise for our not cordially com­mitting our Lips to the meaner and more unlovely sort of them? How can a man sleep quietly being stung with the sense of so irreligious a piece of in­civility, suppose it were but to an holy foul Handkerchief or some other old yellow linen?

There being so mighty power also in an exorcized Cross for conser­vation of health both of Soul and Body, and for the driving away every evil Phantasm, (and the like reason there is of Reliques) what conflicts of mind must this cause in the seriously Religious, who, having been able, has not all this time purchased such a safeguard to himself and his house; or, being pinched betwixt the sense of poverty and quick urgencies of De­votion, cannot resolve whether he had best purchase it or no, or when he has, is at a loss how many times a day he should crouch and creep to it, to draw that secret virtue from it which was lodged therein by an holy En­chantment or Exorcization of the Priest?

The same reason there is of Holy-water (how often to be sprinkled) and of Exorcized Boughs, and the like. And for the Communion of Me­rit by being incorporated into this or that holy Sodality or Fraternity, how anxious would it make a man of his choice, that he may be best supplied, and how ambitious of entring into as many as he can?

3. And for the Entanglement of Vows, how easie were it for men to be caught in them, as a Woodcock in a Net? What an harsh and slavish thing is it to be under the Vow of unlimited Obedience to one that I am not sure but may command me (under the pretence of an allowance from an infallible Power) to act what in my own conscience is against the Law of God, of Humanity, and of Nature? What various occasions also there may be of making sundry rash Vows, according to several Passions, Exi­gences and Importunities, in a Church where they are so much in fa­shion, and the performance tends to the enriching thereof, (as also the being absolved from the Vow made, by special dispensation) I will not here insist upon; for these things are infinite.

4. There might arise great incumbrances of thought also from a Super­stitious trust in the virtue of the Eucharist abused for such ends as it was never intended for. It is ordinarily called Mass. And if it had such virtue and efficacy as this Church would pretend, as of the delivering of Souls from punishment in the other state, and for prosperous success in this; for safe journeying by Sea or by Land, on horse-back or on foot; for Women that are barren, big, or bringing forth; for Fevers and Tooth-aches; for Hogs and Hens; for recovery of lost goods, and the like; what multifarious mis­givings of mind and anxieties of conscience would issue from thence in those who more carefully considered these virtues and privileges?

Wherefore where it is believed that by the power of those Five words of [Page 77] Consecration, Christ does condescend to give himself into the hands of the Priest bodily and personally, to be lifted up and offered to his Father, for the succour and safety of the Good mans Sheep or Poultry or other meaner con­cerns; how can the said honest man be quiet in his thoughts, believing the ir­resistible importunity of so stupendious a Sacrifice, and the sure effect there­of, (which will be more certain in matters of more consequence, Are you not Matth. 10. 31. of more value then Sparrows?) if he have not his recourse to the Priest as far as his purse-strings will stretch (and his conscience will be often racked and stretched to save his purse-strings) upon every occasion of the sickness of his cattel, the delay of his wife's belly, in the danger of child-breeding or child-bearing, in his or any of his family's travelling, and the like, for fear he be accessory to any of those misfortunes that may befall them for want of timely applying himself to so certain means of prevention; and if the miscarriages prove Tragical, fansy his neglect the sin of Murther?

Nay how can men with a good conscience abstain from spending them­selves to their very skin, in laying out money for Masses for all their friends and kindred, and then make strict inquiry amongst the poor that may be neglected in that point? Or at least how can they shun being miserably dis­tracted betwixt the fear of impoverishing themselves, and the compassion they bear to them that they fansy may be tormented in the other world for want of some such relief?

Such superstitious surmizes as these will indeed bring grist to the mill in plenty for them that infuse them into the heads of the people; but will grind and grate so hard against the believers of such principles, that they must live very ill at ease under this load of a false and adulterate Religion.

5. Which will again be hugely increased by another superadvenient Incertainty, and will cause a greater dissettlement and wavering in all such deliberations, where their propensions would otherwise carry them with more confidence to the succours of Religion and the Assistence of her Sacra­ments. For supposing their Effect depended on the Intention of the Priest, our own both cost and devotion were utterly lost, if he out of malice or remissness should have his Intention diverted from the work. Which though it tend immensely to make the Priest great and formidable and a little God upon Earth, as having the power, if not of damning, at least of making the Salvation doubtful of as many as depend upon the sincere exercise of his function, in Baptizing, administring the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and in absolving them from their sins, (which that he may discharge faithfully, men will be obliged not onely to give him his dues or wages, but to honour him by all manner of observance, lest he should doe them or theirs some everlasting remediless mischief;) yet it were a plague and fret of mind beyond all expression to the poor credulous Laiety, that were made to believe that God had put the power out of his own hand, and unless his Substitute would and intended it should be so, that the Almighty himself could not implant one into the body of the Church, nor the party implanted partake of the grace signifi'd by the Lord's Supper, nor receive express Absolution for his sins, though all things upon his own pious desire were externally administred by one professedly in holy Orders. Which must needs perplex the Religionist with a perpetual uncertainty of his own and others Salvations.

CHAP. XXI.

1. Of the necessity of Anniversary Confession. 2. Of Sacerdotal Absolu­tion. 3. What is meant by Binding and Loosing, and to what manner of persons Remission of sins is committed. 4. Erasmus his gloss upon that Text of St. John. 5. As also Hugo Grotius his, whence Auricular Confession and Absolution prove groundless. 6. A voluntary Con­fession and in general useful in the Church in some circumstances, and in order to particular Absolution from the Priest. 7. As also a more particular Confession, if voluntary. 8. The Self-ends of this Church in exacting so punctual a Confession from men. 9, 10. The slavery and Mischief of such kind of Confessions. 11. The infinite vexation to the consciencious and ingenuous from the obtruding upon them incredible and impossible Opinions.

1. ABsolution puts me in mind of the pretence of necessity of Con­fessing once a year at least (and that to the Priest of the Parish) all a mans sins, not onely actually committed, but the very purposes, de­sires, or propensions to the committing of them. Which might rightly be called Carnificina conscientiarum indeed, and is as base a piece of ser­vitude, and to as ill purpose, as if that all the modest Maids and grave Ma­trons in the Parish should strip themselves stark naked, and in that manner humble themselves before their Priest once a year: Which would look like a piece of unsupportable Tyranny.

And yet this extorted Confession upon pain of Damnation not to con­ceal any thing, is not the stripping of a man to his naked body, but the stripping him of his body, that they may see his naked Heart, and so by the force of this Superstition break into those secrets which it is the onely due privilege of God Almighty to be acquainted with, who is the onely rightful [...], and can neither receive any hurt by seeing the most inward motions of his own handy-work, nor will, knowing where­of we are made, doe us any; but will judge with equity in all things, nor will despise the work of his own hands.

2. The pretence for this Confession is the necessity of Absolution by the Priest, which if a man, through his own neglect, have not, he must be undoubtedly damned. But that any such Absolution is necessary, unless upon the case of just Excommunication, cannot be made out by either Scripture or Reason. For when it is said to Peter, to the Church, or to the Apostles, Whatsoever ye bind in earth shall be bound in heaven, or, Matth. 18. 18. Whatsoever ye loose in earth shall be loosed in heaven; and, Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, Joh. 20. 23. they are retained; It is impossible the meaning should be, Remit or Re­tain, Bind or Loose, whether right or wrong, I will ratifie all above, what­ever the Successors of my Apostles shall doe, nor shall any remission of sins be ratified without them, though they succeed onely in the external pro­fession, and partake not of the same Spirit with their Predecessors. Where­fore [Page 79] so large and accurate a Commission cannot belong to any but either to the Apostles themselves, or to men of a true Apostolical spirit, who are entirely of one mind with God, and therefore can doe onely what is right.

It being so rare therefore and so difficult a thing to find such a Confessor, it is an argument such an Absolution is not necessary: For neither God nor Nature are wanting in necessaries. But the Binding by Excommu­nication, and the Loosing answering thereto, is of another consideration, and concerns the external Oeconomy of the Church.

3. But to speak truly, That phrase of Binding and Loosing, above cited out of Scripture, seems not so much to respect Persons as Things. For it is [...], and [...], not [...] and [...] or [...], whatsoever, not whomsoever, and reflects upon the known phrases of the Jews, who called that which was declared unlawful [...] ligatum, but that which was allowed as lawful they called [...] solutum. And therefore that pas­sage does not respect Absolution from sin, but the making of Laws and Institutes for the Church by the Apostles, which Christ says he would ratifie in Heaven.

But that other place (Joh. 20.) of remitting and retaining mens sins does undoubtedly respect Absolution from sin. But mark to what manner of men this power is committed. As my Father sent me, so send I you, (now Christ was sent full of grace and of the power of the Holy Ghost) and therefore he breathing upon them, says, Receive the Holy Ghost, and did most certainly impart it to them. And thereupon is derived upon them that authority, Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

4. Whence Erasmus excellently upon the place; Qui ex his posterio­ribus cristas erigunt, & Tyrannidem quandam sibi vendicant, cur non meminerunt eorum quae mox praecesserunt? Toti turgemus mundano Spi­ritu, & tamen placemus nobis authoritate commissâ remittendi aut retinendi peccata. Tuere authoritatem, sed cura ut adsit Spiritus per quem Christus tribuit authoritatem. Which implies that where this Spirit is not, the Au­thority is not; and that a man cannot rationally be either comforted by the remission, or dismay'd by the retaining of sin, when it is from such Ghostly Fathers as are devoid of the Spirit of Christ.

5. Moreover Hugo Grotius does soberly and with judgment, I con­ceive, interpret this place, of Remission of sins by Baptism, or Reception again into the Communion of the Church, if any be lapsed after Baptism; but the Retaining of sins to be Non-admittance of these into the Church who are not yet penitent Believers, or the Excommunicating them out of it upon a lapse worthy so great a Censure. But what is this to an Anni­versary Absolution which must necessitate and squeeze out such an unne­cessary and unreasonable Confession? St. James saith, Confess your sins one to another: whose style was ill directed, if it had been such an indispen­sable duty to confess unto the Priest, and in such a manner as has been de­scribed, so frequent, so punctual.

This Anniversary Provolution therefore of a Penitent upon the floor at the feet of a formal Confessor, with eyes and hands devoutly lifted up to­ward [Page 80] him sitting in his majesty, is no part of true Christian Discipline, but (as Erasmus has well intimated) a piece of Antichristian Tyranny; it being a thing very loathsome and burthensome to be bound to unbosome a mans self to him of whose judgment, friendship or fidelity we can have no as­surance; and very intolerable to be forced to speak of such things as we do not allow our selves to think of, and that before such as we may probably [...]spect will conceive some sinful pleasure by the discourse of them.

6. The Injunction therefore of such a punctual Confession has no ground at all in either Scripture or Reason. For neither did the Apostles nor Christ himself require any such particular and complete enumeration of mens sins, nor left in charge with their Successors to doe so. And it is sufficient more generally to confess them with a serious profession of de­testing and resolution of leaving them: wherein if the Penitent will dis­semble, he may as well dissemble the number and circumstances of his sins. So little pretence can there be from hence of this Injunction.

But if he profess his sorrow and resolution of amendment, and by rea­son of some weakness or melancholy cannot lay such fast hold upon the Promise of remission upon unfeigned Repentance, without this visible and palpable seal set thereto, of Sacerdotal Absolution; I do not see but a Priest anointed with the Spirit of Christ, and full of holy compassion to a penitent member of his Church, may rightfully and profitably, by that Authority which was derived upon the Apostles and their Successours, and by that divine power that assists the sincere exercise of his Ministery, seal to him the Remission of his sins, by pronouncing his Absolution, and so restore to peace his disquieted Mind; his sins being as certainly par­doned as if Christ himself in person had absolved him, he in such a case as this assuredly ratifying in Heaven whatever is here transacted upon Earth. Which I suppose Grotius himself will not deny, nor conceive at all clashing with his interpretation of S. John, he not pretending those he mentions the only occasions of remitting or retaining of sins, but the most notable.

7. And as this Voluntary Confession in general to the Priest in order to the Penitent's Absolution is usefull and commendable; so likewise a Voluntary unbosoming a mans self in a more particular way to such an one as he could trust, and can presume fit and able for his office, to the end that he may have a more perfect understanding of the state of his Soul, and thereby administer more sutable and effectual counsel, is a thing questi­onless of very good consequence.

8. But to extort from every Believer every year, or oftener, a punctuall enumeration of all his transgressions in thought, word and deed, with all their circumstances, were but a vile and disingenuous pretence of insinua­ting into all mens bosoms, for the getting out their secrets, of which the Priest may make his private advantage, or communicate to the Church­politicians such matters as will tend to the strengthening of their distinct Interest, which is, The conserving or promoting that Honour, Wealth and Power, which they affect in the World.

And truely by this means the secrets not of this man or that woman, but of whole Families and Cities, nay of whole Provinces and Kingdoms, [Page 81] and of all Christendom, may flow together into that common Cistern, or, if you will, Sea of Ecclesiastick Intelligence: which is the very Eye of Action, and the Soul of Conduct in all affairs.

9. But though this would be a sweet morsel to this Pseudo-Clergy we are now describing, it would be sour sauce to the Laiety; not only in that it is a foul badge of an inevitable bondage upon them, to be constrained upon pain of Damnation at least once by the year to cast themselves down upon the ground before them that are so many fathom sunk into the Earth themselves, and to reproach themselves by ripping up their own faults accurately and punctually before such as they have no assurance of either their Candour, Judgment or Friendship, (and for a man to balk his own Priest in this case would be to brand him, and so make one of his chiefest neighbours his greatest enemy:) I say, besides the external slavery of the business, and the doing of a Ceremonie which may goe so much against the hair even with good and ingenuous spirits, a man may be ob­noxious to very great dangers and mischiefs.

For he that has the office of hearing men thus accurately and necessarily accusing themselves once a year at least, has a greater opportunity of injustly defaming them (by some tacit insinuations or somewhat ex­presser notices) then is fit to be put into the hand of any man that is not a Saint upon Earth: of which sort we suppose in this Polity we speak of extremely few.

10. Interrogatories also from such Confessours may, in greatest likeli­hood, prove to young men and women Lessons of sin and lust; and the knowing of the secrets of Families, the seeds of infinite contentions be­twixt Neighbours, and also betwixt those of the same Families. For it will be a hard thing for those that by this Shriving of persons know much of their Interest or disinterest, to hold their itching fingers from acting or intermedling in their affairs, or their other prurient parts from the soliciting the Chastity of such parties as they find hopefull and com­ing; or not to be officious Intelligencers or Game-finders for such as pur­sue the pleasures of Venus.

Besides that the vainness of their Penances, which yet must needs look like the right value of the Sin, may harden men into a conceit that there is no great hurt in sinning, and teach them to esteem the trans­gressing of the Law of God as a thing slight, cheap and trivial. Whereas if the only Penance of sin were the pain of forsaking it, urged upon them from the certain expectation of that most direfull Judgment to come; though no other condition but that were annexed to Absolution; it would make men more sensibly feel the weight of sin, and make them make the greater speed to get from under the burthen of it. But to draw to an end.

11. That also will pinch very hard, especially upon the more Intellectu­al or Rational complexions, namely, To be bound in their Conscience upon pain of Damnation to hold whatsoever the Church professes to be true, while she in the mean time obtrudes such things upon mens belief as have no ground neither in Reason nor Scripture. For even in things that are disputable either way it is the fate of some men notwithstanding to be [Page 82] in a manner invincibly inclined to conceive this part to be true rather then the other. What struggling and conflicting therefore must he under­goe to hold to the Authority of the Church against such strong and fa­tal sentiments of his own Mind?

But if the Church should be thus Dogmatical not only in things that may, according to the sense of the generality of men, be either way, but conclude and require the belief of such things as are point-blank against either Scripture or Reason, and are impossible according to the Faculties of all men, who are unprejudiced, to be true; as, That one and the same Body may be wholy and entirely in a thousand places at once, and at a thousand miles distance betwixt all those places; That we may worship a graven Image, and the like; how unevenly must these conditions of Salvation sit upon the spirit of him that is not a mere sot? What recipro­cations of belief and misbelief, of hope and despair of Salvation must such an one be tortured with, that holds that his share in eternall bliss depends upon the hearty belief of the truth of the Church in all things, when what she propounds, according to all his Faculties, is not only unlikely, but impossible to be true?

CHAP. XXII.

1. The dreadfull Figment of Purgatory. 2. That by this affrightfull Fable the whole Moles of Superstition hitherto described is made in­finitely more weighty and burthensome. 3. The Antichristian Doctrine of Christ his Satisfaction reaching only to the freeing us from the Guilt of sin, not the Punishment. 4. The multifarious drudgery and slavery this Doctrine and that Figment of Purgatory casts men into. 5. A confutation of the said Doctrine and Figment. 6. That it is impossible that the sincerely-minded in this life should find either Hell or Purgatory in the other. 7. That there is no ground for this Antichristian Purgatory in either Scripture or Fathers. 8. The gross Fraud and grand Mischief of this Fiction. 9. The conclusion of the description of this second Limb of Antichristianism.

1. AND now in the last place of all, to make up the full weight of this Antichristian yoke and burthen, suppose there were added the fear of a more then Pagan Purgatory, as I said; that is to say, Suppose the Church should determine That no Souls, unless such as are absolutely pure and perfect in this life, (of which rank there are either really none, or if there were, they would not be so immodest as easily to account them­selves so) should upon their departure out of this Body goe into any ease­full or blessed condition, but into a state little different from the torments of Hell, saving that they are not perpetual, but may be for many and many years, unless some care be taken to relieve them and rescue them who are in this sad and dismal place: which I suppose they would set out with all extremity of horrour to the rude people, telling them of many sad and [Page 83] ghastly Apparitions, who with wan countenances and mournfull tones have made known their extreme distress in this Infernal house of Cor­rection, and have implored their assistance in praying and paying for them as much as they could, that they might find ease.

2. Nor would they forbear the exaggerating this unsupportable cala­mity by all imaginable Mythologie: as namely, That the Souls of men were seen in a Vision, by some holy man of God or other, to be tortured in wonderfull manners; some standing up to the knees, others to the navell, othersome to the arme-holes, others to the very chin, in a stream of fire and brimstone: that others are run through with rods of Iron, and roasted against the fire like Geese upon a spit, the foul infernal Fiends in the mean time some blowing up the coals with their black mouths, or, to save their own breath, with a large pair of brazen bel­lows, others lading up the grease that fries out of these roasted Souls and pouring it upon them again scalding hot: that others are scourged with whips of red-hot wires, others fried in frying-pans, others racked and turned round upon a wheel full of hot burning hooks: that others had their bowells torn out with the fiery crooked stings of huge over­grown Toads and Serpents; and lastly, that others are put into vessels of hot scalding metalls: These dismal chambers of Death re-echoing in the mean time from their hollow roof the mournfull howlings and hide­ous shriekings of these tormented Ghosts.

These or such like terrible fancies of things did they but imbue the minds of the people withall, the belief of them certainly could not but screw the whole-rack of this burthensome Superstition, which I have been all this time describing, to the highest pitch that the wit of man can invent; nor could the flames of this Purgatory fail to prove that very Fire in which these slaves and vassals of the Mystical Pharaoh and his hard Task-masters (I mean that Apostate High-priest with the rest of his adulterate Hierarchy which I am delineating) should droyl and sweat in, for the finishing their imposed tales of brick to build these sons of pride their Pyramids and Palaces.

3. Wherefore being stript and spoiled of all these comfortable succours that the true Faith in Christ Jesus does afford men, and being made to believe that the Passion and Satisfaction of Christ takes away onely the Guilt of Mortal sins, not the eternal Punishment; but yet, which is a great favour, that by the power of the Keys this eternal Punishment is turned into temporary, which every one is bound to undergoe, and satisfie either in this life or that which is to come, and that either in his own person or by some other, that is, He is bound to doe or suffer such things himself, or others for him, as the Church shall appoint or accept for satisfaction; which also is to be understood of venial sins; and lastly, that the spots and filth of sin inhering in our Nature must wholy be purged out by Satisfactions and penalties, which if it be not fully done in this life, it must be perfected by the expiation of Fire in the other: I say, if the people should be deluded by such Antichristian Doctrine as this, and have the sweet and easy yoke of Christ taken off from their neck, (which consists onely in sincerity, to the best of our power, to live according to the plain [Page 84] and indispensable Law of Christ, and wherein we fail, to be assured that both the Guilt and external Penalty is taken away through the intercession of him who is our▪ Advocate with the Father, and a perpetual propitia­tion for our sins) but instead of this easy and ingenuous service, should be fettered and held fast in that Aegyptian bondage we have described; into what a world of slavery and drudgery would mistaken mortalls be haled?

4. How would they be forced to bestir themselves by these hard Task-masters! what trotting from Church to Church, from Shrine to Shrine! what howling and muttering before this Saint's Image and that Saint's Image! what knocking of breasts, and kissing of pavements! what fastings and watchings, not for correction, but satisfaction! what long stretching Pilgrimages from Country to Country, and from one end of the Earth to the other! what prayers and oblations to make the Image, or at least the Priest, to smile! what kissing of unsavoury Reliques! what Vows of Coelibate, and Abstinence from meats! what Flagella­tions and Excoriations of the Body! what Nundinations of Pardons and Indulgences! what awe and servility to the Priest! what strict observation of Fasts and Festivalls! what vexatious Scrupulosities about needless opinions! what abject postures and rufull looks in forced Con­fessions! what covering themselves with Religious habits! what im­prisoning and confining to Nunneries and Cloisters, to Solitudes and Hermitages! what creeping of dying men into Monks Cowls, and rowling in beds of Ashes! what besprinkling with Holy-water! what Anointing and besmearing with enchanted Oyls! what hastening to enroll themselves in this or that holy Fraternity, to share in their merits! what shaving and paring away of Childrens portions for hired Masses and Prayers, to sing the dying mans Soul out of this imaginary Purgatory! In fine, what endless circuits of drudgery and labour of body and mind does this Aegyptian Tyrant put his slaves unto under the lash of this tor­turing conceit, ‘That the Death of Christ is not for the Remission of Punishment, but of Guilt; and that he that would goe to Heaven must travel thither upon his own proper cost and charges, must satisfie in his own person for his faults and corruptions in such ways as this adulterous Church has prescribed!’

Which is no method of freeing Souls from the pains of Purgatory, but of the inslaving them (as I have said) to a worse then Aegyptian bondage, and condemning them to gather stubble and make bricks, to work and drudge to hold up the wealth and magnificency of this imperi­ous Pharaoh and his cruell Task-masters. Which is a Servitude as abomi­nable and Antichristian as can be invented or imagined. For it does ab­solutely change the condition and nature of Christian Religion (then which there is nothing more free and ingenuous, and more professedly op­posed to the yoke of the Mosaical Law) into a poor, pitifull, ignorant and servile Pedagogie, and makes it not only exceed the burthen of Moses, but (which I cannot too often inculcate) the very bondage of Aegypt it self.

5. But though this Figment of Purgatory would be a very profitable [Page 85] invention for the increasing of the wealth and power of this Pseudo-Clergie, and bring vast revenues to their Church; there being a like fear of it and desire to be rid of it, in Princes and Peasants, in Gentle and simple; yet it cannot be denied by any, but such as are past shame, but that it is a mere Figment, and has no grounds of truth at all in it, nay is contrary to what is most certainly true.

For it is assuredly true, and any good Christian may feel it to be so, that Christ has satisfied as well in respect of Punishment as Guilt; and it is perfect Non-sense, that the sincerely-minded should be justified by the merits of Christ's Passion and the excellencie of his Person, (he being that innocent Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world) that is to say, in a Forensal sense be esteemed as Just, and yet be handled or treated as Sinners. For it is as if a man should be acquitted and yet puni­shed for the same crime, at the same Court, then which nothing is more foolish or incongruous.

Wherefore it is manifest that there can no external punishment abide the Sincere soul after this life, (for I cannot pronounce any thing in the behalf of the unsincere, but that Hell it self is their portion,) no fire, no whips of Furies or Devils to afflict them, no infernal Bailifs or horrid Pursivants of Purgatory to arrest them; but they may pass free through all guards and scouts of the invisible Regions, and not one dare to offer to molest them.

6. And that he that was sincere-hearted in this life, and did not onely believe in Christ, but to the best of his power and skill followed his Pre­cepts, and had a real enmity against all the appearances of sin whensoever they assaulted him, nor could be overtaken or overcome by the impor­tunity of his Body without sorrow, regret or indignation; that this man should carry in himself any tormenting Hell or Purgatory in his free­dom from the body, is a thing impossible and unconceivable.

For he being freed from that with which he was so often forced to tugg, and in the midst of his greatest conflicts his life being comfortable to him through the sense of his own sincerity and through the assurance of the Love of God in Christ Jesus, what can Death be to such a man but Life from the dead? He that in patience can possess his soul in a prison, cannot fail to enjoy himself in the fresh aire; and he that can walk up­right in fetters, may easily, if he will, dance for joy when he is out of them. So little fear is there of any such Mormo's or Bug-bears to the sincere Christian when he has passed out of this mortal life.

7. Some pretence indeed they may have for Purgatory from that pas­sage in S. Paul, If any mans work be burnt, he shall suffer loss, but him­self 1 Cor. 3. 1 [...]. shall be saved; but yet so, as by fire: which is the only place in Scrip­ture which makes any show for them. But yet if it were meant of a Purgatory-fire after this life, it will not at all serve their purpose, as neither those several passages of the Fathers do, which seem to make this way; which would be too prolix a business to enter into. But the interpre­tation which Scaliger and Hugo Grotius give of the place is so genuine and natural and so little inferring any such Purgatory-fire, that this ground will prove very lubricous to the builders upon it. For [...] and [Page 84] [...] [Page 85] [...] [Page 86] [...] Scaliger and Grotius expound thus, That he shall escape, but so as out of the hot fire, it being nothing but a proverbial expression signi­fying the great danger he will be in. [...] est prever­biale, ad significationem summi periculi. So that the sense is nothing but this, He will hardly escape the dreadfull judgment of God.

As for Origen's [...], and the like expres­sions of the Fathers, they will never establish such a Purgatory as these Masters of mischief would erect in the Universe, who make sure that no man may doe any thing meritorious in this condition, nor make any pro­gress in grace and holiness, for all the very Fire is called Purgative. For this would beat down the price of Pardons and Indulgences, make men careless of hiring Masses for the dead, and take away all that costly solli­citude from friends for their deceased kindred, if they were conceived to be in a capacity by their own demeanour and carefull management of their affairs in the other world to wind themselves out of trouble.

8. But how weak soever their Proofs were for Purgatory, their Mo­tives thereto would be very strong; this Figment making all the rest of their Frauds take more certain effect with men, they being hereby affrighted into a facil and foolish good humour of parting with any thing, even to the impoverishing of themselves and their posterity, so that those may be satisfied who pretend they have the Keys of this prison of Purgato­ry, and may be persuaded either to excuse them from ever entering into it, or, if they must enter into it, to deliver them out of it as timely and spee­dily as may be.

But the grand Mischief of this cheating Invention is a blasphemous affront to the Merits and Satisfaction of our dear Saviour, and a Tyran­nicall oppression of the consciences of the simple; but so great a scandal to the more nasute, that it were a strong temptation to them to misbelieve the whole summe of Religion, or any state at all of the Soul after death, but that she is mortal and perishes; these false Apostles having abused the be­lief of the Doctrine of her survival after the death of the Body so grossely and rancidly, merely to the advancing their own estates in this life, and to the wallowing in wealth, honour and sensual pleasures.

9. This is a competent Draught of the second Limb of Antichristianism, which consists In the heaping together a number of trouble some and un­warrantable Superstitious conceits and observances, whereby the yoke of Christ would be made far more grievous then the dispensation of Moses, yea whereby the Servitude of Christians would be little inferiour, if not greater, then the slavery of the Israelites in the Land of Aegypt and in that house of bondage, as it is styled peculiarly in the Scripture. And therefore I think this particular constitution of things, which I have described, may very well goe for a confiderable Member of Antichristianism.

BOOK II.

CHAP. I.

1. The Positive Ends of the Gospel which the rest of the Limbs of Anti­christianism do oppose. 2. That to lay claim to a Right of Infallible In­terpretation of the Laws of Christ is a supplanting of his Kingly Of­fice. 3. An instance of that danger in the Glosses of the Pharisees. 4. Several places of Scripture alledged to prove the Church Infallible. 5. The first general Answer to these Allegations, by demanding whe­ther the Promise of Infallibility be to the Whole Church, or to Part. 6. The second, by demanding whether the Promise be Absolute, or Con­ditional. 7. A third, That the Promise cannot be Universal touching all Objects that may be considered. 8. A particular Answer to the first place of Scripture. 9. An Answer to the second and third. 10. Infalli­bility a Promise onely to the first Founders of the Christian Church. 11. What the meaning of The pillar and ground of truth. 12. A fur­ther exposition of that passage of Paul to Timothy. 13. That if under­stood of the Universal Church, it may be meant onely of it in the Apo­stles times. 14. And that the like may be said of the last allegation.

1. WE have now done with those Members of Anti­christianism that oppose the Privative Ends of the Gospel of Christ, which were, The re­moving of Idolatry and the Burthen of Super­stition out of the world: we come now to the Positive End thereof, which in general is The Advancement of the Divine Life, and this either Personally in Christ, or by way of propagation in his Members, the Church. Those Divine Honours and Offices the Person of Christ is advanced to, and are most obvious to take notice of, are those of King, Priest and Prophet; the opposing or supplanting of which cannot but be so many abhorred parts of this wicked Antichristia­nism, whose Image we are now setting out in its genuine colours.

2. As concerning the first therefore of these; Suppose any man, or company of men, under pretence of being the true Visible Church suc­cessively descending from Christ and his Apostles, should take upon them to be the Infallible Interpreters of the Law of Christ, and teach that all men were to embrace and to submit to their Glosses, seem they never so harsh, never so improbable, nay, if you will, never so impossible; and declare it a mortal sin for any to doubt of their determinations in this kind: This surely were a plain opposing or utter supplanting of the [Page 88] Kingly Office of Christ, and the quite taking away His exercise of So­vereignty, which cannot otherwise be exercised then by Commands and Decrees; which when a King has published, if another have power to interpret them any way, as he pleases, the Kingly power will really be in the Interpreter, and not in the King; I say, this pretended right and power of Infallibly interpreting does in very truth make the Interpreter King, and the King a Shadow or Cypher.

Assuredly no Earthly Prince would think himself truly Sovereign over his people, if all the Injunctions and Edicts he made were not to bear the easie, natural sense which he intends them in, but to be drawn to some other meaning by any exception, or evasion, or any forcible in­terpretation that some forein Potentate should put upon them. Where­fore whosoever pretends a Right and Infallibility in the interpreting the Law of Christ, does in effect make Christ no Law-giver, and conse­quently no King nor Governour in his Church; then which what can be more grossly Antichristian?

3. Cui jus est interpretandi, hujus Sententia pondus habet legis Divi­nae, is a saying, which although In his [...]. Erasmus has put into the mouth of a mean person, yet is a great Truth. And our Saviour knew, and has noted the mischievous abuse of this presumption so plainly in that instance of the Pharisees, (who could interpret away the force of that Command, Honour thy Father and thy Mother, by saying it was Corban) that it is impossible he should allow of any visible Interpreter with such an unlimited Right as some contend for, to the abuse of his Church, and the taking his Kingly Office out of his own hands. For he has there observed, That the Matth. 15. 6. Pharisees had made the word of God of none effect through their Tradi­tions, that is to say, through their Exceptions, Qualifications and Inter­pretations of it.

4. I but they will pretend that Christ will make his Church Infallible; and if they be so, he himself will really reign in them, they interpreting alway according to his mind. And that he has made his Church Infal­lible, they will pretend to appear plainly out of such places of Scripture as these: Matth. 16. That the gates of Hell shall not prevail against her; and again, Joh. 14. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, which the World can­not receive, &c. again, Joh. 16. When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth. To which adde that of S. Paul to 1 Tim. 3. 15. Timothy, where he seems to call the Church the Pillar and Ground of Truth. And lastly, that to the chap. 4. Ephesians, where Christ is said to have given some, Apostles, and some, Prophets, and other some, Evangelists, and other some, Pastors and Teachers; for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the Mini­stery, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we hence­forth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of Doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ.

[Page 89] Let these passages then be their Letters patent, their grand pretended Commission of Infallibly interpreting, and never erring in any Determi­nations or Conclusions, and we shall easily discover that it is a mere pre­tence.

5. For I demand whether this Promise of Infallibility be to the Whole visible Church in succession, or some part. That it is not an Absolute, In­conditionate Promise to the Whole is plain, in that the parties of Chri­stendom differ so much in matters of Belief as they do. But if it be to some part, where is the nomination of that part in these Promises where­by their Right of Interpreting may appear to the world? There is no Particular Church specified there, neither Greek nor Roman, neither Mus­covian nor Armenian, nor that of Prester John, nor any other Church else. Whence it is plain that no Particular Church can have any claim or right to any such privilege.

6. Again, suppose some Particular Church had a Promise, how does it appear that the Promise is Inconditionate to this Particular Church, and that it is not upon supposal that they will seriously and sincerely apply their mind to find out the Truth, and purifie their Souls from all those worldly and sensual impediments thereto? For this spirit of Infallibility cannot lodge in a body that is subject unto sin: For Purity of heart and life is the very Light and Crystalline Organ, the very Eye of the Soul; and to think of a privilege of Infallibility without Holiness, is like the ima­gining of a promise to see without Light or Eyes.

Wherefore it is such an Hypocritical conceit, that a man cannot well tell whether it be more to be lamented or laughed at, for a Church to pre­tend that God has an irresistible design of making them Infallible to every Punctilio of Controversie, and yet not of making them Holy and Good. But it is a sign they contemn or abhor Goodness as being contrary to their corrupt natures, but desire the privilege of Infallibility as being agreeable to their natural pride, and the boast thereof an instrument to bring about all their deceitful devices. And therefore we might adde to this, That it is questionable whether the Promise be to any Church visible, but to such as the Apostles were, chosen, sanctified, and faithful Regenerate men; for none but these are truly the Church of Christ; and if he make his Promise good onely to such as are his true Church, it is sufficient.

7. Moreover, be this Promise Conditionate or Inconditionate, we can­not but be sure that this Infallibility is not Universal as to all Objects whatsoever. And therefore to meddle with such things as are not ne­cessary to Salvation nor really edifying, were to go beyond their Warrant or Commission, and thereby to forfeit, or at least to have no benefit of, the promised Assistence.

8. But let us particularly examine the Texts of Scripture themselves. The first whereof infers no more then this, That the Church of Christ shall never cease to be, that Death shall never be able to prevail against her, neither to extirpate her in this world, or hinder her of a glorious Immor­tality in the world to come. For [...] signifies no more then [...], Death, or Abolition, or The state of the dead. But this may be true of the Church, though it were not Infallible: So weak is this first Alle­gation.

[Page 90] 9. As for the second, it were well for the Alledgers if it were onely weak; for it is strong against themselves, and makes much for our Hy­pothesis, who conceive this Infallibility to be Conditional. For reade the whole Context entire, and it runs thus, If ye love me, keep my Command­ments; and I will ask the Father, &c. which implies there is a Condition, That they must love Christ and keep his Commandments, if they expect that Spirit which will abide with them for ever, (that is, as long as they lived; for so the word ordinarily signifies in Scripture.) And it is further added, that it is such a Spirit as the World cannot receive: Which therefore does strongly imply that it resides not in those who are worldly and car­nally-minded. Which Conditionality of the Promise is also infinuated in the third place alledged, When the Spirit of Truth is come, he will Lead you, or guide you, into all Truth; that is, he will lead you as a Man, not hale you or drag you as a Stone, or a brute Beast, which is not a free Agent. So that we see plainly that this Infallibility is Conditional where-ever it is.

And though I doubt not but the Condition being performed, the Pro­mise will be made good to all men as far as it is necessary to their Salva­tion; yet these places are not the best that may be produced to that pur­pose, the Promise being not General here, but directed to certain parti­cular men in such circumstances, as it is evident that it is meant to them in particular, and does not infer any succession. For the men that he speaks to there he decyphers to be such as he was present with, and should be put in mind by the Paraclet what he had said to them when present; such Joh. 14. 16, 17. as were sorrowful upon the occasion of his departure; with other like circumscribing circumstances that cannot belong to any succession of men, but were proper to the Apostles to whom he then spake.

10. As indeed Infallibility it self seems a Promise most proper to them, they being to lay the Foundations of the Church, and to build the House of God; which they having done in terms plain enough, as to all things necessary to Salvation, the Promise of Infallibility needs reach no fur­ther; the Church for ever hereafter being safe, provided she keep but close to what is plainly delivered by the first Founders of her, nothing else need be obtruded upon Believers by way of Infallible imposition.

11. And as for that fourth citation, where the Church seems to be called The Pillar and Ground of Truth: If we admit of Cameron and Capellus 1 Tim. 3. 15. their ingenious conjecture upon the place, viz. That [The Pillar and Ground of Truth] is to be disjoyned from the precedent words, by a Colon at least; and understand also what follows [without controversie great is the mystery of Godliness] to be onely a Parenthetical Elogium of the Myste­ry of the Gospel, into which the Apostle was transported upon conside­ration of those weighty Points thereof which he was a-delivering, God manifest in the Flesh, &c. so that The Pillar and Ground of Truth may be 1 Tim. 3. 16. the Preface to the grand Points of the Christian Truth, which, that Pa­renthesis being seposed, do immediately follow; according as it was usual with the Jews to prefix before such Fundamentalls of knowledge the Title of [...], Fundamentum & Columna Sapientia: this passage will be wholly dis [...]bled from making any shew of proof for what it was alledged.

[Page 91] 12. But if you will adjoyn this Title to the Church, it was the Ephe­sian Church where Timothy resided, which has vanished long agoe. And what other Church then, unless every Particular Church, can urge this place for Infallibility? which experience of contradicting one another does openly confute. Besides that the style it self of [Ground and Pillar] may not signifie certain performance, but the duty what they ought to per­form: As when the Apostles are called the Light of the world, and the Matth. 5. 13, 14. Salt of the earth; which onely signifies what they ought to be, not what they were necessitated to be: For those that ought to be thus, may not­withstanding hide their Talent, or grow unsavoury through their own fault; as it fared in Judas, and in all his succession of false Apostles, which call themselves the Servants, but are the betrayers, of the Lord Jesus.

13. But lastly, Suppose that the Church then in general were here un­derstood; it does not follow, That because that Primaeval and Apostolical Church should by a peremptory design of Providence have engraven up­on it or exhibit to the world as Articles of belief nothing but what was true, that the Church in succession should always doe the like. For there was a prime care taken that the first establishment of the Church should be in truth and solidity; but that being done, which was sufficient for the after-carrying on the affairs of the Church in a right way by free Agents, the success should afterwards lie upon their industry and fide­lity, at least so far as that by no miraculous and supernatural force they should be assisted or driven on to keep things pure and intemerate. And that was sufficient for the Church, I think, which is thought sufficient for every particular man, namely, That the Christian Doctrines and Pre­cepts being faithfully laid down in the Evangelists and other Writings of the Apostles, they might (that usual Grace of God which is not irre­sistible assisting them) frame their lives and beliefs accordingly in those things that are plain: And all are so that are necessary to Salvation. Which Rule if it had been kept to, no Error had crept into the Church to this very day.

14. Which last Answer will contribute something towards an Answer to the last place alledged; for it seems onely to contain a description of a special provision of God for the rightly settling his Truth in the first Ages of the Church. To which purpose he appointed not onely Pastours and Teachers, (which Functions continue still) but Apostles having a parti­cular mission from Christ himself, who breathed into them the Spirit of Truth; as also Prophets and Evangelists, men in a special manner in­spired and assisted to erect the Fabrick of the Church according to the will and purpose of Christ, who then in an extraordinary manner did su­pervise all by a miraculous assistence of his Spirit. And therefore what-ever was wrote for the publick use of the Church, while any of those unto whom our Saviour Christ said that the Spirit should abide with them for ever, which should lead them into all Truth, were alive, or was ap­proved by them, is really of certain and infallible authority; but what-ever after-Inventions or Super-additions there were in the Church, they are to be measured by this unerring Rule.

[Page 92] These unerring Pastors therefore and Teachers, Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, were not a promise to all Successions, but an extraordinary gift, as the Text it self imports, which Christ at that time, namely, at his solemn Coronation or Triumph ascending above all Heavens, that he Eph. 4. 10. might fill all things, cast down as a Royal Largess upon his Church, for the speedy completement of her, for her growing up into the unity of the Faith and Knowledge of Christ, and that she might not be carried about with every wind of Doctrine, but adhere to that onely that was delivered by those Heavenly-inspired and miraculously-assisted Ministers of the Go­spel. The acknowledgement whereof, I conceive, had been the onely sure means to keep the Church in Unity for ever; whenas the preten­ding to an Infallibility in the succeeding Church, where indeed it was not, and the taking upon them thereupon to impose things with equal autho­rity to the Apostles themselves, would naturally prove the fountain of all Error, Schism and Confusion.

CHAP. II.

1. That the safe conveyance of the Apostolick Writings down to us by the Church does not infer her Infallibility. 2. That the Plainness of Scri­pture in points necessary to Salvation takes away the want of an Infalli­ble Judge. 3. That the Scripture not pointing to any Infallible Judge nor any faithful Keeper of Traditions, does ipso facto declare her self the onely sufficient Guide. 4. That there is not onely no want of an Infallible Judge, but better there should be none. 5. That the want of Infallibility does not take away the Authority of the Church, it being the duty of every person in things really disputable to compromise with her. 6. That though a Visible Judge be necessary in Civil causes, yet it is nothing so in Points of Religion. 7. That every private man has not onely a liberty, but a command, to judge for himself in matters of Faith. 8. The said Right or Privilege demonstrated also by Reason. 9. That the Reason or Judgment of every private man is not a private Spirit in that reproachful sense that some speak it. 10. That the claim to a right of judging for ones self in points of Faith does not make a man superiour to his Church, 11. Nor yet equal; 12. Nor implies that he thinks himself wiser then his Church, but rather more careful of his own eternal Concerns. 13. That it is not his private Wisdom he sticks to, but the Wisdom of God known to all that are not wilfully blind. 14. That the Church is not Infallible, proved from the Exam­ple of the Jewish Church. 15. That there is the same reason of the Christian. 16. That the want of an Infallible Interpreter is no such loss to the common people. 17. That their assurance of the truth of the Scriptures by the Spirit, is a Tenet not so superciliously to be exploded as some make shew of. 18. That this Spirit is properly the Spirit of Faith, distinguishable from that of Knowledge and Wisdom, 19. The notorious Fraud and excessive Mischief of this pretence of Infallibility.

[Page 93] 1. BUT being worsted thus in Scripture they will pretend Demonstra­tions in Reason, (upon the presumption they are the true visible Church, successively descended from Christ and his Apostles) that In­fallibility is for ever intailed upon them.

As first, That unless the Church were successively Infallible, we could have no certain and Infallible belief of the Holy Scriptures, which are avouched to be such by the Church. But I briefly answer, That supposing this successive Church were a trusty & undoubted Conveyer of the Copies of the Holy Scriptures uncorrupted, yet it doth not follow that they must be Infallible Interpreters of these Scriptures; no more then the faithful conveyance of Plato's and Aristotle's Writings to all posterity implies that the Conveyers thereof are Infallible Interpreters of them. For they might preserve the Writings of either by a diligent comparing of Co­pies upon every transcription; besides that there might be a special watchfulness of Providence over these Holy Writings, for the conser­vation of them from any material blemishes, as being so exceeding ne­cessary for the continuance of those Truths that were published by such men as (accordingly as I have already intimated) were Divinely and In­fallibly inspired.

And that there were such Writings, sufficient for the conveyance of the knowledge of Christ, written by them that were infallible Witnesses of the Truth, and that we may be assured that those which commonly bear the Title of them are they, I have without any recourse to the In­fallibility of the Church so plainly demonstrated in my Explanation of the Book 7. chap. 10 & 11. Mystery of Godliness, that I think it needless to say any thing further of it in this place.

2. In the second place they will pretend, That the Church must be In­fallible, or else there will want an Infallible Judge of Controversies; nay there will not be so much as any Authority in the Church to order the affairs thereof. But the Answer is easie and brief; That there is no want of any such Infallible Judge, and therefore not of the Churche's Infalli­bility; for the Scripture is a Sufficient Rule of Faith to all that have un­derstanding, whether Learned or unlearned, in things necessary to Salvation: and That the belief and practice of these will carry a man to Heaven.

The Spirit of God therefore is the onely Infallible Judge here, and has declared as plainly as any successive Judges can, in those things that are necessary to Life and Salvation, what is to be believed and to be done: Which if we believe and practise in particular, and do also in ge­neral and implicitly believe and stand in a readiness to obey the rest of the Scripture, when the sense thereof appears to us, we are in a safe con­dition, and need not doubt but it will go well with us in the other State. For it is manifest that what is necessary, is plain in the Word of God to all men; otherwise Salvation were not sufficiently revealed to the world, and what we above recited out of St. Paul were not true, nor the Provi­dence of God sufficiently watchful in the laying the first Foundations of his Church.

3. For if the Scripture were not a Sufficient Infallible evidence of all [Page 94] necessary Truths, God would have afterwards raised other persons of Apo­stolical purity in conversation, and with the like power of working Miracles, to have made a Supplement to the former, (which yet was never done;) or else those other necessary Truths, taught indeed by the first Apostles, but not written by them, had been committed to Tradition: which had been a very lubricous and perillous way, and unlikely to be taken by Divine Providence.

But if any such way had been taken, certainly the Scripture it self, in which all men are agreed, would have pointed it out to us, (as also if there had been any Interpreter instituted) that there might be infallibly com­municated to us what remains necessary to our eternal safety. But the Scripture being silent herein, it openly declares it self to be Sufficient to all such as with sincerity and care apply themselves to the understanding of it: as certainly every man considering that his eternal Salvation lies upon it will be enforced to doe in his own behalf; whenas if others interpret for him, they may doe it more remissly or more fraudulently.

4. Besides that, it is a very unskilfull and inept desire that there should be any such Infallible Judge, that has concluded all Controversies to our hands already. For that would prevent or forestall that privacy and pecu­liarity of converse which God has with those Souls that are more dear to him, who does in a special manner assure them of such Conclusions as are not to be reached at by every hand. But when the Infallible Determina­tion of the Church has passed, all mens assurances will be alike, and God will have, as it were, given the staff out of his own hands. Wherefore there being no external Infallible Judge for the Interpreting obscure places in Scripture, God's right of his dispensing his special favours is preserved, and men of a more devout and Intellectual spirit are divinely employed, and earnestly engaged to extraordinary piety and holiness, that they may win the favour of that inward Infallible Interpreter, even of that Holy Spirit, which the World cannot receive, and by the light of his assistence be in­abled to reach the true sense of those Writings which himself dictated to the Apostles and other Holy men of God.

5. And lastly, That the want of Infallibility will take away the Autho­rity of the Church, is a very weak Inference. For her Authority is entire in the urging those Truths and Duties in Scripture that are plain to all men, even to such as do not in the least dream that they are Infallible: And those that are thus plain are such as are the most useful for our safe conduct to Heaven. And for those Doctrines that be more obscure, if they be withall useful and edifying, as also Rites and Ceremonies, the Church has Authority, though she be not Infallible, to declare them and appoint them. Let all things be done decently, and in order. But how she is to behave her self to Dissenters, having spoke of that more copiously else­where, 2 Cor. 14. 40. I shall not here so much as touch upon it.

I will onely adde, That in things that are really disputable I conceive it is the duty of every one, whatever his private judgment and inclinations otherwise would be, to compromise with the Authority of the Church, and for Peace and Order sake to be concluded by their Determinations.

6. Now what has been already suggested will serve to null or enervate [Page 95] a third Sophism. For it seems a plausible Objection against the Scripture alone being sufficient to guide us and rule us without a publick Infallible Interpreter, That this were as if one should contend that the Law alone in Civil matters were sufficient without a publick Judge. For besides what we above insinuated, That a plain Law (and such we averre the Scripture to be in matters necessary to Salvation) may want no Judge, where the Conscience finds it self upon pain of Damnation obliged to understand it aright; we further suggest, That the urging or pressing of the Law of Christ by a publick Minister, Interpreter, or Declarer of the sentence of his Law, so far as it is plainly his to all unprejudiced Under­standings as well unlearned as learned, is not denied by those that contend that the Scripture is the sole Rule of Faith. And for my own part (as I said before) in places that are not thus plain, if such Interpretations be made as are not repugnant to other plain Texts of Scripture, but tend to the promotion of the Ends of the Gospel, which I have elsewhere speci­fied, I hope no man shall offend God, but doe his dutie to the Church, in compromising with them in their sentiments of things in such circum­stances as these. For they are supposed conscienciously and in the Fear of God to have interpreted the Scripture, and not for their own ends or carnal satisfaction in any thing. And questionless in this case they can shew their Commission, and that they act by Authority. Let all things be done to edification. 1 Cor. 14. 26.

But that, because every Civil controversy must be determined by a Judge, therefore there must be an Infallible determinative Judge of all the nice and unprofitable controversies that emerge amongst Christians about Scripture and Religion, is but a weak and lame Illation. For Civil controversies cannot be undecided without injury to some party: but no man is injured by not having those unprofitable, at least unneces­sary, questions determined; for they may hold their several opinions with­out wronging one another, if they will but keep to that known Law of Christ, that Royal Law of Charity. Nay the deciding such contro­versies by a pretended Infallible Judge were a vast wrong to one party, it galling their consciences, and streightning their liberty, and making the way to Heaven narrower then Christ has made it. For so does this Infallible Judge that imposes his Determinations on men upon pain of eternal Damnation. But God of his infinite wisedom and mercy has not given the least Intimation for any such Usurpation. And therefore this Infallible Judge being not appointed by God, and being unappoin­table by man, the Scripture alone, and not these pretended Infallible decisions, must be the Rule of our belief.

7. The fourth and last pretence is, That unless the Sense of Scripture be determined by the Infallibility of the Church, every private Spirit must be Judge of the meaning thereof; nay and, which is worse, be Judge of the Church, and thereby superiour to the Church: then which nothing can be more wild and extravagant.

This seems a big difficulty at first: But I answer, That every parti­cular man should judge for himself, he has a Commission from the very Word of God, nay, I may say, a Command: As where he is bid to try 1 Thess. 5. 21. [Page 96] all things, and to hold that which is good; as also, not to believe every 1 John [...]. spirit, but to trie the spirits whether they be of God; and in another place, to be ready to give a reason of his Faith. The Beroeans also are com­mended 1 Pet. 3. Acts 17. for searching the Scripture, and trying whether the things that Paul, even an inspired and chosen vessel of God, had taught them, were true or no. But for any one man or any company of men to be appoin­ted by God Authoritatively and absolutely to be Judges for others in mat­ters of Faith and Religion, we do not find any where in Scripture or in Reason any such Commission given unto them; but we are rather admo­nished to take heed how we be led hoodwinkt by any, lest the blind Matt. 15. 14. leading the blind, both fall into the ditch.

8. But not Scripture onely, but Reason it self does plainly commissionate private Spirits, as they call them, to judge for themselves. For these pre­tenders to Infallibility doe it onely upon the boast that they are the true suc­cessive Church from the Apostles: But unless they will be above all mea­sure ridiculous, they must convince the Reason of him whom they would make a Proselyte to their Church, that their Church is that true and Apo­stolical one. For to say so without proof, is a madness to be hooted at by all men: But to goe about to prove it, is to appeal to the private Reason of him they would convince. And if he be a Christian already, though not of their Church, the common acknowledged Principles are the Holy Scrip­tures, in arguing from which the Disputant appeals to him he would bring over, if his Interpretation or Allegation of them be not true. But if he be an Infidel or Pagan, he is to use Reasons to prove the Truth and Au­thority of the Scriptures themselves: Which is still an appeal to the con­science of him that is to be gained to the Church, whether what is offered to him be true or false. And that which is offered to him being the whole Christian Faith, (for that is it which makes a true Church) it is plain that his Reason and Conscience is appealed unto, whether the whole Summe of the Credenda in Christianity is not true. That is to say, Though the Church, and he that argues in the behalf of the Church, have already judged and firmly concluded that the Christian Faith is a true Faith in the whole and in every part, and make no appeal from their own judgment in reference to themselves; yet in reference to the party they would convince, they appeal to him if the grounds of their Belief be not solid, and so imply and acknowledge that he is Judge for himself in these affairs, call that in him a private spirit or what you please.

9. But I do not know but it may be too reproachfully called a pri­vate spirit, at least in the sincere and simple-hearted, who have no pri­vate designs but to know the Will of God and to doe it, and it is the Will of God all men should doe so, and the spirit of man Prov. 20. is said to be the Lamp of the Lord; and that which judges according to the [...], the common notions of Reason in all men, and has not lost the Psell. [...]. [...], those common characters and ingenuous sentiments of Indispensable Truth and Morality which the Father of lights has of old sealed upon the Soul, and which are hardly obliterated quite in any, and are necessarily continued, and that vigourously, in the sincere; I say, such a Life or Spirit as this judging in a man is very hardly to be called a pri­vate [Page 97] spirit, it judging according to the Universal sense of humane Na­ture, and so as every one judges when he is unbiassed. Nay, if this will not serve, I say that the Judgement which is thus made is the Judgement of that Universal King and Law-giver, the Eternal Son of God; it is his sentence in these cases, but writ in the tables of our hearts, and pronoun­ced by our mouths as by the Praeco of a Court. So far is it from being the Judgement of a mere private spirit.

But that rather is the Judgement of a private spirit, though it should bear the Title of an Infallible Church, which is decreed not according to the plain Texts of Scripture, so as all unprejudiced men would certainly understand them, nor according to those indeleble Characters of Truth which Christ the Eternal Logos has writ in the Rational Souls of all man­kind; but according to partial Interest and depraved desires. The sentence of Thousands, nay of Millions, of such Judges is more the ver­dict of a private spirit, then the Judgement of the meanest private man that pronounces from such Principles as I have declared.

10. Now for that odious imputation of making a mans self Superiour to the Church, by laying claim to a Judgement of discretion; I say, he lays claim to no more then is of necessity given him, as I have already demonstrated. For if there be an appeal to the Reason and Conscience of a private man in the endeavouring to convince him, he is ipso facto made Judge; and if to be Judge in this sense is to be Superiour, he is necessarily Superiour. But I see no necessity that his being Judge thus for himself makes him Superiour to his Church. Indeed if he judged for his Church, he were thereby their Superiour; but judging for him­self onely, he usurps no Superiority over the Church; but onely is obe­dient to him that is Superiour to both, that is, to Jesus Christ, following his plain Injunctions and Precepts, whether written in the outward Word, or legibly engraven upon the Table of his Heart. To follow therefore the plain and inevitable dictates of his own Conscience, which as the Tribunal of God, is not to exalt a mans self above the Church, but to submit a mans self to God, and exalt him above all.

11. Nor does a man herein equallize himself to his Church; in that he does not define for others, but for himself, and professes himself in the mean time ready to obey the visible Church in such things as are not re­pugnant to the express Precepts of God and Christ, and to those immuta­ble Characters of Truth which he has imprinted upon the Souls of all men, and which are there to be found, unless gross violence and Interest has obscured or obliterated them.

12. Nor (in the last place) does he make himself wiser then his Church; which were also an odious imputation: But without immodesty it may be thought that a private man may be more sollicitous of his own important Concerns, and more faithfull to his own Eternal Interest, then many thousand men put together; and that therefore though he may not have so much wit and learning as these, yet he may conduct his own affairs more safely then if they were put into their hands; especially they that pretend to be guides to Heaven for others, seeming to be wholy taken up with the things of this World, as if they had forgot their intended journey. [Page 98] It is not therefore a boast of Wisedom above the Church, but a carefull sollicitude touching such things as the wise men of the World do not usually trouble themselves much about, that may embolden some private sincere-hearted Christian to dissent from some Dictates of the Church; professing himself in other things as weak and childish as they please; re­membring that Doxologie of our Blessed Saviour, I thank thee, O Father, Matt. 11. Lord of Heaven and Earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.

13. Finally, This Wisedom which they adhere to is plainly and evidently not the Dictate of their own private spirit (which to oppose to the Church, were indeed to make a mans self wiser then the Church) but the plain and perspicuous Testimonies of the Word of God, and the com­mon and indubitable Notions of universal humane Nature, writ by the Finger of that Eternal Wisedom which created all things, on the spirits of all men that be in their wits, and therefore is a plain and legible Copy of that Wisedom: So that he that adheres thereto does not prefer his own Wisedom before the Wisedom of the Church, but submits himself faithfully to the Wisedom of God, to which the Church also ought to submit, and not to efface, as much as in them lies, those imprinted Cha­racters of Truth out of the Souls of men, thereby to enslave them to them­selves and to the corrupt Interest of their Kingdom of darkness and gross Imposture.

14. But I have been more copious then was needfull or intended in confuting this dream of Infallibility. We might have made shorter work of it, and suddenly evinced the folly of that pretence, by actual Errours that have been in the Church of God. As surely the Church of the Jews was as really the Church of God as the visible Christian Church, and has as magnificent promises as it, in Isaiah. For what is spoke Chap. 54. rebounds upon the Church of the Jews first, as Grotius has observed; and there it is said, That they shall all be taught of God, and that with everlasting kindness God will have mercy upon them: And yet this Church was in so gross a mistake, that the Governours and Grandees thereof knew not their Messiah when he was come into the world, but put him to a most shamefull death.

But even in those times when there was a more palpable Residence of God's miraculous power with them, they erred very hainously; as in the worshipping the Golden Calf in the wilderness, as also in the ten Tribes worshipping those in Bethel, nay apostatizing all to the worshipping of Baalim, saving seven Thousand, which were so few in respect of the rest, that Elijah took himself to be left alone. And Ahab consulting the Prophets, found by wofull experience that four hundred of them prophe­sied false, and onely Micaiah true. And Ch. 5. 30, 31. Jeremie complains of his times; A wonderfull and horrible thing, saith he, is committed in the Land, The Prophets prophesy falsely, and the Priests bear rule by their means, and my people love to have it so; and what will you doe in the end thereof?

That is also a smart monition of his, Ch. 7. 4. Trust you not in lying words, [Page 99] saying, The Temple of the Lord, The Temple of the Lord, &c. For all which they doe that call themselves The Temple of the Lord is not right, as appears in the same Chapter, where they are accused of committing Idolatry openly in the Cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; which could not be, had they not fallen into the hands of blind and erro­neous Guides, which might cause them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, and yet in the mean time take up that presumptuous boast, That the Law shall not perish from the Priest, nor the Counsel from the Wise, nor the Word from the Prophet, no not then when they were imagining mischief against the true Prophets of the Lord; as you may see Jeremie 18.

But Ch. 3. 6. Micaiah says plainly, That the Prophets that are onely for easie times and for good chear, Night shall be upon them, and they shall have no vision; and it shall be dark unto them, that they cannot divine: That such Seers shall be ashamed, and Diviners confounded, as having no answer from God. And Ch. 56 10, 11. Esay complains that the watch-men of the City are blind, that they are ignorant shepherds, that cannot understand; they all look to their own way, every one for jollity or gain. Thus clear is it that the Church of the Jews, though it was in such a special manner espoused to God, was not secure from, but did actually fall into very great Errours.

15. And the Christian Church has no greater assurance, but if Avarice, Pride and Sensuality seize upon the Guides thereof, she may also fall into as great errours and blindnesses. The Apostle saith, Let him that stands, take heed lest he fall. And it might have been a sea­sonable 1 Cor. 10. 12. warning to the Church of Christ betimes, which was not onely tottering, but almost universally lapsed into that over-spreading Heresy of Arrianism, to reflect upon herself, that while she does stand, she stands upon her good behaviour; and that she is not so Infallibly wise, but that she may be surprised with Errour, and over-run therewith, unless true and unfeigned Holiness clear her eyes, and keep her from being benighted in such mists of darkness.

And truly if she was above twelve hundred years agoe so obnoxious to Errour, it is high time for her to awake and consider if after so many Ages of ease and wealth and honour and affluency of all things, she has not grown fat and kicked, and cast the Commandments of God behind her back, and brought in a mere carnal Law of her own devising, more sutable to the will of the flesh and to the carrying on of her own worldly Interest. But it is sufficient in this place to have demonstrated She may erre; in what she has erred to define, is beyond the scope of my present discourse.

16. We have fully defeated that Figment of pretended Infallibility, whose downfall our opposers have no colour to bewail, unless in the behalf of the common people, who are illiterate; as if they would hereby be made uncapable of any certainty of Belief, and consequently of Salva­tion, by reason they have no Infallible grounds to build on, this of the Church being taken away.

But they may remember that we have already acknowledged sufficient [Page 100] certainty in that which the Universal Church agrees in, and has agreed in in all Ages, and that is the Scripture. Such an Universal Tradition as the Scripture has is acknowledged a firm Foundation; which the Church may be unfailing conveiers of down to posterity without being infallible Interpreters thereof. The unfailingness of which conveiance notwithstanding, I must confess, may be a more intricate business then what every Vulgar man can make out to himself; though infinitely less hard then to prove That the Church that would appropriate him to their Community, is Infallible.

Nay, I must confess, I do not know how it were possible that a Church should so much as prove it self a Church, much less an Infallible Church, without the Scripture. And therefore the belief of the Scrip­ture seems to be the most immediate of all, as Cael. Secund. Curio against Floribellus. he says well; Nam qui de fide & authoritate Divinarum Scripturarum dubitat, quomodo, quaeso, credet Ecclesiae, quae nullam habet sine eadem Scriptura authoritatem?

17. And therefore I cannot explode that by any means which is so superciliously derided by some, namely, That it is the Spirit of God that does assure us of the Truth of Scriptures more then any thing else what­soever. For our Saviour Christ saith, None cometh to me but whom my John 6. & ch. 10. Father draweth. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. Wherefore there is a discerning Spirit in those that appertain to Salvation, whether it be the Voice of God and Christ or no. For the true Shepherd goeth before, and the sheep follow him, because they know John 10. 4, 5. his voice; but they follow not a stranger, but flie from him, because they know not his voice; as our Saviour discourses most excellently. I say therefore, the Voice, the Call, or Whistle (if you will) of the true Shep­herd are the Holy Scriptures, which by an immediate sense they are as­sured to be the Call of the Shepherd, and are at this day to them that be­long to the election of God, as the Voice of Christ and his Apostles when they were upon Earth, the power of whose speech assisted by the Spirit did lead men captive into that Faith that worketh Salvation.

And without all question the same Word of Salvation still, which is in those Holy Records, seriously and zealously urged by men of a sincere faith and upright belief, without any mingling of it with humane devices, will have the same effect upon the multitude; and as many as are fitted will be wone to an unshaken belief of the Truth of Christianity, as it is exhibited to us in the Holy Scriptures. For they of themselves have the light and life and very breath of Christ and his Apostles wrapt up in them, to the exciting the vulgar sort to a firm and lively Faith, though many subtil Sophisters of the Kingdom of darkness might by crafty and perverse Reasoning intangle them and non-plus them in outward discourse. And therefore they are kept safe in the belief of the Scripture by the power of that Spirit in them, in virtue whereof there is that indis­soluble harmonie and concord betwixt their spirits and the Scripture, though they cannot defend themselves by humane Literature, nor by the acuteness of Reason and depths of Philosophy.

18. Which Spirit residing in them, and giving them this solid and firm discernment betwixt the Testimonie of God and the Traditions and [Page 101] Doctrines of men, I think I may safely and properly call the Spirit of Faith, as it is considered nakedly in it self, and separate from the Spirit of Knowledge and of Wisedom. Which distinction of [...] and [...], Origen of old has taken notice of in his book against Celsus, Lib. 6. upon that Text of S. Paul. And truely I think the Gloss is marvellous solid; namely, That the chiefest and greatest Gift of the Spirit is that Divine Wisedom, whereby a man is in a great measure able to comprehend the reasons and more deep Philosophical grounds of the Truth of the Christian Mystery: The next is Knowledge, suppose of Antiquity, History, the comparing of Prophecies, and helps of the exteriour hu­mane literature, the liberal Arts and Languages: The third is Faith, which is also comprised in the other, but is a Gift which is as well general as more necessary, whose nature is such as I have described already; namely, An immediate adherence to the word of Truth comprised in the Scripture, through the power of that Spirit that resides in sincere and well­meaning Souls, that have a savoury and sensible fear of God, and are ready to goe where he calls them. For these by an ineffable Sympathy of their hearts with the veracity of the voice of Christ sounding in the Scriptures will be sure to follow their true Shepherd's call, though they turn off from the voice of the stranger and Hireling, who comes not into the Sheep­fold but to rob and kill and steal.

Whence we further see, that this pretended Infallibility of the Church in reference to the Scripture is as well useless as false, and much as if the Moon should take upon her to witness for the Sun that he sends out light; which every one that is not blind will necessarily see, though the Moon were under the Horizon. So the holy children of God, chosen and faith­full, will feel and tast, clearly see and discern that the Scripture is the Truth of God by that light which is in it, that correspondeth with that Spirit derived from the Father of lights which he has shed into their hearts: Which, as I said, is the Spirit of Faith, and the sure portion of every Member of Christ, whether they can make out things by Know­ledge and deep Reason or no. And if they be assaulted by Cavillers, it is their prudence to send such to their fellow-members to whom God has given also the Spirit of Knowledge or of Wisedome: or it may be more prudent to let them goe as they came, they being not worthy to give any the trouble of discourse, who put questions not with design of being seriously edified and instructed in the Truth, but for captiousness, conten­tion and a conceited hope of puzzling him by whom they make show as if they desired to be informed.

19. The fraudulent End that this pseudo-Christian Church might drive at in this peremptory boast of Infallibility is very conspicuous, as also the Mischievous events thereof. For what could this tend to but the making this Antichristian power absolute, that they might, without any ones whinching, decree and declare what-ever would tend to the encrease of their own honour and wealth, seem it never so contrary to common Reason, to the express Word of God and the Precepts of Christ? For the sentence is Infallible, let it look never so strangely and repugnantly to any Rule that we might think right.

[Page 102] Wherefore this Power might even doe what it pleases, change Times and Laws, even the Law of God it self, and fling the house of God out at windows, as the proverb is. For who has any thing to say against that power which he is already persuaded is Infallible? And to speak sum­marily, and then which nothing greater can be said, The Admittance of this Infallibility is the Exclusion of Christ from his Kingdom and Throne, and the setting up a mere Mortal, a masterless Man of sin, or a pack of sons of Belial, to sway his Sceptre for him in the world. This alone is enough, if it would take, to supplant the Government of Christ upon Earth.

CHAP. III.

1. That the keeping the Law of Christ in an unknown Tongue is an under­mining or opposing of his Sovereignty. 2. As also the reproaching and vilifying his Law. 3. Their fraudulent pretence of hiding the Scriptures, with a vindication of their Usefulness and Excellency. 4. The vilifying of the Laws of Christ, by setting far less penalties upon the transgression of them then of the inconsiderable Institutes of the Church. 5. That their rigid Impositions are against the King­dom of Christ; as also the reading of Legends instead of his Law, in Churches. 6. The dispensing also with the Divine Laws: The Fraud and Mischief thereof. 7. The Treasonable pretence of this Power's being absolute by right of succession in Christ's seat. 8. The evil effect of this pretence discoverable in several Institutes contrary to the written Laws of Christ: 9. As also in nulling those Laws he has given, as he is the Eternal Word. 10. The bloudy opposing the So­vereignty and Kingdom of Christ in murthering his faithfull Subjects.

1. BUT there are other ways also of lifting the Government from off Christ's shoulders. As first, Suppose They should keep the Law of God in an unknown Tongue, and not let any one reade it in the lan­guage they understood: nay be so carefull that the very Prayers that are used in publick, and the celebration of the holy Eucharist, should be unintelligible, lest the power of some passages of Scripture that may occurre in the publick Service should unhindge men from the blind obedi­ence they are held in under this Antichristian Usurpation.

2. To which you may adde, what indeed might better have preceded, a Revilement of the Law of Christ, as a Book full of nothing but dange­rous obscurities, a Lesbian or Leaden Rule to be bended any way, a Nose of wax, a dead letter, a Farrago of casuall or occasionall Writings, which were penned not by any Divine appointment, but onely as fortuitous Exi­gences moved the Prophets or Apostles to write them: And where they would speak most modestly, to say it is an insufficient Law or Rule, and therefore must be made up by Institutes of their own invention, or what they will please to obtrude upon the world for Traditional doctrines [Page 103] and usages. I say, thus to Revile the Law of Christ is to null it, and thereby to null his Sovereignty over his Church, and to betray it into the hands of a stranger, to deal with them as he pleases, and to change Times and Laws and Customes in such sort, that there may be nothing sound left in Christianity, that may any way thwart the Interest of these Usurpers.

3. In brief therefore thus it may be, They may pretend the Scripture obscure all over, because it is so in some places. But we have already sufficiently urged that there is enough clear of it to enlighten the single­hearted in the way of eternal Salvation. But upon the pretence of the uncertain sense of some passages, they may remove all away; that those passages that would plainly discover and reprove their false doctrines and practices might not come into the sight of the people. For (as a Father has well noted) Verbum Dei est Lucerna, ad quam fur deprehenditur; and our Saviour Christ of old, They hate the light, because their deeds are evil.

But that Imputation of the Scripture's being writ occasionally, it is as weak as impious and blasphemous. As if the Spirit of God would not assist the Apostles most when occasion called for it; or as if he were to study how to inspire them and illuminate them, and could not doe it ex­tempore, or upon emergent occasions, but would be taken unprovided. These things savour of gross carnality and ignorance of the very nature of God and his holy Spirit, which Christ promised should not fail to be with them for ever, for the right settling of the affairs of the Church; that is to say, that it would not desert them so long as they lived, and acted in the Ministery and service thereof: Which therefore must make the Scripture very precious and of inestimable value to all sincere Believers.

Wherefore any one Paragraph of the Epistles of S. Paul, to whom Christ appeared, and called to from Heaven, and commissioned to be an Apostle, to lay the Foundation and first structure of his Church, ought to be preferred before many thousands of pretended Infallible Councils, who could never shew any such extraordinary Commission to prove themselves Infallible. For God by that miraculous appearing to Paul from Heaven, and so appointing him to be an Apostle, did proclaim to all the World that he would Infallibly assist him; and that therefore what was imparted to the World by him should be a Law irreversible to Christendom. Whence the nulling of the Authority of S. Paul's wri­tings were the abrogating of the very Law of Christ, which were a most rebellious and blasphemous Enterprise against the Sovereignty of Christ himself.

4. But there is also another way of undermining or subverting the Rule and Sovereignty of the Son of God, and that is, An undervaluing his Laws in proportion of Penalties laid upon the transgression of them and of some slighter humane Ecclesiastick Institutes. As surely these would be very Antichristian Instances of this kind, namely, If Abso­lution for him that kills his Father, or lies with his Mother, should be five or six times Cheaper then of him that takes two Orders in one day, or is [Page 104] Ordained without Letters dismissory: or that to be Ordained out of the set times of the year should have a penalty ten times greater then Lying with a mans own Mother, or, if you will, but equal to the deflouring of a Virgin, the lying with a mans own Sister, Murther, Perjury, Sacrilege, Simonie, revealing Confession, keeping a Concubine, lying with a woman in the Church; but equal, I say, to all these nine put together. What could vilifie the indispensable Law of God and Christ more, then to make so many transgressions, and so hainous, less then that trifle of humane Tradition, To Ordain onely at such times of the year?

5. Again, That were likewise a very conspicuous vilification of the Word of God, if instead thereof there were read in the Churches finely­devised Fables to entertain the People withall. As if they were wiser then the Wisdom of God himself, and could entertain the people more edifyingly with incredible and ridiculous stories, then with the Discourses of Christ Jesus, and sober and easily-intelligible histories of truth, that Divine Providence has recorded for the instruction of his Church.

6. Dispensations also against the Law of Christ, whether written in the Word of God, or comprised in the sacred Law of Nature, which is but the Transcript of that Law in the Eternal Logos, Christ according to his Divinity, were also an Antichristian defeating of Christ's Rule and Sove­reignty: as also would be the Interpretation of the serious Injunctions of Christ as if they were not Praecepta, but Consilia, not Commands, but Advice left to us to follow if we would, or to let alone if we pleased; whenas Christ plainly declares, that he that breaks the least of these Matt. 5. Commandments, and teaches men so to doe, shall be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. What then would it be to dispense with Perjury, Treason, Murther, Incest, Adultery, Sodomie and other such hainous crimes? What were it but the utter taking away the Law of Christ, and destroying his Kingdom upon Earth?

The Fraud and Self-endedness of which easy Anarchy is onely to fill the net full, though it be of rotten sticks and durt, so long as out of this durt they can extract Silver. But the Mischief is, that the Riches of this false Church would flow and rise with the height of the Abominations and Transgressions of rich sinners, till a deluge of wrath wash away this deluge of sin. But those in the interim that are so foolish to believe these Dispensations, and think they are come into a fair liberty of spirit, having found so facil ghostly Fathers, will thereby most certainly become the Bond-slaves of sin, which in the conclusion will as certainly deliver them up to Eternal Death.

7. But what plea or pretence, will you say, may there be made of acting Religiously, while they act thus enormously, in letting the raines loose to all manner of wickedness to them that will goe to the price there­of? Why yes. This Antichristian Power might pretend that all that Power which is in Christ (though it be plainly a casting Christ out of his Royall Throne) is derived upon him or them as his Successours. But Christ being the absolutely-Supreme Power may doe as he will, dispense with his own Laws as he pleases: Wherefore this Antichristian power, pretending to be or have the very same power, may dispense with the [Page 105] Laws of Christ as it pleases, especially for the enriching the Church; for all such Interest is pious. Which yet is such an Imagination, that nothing can be more Treasonable against the Regal Office of Christ, nor more destructive of his Kingdom.

8. The effect of which villanous Principle would also certainly appear in this Synagogue of Satan or Antichrist, and we should find Laws and Insti­tutes quite contrary to the Laws and Decrees of the Son of God. As cer­tainly such as these would be; namely, Sundry sorts of Idolatry, such as I have instanced in already, and need not repeat, and have noted the Frauds Book I. ch. 12. and fetches in the practice of them; The teaching for Doctrines the com­mandments of men, which is expresly against our Saviour's own command, and of which I have given sundry examples in my Book I. ch. 17: 18, 19, 20, 21, 22. second branch of An­tichristianism; The with-holding the Cup from the Laiety, notwithstanding the Institution of the Lord's Supper by Christ himself does so plainly injoyn the communicating both of Bread and Wine, Drink you all of this; and S. Paul again, following the Example of Christ, Let a man examine himself, Matt. 26. 27. and so eat of this bread, and drink of this cup: which indefinite command 1 Cor. 11. 28. surely includes all. But the drinking of the Cup being made the Privilege of the Priest, it magnifies his condition hugely, and makes the poor Laiety feel and acknowledge their distance, how unholy and how removed from God they are in comparison of the Priesthood. This would be the true Rea­son, though they might pretend (for I think they have nothing better to pretend) the length of the Lay-mens beards; which I suppose they would rather cut off, then be cut short in their share of so holy a Sacrament.

Again, The serving of God in the Church in an unknown Language, praying to him, and praising him, and reading the Scripture in a Tongue the people understand not, is evidently against the directions of S. Paul 1 Cor. 14. in this particular, and against that more universal and indispensable Law, Let all things be done to edifying. As also the worshipping of Angels, 1 Cor. 14. 26. Coloss. 2. 18. which the same Apostle does expressely speak against; and likewise the forbidding to marry, and the abstaining from meats upon a Religious 1 Tim. 4 3. account, with several other such. All which being expressely against the Commands or Laws of Christ, it were a most reproachfull and Traitorous affront to him, the true Head of the Church, and a plain declaring against the Right of his Sovereignty, thus to make any Laws or Institutes so con­trary to those himself has established.

9. As were also the nulling at any time what-ever binds according to the Universally-known Laws of God and Nature: For these are the Laws of Christ, as he is the Eternal Logos. And therefore where any are bound by solemn Oath in publick Contracts or Covenants lawfully taken, or are legitimately married, and have committed no offence that might void the bonds of Wedlock; to pretend to have a power to dispense with or to null these Contracts and Oaths, or to legitimate such Marriages as are con­trary to the Laws of God and Nature, This also would certainly be a mani­fest affronting the Sovereignty of Christ, and the Power thus practising would discover it self plainly Antichristian.

10. And lastly, to fill up the measure of this abhorred Limb of Anti­christ which we are depainting; If this pretended Infallible Power should [Page 106] commit cruel slaughters and massacres upon the true Subjects of Christ, such as are innocent and guiltless of any wrong against any man according to the Law of God and Nature, but are (as I said) really the true subjects of Christ; were not this practice palpably Antichristian? Which sentence against them would be very hard, if it should run but thus, Let them be put to death without mercy, though they be the true Subjects of Christ Jesus.

How Devillishly Antichristian then must that Act be that condemns them to death for that very thing that makes them the true Subjects of Jesus Christ, that is to say, because they faithfully adhere to the indispen­sable Laws of their Lord and Master? And in what a state of manifest Ho­stility against Christ's true and faithful Subjects must this Power be, that so professes and practises, that if they could find out any of them, and that if it lay in their power to destroy them, they would root them from off the face of the earth, or attempt to subdue them by all imaginable penal­ties and cruelties, by imprisonments, tortures, fire and faggot, and what not? And all this (which makes the crime infinitely more execrable) un­der a pretence of doing service to Christ Jesus, whose dearest and sincerest Members they thus barbarously persecute and destroy.

This one Limb alone of Antichristianism, I mean this vafrous and bloudy Treason against the holy Majesty of Christ and his true and living Members, has such a weight of wickedness with it, that it is even enough of it self to make almost an entire Antichrist.

CHAP. IV.

1. Sundry particular Oppositions against the Prophetick Office of Christ, which may be the Characters of that grand Pseudo-prophet that was to come into the world. 2. That the Spirit of Prophecy is not to be mono­polized by any one person, but is free. 3. An Excerpt out of Caelius Secundus Curio to that purpose. 4. The silencing the Dictates of those common Notions implanted in humane Souls, the highest affront to the Prophetick Office of Christ that can be. 5. Several Absurdities pro­pounded as Instances of that Tyranny over the immutable Principles of humane Understanding, with the detection of that eminent False-prophet thereby. 6. That it is infinitely more likely that this pretended Prophet should be fallible, then the fore-going Absurdities true. 7. That the slaying of the Prophets, 8. Together with the above-men­tioned Oppositions against the Prophetical Office of Christ, make up a conspicuous Limb of Antichristianism.

1. BUT we will further consider this Antichristian Opposition in re­spect to Christ's Prophetical Office. Where we shall dispatch very briefly, several of those practices against the Kingly Office of Christ equally reflecting upon his Prophetical. As first, The pretending the holy Ora­cles of God are so obscure that the people can make nothing of them, and [Page 107] then upon that pretence violently with-holding them from them, upon pain of death not to meddle with them against the mind of the Church: This would make Christ a Prophet without Predictions or Instructions, as I have noted above; which therefore would be a grand injury to him, as he is that great Prophet of God sent into the world. The prohibiting also the Reading of such Expositions of Scriptures as are writ by plain and sincere followers of Christ, who have interpreted with skill and faithful­ness the more useful places of Holy Writ: This also would be an Anti­christian resistence of him in his Prophetick Office; but that the utter stifling of the Spirit of Prophecy in his true Members, if they could per­suade them that there is already an Infallible Prophet and▪ Interpreter, whose sole meaning is the true sense of the Scripture, and that Scripture it self is nothing without it, and that none has either Authority or Capacity to interpret but he.

What an egregious Pseudo-prophet then, think you, would this be, who takes upon him to speak nothing but Oracles and Infallible truth, while he speaks and defines and acts such things as I have hitherto de­scribed, Multifarious Idolatries, Insupportable Superstitions, and most im­pudent Annulments of the plain and express Laws and Doctrines of Christ? Who therefore ever can, if this great Pseudo-prophet do not, prove the famed Antichrist indeed, that monopolizes the Right of Pro­phesying to himself alone, that he may the better deceive the whole world; and will be Infallible, that is to say, unfailingly inspired, that this extravagant boast may the more palpably discover him to be that emi­nent False-prophet that Christendom has so long expected and feared?

2. Such a pretended Monopoly of the power of Prophesying as this is diametrically opposite to that liberty of the Spirit of Prophecy which is the Gift of Christ the Eternal Wisedom of God, which is excluded no where but out of a wicked and polluted heart, out of every Soul that is subject unto sin: otherwise that Spirit is so described in the Book of Wise­dom, that it is not in the power of any Potentate to confine it to himself.

For it is a lover of that which is good, quick, which cannot be letted or Chap. 7. v. 22, &c. hindred, ready to doe good, kind to man, stedfast, sure, having all power, overseeing all things, and going through all understanding, pure and subtil Spirits. For Wisedom is more moving then any motion; she passeth and goes through all things by reason of her pureness. For she is the breath of the power of God, and a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty: therefore can no defiled thing touch her. For she is the bright­ness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirrour of the power of God, and the Image of his goodness: And being but one she can doe all things, and remaining in her self she maketh all things new; and in all Ages entring into holy Souls she makes them friends of God and Prophets.

What one man therefore or company of men can pretend that the Gift of Prophesying is entailed on them onely, unless they were the onely pure and undefiled? Or rather what ground or assurance have they that them­selves can prophesy aright, they living in sin, in luxury and in all worldly impurities?

3. It is nobly concluded of Caelius Secundus Curio against Floribellus: [Page 108] Neque enim vera Dei cognitio, verúsque cultus, unius aut Familiae, aut Gentis, aut Sectae propria esse potest; sed quicunque sensu immortalitatis tanguntur, ii ad se eandem pertinere existimare debent. Poterat quidem Judaeorum Gens Circumcisionem externam, Aaronis Familia Sacerdotium, alias item Ceremonias sibi jure quodam vendicare; sed divinam & inter­nam Circumcisionem, vivas illas animi verásque Hostias, aeternas Naturae leges, quas in hominum animis Jova Opt. Max. à principio insculpserat, omnium mortalium sententiis comprobatas, sibi nec Judaei, nec Graeci, nec Romani, nec ulla praeterea Natio, quasi propria vendicare potuerunt.

And immediately after speaking more particularly of Christian Reli­gion as it is revealed in the Scripture, Ac nè illud quidem verè dici potest, quod quidam putant, summam Religionis quasi Haereditariam ad unum aliquem venisse, sic ut pro libidine sua interpretari, addere, demere, mu­tare, statuere, abrogare aliquid in ea possit. Neque enim idcirco Leges divinitus latae sunt, Religióve patefacta, quò in eam mortales jus habe­rent; sedut omni studio, curâ, labore, diligentiâ colerent, ejúsque dig­nitatem tuerentur.

4. Wherefore as concerning those Eternal and Immutable Rules of Di­vine Reason which God has engraven upon every mans Spirit, and come in as freely as the Light of the Sun into their natural eyes, and without which what-ever Prophecies there are or Instructions in the Holy Writ, it were impossible for us to be ascertained of the Truth of them, or indeed of any meaning in them; I say, upon pretence of an imperious Infallibility to deface these Divine Characters of the Soul, or to command them silence, or to give them the Lie, would be an act of the most notorious False-prophet, and most contradictious to the Prophetick Office of Christ, (whether you respect his Humanity or Divinity) that can ever manifest himself in the world.

5. As for example, If this impudent Oracle should declare, ‘That one and the same individual Body can be in several places at one and the same moment of time, yea in infinite places, in a manner, and at vast distances, at once; That that may be made or created which is already in being; That the real and sensible mode of a Subject may subsist separate from that Subject, as, suppose, Motion or Hardness, where there is nothing moved or hard; That what we have assurance of by all our Senses and by the Senses of all men constantly, the Object being at a due di­stance, and the Medium fitted, and the Organs rightly disposed, may notwithstanding all this be false; That the same Body at the same time may be bigger and lesser then it self; but an inch distant from me, and a thousand miles distant from me, at once; That one and the same person may be many thousand miles absent from himself, and that he may both sit still and make a journey to himself at the same time; That an entire organized Body may be wholly in every part thereof, all of it in the Eye, and consequently every part in every part, the comely parts in those on which Nature has bestowed less comeliness; That an entire Body may be divided, and yet not into two parts (suppose) but into two wholes, and both the same with the divided Entire body; That the same Body may be now at Athens, and after at Thebes, and yet not pass [Page 109] any medium direct or circuitous to come thither; That a man may swal­low every atom of his own body at once into his belly, limbs, back, belly, head, and mouth and all; That one and the same individual person may be of different ages at once, above thirty years old, and yet not above three hours old at the same time; That Religious Worship, even that which is Latria, may be given to Images, and yet without Idolatry; That Christ may satisfie for the faults of men, and yet they remain ob­noxious to the penalties due for those faults; with several others of that kind:’

I say, whosoever, upon pretence of being Prophet-general to the world, should lift up his head on high and utter such Infallible Contradictions as these in the name of the Lord of Hosts, or such oracular Definitions as must be false unless these be true, we need not spend time in asking him, Art thou he, or do we look for another? but may assuredly conclude that he is that expected eminent False-prophet who does Antichristianly op­pose himself against the Spirit of Truth which Christ has imparted to the world, partly by writing those immutable and infallible Rules of common Reason in the Souls of men; and partly by those Holy Writings which he has left to his Church, recorded by inspired men and Prophets; and lastly, by a special converse with more holy and sanctified Souls, to whom he does in a more certain and assured way then ordinary impart his Spirit of Illumination, as appears out of what we have cited out of the Book of Wisedom, and might be proved out of sundry other places of the Canonical Scripture.

6. And now whereas such a False-prophet as this has nothing to defend himself from the suspicion of being an Impostor, but the peremptory and impudent bearing men down that he is Infallible, it is but seasonable to appeal here to the world, Whether it be not infinitely more likely that this one man, or company of men, or succession of either, doing no real Miracles to extort belief, nor living better nor so well as other men, should be fallible and subject to error, or given to deceit, then that the above-cited absurd Conclusions should be true. For neither he nor they can be Infallible, if these be real Falsities, as undoubtedly they are.

7. Adde unto all this, That if this Pseudo-prophetick Power should serve the true Prophets of Christ and faithful Witnesses as the false Prophet did Micaiah, strike them on the cheeks, nay cruelly persecute them and kill them, (dealing so with them as the Jews did of old with our dear Lord and Master, who complained, But now you seek to kill me, a man that has Joh. 8. 40. told you the Truth which I have heard of God) would they not prove themselves to be that Jerusalem that has become an Harlot, and of whom our Saviour has predicted, That it cannot be that a Prophet perish out of Luk. 13 33. Jerusalem? she must be the Executioner. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the Prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, art not thou that mystical City of Hypocrites, the false House of God, Sodom and Aegypt, where our Lord also was crucified as well as the Prophets before him, and his holy Witnesses after him? For the false Jerusalem, the adulterate Church, is ambitious to monopolize to her self the trade of bloud and of slaying of the Prophets and Witnesses of God. But this may seem too vehement an Excursion.

[Page 110] 8. The thing that I contend for is this; That that Polity that usurps this Authority to themselves, and does all these indignities, injuries and cruelties, and uses all these unlawful means which I have noted, for the stifling of the Spirit of Truth, insomuch that Christ neither in his own person, nor in those Holy Records he has recommended to the world, nor in his living Instruments which he extraordinarily directs and assists, is permitted to admonish and inform men what is the right way, and what those indispensable duties to be done; that that Polity, I say, that be­haves it self thus, does therein notoriously Antichristianize, that is, op­pose Christ in his Prophetick Office as much as any Antichrist can doe; and that the being thus minded and acting after this manner is an un­doubted and conspicuous piece of the crassest Antichristianism.

CHAP. V.

1. That the pretence of repeating the Oblation of the real Body of Christ is a derogation to the Exceilency of Christ's Priesthood. 2. Fuller Ag­gravations of this wicked affront. 3. A prevention of a subterfuge. 4. Another more dangerous assault against the Priesthood of Christ, and the main end of his Suffering. 5, 6. The making the Bloud of Christ available to take away the Guilt of sin onely, and not the Punishment, how salvagely Antichristian. 7. Further Aggravations of this de­spightful piece of Antichristianism. 8. That there can be nothing more fundamentally Antichristian then it. 9. That the crime, consider­ing the circumstances, seems worse then that of Judas; with the Fraud of this wickedness. 10. As also the great Mischief thereof. 11. Inju­ries against the Mediatourship of Christ. 12. An Answer to some slight pretences. 13. A further confutation of such Antichristian errors and mispractices. 14. The Fraud and Mischief of multiplying Media­tors. 15. A special Mischief done thereby to our growth in grace and holiness.

1. LEt us now decypher what Antichristian opposition may be made against the Sacerdotal Office of Christ. There is one main and signal Privilege of the Priesthood of Christ, which is apparently and ex­presly set down by the Author to the Hebrews, and look'd upon as a spe­cial Dignity and Perfection thereof, Hebr. 9. Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the High-priest entreth into the holy place every year with the bloud of others: For then must he often have suffered since the foun­dation of the world; but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed for men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many, &c. And again, chap. 10. And every Priest standeth daily ministring and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, (which a little before he calls the offering of his Body once [Page 111] for all) sat down at the right hand of God, &c. Which words do plainly declare, That the Excellency of that true Offering of that Eternal High-priest, when he offered up his Body to his Father to reconcile the World unto God, is such, as that it needs no repetition; Salvation being per­fected in that one act of Christ as to the matter of Propitiation for sins.

Whence it would follow, That the pretending that Christ is really and actually offered up as a Propitiatory Sacrifice for the quick and the dead by the hands of the Priest in the celebration of the Eucharist, were a foul derogation to the Perfectness of that one Oblation of our Tran­scendent High-priest Christ Jesus, when he offered himself up to his Fa­ther for an Atonement for the sins of the whole World. I say, this pre­sumptuous conceit of offering him up really and bodily in every celebra­tion of the Lord's Supper, were an hainous Antichristian affront against the Sacerdotal Excellency of Christ:

2. Which Figment is still the more vile, if we consider with what course abuses of the Person of Christ, and with what villainous and barbarous injuries it must necessarily be conceived to be accompanied: How often by the mere power of that Quinque-verbal charm we above mentioned, he must be forced to fall into the hands of sinners, though uttered with no devotion toward him at all; for else the whole company might be con­strained to commit the grossest Idolatry imaginable, even as gross as the most barbarous Nations ever did commit. But if he come into the Priest's hands, he is betrayed into worse usages then Jeremie that was let down in­to the miry Dungeon.

A mans fancy would abhor to follow whither they send that which they say is the King of Glory, the living and real Body or Person of Christ. Which horrid and nasty servitude he is put to, not once or twice, nor in one of these stinking miry prisons at once, but in many thousands at the same time, and weekly, nay, it may be, daily, for many hundreds of years together.

What despight and mockery therefore would it be for to keep their Churches clean and adorned, to burn Incense and sweet Odours, to have all things lightsome and splendid, against the Lord whom they seek come into his Holy Temple; and yet as soon as he is come, not to permit him to have the common enjoyment of these sumptuous preparations, but, as it were in mockery and despight, (as I said) to clap him up into a dungeon more foul and miry then that of the afflicted Prophet? and when he is more gently entreated, yet to enclose him in a Pyx like a reprieved pri­soner, that they may afterwards let him out occasionally into the tainted mouths and bodies of expiring men? As if Christ prophesied false upon the Cross when he said, It is finished; when there was such an inexhausted Residue of loathsome drudgery behind for him to undergo.

3. These things are very ugly and unworthy, which though they be not in the power of any man to doe against Christ, yet in that they profess to doe them, they acknowledge they would doe them if they could; and therefore do really vilifie him and reproach him, as they that hang up or otherwise execute an escaped Criminal in effigie, declare their mind as much as if they had really executed it upon his person.

[Page 112] But this horrid reproach against the Person of Christ is still the more aggravable, if they be so barbarously serious in imprinting it on the minds and beliefs of men, that they will lay violent hands on them that deny it, and slay them. Can a man excogitare a more industriously-managed Blas­phemy against that Holy Tabernacle of the Godhead, the Body of the Lord Jesus, then this? or desire a firmer proof of their readiness to use the Body of Christ so coursely and cruelly if they could, when they do not stick to murther those that deny it to be in their power so to doe, though they had never so great a mind to doe it?

4. But though they fall short of their malice or presumption here, yet they may assault the sacred Office of Christ's Priesthood with a more dan­gerous and mischievous Attempt, exceeding ungrateful and reproachful, a poison that would eat out the very marrow and sweetness of the Christi­an Religion, and damp and obscure the grace and glory of the Sacerdotal Function of the Lord Jesus, and frustrate and evacuate the main end of his Sufferings, which was to satisfie the wrath of God for the sins of the world, by making himself a Propitiatory Sacrifice for them; that so ma­ny as believed in Christ Jesus, according to the gentle tenour of that New Covenant which he made in his Bloud for remission of sins, endea­vouring to follow his Precepts according to that light and strength which should be orderly or gradually imparted to them, might be sure of the fa­vour of God, being justified by Faith in the Passion and Merits of Christ, and not by any works or merits of their own.

For that this is the tenour of the New Covenant, and the true summe of that most acceptable and joyful news of the Gospel, is abundantly evident through all the Writings of the Apostles: namely, That being justified by Faith, in a Forensal sense, that is, acquitted and assoiled from the guilt of all our sins, as well as in several measures, according to our several ages and growths in Christianity, sanctified and purified from them, (which assoilment from guilt does necessarily imply security from punish­ment) we might, as the Apostle speaks, have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. This assuredly is the very Nature and Genius of the Rom. 5. 1. Evangelical Dispensation, and the sweetest and the most refreshing Flower to decayed Mortals in all this Garden of God, and the peculiar endear­ment of sincere Souls to be loyal and obedient Children and unfeigned lovers of his Son Jesus.

5. Whence it will follow, That there can be nothing more salvagely and barbarously Antichristian then to root out this comfortable Plant, this Tree of Life, out of God's Paradise, the Church. For such is the Cross of Christ, on which that holy Propitiatory Sacrifice did hang; the influence of whose Death is a cooling balsam that heals the wounds and stings of a troubled Conscience, which the more sincere, many times, the more dis­tressed. And therefore the Atonement of our dying Saviour considered in his Soul-melting Passion is exhibited to her as her onely and proper Cure.

Nothing therefore more despightfully can be invented against the value and use of that inestimable Bloud which our ever-to-be-adored High-priest shed upon the Cross for the securing our peace, then to misinterpret the [Page 113] efficacy thereof, as if it had the virtue of onely taking away the Guilt of our sins, but that if we will be free from the Punishment, we must labour out that by our own Merits and satisfactory Penances. This is to turn the intended sweetness of the Christian Dispensation into a Stygian sour­ness, the joyfull and glorious Day of the Gospel into a cloudy Aegyptian Night, (wherein dwells nothing but horrour and servitude) peace of mind into perturbation, and to make the Bloud of the Son of God more vile then that of Bulls and Goats.

6. Wherefore it is manifest, That to teach that we are not justified by Faith, but by Works and Penances, which we must suffer as such, that is to say, as Satisfactory penances, and not by way of correction and emen­dation of life, such hardships as may be medicinal and curative of what-ever depravations of nature we labour under, but merely (as I said) for satis­faction of sin committed, as if so be the Sacrifice and Satisfaction of Christ upon the Cross were not sufficient to atone the wrath of God, without every man suffer for himself also the punishments from which Christ came to free us, that with a more ingenuous love and comfortable liberty of spirit from all such bondages of the Law and slavish anxieties we might serve him in a true and living way, in real holiness and righteousness; I say, to teach such doctrine as this, would be plainly to supplant and oppose the Sacerdotal Office of Christ in that eminent act and genuine issue thereof (the Oblation of himself for the sins of the world, and the ma­king our pacification with God) then which nothing can be excogitated more Antichristian.

7. Which still will appear more hideous if we consider the extent that the necessity of these Penances may be conceived to have, not distur­bing the peace onely of this life, but pursuing us also, like the Poetical Furies, with whips and torches, to plague us and torment us in the other state, as we have Book 1. Ch. 22. already described: As if what-ever blemish or miscar­riage of this frail life has happened could not be expiated, no not by the Bloud of the Eternal Son of God, but every man must pay his own debt in the other world to the utmost farthing. Which assuredly makes the Sufferings of Christ of none effect, and is quite against the sense of a Pro­pitiatory Sacrifice.

Is this he of whom the Prophet Esay in that melodiously-mournfull burthen so sweetly and comfortably complains, He was wounded for our Transgressions, he was bruised for our Iniquities; the Chastisement of our Ch. 53. peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed? No, says this ungratefull and perfidious Antichristian power, every man shall be healed with his own stripes, and bear the burthen of his own iniquity; he shall be whipt, and stript, and wear hair-cloath next his skin, take long and te­dious pilgrimages, creep upon his bare knees on flinty causeys, fast and watch, not for correction and emendation of life, but for satisfaction for his sins already committed, as if the Son of God had never satisfied for them.

And this he shall suffer not onely in this life, but the Fire of Purgatory, which is a temporary Hell, (and must torment men as long as they please to define) shall be kindled about him in the other world; which nothing [Page 114] shall extinguish but the full paiment for the whole score, (for if not for all, why for any?) a plenary satisfaction made, not by Christ, but his own self, or any friend else that will doe him the favour. For he is taught to decline the Merit and Satisfaction of Christ, who was onely able to satisfie for us, and who did it unhired and unrewarded by us; and to flie to any one, may it but bring a piece of Mony in to the Church, rather then to him.

8. Can there be then any thing more fundamentally and essentially An­tichristian then thus to flight and cast away, or fraudulently for filthy lucre to suppress and conceal, the precious fruit of the Passion and Merits of so sufficient and loving a Saviour, and make men believe that they are to be saved by their own Merits, and to satisfie both here and hereafter for their own sins; whenas it is a thing both impossible and needless, and diametrically opposite to the meaning and design of the Death and Passion and complete Satisfaction made by our Blessed Saviour himself?

9. This doctrine seems abominable enough of it self; but if we con­sider upon what grounds and with what circumstances it may be foisted into the Church by that Antichristian power we are a-describing, it will be yet infinitely more hatefull and execrable. Judas betrayed Christ for a piece of mony into the hands of them that crucified him, for which his memory is accursed to all posterity: And yet Christ was betrayed but to that which he was willing to undergoe, namely, He willingly under­went the wrath of God, that he might shelter us from it, which was the very end of his Agonie and Passion.

Now suppose this false Church we are depainting should for a piece of mony betray the very End and Design of Christ's Passion, and quite frustrate and evacuate it; were not Christ worse betrayed here then by Judas himself? For Judas betrayed him but to what he had a mind to, that he might be an Oblation to God for the remission of sins to all Be­lievers: But this Antichristian Church, frustrating him of the End of his Suffering, more barbarous then Judas, betray the Saviour of the World to an unwilling death, and disappoint him of that prize for which alone he parted with his dearest bloud; and are more truely the Murtherers of this Just one then the very Jews that Crucified him, robbing him of that which was the life in his death, and prized by him above his own life, that is to say, His being a sufficient Sacrifice and Atonement for the sins of the whole World.

Which holy and weighty Article of the Christian Faith that Church which barters away for gain, to scare the people into the belief of a necessity of buying Pardons and Indulgences, of hiring Priests to sing their Souls out of Purgatory, of redeeming themselves by summes of mony from cruel imposed Penances, must needs in this point Antichristianize in the highest and most hainous manner against the Sacerdotal Office of Christ that can be imagined.

10. This is the wicked Fraud they commit, and the Mischief is not unproportionable. For by the persuading of men that they are justified by their own Merits, and must satisfie for themselves for all their sins and offences, either in this life or that which is to come, or both, nay indeed [Page 115] in both, unless they die so perfect as no modest man will ever imagine himself, they put the minds of the serious upon an intolerable rack of sollicitude about the torments of Purgatory, which they affrightfully set out to be of the same nature, though not of the same continuance, with those of Hell; or swell the minds of the vain-spirited with unwholesome tumours of Pride, upon conceit of such merit as never was nor ever can be in any man living that is a mere man; and, lastly, deface the peculiar glory of Christ and his Religion, in which there does really breath nothing but sweetness and pity and tender compassion; our Head and Sovereign, the Lord Jesus, sustaining those great torments both of minde and body on the Cross, to set his People free, that they might serve him in a way of Love and Ingenuity, contrary to that bloudy and cruel vassalage in which Satan aforetimes had enslaved the world.

Wherefore this false Church by the Fiction of Purgatory and the bloudy and cruel Penances imposed on the flock of Christ, by merciless Flagellations and excoriations of the flesh, more like the Priests of the Devil, that old Tyrant, then like the Ministers of the Gospel of the Son of God, would make Christendom of one hue again with ancient Paga­nism, and sell the children of Israel into a second Aegyptian bondage to be afflicted and oppressed under those hard Task-masters: which state of things how grossely Antichristian it is, I have already abundantly noted.

11. But yet there is a further opposing of Christ's Sacerdotal Office, and that very considerable, as he intercedes and meditates for us with God. Concerning which the Scripture is very express, as in the former case, That Christ was offered but once, so in this, That our Mediatour is but one. For there is one God, and one Mediatour between God and men, the Man 1 Tim. 2. 5, 6. Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransome for all, to be testified in due time. Where not onely the doctrine is asserted, That there is but one Mediatour, but the reason subjoyned, Who gave himself a ransome for all. Which being peculiar to him alone, there can be no Mediatour betwixt God and Man but he: And the merits of his Passion and all the per­fections of his life are of so infinite virtue, as being the declared Son of God, that to joyn the Merits of any Saints or Angels with his in this behalf, would be a reproachfull and blasphemous derogation to the Su­pereminency of his condition.

Wherefore the Right of Mediatourship upon point of Merit being Christ's alone, it must of necessity be an act of Antichristianism, and an injury against Christ's person, to joyn any other with him in that Office; as if he himself were not sufficient, but were so weak and unable for that Function, that he wanted coadjutors.

12. As for those Allegations, That God will spare a City for fifty righteous in it; and that he would protect Jerusalem for his servant David's sake, because he did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord; and that he will be mercifull to thousands of them that love him and keep his Commandments; No reasonings from these Scriptures will reach the matter in hand. For these are all about Temporal concernments; and the Fate of the righteous would be involved in that of the wicked in the first instance. As for that of David, he is acknowledged a Type of Christ, [Page 116] but the Sun being up, the Night is fled away. Nor do I see that any thing can be inferred out of that of Exodus, but that the posterity of the just, if they continue so, shall be continued. These therefore are but pretences, and can never reach the case that I would decypher, which is this; That we should put up our Prayers to this or that Saint, intreating them that they would intercede for us, as if they had the same privilege that Christ has, who is God as well as Man, and therefore is every where ready to hear us.

13. Wherefore this is to rob Christ of his honour and privilege, to presume that the Saints have a kind of Omnipresence or Omnisciency, which is onely proper to him: As also in a solemn Religious way at the Altar and in the Temple of such or such a Saint to pray to God in the Merits of these Saints to grant this or that petition, were it not to pro­claim openly that there is a deficiency in the Merits of Christ our great Mediatour, when we thus seek refuge in the names and merits of others?

How Antichristian then would it be if they should prefer some Saint, suppose the Virgin Mary, before Christ himself, in their addresses to her, beseeching her that she would command her Son in the virtue of that duty he owes to his Mother; if they should give unto her the Title of the Queen of Heaven, the Mother of Mercies, their Life, their Hope, the Light of the Church, their Advocate and Mediatress; nay should turn all the Psalms of David into Petitions or Praises to her, onely putting Domina instead of Dominus, Lady instead of Lord? I say, what an Anti­christian Figment would this be, to make the humble Virgin to justle thus with the Son of God for the Sovereignty of Heaven and the Mediatour­ship general of the whole World? Not to mention the making of whole swarms of other Mediatours upon the account also of their own Merit. For if it be not upon account of their own Merits and sufferings, (though they could not merit nor suffer any more then would serve for themselves) why should they make them Mediatours? But if their Merits adde any thing to the Merits and Sufferings of Christ, how was he a perfect High-Priest, or his Merits perfect?

Wherefore it is manifest that to make other Meritorious Mediatours be­sides Christ, is an Antichristian reproach and calumnie against the Per­fection and Excellency of Christ's Mediatourship.

14. But the wicked Fraud of this Invention may be the multiplying of Offerings to those new and appropriate Intercessours, who, being well bribed, will plead the cause of their Clients very zealously in the Court of Heaven; or at least this Antichristian Priesthood may make them be­lieve so, who has sold away the onely Mediatourship of Christ as well as the virtue of his precious Death and Passion, for a piece of mony; not considering the grievous Mischiefs that may come upon the Church by multiplying of Patrons and Mediatours.

For how easily are the heedless people lulled asleep in security by thinking they have such a sure friend of this or that Saint, which they have peculiarly chosen to themselves for their Patron, whom they honour with certain superstitious Ceremonies, and think they so oblige him there­by, that live they as they list, they will notwithstanding get safely to [Page 117] heaven, though let in at some back-door by such a special friend there, who will be ready to receive them? Whenas our Saviour Christ has told them afore-hand, that unless a man be born again, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God; and that those whose lives are unreclaimed, he will not own, but command them to depart as workers of Iniquity.

How easily are they hereby drawn off from that faith and reliance they ought to have on God and Christ, expecting even Sanctification and Re­demption from that which cannot save? How basely is their mind de­pressed to low thoughts, which ought to be lifted up to God alone? How subject to be immersed into the coursest and grossest degrees of Idolatry, whilest they without any stop conceit That the Temple, the Altar, the Priest with all his holy Vestments, the Festival and all the holy Offerings are dedicated and designed to the honour of that Saint whom they make their Patron and Advocate?

15. And lastly, How will that excellent and most powerfull instrument of our Sanctification and Renovation of our Minds into the lovely Image of the Lord Christ, I mean the Cross and Passion of our onely Mediatour, and the Meditation thereon, whereby our Souls might effectually be en­gaged to follow his steps in all things, and serve him out of an unfeigned love, how will this excellent Instrument, I say, be made useless and in­effectual, by this diverting the minds of men to some other self-chosen Patron, or by distracting them amidst the variety of so many Mediatours, (which are wholly insignificant as to any service or furtherance of real Sanctity) that that due love and loyalty which is owing onely to Christ, and which were the very saving life of our Souls, and the purification of our hearts, and requisite preparation for an eternal commerce with him in his Heavenly Kingdom, would be hugely diminished and made languid, or else quite lost? which is a dammage and Mischief plainly incomputable and irreparable. I say, The derivation of our devotion and affection from Christ into so many by-streams, and upon such Objects from which there is infinitely less obligation and urgency upon us to become good and holy, is no less then the hazzard or forfeiture of our eternal Salvation.

It is plain therefore that the opposing and supplanting the Ends and Usefulness of the Sacerdotal Office of Christ in such sort as I have declared, would be a very considerable part of that Idea of Antichristianism which I endeavour to describe.

CHAP. VI.

1. The opposing of Christ in his Three noted Offices how hainously Anti­christian. 2. An enumeration of other Titles of Christ. Opposition against him as he is the Truth; 3. As he is the Light; 4. As he is the Life. 5, 6. Opposition to his Divinity by equallizing Saints and Angels to him: 7. Yea by preferring what is but a Creature be­fore him. 8, 9, 10. Opposition against his Paternal Title by injuries [Page 118] and cruelties to his children. 11. Opposition to him as he is Prince of Peace, 12. By needless Definitions in points of Opinion; 13. By taking away the obligation of Oaths; 14. By making war with the Saints.

1. THus have we delineated unto you the nature of this Antichristian Opposition in these Three generally-noted Offices of Christ, which even alone considered, one would think enough to make up a complete Antichrist, that is to say, so to corrupt any Ecclesiastick power, as truely and fully to denominate it Antichristian. But yet this Antichristianism may be further displayed by more particular Oppositions to other Titles of Christ. We will not be curious to name all, nor so tedious as to insist long upon any which we shall further name, they being reducible some way or other most of them to some one of those Three Offices we have al­ready insisted on.

2. The most notable of these Titles are these; The Truth, The Light, and The Life, in the New Testament; and in Esay, The mighty God, Chap. 9. The everlasting Father, and The Prince of Peace. This is the style, these are the Sacred Titles of Christ: And therefore any Power pretending to succeed him, and to have right and authority to rule for him here on Earth, so far forth as they contradict and oppose these Titles of Christ in their management of things, so far forth they do discover themselves Antichristian.

As now if this pretended Power should traffick much in lying Legends and Figments, in false Miracles and cunningly-devised Fables, which the Apostle protests against, to lead about the people with fraud and guile­fulness, to engraft such opinions in their Minds as would most of all widen their purses, in such manner as I have had already occasion more particularly to describe; and also to darken all with a multitude of Ceremonies, which are but shadows of the Truth, if they be that: Such a constitution of things as this does plainly discover it self to be Antichristian, and to oppose that Title of Christ which styles him The Truth. Without are Rev. 22 15. Murtherers and Sorcerers, and every one that loveth and maketh a Lie: That is not so remarkably spoken in the Apocalyps for nothing. And it is worth the noting also in Chap. 8. Daniel, that Antiochus, who is generally look'd upon as a Type of Antichrist, is said to cast down the Truth to the ground.

3. The next Title is, The Light, which is a figurative Title, and signi­fies Wisedom and Knowledge; and indeed upon the matter is but a sym­bolical expression of the former. For Truth and true Wisedom are one and the same thing; but in that it irradiates and informs the minds of others, it is more especially called Light. And Christ is so called both in that he enlightens every man that comes into the world according to his Divine nature, and in that he was the Light of the Gentiles and the Glory of his people Israel in his exteriour Personal manifestation to the world.

Wherefore to endeavour to keep the people in a worse then Aegyptian darkness under pretence of raising their devotion to God, when the plot [Page 119] is to have them wholy at their own devotion, and to abuse them and mis­lead them as they please, it were plainly to Antichristianize against this Second Title of Christ, The Light, and to defeat the End of his coming into the World, which was to be a Light to lighten the Gentiles, and to Isa. 42. 6. bring them that sit in darkness out of the Prison-house. And Christ has entailed this Title also upon his true followers and Successours; Ye are Matt. 5. 14. the Light of the World. What then are they that are not onely not shining Lights themselves, but industrious abettors and promoters of darkness and ignorance, and diligent hinderers of any true light that may be let into the Church from others?

4. The Third Title of Christ is, The Life, as it is written in S. John's Gospel, In him was the life, and the life was the light of men. Which life I conceive S. Paul describes very savourly, when he saith, That the Kingdom of Heaven is not meat, nor drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Christianity therefore is a dispensation of in­ward life flowing out into all laudable and usefull actions; not a Babel of confused and intangling Opinions and unprofitable Observances, a heap of Ceremonies and Conceits, but a steddy abode in God, who is Love, and will teach us and inable us from an inward sense of Life to love him with all our hearts and all our souls, and our Neighbour as our selves; which is the most eminent fulfilling of the whole Law.

Wherefore instead of this holy dispensation of the Spirit and Life, if there were introduced a rigid adherence to empty Opinions and unedifying Observations of multifarious Ceremonies, this would be an Antichri­stian Trespass against this Third Title of Christ, while we thus substi­tute insipid Theories and dead Formalities in the place of the Power and Life of Godliness.

5. The Fourth Title is, The mighty God; and the Divinity of Christ is an acknowledged Article of our Faith, and so choice a Prerogative of his Person, that whatsoever does derogate from this, infringe or weaken it, cannot but be deemed considerably Antichristian. Such therefore must be the building of Temples and Altars, the burning of Incense, and religi­ous Invocations and Prayers to Saints or Angels.

Nay, though there were no Prayers put up to them, the solemnly reposing the Reliques of Saints in any Church or Chappel, and making them therewith the Patrons or Tutelar Genii as it were of such a City or Province, were no less then Idolatry, and a Superstition much like that of the ancient Pagans in their Telesms and Palladiums, and their Dii Tutelares, whose presence they conceited to be detained by these supersti­tious Ceremonies, and so made them Patrons and Protectours of their Cities and Countries. Wherefore if the Christians by religiously re­posing the Reliques of this or that Saint in this or that City should be so superstitiously conceited as to repose a Trust in the Aide of these Saints from Pestilence, from War, from Thunder, from Earthquakes or the like, believing them powerfull and benigne Protectours of the Place; this undoubtedly were a kind of Religious worship done to them, and could not be less then the sin of Idolatry.

For all such Faith and Repose upon any particular invisible Power is [Page 120] Idolatrous, as well as Invocation, because it as well supposes in that par­ticular invisible Power what is onely proper to God. For there is no certainty of the Presence, and consequently of the Assistence, of an invisi­ble Power in any one place, unless the nature of that Power be to be in all places at once. And therefore he that puts his Trust for Aid and As­sistence, in such a sort as I have described, in a particular invisible Power, makes that invisible Power Omnipresent or Omniscient, which are the incommunicable Attributes of God, and thereby commits Idolatry, as I have above more fully argued in the like case.

6. The mere trusting therefore in Saints as Patrons and Protectours of such and such Places, as well as the building of Altars, burning of In­cense to them, or invoking them, derogates from the onely-assured Pa­tronage and powerfull Divinity of our Blessed Saviour. For by these Divine honours we equallizing such Patrons or Mediatours as these to the onely-begotten Son of God, make him less then he is, and but like them; that is to say, make him unlike himself, obscure the peculiarity of his Divinity, and disclaim his Godhead; [...], as the Coloss. 2. Apostle speaks, letting go our true Head, and putting our selves under another Chieftain. For there is onely one that is capable of this Divine honour, which therefore if we give to any other, we act the part of that Antichrist who is defined by the denying the Father and the Son: 1 John 2 22. For the Father and the Son are one.

Such an arguing as this God seems to implie in his expostulation with the Israelites in the wilderness; O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me Victimes and Sacrifices by the space of forty years in the Wilderness? Yea ye Acts 7. took up the Tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your God Remphan, &c. The sense of which assuredly is this; That though the Israelites did sacrifice, as they thought, or did pretend, their usual sacrifices to God, according to the Law of Moses, during their abode in the wilderness; yet because they served and acknowledged other Gods besides him, he infers (and that truly and justly, even according to the humane Faculties) that they really did not serve him at all, that is, did not acknowledge him to be what he was, the onely true God. And therefore they erring in the apprehension of the Excellency of that Object to which Divine worship is due, as if it were so mean that there could be many such, did not direct their worship to him, but to a phancy or Idol of their own making, to which they profanely attributed the name of Jehovah. For the true Jehovah was not so vile a Being as there could be any partakers of Divine honour with himself.

And so it is with Christ, who is the same true God blessed for ever. He that gives Divine honour, which is due to him alone, unto Saints or Angels, disclaims his Divinity, and makes him but as one of them. This would be one Antichristian way of undermining his Godhead, by equalli­zing mere Creatures unto him.

7. But there is another way, or rather the same way but in an higher degree, and consequently more Antichristian; and that is, the preferring that which is but a mere Creature, though a blessed and glorious one, before him or above him. As for example, if either Fraud or blind Devotion should exalt the ever-blessed Virgin, not onely to that Divine honour [Page 121] of having Temples and Altars erected to her with Prayers and Invoca­tions of her, as in the worship of the rest of the Saints and Angels, but that these Honours should be done much more frequently and more magnificently to the Virgin Mary then to Christ himself; that is to say, that there should be more Temples and Altars, and more sumptuous, erected to her then to Christ Jesus, more Devotions, Prayers and Offerings made to her then to him, a greater acknowledgement of mercy and goodness from her, then from him who poured out his Life in the bitter Agonies of his bloudy Passion for the Salvation of the World; and, lastly, be ascribed unto her a Superiority and Authority over Christ, to command him to doe this or that by virtue of that duty he owes unto her.

Certainly if this be not against the Divinity of Christ, nothing can be, thus to make him inferiour to a deceased woman, even him that is perfect God as well as perfect Man. For it is plainly to un-deify him, if I may so speak, and to declare him to be no God at all. Which is as Antichristian an outrage against the Divinity of Christ as can be imagined.

For who is Antichrist if he be not that denies the Father, and the Son 1 John 2. 22. who is one and equal with the Father? And who denies the Godhead of both Father and Son, but he that pronounces the Mother of Christ according to the flesh to be greater then them both, as certainly she is if she be greater then either?

8. The Fifth Title is, The Everlasting Father. The Seventy trans­late it [...], meaning, I suppose, the world under the Messias. The efficacy of which Title I conceive the Mystery of Regene­ration to reflect upon; Christ regenerating us into his own Image by the inward working of his Eternal Spirit. All things that the Father hath John 16 15. are mine: (and it is no wonder, he being one with the Father) there­fore said I, that he (the Spirit) shall take of mine, and shew it unto you. Wherefore Christ regenerating the World which was to come by the operation of his Eternal Spirit, he was rightly and fitly styled [...], The Father of the World to come, or, if you will, The everlasting Father, as being so in his own Essence, and begetting Children to endless Eternities.

Of this Mysterie he treated in his converse upon Earth with his secret disciple Nicodemus: Unless a man be born from above, he cannot enter into John 3. 5, 7. the Kingdom of God. Marvel not that I said unto thee, that we must be born from above. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but thou knowest not from whence it comes, nor whether it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. No unregenerate man is acquainted with the sense of the first rise and motion of the Spirit, nor understands whither those actions and speeches tend that proceed therefrom. But it is so with these as is said in the Apocalyps of the hundred forty four thousands, who by virtue of their new birth sung a new Song which none could learn but the hundred forty four thousands Chap. 14. which were redeemed from the Earth, by being born from above, as our Saviour spake to Nicodemus. These are the true Israelites, in whose mouth is found no guile, and who by the guidance of that Spirit by which they are regenerate follow the Lamb wheresoever he goes.

[Page 122] 9. Wherefore Christ being to his true Church so real a Father, by a true and living Regeneration and Renovation of their Minds by his Spirit into such holy sentiments as appertain to all those that are indeed the Sons of God; to treat them so as if they were mere Images made of wood or stone, or rather dead matter to be carved upon, and have the inscription of any thing that a pretended Infallible Power shall be pleased to engrave upon them; this is an high Antichristian affront against the Paternity of Christ: as if he did not beget living Children, who have as certainly the sense of discernment in Spiritual things as any Animal birth has in Natural; but that the number of his Elect were but a certain Tale of billets, brick or stone, to be hewen or carved, or any way ordered, accor­ding to the petulancy and imperiousness of a self-willed Power, who, un­der a pretence of an infallible and unfailing succession that must be in the Church, has stept into the place of Christ.

Maxima debetur puero reverentia——

is most true concerning every child of God. For there is that Divine sense in them, against which whatsoever is unholy and unsavoury will grate very hard and unpleasantly, and what is false will be found by them very dis­harmonious both to those immutable Principles of Truth in their unpre­judiced minds, and also to the written Oracles of God, which were penned down by the same Spirit by which this genuine off-spring of Christians are regenerated.

Wherefore, as I said, to use these as if there were no life, no spirit, no sense or discernment in them, but that they must as passively, without any Conviction or Appeal to any thing in themselves, bear the Dictates of this usurping Power we describe, as a Table-book or Paper-book which is irresistibly writ upon by that hand that pleases, is an enormous Injury against Christ, as he is the Everlasting Father and holy Regeneratour of his true Church into his own life and likeness. But to murther and mas­sacre these Children of his because they do so stoutly and exactly Patris­sare, so conscienciously and carefully tread in their Father's steps, and witness his Truth to the world; I leave to any man to judge if there can be imagined any thing more hellishly Antichristian against the Paternity of Christ then that. For what can be more hostile and contrary to a Fa­ther then to murther his genuine children, and for that very reason, because they so lively resemble him, and so faithfully adhere to their Father's ver­tuous practices and principles?

10. I might adde also that the over-exercising of the Minds and Bodies of men in the multifarious observances of external Ceremonies, and ma­king them dance or trot from one Superstitious performance to another, might be a disappointment of the Divine Birth; as the over-much exerci­sing of Women in dancing or what other feats of Activity or sore labour makes them often miscarry in that Child-bearing that is natural. But I will not insist upon these things.

11. The Sixth and last Title is, The Prince of Peace. In which Prin­cipality or Authority if any should claim succession, and yet administer the Affairs of Christ's Church such a way as will naturally, if not neces­sarily, fill it full of broils and contentions; this power would certainly [Page 123] be [...] a supplanter of the Peaceable government of Christ, and be the Author of an Antichristian Tyrannie and Confusion. As for example, If this usurping Power should coin new Articles of belief for their own benefit, contrary to the known Principles of Scripture and Reason, and require the profession of these from the Church of Christ, as al­so appoint suspected Observances, smelling rank of Idolatry and Super­stition; it were in a manner impossible but that it should cause vast rendings and tearings in the Church, and fill the world full of strife and opposition.

Also if they should make it their business to define the sense of Scrip­ture by a more determinate meaning then there were use of in the Church, and put their Determinations and Expositions upon men as necessary points of belief; This would also make much against the Peaceableness of the Church, men being in a manner fatally propending to think this or that way in things that are not necessary to Salvation, to be determined either. There would needless violence therefore be done to the Con­sciences of men, thereby to set the world on fire. Whenas what is general, is large and unitive and takes all in, and gives them leave to live peaceably one by another without justling or crowding.

12. But the Folly and Fraud of this curiosity would be the Endeavour of gaining or rather extorting respect from the people, and of making their Function seem considerable, and their Learning great, and their Judgements unerrable, and that they may feel their Authority, and make others to feel it, though to the discontent and dissettlement of the Church of Christ. As if their living exemplarily, and urging the performance of what is plain in Scripture, and keeping an orderly Discipline in those things, would not gain them more respect, and make them more honour­able both in the eyes of God and man: or as if they would not appear more infallible by insisting in his steps who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, then by grossely crossing this way, or going out of it for some by-advantages of the World: The discovery of which Frauds must needs make them odious to all men. And lastly, as for their having their Authority felt, Christ has shewed them the way, if they would follow it; He taught as having authority, and not as the Scribes; for they say, and Matt. 7. & Chap. 23. doe not.

13. This is one way of Antichristianizing against that sacred Title of Christ, The Prince of Peace. There is another more vile and execrable then that heart could imagine that is not acquainted with the depths of Satan; and that is, If this Antichristian power we describe should take upon them to absolve the Princes of Christendom from their Oaths and Covenants they make one to another upon their terms of Peace, as also to absolve Subjects from their Oaths of Allegiance to their Sovereigns; were not this to break a-pieces all the bonds of Unity that not onely Reli­gion but the Laws of Nature do afford, thus to destroy the Sacred­ness of an Oath, which is the end of all strife? How then can that Heb. 6. 16. Power challenge a right of succession to the Prince of Peace, which takes away the chiefest tie of Peace that humane affairs are capa­ble of?

[Page 124] 14. And lastly, that bloudy position of taking away mens lives for mistakes in Opinion, when notwithstanding they are otherwise unblame­able in faith and conversation, and unfeigned professours of Christian Truths that are evidently revealed in the Word of God, nay to take away their lives for not doing and holding things quite contrary to the express Word of God written both in our inward Souls and in the Holy Scripture, as I have in several Instances declared in this description of Chap. 3. Sect. 8. Antichristianism; What were this but to hang out the bloudy flag a­gainst the true Church of Christ, and to proclaim open war against them, to bid battel against them that are inrolled into the company of the Lamb, and are the professed Souldiers of the Prince of Peace? Whose opposers therefore, in such a sort as I have intimated, cannot but be that Apocalyptick Beast that makes war with the Saints, or that Mother Chap. 13. 7. of Har lots who is drunk with the bloud of the Martyrs of Jesus. So little doubt would there be of this last Opposition's proving an Antichristian Chap. 17. 6. Character of the deepest dye: But of this subject more hereafter.

CHAP. VII.

1. That any Constitution of things that naturally opposes and suppresses the Divine Life is Antichristian in the highest measure. 2. Such as Idolatry, Superstition, and all the above-mentioned Oppositions to Christ's Offices and Titles. 3. The opinion of a virtue in the Sa­craments ex opere operato, and of the needlessness of our attention to our Devotions. 4. Dumb shows, and the resting in the mere doing of a Religious duty, be it from what principle it will. 5. Easy Absolu­tion, and slight Penances. 6. Plenary Indulgences purchased by money from Ecclesiastick Authority, 7. A general note prefixed touching the Mischiefs of the several Oppositions against the Divine Life. 8. The plausibility of the Supposition of an Ecclesiastick Power and Pomp more then Imperial. 9. The weakness of the grounds for the said Supposition. 10. The consequential Mischief thereof, in dri­ving the minds of Church-men from the study of Truth and Holiness: 11. Yea in making them oppose every thing that is True and Holy, if it oppose their designs of Ambition and Avarice. 12. That such a Luci­ferian Power as this were the very ruine of the Kingdom of Christ upon Earth; 13. And the turning of his Church into a mere Mart or Fair.

1. THus expressely and clearly have we delineated the Image of Anti­christ in his opposing of Christ in his Offices, and in running quite counter to the most Sacred Titles that do adorn his Person. We come now to the Divine Life as it is propagable in the world, and for which Christ was pleased to take our nature upon him, and to lay down his life for us; That he might purchase to himself a glorious Church, not having Ephes. 5. 27. spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without [...]mish.

Which being the very End of Christ's coming into the world, of the [Page 125] suffering all those hardships during his pilgrimage here on Earth, and of submitting himself to the shamefull and unexpressibly-painfull Death of the Cross; for any to oppose, supplant, or any ways to defeat this so serious and earnest design of his by any countenanced method or constitution of things, would certainly be Antichristian in the highest measure.

Let us now therefore consider distinctly and articulately the most ma­terial ways of opposing or supplanting this design, laying before us in view such depraved Laws, Constitutions or Practices in a Church, as tend to the extinguishing the Divine Life in general, or are more particularly directed against the Root or Branches thereof, namely, either against Faith, that is to say, the belief of the Summe of Christianity, or else against those inestimable Graces of Humility, Purity and Charity.

2. For the depainting of this Opposition against the Divine Life in general, I need not put my pencil into any new colours. Those mul­tifarious ways of Idolatry and Superstition which I have noted in the first Book I. ch. 12, 17, 18, &c. and second Limb of Antichristianism, and which carrie mens minds out to external exercises that profit nothing, but elude the right inten­tion of Zeal and Devotion which should better our spirits and make us more inwardly and vitally holy and righteous, these do certainly of their own accord lay asleep or suffocate the Life of God in the Soul, and like false food either poison or starve it.

Those Oppositions also that were against the Offices of Christ; the vilifying his Law, the removing it from the eyes of the people, or the reading of it and their publick Service in an unknown Tongue; the in­terpreting his serious Commands for slight Advices left to our pleasure to follow or forbear; false Glosses put upon the Oracles of God by pre­tended infallible Interpreters; the defeating that mighty Engine of Obedience to Christ, which is the affectionate Meditation upon his Death and Passion, his direfull Sufferings for us, by diverting of our Thoughts and distracting them by several insignificant Objects, pety Advocates and Patrons, that run away with our Devotions, and rob Christ of his honour, and our Souls of the chief means of their Sanctification and Sal­vation: These, with several other particulars I might instance in, are plain Antichristian Assaults and Oppugnations of the Divine Life in ge­neral, and tend to the sweeping of all away before them.

3. To which you may adde those ungodly surmises; That it is suffi­cient to number over our Devotions without defixing our Mind upon what we say; and that a more hovering and general attention will serve the turn, our particular Thoughts wandring to what else we please; That the Sacraments confer Grace ex opere operato; it being the very difference betwixt the Sacraments of the old Covenant and the new, that the former confer Grace ratione operis operantis, the latter ratione operis operati; and That any inward good Motion is not requisite in him that receives the Sacraments: What can more relaxate those earnest brea­things and hearty aspirings of our Souls towards a real renovation of our natures into true holiness and righteousness, then such corrupt conceits as these?

[Page 126] 4. The feeding also the people with dumb shows, instead of searching their Consciences and exciting their zeal by intelligible Exhortations or Forms of Devotion that will re-minde them of their duty, and imprint upon them the sense of such holy things as they stand in want of, and inflame their desire after them; this also would be a defrauding of the Divine Life of that food which it should be increased and nourished by. As also would be that conceit generally of all Acts of Religion, that the duty of the Act is done if the Act be but externally done, be the Principle what it will, though it neither proceed from nor reach to that fountain of life which ought to be ebullient in every Regenerate Christian, and without which no man can reasonably esteem himself regenerate. Certainly such Opinions, Customes and Usages as these must needs wear out true and living Holiness out of the World.

5. And yet we may conceive a further Antichristian poison, that will wonderfully damp and benumme men in all their endeavours after true Sanctity; and that is easy Absolution and slight Penance after formal Confession. For Confession, which is so rigorously extorted by this Antichristian Church I am now describing, being accompanied with a conceit that upon their Absolution and performance of imposed Penances they are then right and straight, and in as secure a condition as if they had never sinned; the just chastisements of their offended Consciences being slaked by the soft and false interposal of the Priest's pretended Authority to absolve where God has bound, (as certainly every one is bound over to that eternal doom at the last day, let the Priest pretend the power of loosing him here as much as he will; and he shall answer for what he has done in the flesh, which no Absolution nor Penance can clear him from, unless he really forsake his wicked ways, and become a sincere Convert to God;) I say, from this constitution of things touching Absolution and Penance, it must needs follow that the raines will be let loose on the necks of all men, they being given to understand what a slight thing it is to sin against God, when they can have their reconcilement upon such easy terms. Whenas it would be a greater awe upon mens spirits to let them be condemned or acquitted by their own Consciences, being so well assisted by the Word of God and the Light of Reason and Nature to lay the Law against them, and never to leave urging them till they have emerged into a competent sincerity of heart: Which when they have arrived to, Christ within them and his Word without them will absolve them and give them peace of mind; and, if need be, they may also receive Absolution from some sober and faithfull Priest, whose honesty and ex­emplarity of life has fitted him for so serious a function, as I have intimated above, where I had slipt aforehand into this Argument.

6. But the most outrageous Antichristian effort against the Divine Life would be the persuasion that upon the paying of certain tolerable summes of mony, and doing some slight superstitious performances or other, they shall obtain by virtue of the supreme Ecclesiastick Authority plenary Indulgences and Pardons for vast numbers of years, and the cer­tainty of freeing of themselves or their friends from Purgatory.

As, for example, suppose that some Churches, or, if you will, many, [Page 127] may have purchased from the Ecclesiastick Sovereignty a perpetuity of ple­nary Indulgence, so that he that prays before such an Altar in this Church should have free remission of all his sins past, and security from punishment. But this is a small matter. Suppose that such a piece of Devotion at some other Altars, and in some other Churches, would procure the pardon of sin and punishment for twenty, thirty, fifty, or an hundred thousand years; and that the saying of such and such Prayers at such an Altar would deliver a Soul out of Purgatory; that the bowing at the Name of Jesus may procure toties, quoties, twenty years pardon, that the mere stooping to kiss a Cross on the pavement of a Church, an Indulgence or Pardon for all a mans sins; that the pattering over so many Prayers, especially if there be the weight of some consecrated Medal, as an Agnus Dei or the like, annexed to them, will save a Soul out of Purgatory; that one Salutation of the Blessed Virgin shall gain eighty years pardon; that the saying a certain short Prayer, devoutly looking on the Picture of Christ, shall obtain ten thousand days of Pardon, and the saying of others no less then ten hundred thousand years; and for but the looking on a certain Crucifix, six thousand years of Pardon.

These intimations would be infinite. I have produced so much already as implies such a Constitution in a Church, as nothing can be more op­posite to or destructive of that Life and Holiness Christ came to plant in the World, and therefore cannot but be judged very soully An­tichristian.

7. The Falseness and unjustifiableness of these proceedings I need not goe about to evince, they being so damnable at first sight: nor point at the Fraud, it being so conspicuous; which is, as I have above inti­mated in like cases, the emunging of the people of their mony: And the Mischief is here the Opposition or Extinction of the Divine Life, as it will be likewise in the Root and Branches. So that we need hereafter note no other Mischiefs then will be comprized in the Subject we shall be upon, the Mischiefs being expressed in the very Titles of the Argument. Which I thought fit here to note once for all; and would proceed to the delineating of the next Limb of Antichristianism, did there not one consideration more offer it self to my mind, that would help to make the state of the Church very Stepdame-like to any offers toward growth and increase in life and Godliness. Which supposition is this.

8. Let us imagine that either a mighty party of the Ecclesiasticks had plotted it so, or the Ambition of one Bishop with some few adherents, being back'd with opportunities, and wanting no wit, policy, nor industry, had brought it about to be so, that he and his Successours should be de­clared, and by a very considerable part accepted for, the Universal Bishop of the World, should be esteemed of an Authority more sacred, high and glorious then of any Emperour or Potentate upon earth: that there should be substituted under him several Orders, some of very high degree, which should be, as it were, so many Ecclesiastick Princes, equal in a manner for Pomp and Splendour to the Kings of the Earth; besides Pa­triarchs, Metropolitans, and many other very rich and illustrious Ranks of the Priesthood, the Church in the interim abounding with sundry [Page 126] [...] [Page 127] [...] [Page 128] sorts of very creditable and profitable Preferments to bear out all.

Why, thus far, you will say, is very good news, and it were desirable it were so indeed, That Religion being the most Sacred and precious thing in the world, those that are in a more special manner the Supporters and Pillars thereof should be the most richly splendid and adorned.

9. I do confess so a man would think at first sight. For it seems but a respect to God, whose Servants they are by a more peculiar dedication. But by the same reason our Churches should be as well the most splendid as the most ample Buildings, especially there being no danger of infecting these walls of stone with either the sense of Pride or any other uncomely Passion.

But suppose that these pretended living Stones of the Temple of God were as unexcitable to Pride or Lust as the dead Stones of the walls of a Church; though this extreme glory and pomp and excessfull affluency of the World might doe them no hurt as to their Manners, yet I believe they would profess they found little good in it, unless it were in being Treasurers for the Poor, (which would be something a Secular employ­ment) or in giving testimony to the World, that Christian Happiness consists not in these things; which yet the World would not think them serious in, unless they did actually quit them. And for the external pomp and splendidness of their own Persons, it is credible they would declare that if the Houses of God, I mean the external Churches, were at least decently, if not in some case gloriously, adorned, their eyes could better view that and with more pleasure then any Imperial Ornaments on their own head and back, which they could not well see without the help of Looking-glasses.

This would be a greater pleasure to them, as also to see no poor but such as were wholesomely and handsomely apparrell'd, not so squalidly and forlornly that they appear as ungratefull Eye-sores in Providence.

But to make rich Miters and costly Habiliments for a S. Peter or S. Paul, were not indeed to make a Coat for the Moon, but (which is as ridicu­lous) to make a golden Cope for the Sun, as if his native splendour did not out-shine all such artificial Ornaments. The gorgeousness of Apparrel may make the person that wears it to be gazed or stared upon; but un­spotted Holiness and Vertue will make the possessour thereof truely reve­renced and adored.

10. This excessive Grandeur therefore in the Governours of the Church, though they were as holy as the Apostles themselves, would not seem necessary, nor requisite, nor, it may be, at all desirable. But as for those that are not of such an Apostolical Spirit, as the generality of the world are not, or rather very few are, that of S. John having continued true in all ages in a manner, [...], The whole world lies soaked in wickedness; in these this glorious setting out, 1 John 5. 19. this fair and glittering Morning will assuredly very suddenly prove a foul Day.

There being therefore such Temporal prizes to be aimed at, such seve­ral sorts and degrees of Dignities, to the very top of the highest Sovereign­ry over the world, all mens spirits will be inflamed with the desire and [Page 129] pursuit of what lies so temptingly in their view, and that hellish fire of Am­bition will be the very life and soul of the Church; all her activity and motion deriving it self from that hatefull Principle. Whence it will follow that nothing but the name of Spirituality will be left, the minds of the Clergie being totally drawn off from meditating what is true, holy and edifying, and quite drown'd and immerst in the affairs of the world.

For such are also Ecclesiastick Preferments, when they are sought after to satisfie the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.

11. Nor will this mischief stop here, I mean in the neglect of Holy and Divine Meditation, and of either usefull or generous Enquiries after Truth; but every one being exalted in the conceit and apprehension of his own place and dignity, especially he whose Superiority is so vast as to pretend to be the Universal Bishop of Christendom, and higher then all the Kings of the Earth, they will be driven on so far with that furious spirit of Ambition, that they will not onely neglect, but oppose, every thing that is sacred and holy, if it stand in competition with any devised method of getting in Riches to the Church, that they may Lord it, and carry it out bravely, every man in his respective Office and Dignity.

Wherefore the genuine Simplicity of Christian Religion shall be cor­rupted and adulterated, and Laws and Articles devised by this Infallible Priesthood, that are point-blank against the Laws of Christ and the im­mutable Rules of sound Reason: The ears of all men will be filled with deceitfull Figments and gainfull Lies, such as we have already produced many Instances of; the Merits of Christ's Passion vilified and maimed; Truth and Justice banished, persecuted and oppressed; the Old and New Testament made but a dumb and dead letter that has no sense nor infor­mation in it, but all Dictates must be immediate from the Church that is resolved to dictate nothing that is against her worldly advantage: that is to say, The two Witnesses must be slain, and their carcasses lie breathless in the streets; otherwise those that dwell on the Earth (not those that Apoc. [...] are redeemed from the Earth, and have their conversation in Heaven) will not be able to rejoyce in such a measure, and to send gifts to one another, that is, mutually support and promote one anothers Interest, and merrily share the World amongst themselves.

12. It is plain therefore that such a Luciferian Polity as this would of its own nature clash with the Kingdom of Christ, and totally defeat that Grand design of the Gospel, which is the Renewing of the World in true Righteousness and Holiness. For thus even those which should be the Salt of the Earth will of all men become the most unsavoury; every mans judgment being bribed by either the present possession or earnest ex­pectation of such vast and extravagant Preferments; of which there being so many degrees, the minds of the ambitious will find no rest till they come to the highest that is possible, and therefore will be necessarily entangled and taken up with worldly projects, even as long as they live, and that with great vehemence and sollicitude; the Objects seeming so great, and making so glaring a show in their phancies. And Ambition and Pomp in all ranks rendring them indigent of Money, no inferiour [Page 130] Candidate can attempt the corrupting of the Superiour Authority without success, and every one betime will get as much of Church-preferment as he can, to be able to buy more.

Wherefore by Law or Dispensation men shall be inabled to hold not onely many Benefices, but Bishopricks, besides other Dignities in the Church; by which means no Shepherd will be able to attend his own flock, but, instead of feeding them with wholesome Doctrine, will help the Devil to infuse the worst poison that can be conveyed into mens minds, namely, That the whole business of Religion is but a device to enrich the Priest. Thus necessarily and unavoidably by their absence and silence will they preach and inculcate Atheism and Infidelity into their scandalized Clergie. For if the Salt it self become thus unsavoury, what better can become of that which it is to season? Will not Leudness and Irreligion overflow all?

13. To be short, All mens minds upon the reckoning being inflamed with Pride and Ambition, and no mans Ambition being to be served without mony; the Temple of God will, as in times past, be filled with buyers and sellers, and the Church become a very Mart or Fair, the Ec­clesiastick Polity a City of Merchan dises, and every particular Church a Merchant's Ship or Vessel of Traffick, amidst the populosity of the World, which the Prophetick style resembles to many waters.

But I will harp no longer on this string. I have already made a De­scription full enough of such a Constitution or Frame of the Church as would in an universal manner oppose or disappoint the planting or growth of the Divine Life, whereby it does sufficiently shew it self to be ex­tremely Antichristian.

CHAP. VIII.

1. That such a Frame of things as naturally tends to the extinguishing of Faith is highly Antichristian. 2. That A trade of Worldliness in the Spiritual Guides is one part of this Frame. 3. And a Self-ended policy in all the Doctrines and Practices of this Church, another. 4. Thirdly, The profession of uncertainty and obscurity in the Chri­stian Faith. 5. Fourthly, The necessity of being in a Church where there is no Interruption by misordination. 6. Fifthly, The bearing men down that Dissent in any thing takes away certainty in all things. 7,—12. Sixthly, Lying Miracles. 13,—16. Seventhly, A rabble of incredible Reliques. 17. Eighthly, Transsubstantiation. 18. How naturally it super-induces Atheism. 19. What a bundle of Impossi­bilities it is. 20. That the pretended Infallibility of the Church is infinitely too light to weigh against it: 21. Nor can it be made credible by the countenance of feigned Miracles. 22. Several Characters of them that are excluded the Holy City, comprized in this present Limb of Antichristianism.

[Page 131] 1. WE will now proceed to those main parts of the Divine Life, the Root and the Branches. Where it is obvious to take notice that what deads the Root, whereby the whole Tree must necessarily wither, cannot but be Antichristian to the highest pitch. Wherefore if I describe such a management of Affairs in the Church as naturally tends to the extinguishing of Faith, which is the necessary Root of the other Divine Graces, no man will doubt but that I have delineated a very con­siderable Limb of Antichristianism.

2. Of which the first point is what we last of all touched upon: Such a Frame of Government, and such sublimities of Dignities, as would lapse the Church, and immerse it into the World, and thereby make them that should be the Salt of the Earth, an unsavoury masse, and of a secular, dead, insipid spirit, relishing nothing of the Kingdom of God, but wholy taken up with the Profits and Promotions of this present life. For they would thereby look so like Unbelievers themselves, that they would stagger the faith of all those under them, and make them think that there was nothing to be expected after this life, because their Leaders and Guides lived so exactly according to that Principle, That there is nothing to be expected hereafter.

3. Secondly, The Exquisiteness of their Order and Policy in ma­naging the affairs of their Ecclesiastick Empire, if it did surpass all the Cun­ning and Industry of Secular Princes, and if all those Doctrines and Duties which were most urged and most frequently came into practice were of such a nature as did plainly tend to the either Honour, Power or Profit of the Priesthood; This, I say, would strike very far towards the making the World Infidels, or believers of nothing but this, That the Summe of our Religion is but a witty Invention of so many fictitious Stories, Doctrines, Precepts and Ceremonies, which would serve to hamper the Consciences of men, and make the World more Governable; but so shaped out by the Priests, as made most for their worldly advantage. And such we have alrea­dy described the Tenents and Doctrines of this Church to be, continuedly displaying the Frauds and Self-endedness of all their Errours and Mis­practices, and need not here again repeat them.

4. Thirdly, This also would oppose the Christian Faith, To make the nature of it such, that it must be always doubtfull. Of which I must confess I know not what may be the fetch, unless it be to keep mens Minds, as some deceitfull Physicians and Surgeons do their Bodies, in such an unsound and valetudinarious condition, that they may have the more frequent recourse to them, and depend the more upon them: or because they mixe some things in Religion necessarily to be believed, which it is impossible they should be firmly believed by any but fools. And thus the true and solid points of Christianity, such as have sufficient evidence to convince any ma [...] of Reason, must be reputed obscure and uncertain for being found in the company of such gross Falsities or Un­certainties, which yet pretend to an equal right of entire reception with the clearest Truths.

And further, It is no wonder that such a Church as places whatever [Page 132] certainty there is of Faith upon her own Infallibility, as if that were the ground of it, should derive both an opinion and profession of the Uncer­tainty of Belief upon her Nurselings; they having no better ground then what we have so plainly demonstrated already to be hollow and ruinous.

But it is their onely Shift and Refuge, to make their Infallibili­ty the ground of Belief, the matters they propose to be believed having no recommendation either from Scripture or their own nature to be embraced. And therefore things being thus uncertain at the bottom, upon their Principles, they must instead of a firm and solid Faith be content with an obscure and uncertain one. Which is indeed the de­stroying of Christian Faith, and the substituting of a more vertiginous fluctuation of mind in lieu thereof.

5. Fourthly, That Principle also tends to the ruining of Faith, which supposes That without right Succession of Bishops and Priests there is no true Church, and therefore no true Faith; and that this Succession may be interrupted by the misordination or misconsecration of a Priest or Bishop, the persons thus ordained or consecrated being Atheists or Jews, or ordained by them that are so, or do out of malice not intend what they ought in the Sacrament of Orders, as some call it. Which were a conceit able to turn all men Scepticks concerning their state in Religion; but is a Position absolutely against inward sense and Reason. As if a man could not feel in his own conscience whether he believed or not the Truths of Holy Scripture, without he were first assured that he was a member of that Church that had an uninterrupted lawfull Succession of the Priest­hood from the Apostles times till his own. Whenas there is nothing more immediate to a man then inward sense, which it is not in the power of any Sophistry ever to confute.

6. Wherefore though this Position may be spightfully levelled against the Certainty of Faith, yet the execution it can doe upon the considerate is very inconsiderable and small: much like that peevish Supposition of the necessity of Unity of Opinion; as if those Churches that did differ in any thing, had the certainty of nothing. An excellent Hypothesis indeed, were it but true, and such as would effectually recommend the usefulness of an Infallible Judge of Controversies, if he could be had for love or mony, by whom they might closely compact the parts of the Church Catholick together, as with cramps of Iron.

But there is no such force in the Theorem, which will of it self fall asunder into dust, if we consider it can stand upon no other terms then what will supplant the truth of all Reason and Religion in the world; the whole world being divided in their judgments and conclusions con­cerning both. Whence it is plain that the Attempt, though weak, tends to the bringing in universal Scepticism in all things. In which deluge the Christian Faith would be also drowned, and perish with all other Truths, there being no Ark left to take Sanctuary in, and to be safe from the working and absorptive waves of this reciprocating Euripus.

7. But sixthly, and I shall now instance in what is not onely ill-meant, but must needs have a successfull efficacy for making the World Atheists [Page 133] or Infidels; and that is, The glutting of them with lying Miracles, and gulling of them with delusions and cousening devices, call them pious Frauds or by what other fine names you please. For the Falsehood being once discovered in such a Church as requires to be believed more upon their own Authority and Infallibility then upon the credibility of the mat­ters which they propound, I say, if they once be taken tardy in Forgeries and guilefull Fictions in any points, especially such as tend to their own profit, how can this fail of shaking or rather ruining the whole Frame of belief to the very Foundations? How ruinous then must the Christian Faith be, where such Lies and Figments are frequent, and almost as frequently discovered by those that are more nasute? Certainly Atheism and Infidelity must break in upon such a Church as the Sea upon the cutting of the Banks.

8. That I may the better be understood, I will give you some brief Instances of these impudent Figments. As, for example, ‘If they should have the face to tell the people, that such a Saint, when his Head was struck off, walked four or five mile with it in his hand, onely resting himself every mile's end to take breath at his open weasen-pipe. That another Saint being hospitably entertained at the expence of the lives of a Cow and a Calf, restored them again to life, and that they were both of them found the next day in their Master's Meadows. That by another Saint the Devil was seen behind the Altar busily writing down mens sins in a parchment, which being something too scant, he stretched with his teeth, and his hold slipping, knocked his head against the wall, That a certain She-Saint being swallowed by a Dragon, she ma­king a Crosse in the Dragon's belly, burst him in pieces, and so was deli­vered. That a Bishop having cut off his own hand upon its being pollu­ted by the kiss of some over-affectionate female, it was suddenly set on again, and healed by prayers addressed to the Blessed Virgin. The like whereof happened to another Saint whose legs were cut off at the knees: and to the head of another, which being cut off, sprung up and grew on again, but lopt off the second time, by its fall gave the rise to a Fountain or Well. And lastly, that another She-Saint being by ropes to be haled to execution, was so strong upon Crossing herself and calling upon the Virgin Mary, that a whole Team of Oxen could not drag her to the place.’

9. But I have not yet done. That also would be a delicious Figment concerning some Saints, that they have had personal converse with the Virgin Mary, and that she has been so kind to some, that she has emptied her Breasts into their mouths on their sick beds to their unspeakable comfort. It were likewise a good roosing miracle, and bigger then belief, that a certain Holy House of the Virgin's should be carried out of Palestine into Italy by an invisible hand through the aire. Surely the Angels of God would be very worthily employ'd in removing such stone-work and timber-work. For a Crucifix also to take some fifty miles journey through the same element in a night, were a pretty Figment to furnish out the Faith of Fools. The speaking also of Crucifixes would help to make up the number of these either Delusions or Incredibilities.

10. To which miraculous Loquacity you may adde those more [Page 134] silent fictions of Dreams; The making of marriages betwixt Christ and some Women-Saints; The making Images to rowl their eyes, to weep also, and [...]o swear; The Histrionical Scenes of exorcizing upon compact betwixt the feignedly possessed and the Exorcist; Fictitious Stories to set out the wodrous virtue of the Masse, and great holiness thereof: as That the first words that have been spoken by Infants have been, To Masse, To Masse; That it has fed the absent, when they have fasted twenty days; struck the Chains miraculously from the legs of Captives: That at every clinking of the mony, at an Offertory, in the bason, a Soul leaps out of Purgarory: That the Host being taken by one not fasting has trans­formed him into the shape of an Horse or Swine.

There might be also fine devices for the magnifying of the Holiness of the Priest, in making such things as come from his body seem to have the virtue of scaring away the Devil: As suppose the Devil be made to appear more impatient when the Priest's glove, hose, girdle, or shirt be applied to any part of the possessed; which may be ex pacto, as well as in the conciliating the opinion of such virtues in the Image or Reliques of this or that Saint. But how stupendiously Blessed and Holy must that Priest seem to be, who could make the people believe that he was himself possessed with the Blessed Trinity! And how Sacred must that She-Saint appear, betwixt whom and Christ Jesus there was that dear­ness of affection, that they wore one anothers Hearts interchange­ably, Christ's Heart being conveyed into her body, and her Heart in­to his!

11. The counterfeiting also of Apparitions were a trim way to cut off the belief of there ever having been any true ones. And therefore it would be a very Antichristian piece of Knavery for any Priest to use any such jugglings under what pious pretence so ever: As by putting on some Histrionical accoutrements to act the part of an Angel, or of the blessed Virgin descended from Heaven in glory, or of some Ghost from the Infernal parts with wan and ghastly looks, and cold and earthly hands; and in these disguises to visit the perplexed, for either the corrobo­rating of them in the belief of that Religion which they have already en­tertained, or for the recommendation of that Religion they endeavour to proselyte them to. Another Example of which kind would be, the contrivance of moving Lights in Church-yards, by fastning wax-Candles on the backs of live Crab-fishes, which must be interpreted the unquiet Souls of them that are tortured in Purgatory, and seek relief by the Prayers and Offerings of good people.

12. To which you may adde the setting out the state of Purgatory with such extravagant Poetical Fabulosities, [as the roasting of Souls against the fire, frying them in frying-pans, the pulling them in pieces with hot pincers, the flesh from the bone, the baptizing them in flaming pitch and brimstone and scalding metalls; their being bit by the venomous teeth of great Serpents; their being transformed into black horses; the pouring down melted Mony into their mouths, and then forcing them to vomit it up again, that it may be again poured in by these officious Fiends; with many such incredible schemes of [Page 135] Torture, from which there is appointed no deliverance but by Pardons, Masses, Oblations, and the like, that is to say, without some worldly be­nefit accrewing to the Church:] Certainly such a description as this of Purgatory, or a Third place, must naturally engender a misbelief of all Three, and make men think there is neither Heaven nor Hell after this Life, but that all are but Figments and Inventions, for the benefit of the Priest, especially, as I have already intimated, these things being taught in that Church who make their own Credit and Authority the main, if not onely, prop of Faith.

13. But I will also describe a seventh way, which is marvellously effectual to extinguish the Christian Faith amongst men; and that is A Rabble of incredible Reliques which might be obtruded upon their be­liefs; the reverential sight whereof bringing in a [...]daily gain to the Church, would be a plain demonstration they will not stick to lie for their advan­tage: which if they doe very grossely and deprehensibly here, how can it fail of ruining Faith in all other matters of Religion?

But this point is better understood by certain Instances. ‘As if, for example, they should pretend to shew that very Hay that was in the Cratch wherein our Saviour was lay'd, and more then one Tail of the Asse on which he rode in Triumph to Jerusalem: The Stones also that killed S. Stephen, as well as the Arrows whereby S. Sebastian was wounded. If they should pretend to shew the Virgin Mary's Smock, as well as Joseph's Pantofles and Breeches; some of the five Barly-loaves and two Fishes with which Christ fed five thousand men in the Wilder­ness; some of the Bloud and Water that flowed out of his side at his Suffering; as also some of that very Ground that Christ stood upon when he ascended into Heaven: The Hair and Bloud of S. John Baptist, and the Hair-cloath that he wore: The Table upon which Christ ate his last Supper, the Stool which he sate upon, and the Towel wherewith he wiped his Disciples feet.’

14. ‘The Picture of Christ painted upon a wall by the finger of God, and another drawn by Nicodemus while the Jews were beating of him: The Fore-skin also of Christ, his Navel-string, and Se­cundine in which he was wrapt in the Womb: Also Christ's Hand­kerchief, and the Shirt which the blessed Virgin made for him; as like­wise the Cradle in which he was rocked.’

15. ‘Furthermore the Virgin Mary's Veil with which she used to cover her head, her Comb, her Hair, her Girdle, her Needles, sowing-Thread and Work-basket; nay the very House in which she dwelt and wrought, transported (as I said before) out of Palestine into Italy by the hands of Angels: The Reed with which they smote Jesus, the Rope with which they haled him to execution, the very Sponge also with which the Jews gave him vinegar mingled with gall to drink, and some of the Coin for which Judas betrayed him, nay the very Lantern he used in that work of darkness, and the Dice where­with the Souldiers play'd for Christ's seamless Coat. Moreover the pure Bloud of Christ, and the Milk of Mary his Mother kept in glasses.’

[Page 136] The Pillar also at which Christ was whipped, and the Stairs or Steps on which he went up into the Judgment-Hall, and some of the Thorns wherewith he was crowned. An Image of the Virgin Mary made by S. Luke, to which an Angelical Statue of Marble was seen often to bow. The paring of the nails of a living dead Crucifix; and the lively Picture of Christ made by himself by the pressing onely of a Nap­kin to his face when he sweat.’

16. ‘What would the world say to the credibility of three Tuns of Teeth from the Jaws of one Saint; to the producing of the very Dagger and Shield with which S. Michael fought with the Devil, and a Feather that might then haply fall out of one of the Angel's Wings? What to the shewing of the Skull of a Saint's head at one place, his Hair in another, his Jaw-bone in another, his Forehead in a fourth, and yet his whole Head in a fifth? What to the Fore-skin of Christ shewn also in five several places at once? What to some dozens of Nails where­with Christ was nailed to the Cross, and as many pieces of the Cross as would load a Cart to carry them; and as many glasses of the Virgin's Milk as would fill all the vessels in a countrey-dairy?’ How can such gross Impostures as these but wipe the Priests lips clean of all credit and belief, and cast the world into desperate Atheism and In­fidelity?

17. But eighthly, and lastly, The Incredible of all Incredibles and the greatest Impossibility of all Impossibilities were that pretended My­stery of Transsubstantiation, which being urged with the like necessity and assurance of Truth that any thing is urged by this Antichristian Church, whose Picture I am a-drawing, will doe the most fatal execution upon the Christian Faith that any thing imaginable can doe. For sup­posing this the most Fundamental Article of their Creed, or, if you will, the most precious and the most seriously-urged Fundamental of them all, and the very hindge of almost all their publick Devotion and God-service; if this break, all must fall to the ground. For if the Church be found shamelesly false in so important a Point as this, it does immediately follow that she will be believed in nothing.

Wherefore they whose belief was either wholly or mainly sup­ported by the seeming greatness of her Authority, this failing by the easy discovery of so gross a Falsehood, (and yet by her most earnestly and most seriously avowed for Truth,) the Faith of every such man must also necessarily fail, unless by some special grace of God assisting his conference with the persons or writings of some better-instructed Christians, which he may haply meet with in this vast Wilderness he wanders in, he be stopt from splitting himself a-pieces from this dangerous precipice he stands on, and from the plunging himself into the mire of Atheism and Unbelief.

18. For undoubtedly▪ if he have no other help but this Pseudo-christian Synagogue, though he may be awed by their external lash from professing his Infidelity, yet it will be impossible for him to hinder the tacit growth of it in his own Soul; but he will [Page 137] naturally disgust and disclaim all hearty commerce with Religion; and even loath it as a pack of lies.

Wherefore it is impossible but this congregation of Impostours and Deceivers (which I am setting forth in the truest colours I can) should swarm with multitudes of grown and obdurate Atheists. For the Im­posture we speak of now being so signal, and the discovery so easy and obvious, how can it chuse but be discovered even by multitudes of people?

For the account comes onely to this, Whether it be more likely that the Church for her own advantage (which I perceive she does every-where eagerly and stiffly pursue) may knowingly and wittingly impose upon me, or at least mistake in her own judgment, (of the Infallibility where­of I have no proof but her own boast, when it is in the mean time her In­terest to boast so) I say, the account comes onely to this, Whether it be more likely that she may practise fraud, or fall into a mistake out of some blind Superstition; or that by the uttering of Five words a Priest should have such a power as to turn a piece of Bread into a Man, the Bread according to all my Senses being as much Bread as it was be­fore. Which is a double Miracle, and greater then ever was yet done in the world considered but thus far; and almost as great a Miracle that any one should believe it.

19. But there are still greater, I cannot say Miracles, but down­right Impossibilities. As first, ‘That this Bread is not turned into a Man that was to be, but that was already in being: Which is the hardest Non-sense that can be offered to the mind of man to think upon. And yet, in the second place, the Bread is so turned into a Man, that is to say into the Man Christ, that he is entirely in every place where this consecrated Bread seems to be, that is, in thousands of places at once at very large distances: Which is as perfect a Contra­diction as any can be proposed, That one and the same Body should be entirely distant from it self. For how can it be One, being thus divi­ded from it self; since Unity consists in Indivision, and Self-Unity certainly is Self-Indivision? Wherefore if there be one Self at Oxford, suppose, and another at Cambridge at the same time, it is impossible it should be one and the same Person; their distance or division de­monstrating them two distinct ones. And thirdly and lastly, From this false supposition, That one and the same Body may be at the same time in several places, it will also follow, That one and the same Person or Body may be at the same time wholly within it self and wholly without it self, wholly above it self and wholly beneath it self, on the right hand of it self and on the left hand of it self: That it may be One Body, and yet many Bodies at once, or rather no Body, but a Spirit, or, to speak more truly, Nothing: That one and the same Per­son may meet himself and complement himself, may at the same time move and rest, lie along and walk, be many miles absent from his friend and present with him at once, may be now in Heaven and then in a mo­ment on the Earth, without passing any of the Regions betwixt; with many such like Incongruities, which we having above noted, it is need­less any longer here to insist upon.’

[Page 138] 20. It is already plain enough that Transsubstantiation, or the turning of the Bread into the very Body of Christ, is encumbred with so many and so manifestly gross Impossibilities and easily deprehensible, that the Impossibility of the Churche's either ignorantly erring or volun­tarily imposing uponmen for her own gain, can bear no weight at all to turn the scales in her behalf; but there will be such an irresistible moment of these apparent and plain Contradictions of this so boldly obtruded Article of the Church, I mean this of Transsubstantiation, that the weight thereof will naturally sink all her sons that but a little consider of it (if nothing better then their Church help them and buoy them up) into the abhorred pit of Infidelity first, and then of Hell.

21. For there is no plastering over such Impossibilities (which are deprehended to be such according to the Universal and Immutable Laws of Reason) by feigned Miracles, to give countenance thereto. As if they should make such Stories as these; ‘That the Sacrament being struck with a dagger, did bleed: That when the Bread, as was thought, was taken out of the mouth of the Communicant, it proved Flesh in the fingers of the Priest: That the Host has dropt many drops of bloud upon the Corporall, as it has been taken into the Priest's hands: That it has flown out of his hands round about the Church, dropping drops of bloud on the Marble pavement all the time of its flight: That a love­ly fair Child has been seen sometimes to appear out of the consecrated Bread; and the like.’ For these Stories could not evince the truth of that which is impossible to be true, but would argue their own false­ness by the end of their producement. For commonly liers back lies with lies.

22. And now I think I have described so plentifully and punctually this particular Limb of Antichristianism, which is opposite to the Root of the Divine Life, Faith, that nothing can be conceived wanting to the perfection of such a Contrariety, nor any man doubt but that Church which is thus described is really one and the same with that which is ex­cluded out of the New Jerusalem, as being opposite to her inhabitants.

For from such a Constitution of things as I have here in this member of Antichristianism set forth, it will plainly follow, that the professed sons of this false Church (as those in the Chap. 21. & Chap. 22. Apocalyps) must be [...], and [...] that is to say, They must either be men whose spirits are intimidated with superstirious Fables, which are the [...] the fearfull, and the [...], such as love to hear lies, and believe vain things out of a sottishness and imbecillity of mind, and brutish simplicity; or else they must be [...], Unbelievers and Atheists, though they externally for their own peace sake submit to the Orders of their Church; or, lastly, they must be the [...], or [...], such as forge lies, and help to deceive the people with multifarious Falsehoods and Impostures. Which being the Characters of that Church which is opposite to the Holy City, it is a farther Indication that in the putting together these things that do so diametrically oppose or undermine the Christian Faith, we have truly described a notorious Limb of Antichristianism.

CHAP. IX.

1. Humility the proper Characteristick of the Person and Spirit of Christ. 2. The Affectation of an Ecclesiastick Sovereignty contrary to this Di­vine Grace. 3. The pretence for this Ambition, That the visible Church being One, requires one visible Head; with the Answer thereto. 4. Further Reasons to prove the Church wants no visible Head besides Christ. 5. That this one Head Christ Jesus, and one Apostolick Law, does make the Church sufficiently One. 6. That there is no just pretence for any such claim of being this Universal Head in any Bishop. 7. But that Ambition may purchase such a Title by wicked practices. 8. The method of this Universal Bishop's enslaving the Clergie to himself, and undermining the Secular Powers. 9. His Frauds against the Emperour and other Princes. 10. A further description of the Frauds, Rapine and Pride of this Universal Pa­stour, and of his Usurpation in a manner of the whole Power of the Empire.

1. WE proceed now to the Description of as lively Opposition as we can to the First Branch of the Divine Life, namely, Humility; which being so special a Characteristick of the nature and Genius of Christ's own Spirit, and so pronounced by himself in his own person when he was upon Earth (Learn of me, for I am humble and meek;) Matt. 11. 29. that which is perfectly opposite to this must needs be exquisitely Anti­christian in all manner of people, but especially in those that do in a more peculiar way presume themselves to be Successours of Christ and his Apostles, whom he of old premonished of Pride and Lordliness, and af­fectation of Superiority, saying, The Kings of the Gentiles exercise Lord­ship over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them: But Luke 22. Mark 10. it shall not be so among you, &c.

Which lesson Peter remembred, and endeavoured to transmit it to others, where he advises the Pastours to feed their flocks, not for filthy 1 Pet. 5. 2, 3. Lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being Lords over God's Heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. How contrary therefore to this would it be, if some pretended Supreme Pastour (whom others in their severall subordinate capacities would in proportion naturally imitate) should not onely Lord it over his flock, but tyrannize over Kings and Emperours, and Lucifer-like place himself in the same Throne with God and Christ, or rather displace them, and domineer absolutely according to his own will, treading under foot the plainly-promulgated Laws of God?

2. Let us therefore dip our pencil a little deeper in some of those co­lours which we made use of in the Description of that member of Anti­christianism which was opposite to the Divine Life in general, and pourtray out more fully such an Ecclesiastick Polity as will appear most oriently Luciferian and Antichristian, and most diametrically opposite to that holy Humility that was recommended by Christ to his Suc­cessours. [Page 140] We will therefore suppose, as before, some one Prelate, that has got the start of the rest, to put in for the Title and Authority of Uni­versal Bishop: which whosoever does was declared by Gregory the Great the Fore-runner of Antichrist, the Fore-runner of that Rex Superbiae cui Sacerdotum praeparatur exercitus. Which is a sign that in Gregory's judgment Antichrist was not to be born of the Tribe of Dan, but of the Tribe of Levi; whom we will further suppose to lay about him for the obtaining of this Levitical Sovereignty, and for the advancement of his Episcopal Chair successively, in some such manner as follows.

3. First, he will pretend that it is unfit that the visible Catholick Church being One, should not be united under One visible Head. Which reasoning yet, though it make a pretty show at first sight, being closely lookt into, will vanish into smoke: For this is but a quaint concinnity urged in the behalf of an impossibility. For the erecting such an Office for one man, which no one man in the world is able to perform, implies that to be possible which is indeed impossible. Whence it is plain that the Head will be too little for the Body, which therefore will be a piece of mischievous Asym­metry or Inconcinnity also. No one Mortal can be a competent Head for that Church which has a right to be Catholick, and to over-spread the face of the whole Earth. There can be no such Head but Christ, who is not mere Man, but God invested in Humane nature, and therefore is pre­sent with every part of his Church and every member thereof at what distances soever.

But to set some one Bishop over the whole Church, were to suppose that great Bishop of our Souls absent from it, who has promised he will be with her to the end of the World; and, you may be sure, not an idle Spectatour, but a carefull Feeder and Governour of their Souls who do really believe in him and unfeignedly obey him.

4. Nor does the Church-Catholick on Earth lose her Unity hereby; for she is under One common Head of the whole Church as well Trium­phant as Militant, which (to come nearer to the Objection) is a Visible Head of his Church to those that can approach his Court, in that glorious Metropolis in Heaven; where undoubtedly he is to be seen sitting on his Sapphire Throne in great Majesty and Glory, and where his true Sub­jects in a small space of time may either see him themselves, or at least converse with them that have frequent recourse unto him and wait in his presence.

And no man, I think, will say that any large Empire has an Invisible Head, because the Emperour himself has placed his Palace in the chiefest Province of his Empire, and never comes within the view of some parts of his Dominion, and multitudes of men never see him, as never having the opportunity of visiting those parts where the Emperour's Court is. Whereas Jesus Christ, the Head of his Church, was seen here on Earth for a good space, as also visibly to travel hence into the higher Regions of his Kingdom, and in due time will visibly return hither again, to take account of the Administratours of his Affairs in these lower Provinces. Wherefore Christ is a more visible Head in his large Empire then any Em­perour in his: So evident is it that there wants no One Visible Head of the Church, besides Christ himself.

[Page 141] 5. But yet notwithstanding all this, this ambitious Patriarch I de­scribe will bear the world in hand, that it is very fit there should be One visible Head of the Church Universal, which should succeed Christ, or rather some one whom he would pretend to be Prince of the Apostles, and that his Seat is that Apostolical Seat, and that there is a necessity for Unity in the Church, and for slaking all controversies there should be some one such; though the Plea to any indifferent man cannot but seem very weak and frivolous. For, [...]as I have already intimated, the Church will be sufficiently One by being under that One Head Christ Jesus, and under One Law, which is the Word of God; which has been already proved sufficiently plain in all things necessary to Life and Salvation. But for other things, whether Ceremonies or Conceits, they do not at all break the Unity of Christ's Kingdom, but it will be truly and conspi­cuously his, so long as it professes the Faith of his Apostles; let them otherwise use what difference of Rites they will, or differ as much as they can in unnecessary Opinions: provided always that none of these Rites or Opinions be really and plainly against the Apostolical Doctrines, which are the universal and irreversible Law of Christ's Empire upon Earth. For thus the Church-Catholick being in this sort variegated in Ex­ternals, will yet be visibly the Spouse of Christ, though [...], though cloathed with a Vestment of various flower-work and colours.

6. But for this high-flown Patriarch to pretend that his Seat is this Infallible and All-decisive Apostolical Seat, is a Plea that can have no­thing solid at the bottom. For if there had been any such Prelation of some one of the Apostles over the rest, it were of that great Moment (if ending of Controversies in all succeeding Ages be of that Moment) that it would have been recorded in the Scripture, and would have ended or prevented all disceptations amongst the Apostles themselves or any others concerning them. But quite contrary S. Paul declares that he is in no­thing inferiour to the chiefest Apostles; which plainly implies an Equa­lity 2 Cor. 12. amongst them all.

Besides, if it were so that some one Apostle had an Authority or Head­ship over the rest, and had once his Residence in such a particular See; it does not follow that he that succeeds him in that See should succeed him in that Headship, or at all in his Apostleship, but onely in his Bishoprick: Nor is it credible that if this Prime and Oecumenical Apostle had designed his immediate Successour to the same latitude of Jurisdiction, that the claim should not be made and acknowledged by the Universal Church in those more innocent and morigerous times. Of so little weight are such pretences as these.

7. But if such pretty Sophisms will not serve the turn, since Ambi­tion has inflamed the Patriarch's spirits, he will leave no stone unmoved to accomplish his desire; and what Sophistry cannot doe, must be effected, though by the coursest methods of either Worldly or Infernal policy. That they may therefore obtain this absolute Ecclesiastick Sovereignty, the Successours in this pretended prime Apostolical See we will suppose to stick at nothing: But that they will forge or counterfeit Canons of [Page 142] Authentick Councils; and make them speak for the Supremacy of their Patriarchate; that they will countenance, abet or allow Treasons and Murthers, though upon Emperours and Emperesses, Kings and Queens, and their whole Posterity, by some intrusted Instrument of State, whose ambition instigated him thus bloudily to assassinate his Liege Sovereign, that he might succeed him in his Kingdom or Empire. Where­upon notwithstanding, by parasitical fawning, conniving, or allowing, nay by congratulating the success of so beastly an enterprize, these eager Can­didates for the Ecclesiastick Empire will not stick to endeavour to gain the good will of this new Usurper, though his hands be yet reeking with bloud, that they may thereby obtain of him this glorious and beneficial Title of Universal Bishop; nor upon the obtaining thereof forbear any cru­elties to such Bishops as will detrect this new imposed yoke.

8. Which prize they having once gotten, we suppose they will not stick here, but will still by craft encroach upon the Secular Power. For this Uni­versal Bishop will plausibly require an Oath of Obedience from all other Bishops in what Kingdoms soever; which is no less wickedness then to ensnare them in a way to treachery and perfidiousness to their own So­vereigns, and to make them indeed betrayers of their own liberty: For they being thus loosened and alienated from their proper Princes, are made indeed the more firm to this great Patriarch Oecumenical, but withall his surer Vassals to be dealt with in Impositions and Fees and what-ever other Injunctions, as he pleases.

For we suppose they will also wring out of the Secular Princes hand (upon pretence of their being the highest Sovereignty in Ecclesiastick Affairs) the Right of Investitures, thereby to make all Bishops less de­pendent on the Temporal Sovereignty, and more endeared to the Aposto­lick See, but still more enslaved thereto, as I noted before, and without remedy, if oppressed thereby, whether by removing all considerable Ap­peals out of the Bishop's Court respective into that Apostolick Judica­ture, or by what other aggrievances soever. But the Aggrievance of Ap­peals alone is so great, as if all Christendome were set on the rack, or, if you will, torturously drawn together with the Cramp, to fit the transaction of Affairs to the forced Universality and Interest of this Vicar-General of Christ. And yet it will be so according to this Hypothesis, to maintain the Pomp and Ambition of one Universal Domineering Prelate.

They will also get the whole body of the Clergy exempt from all Se­cular Judicatures; they being, indeed, by these successfull devices made properly the Subjects of this Ecclesiastick Monarch. But by this feat they do most grossly defraud all Secular Potentates of as many Subjects as there are men of Religious Orders in Christendom, they being ipso facto made the Subjects of this King of Pride, (as Gregory in a Di­vinatory rapture called him,) and not to be tried at any Secular Tribunal, no not for Murther, Robbery, House-breaking, or what other crime soever. Which Immunity, as it cannot but make them proud and insolent to the Laiety, as they call them; so must it, as I noted before, more throughly enslave the Clergie to [Page 143] this Ecclesiastick Tyrant. For they can rationally expect no succour from those Princes whose Sovereignty they have slipt from under, and consequently from under their Protection, by these Religious Frauds, and therefore lie wholly at the mercy of him whom the greatness of his Title and Pontifical Pomp, exceeding so infinitely his just Revenues, must make a severe exacter of Tribute from them that are most appro­priately under his power, and thereby put them to unworthy shifts and sharkings upon the people by pious, or rather impious, Sleights and Frauds, he sending out and dispersing these Birds of his in numerous flocks, to be his hungry Pick-peny's throughout the whole Pastorage of the Empire.

9. Thus great a Pride proportionably fed with the injury of others, and especially of the Bishops and other Clergie whom this Tyrannical high-Priest would pill and poll as he pleases, is discoverable already in the Draught we are a-making of this Member of Antichristianism. But it would be still heightened, if we should imagine further extravagancies. As suppose, if this Universal Priest should not be content to be Supreme Bishop, but put in to out-top the Emperour himself, and should most wretchedly and treacherously watch a safe occasion (as, suppose, while the Imperial forces are generously and faithfully employ'd to beat the Common Enemy out of Christendom, whether Turks or Saracens) to raise war against the Emperour and his adherents in those parts nearest his own See, to beat him thence, to make room for an opportunity of nim­ming away some share of the Empire to himself.

Certainly it were an high strain of Ambition that could move any to such Devillish practices. What then were it for this Cunning Prelate to send this or that Prince on holy Expeditions, on purpose to cheat them of their Dominions, or fleece them of their Revenues? What to ab­solve great Ministers of State and all the Subjects of a Prince from their Oaths of Fidelity, and that merely for his own Interest? To take upon him to depose the true Sovereign, and set up another, the liege Subject of the deposed, and who had no right at all to the Crown, for hope of a re­compence proportionable to the greatness of his extravagant presumpti­on, and for to enrich himself by the ruines of the injured? To be adored as an Omnipotent Plenipotentiary that may doe any thing, and to have his Clients fall down and kiss his feet, and his servants to carry him on their shoulders in procession like the ancient Idols of Babylon?

10. Nay, what shall we say to this Holy man's utterly ruining of the Eastern Empire to enrich himself with the rubbish? what to the for­ging Deeds of Gift or Donations, to cover over the odiousness of his Rapine? what to the leaving in a manner no Empire at all but what is Sacerdotal, raising it above all Kings, Emperours and Christian Princes whatsoever? and this atchieved by such persons as were the most wicked of any that bore the name of Sovereign Holiness? whereby we may be the better assured of the Antichristianism of the Constitution, it being brought about and established by impure Sorcerers, Murtherers and Poisoners of Princes.

That power therefore which one single Luciferian Prelate shall thus [Page 144] procure, by frauds and rapines, by robbing Kings of their Rights, by sub­verting States and Kingdoms, by the inveagling the Sons of Emperours into Treason, Rebellion and Parricide, by absolving Subjects from their Oaths of Fealty, by involving Christendom in war and bloudshed, by that insolent presumption of Excommunicating Emperours and Po­tentates, (they not offending, yea firmly adhering to the Law of Christ) and by disposing of their Dominions as he pleases; if this, I say, be not a right Idea of that signal Antichristian Power perfectly opposite to that Equity, Sweetness, Meekness and Lowliness of spirit which was so con­spicuous in Christ Jesus, even in his highest Triumph on Earth, I cannot, nor, I think, any one else, imagine what is.

We omit here all that rack of mind and torture of Conscience that the unmeasurable Sublimity of this Prince of Pride might put all Christendom upon by his vexatious and superstitious Opinions and Ceremonies, in­vented onely for the procuring fewel to feed and maintain the Grandeur and Pomp of so stately a Magnifico. All mens minds must be ground with Sollicitude, and their Purses emptied to fill up and swell out the fastuous tumour of this Prince-riding Patriarch. Of which theme ha­ving spoken sufficiently in my Description of the Second Limb of Anti­christianism, it was enough to mention it onely here.

CHAP. X.

1. The wicked Method of raising the Power of this Supreme Pastour to this height, a demonstration of the excess of Ambition. 2. His blasphemous usurpation or acceptation of the Divine Titles. 3. His barbarous insultation over Excommunicated Kings and Emperours. 4. The excess of Homage done to him by the greatest Personages. 5. His exalting himself above God in point of Jurisdiction. 6. His elation of himself above him in point of Honour or Precedency. 7. Other Instances of that kind of Pride. 8. His exaltation of him­self above God even in the very House of God literally so called.

1. WE have already wrought up this Image of Antichristianism in the power of One particular Priest or Patriarch so high, as that by hook or by crook he has wriggled himself into the pretence, if not possession, of Absolute Sovereignty over all the Potentates of Christendom. Which being acquired by such wicked means, it must needs be that a more then Hellish Fire of Ambition lies at the bottom; which will betray it self yet more fully in these visible flames; namely, Certain exorbitant Titles and Prerogatives this Son of Pride is adorned with, His barbarous insultations over subdued Princes and Emperours, and the extravagant Homages and Services done to his person in publick Solemnities.

2. As for example, What can be more blasphemously Antichristian then to suffer himself to be decked with the spoils of the Divine [Page 145] Attributes; ‘To be styled Our Lord God, Optimum, Maximum, & Su­premum Numen in terris, A God on Earth, A visible Deity; To have declared that his Tribunal and that of God is all one; That his Power is absolute; That what he does, he does as God, and not as Man; and That all must submit to his Decree, as being infallible; That he is all, and above all; That he has the disposing of Kingdoms, can pull down one, and set up another; That he can doe all that God can doe clave no [...] errante; That he can change the nature of things, make something of nothing, make Injustice Justice, and Wrong Right; That all Laws are in his breast; That he can dispense with the Canons of the Apostles and with the New Testament it self; That he is the Cause of Causes; That it is Sacrilege to doubt of his Power; That he has a Dominion over Angels, Purgatory and Hell; That he is the Monarch of the world, and exceeds the Imperial Majesty as much as the Sun does the Moon; and That he is to be adored by all the Potentates of the Earth?’ This is one blazing Eruption out of this infernal Aetna of Luciferian Ambition.

3. The second was his haughty Insultation over Excommunicated and subdued Princes. As for example, ‘It were most salvagely Antichristian, for this Triumphant Patriarch after Excommunication, and submission to his power, thereupon to make one Emperour to wait some days toge­ther bare-foot, and clad in Canvass, with his Empress, for Absolution at his gate, and that in the midst of winter; to make him resign his Impe­rial Ornaments; and after all this to depose him, and give his Empire to another: To make another prostrate himself publickly in the Church, and in this prostration to set his foot on the Emperour's neck, as if he were crushing an Adder or Snake: To crown another, not with his hands, but with his feet, and then with the same feet to kick the Crown from off the Emperour's head: To make one Prince resign his Crown, and live some days as a private person, and then, upon condition of be­coming a Vassal to his High-priestship, to permit him to receive it again at his Legat's hands, lowly kneeling at his feet: To make another, by way of penance, to go creeping along his Holy-Highnesse's Palace upon his hands and knees, with a Collar about his neck like a Dog: To whip another stark naked in an open Cathedral, every Monk or Reli­gious person bestowing some number of lashes on him.’ Certainly such gross usage as this of Emperours, Kings and Princes, cannot but be the Indication of a Pride and Elation of mind plainly Diabolical.

4. But what speak we of Penances, when we may draw so odious a Draught out of ordinary expected Homages and Observances▪ We will therefore suppose that, according to the known Ceremonies of this Sacer­dotal Court, ‘when his Holy-Highness, Universal Head of the Church, will be something still higher by getting on Horse-back, that the Em­perour or King that is present must of duty hold his Stirrup as he gets up; or if his will is upon some occasion to be transported in a Chair of State, that the Emperour and King are to submit their neck to the yoke, and take up this stately Man in his Chair on their shoulders. When this grand Prelate also goeth to dinner, the Emperour or King [Page 146] there present must have the honour imposed upon them to serve him with Water and a Towel to wash his anointed hands. For which ser­vice they shall be permitted to sit down at Table after attendance, till the first Course be served. The Emperour's place also in an Oecumeni­cal Council shall be at this High-priest's feet, like a good son of Gama­liel. And finally, wheresoever this Oecumenical Patriarch goes, the people shall fall down on their knees, or if they doe not that Worship willingly and glibly, be knock'd down upon them by his rigid Guard, those grim extorters of the Adoration of this Idol.’

5. This tenour of Ceremonies will plainly place this High-priest many degrees higher then the Princes of the Earth, be they Kings or Empe­rours, or what other Potentates soever. But we will now draw a stroke or two of such an Elation or Haughtiness of spirit in point of Ceremonie and Precedency, as may make him justly seem to affect a Sovereignty above that of God himself. Of which Affectation we have given substantial Ex­amples as touching Power, in that he was supposed to cancel the Laws of God, and to substitute in their place some gainful Decrees of his own. Which is a perfect exalting himself above God in point of Authority and real Jurisdiction.

6. And for point of good Manners and Ceremony, If we should imagine that those things which himself and his adherents give the highest Religious Worship to were yet cast lower then this Supreme Prelate, were it not to take precedency of the most High God? As, for example, if the Cross, which they judge Latria due to, were cast so low as this High-priest's feet, were not he then higher then what the highest kind of Divine ho­nour is due to? But this, you will say, perhaps, will but make him equal with God.

But the Host or consecrated Bread is already supposed to be esteemed by this Pseudo-Christian Church the very Body of Christ, or his corpo­real Person; that is to say, that where this is, Christ, true God, is truly and corporeally present in his own Person, as truly and really as he is in Heaven. If therefore this Person of Christ, which is ordinarily called the Holy Sa­crament, should be less respected then the High-priest that consecrated it, it is plain that he were exalted above it.

Wherefore, for example, If in solemn Processions this High-priest should appoint the Ceremonies in such sort, as that this Sacrament, that is to say, according to them, the real Person of Jesus, should be placed amongst the less noble of the Pomp, but the High-priest himself in the midst of the most illustrious Princes; that Jesus Christ should be carried on an Horse, but the High-priest on the shoulders of Kings and Potentates; that a mean servant of the Sacrist shall lead the Horse that carries Christ Jesus, but, if the High-priest be on horse-back at that time, some Prince or Emperour; that the Canopy over Jesus Christ shall be carried onely by Citizens of the City, but the Canopy of the High-priest by great No­bles or Embassadors: Were not this plainly and palpably to take place of God Almighty himself, and to be so proud an Oecumenical Patriarch, as to prefer himself before the Eternal Father and Maker of the Universe?

7. Which might be done also in more ordinary journeyings; If this [Page 147] High-priest, suppose, should appoint Jesus Christ to ride on an ordinary Gennet led by an ordinary Stable-groom, and to go before; (there is Pre­cedency indeed) but amongst the baggage of his Retinue, (Calones, Lixas; & Curtesannas) to be an Harbinger of his holy Highnesse's coming; him­self in the mean time marching fairly on, accompanied with Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops, and such like persons of Quality.

Surely this would suggest to any musing man a very deep conceit or profound meditation, to wit, how one and the same person according to his circumscribed bodily presence should, at one and the same time, ride on Horse-back here on Earth disgracefully and contemptibly amongst those Scullions and Curtesans, and yet sit in a Throne of Majesty and Glo­ry in the highest Heavens, incircled with the Praises and Adorations of the Holy Angels.

But be that how it will, it is in the mean time very manifest that this sublime Priest is so far out in good manners, as well as in usurpation of real right of Jurisdiction, that he does elate himself above God himself, ac­cording to his own concession, or doctrine of his Church, in appointing thus to himself more honour then to the Itinerant Person of Christ.

8. To all which we might further adde this supposition also, That this High-priest at his Inauguration into this Supreme Office might be placed upon the Holy Altar of Christ in some chief Church of his Metropolis, the seet of his Chair of State trampling upon the Sacred Throne of the Body of Christ, and there receive Adoration from his Ecclesiastick Princes and the gazing and amazed People.

But I think I have already drawn the Effigies of so perfect an Antichristi­an Pride, that nothing need be added thereto, nor the least scruple left, but that he that exalts himself thus high cannot but be that Man of sin, which 2 Thess. 2. sits in the House of God; and exalts himself above all that is called God.

CHAP. XI.

1. That the Pride of this Superlative Head will diffuse it self also into its Members. 2. Further general Incentives to this Vice in this usurping Priesthood. 3. Peculiar Incentives thereto in some great Dignities. 4. The singularity of Habits, and way of living in some Religious Or­ders, an occasion of Pride. 5. The pretence of meriting in these Orders an high and hateful Instance of this Vice. 6. That such an elated Pseudo-Clergie as this might well go for that Man of sin that exalts him­self above every thing that is worshipped; 7. And be emblematized in the description of the Leviathan, who is called the King of the children of Pride.

1. NOr can we imagine the Head so diabolically proud, but this poison must diffuse it self into all the Body, and swell up all the Mem­bers thereof in some sort or other. For though this High-priest have a great power over his Clergie themselves, to tax them and fleece them; [Page 148] yet they would all of them be not a little puffed up to conceit themselves parts of that Body whose Head is so transcendently raised above all the Princes of the Earth; over whom he having once usurped the Tyranny, and being warm and well settled in his power, he may haply be the more easie and beneficial to his own Tribe. Besides, their being exempted from all Secular Powers must needs elate their minds, and make them haughty and domineering, and prone to be injurious, they being able to recoil to such Judges as will be parties for them.

2. Moreover the power of receiving Auricular Confession is a mighty subjugative and insulting Privilege over the poor prostrate Laiety at the feet of their Confessors. And that distinctive Privilege of the Eucharistick Cup peculiar to the Priest must needs make the Lay-men lear or Iounge aloof off and look maimedly on't, as acknowledging so vast a distance be­twixt them and the Priesthood. All which things tend naturally to the swelling up of this Clergie. How then can they bear that conceit of the power of creating their Creator, and of being such Priests as offer the very Body of Christ for a propitiation, and therefore in this regard may conceit themselves in some sense superiour to Christ himself? These are common to the whole Body Sacerdotal.

3. But there are also Considerations peculiar, though to great num­bers; as those that are Sacerdotal Princes and great Persons in this Church have a peculiar instigation to this Vice. For it were easie to phan­sy that this mighty High-priest may create Ecclesiastick Potentates under him, which may be Co-assessors and sharers with him in this Spiritual Do­mination over the World; he creating them with some such Form as this, Estote Fratres mei, & Principes mundi: which must needs set their spirits at an high pitch.

But many Ranks inferiour to these, and yet equal to Secular Princes and Nobles, such as may have the pomp or accommodation of Rev. 18. 13. [...], that is to say, of Horses and Coaches, and Lackeys or Pages to attend them or run by them, may make up a nume­rous company of these children of Pride: who yet bearing the Titles of Pastours and Over-seers of the Flock of Christ, oversee them in no other sense then of over-looking them; they being placed so high above them, that they have not any mind or ability to feed them, but rather to flay them and Lord it over them.

4. And lastly, for those that are yet more numerous, which we may suppose to have put on the vizard of a more peculiar Holiness, listing themselves under the Title and Conduct of this or that Saint, and making a show of Humility by wearing some uncouth and sordid Habit, and seeming separate from the World by retiring into lazie and populous Mo­nasteries, and mortified to the pride and glory of it, while they seek the praise and admiration of men by setting a badge of special Sanctity on themselves by their peculiar. Habiliments and extravagant method of living; I confess it were a miracle to me, if this self-chosen Sanctity of theirs, consisting in meats and drinks and abstaining from marriage, and the like, did not so puff them up in their carnal conceits, that they may de­servedly be look'd upon as the most genuine Subjects of this King of Pride.

[Page 149] 5. Besides that the very pretence to this By-course of Life may be very impudently turgent to the modest sense of any sober and truly-sanctified Christian, who cannot but esteem it presumptuous to stand upon their own merits, and plead their right to Heaven upon what they could any way doe here on Earth for so inestimable and ineffable a Reward. What an high Luciferian Rant then were it in these Spiritual undertakers to pretend that they can doe not onely their own task, but the tasks of o­thers also?

In which pretence there is comprised two of the most hatefull Specimens of Pride that can be excogitated: namely, the vilifying of the all-sufficient Merits of Christ, as if they were defectuous, and not able to supply the wants of all men to whom God would be propitious, but they must be eeked and patched out by the Supplements of such self-weening wretches; and then an over-estimation and ridiculously-heightned conceit they have of their own Power, Strength and Sanctimony, that they can doe more, and that by way of Merit, then will serve their own turns, or then God requires at their hands. Whenas we are expressely taught by the Holy Scripture to say, That when we have done all we can, we are unprofitable Luke 17. 10. Eph 2. 9. servants; and, that Salvation is by Faith, not by Works, that no man may boast.

6. Wherefore we will look upon this High-Priest and Universal Head of this Pseudo-christian Clergie, together with all the several Re­ligious Ranks and Orders under it, and by devout acknowledgement sodered and cemented to it and influenced by it, all plumped up with one common spirit of Pride and sense of Ruling and Domineering over the persons and consciences of the Laiety, and highly conceited of themselves by reason of these carnal and external shews of Sanctity and Supereminency above the rest of the world, which consists onely in Anointings, in Habits, in Abstinence from meat, and the like, which are poor and beggerly Elements, but yet bloating and swelling with a secret poison those that relish them and esteem them and are interessed in the observation of them; I say, we will look upon all these from the highest to the lowest as one Body of one Head, and altogether as one Man of sin, who having one spirit and mind against the Law of God and Christ, do exalt themselves against and above both; though some in one manner, others in another. But they having one mind and will and joint consent, are all accessory to all, and are such a Draught and Representation of Antichristian Pride, as nothing can be more, or more absolute. This is he that Job 41. 3 [...]. beholdeth all high things, and is the King of the children of Pride; the highest and most notorious example of a proud and elated Polity as ever yet ap­peared in the World.

7. And I think the Text it self may not be misapplied, there being that great affinity betwixt Antichrist and the Devil. And it may be greater betwixt him and some expressions of the Text describing the Leviathan, then betwixt the said expressions and his corrival, for the honour of being typified therein. Verse 15, 16, 17. His Scales are his Pride shut up together as with a close seal. One is so near another that no aire can come betwixt them. They are joyned one to another, they stick together that they cannot be sundred. [Page 150] Which we will suppose to be the very boast of this Pseudo-Christian Polity; That they are, as it were, all of one piece, firmly joyned each part to another, though not by any tie of Ingenuity and Love, but riveted and nailed together by the iron hand of Necessity and Tyrannicall Force; Fear of extremity, Joynt-Interest, and Oaths of absolute Obedience to an Infallible Power, holding them as close together as these brazen shields or sealed scales of the Leviathan.

And now if we consider the Head of this monster, His Eyes are said to be Verse 18. like the Eye-lids of the morning, that is, very lofty and supercilious, splendid and glorious, as we have already described the Pomp of this Superlative Head to be. But Verse 19, 20, 21. out of his mouth goe burning Lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. Out of his nostrills goeth smoak, as out of a seething pot or caldron. His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth. That is to say, He sets all the world on Fire in his Pride and Wrath, by his wicked Incendiaries and Emissaries, that run like lightning at his command into all quarters of the Empire: Or in a pretended Religious Rage against the opposers of his Sovereign Holiness he thunders out Excommunications against Princes, and so kindles war and discord, and involves all in flames and bloud. And lastly, to set out the obstinate Immutableness of this Polity in their Dogmatisms and their remorseless Martyring and torturing them that submit not to them, it is said, that Verse 24. his heart is as firm as stone, and as hard as the neather mil-stone. But as it is said of Pharaoh King of Aegypt in the Psalms, Thou brakest the Heads of Leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be Psalm 74. 14. meat to thy people in the wilderness, namely, to the Israelites, to whom all things fell out in Types and Figures: So Chap. 26. 21. Esay has foretold that the time will come when the Earth shall disclose her bloud, and shall no more cover her slain. In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong Sword & Chap. 27. 1. (even with that sharp Sword that goeth out of his Mouth) shall punish Leviathan the piercing Serpent, even Leviathan that crooked Serpent, (and shall meet him in all his fraudulent windings and obliquities) and shall slay the Dragon that is in the Sea, that is to say, that dwells betwixt the two Seas, as Grotius interprets the watry Leviathan, in the Psalms, of Pharaoh King of Aegypt, because his Dominion was extended betwixt two Seas. In that day sing ye unto her, A Vineyard of red wine; I the Lord do keep it, I will water it every moment, lest any hurt it, I will Verse 2, 3▪ keep it night and day. He will cause them of Jacob to take root, Israel shall blossom and bud and fill the face of the world with fruit. But this was Verse 6. an Excursion more then I intended.

CHAP. XII.

1. An Antichristian Frame opposite to the Divine Grace of Purity de­scribed in general. 2. That the Numerousness of Festivals joyn'd with a dead and Spiritless exercise of Worship leads to Impurity: 3. As also the Vow of Calibate in unmortified Monks and Priests. 4. The opportunities of their Order and Function. 5. The opini­on of Fornication being no sin, and Adultery a less one then the breach of the Vow of Single life. 6. Easy Rates for Pardons and Indulgences in these Vices. 7. Slight Penances. 8. The dedica­ting a considerable part of the year to wild extravagancies under Masks and Vizards. 9, 10. Concubines allowed to Priests. 11. The pompous Equippage of Courtesans, and the Suprème Pastour's receiving Tribute from their trading. 12. The example of this High-priest and his Clergie. 13. The rifeness of Sodomie near his Palace: 14. And its spreading thence into the remotest parts of his Domini­on. 15. That an Ecclesiastick Polity in this condition were the Mystical City of Sodom, and characterized in those Apocalyptick Catalogues under the titles of [...], and [...].

1. WE return to the pursuit of the matter in hand, and pass on to the next Antichristian Opposition; and that is against the Second Branch of the Divine Life, which is Purity. Where omitting to speak of Hypocrisie, which is one kind of Impurity, and which cannot scape being very frequent in such a Religion as I have hitherto described, that consists so much in outward shows and superficiary Formalities; we will direct our pencil to the drawing of such an Image of Impurity as is more gross and fulsome, the chief parts whereof are Fornication, Adul­tery and Sodomie. I say therefore, that if the very Frame and Complexion of Ecclesiastick Polity or Doctrine were such as did naturally either ne­cessitate or encourage such Uncleannesses as these, were not this a pal­pable Antichristian opposing of that Christian Purity unto which we are all called?

2. And such a Frame I conceive were this that I now shall delineate, beginning with smaller things first. We will suppose therefore a great number of Holy-days, wherein men shall be restrained from working in their honest vocations; and that the exercise of their Religion on those days, as it takes up no considerable time, (unless it be in some ludicrous pomps) so to be of that nature that it does not search the Hearts of men at all, nor ingraft the Fear of God in them, nor really mortify them from the lusts of the Flesh; they being onely spectatours of dumb shows, as it were, and hearers of a publick Service they understand not one syllable of; and when this is done, think they have done enough, and, it may be, doe not that neither, nor any Secular work upon pain of the high displea­sure of the Church, but may be more securely found in a Tavern, Ale­house or Baudy-house, then working on their Trades.

[Page 152] Wherefore I demand, concerning men of unmortified minds, who have no opportunity of being fore-armed against the assaults of the Flesh by a searching and intelligible Service of God in publick, or a Soul-convin­cing Ministry, but necessitated to be idle; what these men can fall more naturally into then tippling and drinking and excess, which joyned with this imposed Idleness must needs carry them to such acts of Filthinesse as opportunity will offer them. It is a known Aphorism, That Idleness is the Mother of Naughtiness.

Haec ut ames faciunt, haec quae fecêre tuentur,
Haec sunt jucundi causa cibúsque mali.

And therefore the numerosity of Festivals, joyn'd with a dead and spiritless Form of Religious Worship, where the Assistants are but as it were the Spectatours of a dumb show, as I said before, what can this be but the School of Leudness and the Nurse of Impuritie?

3. Again, Suppose an Order of men, and that Numerous, that feed and fare deliciously, eat and drink of the best, ever Idle, and living onely of other mens labours, that are neither in pursuit of more subtile and bewitching Studies of Philosophy and noble Theory, to carry away the redundance of their Strength and to exhaust their Spirits, nor any searching and consuming pangs of Devotion; but onely patter over their Offices and set Prayers as an external duty, in which, if they be under­stood, there may be little that will so affect the Mind as to maim the Body at all; suppose, I say, these men, notwithstanding their ability and fitness for the functions of Virility, should by an irrevocable Vow (taken rashly and indiscreetly, contrary not onely to the Law of God, but to that of their own Nature and Complexion) be condemned to perpetual Coelibate: what can be the natural event thereof but frequent Fornica­tions, or Adulteries, or foul Acts of Sodomie? Wherefore Monks, or Priests, or be they what they will that are tied to this Law in these cir­cumstances, cannot fail (unless by a Miracle) to attempt at least the transgressing, if they do not frequently de facto transgress, the Laws of God or Nature, and fill the Christian world with the unsavoury reek and fume of their Filthinesses. And it is likely they might find their game the more easily amongst the female Votaries, if they were supposed also without consulting their own Tempers to have offered themselves, or else by the circumventions and importunities of others to have been contrived into Monasteries.

4. But imagine these were more recluse, yet the World is wide enough; and if that be true that is so commonly said, Casta est quam nemo rogavit, they being so well furnished, and having so little to doe but to study such artifices, it will not be hard for them to compass their prize. Nay they need not study opportunities, they being offered to them in some parts of their Religious Function, as in the privacy of Auricular Confession. So strong would Temptation be, though the power of Conscience and the fear of Punishment were yet entire.

5. But suppose some of the Learned should pronounce simple Forni­cation no sin, as well as Adultery a less one then the breach of the Vow of [Page 153] Coelibate; how chearfully would these well-appointed Monasticks goe about their work then? and how much more easily would all unmarried both Males and Females be tempted to the satisfying of their lusts in this single kind of Leudness?

6. But if this will not be so fully apprehended or firmly believed, we will suppose still more Cordials behind, and higher Provocatives to Lust: Such large Indulgences, such easy Rates for Dispensations and Absolutions, from that unholy High-priest we have so often mentioned, not onely for simple Fornication and Adultery, but for Rapes upon Virgins, for the grossest Incest, for lying with ones Neece, nay with his Sister or own Mother; that no man could be much dismay'd at the foulest acts of Filthiness, when he has once considered at what a small value that infallible Judge of Controversies has rated them; nor abstain from indulging to himself any pleasing lust, being so much countenanced and so well encouraged by this indulgent Father Oecumenical or Catholick Mitio of the Church.

7. Slight Penances also would be another great Animation to this Sin of Uncleanness. As if so be some small Alms, or a few Prayers repeated so many times over, or going round the Stairs of a Market-Cross, or a little Fasting, or the like, would be a compensation for such foul mis­carriages in a Lay-man, and some two or three months exclusion from the Church for a Priest, though taken in the Act of Adultery.

8. But we may imagine yet further artifices of debauching the world without bidding them in express terms to be naught. As if, for example, a considerable part of the year, suppose a twelfth or sixth part, were so­lemnly set apart for one continual Festival of wild Frolicks and Revel­lings, it being permitted for so long time together under masks and vi­zards to commit any villanies or outrages that the lasciviency of their own lawless phancy shall suggest; as if, because their faces are hid from men, their persons and actions were also concealed from God: Were not this a mere method of fleshing men in leudness and wickedness, and of instilling into them that vile Principle, That Vertue and Vice are but empty Names, and that any thing may be done by the permission or connivence of Au­thority? Nay to suggest in too significant an Hieroglyphick, That there is no God, and That sin would be nothing but for the shame of men?

9. This also would be no small countenance to Whoredom, to set an example of that liberty in those who should be more exquisite patterns of Chastity and Continence and Mortification of the Flesh; I mean the Priests, who are the most immediate Guides of the people. If therefore in process of time the corruption of this Church came to that height, that these Holy anointed men of God might, by the allowance of the Laws of their High-priest, have their Concubines to solace themselves with, which, not being Wives, come as near to the condition of Harlots as four penies to a groat; would not this be a great stumbling-block in the eyes of the People, both Males and Females, to cause them to sin, they seeing him that is their immediate Guide to Heaven so boldly to take along with him an allowed Whore for his intimate companion? For Christian Religion admits of no such thing as a Concubine. Every one is to be [Page 154] the Husband of one Wife, but not any the Husband of a Concubine; that sounds against common sense.

10. Wherefore every young man in the Parish having so Authentick an example of Fornication in his ghostly Guide, who is so Sacred a Person that he is not to be touched by any Officer of the Civil Magistrate, who is so Holy as to be deemed a fit Intercessour in the behalf of the people above at the high Altar in the Sanctum Sanctorum, the people in the mean time being left behind in the body of the Church, as the Israelites at the foot of the Hill when Moses went up to speak with God in private on the top of Mount Sinai; whose Lips are so sanctified that they onely (and not the pro­phane Beards of the Lay-men) may kiss the Holy Cup, nay drink all off, and then wipe the Chalice clean when he hath done, lest any drop should be left to quench the thirst of any longing Lay-man or Lay-woman's curiosity; and lastly, whose Breath is so omnipotent, as by the recital of Five words to create the Maker and Creatour of all mankind; if so holy and magnificent a person as this, will every youth of the Parish say, (with the young blade in the Comedy) may play such loose pranks with one that is not his Wife; Ego homuncio hoc non faciam? ego verò illud faciam, ac lubens. Thus naturally will they be invited and encoura­ged by this important example of the Priest, to commit folly in every Village, Town and City in a Kingdom. And so great a scandal will this false Church not stick to give, rather then put herself in a less capacity or probability of being Heir or Executress upon the death of her Priests.

11. And for this High-priest himself, he might contribute not a little to this debauchery of Christendom, if under his own nose, I mean in his own See, or Metropolis of the Empire, he should be too favourable and remiss in punishing and repressing the boldness of this Vice; as, if he should suffer known Curtesans to pass the streets with a magnificency of Equip­page equal to the greatest Ladies, courted, and accompanied even at Noon­time of the day (spectante populo) with Clergie-men of the highest Rank and Degree, without the correcting so gross an enormity: This certainly were a competent advantage and furtherance towards the bring­ing the game into Credit.

But suppose also his Sanctity should vouchsafe to accept of part of the Gains of these Nuns of Venus, to encrease his Revenues thereby; would not that be a further confirmation of the Lawfulness of that sport, and a publick signification to the world, that men need not trouble them­selves so much to hold out the siege against the importunity of the Lusts of the Flesh, since his Sanctitie's own self has come to fair terms in that point, and will patiently suffer these workers of Impurity to set up shop in numerous companies even in his own Episcopal See, provided they pay but their annuall Tribute, and thereby acknowledge his Sacred High-priestship the Supreme Sannio of the City? This were indeed to be a Persecutour of Marriage, and a Patron of Brothells, as one speaks well in this case.

For what greater Patronage can they desire then his suffrage and al­lowance that is or would be held the Universal Infallible Judge in [Page 155] Religious causes at least, and whose very Title or Inscription is Holiness? And that he does allow them, it is plain, in that he accepts, if not extorts, part of their Gains from them. Whenas the true Holy one of Israel would not accept of the Deut. 23. 1 [...]. Hire of a Whore, though it were a free-will offering; because he would shew his aversation from all such unclean­nesses. But it is impossible any man can be knowingly and wittingly or ex pacto sharer in the Gains, upon condition of silence or connivence or abetting any way the wickedness that brings in the gain, but he must be ipso facto a sharer in the wickedness it self. Which being supposed in this High-priest, it is consequent thereto that he looks upon this Nundination of Venus, I mean the trade of Baudery, not to be wicked, and thereby lets the whole world loose to Debauchery and Leudness.

12. Which they would be still the more hastily precipitated and sunk into, if they were surrounded with a multitude of Votes from the inferiour Religious Orders, their impudent actions and unsavoury speeches giving witness generally for the trivialness of this sin, if any at all. For we suppose they make it a sin scarce in any thing but this; That they must confess it to the Priest, (that the Priesthood may have the better hank over the Laiety, and feel their own mis-practices lie more easy upon their minds, by finding others like themselves) must acknowledge his Autho­rity, and stand to his courtesy, in a business wherein I have already described him very civil and humane.

We will therefore suppose the generality of the Clergie of this false Church foul and impure in actions, words and behaviour; and, that no­thing may be wanting to the heightning of this Idea of Antichristianism in this point we are upon, (and you may, if you will, suppose the same in others) the High-priest himself as ill, if not worse then any of the rest, for Whoredoms, Adulteries and Incests. Which things cer­tainly must have a wicked influence for the debauching all that part of Christendom that can have any respect for, or owe any homage to, this Sacerdotal Sovereignty.

13. Finally, that there may be nothing wanting to fill up the mea­sure of this Antichristian Pollution or Impurity we do describe, we will further suppose those Regions and Principalities that border nearest to the See of this Supreme Priest to be a second Pentapolis for the most hainous of all Uncleannesses, I mean Sodomie it self.

Nay that the High-priests themselves shall be ordinarily so unholy, that they shall be accounted tolerable, if not praise-worthy, provided they content themselves with what ever illicit pleasures they can enjoy from Women, Masculine Venerie being so frequent even in the Heads of this Apostatized Church; and That to be Pathicks were the next step to the highest Ecclesiastical Preferments, or at least no stop at all thereto; That this foul sin of Gomorrah is grown so much in request, that Eccle­siastick Princes pride themselves in shewing their wit and eloquence in setting forth the pleasures of that Vice, and precellency of it above any enjoyments from the Female sex, and publish such beastly discourses with security and impunity from the Head of this unholy and unwholesome Synagogue; who notwithstanding would thunder against the breach [Page 156] of a Monastick Vow, or any Doctrine tending thereto, with fire and light­ning; and it may be suppress any honest Satyr made to disparage the hainousness of that fulsom crime of Sodomie, nay dispense with whole Fa­milies upon small pretences in so execrable a trade of Wickedness.

14. And lastly, That partly by the emboldening examples of this high Praesul's Court, and partly by the strong temptations and importunities of a Monastick life, (Idleness and ineffectual forms of Devotion leaving the Body utterly unmortified, nay more foul and lustful then in ordinary Secular men; and their secluseness from women permitting them no other way to discharge their filthy burthens then by abusing themselves with Mankind) we will further suppose that this noisom poison has spred it self generally in this false Christendom, and that sundry Monasteries would abound with this sin of Gomorrah, this impure heat piercing from that mouth of Hell, the High-priest's Palace, to the more cold and Northern climes of his Antichristian Dominion.

15. Wherefore the very frame and constitution of this Pseudo-chri­stian Polity being such, as of its own nature is prone to bring forth so foul and poisonous fruits as these, even the fruits of Sodom and the apples of Gomorrah; and we supposing that it does actually bring forth such fruits, even the uncleanest works of the Flesh, Fornication, Adultery, Incest, and Sodomy it self in so plentiful a manner: how can we doubt but that this is a considerable Limb of Antichristianism, or of Antichrist himself, where they are found, I mean this gross impurity so conspicuously oppo­site to the second Branch of the Divine Life; and that this Polity thus infected (if that may be said to be infection which is but the natural flower or fruit of the intrinsecal constitution of a thing) with these several kinds of Uncleanness, is that very City, Antichristian in the highest measure, which is mystically called Sodom as well as Aegypt, and whose inhabitants Rev. [...]. are excluded out of the Holy City (the New Jerusalem) as perfectly opposite thereto, and whose portion is the Lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second Death?

In which black list of the damned there are reckoned up amongst others Rev. 21. [...], Whores and Whore-mongers, be it simple Fornication, Adul­tery, or Incest; as also [...], which Grotius interprets [...], and [...], abusers of themselves with Mankind, and Pathicks; to which answers [...], Dogs, in the other Catalogue chap. 22. The fury of the lustfulness and obscoenity of Dogs making them promiscuously attempt one another without discrimination of Sex.

And this may serve briefly for a Description of that Limb of Antichri­stianism that opposes that Branch of the Divine Life which is Christian Purity.

CHAP. XIII.

1. The excellency of Charity, and that it is the very Life and Soul of the Polity of Christ. 2. A Description of the nature of Christ's Kingdom, out of Scripture. 3. A Collection of the Properties of his Government, out of the fore-cited Predictions; and that they are all the Effects of Charity. 4. To which the Kingdom of Antichrist is opposite. 5. The Oppression of the poor and needy by this Antichristian Polity. 6. The defrauding men of their Estates, upon a false pretence of Heresie. 7. The imposition of barbarous Penances. 8. Their unparallel'd Pride. 9. Their raising of vile Calumnies against the professors of the Truth, as the Pagans did against the Primitive Christians. 10. Several Instances of these Antichristian Calumnies.

1. THE last Branch of the Divine Life is Charity; which is the Sum­mity, the Top-branch, the Flower, nay the very Quintessence of Christianity, and the Life and Soul of that amiable and comfortable Polity and Kingdom of Christ which was predicted in the Holy Scriptures, and should most immediately be seated in Ecclesiastick persons; the Gravity, Meekness and Exemplarity of whose Conversations, and the influence of their powerful Doctrine and comfortable and equitable Discipline, reach­ing to a more exquisite emendation of mens manners then the Civil Laws do ordinarily aim at, (that is to say, to the making men more sober and more pure in their converse, more fair and tolerable in their exactions, more liberal and compassionate toward the poor, more faithful and sincere, more favourable and candid one to another then Political Laws can effect) should erect that Kingdom of Christ upon Earth which would really prove the great Joy and Happiness of all the Nations of the World, according to their desire and expectation. For there is indeed nothing more desirable then Christ's Kingdom, which we pray every day that it may come, ac­cording to those descriptions thereof in the Prophets and Psalms.

2. He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the Psal. 7 [...]. needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor. He shall come down like the rain upon the mowen grass, as showers that water the earth. In his days shall the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace so long as the Moon en­dureth. And a little after in the same Psalm, He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy: He shall redeem their souls from deceit and violence, and precious shall their bloud be in his sight. And in Chap. 4 [...]. Esay it is said of him, A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoaking flax shall he not quench, till he hath brought judgment into victory. And again in the Psal. 45. Psalms, In thy majesty ride on prosperously because of truth, meekness and righteousness: and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things, namely, to break in pieces the Oppressour, and to put the Fraudu­lent to open shame. Also in Chap. 9. Zacharie, Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout, O daughter of Jerusalem. Behold, thy King cometh unto thee: [...]e is just, and having salvation, lowly, and riding upon an Ass, and upon a Colt the foal of an Ass.

[...]
[...]
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[Page 158] And again in Chap. 40. Esay, He shall feed his Flock like a Shepherd, he shall ga­ther the Lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. And in another place more copiously de­scribing the Kingdom of Christ, Chap. 11. With righteousness, saith he, shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity, for the meek of the earth, and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The Wolf also shall dwell with the Lamb, and the Leopard shall lie down with the Kid, and the Calf and the young Lion and the Fatling together, and a little Child shall lead them; and the Cow and the Bear shall feed, their young ones shall lie down together, and the Lion shall eat straw like an Ox. And a sucking Child shall play on the hole of the Asp, and the weaned Child shall put his hand on the Cockatrice den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

To all which you may adde, That Christ with his Church in the Reve­lation is all along represented under the Hieroglyphick of a Lamb, that harmless and peaceable creature; and in Daniel under the Type of a Man, whenas the rest of the Kingdoms are typifi'd by wild Beasts. Which in­timates that the Kingdom of Christ is not a Kingdom of Belluine Ferocity, but of Reason, Humanity, and tender Loving-kindness.

3. According therefore to this Description of the Kingdom of Christ, it is plainly a Kingdom of Peace and Love, the Empire of that Divine ver­tue of Charity, and discovers it self in the defending, righting and easing of the poor; in the lowliness and meekness of the Governours; and in the truth and faithfulness of them, in managing their affairs without any guile or deceit; in the unity and friendly conversableness of people; in the cessation of war and hostility; and in the protection of the [...]aints of God from persecution and slaughter. All these Happinesses are included in the Reign of Christ according to the above-cited predictions; and are all of them the Effects of Charity, as S. Paul has described that Grace from the excellent fruits thereof.

For Charity is kind, full of acts of Humanity; seeketh not her own, much less what belongs to others, either out of envy or covetousness. 1 Cor. 13. Charity is not puffed up with pride and high-mindedness: has no pleasure in unrighteousness or deceitfulness, but rejoyceth in truth and faithfulness. Charity does not easily think evil of men, or unseemly behave her self out of the bad opinion she conceives of them in matters of Morality or Re­ligion. Charity is so far from exciting others to war, that she is hardly provoked to anger, but is patient and long-suffering; so far from perse­cuting and murthering the good, that she will not be over-severe to those that are no better then they should be. For Charity beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things; so far is she from persecuting, imprisoning, from racking and killing of innocent and good men (that are endued with the true fear of God) upon worldly Jea­lousies and Suspicions, that is to say, for fear the spreading of the Truth of the Gospel should bear down their usurped Empire of Idolatrous Tyranny and Superstition.

[Page 159] 4. Having therefore so clear a view of the nature and properties of Cha­rity, and of the condition of the Reign of Christ in his Church, whose Dominion is founded in the Law of Love; it will not be hard to draw the picture of an Antichristian Polity so far forth as it is opposite to this last Branch of the Divine Life, which is that transcendent Grace of Charity.

Let us suppose therefore a company of men that pretend to succeed Christ and his Apostles (who if they be his legitimate Successours, they should succeed him also in the Graces of his Spirit) to be quite contrary, in the administration of the affairs of the Church, to that Description of the Kingdom of Christ out of the Prophets and Psalms; would not this of a truth prove a most palpable and remarkable Limb of Antichristianism?

5. As suppose first, for example, Whereas our Saviour Christ is de­scribed as one that does redeem the souls of the poor and needy from op­pression and wrong; if the Frame of this Polity that his pretended Suc­cessours set up in the World were a yoke upon the most simple-meaning people greater then that of Judaism, and a servitude and bondage more intolerable then that of Aegypt, as I have above described it, as both bur­thening and afflicting their Consciences, and also wearying their Bodies, and Book I. ch. 19, 20, 21, 22. emptying their Purses by mulcts for such offences as are neither against the Law of God nor any duty we any way owe to our Neighbour, but onely against such Superstitious Institutes as were made by the Ignorance of some and the cunning Craft of others, who multiply unnecessary Laws, that they may enjoy the sweet of the Penalties, and suck away the bloud and sustenance of the poor labouring-man, as often as they catch him in these nets: were not this point-blank contrary to that part of the Descri­ption of Christ's Kingdom that consists in the protecting and easing of the poor and oppressed?

6. It were a very unchristian thing, and a shreud sign that those were not the true and genuine Successours of Christ, that did not prevail so much upon the Civil Government, that vassalage and slavery and squallid and deplorable poverty should be chased away, for the glory of the Go­spel, and the honour of the Kingdom of Christ, which is supposed to be where-ever the Gospel is received: But for these pretended hypocritical Successors to be Instruments and Assistants to the enslaving of the World, for the partaking of the spoil, or rather to erect a Spiritual Polity to enslave all, and bring the most insupportable Servitude of Body, Soul and Estate, such as Paganism could scarce ever shew the like, certainly this must be very highly Antichristian.

For indeed what can be more salvagely oppressive in reference to the very Estates of men, then to frame such a Religion, upon the pretence▪ of their Infallibility, as is perfectly repugnant to the plain Word of God and immutable Rules of Reason; depraving of things so for their own worldly advantage, as I have already abundantly set out, to bring in a more ample Revenue to feed the Pride and Luxury of this false Church? And then when they have thus grossly perverted the Truth of God, to declare that they who will not say Amen to their lies and forgeries, have no more right to their own Estates then a Thief or Robber to what he has got by unlawful spoil: and therefore accordingly not onely to hinder them from [Page 160] any employments of either profit or credit, but disable them from making of Wills, and their Heirs from inheriting their Estates, and awing them from laying claim to their Patrimonies, lest their Father's Heresie be in­tailed upon them whether they will or no.

7. To which Antichristian Barbarities you may adde also the scornful and cruel Penances they put upon them that do submit themselves to their Church; making them go in procession in contemptible disguises, or else enjoyning them to march in their shirts, bare foot and bare leg, and to whip their own bodies in the sight of the people as they go along. How unlike, nay how utterly contrary, is this to that Meekness and Sweetness that is described in the Discipline and Government of the Kingdom of Christ? But we need not insist upon these things, we having treated suffi­ciently of them already.

8. Now upon the second particular, viz. that Humility and Lowliness which is also one fruit of Charity, and by which the Person and Rule of our Saviour is described in the ancient Prophecies: We have shewn the Antichristian Detestableness of the opposite to this Vertue already in the first Branch of the Divine Life, and need adde nothing more thereto.

9. The third character of Charity is, her delighting in true and faithful dealing amongst men. The opposites to which are easily discoverable. To say nothing therefore of the manifold Frauds which we have already taken notice of all along in this our Description of Antichristianism, this certainly must be very Antichristian and uncharitable, namely, To mis­represent mens Actions and Opinions in publick Speeches or Writings, nay to invent notorious lies and fictions to the disparagement of mens Per­sons and Doctrines, and suborn men to write them, and divulge them to the world for truths. Which is to doe so as was the custom of those who were under the Dragon, that old Serpent and false accuser of the ancient primitive Christians, whom they aspersed and calumniated as worshippers of the Sun, because they put up their prayers with their faces towards the East; as Man-sacrificers, and as Eaters and Drinkers of humane flesh and bloud, because of their calling the Eucharistick Bread and Wine the Body and Bloud of Christ, they understanding it onely in a mystical or symbolical sense. For professing with S. Paul, There is neither Male nor Female in Christ, but that both have equal admission into his eternal Kingdom, That they had no regard of Sexes, but were vile Sodomites and abusers of themselves with Mankind. For meeting together to serve God in private in Grotts and Caves of the Earth for fear of persecution, That they were Conspirators against the Roman State and Empire. And lastly, for their reverently receiving the Elements of Bread and Wine at their holy Communions, That they were Worshippers of Ceres and Bacchus.

10. In like manner we may imagine that this Pseudo-christian Church may raise such perverse Calumnies against the true members of Christ: as namely traducing them for Atheists, or at least Arrians, because they will not acknowledge the Divinity of a consecrated piece of Bread; reporting them as Manichees, because they do not hold the power of the Church to be superiour to that of Emperours and Kings, (to make thereby but one Sovereignty in the Church) but affirm the Secular Power independent [Page 161] thereon; as if the holding these two distinct Powers were, forsooth, the holding the two Principles of the Manichees; defaming them for Beesone­riders or Witches, because they have by reason of hard persecution been driven to inhabit desert and mountainous places; or upon their meeting more privately in houses by night, to impute to them some such horrid and villainous practices as were reported of the primitive Christians, that the Candle being put out they committed Incest and all manner of Un­cleanness in the dark, nay that they killed their own children in these con­cealed Assemblies of theirs. To accuse them of reviling the Saints, merely upon their professing it unlawful to invoke them; or of blasphe­ming the Blessed Virgin, because they hold it unfit to worship her. To tax them of disobedience to the Magistrate, onely because of their per­sisting in the sincere profession of that Faith that is consonant to the Do­ctrine of Christ and his Apostles. And, lastly, to father upon them what abominable actions they please, and, speaking without a Metaphor, to gag the mouths of the thus accused and slandered, that they may not an­swer for themselves to clear themselves in the audience of the people: Nay to rack men till their very bowels break out of their belly, to force them to acknowledge themselves or their party guilty of such villainous crimes as it is incredible their very persecutors should in good earnest suspect them of, merely to get a pretence from such an extorted Confession to verifie their wicked Slanders to the world, and to make the harmless and innocent professors of the Truth of the Gospel to be odious and hateful in the eyes of all men.

Certainly, if this be not diametrically opposite to that part of Charity that discovers it self in true and faithful dealing, nothing can be excogi­tated that is so.

CHAP. XIV.

1. The nick-naming of the true Christians by the odious Title of Hereticks, with their barbarous injuries thereupon. 2. That Heresie and Schism are sins against the truly-Catholick and Apostolick Church. 3. What is meant by One Catholick and Apostolick Church. 4. What is that hainous sin of Heresie. 5. What Schism. 6. That while men are sincere members of the Apostolick Body, they can be neither Hereticks nor Schismaticks. 7. The Hypocritical and Schismatical Niceness of this Antichristian Church in forbearing to joyn in any Religious Duty with any member of the truly-Apostolick Body. 8. Their fraudulent purpose in fostering this Schismatical Niceness and Unsociableness.

1. BUt we will also take notice of that which will be so usually cast upon the Dissenters from this false Church, that it will be scarce ac­counted any reproach done to them, but rather civility or justice; and that is, the so freely nick-naming them by the style of Hereticks and Schis­maticks. [Page 162] Which yet in their own judgment I suppose not to bear so little weight with it, whenas their real estimate is discoverable by their pro­ceedings, they deeming an Heretick so odious or contemptible, that he is not worthy of the common privileges of mankind, and of that protection that the Laws of humane Society do afford men; that he shall not have the security of a Promise though confirmed by Oath; Faith not being to be kept with Hereticks. Not to mention here that they have made the penalties of Heresie capital. Which how justly, though a man were an Heretick in the matters of Belief, provided it were not out of Pride and conceitedness, but out of invincible Ignorance, I will not here discuss.

2. It will be of greater use to consider what is real Heresie or Schism; that the sincere and knowing Christian may not be reproached, nor the less skilful affrighted with these Bug-bears. Those that make so great a cry against the hainousness of these sins, their Zeal and Rhetorick would be more usefully placed, if they would be so faithful as to give us a right No­tion of them; otherwise while they pretend to be so industriously de­sirous of Peace and Unity in the Church, they may but give greater oc­casion of Dissensions and Animosities. For to make more things Heresies and Schisms then are, is to create more quarrels then there need be. I will acknowledge as soon as any, that Heresie and Schism are very grievous crimes, even of the deepest dye; but then it must be truly Heresie or Schism, not what-ever the peevishness, or interest, or prejudice of a domi­neering party will be pleased to call so, under the pretence that they are that One Catholick Church, from whose Doctrine (be it never so false or corrupt) for one to dissent must be Heresie, and to separate from their communion (be their practices never so Idolatrous) Schism. No certainly, those high sins of Heresie and Schism are not against this or that particular Synagogue, be they never so numerous, but against that ancient and truly Catholick and Apostolick Church; and he that sins against her Unity, sins against his Creed, which has taught us to say, I believe one Catholick and Apostolick Church. Which words because they may be abused to the making of the Church look less Catholick and One then it is, I shall offer an easie resolu­tion of the sense of them.

3. I conceive therefore that the Object of our Belief in this Clause of the Creed are these three Propositions.

First, That the Church of God wherein eternal Salvation is to be had is but One; that is to say, That a man cannot be saved in any Religion, as some wantonly conceit, but that there is one onely way of Salvation which is revealed to God's true Church, under which all must come before they can be saved.

Secondly, That this Church of God is now a Catholick Church, not Topical or National, as in the Commonwealth of the Jews, but a Church that is by right to spread over the face of the whole Earth, and is designed so to doe by Providence, as is expressed in several passages of the Prophets. From the rising of the Sun to the going down of the same, my name shall be great amongst the Gentiles, &c. as Chap. 1. Malachie has fore-told. And David in the second Psalm, Ask of me, and I will give thee the Heathen for thine in­heritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

[Page 163] Thirdly and lastly, That this One Catholick Church is neither to be stretched so wide as to be acknowledged there where the Apostolical Do­ctrine, the Faith and Practice delivered and commanded by Christ or his Apostles is oppugned and contradicted, and quite contrary. Doctrines and Practices brought in; nor to be made so narrow, as that such companies of men should not be allowed to be part of this Catholick Church, amongst whom notwithstanding the Apostolical Doctrines do obtain, and Primitive Practices of the Church set on foot by the Apostles or Christ himself are in use: That is to say, The adequate Character of this One Catholick Church is, that it rejects nothing of the Apostolical Doctrines and imitable Usages which were commanded by Christ or by his Apostles to the Church, nor teaches or institutes any thing that is point-blank opposite thereto, or to the Word of God to which Christ and his Apostles give testimony.

That therefore is the true Catholick Church in the whole, and in every particular company of it, which has for its visible Laws and Usages, whereby it self becomes also visible, the Laws and Usages of Christ and his Apostles, and nothing contradictorious thereunto.

This, I hope, will be acknowledged by all men the most easie and ge­nuine sense of this Article of the Christian Creed that the words are ca­pable of.

4. And hence I think a man may easily discover what that Heresie is that is justly to be deemed so hainous a sin, namely, That it is A Dissent from the Catholick Church even in those things that are in it Apostolical. For by them alone, they being entire and uncontradicted in her, does she discover her self to be that One and onely Catholick Church of Christ. And this would be an hainous sin indeed against that Authority she has to in­struct and imbue the world with this saving truth; I say, to dissent from any part of this Apostolick Doctrine out of a spirit of contradiction and self-conceitedness, would be Heresie in the most loathsom circumstances that can be imagined.

And the next degree to this would be the dissenting from the Catho­lick Church in such things as they generally agree in, though they be not expressly any part of the Apostolick Doctrine, but in the mean time not plainly dissonant to the Word of God nor to the immutable Notions of humane Understanding.

And the third and last degree is, to dissent from the determinations of a mans own particular National Church in the like circumstances with the former.

These seem to have something an over-near affinity with what we have defined most properly & primarily to be Heresie. But considering that even Oecumenical Councils themselves may erre, and that Scripture in things necessary to Salvation is sufficiently plain, and the Affairs and the Genius of particular Nations exceeding different and changeable, and General Councils very hardly and slowly to be congregated; I must not be over­hasty to call a Dissent here, no not from an Oecumenical Doctrine or Usage, by so harsh a denomination as Heretical, there being no entrench­ment made thereby upon the Apostolical Laws and Doctrines. But to [Page 164] dissent from, or not to subscribe to the determinations of what Church soever that are plainly repugnant to the Doctrines Apostolical, were not onely not Heretical, but Heroical; especially if the Dissent is likely to be­attended with any personal inconveniences to the Dissenter.

5. And now for Schism, there is much-what the same judgment to be made hereon. For it is plain that Schism truly so called is A Separation from the Catholick Church, or from any National Church which is part thereof, even then when she approves her self to be Catholick, that is to say, even then when she is Apostolick, or though she be Apostolick, and offer no Opi­nions and Usages but such as are conformable to the Usages and Doctrines of Christ and his Apostles. To separate from the Church in such circum­stances as these, I confess were a great and damnable sin. But for one to se­parate from the Church in other things upon an invincible suspicion that the consenting to or doing this or that were sinful and displeasing to God, (though those Opinions might be true, and Practices harmless in them­selves) this I conceive though it make a man materially a Schismatick, yet he is not formally so, and he is rather to be pitied then reproached.

But if he separate from that part of the Church (if it can be still a part of the Church that does so) which imposes Opinions and Practices plainly repugnant to the Precepts of Christ and his Apostles; Separation in this case need not be pitied, nor ought to be reproached, but highly com­mended and applauded. And that voice will warrant them that calls for such sober Separatists, Come out of her, my people, lest you partake of her Rev. 18. sins and of her plagues. For the coming out here would be really the going in to the true Church, and the standing still, the abiding disjoyn'd there­from; as one speaks very smartly and truly, Is Ecclesiae non jungitur qui ab Evangelio separatur.

6. Wherefore from this true and determinate apprehension of things it is manifest how outrageously and Antichristianly uncharitable this false Church would be against the true Members of Christ, in calling them He­reticks and Schismaticks, and Renders and Tearers in pieces of the Unity of the Church; whenas in truth they are so far from being Hereticks, that they are the faithful Witnesses of Jesus, and the onely sincere Members of the Apostolick Body, and keep to that one foundation of which Christ is the chief corner-stone, and are so far from being Schismaticks in their separation from such a Church as I have described, where gross Idolatry and Superstition has overflown all, that by separating they have redeemed themselves out of this Babylonish or Aegyptian Captivity, and returned to that City that is at unity or one with it self, and must never vary, I mean, that one and onely true Catholick Church, as being truly Apostolick. For if it be true, That he is not joyned to the Church that is separate from the Gospel; I think it will be true also, that he that is sincerely joyned to the Gospel cannot be separate from the Church. And therefore this noise of tearing and rending the Church, is but a clamorous Accusation of men that feel their own usurped Power and Interest to shake, as if it would break in sunder at this resurrection of the true Apostolick Church, and Christ's recovering the Power into his own hands for the raising that promised and long-expected Kingdom of Righteousness upon Earth.

[Page 165] 7. And yet, in the fourth place, though this false Church be thus perfectly Antichristian, as I have described, grossely Idolatrous, and wretchedly Superstitious, and thus shrilly clamorous and querimonious against the rending of the Unity of the Catholick Church, as she will phrase it, notwithstanding all this, we will suppose her so Hypocritically nice and scrupulous, that she will not contaminate herself with joyning in Divine Service with those of the true and Apostolick Church, though there be nothing in their Service but what is Apostolical; no not so much as joyn in the Lord's Prayer, or giving of thanks at meat, nor say Amen to the shortest Ejaculation or Doxologie that occasion should put into the mouth of those that appertain to the Apostolick Body, nor say Grace themselves, for fear these Apostolicks should joyn with them, or adde their Amen.

And yet, forsooth, this Synagogue of Deceivers is so zealous and industrious for the keeping up of the Unity of the Catholick Church as passes, when in the mean time they are so full of rancour and railing against these Hereticks, as they call them, that they will style them (and indeed any Church besides their own) the Church of the Devil; and pronounce that God is not God, if he do not damn them; and will forbid their Nurselings to so much as wish a Requiem for their Souls when they are departed this life.

8. But this is but an Histrionical swaggering in comparison. Their Devillish Fraud in the pursuance of this Unsociableness in any Divine duty, betwixt them whom they please to term Hereticks and those of their own Church, is conspicuous; viz. for fear commerce in religious matters should give them the knowledge of the Truth, who are held to this false Church by nothing but by believing of Lies: I mean not onely such as were long agoe framed for the advantage of their Church, but such misinterpretations and falsehoods as they possess their Nurselings with against those whom they call Hereticks; whose Doctrines they falsify, and traduce their carriage as they please, and by this interdicting converse with them, keep them in that vile opinion of them which they have infused by their base Calumnies.

Besides that, by this scrupulosity in communicating with them in any Religious duty, they ostentate the great Sanctity of their own Pha­risaical Church, as I intimated before, and ingender an hatred and detesta­tion of all that are opposite: which plots and practices in those who talk so much for Peace and Unity in the Church is a double iniquity, and the highest breach of Charity that comes not yet to blows. But she was certainly the Whore that called so remorslesly for the dividing of the Child, not the genuine Mother. And that must be an Adulterate Church most assuredly, that would have Christians differ wherein they profess themselves all agreed, and clove in sunder wherein they would naturally joyn together, and that is in the Apostolical Doctrines and Practices.

CHAP. XV.

1. What Incendiaries to War and Plotters of abhorred Murthers these falsely-pretended Successours of Christ are. 2. Their Butcherly Cruelty to the Sheep of Christ's Fold. 3. Instances of prodigious Barbarities upon them for their very faithfulness to their Saviour and Redeemer. 4. The numerousness of them that thus suffer, with some particular kinds of Cruelty. 5. More Instances of this Diabo­lical Barbarity. 6. All the Elements made Instruments of the wrath and fury of this Antichristian Power. 7. Most beastly and unnatural Examples of this Antichristian Salvageness.

1. BUT there are yet behind more palpable discoveries of this Anti­christian contrariety to that Divine Vertue of Charity, the Royal Law, as I have already said, of the Kingdom of Christ, which is described from the Peace and Security of them that live under it, That there shall none destroy in God's holy Mountain.

In the fifth place therefore, How plainly Antichristian would it be in them who pretend to be in a special manner the Successours of Christ, if they should prove Incendiaries to War, and busy Engineers of De­struction in Christendom, witty in Cruelty and Revenge, barbarous in Execution; merciless to the poor, hating them even for their Poverty sake; poisoners of Princes, even by that Bread wherewith they would pretend to feed their Souls to everlasting life; and the High-priests them­selves, the Heads of this Antichristian Polity, either the Contrivers or Applauders of such villainous Poisonings and Murthers?

2. But sixthly and lastly, The cruel and bloudy Persecution of the true and living Members of the Kingdom of Christ, for their faithfull adhering to the plain and undoubted Commands of their Heavenly Sove­reign, who is styled King of Kings and Lord of Lords, this certainly must be the most signal and capital Antichristianism that any Polity can be corrupted with, and the most grossely and visibly opposite both to the nature of Charity, which beareth all things and endureth all things, which will not be over-severe to the wicked, much less cruel to the good; and also to the Description of Christ's Government, who is said to redeem the Souls of the needy from deceit and violence, and that their bloud is Psalm 72. precious in his sight. He shall feed his Flock like a shepherd, he shall gather Esay 40. his Lambs with his arme, and carry them in his bosome. This is the genuine spirit of the true Christian Pastours, whether of high or low degree, to be thus tenderly affected towards their Sheep.

But such as thwack them and beat them, and violently drive them, in stead of leading them by an Evangelical call and going before them in a way of Christian Example, these are not Shepherds, but Butchers, and will easily drive them to the Shambles, and see their throats cut without remorse.

3. Persecution therefore of the Saints of God, even for those things they approve themselves to be Saints in, as in refusing to worship Images, [Page 167] or to commit any other act of Idolatry, in plainly and simply professing the truth of the Gospel, and living according thereto, conscienciously abstaining from all such things as it has declared unlawfull; This is as manifest a Limb of Antichristianism as any can be exhibited to our view; and were indeed notoriously Antichristian, though it proceeded no further then to a partial loss of goods, Imprisonment, and Death without any further odious and aggravating circumstances.

‘But to be stripped stark naked of all a man has to perfect beggery; not to be committed to a common Prison, but to be thrust into some lonesome and loathsome cell or Dungeon, upon moist straw or flags, stinking with dung and ordure, or else without this Tapestry, the floor of it self being soft and miry enough, that they may seem to need to pillow, and it may be so streight that they scarce have room enough to lie at their length.’

And then for their manner of Death, when they are called unto it, how unjust and barbarous were it, to have their Integrity and Sincerity to their Saviour to be reckoned a crime more capital then Theft and Mur­ther, and therefore be punished with a severe [...] death? hanging or heading not serving the turn, but they must undergoe that death which is most torturous and dreadfull. ‘Fire and Faggot must be the reward of their constant and faithfull obedience to their dear Redeemer, and it may be with some extraordinary circumstances: they not dispatching them with that favour that they do Murtherers of Fathers or Murtherers of Hus­bands, or Conjurers and contractors with the Devil; but lengthening their torments by the malicious artifice of pulleys, dipping them in, and then pulling them up again out of the flames, as if they were duck­ing them in the Water rather then torturing them in the Fire. Not sparing the Women big with child, no nor the Child that has been bap­tized with fire as soon as born into the world, but being mercifully transmitted out of the burst womb through the flames, (as untouched almost as the three Children in the fiery furnace) has been cast again into that consuming Element by the cruel hands of the abhorred Hang-man; setting less by the poor innocent Infant of an Heretick, then by the litter of a Bitch or young Kitlings, to whom none will be so bar­barous as to burn them in the Fire, but commit them rather to the mercies of that more soft and gentle Element of Water.

4. ‘What shall we say to the multitudes of those that are thus mar­tyred, I mean not onely in succession, but at a clap, by thirties, four­scores, and hundreds at a time, either at one common fire-pyle, or else in barns and dwelling-houses; severe Officers with their iron weapons forcing them back as often as the heat and smoak would drive them out to seek cooler aire? What to the racking and excarnificating their bodies, before this last punishment? to the cutting out their Tongues when they are brought to the stake, that they may be in an utter incapa­city of apologizing for themselves, of praising God, or edisying the people?’

5. It were a long business to set before your eyes all the ways that this Antichristian Beast, this Pseudo-christian Polity and falsely-preten­ded [Page 168] Hierarchy of Christ, might use in wreaking their spleen upon the faithfull witnesses of Jesus, the living members of his true Church; what outrages they and their Officers, or Instruments and Adherents, inflamed by the poison of their zeal, may commit upon the harmless Flock of Christ; sparing none of either Sex, no not in the most compassi­onable circumstances; ‘bringing Women, and that of great quality, within three or four days after their delivery out of Child-bed, into an abhorred prison, using them with like cruel hardship they do others; forcing them out of the Straw, as it is called, to tumble on a bed of flags in a raw and noisome Gaol-cabbin; and within a while after stretching them so on the rack, and piercing them so to the bone with the strings they tie their legs and armes, and so shattering all their body, that they leave them more then half dead upon the torture.’

‘Hanging up others even while the Child is coming out of the Wombe: ripping up the Bellies of others, having first nailed down their hands and feet upon some board; and having cut their Children in pieces, stopping their bleeding flesh into the mouths of their Mothers: opening the Wombs of others, and putting their Children of a year or two old into them, and so stifling them in their Mother's bloud: hanging Men up by their privities at their own doors, and Ministers of the Town after the same manner in their Church-porches: scraping the hands, lips and crown of such Priests as are converted to the true profession of the Gospel, with sharp knives or broken pieces of glass: dragging men by their legs, whom they have half killed upon the rack, like a dead dog, or such like piece of Carrion, they being unable to goe themselves, and thought by the Officers unworthy to be carried.’

6. It were an endless task to reckon up all the hardships that frail Mortality is obnoxious to. All the Elements may be made Instruments of the wrath of this Antichristian Power I describe. ‘Besides being burnt therefore, and pitched all over to make the nidour and smoak of the Sacrifice more acceptable to their enraged Cruelty, multitudes may be drown'd in Rivers, men and women, even in their parturiency, being forcibly driven into the stream. Others may be benummed or stifled to death in frosty or smoaky aire, branches of Trees being set on fire at the mouth of the Caverns where they had taken shelter: And lastly, others be buried alive in the Earth, sending out deep groans from under the ground.’

‘To be stript stark naked, and to be beat with rods of Iron, is also extreme hard measure; as also to have their armes and legs so pierced with the twisting of cords, as to make deep furrows in the flesh for worms to breed in it, and consume it.’

7. ‘What shall we say to the flinging of the young Children of Hereticks to be eaten by Hogs, and to the boiling of others alive in Caldrons? to the forcing of Children to be the executioners of their Parents, and the Parents sometimes of their own Children, Mothers being constrained to cast their own Infants into the waters? to the pulling out mens eyes, and cutting off their hands, and so sending them out to grope their way in the wide world? to the flaying some, [Page 169] roasting others alive, and half killing others on purpose that they may linger long in torturous pains? What to the ripping the bellies of other-some, to take hold of one end of the small guts, to fasten it to a tree, and then force the poor man to goe round, to wind his guts about the tree, to try the length of them? What to the abusing of the bodies of the dead? to the making Candles of their grease, and the selling their fat to the Apothecaries? What to the laying of the bodies of men and women the one upon another in an immodest posture, and to the sen­ding out their boys with whips to lash off mens privities as they lie dead in the field? And, lastly, what to the barbarous insulting over the heads of murthered Ministers openly at the Market-Cross, disfiguring their faces, slitting up their mouths, and cutting their noses, and out of a mad and frantick kind of zeal boxing them about the ears, though to the benumming of their own hands, upon the dead flesh?’ So wild and salvage are they whom this Spirit of Antichristianism does in­spire.

CHAP. XVI.

1. A new Scene of Diabolical outrages done to the innocent Flock of Christ. 2. That they are all to be imputed to this Antichristian Synagogue, though not particularly appointed by them. 3. A description of an Infernal Tribunal coloured over with the specious Title of The Holy Inquisition. 4. The Demeanour of these Infernal Judges to the accu­sed. 5. The salvage usage of the sentenced party by the grim Executio­ner. 6. A new addition to the former Torture. 7. The Torment of the hollow Trough, 8. And pan of Charcoal. 9. That this exem­plary Cruelty in these Spiritual Judges influencing all the Instruments and Adherents to their Church makes her guilty of all the Military outrages also.

1. BUT I am weary of figuring out such sad and Tragical scenes of things; [...], the modes of villainie are infinite. There seems nothing more detestable then that cruelty of Canniballs that eat mans flesh. ‘But how far short would it fall thereof, if we should suppose that the Instruments and Adherents to this Antichristian power did riot it with the Brains of men, and set upon the table the Dugs of women fried like Tripes; whom they first ravish, and then cut off their breasts with some parcel of those parts which modesty will hardly name?’

‘What should we think of stabbing a man on the soles of his feet and at his eares, cutting off his genital parts, frying the wound with the flame of a Candle, for his greater torment, and for stopping the bloud? What of the tearing his nails off with hot pincers, to make him re­nounce his Religion, and to reconcile him to this Pseudo-Christian Synagogue? What of spitting naked women through their pudenda, [Page 170] and so carrying them for some space on their shoulders on long poles? What of stripping off the skin of a mans arme and legs in long slices like leathern points, leaving him to starve in this sad condition in prison? What of dragging by the feet at the tail of a Mule through the Streets, the body beating against the Stones, and the people flinging Brick-bats at him as he passes by their doors? What of cramming Gun-powder into the mouths and throats of men, and then setting it on fire to tear their heads in fitters? And what lastly of this beastly and barbarous Cruelty, to pull the eyes of a man out, and to cut off his yard, and thrust it into his mouth, and to expose him thus mangled unto the view of the people two or three days together, and in conclusion to flay him a­live, and hang the quarters of his skin at the chief windows in the Town?’

Could there be any thing more damnably Antichristian then such outrages as these against the Innocent Lambs of Christ, whom this false and Imperious Church disguizes with the odious name of Hereticks? concerning whom they instruct their bloudy Instruments, that they are not worthy to live, nor to die an easy death, nor to have Christian burial; but that their naked bodies are to be exposed to the rage and hunger of greedy swine and dogs.

2. And truly, though these Cruelties, all of them which are here de­scribed, are not supposed to be appointed particularly by the Ghostly Fa­thers of this grand Hypocritical Synagogue: yet their Instruments, Agents and Adherents being informed by them that all that are not of this Church are Hereticks, and that all Hereticks are worse then Dogs, and to be used worse if we have a mind to it, nay that it is meritorious to abuse them thus, and that their tormenting them in this manner, and killing of them with this barbarity, will free themselves from the fire and torments of Purgatory; it is plain that all this Antichristian salvage­ness and cruelty is to be laid at the door of these Ghostly Fathers them­selves. Which will be still more manifestly their due, if they be supposed to have influence upon the other, not onely by their Antichristian Doctrine, but by the Authentickness of their Example.

3. As if, for example, we should frame some such supposition as this, That there were a Court of Judicature set up, for the enquiring after and examining all suspected of Heresy, for the punishing them accor­dingly when they are discovered; and that some Holy persons of this Church should be Judges in this Sacred Consistory, this Holy Inquisition; but their proceedings for point of Cruelty and Injustice not inferiour to any thing we have yet named: would not this be a sign or watch-word, as it were, to all the Adherents to this Devilish Religion to use the ene­mies of it as cruelly as opportunity will permit, or the natural bitterness of their own spirits suggest?

Let us imagine therefore a Tribunal, though not so just, yet more severe (or rather more cruel) then that of those Judges of Hell, Minos and Rhadamanthus, and, that it may be more like theirs, to be in some subterraneous room, (that the cries and groans of the tormented may not pierce the ears of the people) where all things are transacted in that more [Page 171] impure light and stench of Links and Torches, held by Assistants and Officers as grim of aspect as the infernal Furies; and that the proceedings of this Court are infinitely more unrighteous then those of Hell, these Holy Judges having unlimited power, any vile person being admitted for a witness against the suspected, and they making no matter whether the accusation be by word of mouth or by tickets cast in before this Sacred Consistory; for without any personal appearance or confronting one another the process is to be framed, without party, without witness, and without other Law then the pleasure of these Spiritual Judges or Infer­nal Spirits.

4. Now when the suspected or accused have descended into these shades of Death, we will suppose these subterraneous Judges to begin with some terrifying Premonitions and Comminations, mingling some Hypocritical Exhortations and Protestations, as if they would wash their hands clean, as Pilate of old, of the innocent bloud they are about to spill.

But if the party will not accuse himself by the terrour of these threats, that they may notwithstanding take away his life in such a torturous way as they think fit for Hereticks, (yea though he should freely confess that which they will call Heresy, yet if he will not betray all of the same opinion that he either knows or suspects) he is presently sentenced to undergoe such Agonies and Trials as these men of Cruelty shall please to adjudge him to.

5. ‘Wherefore there is ready at hand the grim Executioner in a black disguise so horrid as makes him look more like a Devil then a man; who seizing upon the sentenced parties, be they men or women, married or virgins, of mean rank or of noble quality, first strips them naked, to satisfy the lustfull eyes of these Holy Leachers: which to the modest Maids and grave Matrons must be a torment worse then Death it self. After this he binds their hands eight or ten times about with Cords; these cruel and lustfull Villains on the Bench com­manding him to bind one round harder then another, and then with a smaller line their thumbs, and then to fasten the parties hands and thumbs to a pulley that hangs on a gibbet. After this to hang weights of Iron or Lead at their feet, at first, suppose, about five pound, and to twitch them up by the rope till their Head touches the pulley. In which pitifull posture they are called to and bawled at by these salvage Judges to confess what they would have them. And thus they hang in this exquisite torture a good space of time.’

‘And if the party will confess nothing, nor betray his friends, the true professours of the Gospel and faithfull Servants of Jesus, they let him down indeed, but to hoise him up again with a double weight of Iron at his feet; the salvage Judges commanding the hangman to let the rope goe up and down with many short checks or stops, that the weight of the Iron may rend every joynt of his body one from another. Which intolerable pain if it cause the party to shreek and cry out, (as it must needs) these grim Benchers shall drown the noise with roaring and railing at him, and calling him Dog and Heretick for so obstinately [Page 172] (that is, so faithfully) refusing to betray himself and his friends.’

‘Which if he persist in, they will let him down again, and adde still more weight to his heels, and an higher torment to his whole body; putting this poor member of Christ to these unsupportable tortures for at least two or three hours together; and, it may be, as they shall think fit, some three days after, when his joints are most sore, bring him to suffer the same extremities of torment again, nay repeat it at great distances, if life will endure it, five or six times over.’

6. And this I think were a Cruelty little inferiour to any we have hitherto intimated in all our barbarous Suppositions. But let us adde ano­ther Scene somewhat different; ‘The stripping them as before, but then the binding of their hands behind them, and hanging them at the pulley, together with the girding of their thighs so hard, as also their legs, with strong cords, and forcing the strings, by plugs of wood thrust betwixt, so deep into the flesh, that they reach near the very bone: In which into­lerable Torment they will keep them two or three hours together.’

7. ‘Or else, which is more cruel, if it be possible, to gird both thighs, legs and armes with strong small cords, as before, so hard that they sink out of sight into the flesh to the bone; but withall to lay the party along with his face upwards on a great hollow Trough having a cross bar in the midst, with his back resting on that bar, to his unspeakable disease­ment; spreading over his mouth and nostrils a fine Lawn, upon which they pouring out water in a small, but high-falling, stream, drive the Lawn into his mouth and down the furthest part of his throat: which can put him in no less agonie then they are that are fetching their last gasp. And what violence is done to him by that softer Engine, I mean the fine Linen when it is twitched out of his mouth, the bloud and water that comes with it doth copiously witness; one would think it brought up the very Entralls with it out of the body.’

8. And lastly, to make an end, That that Element that is most mer­ciless may not seem to be forgotten by these wicked Engineers of Cruelty, it were easy to imagine, that they may make use of great Chark-coal-pans ‘of Iron full of hot coals, forcing the Captives feet as near as they please, and basting them with Lard, to make the pain of scalding more exquisite.’ Which torture can be little less then the roasting men alive at the fire.

9. Certainly if the Religious Orders of a Church in a form of Justice, and upon pretence of Piety and Zeal against Hereticks, can commit these astonishing outrages and acts of Barbarism against the faithfull Followers of Christ; how can their example fail of being a School of universal Cruelty for their Adherents against all such whom they shall look upon as Hereticks? and they are taught all are so that are not of their Church. And therefore the guilt of all these Tragical cruelties which are done upon the true Members of Christ, though not immediately by the Ecclesiasticks themselves, but by military men, whose Instructers and Examples they are, is most righteously laid upon this bloudy Prophet-murthering Syna­gogue herself, this cruel and imperious Harlot drunk with the bloud of the Saints and with the bloud of the Martyrs of Jesus; as well she may, [Page 173] upon such Principles as I have supposed her to be of, and rage even to im­mense Massacres, which may exhaust thousands, yea an hundred thou­sand at a draught.

CHAP. XVII.

1. That this Opposition against the Divine Grace of Charity is a most substantial Limb of Antichristianism, and the Character of them without the Holy City. 2. That that repeated Catalogue of abhorred Titles in the Apocalyps is plainly a Synopsis of the main Characters of the Antichristian Polity we describe. 3. The confirmation of the truth of our Idea of Antichristianism therefrom. 4. A summary Re­presentation of this Idea in the Oppositions and Defeatments of the Privative Ends of the Gospel, as also of those noted Offices of Christ. 5. Of his Divinity and other holy Titles. 6. Of the Divine Life in Root and Branches. 7. A Parable to set out the salvage Injustice and Cruelty of this Antichristian Synagogue. 8. The Apodosis of the Parable. 9. That we have set out the Idea of the most real and essen­tial Antichristianism that can be; with an Answer to what may be ob­jected to the contrary. 10. That it is that very Antichristianism that is foretold in the Prophets, the clearing whereof necessitates us to an inspection into them before we make any punctual Application of our Idea to the Apostasy of the Church.

1. THat this last Limb therefore of our Description, comprised in such things as are notoriously opposite to that Heavenly Vertue of Charity, is a very substantial Limb of Antichristianism, I think it is im­possible for any one to doubt: And therefore it is no wonder that the chief Character thereof which is writ in letters of bloud, I mean that of Bloudy persecution, which I last of all insisted upon, is entred into that black list of Names which are excluded out of the Holy City of God; Without are Dogs, and Sorcerers, and Fornicatours, and Murtherers, and Rev. 22. Idolaters, and every one that loves and makes a lie. Which I doubt not but is a Synopsis of the chief Oppositions to the Holy City, or Body of Christ; and therefore what can this other Body be but the very Body of Antichrist?

2. And I look upon that brief comprehension of those detestable Titles as the more considerable and more exactly computed, because the same summe, though not the same words, seems to be reckoned up in Revel. [...]1. [...]. and 22. 25. two several places; for where the words differ, yet reckoning one thing with another, we shall find the same extent of sense taken in. For [...] and [...] are of equal extent with [...] and [...].

For, as I had occasion to note above, [...] will answer to [...], such persons being understood in both as are seducible by false Doctrines and feigned Legends contrary to both the Word of [Page 174] God and common sense, and have their spirits intimidated and basely en­slaved and befooled with superstitious Falsehoods and Lies. And then [...] answers to [...], and in both are understood such as coin false doctrines for the profit of their Church, and invent lying Legends, and obtrude supposititious Reliques upon the people to pick a peny out of their purses. And lastly, [...] and [...] are both included in [...], Dogs. [...], which intimates Unbelief of Religion, is included in [...] as they are Brutes, Religion being the property of a Man. [...], or abominable, for masculine Ve­nerie, is included also in [...], but with a particular respect to their Species, the Dog being so furiously lustfull as to spend promiscuously upon either Sex.

And now for the rest of the Titles in each Catalogue, [...] and [...] are all one, saving the terminations of the words, which alters not the sense at all: but [...] exquisitely the same. And therefore the Synopsis is plainly the same in both places.

3. Wherefore enslaving Superstition, Infidelity or Atheism, Foul uncleanness of either kind, Lying Legends, and Doctrines false even to Impossibility and to the plain contradicting of Scripture, the worst of Murthers, the bloudy Persecution of the Saints, professed Sorcery or In­cantation, or a pretence of doing more wonderfull things then the greatest Magicians of Aegypt, and lastly, gross Idolatry and open Image-worship; all these, I say, being as well noted, and so signally, to be the opposites of the Holy City, which is the Church of Christ, as so execrable in the sight of God as expressely to be doomed or sentenced to be cast into the Lake that burns with fire and brimstone; I conceive that my Idea of Antichristianism being made up chiefly out of these parts, and explicitely comprising them all, besides other particulars of the like nature, it cannot be denied but that it is a true and perfect Idea thereof even upon the testimony of Holy Writ.

4. But I dare briefly appeal to any mans Reason that has imbibed but the first Rudiments of Christianity, and knows but common sense, and has read any ordinary Carechism, has the least spark of Grace in his heart, or any relish of what is holy and divine, whether the nature of those things of which I have composed this Idea of Antichristianism be not essen­tially and intrinsecally Antichristian.

For, to take again a compendious view of what we have more largely exspatiated in, and thereby to give judgement more safely on the whole matter; what Hypothesis can be framed more Antichristian then this? That a pack of men (phansy them as numerous as you please) should hold together under one domineering Head, that would trample upon Princes, and tread upon the necks of Emperours, and kick their Crowns off with his foot, and under pretence of being Successours to Christ and his Apostles, (though Christ told the boasting Jews (who yet were un­questionably the posterity of Abraham) that they were of their Father the Devil, because they did his works) claim notwithstanding an Infalli­bility of Judgement and Right of ordering all the affairs of the world in reference to Christ's Spiritual Kingdom; but yet in the mean time in [Page 175] very truth seek nothing but the encrease of their temporal Honour and Power; and to this end undermine and defeat the whole design of the Gospel, not acting according to the Laws of Christ, but making such Institutes and countenancing such Practices as bring in most wealth for the support of the Magnificence of this Tyrannical High-priest, that takes it to be but his due to ride upon the necks of Princes. And therefore every gainful sin, and serviceable to this purpose, shall be made a Law, (though never so point-blank against the Laws of God and Christ) and all those sa­cred purposes of Christ's coming into the World shall be trode upon for a foot-stool to lift this pack of Impostours into the Throne, that they may the better trample upon all the people of the Earth.

That is to say, Whereas Christ, by his Gospel, came to silence idolatry throughout the world, these Deceivers, for their own advantage and profit, will set up openly in their Churches as gross Image-worship as ever was amongst the Heathen. Whereas Christ came to free the people of God from the yoke and burthen of Mosaical Ordinances; these Oppressors of Mankind will load their bodies and Consciences with more numerous and tedious Superstitions and Ceremonies then eve [...] Moses commanded, and put them to a drudgery and slavery worse then the Aegyptian Task-masters did the children of Israel in their soarest bondage.

Whereas Christ was given to the world by his Father to be an absolute King, from whose Decrees there can be no appeal, nor any annulment of dispensation with his Laws; a perfect High-priest, who by the Sacrifice of himself once made, and self-effectual Intercession, is an all-sufficient Recon­ciler of us to God; a Prophet and Teacher, whose Instructions and Pre­dictions are all infallible Oracles: this King of Babylon (for so I will call this Tyrannical Seducer) with his Hypocritical Assistants, shall pretend that Christ has given up his Kingdom to them, and that they have the very same Power that Christ himself, can dispense with or abrogate those Laws he has made, or appoint Laws quite contrary to them, o [...] have au­thority to put what sense upon them they please: which is the [...] nulling of Christ's authority as he is Law-giver and King, and the greatest Trea­son and the most contemptuous that can be committed against his Hea­venly Majesty. This false High-priest with his several Orders of levite, as if that one offering of the Body of Christ, which he himself made once, were not sufficient for the atonement of the World, nor yet his sole In­tercession, in virtue of his Infinite Merits and Passion, available for our re­conciliation with God, pretend (to the high dishonour and vilification of Christ's own offering himself up once) to offer him up in their own hands really and bodily every day in a manner; and, as if the Intercession of Christ and his own inestimable Merits were of themselves maimed and defectuous, clap to them, to piece them out, the Merits and Intercession of mere Mortals, such as could merit for none but for themselves, nor in­deed have got to Heaven but upon the sole merits of their loving Saviour, whom they are made thus to confront in his incommunicable Office. And lastly, This false Prophet with the rest of his devoted Impostours, to the end that their own lies and misleadings of the people may not be discovered, but withall to the unsufferable reproach of that great and true Prophet the [Page 176] Lord Jesus, and the unspeakable injury of his cordial Followers, withhold those lively Oracles delivered by him and his Apostles from the know­ledge of men, not without gross revilements and disparagements cast upon those Holy Writings: then which nothing can be more outrageous against the Prophetick Office of Christ.

5. Again, Whereas the Divinity of Christ is plainly and punctually and of set purpose asserted in Scripture, to assure us of the allowableness of that Religious Worship we doe to him; it being his peculiar Royalty or Prerogative, as being not mere Man, but God; nay his Godhead being ascertain'd to us by that argument of Adoration due to him, Worship him all ye gods: yet this perfidious Antichristian Hierarchy will not stick to undermine this Prerogative, and, as much as in them lies, to proclaim to the world that he is no more then mere Man; for, as if they had found an allowed instance of Men-worship in him, they will give Religious worship to hundreds of Saints as well as to himself. Whereas Christ is described in the Prophets as the Prince of Peace; these falsely-pretended Successors of his, or rather the Seed of Satan, who was a man-hater and murtherer from the beginning, will prove themselves Fomenters of dissentions and com­motions, and causers of embroilments of Nations and Kingdoms in War, upon their politick and pragmatical Machinations for the unjust Interest of their own holy Crew. Whereas Christ was the Light of the World; these will study to keep the world in Ignorance, that they may the better tyrannize over them and inslave them. And whereas Christ professed himself to be the Truth; these will make it their business to fill the world with Falsities and Lies, so they be but so contrived as is most fit for the holding up their Interest, Pomp and Power in the world.

6. And thirdly and lastly, Whereas the chief and most indispensable End of Christ's coming here upon Earth was to enliven the world with that Life which is truly Holy and Divine, wherein are comprised those four Heavenly Graces of Faith, Humility, Purity and Charity; as for the first, This Pseudo-christian Church, by reason of the multitude of their lying Miracles and gross Legends and falsified Reliques, their incredible Stories of Purgatory, and shameless Impossibility of Transsubstantiation, (all which tend to the Profit and Interest of these Seducers) bring things to such a pass, that if all the counsels of Hell were laid together, they could not invent any thing more destructive of Christian Belief, and more mischievously insinuating that Religion is onely a Fiction found out to inrich the Priest and make him powerful and honourable.

And then for Humility; Their Supreme Patriarch being so very high, and wrought to that high pitch by such frauds and forgeries, by abetting and countenancing such Treasons, Murthers and Villainies, by raising such Seditions and Confusions in Christendom; and this Sacerdotal Monarchy exercised with that haughtiness and unparallel'd pride, this Supreme Levite so grossly and rudely treading upon the necks of Princes, and making the greatest Emperours his foot-stool in his displeasure, and his Sedan-men or Chair-carriers when he is at peace with them; and the whole constitution of their Hierarchy, in the several pomps and degrees thereof, being rather a fiery rack of inflaming Ambition to set all mens [Page 177] spirits on the tenter-hooks in their reaching after the bewitching prizes which are ever flaring in their eyes, then an allowable frame of a modest order of Government to keep up wholesome Discipline in the Church; can we imagine any complexion of things more contrary to the Spirit of Humility then this?

And then again for Purity; For this lofty High-priest to stoop so low as to set his Seal to the allowableness of Fornication, by receiving an annual Tribute from the Whores of his Metropolis; and to enjoy [...] coelibate to his Priests, as if he meant to drive them into the nets, that these Nuns of Venus may never want trading; to fill the world with Monasticks, and to set light by all kinds of debauchery, so that the Laws of the Church be observed; is the most effectual method imaginable to make Christendom a Cage of unclean birds, and so quite to wither or lop off that Branch of the Divine Life which we call Purity.

And now, lastly, for Charity: What can be more contrary thereto, then to interweave into Law or Religion not onely what is naturally unjust, but barbarously cruel; not onely killing those who are innocent, but tor­turing to death with the most salvage torments even those who are the most dear and faithful members of Christ, and even for that very reason, because they approve themselves to be so; and that which will make the Barbarity of these Successours of the Devil still more odious, they en­snaring men in the point of that Mystery which was the Pledge of the greatest Love of Christ that could be expressed, and was intended for the most endearing and agglutinating Cement of all those that are called by his Name, that they should upon this very score be united to one another with the sincerest love and affection that is possible? Now therefore that this sacred Pledge of Love and Amity and Unity in the Church, I mean the Sacramental Body and Bloud of Christ, (which is a lively Commemo­ration of that ineffable Love of his to his Church in laying down his Life for us) should be made the main Engine and Artifice of entrapping, and afterwards of cruelly torturing and butchering, his most faithful Members; what more horrid, more execrable, and more Antichristian Abuse can there be of our Lord Jesus, or what Hostility against him more damnable or Diabolical?

Nay what conspiracy against Humane Nature can be more tragical or direful, or what so palpable a plot to make Mankind mere slaves and vas­sals, and to take away from them that Privilege by which alone they are distinguishable from brute Beasts?

7. ‘Suppose there were a numerous crew of odly-habited people, in­habiting a certain vast Wood or Wilderness, that would give themselves some phantastick Title, to make the better show of Sanctity, as, sup­pose, The Knights of the Holy Grove, or The Priests of the Infallible Spirit, or the like; and should take up a resolution amongst themselves to be accounted Unerring in whatsoever they unanimously averred for true; and should agree together and determine (for the gainful vending of so marvellous a commodity) that there is so great virtue in such a form of certain Magical words, which they know how to use, that if one of their Sacred Order speak them over any of those pure, white, round [Page 178] Pebbles which easily are found in Rills and Brooks, straight-way this little Stone, though it retain still the same colour, magnitude, figure and hardness that it had before, yet (so wonderful is the mystery) is most as­suredly turned into an Eagle, whence this kind of stone also is called the Eagle-stone.

‘Upon which supposition, let us further imagine that these Infallible Knights, meeting (as it is usual) Travellers upon the way, and declaring this wonder-working power of their Order, and shewing them one of these stones, and having said the charm over it, protesting that it is really become an Eagle, (though it be not visibly changed at all from what it was before) may sometimes light upon some honest plain-hearted pas­senger that may flatly deny the Exploit, and contend that the inchanted Stone is no Eagle, but a Stone still. Whereupon we will suppose that these Knights of the Holy Grove blowing their Bugles will cause whole Swarms of that Sacred Order to come out of the Wood, who shall avouch upon the Honour of their Infallible Knighthood that the Miracle is really performed, and that which this incredulous Stranger contends to be still a Stone, is in very truth that Royal Bird of Jupiter. But that such should be the honest stoutness and plain-heartedness of the envi­roned Stranger, that notwithstanding all this he should persist in his for­mer opinion, alledging that he cannot believe that to be an Eagle, wherein he can discern neither bill nor taions, head nor foot, wing nor tail, bone nor flesh, but is in every thing as much Stone as before; and that therefore they shall never perswade him of this Magical Transmuta­tion, there being no proof thereof but their own Testimony, and that point-blank against the manifest evidence of Sense and Reason. Where­upon if these Knights of the Grove, putting on a grim Vizard of en­raged Zeal in behalf of their own Traffick and Reputation, should fall up­on this innocent man, and slay him, seizing upon what he has, his Mony, Cloaths and Gelding, as lawful Booty; would not these Knights or Priests of the Infallible Spirit be accounted in the judgment of all the world a pack of bloudy Impostours, a crew of High-way-men, co [...] ­spiring to rob and spoil honest Passengers that goe that way?’

8. What then shall we think of those numerous Swarms of this pretend­ed Infallible Church we have described, that will be ready to quarrel with any Christian passenger in his pilgrimage through the Wilderness of this World, if he deny the Transsubstantiation of a round white Wafer into a perfect Man, when a Priest has said certain words over it, though the Wafer, upon the most exquisite examination of our Senses, be not changed one jot from what it was before? Yet upon the boast of the In­fallibility of this Church, a man must believe it against all Sense, Scripture and Reason, or else die the most cruel kind of death that Malefactors are ever put to. Who cannot but look upon such a pack of men as these as not onely Antichristian, but Anti-humane, tanquam jur atos humani gene­ris hostes, an accursed company of bloudy Thieves and Robbers, and sworn conspirators against the sons of Adam, who with might and main endeavour to maul them and martyr them, to subdue them and enslave them both Body and Soul, and more cruelly to tyrannize over them then it is fit for any man to doe over brute Beasts?

[Page 179] Can any thing be imagined more Antichristian then this, or more con­trary to that noble and Divine Spirit of Charity and sweet Benignity that was so conspicuous in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is so frequently in Scripture styled the Son of man, as to whom appertains that expected Kingdom of Peace, of holy Love and of Humanity?

9. Wherefore from this short draught I think one may discern that I have given a very true and faithful Idea of that which is real and essential Antichristianism; and truly I think to the highest pitch imaginable. For to excuse the matter in saying, that this Pseudo-christian Church does not openly deny Christ or his Gospel, does not persecute every one that bears the name of a Christian, and, lastly, does not set up Images to the Deities of the Pagans, Mars, Venus, and the rest: to these I briefly answer.

To the first, That it were not their Interest to deny the whole Truth of the Gospel; for then their Power and Credit would fail in the world: But it were the Interest of the Church of God they did so; and therefore they are the worst enemies that can be, doing more mischief under the colour of friendship then any declared enemy can. Besides that there are pregnant proofs in the Scripture, that Antichrist is to be a Christian in ex­ternal Profession, not a Pagan or any other Alien from the Church.

To the second, That their not killing all that are called Christians, shews that their Malice and Cruelty is more exquisitely opposed and di­rected against Christ, in that their spight is onely against his true and sin­cere Members. For those that are spared are not truly Christ's Servants, but this High-priest's vassals, or at least are taken to be so by him, else they could not escape his sury; so that his opposition to Christ is onely more judicious and adequate, not less fierce nor malicious.

And to the last, that they worship the Images or Persons, not of Ve­nus, or Neptune, or Mars, but of the Blessed Virgin, S. Peter, S. Paul, &c. Suppose a mighty Potentate, and as vertuous as mighty, should put out severe Edicts against Adultery and carnal Fornication; and that some guilty of the fact should apologize for themselves to their Prince on this wise, It is true indeed, Great Sir, that we have committed Fornication, but beseech you to take notice of the excusableness or justifiableness of the circumstances. For we are not such gross and course-grain'd Fornicators as defile themselves with any Flesh, but onely such as we have (and that upon high desert) a very great respect for and entire love to, and that the rather for their near Relation to your Highness, namely, your Daughters, Sisters and Neeces, and others that are more near then ordinary. Would not such an Apologie as this enrage the Prince with the greater wrath against their wicked Leudness?

How odious then and ridiculous would such a Plea be touching this Spiritual Fornication with the nearest Relations and Friends of our Blessed Saviour? Can Spiritual Adultery, which is Idolatry, committed upon the Blessed Virgin, upon S. John and others, be more tolerable then upon Diana, Apollo, and other Mortals canonized by the Heathen?

Nay indeed would not this latter be but onely simple Fornication, or Adultery, (there being no aversation in such unsanctified persons from [Page 180] the receiving of Divine honours) but the former an execrable Rape, they committing Idolatry or Spiritual Fornication against the wills of these Holy Saints they thus blaspheme and abuse?

So that I see not the least reason left to doubt but that I have decyphered the Idea of the most perfect and most detestable Antichristianism that can be.

10. And thus having fully perfected the Draught of the Idea of Anti­christianism, I might, according to the method I intimated, make Appli­cation thereof to the state of the Church apostatized thereinto.

But because some men are so very hardly brought off to believe that any degeneracy of the Christian Church, so long as they do still formally pro­fess Jesus to be the Christ, can amount to the production of that famous and signal Antichrist the Prophecies seem to point at, whom they with all peremptoriness contend to be an open Denier of Jesus, and as express an Assertor of himself to be the expected Messias, no pretended Successor nor Disciple of the true Christ; I think it very convenient, before I pro­ceed to the Application of my Idea of Antichristianism, to make a more exquisite search into the Prophecies, and thence to demonstrate (as I hope) with unexceptionable evidence, That such an Antichrist for the main, as is represented in that Idea, is also prefigured or fore-told by the Holy Prophets, that is to say, such an one as, doing such abominable vil­lainies as I have instanced in, yet professes himself to be Part, nay Chief, of the Body of Christ, which is his Church.

For unless I doe this, I know that such is the shuffling disposition of Ignorance and Falshood, that they will think they can evade all by saying, That I have indeed made an operose Description of A true Idea, but not of The true Idea of Antichristianism, such as my Title pretends to: that is to say, That the Church does indeed very naughtily, and in some sense Antichristianly, in these miscarriages; but it will not amount to the making up the Antichrist properly and signally so called, and pointed unto by the Predictions of the Prophets.

Which therefore we are necessitated to search into before we goe any further; and are the more easily induced so to doe, the Method being in­differently natural either way. For the first intended Method was, After this Description of the Idea of Antichristianism, to make punctual Ap­plication thereof to the Apostatized condition of the Church; to discover who is de facto that grand Antichrist; and then to apply the Prophe­cies to the Events, to shew that they also do indigitate the same that my Idea does discover. My present purposed Method is, After this De­scription of the Idea of Antichristianism, to make search into the Prophe­cies; to find out that their prefigurations of Antichrist are in the main strokes (for neither are the Prophecies concerning Christ predictions of all his particular actions) most manifestly answerable to the Idea we have given, and that the Antichristianism which they foretell of is a Degeneracy or Apostasy of the Church still formally professing Christianity, accor­dingly as we have described things in our Idea: and then, in the last place, to make a more punctual Application of our Idea of Antichristianism, thus justified by the agreeableness it hath with the Prophetick Pre­dictions, [Page 181] unto the Apostatized state of the Church for so many Ages to our own times. Which will be a more plenarie eviction of the stupendious veracity of the Prophecies. And it is as good and natural a method to prove the Truth of the Prophecies by the Fulness of the Events, as to illustrate the Nature of the Events by the Application of the Prophecies.

But in the mean time there will be a necessity in this present search to have recourse unto Events, in some sort or other; for who can explain a Prophecie without any recourse to Events? But all the History we need to have recourse to being either such as is distinct from any part of this Idea we have delineated, (and therefore to be brought into view in the interpreting of such passages as require it) or else being but a general knowledge of those Limbs of Antichristianism I have described, of which scarce any are ignorant or unpersuaded of for the main; we may without the least confusion or obscurity (partly by referring to this Idea in things that want no proof, and partly by producing History where occasion re­quires) apply our selves to our intended search into the Prophecies for a more full demonstration of the truth of our Idea of Antichristianism. Which having finished, we shall make a more punctual Application there­of, for the more undeniably convincing the guilty, and for the clearing the innocent from all such unjust Aspersions.

The End of the First Part.

[Page] SYNOPSIS PROPHETICA, OR, THE SECOND PART OF THE ENQUIRY INTO The Mystery of Iniquity: CONTAINING A Compendious Prospect into those PROPHECIES of the Holy Scripture, wherein The Reign of Antichrist, or The noto­rious Lapse or Degeneracy of the Church in all those Points comprised in The Idea of Antichristianism, is prefigured or foretold.

Theognis.

[...].’

DANIEL 4.

This matter is by the decree of the Watchers, and the demand by the word of the Holy ones.

LONDON, Printed by James Flesher, for William Morden Book-seller in Cambridge, M DC LXIV.

The PREFACE to the Reader.

READER,

I Am not ignorant under what manifold Prejudice The main Prejudices against this present Dis­course. this Performance I present thee with may lie; it being a Treatise wholy spent upon the Interpre­tation of Prophecies, and chiefly of Daniel and the Apocalyps. For it is over-true that some men look upon such Attempts as very vain and frivolous, having concluded with themselves aforehand that all Prophecies are inextricable Aenigms and Riddles, utterly uncapable of any certain Solution. Others, whose Exception were more material if it were true, have a conceit, that the searching into Prophecies, especially those of the Apocalyps and of Daniel, tends to nothing else but Faction and Confusion, to the trouble and dissettlement of the affairs of Christendome, and to the hazard of the subversion of States and Kingdoms, and the ruine and destruction of the Church of Christ. And haply there may be others, who, though they neither deem the obscu­rity of these Prophecies invincible, nor the search into them dangerous, nay rather of good use and great consequence, yet are so well satisfied already concerning these things by those worthily-magnified Elucubrati­ons of Mr Joseph Mede, that they may in all likelihood judge any new Essays herein needless and superfluous. With these three grand Pre­judices I phansy my self incumbred in regard of the Nature of the Sub­ject I write of: besides what particular Exceptions men may be prone to make against any parts of the Performance it self. But I do not despair of more then fully quitting my self of them all.

2. For as touching the first, I think there is no man that has the That the Di­vine Pro­phecies are not invinci­bly obscure, and that it smells of Blasphemie and Pro­phaneness to pronounce them so. fear of God before his eyes but he would be ashamed to stand to any such Assertion, it verging so near upon Prophaneness and Impiety, nay upon open Blasphemie against the Spirit of God, as if he dictated such things to the holy Prophets as are not sense, nor ever to be understood by any reader of them. Can there be any thing more Scoptical against Divine Inspiration then this, or more undermining the very foundati­ons of Christian Religion? But we need not labour very solicitously in confuting an Errour so universally condemned by all parties that are any thing serious in their Religion. For the obscurest Books of Pro­phecy, I mean those of the Apocalyps and Daniel, are commented [Page 186] upon by Papists, Protestants and Neuters, whereby they have all set to their hands that the Visions are intelligible. But whatsoever Ob­scurity there may be in them, I think my present pains ought to be the more acceptable, in that I have contributed so much to a clear and cer­tain way of interpreting them, laying down such assured Grounds and Rudiments, as if a man carefully observe, and find History applicable within the compass of these Laws, he can no more fail of the right meaning of a Prophecy, then he will of the rendring the true sense of a Latine or Greek Author, keeping to the Rules of Grammar and the known Interpretations of Dictionaries.

Which Laws I having kept to my self so strictly and carefully, I dare appeal to all the world, if I have not demonstratively made out the sense of such Visions as I have undertaken to expound. And for my own part I must freely profess, that I found it no such hard thing to under­stand those Prophecies I have interpreted; and am certainly persuaded, that neither any such greatness of Parts nor Exuberancy of Learning, as Integrity of heart and Unprejudicedness of mind, is requisite to the un­derstanding of these things. For if that Spirit of life be once revived in a man, he will, by virtue of his Regeneration or new Birth, not onely see with his eyes, but feel with his hands the truth of these My­steries. None of the wicked shall understand, but the wise Dan. 12. 10. shall understand; namely, as many as apply themselves to the search of such things, who will also in the mean time be so prudent as not to prejudge what they never had yet opportunity carefully to ex­amine.

3. Now touching the second Surmise, That the search into That the greater dan­ger there is from false & unskilful In­terpretati­ons of them, the greater value there ought to be upon their labour that search out such as are exact and true. these Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalyps tends to nothing but tumult and sedition in Christendom; it is very rashly and unskilfully spoken. I do not deny but that, as it is said of Philosophy, that a more superficial smattering therein may hazard a mans plunge into Atheism before he be aware; so a slighter inspection into these Prophecies may incline some to a Fanatical unsettledness and a dream of a Fifth Monarchy sutable to the carnal Conceitedness of their own temerarious phancy: But as a more full draught of Philosophical knowledge will again wash away that Atheistical foulness out of the Soul; so I doubt not but a more through search into the meaning of these Divine Predictions will make a man of a more sober mind, and root out of his spirit all those vain pretences to Innovation and Schism. [Page 187] And therefore the pains that I have spent in a more full and through scrutiny into the meaning of these Prophetick Visions may, I hope, at least deserve mens Pardon, if not challenge their Approbation as their due Reward; sith what tends so much to peace and soberness can not unrightfully seem to challenge the reward of a due Approbation from men.

I say then, if by a more careless search there has been framed such meanings of those Prophecies as bear any danger or inconvenience with them, there was the greater necessity that some or other upon a more diligent perusal should dive into the true and genuine sense of them; that that Divine truth which was revealed for the good of the Church, might not by any mistake tend to her detriment and ruine. As certainly such a conceit of the manner of introducing a Fifth Monarchy as some have imagined and entertain'd, might cause much trouble and mischief in the affairs of Christendome. The Foundation of which Errour with the evil Sequels thereof the Seventh Consectary of my Joint-Exposition does quite take away; to say nothing of other Passages. We know like­wise Book 2. Ch. 5. Sect. 5. by wofull experience what wild Applications Enthusiasts make of the Ten-horned Beast and the Whore of Babylon, phansying in their mad mistaken zeal every legitimate Magistrate that Beast, and every well-ordered Church that Whore; as that famous Romantick Knight in his inflamed courage and distempered phancy encountred the next Wind-mill he met for a Giant, and innocent Flocks of sheep for so many Armies of men.

4. But he that will but take notice of what I have so plainly proved, An Instance of such an Interpretati­on in the Vision of the Resurrection of the two Witnesses, with the use thereof a­gainst the Quakers & Familists. That the middle Synchronalls must needs cease together, as also that our Reformation in England was an eminent Speciminal Comple­tion of the Resurrection of the Witnesses, he cannot fail of being rid of this phrensy for ever, and of finding himself sufficiently fortified a­gainst all those extravagant Sects that bear themselves so stiff in these times, and more particularly against the high-flown conceitedness of Quakers and Familists, who can so easily part with all our Religion that referres to the Personal Offices of Christ under the pretence of knowing no man after the Flesh. For if the Protestant Refor­mation, as in other parts so here in England especially, be the Resur­rection of the Witnesses, as most certainly it is; it is as certain and assured that Familism and Quakerism are mere Enthusiastick Freaks, in that they reject or despise all those things that are so fully, [Page 188] declaredly and universally attested by this cloud of Witnesses, or ra­ther by these Witnesses ascending up into Heaven in a cloud. The Completion of which Prophecy I conceive fell out most fully and orderly in our English Reformation, where the Ecclesiastick Witness mounted the highest among the Reformed Churches into this Pro­phetick Heaven. Which may serve for a just Reproof also to those of the Presbyterian Party that either have or do envy him that Residence.

And again for the Quakers and Familists, that are such Gigan­tick self-sufficient Religionists, and scorn and contemn that part of the Testimony of these Witnesses, which is Remission of sins in the Bloud of Christ, and the being justified and acquitted by the merits of his Passion; how silly and ignorantly proud they are in this point, appears in that the Witnesses deliverance from the bon­dage of that Roman Pharaoh is plainly attributed to their passage through this Red Sea. And we know that the first Protestant Re­formers began with the point of Justification in this very sense: wherein the Mystical Aegyptians were overthrown horse and man. Which I doubt not but that Epinikion, Revel. 15. alludes to, as See Book 1. Ch. 4. Sect. 5. Book 2. Ch. 11. Sect. 2. I have proved more particularly in its proper place.

5. Wherefore it is apparent of what great force this ought to be And for the settling this Church and Nation in peace, as al­so for the establish­ment of o­ther Prote­stant States and King­doms. to reconcile the minds of all the Sectaries to the Church; the Confes­sion of her Faith, as also her Institutes, being the same with those of these Witnesses who were by special Providence called up to Heaven, and by the fulfilling of that Divine Prediction approved for the Wit­nesses of God and of the Truth: And likewise of what great usefulness it is for the peace and settlement of all Protestant States and King­doms, they being so well assured from hence, that it were to strive against the stream, nay to fight against God and the determinations of Providence, to superinduce upon a People such Antichristian Opinions or Practices as have been witnessed against by these approved Wit­nesses of God. For there is neither wisedom nor understan­ding Pro. 21. 30. nor counsel against the Lord.

For in such cases as this, God, who can seize the hearts of men at his own pleasure and illuminate their eyes, may so enlighten the people as to make them see more then their professed Prophets, whose sight may be blinded because the reward of unrighteousness is found in their hand, that is to say, because carnal Interest has laid wast their judg­ment. [Page 189] For then the case would be much like that of Balaam's riding the Asse, whom he cudgels on this side and on that side, to keep him in the path that leads most directly to his own self-ended design: But the Beast being more affraid of the drawn sword of the An­gel then of the furious blows of the Prophet, runs him out of the way, and crushes his leg against the wall. For no humane force can drive any mortal Creature against the power and terrour of God.

Wherefore it is of great consequence for them in Authority not to be ignorant of the meaning of Prophecies, that they may be sure not to fall into this [...], nor to stear their Affairs against the Current of Divine Providence: Which Ignorance our Saviour seems to exprobrate to the Jews, Ye Hypocrites, ye can discern Luke 12. the face of the Sky and of the Earth, but how is it that ye do not discern this time? So far is the finding of the true sense of the Prophecies from causing tumults and disquietnesses in States or King­doms; whenas on the contrary the right understanding of them tends so much every way to their firm settlement and peace.

6. And now touching the third Allegation, wherein I find little That the laudable­ness of Mr. Mede's per­formance in interpre­ting Pro­phecies is no bar to the useful­ness of this present Treatise. propension in my self to be over-loquacious, yet I shall not altogether neglect it, but briefly answer, First, That if I had only made a Col­lection of the most sound and unexceptionable Interpretations of such Prophecies as concerned my Idea of Antichristianism, this had been no impertinent performance, but necessary for the proving what I had avowed, namely, That my Idea was a Description of such an Antichristianism or Antichrist as is prefigured or foretold in the Holy Scriptures. Which bare Collection of Interpretations would notwithstanding have had their peculiar usefulness distinct from that of Mr. Mede, whose enterprise was to interpret the whole Apo­calyps in order. But in this Collection the Reader would be put to the trouble of perusing only such Prophecies as are for the making good the present point we are upon, and which is of so vast concern­ment. Which usefull Compendiousness is a thing very considerable with those that abound not with over-much leisure, and yet would gladly be satisfied in so weighty a Controversy.

Again, I have produced and explain'd several Prophecies that Mr. Mede never meddled with. Besides that I have made use of none of his Expositions which I have not either rectified or corroborated or [Page 190] some way or other improved, as he has done, with very good success, in several Interpretations of others. To say nothing of our full and per­petual Confutation of Hugo Grotius in all his Expositions wherein he would undermine and elude the orthodox Protestant sense of the Pro­phecies we make use of in this Treatise.

And lastly, Though I am very loath to have any difference with so excellent an Interpreter as Mr. Mede, yet I must ingenuously confess that I cannot but dissent from him in several things which I deem not a little material.

7. As first, for example, in his Exposition of the Beast that was, The Au­thor's dis­sent from Mr. Mede in his Exposi­tion of the Beast that was, and is not. and is not. For of this Beast he saith it might be said in S. John's time, Et jam olim eam fuisse, necdum tamen natam esse. With this short account would Mr. Mede turn off that Description of him. But I must confess it seems to me impossible that those words should be used with any truth, if restrained or tied to the time when the Vision was exhibited, as if it spoke of his existing or not existing then, and not only of the order of succession of Existence and Non-existence. For the Beast that was to be again under the last Head, was in actual being in S. John's time. Wherefore how harsh must it be to say of it while it is in being, that it was? But how plain a contradiction to say it is not, while it is, or that it is not yet born, when it has continued so many ages, and does and is to continue uninterruptedly so many after? Apply this to any particular person still alive and in health and to live many years, will it not grate against common sense to say of him, he was, and is not, while he is alive and in being? Besides that necdum tamen natam esse does not at all specifie his succession under the eighth King more then the seventh; that being left out in this Interpretation which is the most plainly and most materially signi­fied in the Prophecy, namely, That the Beast was to cease to be for a time: Which Intervall of Non-existence immediately was to precede the succession of the Beast under the last Head.

8. The oversight whereof seems to me to put Mr. Mede to the As also of the seventh King. plunge also in his Exposition of the eight Kings, where he glosses upon Unus est, & alius nondum venit, after this manner: Unus Regum seu Dynastarum ordo, putà Caesarum, adhuc superest; sed is quoque sub Caesaribus Christianis ità muta­turus, ut quasi alius, sed brevis admodum aevi, dynastes vi­deretur; reverâ tamen non alius. Where quasi alius and [Page 191] reverâ tamen non alius I must ingenuously confess seem to me to fall short off, or rather to be quite contrary to, the scope of the Text; this Seventh King being called [...] on purpose to indicate his ex­treme difference from all that went before him, that he did toto genere differre, as being purely Christian, and that the Eighth and six first have a greater cognation one with another then he with any of them: which is according to truth. Nor can the shortness of his Reign (for was not that of the Decemviri and Dictatours far shorter?) nor his being still Caesar make him not an express and distinct King from the rest. For upon this account the Beast that was, and is not, will want a proper and distinct Head, at least till the Pope perk't up into the Caesareate; which will be for some hundreds of years. For the Head of the Empire till Hildebrand's time, or at least Pope Con­stantine and the two succeeding Gregories; were the Caesars.

9. And lastly, Therefore the said oversight put Mr. Mede to the The unac­countable­ness of there being but seven Heads, though eight Kings, in Mr. Mede's way. puzzle how to make but seven Kings of eight, and upon committing this Paralogism, There are but seven Heads of the Beast, therefore there must be but seven Kings. Whereas if he had considered, ac­cording to the plain Indication of the Prophecy, that there was a time when the Beast was for a while to cease to be, (which was the In­tervall when pure Christianity was the Religion of the Empire) and that the seven Heads of the Beast were Heads of Blasphemie or Ido­latry; he might have easily discerned, not onely that there might be eight Kings, though but seven Heads of the Beast, but also that it was necessary it should be so. For when the Beast was not in being, his Head was gone also. But the Empire never yet ceased to be, no not in the Intervall of the Beast's not being, nor could it be then with­out a Sovereignty. Wherefore there is a necessity that there should be eight Kings, though but seven Heads of the Beast. For the Beast in his Non-existence could neither want nor have an Head. The great serviceable­ness of the Authour's Interpreta­tion of the Perdition of the Beast and of the burning of the Whore, for the peace and secu­rity of Chri­stendom.

10. This is true, as I have fully, and it may be over-fully, demon­strated in the ensuing Discourse. But if it had not been also mainly usefull as well as true, I should not have made it my business so care­fully and copiously to have evinced it. Nor take I any pleasure in having different opinions from others, much less in divulging them, were it not for a common good: as this certainly is, it tending so na­turally to the peace and safety of all the Secular Powers of the Empire, and to the vindicating of this holy Book of Visions it self from that [Page 192] contempt or hatred that some bear to it, as seeming a Countenancer or Exciter of Fanatical persons to tumultuate against their lawfull Sove­reigns; whenas on the contrary, (as I have elsewhere intimated) there is not any Book more faithfull and more friendly to the Preroga­tive of Secular Princes then this Volume of Prophecies; the Predicti­on of the Perdition of this fourth Beast being rather a mercifull Promise then a Commination: Which is this, That as it ceased to be for a time, so after a certain Period of time it should cease to be for ever. Now the temporary ceasing of the Beast to be, was onely the Empire's entertaining and maintaining the pure and Apostolick Chri­stianity as yet uncontaminate with any Pagan-like Idolatries. Where­fore the ceasing of it to be for ever, is nothing else but the being cleansed for ever from all Idolatry and Antichristianism. Which can be no ill news to the Emperour and Secular Kings or Princes of the Empire; they being quit of Idolatry (which makes the Empire a Beast) and of the imposturous Tyranny and Usurpations of the Pope of Rome over them at once.

But for that Hierarchical Power of the Pope and his Clergie, (and truly it will analogically touch such a Presbytery as hath not learn'd the lesson of due Subjection to the Secular Sovereignty in things in­different) that Papal Hierarchy, I say, which (as Praefat. Monitor. ad Caesar. &c. King James of ever-blessed memory has smartly and justly taxed them) sub lar­vata simulatione curae spiritualis animarum, regna exhaurit, orbémque Christianum caede & sanguine miscet, to this Power I must confess the Visions of the Apocalyps are somewhat more severe, as it is most fit they should be. For this Power (except so much therein as agrees with the Primitive Ages of the Church) com­prising in it nothing but a masse of Frauds and Impostures, of Super­stitions and Idolatries and bloudy and Antichristian Cruelties; the Visions of the Apocalyps were not the Visions of God if they predicted not ill to so ungodly and Diabolical a Polity. And yet, if I might profess freely my opinion, were but that heap of wicked stuff cast out and abolished, and all her false Merchandizes every-where interdicted, as they are here in England, such a purification as this would undoubtedly fulfill the prediction of the burning of the Whore of Babylon with fire, according to the primary sense or scope of these Visions, and the Church and whatsoever is comely and usefull be saved from any farther or severer Castigations; provided they did not Antichristianize [Page 193] in what is left, and place all their Religion merely in an outward, though unexceptionable, Form, neglecting the indispensable Laws of the Life of God and of honest and laudable Morality. So little reason have any to be affraid of the right sense of the Apocalyps in those Visions, unless they have a favour for the Kingdom of sin and dominion of the Devil in the World.

11. Again, I must confess also that I cannot but dissent from Mr. His diffe­rence from Mr. Mede's way in ex­pounding the three days and an half of the death of the Witnesses, and in the placing of the Vials, &c. Mede in his expounding the three days and an half wherein the Witnesses lay slain, three years and an half, and not three times and an half; which is a mistake of no small consequence. As also in his placing of six of the Vials within the sixth Trumpet, whenas I have shewn reason, I think, sufficient, why they should be all ranged within the seventh. Upon which supposition the pouring out of the first will follow the ascension of the Witnesses into Heaven in a cloud, with a very close and natural coherence, and such as is intimated in the very Text. For it is said that they ascended up into Heaven in a cloud, and their Enemies beheld them: and you may be sure Apoc. 11. 12. with a very envious eye, and with much wrath and bitter exulceration of spirit; accordingly as it is said, Ver. 18. And the Nations were angry. This is presently upon the blast of the seventh Trumpet. And the first Vial answerably thereto is said to be [...], Apoc. 16. 2. an evil and wicked Ulcer or Sore. Which does very significantly indigitate that rancour and exulceration of spirit that fell on them that had the Mark of the Beast, upon their seeing the exaltation of the Witnesses, and hearing the Triumphal Song of those mystical Israelites that had escaped the Tyranny of the Roman Pharaoh, by betaking themselves to the safeguard of the Red Sea, in such a sense as I have a­bove intimated.

These are considerable Examples of differences betwixt Mr. Mede's Interpretations and mine. From which several others must necessarily flow, as depending thereon; beside others that depend not on these, which were to little purpose to note particularly. But they all put together will not amount to any such summe as will at all impair that rich stock of ho­nour and esteem which will be for ever due to so excellent a Writer; whose Modesty, Judgment and usefull Industry will, I doubt not, be admired and applauded to all posteritis. For there is no reason at all that those [...] which I mention here should derogate any thing from either that singular ability Mr. Mede had of interpreting Prophecies, or from [Page 194] the credit of other performances of his in this kind where he had more maturely considered things, and therefore according to the accuracy of his Judgment had perfected his Interpretations beyond all just exception. But these that I differ from him in, he does ingenuously confess to be but certain Specimina which he had communicated to his private friends, nor did look upon them himself as throughly concocted and completed.

12. These are the main prejudices that seemed to encumber our De­sign; The reason of the Pro­lixness of his Alphabet of Prophetick Iconisms. which; I think, I have clearly removed. As for particular Ex­ceptions, they are of less moment: such as might be made against the Prolixity and Inadequateness of my Alphabet of Iconisms; my Con­futation of Grotius onely, and that with some sharpness in some places; and, lastly, my uncharitable Liberty in applying those Prophecies of the Apocalyps and other Scriptures, which by the ancient Fathers and more modern Writers, even of the Romanists themselves, are under­stood of the famous Antichrist, unto the Papacy and Church of Rome. To which I shall briefly answer and in order.

To the first, That that Alphabet of Prophetick Iconisms is neither prolix nor inadequate to the whole design I had in mine eye when I compiled it, though it be much too long for the use of the present Treatise. But we are to remember that I had occasion to write of other Visions in my Mystery of Godliness, which are pretermitted here as not apper­taining to our present Scope. But the use of this Alphabet is extendible also to that former Writing, as likewise to a future design in my last part of the Mystery of Iniquity, where I shall have occasion to range very far into the Prophecies of the Apocalyps, besides other Divine Predicti­ons, even upon this very account, more fully and accurately to examine whether those Comminations that threaten destruction to the Fourth Beast and the Whore (or by whatsoever other Figures those Powers are indigitated) do primarily signify any bloudy or boisterous destruction, (such as the keen Fifth-Monarchy-men or any other Enthusiasts are over­forward to imagine;) or whether the Mystery of God may not rather be accomplished in such an orderly Reformation as was made by the Sove­reign Power of England in King Edward and Queen Elizabeth's time. Which can be no affrightfull news to any that have any Knowledge of God or Love of the Truth. For assuredly that was an eminent Ex­ample of Christ's Re-visiting the World in the behalf of the faithfull, and of his coming again to Judgement, in thus judging the Whore and rescuing this part of his Kingdom here in this Island out of the hands of that Man [Page 195] of Sin; though few have taken due notice hereof, or had a right notion of this so marvellous Event.

13. And therefore it is a wonder to me that there are so many that talk so loud of the Spirit of Elias, and pretend to be in that Dispensati­on, A Descripti­on of the right Spirit or Dispensa­tion of Eli­as, for the better disco­vering all false Preten­ders thereto. Apoc. 10. 3. and yet know neither his Spirit nor their own, nor what times they are in, nor doe that office which is proper for Elias to doe, which is to testify that the Lord is come; and as the holy Baptist pointed at Christ at his First coming, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, so to indigi­tate his Second coming, saying, Behold the Lion of the Tribe of Juda, even that mighty Angel, whose face is as the Sun, with a Rainbow over his head, crying with a loud voice as when a Lion roareth, and discharging his seven thunders upon the Earth. The Series of which undoubtedly commenced upon the Protestant Reforma­tion: For then began the Judgment to sit, and the dominion of the Dan. 7. 26. little Horn to be taken away, to consume and to destroy it to the end. What Monsters of Enthusiasts therefore are they that kick against the sentence and authority of those holy Benchers or Heavenly Witnesses of God, (whom he raised up to judge the Deceiver and to settle Truth upon Earth) dividing themselves from that Church that is the real and genuine Spouse of Christ, so approved by these very Witnesses which God raised from the dead? What a goodly Specimen do those high-flown Boasters give of their Elias-like Spirit, who though they imitate something of the Wind, Earthquake and Fire, that appeared before that great Prophet, yet are utterly unacquainted with that still and small voice in which alone the Lord was heard to speak? This Rending and Tearing, this Faction and Siding is the fruit of the Flesh, and not of the Spirit: Nor was Elias zealous about any thing but the indispensable Laws of God. Nor is his office to divide, but to cement and make up the Breaches of the Church of Christ, to re­concile the People to their Governours and their Governours to the Peo­ple, according as it is written, * Behold, I will send you Elijah the Mal. 4. 5. Prophet, and he shall turn the heart of the Fathers to the chil­dren, and the heart of the children to their Fathers; lest I come and smite the Earth with a curse.

Wherefore whatsoever Dispensation drives not on an healing and uniting design in the true Church of Christ, is not the Spirit of that expected Elias, which some dream of, but a second game of Antichrist, contrived, abetted and promoted by his cunning [Page 196] Incendiaries, upon whom that [...] doth [...]stick, and will be raging at least till the Fifth Vial. But this is more then I meant to speak in this place.

14. Now concerning Grotius and my confuting him onely, and some­times something smartly: As for the former, it is not wholy true; for That he has not confu­ted Grotius onely in this Treatise: with an A­pologie for doing of it sometimes something sharply. I have also confuted Ribera, the best of the Roman Expositours upon the Seventeenth of the Revelation; nor have I declined any Inter­preter that I could find to speak any thing considerable which is not al­ready confuted in my confutation of these.

And for my Smartness against Grotius, I believe I shall appear so to none but such as make an Idol of him, which they will doe most that least understand or have read least of his Expositions of Daniel and the Apo­calyps touching the Controversy in hand. For I dare pronounce to all the World, that there was never any thing more weak and groundless, as I have made it abundantly clear in the ensuing Discourse. And I think it is not at all unseemly to resist him with some kind of Zeal, who had grown up to that boldness in his contrived Interpretations, as to trample under feet the Sacred Titles of Christ under which he is peculiarly prophe­sied of in the Divine Oracles, and that in those very Prophecies them­selves, See Grotius his Annot. in Dan. 2. 34, 45. and chap. 7. 13. and to cast them as unholy to a Pagan Nation, the People of Rome; merely to cover the shame of that Body of men, who are so hideously lapsed and apostatized from the Truth; and being fast to one party and loose to another, to drive the sincere Protestant into a net under a co­lourable show of Reconciliation, and to expose again the innocent Lambs of Christ's flock to the merciless teeth of that devouring Wolf of Rome.

And yet as smartly as I have dealt with him, I have onely expressed my admiration that a Person otherwise so Learned should fall into such un­parallel'd Weaknesses and Extravagancies in interpreting these Prophe­cies of Scripture, nor have given the least intimation that gifts had blinded the eyes of the wise, or that he had followed the way of Balaam the son of Bosor who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but that he had been tempted in that way, and how far he accepts the condition one may in some sort observe in the Epistle of Du-vair to him and his answer there­unto; and what other transactions there might be, God and his own Conscience best know. But in the interim it cannot be unknown to any that will search into the truth, but that some very great Biass must have been clapp'd upon so good a Judgment as Grotius his, to make him capable of running so extremely much out of the way.

[Page 197] 15. I have elsewhere imputed it to the excess of Candour and Hu­manity The vindica­tion of him­self from the imputation of Unchari­tableness, for applying certain Visi­ons usually understood of Antichrist to the Church of Rome. in him, and the love of Peace and Unity; and I spoke as I thought, and am loath to unthink it again, and may sooner tire my self and my Reader, then satisfy either, by searching into the hidden principles of another mans actions, and therefore I shall dismiss that for ever.

It will be more to the purpose to vindicate my self from the imputa­tion of the want of Charity, then to accuse him of the excess thereof or of any other Passion. For it is alledged in the last place, that I have taken to my self a very uncharitable kind of liberty, to apply those Pro­phecies to so great a share of Christendom as the Roman Church, that have been by ancient Interpreters, and are by the Romanists themselves, understood of Antichrist. To which I freely and ingenuously answer, and as in the presence of him before whom all mens hearts lie open, that I take no more pleasure in the finding of those Antichristian Tokens upon the Church of Rome, then I should in discovering so many Plague­spots upon my dearest Friends or Relations; so that I am not conscious to my self of the least touch of Uncharitableness in this matter.

But if the Laws of Charity be so strictly to be observed, (as certain­ly they are) let us take that method which is approved by the voice of all men, and has passed into a Proverb, of Charitie's beginning at home, and be as tender of the Protestant Churches in such things as they maintain with truth, as the Papists are of their own party, even in their obtruded Falsities and Deceits. It may therefore more rightfully be imputed to my fidelity to the true Church of Christ then Uncha­ritableness to the Church of Rome, that I again bring into play, with all due advantages, this common Assertion of the Protestants touching the Great Antichrist. Which appearing to me so solid and unexceptionable a truth, I should be conscious to my self of the highest degree of Uncharitableness to the precious memory of the first Re­formers, those Witnesses whom Divine Providence so miraculously raised from the dead, if I did not what in me lies for the maintaining their Credit in so grand a Point; wherein they cannot seem to fail, but with infinite dishonour to themselves and an irreparable prejudice to the Protestant Cause. For as there is no Doctrine wherein the Romanists and we differ more true, so there is none any thing near so potent for the bearing off all their assaults against us, as this of their Church being that City of Babylon which the People of God are expressly commanded to come out of, [Page 198] lest they partake of her sins and of her plagues. Which that Apoc. 18. 4. wise Prince, King James of ever-glorious memory, knew full well, and accordingly kept entire those Primitive Sentiments of the Protestant Reformation, or rather adorned them and improved them by his Roy­al Pen; as also did those singularly. Devout and Learned Prelates, Bishop Andrews and Bishop Jewell, and several other Pious and Learned Bishops of our Church. Nor will I omit how explicit our Church herself is touching this point in her Homily of the Peril of Idolatry, as also in that against Rebellion. Which illustrious witnesses to so concerning a Truth it were both uncivil and unjust to either suspect or accuse of Uncharitableness.

And for my own part I cannot but farther adde, (having such an apprehension of things as I have, and so great encouragement from those Heroical Examples in whose footsteps I insist for the main in my Pro­phetick Interpretations) that I should think my self not onely Unfaith­full to the true Church of Christ and to the Interest of his Kingdom, which Charity will never betray, but Uncharitable also even to the Church of Rome herself, if I should not use this liberty of prophe­sying against her which I have, or rather of interpreting Prophecies for her just Reproof and Amendment.

Stultorum incurata pudor malus ulcera celat.

That saying is true as well of him that conceals the sore of his friend, when the disclosing thereof tends to the healing of it, as of him that conceals his own sore. And her own professed Nurslings either cannot or dare not use these Scripture▪ Reproofs to her, they being either blinded with her Lustre, or terrifi'd by her Cruelty. Whence it must be some good Samaritan Stranger that must work her cure.

But if it be Uncharitableness to speak some few hard words a­gainst her, though never so true, what Barbarity would it be to expose her to the greatest hardships of Fortune that humane Affairs are ob­noxious to? as, suppose, to betray her to the successfull Rage and Ravin of the overflowing Turk? would that be such a piece of indearing Kindness and Charity? And yet surely those doe so to her that sow pil­lows under her Elbow, that sooth her up, and call her my Sister and my Mother, and say there are no considerable miscarriages in her; when­as she stands guilty of all those sins that are reckoned up, Revel. 9. 20, 21. [...], multifarious Idolatries, bloudy Persecutions, Con­juring [Page 199] or Enchanting, defiled Coelibate, and pious Frauds or wicked Policies, with Impenitency added to them all. For these sins have the Locusts and Euphratean Horsemen, the Turks and Saracens, laid wast the Eastern Church; and yet it is Unchari­table to admonish the Latine Church thereof, which is much more guilty of these high miscarriages; yea and that in such a time as the Mahometan Forces have fallen so grievously upon the disspirited Em­pire, and have made all fly before them. To give a stop to whose fury for the future, I am confident nothing can be more effectual then the Reformation of the Roman Church according to the Word of God and the first Primitive Ages, or, to speak more compendiously, accor­ding to the platform of our excellent English Reformers. For this would put a new life and spirit into Christendom, and make her grow young and strong again, and able to repulse the Turkish forces for ever with Victory. And truely the whole summe of what may seem either so affrightfull or distastfull in my old, Orthodox Protestant way of in­terpreting the ensuing Prophecies to either the Church of Rome her self or any of her hidden friends or well-willers, is but to reduce the whole Western Church to that unexceptionable Purity and Beauty that our Royal and Reverend Reformers, through the special assistence of God, did reduce this of ours.

But if this be of such excellent purpose, must it not be to very great purpose to make the Church of Rome sensible that she wants this Re­formation? And is there any thing that can convince her more of that want then that her enormous miscarriages are so plainly depainted (as most certainly they are) in those Visions we have explained in this Treatise; nay are very stingingly and satyrically set out by the Spirit of God on purpose to awake the Christian World out of this deep Sopour or Lethargie? For it must be some such rousing Rebuke that can wean or reclaim that Church from so inveterate errours rooted in Custom and founded in a sweet bewitching Interest not to be parted withall upon any easy terms. Which power of the Light of the true meaning of these Prophecies that obnoxious Church does plainly acknowledge herself sensible of, in her hiding herself as well as she can from the convictive perstringency of them, and in getting men to palliate her deformities with all possible art, and to shelter off the searching gleams and piercing Lustre of these veracious Visions by their false and adulterate Glosses: Which is the greatest Uncharitableness and Disser vice that [Page 198] [...] [Page 199] [...] [Page 200] can possibly be done unto her, thus to lull her asleep, to be surprised by the irresistible wrath of God, and to expose her to the fury of his Jealousy. Wherefore had she not better cease to take Sanctuary in such forced and incredible misinterpretations of Scripture, and letting go those false shifts, reform herself according to that Platform which has so manifest appro­bation from the Divine Oracles, in a sense not onely credible but true?

16. For it is demonstratively true by the second Consectary of my Joint-Exposition, That the Church was not grown Antichristian till How well the Prote­stant Refor­mation is attested to out of the Apocalyps; especially that of our English Church. And what were the main hinderances to the Au­thour from the applying so illustrious an Event to the Pre­diction. about 400 years after Christ; As also from the proportion of the Out­ward Court to the Inward, that it was Symmetral till about that time. Which approvable Ages of the Church were the Pattern of our English Reformation. Besides that, as I have already intimated, the said Reformation is an eminent Speciminal completion of the Prophe­cy of the Resurrection of the Witnesses: So that the Rectitute thereof is ratified as well from those Visions that prefigure the Recovery of the Church, as from those that signify her primaevall Purity.

Nor can those Perstrictions of the less perfect condition of things, which I elsewhere have noted touching the Reformed Churches, be right­ly conceived to concern our English Church; both because it had dis­appeared in a manner when I penned that Treatise, as also because of her special immunity from those Imputations, as may appear from my Vindication of her at the end of this present Discourse. And as for the whole Protestant Reformation, I must freely and ingenuously confess, I had something a lesser value for it then it does deserve, being born down by the authority of our best Interpreters into a belief that we were not yet past the Sixth Trumpet, much less had advanced any thing in the Seventh. According to which supposition some things have passed my Pen in the Mystery of Godliness, which I here take the opportunity of recalling; judging it, with Aristotle, [...] Etbic. Ni­com. lib. 1. cap. 4. [...]. Which du­ty is more indispensable in Theologie. Though here I must confess I do not so much [...] as [...], the mistake being not originally mine, but others. Which yet I the more easily swallowed down by reason of my Computing the Woman's abode in the Wilderness, and the mournfull condition of the Witnesses, by Days, and not by Semi-Times, as the Three days and Half did indigitate. By the former of which Computes the Woman could not be come out of the Wil­derness nor the Witnesses be rose from the dead till about this time. But [Page 201] reckoning by Semi-times, the Protestant Reformation will very easily and naturally be a Speciminall Completion of the Prophecy of their Resurrection, it plainly happening in the last Half-Day or Semi-Time, according to prediction: Nor does the Prophecy require any greater accuracy of Compute then so.

Which I confess is a great ease to my mind in the Apprehension of things. For examining the Frame of our Church, and finding it such as I have represented it in the two last Chapters of this Book, it was so near to what (according to my best Judgment) I could desire, and had hinted at in some passages of my Mystery of Godliness, that me­thought it fared so with me in this matter, as it did once with a musing companion of mine and myself in a short Journey we took together, when we asked the way to a certain Town we were to go to, even then when we had already unawares got into the midst of it. The Reddition is very easy and obvious.

But nothing then puzzled me but my compute by Days, as I said, in­stead of Semi-times, which hindred me from rightly applying so illustri­ous an Event to the Prediction. But correcting that errour, as also a false surmize that [...] implies the full expiration of the time to which it is prefixed, the Application of the Prophecy proved very easy to me, nor do I at all doubt but that it is a Prediction of the Protestant Refor­mation in Christendom in general. Of which notwithstanding this of the Church of England seems the most noble Specimen, and the Resur­rection of the Witnesses and their Ascension more high, more full, more orderly, and more answerable to the Vision, here, then any where else that I know.

17. And as if Providence had a more special eye to this Church A peculiar Attestati­on to the Church of England in the Comple­tion of the Prophecy of the Resur­rection of the Witnesses above the rest of the Reformed Churches. and to the Platform of the Reformation thereof then to any other, as it indeed seems to me to exceed all the rest in several main Respects, (as in her moderation in the Cinq-Points, her perfect freeness from all manner of superstitious and imposturous Opinions and Usages, her de­claredness concerning things indifferent, and apert profession of them to be such, and her Loyal Obsequiousness to the Sovereign Power, with others of the like nature, which at least joyntly considered make her con­dition peculiar;) so she seems to me also to have a more full and peculiar privilege in her being witnessed to from above then any of the rest have. For beside her Resurrection in the East Reformation, which fell within the last Semi-time, and is common to her with the rest, [Page 202] she has had of late, after she was suppressed and in a manner extinct for so many years together, another most glorious and unexpected Re­suscitation to life, our. Zerobabel and Jesuah, that is to say, that Re­gal and Episcopal Power of England, which were the first Founders and Establishers, and are now the present Restorers and Upholders of so well a constituted Church, being so happily and providentially restored again to the Nation: What is this but another Resurrection from the dead to the slain Witnesses, and a second Testimonie from Heaven to the Sacredness and Inviolableness of our English Reformation, and that be­yond all cavil and exception, it falling out not within the last Semi-Time at large, as the former did, but just at the expiration thereof, or, if you will, of the 1260 Days?

For taking a fit Epocha for the matter in hand, which concerns the purely Christian and Antichristian Periods of the Church, and I think there can be none more fit then that year wherein so many were converted to the faith at Antioch, insomuch that the Church was then first called Christian, which was the fourtieth year from the Nativity of Christ; if we adde to these fourty years 360, the time of the Churche's continuing Symmetral, and 1260, the time of the mournfull Prophecy of the Witnesses, or of their Political Death; the very last year of the whole summe is the year 1660: Which therefore must be the last year of the Witnesses sad and calamitous condition. And, lo! to the admiration of the whole world, in the very self-same year is the resto­ring of our English Protestant Regal and Episcopal Power; our Moses and Aaron do not onely stand upon their feet, but ascend into Hea­ven in a cloud, the whole world looking up and wondring at them. Can there be a more fit fulfilling of the Prophecy of the Resurrection of the Witnesses then this? or a more ample Testimonie to the Excellency of our English Reformation, such as I have decyphered at the end of this Book, then this completion of the Prophecy? or, lastly, a more urgent obligation from Divine Providence upon these so miraculously­revived Witnesses for the perfecting of Faith and Holiness? Whom God seems on purpose, after his paternal chastisements, to have restored in such a point of time as may for ever re-mind them of the end of their restitution, namely, That they may never fail with all faithfulness and diligence to witness to the Truth, and to support, propagate and emprove that saving Light of the Gospel which was Namely, since Po­pery. first let into this Island by their Pious and Reverend Predecessors, the first renowned Authors [Page 203] of so blessed a Reformation, and keep it intemerate and incorrupt from all Papal impurities, and adorn it with all sanctity of life and sobriety of conversation.

18. Wherefore there is no reason at all for any Protestant Party to look That the Reformed part of Christen­dom is the real Fifth Monarchy; and how perillous a Project that of Grotius is, to reconcile the Pro­testant Churches to the Church of Rome before she be reconci­led to the ancient A­postolick Church of the Primi­tive Ages. upon the Apocalyps, if rightly understood, as such an affrightfull Mor­mo or Megaera; and less for the English Church then any, there being such illustrious Testimonies therein of her peculiar worth and precellency. And as for the Roman Church herself, though she be, I must confess, most sharply and satyrically reproved in some Visions there [Ch. 17 & 18.] and seems most dreadfully to be menaced; yet I am well assured that none of those Comminations are meant in the harshest sense, unless she will by her own obstinacy make them so; but onely of a destruction of what is evil in her, and of the Reformation of her from what is really and properly Antichristian. But she is indeed there charged most plainly and apertly, in the judgment of any one that is not wilfully blind, with the highest Instances of Antichristianism, to the end that she might Reform and repent, and undergo no Destruction but what is her real Perfection; As certainly it would be to be reduced to the Purity of the Primitive times, or to take a Pattern from our Church which is already so confor­mable thereto. Which free Advertisement to this so deeply apostatized Church of Rome I think is the greatest act of Charity that any mem­ber of Christ can doe for her.

But for us Protestants to reconcile to her, before she be reconciled to the Primitive Church in those Symmetrall Ages thereof, would be to rend our selves from Christ and his Church, or at least to daub with un­tempered morter. Associate your selves, Oye people, and ye shall Esay 8. 9. be broken in pieces; gird your selves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird your selves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. So little good can there come of that Union that is founded in that which is so evil. For, to make the Church of Christ seem all of one piece by the Protestants conforming to the Church of Rome, were indeed to make all Christendom one entire Field of Aegyptian Reeds for the fire of God's Jealousy to consume.

Such Counsells, I say, were not onely unskilfull and perillous, but down­right Treachery and Treason against the Empire of Christ and against the Princes of the Provinces thereof. For it were the betraying of any Protestant Prince to the displeasure of God and wrath of the Lamb, to persuade him to come again under the Laws and Religion of that Man [Page 204] of Sin; and so to betray that trust Christ has committed to him, by thus perfidiously surrendring part of his regained Empire into the hands of his declared enemie. For I say the Reformed parts of Christen­dom are the Empire of Christ and the real Fifth Monarchy, (to the shame and reproach of those blind Enthusiasts that would tumultuously and rebelliously erect it where it already is) not to be empaired by Revolts to Antichrist, but to be propagated, improved and enlarged by the ruine and destruction of his Kingdom. Accordingly as Daniel has foretold touching the little Horn with the eyes of a man and a Dan. 7. 8. mouth speaking great things, (which I have demonstrated a­gainst Grotius to be meant of the Papacy) That this Judg­ment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to con­sume Dan. 7. 26. and destroy it unto the end. So that according to the de­sign of God the Papacy is to decay and consume after the rising of the Witnesses, and that the Seventh Trumpet has once begun to sound. For in it the Mystery of God is to be finished, and the Seven Apoc. 10. 7. Vials to be poured on the Two-horned Beast or the False-Prophet. Which Seventh Trumpet has begun to sound already, and we are under the first Thunder thereof comprising the Seven Vials, which are the Seven last Plagues, and we are under the effusion of the Third of them. And therefore to sound a retreat to Rome under the Conduct of Grotius or of any one else, were to bid battel against Heaven, and to harden our faces against the dreadfull Flashes and dire­full Thunder-claps of the Almighty; against whom there is neither Force nor Counsel, neither can any man disannull his Judgment. For who has Job 40. 9. an arm like God? or who can thunder with a voice like him? There are many devices in a mans heart: nevertheless the Pro. 19. 21. Counsel of the Lord that shall stand.

SYNOPSIS PROPHETICA; OR A compendious Prospect into the Prophe­cies in the Holy Scriptures touching the ANTICHRIST to come.

BOOK I.

CHAP. I.

1. That the Antichristianism we have so punctually described in our Idea, and is for the general so notoriously known to have over-run the Church, is in truth a kind of Pagano-Christianism. 2. That it is incredible that there should be no Divine Predictions of so considerable a Change. 3. The ill-spent pains of those Interpreters who endeavour to obscure such Predictions by distorting them to other useless meanings. 4. Whether this Great Antichrist be prophesied of in the Epistle of S. John, under that very Name. 5. That Barchocab, if applicable at all to the Text, may be a Type of this famous Antichrist. 6. That the mention of those many Antichrists in S. John was occasioned from the fame of that Great Antichrist predicted in Daniel. 7. That there is much-what the same reason of the slowness of Christians in discovering the true Antichrist, as of the Jews in discovering the true Christ. 8. That a fraudulent and Hypocritical Opposer of Christ may be as real and considerable an Antichrist as an open Enemie; as also S. John's description as easily applicable to him. 9. The inept Niceness of declining the Name of Antichrist; and that the Title was put upon this great Enemy of the Church by the ancient Fathers occa­sionally from this Epistle of S. John. 10. Certain Considerations proposed touching the Obscurity of the Prophetick style.

1. WE have sufficiently discovered to what a great measure the Church of Christ may degenerate, or rather apostatize, from the Purity of the Gospel into that abhorred condition of Antichristianism, and yet retain the external Profession of Christianity; using indeed the Name and History of Christ and his Apostles, but introducing thereupon such a face of Idolatry and Heathenish Superstition and barbarous Cruelty against the true Servants of Christ, that by those whose judgments are more free and piercing, such a state of the Church cannot but be deemed [Page 206] rather a Revival of Paganism then an uninterrupted Succession of true Christianity in the world; or, to use the softest language that the truth of the thing will admit of, it cannot be judged pure and unadulterate Christianity, but a kind of Pagano-Christianism, the Pagan Rites, Ido­latries and Superstitions being practised upon Christian Objects, and this Paganism in this pretended Christianity being maintained with as ferine cru­elty as Paganism it self was in the time of the Heathen Emperours. It re­mains now, according to our proposed Method, to search into the holy Oracles, to find out Whether such a kind of Antichristianism as I have de­scribed be not prefigured therein; and Whether so horrible a Mutation in the Church of Christ, which for the general it is apparent (even in the judge­ments of all that are not wilfully blind) has for these many Ages seized upon the Church, was not predicted of old by the Prophets, or Apostles, or by both.

2. For it seems to me a wonderfull thing and incredible, That God, who was so carefull and watchfull over the Church of the Jews, foretelling their Captivities and Returns out of Captivity, and fore-advertising them in a manner of all their affairs of Importance by the mouths of his Prophets sometimes many hundred years before, should leave the Church of Christ for so great a number of Ages without Ephod and without Teraphim, with­out Prophets or timely Predictions what things would betide her in the decursion of so long a space as twelve or thirteen hundred years together, to let her be bewildred thus in so endless a Night, and leave her floating upon the waves without any Cynosura to stear by. Wherefore I do not doubt but Christ has been so faithfull to his Spouse, that he has left some Oracular Records wherein a man may reade, if he come with unpre­judiced eyes, in a very legible Character, the state and condition of the Church, and this grand Apostasy of it, with the most notorious circum­stances thereunto appertaining; that is to say, He shall find in a manner all those Heads of Antichristianism which I have insisted upon, intimated some way or other, and charged upon that Church especially which Histo­ry has found so guilty thereof.

3. Which thing I being so fully persuaded of in my own judgement, can­not without a great measure of grief or indignation reflect upon the misspent pains of some learned Pens, who have endeavoured to pervert all those illustrious Prophecies (whether in Daniel, the Apocalyps or other places) that do forewarn the people of God of this grand Degeneracy of the Church, unto some other sense and meaning, though never so forced and frivolous, though never so strained and inconsiderable; thereby obscuring both the glorious Providence of God, of whose watchfulness over his Church the true and easy sense of these Prophecies is a most ample witness, as also hindering that benefit which was to accrue to us by the right understanding of these holy Prefigurations and Predictions, which if rightly interpreted would be of wonderfull great virtue for the re­claiming of the world and converting of Christendom to that ancient and Apostolick purity as well in Practice as Doctrines from which they have so long time swerved.

Wherefore out of a due sense of the Honour of God and the Interest of [Page 207] the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus, I hold it fit to bring into view all those Prophecies as well of the Old as New Testament that have been by the Ancients understood of this Antichristian Apostasy; and with an unpre­judiced freedom and impartiality to unfold the meaning of them. Which I hope I shall doe with that plainness and simplicity of evidence, offering so unforced, so easy and so natural a sense of things and so coherent with undubitable Principles, that there is no man that is not grosly prejudiced but will receive full satisfaction concerning the true meaning of these Divine Oracles.

4. I must confess that it is hard to produce any Text of Scripture wherein this Apostatized state of the Church is undoubtedly foretold under the very Name of Antichrist, though that Name be found more then once in the Epistles of S. John, But though some do, yet I dare not contend that this Antichrist or Antichristianism which I have hitherto described is so clearly pointed at in every one of those places. Not onely Grotius, but Mr. Mede himself understands those Antichrists of the Pseudo-christs that our Saviour foretells of in Matthew, which should start up before and after the destruction of Jerusalem, which was the [...], the last hour of the Jewish Commonwealth. But [...] signifying no more then [...], (for [...] is indifferently ren­dred [...] or [...]) and the Fourth Kingdom in Daniel being the last, the time of that Kingdom may be also intimated by [...]. Whence that in S. John 1 Ep. 2. 18. [My little children, it is the last hour, and as you heard [...], that that famous Antichrist will come, even now there are many Antichrists, whereby we know it is the last hour] may bear this sense upon supposition the Prediction is somewhat Ellipti­cally set down; That the last time in Daniel's Kalendar of his Four Kingdoms, that is to say, the last Kingdom, was then a running on, which is the Roman, during which Kingdom the Little horn, which here is called Antichrist, shall come upon the stage. This is [...] (saith he) that famous Antichrist whom you may have heard of out of Daniel, but this is a greater distance off. Wherefore to speak what more pressly concerns you, Even now there are many Antichrists, which not Daniel, but our Saviour foretold of, whereby again we know it is the last hour; but I mean not of the Four Kingdoms of Daniel, but of the Jewish Commonwealth, according as our Lord has predicted. Or more briefly thus; My little children, it is the last hour, that is to say, the last King­dom of the Four, namely the Roman: and as you have heard that that famous Antichrist will then come, viz. in that last hour; so also now in the last hour of the Jewish Polity there are many Antichrists, whence we may gather it is the last hour thereof, these many Antichrists, according to prediction, attending this last hour, as that one famous Antichrist that.

In some such sense as this, I do confess that that Antichrist or Anti­christianism which I have hitherto treated of may be by very Name inti­mated in this Text of Scripture, though I shall quarrel with no man that would interpret it otherwise. Grotius expounds this famous Antichrist, of whom they might have heard, of Barchocab. But there being no [Page 208] mention of any one famous Impostour above the rest in our Saviour's Pre­dictions in Matthew, it is very suspicable that this rumour was raised out of the Prophecy of Daniel touching that little mischievous Horn; which certainly is a Prophetick Figure of that eximious Antichrist that was to come.

5. The same Author also interprets [...]; of Barchocab, and renders it Quis potest esse major impostor? and I believe very rightly. For it were a dilute business for the Apostle to describe Antichrist onely by the bare denial of Jesus his being the Christ, that great King, Priest and Prophet sent of God to whom all Nations should flow. For such Antichrists are all Infidels, which are innumerable. Wherefore such a Denier of Christ is here intimated as by playing the Impostour and by making of himself Christ, or by putting of himself into the place of the true Christ, which is Jesus, denies Jesus to be the Christ, and so by de­nying him denies him that sent him, and witnessed of him that he was his beloved Son whom all should hear. Such an Antichrist was Barchocab especially, who by making himself the Messias, did thereby plainly deny that Jesus was he.

But as there were eximious Types of Christ amongst the people of the Jews, and such as one and the same Prophecies touch as well as Christ himself; so it is obvious to conceive that there might also Antichrists arise among the said people, to whom all things befell in figures, which were Types of the famous Antichrist in the Christian Church, and that one and the same Text might point at both, as it is not hard to conceive that this does.

For as for that great Antichrist which I have described in my Idea of Antichristianism, it is plain that he puts Jesus out of his Kingly, Priestly and Prophetick Office, usurping all that himself, or conferring it upon others, as is there copiously declared. Wherefore he making himself so absolute an Head of the Church, he does ipso facto cut off Jesus from being Head of the same, and thereby discovers himself to be that notorious Antichrist in Christendom; And by denying that Jesus is that Supreme King, Priest and Prophet to whom all are to listen and obey, whose De­crees and Words are an immutable Law, he does thereby deny also the Father that sent him, as much as any other Antichrist amongst the Jews can be imagined ever to have done. For which of them was ever said to have professed himself an Atheist?

6. Which things duely considered will inable us with ease to under­stand also the meaning of what is writ in the fourth chapter of this Epistle of S. John, where he saith, That every spirit that confesses that Jesus is the Messias come in the flesh, is of God; and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus is the Messias come in the flesh, is not of God: and this is that spirit of Antichrist which you have heard shall come, and is now al­ready in the World. The vulgar Latine hath it, Et hic est Antichristus de quo audîstis quoniam venit, & nunc jam in mundo est. Which implies they read not [...], but [...], Of which An­tichrist you have heard that he shall come. And he addes, [...], like that of S. Paul, [...] [Page 209] [...] where the futurity of a more notorious Antichrist is not excluded in neither place. In this of S. John, Grotius again understands the Impostour Barchocab; but the Ancients, even the Romanists them­selves, the famous Antichrist of the Fathers, Whence it is confessedly true both from Grotius and the Romanists, that such a Denier of Jesus his being the Messias or Christ come in the flesh is understood as is an Im­postour, and boasts himself to be that Christ, whereby he denies Jesus to be him; as I have noted upon the former Text.

And the sense of both may be this, namely, That whereas those to whom S. John wrote had received a rumour or fame of that eximious Antichrist that was to come into the world in the last time, occasioned (I doubt not) from Daniel's Prophecies of the little Horn and of that King of pride that would exalt himself above all; the Event of these Prophecies being further off, though at last certainly to come, he fixes their minds upon such Antichrists as were nearer at hand; and though but the Types and Figures of that great Antichrist to come some Ages after, yet of more concernment to them to take notice of: but in the in­terim describes Antichrist so, that though it does more palpably point at these Types of the future Antichrist, yet the Description, more narrowly searched into, takes fast hold also on that great Antichrist himself, for­asmuch as it is implied, that it is one who by way of imposture puts himself into the place of Jesus, who is the true Christ, that King, Priest and Prophet appointed by God, to whom all must submit. Which not onely Barchocab and such false Messiasses in the Jewish Common-wealth have done, but he that has so made himself the Head of the Church as to null the Laws and Doctrines of Christ is deprehended to doe the like also.

7. I must confess the Opposition and Intrusion of this grand Anti­christ among Christians is more oblique and more subtil then the claim of those false Messiasses amongst the Jews: but we are withall to take notice that the Christians Messias or Christ is more spiritual then what the Jews expected, and therefore it is no wonder that their Anti­christ be of another nature; not a gross and violent Invader of the Empire of Christ, but a more cunning Impostour and insinuating Hypocrite.

Nor are we to marvel that Christendom has been so slow-sighted in discovering this Antichrist after he was come; the same thing happening to them that befell the Jews, who could not discern their Messias when he daily conversed before their eyes. For both these mistakes arose from a like prejudice and false prenotion of things: the Jews decyphering in their minds such a Messias as should conquer Kingdoms for them, and make them a rich and potent people upon Earth; (so crass and external a conceit had they of his Power and Office) and the Christians prefiguring such an Antichrist as would cast away the external profession of Christ, and direct­ly and professedly oppose him in his Kingdom.

8. But fraudulent and hypocritical Opposition is as true and a more mischievous Opposition then that which is open and direct. And he that calls another Lord and King, but professes a power of abrogating his Laws, [Page 210] and of making what Laws he lists himself, and of forcing this Prince's Sub­jects to obey them, this man has really made himself King. And there­fore he that takes upon him the power to null the Laws of Christ, and makes new ones of his own for the Rule of Christendom, he in like man­ner makes himself Christ, and is a more eminent Antichrist then Barcho­cab, whom Grotius would bear us in hand to be the man indigitated by S. John in these words, The Antichrist of whom you have heard that he shall come; whenas I have already noted that they had no news of any one eminent Antichrist but from the little Horn in Daniel, and that King of pride that exalts himself above all that is called God.

And truly all those dreadful particularities comprised in the Descri­ption of Antichrist in S. John will be found in this Man of sin. For in making himself Christ, which he does interpretatively, he does there­withall deny Jesus to be him, who is the Giver of a Law indispensable by any Power upon Earth, his Decrees being the Decrees of the Eternal Son of God. Wherefore he that takes upon him the power of contradicting, of nulling and dispensing with these Doctrines and Decrees, does thereby deny that Jesus is the Son of God; and he that denies the Son, denies also the Father that sent him.

This sense, I think, will appear very plain to any indifferent judgment; and I need not insist any longer thereon, having intimated something to the same purpose before. Onely I will suggest how ordinary it is in Scri­pture to charge the sinner directly with what he perpetrates but inter­pretatively. As where God says, the Israelites did not sacrifice to him in Amos 5. 25. the wilderness: which is true onely interpretatively, forasmuch as they sacrificed also to other Gods, and so did not sacrifice to Jehovah the true See Idea Anti­christ, book 2. chap. 6. sect. 6. God, he being so matchless a Perfection that he is uncapable of any Cor­rival or Co-partner in Religious Worship; which they doing to others, they interpretatively disowned Jehovah to be what he was, and therefore sacrificed not to him, no not when they pretended it, but to a Figment of their own phancy. So Jeremie makes the Jews to say to a Stock, Thou art my Father, and to a Stone, Thou hast begotten me: which Charge not­withstanding Jer. 2. 27. is onely true interpretatively, forasmuch as they did Re­ligious Worship to Stocks and Stones, and thereby acknowledged them to be God, the Father of all Mankind and Creator of the world. And, lastly, in this very Epistle S. John says, that he that denies that Jesus is the Christ, denies both the Father and the Son. But who ever heard that Barchocab or any other Jewish Pseudo-christ directly denied God that was the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? Several like Examples oc­cur in Scripture, which are so obvious that it is needless to produce them. These may serve for a pledge of the reasonableness of our Interpretation.

9. But suppose we should give up all for lost in S. John's Epistle, and acknowledge that this eminent Antichrist, that has reigned thus long in Christendom, is not pointed at in any place of that Writing; it will fol­low, I confess, that this Antichristian Power which we have so amply de­scribed in our other Treatise is no where in Scripture called Antichrist; and so that corrupt High-priest with his apostatizing Clergy will be ex­empted from the infamy of being branded with that very Name by the fin­ger [Page 211] of God himself: but in the mean time I cannot but deem this as ridi­culous a piece of niceness and shieness thus to abhor from names, when the things thereby signified are so conspicuous in the party, as if some Monster of men of twelve cubits stature should conceive a great indignation at the being called Gigas, but think himself not at all injured by the ap­pellation of Dodecapechys; whenas a man on this side of twelve cubits stature may fitly and justly be styled Giant.

But for my own part, I think it was more for compendium then for any greater disgracefulness of the Title, that that Person or Body politick which was really become Antichristian was vulgarly called Antichrist, ra­ther then The Whore of Babylon, The two-horned Beast, The Man of sin, and the like; which Titles are no less odious, though less compendious. And it is observable that those Texts of Scripture upon which the ancient Fathers have written, A Prophecie of Antichrist, let us suppose them to have fetched the Title from whence you will, (though I doubt not but they had it from this Epistle of S. John) are to admiration fit and appli­cable to those Events we see before our eyes in the Roman Hierarchy.

If therefore we will stand to the Nomenclature of the Ancients, those Prophecies which they interpreted of Antichrist being found plainly and undoubtedly to concern that degenerate Body of Christendom, there is all reason that the said Body with the Head thereof should be noted by that more general and compendious Appellation.

10. But for the making out that wonderful fitness and applicableness of these Prophecies, it is a business more operose and laborious, and will be the more successfully attempted if we prepare the way by some Consi­derations concerning the Obscurity of the Prophetick style, especially in Daniel and the Apocalyps; as namely, Wherefore this Obscurity is, and then, Wherein it consists, and lastly, What is the best way to clear and fami­liarize the same unto us.

CHAP. II.

1. Why Prophecies are wrapt up in some considerable Obscurity. 2. An in­dispensable necessity of these kinds of involutions in regard of mans Free will: 3. As also in regard of the Enemies of the Church, both Men and Devils. 4. Arecital of such Schemes and Figures wherein this Obscurity does most-what consist. 5. What Diorismus is, with several examples of Numeral Diorisms. 6. That it seems most safe to expound the Rev 9. 5, & 10. five months of the Locusts according to this Figure. 7. The rea­son of the use of Numeral Diorisms. 8. From whence also some light is offered toward the understanding the reason of the uncertain designa­tion of Vers. 15. [...]. 9. Examples of Proportional Diorisms; 10. As also of Specifical.

1. THat Prophecies are delivered in obscure Ambages, we need neither admire, nor ought to complain, there being so evident reason for it [Page 212] and so just. For it is fit that that knowledge that is so far removed above humane capacity should be received with as humble and profound vene­ration, which Obscurity and Mysteriousness conciliates to all Truths, but is most due to them that are the greatest and the most beyond our natural reach, as this of Prophecy is. Besides that this Obscurity does not a little bridle or oppose that precipitant fervour and heat wherewith men are usually carried to the knowledge of things to come. Which though it fall to the shares of very few to be immediate Receivers of; yet if any one be, all men are ready to throng and croud to him, out of that natural curio­sity and desire of being instructed concerning future events. Upon which fiery and prurient itch after the knowledge of Futurities Providence has cast this bridle of hard and Aenigmatical uttering of Prophetical Predicti­ons; as he has the Laws of natural shame and modesty, besides super­induced Institutes of Religion and humane Policy, upon that impetuous propension of experimenting the pleasures of the Nuptial Bed, that so strong Inclinations may not be gratified without the Ceremony of some te­dious attendance and expectation thereof. And it may be that this Expe­ctation and hope, being a kind of prelibation of enjoyment, may in both cases lengthen out the pleasure.

2. But there is also a great necessity of this Obscurity which we have not yet hinted, and that is, That these Divine Predictions concerning the Church of God may not be easily or at all understood by those that are to be the fulfillers of them, till the appointed time come, when it may be without prejudice to the true Church; that is to say, That things are not to be so clearly prefigured as would bear too hard against that free Prin­ciple in Man whereby he does (unless thus miraculously called to from Heaven) determine his ways according to his own pleasure. For so plain a Divine Prediction as should certainly inform the party that he should doe such an act as would tend to his shame and destruction, or be a badge or mark conspicuous and infallible to all the world that he was that odi­ous person that so ill a fate must attend; would without all doubt (unless God should use a strong force upon him to make him fulfill the Prophecie) cause him to decline the fulfilling of it merely for his own honour and se­curity, and make him omit any such circumstances as he is prefigured by, to the end that he may deface the characteristicks of his own person in the Prophecie.

As for example, If S. John had said expresly, that by the Two-horned Beast and by The Whore of Babylon he did understand a Succession of Bi­shops of Rome with their whole Hierarchy adhering thereunto; it would be an hard thing to conceive that this Oecumenical Prelate would not, to hide his shame, have been tempted to change his Seven-hilled See, that he might not seem to be the man at whom the Prophecie pointed. At least they would never have wrote Mysterium upon the Pope's Crown, as it is on the Whore of Babylon, if they had been aware that his Holiness had been so much concerned in that Vision. Nor can we imagine that, if instead of Six hundred sixty six, Twenty five had been said to be the Number of the Beast, the Church of Rome would have affected that Number so much as they have. And many more such Instances may be produced.

[Page 213] But God could hardly be said to leave man in the hand of his own Coun­sel, and let him act freely according to his own nature, if he should have uttered these Divine Oracles concerning future things in so plain and naked a manner, and yet brought about the fulfilling of them.

3. Besides this, The knowledge of future things concerning the Church communicated to the Enemies thereof may tend to her prejudice; it being ordinarily unsafe to let an Adversary get intelligence of our consultations and purposes.

Which is not onely true in respect of Men, but of those Invisible enemies of the Church, who ever attempt her and oppose her under the conduct of the Prince of the Powers of the aire, who are the great Abettours and As­sisters of the children of Disobedience. An eximious instance whereof is that taken notice of by Mr. Mede out of S. Austine; How the Devil (who of old had so much skill in Mathematicks as to puzzle the Athenians by the Problem of doubling the Cube) computing the proportion betwixt the Outward Court of the Temple and the Inward, which it seems he found to be as 1260 to 365, or thereabout, presently concluded, That Christianity would continue but 365 years in the World, and that then Paganism would up again: And therefore adorning the credit of his own Oracles by this stoln, but misunderstood, Prediction out of the Apo­calyps, gave it out accordingly, that thereby he might hinder mens con­version to the Faith of Christ. Which I think is argument enough to persuade us how necessary it is that the holy Prophecies should be wrapt up in Aenigmatical coverings, and be made of uncertain Interpretation by undeterminable lubricities, till either Events, or some faithfull Inter­preter more then ordinarily assisted by God, shall give their clear Solution.

4. Now for the Art of obscuring Predictions wherein it consists; though I will not undertake the declaration of the whole, yet I will bring in as great a share thereof as may, at least, suffice for our present design: which I shall comprise in the Explication of these few Prophetick Figures or Schemes, which I will venture to call Diorismus, Hylasmus, Heno­poeia, Zoopoeia, Israelismus, Ellipsis, Metalepsis, Homonymia, Antichro­nismus, Icasmus; most of which do as well embellish and adorn the ex­ternall Cortex of Prophecies, as conceal and cover the more precious and inward Sense of them.

5. Diorismus is such a Scheme of the Prophetick style as polishes the outward letter with an appearing sense of a very exact and determinate account of things either as to Number, Proportion, or Specification. Which does the more strongly strike the Phancy, as an Object settled and unmoved makes a stronger impress upon the Sight then that which is flit­ting, as ordinary Experience tells us. So any determinate Conception does more vigourously and palpably affect the Mind then what is more general and undeterminate.

An Example of the first kind of this Figure I conceive is that, Apocal. 2. Ye shall have the affliction of ten days. Where I must confess I could never imagine that spoken otherwise then figuratively by a Diorismus, and to be a modest subinsinuation of the most perfect and full persecution, [Page 214] as is intimated from the following words, Be thou faithfull unto death, &c. See Vatablus and Drusius upon the place, who produces several examples of Ten being put for many. Which sense if the Ten Horns on the Beast be supposed to have, there is no absurdity in admitting that meaning; though I do not condemn their industry that are so solicitous to find just Ten and no more. For it may the more potently convince the obsti­nate, while others may be satisfied that that condition is onely inti­mated of the Empire when it was divided into a considerable Num­ber of Kingdoms or Principalities enjoying Sovereign Power within themselves.

And that the Hundred fourty four thousand with the Lamb on Mount Sion are not to be conceived just so many or so few, any one will grant that observes that the number 144 is onely the square of 12, and therefore, according to the mode of the ancient Cabbala, signifies symbolically the Apostolicalness of that Company, but not their determinate number, no more then 666 the number of them that follow the Beast.

I suspect also that those 7000 names of men said to be slain in that great Earthquake, Apocal. 11. is spoken onely by way of a Prophetick Diorismus; but what the genuine sense is I shall take notice in its pro­per place.

I will cast in a fourth Example; The 1260 Days, they being but the Diduction of those larger measures of three Times and an half, or of fourty two Months, into more numerous parts, it is not irrational to suspect that it was rather for the varying of the phrase and for the polishing of the external frame of the Prophecy by such a determinate numbering of those times or months into 1260 days, then that it did challenge our expectation to be satisfied to a Prophetick day; one Day in so many, and in matters of so voluminous a transaction, being not considerable and of small use, the Epocha also being uncertain from whence the time exactly is to commence. Besides what Mr. Mede has hinted, that varying of the time into Months and into Days respects the works of Light and the works of Darkness: and therefore their continuance who are under the Principality of Light is reckoned by Days; but theirs who are under the Principality of Darkness, the Moon being the Governess of the Night, is reckoned by Months.

Wherefore a man might not without ground imagine that there may be a latitude of reckoning in this solution of the three Times and an half, or the 42 Months, into 126 Decads of Days, as well as there is in those Times and Months; and that any variation, above or within, that exceeds not a Decad, breaks no squares; Divine Prophecies being not for the ostentation of God's Omnisciency, (for who knows not but that he can compute Events to the smallest moment of an Hour?) nor yet for the gra­tifying of the excess of humane Curiosity, but for the use and exercise of his Church.

The Witnesses also lying unburied three days and a half is an eximious Example of this Numeral Diorism; but the meaning may be the same with three times and an half, as I have elsewhere intimated.

6. And lastly, the five months allotted to the Locusts for tormenting men, I must confess upon better consideration I do suspect to be a Dio­rismus Rev. 9. [Page 215] also, and to signify merely Symbolically, not Arithmetically. For the continuation of the Saracenical Kingdom (I mean of that more no­table intervall thereof from the beginning of the Caliphate of the Abasidae See Mr. Mede's Comment. Apo­calypt. upon Chap. 9. at Bagdad to the taking of that City by Togrulbeck) is neither exactly twice five months of years; nor this doubling of the five months suffici­ently grounded from the time being twice mentioned in the Prophecy, (for the mentioning of the same number twice in Prophecy or History does not warrant the addition of them to make up a new summe, as if it were a Bill of Particulars;) nor, lastly, is it likely that the Spirit of God would indigitate 300 years by those twice five months, whenas the Duration of the Saracens Empire was much longer, as well as the continuation of the Caliphate at Bagdad not adequate.

That Infestation of Italy by the Saracens from the year 830 to 980 had been more plausible, if it had been commensurate; but it extends be­yond the year 980. For anno 1001 the Saracens are expelled Capua by Otho, and in the next year they besiege Salernum, in the year 1008 they are raised from the Siege of Barium and Capua, in the year 1017 they invade Italy again; besides other fights and troubles afterwards. But this is enough to shew, that five months of years will not be well appli­cable to their molestation of Italy neither, though I think Mr. Mede has made things look as handsomely as they are capable of. But the Attempt was as well needless as unsuccessfull. For there is exactly no determinate time intended by these five months, but it is onely an elegant Diorism respecting the Type, which are Locusts, whose continuance in life not reaching to the space of a Year, it was fit, by an Antichronismus, to num­ber by Months. And what number fitter then five? not onely because it may be a Symbol of incompleteness, (as Ribera suggests, and those Locusts are said onely to torment, not kill) but also in respect of the length of their life, which, according to Plinie, Aristotle and other Naturalists, is in all likelihood about five months. So that the solution of the Mystery of these numbers is not merely into such an Antichronismus, where the figurative number will determinate the true, but also into a Diorismus, where this accuracy is expressed in the Cortex, but not intended in the inward meaning. Which Scheme is here used with a special elegancy by reason of the reflexion it has upon the noted time of the continuance of those Creatures which are the Type.

7. But why these kind of Diorisms are made use of, and why there is not the same accuracy in the inside of these Prophecies as there is engraven on the outside, is a Problem too curious to enquire into, but not altoge­ther inextricable with those that are well assured of the Cabbalistick style, and also throughly consider how shy Providence is of bearing too hard against that free Principle in Man, by necessarily determining what is more naturally left loose to play of it self, and use its own free Agency.

8. Which also may give an account of the manner of expression of that period of time from the taking of Bagdad by Togrulbeck to the sacking of Constantinople by Mahomet the second. For though the intervall of time be just 396 years, as Mr. Mede has made good out of Elmachinus the Arabian Historian; yet the expression of it in the Prophecy, Apocal. 9. 15. [...] [Page 216] [...], may, as generally Interpreters observe, signify no more then their readiness at the time appointed, whether at a day, month, or year. For by [...] in all likelihood the Prophecy meant not that part of time which we call an Hour, but [...], which the article prefixed may intimate, it being prefixed to it onely. And the sense might have been, Ready at the time appointed, whether day, month, or year, that is to say, at any time. But the Event is so exact and conspicuous, that I doubt not but the meaning is, Ready [...], namely, [...], Ready at that season that is indigitated by both a day and a month and a year, which would be no indication at all but by adding of them together; which then make up 396 days, which stylo Prophetico are so many years. Which answers exquisitely to the Event, and therefore is a sure stake to fix down this Prophecy of the Euphratean Horsemen to the affairs of the Turkish Empire. Whereby, as also by the Description of the Breast­plates of these Horsemen, we know to what Ages of the World this Prophecy appertains, and consequently that of the Locusts. Whence the noting of their time more then by way of Diorism for the adorning of the Prophecy, was the more needless.

9. Examples of Proportional Diorisms are such as these, Apoc. 8. The third part of the Trees was burnt up, The third part of the Ships was destroyed, The third part of the Sea became bloud; and ch. 12. The third part of the Sun was smitten, and the third part of the Moon, &c. where Third does not signify the proportion of that which was smitten to that which did escape, but the Empire at large which was smitten is indigitated by this Number. Which has a smack of the Cabbalistick Genius, who use Numbers for the Symbols of things, as I have already noted. So the Tenth part of the City is not the Tenth of the City that then was, but of a City whose extent bore but the proportion of a Tenth part to what it had been, as Mr. Mede has carefully computed.

To this head you may also refer that Apoc. 18. Double unto her double according to her works, and Fill unto her double. Which is so defini­tively spoken as if she should be repay'd with as much more as she had injured others; but the sense is onely that she should be pay'd home for all her injurious dealings.

10. Examples of Specifical Diorisms are such as usual Synecdoches are that put the Species for the Genus, which being a more determinate Object strikes the Phancy stronglier and with fuller gratification. Thus is the Imagination more loudly alarm'd by being informed that such a Thing or Person shall be burnt or consumed with fire, then if it were only said they should perish, or be consumed, and not specify the manner. So to make warre is more determinate and specifick then to oppose, and to be be­headed then simply to die or be killed, and to be slain more specifick then to be destroyed, and lastly, King is a more specifick term and more fully strikes upon the phancy then Supreme Magistrate, or whatever other ap­pellation that is more general, and consequently more dilute. Which Examples of this third kind of Diorismus occurre up and down in the Apo­calyps, and indeed every where in the Prophets.

CHAP. III.

1. Hylasmus what it is, with the kinds thereof. 2. Eximious Examples of each kind. 3. What the first and chiefest kind of Henopoeia. 4. That one single Beast signifies a Body Politick, demonstrated out of Daniel. 5. That a Succession of Individuals is represented by one Individual. 6. That one individual Beast represents a Kingdom or Body Politick from its rise to its fall. 7. That one single Man or Woman does also re­present a Body Politick in the Prophetick style. 8. The second kind of Henopoeia, what it is. 9. What Zoopoeia, with examples thereof. 10. A second kind of Zoopoeia proved and illustrated from Examples.

1. HYlasmus is a Prophetick Scheme bearing strongly upon the Phancy by exhibiting crass and palpable Objects, such as in Logick would bear the Notion of Subject or Matter. The first kind is coincident with Metonymia Subjecti; as when a City is put for the Inhabitants, or a Temple for them that worship therein. Examples of this kind are frequent every where.

To the second kind I would refer such Representations as are from Build­ings, Pavements and the like, which are compact of crass and palpable Materials, but are Mystical or Spiritual Symbols of quite another thing. Examples of this kind are the Inward and Outward Court of the Temple, the one Symmetral, the other Asymmetral; which signifies the Chri­stian Church, one while in her Purity, another while in her Apostasie to Idols. So the Holy City troden down by the Gentiles signifies the Chri­stian Church over-run with Gentilism. So that [...] in this case is an Em­blem of [...] or a Body Politick, as Temple may be of the living Church of Christ.

2. An eximious Example of this kind of Hylasmus is the Description of Jerusalem, Apoc. 21. with its high wall and twelve gates, and by a Pro­phetick Diorism the measure of the City is concluded twelve thousand furlongs, and the wall an hundred fourty four cubits; and the Materials are Gold and Pearls and precious Stone. And yet this City so Hylastically set out has a most Spiritual meaning, and signifies nothing else but the Church of Christ reduced again to Apostolical Purity.

But the most notable Instance of a Prophetick Hylasmus is the Descri­ption of the Temple by Ezekiel, to which I cannot say but this of S. John alludes in several passages: And that it is an Hylasmus, and not a literal Description, I think any one will easily grant that does but peruse the 47 Chapter.

Lastly, The destruction of the City Babylon in the Apocalyps is also a remarkable Example of this Scheme: but though in the general it apper­tain to this second kind of Hylasmus, yet things are there set out very much by the former kind, which is a Metonymia Subjecti, not continentis, as before, but occupantis, the Objects of their Spiritual Negotiations be­ing so crassly discovered and described.

[Page 218] 3. The next Prophetick Scheme is Henopoeia, and the most graceful, but withall as much obscuring as any. And the first and chiefest kind thereof is this, The collection of a multitude of Individuals into the show of one Individual, as also of a Succession of Individuals or Multitudes into the show of one standing Individual. This is an ancient method of deli­vering Mysteries, as any one will discern if he throughly perpend the na­ture and truth of the ancient Cabbala. Which that both Daniel and S. John, I may adde S. Paul too, have imitated in their Prophecies, I think is easily to be evinced.

4. Touching the collection of a Multitude into the show or representa­tion of one Individual, it is plain in Daniel; for one individual Lion there denotes the whole Kingdom of the Babylonians, one Bear the Kingdom Dan. 7. of the Medo-Persians, one Leopard the Kingdom of the Greeks, and the fourth Beast the Roman Kingdom. It is true it is said, The four Beasts are four Kings; but the vulgar Latin has it, four Kingdoms, as also Theodoti­on, and the Text says expresly, that the fourth Beast is the fourth King­dom upon earth. So the Ram and the Goat in the eighth Chapter, (accor­ding to Grotius his own Interpretation out of the Hebrew Idiom) though they be said to be Kings, are Kingdoms. And whereas it is written, And the rough Goat is the King of Graecia, and the great Horn that is betwixt his eyes is the first King; unless this Goat either signifie a Succession of Kings, or a Kingdom, it is not sense; yea, though Succession, yet it will be very harsh sense to make the great Horn the first King, and the Body the rest. Wherefore unless we would distort things beyond all measure, the Body of the Goat must signifie the Kingdom of Graecia, as the Horns the Supreme Power; consonantly to what Grotius has written, and I doubt not but his Interpretation is true. And I think that scarce any one can be so weak, but upon the reading of Daniel he will be assured that in Pro­phetick Figurations one individual Beast signifies a Multitude of men or­dered together into the Body of a Kingdom.

5. But as the great Horn of the He-goat is said to be the first King, so the four Horns undoubtedly signified four succeeding Kings in this di­vided Kingdom in their several series; so that four Successions of Indivi­duals, so far as they would last, were represented under the show of four single Individuals, namely those four Horns. And truly when it is appa­rent that one Individual Beast represents the succession of a Multitude for many Ages together, (who are mortal as well as single men) coagmentated into the body of one Kingdom, it were a very nice and humorsome thing to stick at the succession of single Persons being represented under the show of one Head or Horn.

6. And that one and the same Beast stands for a Kingdom or Empire from its rise to its fall, is plain both in Daniel and the Apocalyps. For the Four Beasts are said to rise out of the great Sea, Dan. 7. and the destruction of the Fourth is set down in the same Chapter, who is supposed to tread down the Third, as the Third is after declared to vanquish the Second in the following Chapters. And in the Apocalyps the Rise of the Beasts there is set down, as also their destruction in the Lake of fire and brimstone. Whence it is evident that one Individual Beast represents not onely a Mul­titude [Page 219] of men under one Government, but the Succession of this multi­tude for many Ages, even till it cease to be such a Multitude; and conse­quently the successive Sovereignty of this multitude must be thus far re­presented (be it in one or many) by the Head or Horns of such Beasts, un­less we can phansy a Polity without an Head, which would not be a Polity, but Anarchy.

7. Nor are Irrational Creatures onely made Henopoetick Types of a Multitude collected into one Government, but also Rational: As it is evi­dent in the Woman in the Wilderness, which it were ridiculous to under­stand of some one single Woman, and not of the Body of the Church, whose true and living Head is Christ Jesus. The Woman also in Esdras signifies Sion or the people of God; and it may be the Man there coming out of the Sea has some such sense. For why may not one Man signifie a People or Multitude as well as one Woman? And it is plain that the people of Israel is called the Son of God, (Israel my son, my first-born.) And therefore the 2 Thess. [...]. Son of perdition and that Man of sin need not signifie one single man or a succession of single men, but a Body Politick under one Head of mischievous contrivances. By the like Henopoeia also [...], the false Prophet, signifies not one single Person, or the suc­cession of such single persons, but a Collection or Body of Deceivers combining together under one Government. These things are so easie and so obvious that I am afraid I shall seem to have insisted over-long upon them.

8. I will onely note a second kind of Henopoeia, which is also of useful consideration, and that is when things of different natures are comprised under one Type. We have a very warrantable Instance of this way of interpreting Prophecie, Apoc. 17. where the Angel does declare that not onely Seven Kings but Seven Hills are couched under the Symbol of the Seven Heads of the Beast. According to this Analogie it may not be un­safe to interpret Babylon both of the City of Rome and of the Hierarchy; the Two Witnesses, of the Old and New Testament, of them under the Le­gal and Evangelical dispensation, and of Magistracy and Ministery; the Horns of the two-horned Beast, of the two Imperial Patriarchates, of the two Horns of the Bishop's Mitre, and of the two-fold power of Binding and Loosing. Which second kind of Henopoeia need not seem new nor strange, the ancient Pythagoreans and Cabbalists concealing and crowding together under the Symbol of one single Number many and multifarious Notions.

9. Zoopoeia is the typifying out some inanimate thing by what has life, be it Person, or any other living Creature, or part of that Creature. In which sense the Seven Hills being signifi'd by the Seven Heads of the Beast is a Zoopoeia. As also it would be if we understood Rev. 11. the Two Witnesses of the Two Books of the Old and New Testament, and the Rev. 19. Word of God riding the white Horse, of the whole Bible. But I shall in its due place inti­mate that these are but collateral senses, and reducible to one more primary one by an Henopoeia. The making of Rev. 6. [...]. Hell to lacquay by him that rides the pale Horse, seems a more absolute Zoopoeia: as also that Gen. 4. The voice of thy Brother's Bloud crieth unto me from the ground; where [Page 220] the actions of life are given to the bloud of a dead man.

10. But we will here take notice also of a second kind of Zoopoeia, which may seem less harsh and most elegant; and that is, when free Actions are attributed to free Agents, of which notwithstanding they may be no more the causes then if they were inanimate Beings, or not in being at all. According to this Figure is that of Virgil, in the mouth of Aenea slay­ing Turnus,

—Pallas te hoc vulnere, Pallas
Immolat, & poenas scelerato ex sanguine sumit.

Pallas being dead is said to slay Turnus, though he did nothing here to­wards the slaying of him, but what he suffered onely gave occasion to Aeneas to take revenge.

According to which Figure of speech a more large Allusion or Parable might be raised. As if Aeneas instead of slaying one single man had sacked a City, put man, woman and child to the sword, burnt their houses, and left them as an heap of stones in revenge of the death of Pallas; he might say of his friend now dead, that it was he that inflamed the courage of the Souldiers to scale the Walls; that it was he that gave out that just, though severe, Edict of slaying man, woman and child; that it was he that burnt down their houses, and laid their City level with the ground; and, lastly, that it was he whom they deservedly found a more mischievous enemy to them after his death then while he was living. Certainly this Figure of speech would be very intelligible, and withall bear along with it an extra­ordinary height of Rhetorick and Elegancy.

According to this Scheme is that example in Scripture of Revel. 6. 9. the Souls cry­ing under the Altar, O Lord, how long, &c. Which is nothing but a Para­ble signifying that their death required Vengeance from the Justice of God. Eae animae (saith Grotius) corpore solutae multò magis quàm sanguis mor­tem toleratam testantur. For he had said before, Sanguis Abelis vin­dictam poscit, sic & animae martyrum. Wherefore there is acknowledged a Zoopoeia in both cases.

Alcazar also upon the place; Idem est dici Animas petere vindictam ac dici earum sanguinem illam petere. To which sense also speaks Tycho­nius, as you may see in Ribera. All which will make good this second kind of Zoopoeia, which attributes free and living Actions to free Agents, which in respect of them notwithstanding are no free Actions, but necessary Con­sequences that result from something that these persons have suffered or do suffer. Which is a Prophetick Scheme worthy the taking notice of.

CHAP. IV.

1. Israelismus what it is. 2. That the reason of the frequent use thereof is the Sacramentalness of the Jewish Church in reference to the Christian, as appears in their Tabernacle and [...]; 3. In the brasen Ser­pent, Manna, strucken Rock, and fiery Law; 4. In the High-priest's Robes, in his entring alone once a year into the most Holy, and in the Jews worshipping towards the Mercy-seat; 5. In their bondage in Aegypt, and in their escape through the Red Sea. 6. What is properly a Prophetick Ellipsis. 7. What the meaning of the Apocalyptick Book being written within and without. 8. The difference of a Prophetick Ellipsis illustrated by example. 9. Homonymia what it is, and in what it differs from an Henopoeia of the second kind. 10. What Metalepsis, with the proof and examples thereof. 11. Antichronismus what it is, together with the rise thereof. 12. That the three days and an half of the unburied Witnesses put for three times and an half is apparently resolvible into this Figure. 13. What Icasmus is, and that the frequency of the Figure does not so obscure Prophecies but that they are as intelligible as ordinary Heraldry.

1. ISraelismus is a Prophetick Scheme exceeding frequent, especially in the Apocalyps, which is a speaking of the affairs of the Christian Church under the names and with allusion to such places, or persons, or things, as did of old concern the Israelites and people of the Jews, and that in a mystical or spiritual meaning. Rev. 11. 8. Which is spiritually called Sodom and Aegypt. From whence is also insinuated that the Plagues on this Mystical Aegypt, and the burning of this Spiritual Sodom, must be understood my­stically and spiritually.

2. The frequency of this Scheme is not to be wondered at, if we consider that the People of Israel were one great and entire mysterious Type or Sa­crament of the Church of God such as it should be under Christ: According as S. Paul has written, 1 Cor. 10. That all things befell them in figures, but are re­corded for our sakes upon whom the ends of the world are come.

And truly it is a marvellous and enravishing spectacle to consider how at once the Church of Christ is represented by the people of Israel in the Wilderness, and how their whole Camp was but one living and moving Sacramental Image of Christ and his Body, in the most concerning Points of our Religion. For what was that Tabernacle and the [...] from whence God spake, but an Emblem of the [...] his tabernacling in our flesh? For the Pythagoreans called this Body of ours [...], as 2 Ep. ch. [...]. 13. S. Peter also [...], While I am in this tabernacle, saith he, [...]. And S. John speaking of the [...] saith, [...], And the Word was made flesh, and placed his tabernacle amongst us, even as he did in the Wilderness dwell with his people there in a Tabernacle while they dwelt in Booths. And therefore I do wonder [Page 222] that the Jews should scruple more the doing Divine Worship toward the most holy Body of the Messias then toward the Dabir or Mercy­seat, or toward the Tabernacle of God. But that onely by the bye.

3. The Tabernacle therefore of God amongst the Jews living in Taber­nacles is a Type or Sacrament of the Incarnation of Christ: The brasen Serpent erected in their Camp such a Type of Christ's hanging on the Cross; and the use of it to them so exquisitely analogical to that we Chri­stians make of looking upon Christ's Crucifixion when we are stung with the sense of either the guilt or poison of Sin, that it would even asto­nish one with amazement to consider what an unexpressible vigour and life of representation does result from this ancient Figure or Shadow, that ever moved along with the Camp of Israel in the Wilderness for the healing them when they were bit with fiery flying Serpents, as the cruci­fy'd Jesus does us when we find our selves wounded with Sin.

The Manna also of which the children of Israel ate in the Wilderness, was it not a Type of eating that true Bread that came down from Heaven, even the Body of Christ, which is the daily food of the Faithful: And the Rock that was struck, out of which came water, was it not an apparent Emblem of the Bloud of Christ, out of whose side came Bloud and Water? The giving of the Law also with flashings of Fire, was it not plainly a fore­runner of the Law of Christ which was divulged by his Apostles, upon whom fiery Tongues descended; and is indeed that Law of the Spirit, which, as Esdras does interpret, is like unto fire, by which the wicked are to be consumed, as that Vision seems to import? 2 Esdr. 13. 38.

4. And for the Divinity of Christ, is it not plainly emblematized up­on the Robes of Aaron, which do so exquisitely resemble the Universe, and therefore can be the cloathing of none but God? And lastly, his Onely-Mediatourship and Apotheosis after death (for it would be endless to insist upon all) were they not also lively represented, the one by the High­priest's entring alone into the most Holy to intercede for the people, the other by the Tabernacle and Mercy-seat toward which the Jews were to worship, as is plain from that in the Apocalyps? For to this, in the Chri­stian dispensation, succeeds the Humane Nature of Christ; he is the [...] or Mercy-seat, and his Body the Temple towards which we are to direct our eyes; accordingly as it is written, I saw no Temple there, but God Almighty and the Lamb is the Temple thereof. And such a Temple as Revel. 21. certainly may be worshipped towards with as little suspicion of Idolatry as ever the Temple or Mercy-seat was amongst the Jews.

5. Wherefore the people of the Jews being so illustrious and copious a Sacrament of all things appertaining to the Christian Church, it is no wonder that those Visions that concern the State thereof are so full of Allusions to what befell that people. Amongst which Accidents their Bondage in Aegypt is of famous note, and therefore often alluded to in the Apocalyps; and their passing through the Red Sea, where that Tyrant Pharaoh was overthrown, so lively a Symbol of the Churche's getting from under that servile yoke of the Romish Hierarchy by their recourse to the Bloud of Christ, by which they are justifi'd and freed from that blind bondage they were held in under those hard Task-masters, that [Page 223] the Concinnity is marvellous to consider, the Type being so clear a Pro­phecy of what has happened within these last Ages in breaking from that Tyrannicall bondage of the Italian Pharaoh. But such Instances as these are infinite.

6. The next obscuring Scheme is Ellipsis, which is an omission of some word or words which are requisite to determine the sense. Examples of Ellipses occurre every-where in the Old Testament, in the Psalms, Job, and other Books. But by an Ellipsis here I understand not merely the defect of something to make up the full sense, but such an artificial defect as shall make the sense seem compleat without the supplement under­stood. For that seems to be the Genius of these Apocalyptick Visions especially, that they are made so as to seem very trim and express, very complete and articulate in the very outward Cortex, as a Book that has some pleasing Embellishments on the back-side, as well as the History of truth within.

7. Which I little doubt but may be alluded to in that expression con­cerning this Volume of Visions, that it was Revel. 5. 1. written within and without, according to the ancient manner of the Cabbalistick Mysteries. Touching which Traditions Parmenides had got that Principle, [...] That there is a twofold traditionary Knowledge, the one Truth, (it is called [...] in Daniel in counterdistinction to his Aenigmatical Visions) the other Types or Parables accommodate to the conceit and gust of the Vulgar.

S. Hierom also, Rupertus and several others understand this being writ­ten within and on the back-side, of a Literal and Mystical sense. Grotius pretends the Text is not rightly comma'd, but reads it thus, [...], &c. Written within, and sealed on the back-side: As if there were any Books written on the back-side and sealed within. So unfortunate an Interpreter of the Apocalyps is the great Hugo even in lesser matters. But to return to the matter in hand.

8. The difference of those two kinds of Ellipses we have described may be seen in these Examples. Exod. 3. where Moses asking God his Name, he returns this answer, I am that I am: which is an Elliptical speech, and fully supplied, is, My Name is I am that I am. Something like this is that also in the Chap. 1. 4. Apocalyps, Grace to you and peace [...] which were more full [...]. But these Ellipses are such that they discover the defect of what is to be supplied.

But sometimes it is not so, as Apocal. 17. 8. The Beast which thou sawest, was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and goe into perdition. And a little after, When they behold the Beast that was, and is not, and yet is. Which seems a smooth entire sense in the exte­riour Cortex of the Prophecy, whenas no good sense at all can be made of it unless there be conceived some such Ellipsis as before; [...], and, [...]. But to have been thus express had laid this Mystery over-open, which ought to be in a greater measure concealed, and there­fore [Page 224] it was thus carefully lock'd up in this Prophetick Ellipsis. Of which Text more fully in its proper place.

9. Homonymia is the Diversity of significations in one and the same Symbol, whereof one alone is to be understood, else it were coincident with an Henopoeia of the second kind. Which Homonymia may fall out ex accidenti, (and is of no greater difficulty then that ordinary Homonymia of words, whose sense the consideration of the contexture of things will determine;) or else it may be intended of set purpose to make up a more gracefull insculpture upon the external Cortex of a Vision. As in the Vision of the Witnesses, I suspect that the three days and an half that they lie dead in the street do not signify, as in the beginning of that Vision, three years and an half, but three times and an half, that is, 1260 years. Nay that they do signify so, I do confess I do more then suspect, am indeed well assured in my own judgement of the truth thereof. But whether there be any likelihood of their signifying also three years and an half Events will better determine. Which if they did, there would not be a simple Homonymia in this Symbol of three days and an half, but an Henopoeia of the second kind.

10. Metalepsis is a Prophetick Scheme whereby an Effect or Event is transferred or communicated to some eminent Person merely, or at least mainly, because the place and time is coincident with his; and there is the same reason of Things. This Scheme I must confess is very Poetical, but not unelegant nor unusuall. Like to this is that of Virgil,

Candidus auratis aperit cùm cornibus annum
Taurus———and again,
Libra dies somnique pares ubi fecerat horas.

Where Taurus and Libra, because they are then in conjunction with the Sun, have attributed to them or transferred upon them those Effects which really are the Sun's onely and not theirs.

But that there is such a Metalepsis as I have described in the Prophetick style, that one example of the Rider of the red Horse in the Chap. 6. 4. Apocalyps will make good, who is armed with a great sword in his hand, and is said to take peace from the Earth: Whenas nothing else is signified, but that in this Emperour's time there would be very furious killing and slaying in the Empire, though by no fault of his. For it is said, they should kill one another, as if the Text on purpose did cast in that key for the opening the meaning of the Vision, as Mr. Mede has judiciously observed. Whose interpretation of the First six Seals is so solid, that it is impossible, I think, taking all things together, for any unprejudiced Reader not to be assured of the truth of them. Whence it is that I am so well assured of this present Prophetick Figure I have set down.

11. Antichronismus is an obscurative Scheme in Prophecy which sets down one measure of time for another; as a Week for Seven years, as in Daniel, a Month for Thirty years, a Day for a Year. Which Figure seems to be used in the Apocalyptick Visions not onely for concealment sake, but for proportion and Decorum, that the external Cortex of the Prophecies may not want their [...], that winning and pleasing Credibility of Story.

[Page 225] Wherefore these Antichronismi are a necessary Consequence of that Prophetick Henopoeia, that contracts vast Empires and other Bodies Po­litick with their long Successions into the figure or shape of Beasts or single Persons; whence, that the duration of their lives may not be over­proportionated to their nature, it was necessary to declare their continuance also under a disguise, putting Days for Tears. For their living may be shorten'd by several accidents; but to tell of a Beast or a Woman or of two Witnesses that should live 1260 years, would not keep the De­corum of [...], but would look like an incredible Nar­ration.

12. As it would also that the dead bodies of the two Witnesses should lie unburied in the open streets of the City for three years and an half; whenas they would stink in the space of four days, as is noted in the body of Lazarus. How harsh then had it been to have represented the bodies of the Witnesses lying dead in the streets for 1260 years together? Where­fore though their lying thus slain and unburied was the fittest and the most lively Representation of that condition that those that are repre­sented under the figure of the two Witnesses were to be in for 1260 years together; yet that the laws of the [...] and [...] of Story might be observed, it was requisite that these 1260 years should be dis­guised under the Symbol of three days and an half. Which signifying the same that three times and an half, (for [...] and [...] are promi­scuously used the one for the other) and these three times and an half signifying 1260 years, both the truth which the Prophecy aims at is faith­fully conveyed, and that decorous embellishment in the external Cortex of the Prophecy punctually observed. And that not onely by contracting the time, but also by annexing it to the end of the 1260 days by a Lemmatosynechia, which is in Latine as much as Corticis Continuatio.

And that this Prophetick Figure, which I call Antichronismus, is not a mere Supposition of mine, but a solid Truth, I have already made good in my Mystery of Godliness, and shall further demonstrate even with Mathe­matical Certitude out of my Joint Exposition of the 17 and 13 Chapters of the Apocalyps.

13. Icasmus is a Prophetick Scheme that bears by far the greatest part in all the Visions of Daniel and S. John, and is nothing else but the Representation of things and events by such Symbols as bear some simili­tude with the things and events they stand for. Which Symbols being many make the skill of interpreting Prophecy the more difficult, but not at all desperate, as some delicate Wits would phansy to themselves, and pre­tend an horrour and affrightment at the uncouth mention of such variously­shaped Beasts, and at the clatter of their Horns: whenas if they would be pleased to lay aside their niceness, they might understand that these Hiero­glyphicks of Prophecy might with far more ease be made familiar to them then the knowledge of Heraldry or Blazonry, which is no such profound and unconquerable study.

CHAP. V.

1. The great Usefulness of an Alphabet of Prophetick Iconisms. 2. What the best way of attaining to the right sense of them. 3. What weight the Onirocriticks of the Ancients may cast in toward the deter­mining their meaning. 4. That there is the same reason of the Signi­fication and Interpretation of Dreams as there is of Visions, provided they be merely Typical, and not Complexional. 5. Angels; Their Mi­nistery in all affairs of Providence a noted Supposition in the ancient Cabbala and in the Apocalyps. 6. Ascension into Heaven. 7. Air the special Region of Devils. 8. Balances. 9. Beast; [...] Ido­latrous Kingdoms. 10. The reason of the Lamb's signifying one single Person, and of wild Beasts noting Idolatry as well as Cruelty. 11. Blasphemy, That it signifies Idolatry made out both upon the ac­count of Reason, use of Scripture and Authority of Interpreters. 12. Bloud. 13. Bow and Arrows; Buildings; Burial.

1. WE have shewn wherein the Obscurity of Prophecy does mainly consist, and by the explication of the foregoing Figures have already done something toward the making of the skill of Interpreting easy to us. But there being so many and so various Examples of the last Scheme, we hold it needfull to bring the most considerable of them into one Alphabet, and to set down the signification of them. Which being taken notice of will much conduce to the easy spelling out the true meaning of all Aenigmatical Prophecies in Scripture. For what In his [...] cap. 2. Aristotle says of Aenigmatical Dreams, is true also of these kind of Visions. [...] That he is the most artificial Interpreter of Dreams that is best at discerning Similitudes and Resemblances: but for such Dreams as exhibit to the Phancy the things themselves, every one can judge of them.

Now the Visions of Daniel and Apocalyps are not of the nature of [...], but [...], representing things under Symbols or Similitudes: And therefore to have a settled and determinate meaning (and that upon solid and rational grounds) of such Symbols and Iconisms must needs contribute much to the inabling us with ease and success to interpret these Prophecies, or to make us understand and approve or with judgment disapprove of the Interpretations of other men.

2. And for my own part I know no solider method of settling and secu­ring to our selves the true sense of these Symbols, then by attending what the Scripture it self declares of them, and by strictly observing what Rea­son will unforcedly suggest or spy out concerning their significancy and representativeness of things. To which if we adde the Suffrages of them that have wrote of Onirocriticks, whether most-what out of their own reason and observation, as Artemidorus professes, or (which is more to our purpose) have made a Collection of the most ancient Writings of that kind, such as Achmetes the son of Seirim has provided us; it can­not [Page 227] but strengthen our assurance of the meaning of such Iconisms.

3. And these of Achmetes more especially, they being the Onirocriticks of three famous Interpreters of the Kings of India, Persia and Aegypt, and therefore being so ancient and so Eastern, the more probable to have a greater cognation with the Prophetick Schemes of the Holy Writ. The first of these is Syrbacham, Interpreter to the King of India: but he does Christianize so frequently and so palpably, that his Antiquity may be much suspected, and necessarily concluded since the coming of Christ. The second is Baram, Interpreter to Saanisan King of Persia; and the last Tarphan, Interpreter to Pharao King of Aegypt. The use of whose Interpretations is approved even by Expositors of quite different ways, Grotius I mean and Mr. Mede, who has the honour of first breaking the ice in this business.

4. Nor is there any scruple for that these are the Interpretations of Dreams, and not of Visions: For besides that there is a great affinity be­twixt Visions and Dreams, they being both Phantasms impressed on the Imagination, not by any free act or excitation of our selves, but in a way merely passive, the external Senses also being in a manner consopite in both, (whence these [...] are called also [...] in Achmetes;) the question is not concerning the Principle from whence, or the manner how these divinatory Impresses come, but what they represent or signifie: which if it be granted, that they prefigure rightly and unforcedly such or such things in Dreams, it is manifest that they will doe the same in Visions. For I speak of such Impresses as have not the nature of the Effects of Complexion or of any other natural Cause, but of a mere Type or Pre­figuration.

Wherefore it will not be impertinent to adjoyn sometimes the suffrage of these Onirocritical Writers to what weight we produce out of Scri­pture and from Reason, for the interpreting of such Symbols or Iconisms as we shall comprise in our Prophetick Alphabet; which I shall now exhibit to view.

5. Angels. There is such frequent mention of the Ministery of Angels in the Apocalyps, and the Presidency there so prefixed to every thing, that I cannot omit to take notice of this Scheme amongst the rest, though peradventure it does not fall so right under the notion of an Icasmus, they being rather the Instruments of Divine Providence then the Emblem of it. But if we reflect upon their vulgar representation, (which doubtless took its ground from the Mosaick Cherubims) how well they are ap­pointed with wings for the quicker dispatch of those services that are ex­pected of them, they are not unsignificative of that Wisdom that is Wisd. 8. said to be more quick and moving then any motion, and to reach from one end to another mightily and sweetly to order all things.

But that Angels are in these Apocalyptick Visions so constantly and par­ticularly set over every negotiation of Divine Providence, is exceeding consonant to the sense of Daniel, (as in that great change of Nebuchad­nezzar's condition which is said to come to pass by the decree of the Watchers, [...], the Greeks would say [...], Excubitores or Vigiles, by which are understood Angels) and also to the sense of the ancient [Page 228] Cabbala, that makes the number Seven a Symbol of the Sabbatism of God, (wherein he rests from his works) and calls that number [...] in relation to this employment of these Excubitores or Vigiles, these holy Angels whom God imploys in the administration of his Providence.

6. Ascension into Heaven. A Kingdom or Polity being so expresly re­sembled to the World or Universe, (as we shall see under that Title) it is an easie Analogie to parallel the Heavens to the high Places and Dignities of it. According to this sense is that of Chap. 14. 12. Esay, How art thou fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! For thou hast said in thy heart, I will ascend into Heaven, &c. Aspiraveras ad summam dignitatem, so Vatablus. And Achmetes, [...] Onirocrit. c. 161. And in the following Chapter, [...]. And a little after, [...]. Thus Achmetes out of the writings of the Indians, Persians and Aegyptians. All which does expressly declare that Ascending into Heaven signifies the acquisition or increase of Political Dignities and Honours.

7. Air. That the Air is taken for the place of the Empire of the De­vil, appears from Ephes. 2. And you, who were dead in trespasses and sins, wherein in times past you walked according to the course of this world, ac­cording to the Prince of the power of the Air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of Unbelief; that is to say, in Infidels, such as have not submitted themselves to the Kingdom of God, but serve Idols and walk af­ter the lusts of their own mind. Upon which place Drusius out of [...], Sciendum à terra usque ad Expansum omnia plena esse turmis ac praefectis. According to which opinion of the Hebrew Rabbins the Apo­stle again speaks, Chap. 6. For we wrastle not against flesh and bloud, but against Principalities, against the Rulers of the darkness of this world, [...], against those that hold fast the Rule of this lower world, this dark caliginous Air; [...], against wicked Spirits or Devils in these Aereal places. For [...] here is but to the same sense that Expansum is in [...], the space from the clouds downward, as it is limited Gen. 1. Else how could these wicked Spirits be said [...], and [...], as both Peter and Jude declare of them?

But enough of this, and the rather, because where Air occurs in the Pro­phetick Visions in this sense we have spoke of, it is rather an ordinary Me­tonymie then an Icasmus.

8. Balance. That a Balance should signifie Justice, is obvious to any one to conceive, it being a main Instrument of commutative Justice, and a fit Emblem of exactly weighing out and sharing all things, or rather dis­pensing all things accurately. Achmetes out of the Indian Onirocriticks, chap. 15. [...]. I omit to transcribe how he refers the [...], the Scales to the Ears of the Judge, and the Weights in these Scales to the matter pleaded on both sides for him to ponder with an indifferent [Page 229] hearing. And again in the same Chapter, [...] and more particularly he descants upon the condition of the Scales and Beam: but here is enough already to shew how confessed an Emblem a Balance is of Justice. And he insinuates the same of the [...], of Measures.

9. Beast. What a plain resemblance there is betwixt a Body Politick and a living Creature S. Paul copiously declares, 1 Cor. 12. And it is a thing easie to conceive, that as in a Creature that has life there are di­stinctly-framed parts, so ordered one in reference to another, that they are all to be moved for the good of the whole by that power that resides in the Brain in virtue of the spirits pervading throughout: so in a Polity, that there are several Orders and Ranks of men held together by one common Law, (which is as the life and spirit of the Body Politick) and to be moved and directed for the common good by the command and appointment of the Sovereign Power which is the Head of this Kingdom or Polity. Wherefore it is no wonder that Men or Nations thus framed into a Body Politick, which is called a Kingdom, be represented in Daniel under the resemblance of [...], that is [...], living Creatures, but such as are rightly translated by the Septuagint [...], Ferae, wild Beasts, they being such that appear in those Visions. Of which Grotius upon Dan. 7. where there is mention of the four great Beasts ascending out of the Sea; Ideo Bestiae, saith he, quia Idololatrica erant Imperia, ut notat hîc Jacchiades. But not for their Idolatry onely, but also for their bloudy Tyranny, as the same Gro­tius has noted excellently well upon Matth. 20. where Christ declaring that he that would be greatest and first in his Kingdom must be the mi­nister and servant of the rest, and not [...], or [...], not lord it or swagger it over his inferiours, as the Rulers of the Gentiles doe; Haec oppositio, saith he, ostendit cur apud Prophetas Imperia mundi, Bestia­rum; Regnum Christi, Hominis imagine, depingantur. Where by Bestiae we are to understand wild Beasts, as the word usually signifies, and in that sense will exactly answer to the Seventy's [...], (from whence the Latine word Ferae (which always signifies wild Beasts) is derived, by turning [...] into [...] according to the Aeolick Dialect.) Otherwise the Kingdoms of the world might be called [...], as the four Beasts in the Apocalyps (which allude to the Camp of Israel distributed into four quarters, as Mr. Mede has rightly observed) are called, and not [...], that being a very unfit Title for any Polity where Humanity and Equity bears sway.

10. But much less fit would it be for the true Body of Christ, but least of all for the Lamb himself; nor the Lamb a fit Prophetick Representative of one single person, but that Christ had got that Title before, being called by John The Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the World, as being indeed that Paschal Lamb whose Bloud is the Salvation of his people. Wherefore unless there be some such bar as this, (which is an Instantia Monodica) it is most assuredly true, That an Animal or Beast in the Pro­phetick style signifies not one single Man, but a Company, Polity, or Kingdom. For how can they be said to have Horns and Heads, and those Horns and Heads be expressly by an Angel from Heaven interpreted of Kings, if the whole Beasts did not signifie, not single persons, but King­doms?

[Page 230] But why these wild Beasts should imply Idolatry as well as Cruelty in their Type, the reason lies a little deeper, but yet is not fathomless, which I conceive is this: Because Idolatrous worship is lodged within the Verges of the mere Bestial or Animal nature, as may appear from what I have wrote in my Mystery of Godliness, to which, for brevitie sake, I refer the Book 2. chap. 10. Reader.

11. Blasphemy. Blasphemy for Idolatry is also an Icasmus, and the Ana­logie is discernible enough. For what reproachful words are concerning God to the Ears, the same is the worshipping of Images or any Creature with religious worship to the Eyes. For by either way is declared that which is a contumely and vilification of God. And therefore it is no won­der that the Prophetick style affecting an artificial concealment substitutes one kind of Blasphemy for another, that Blasphemy which is [...] for that which is [...], as Chrysostom distin­guishes of Divine Predictions.

But it is observable that the Scripture also in several places terms Idola­try Blasphemy. As in Esay, I will recompense into their bosoms your iniqui­ties Chap. 65. 7. and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the Lord, which have burnt incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: which certainly was not [...], but [...], by their acts of Idolatry. Qui colunt Idola quasi Deos, exprobrant Deo arrogantiam Di­vinitatis, saith A lapide. The like express passage is in Ezekiel; Thus saith the Lord God, Yet in this your fathers have blasphemed me, in that Chap. 20. 27, 28. they have committed a trespass against me: namely, when I brought them into the Land for the which I lifted up my hand to give it to them, then they saw every high hill and all the thick trees, and they offered there their sa­crifices, and thereby presented the provocation of their offering, &c. which the same Interpreter again expounds of their Idolatries, as also Gaspar San­ctius. Again, Deuter. 31. When they shall have eaten and filled them­selves Vers. 20. and waxen fat, then will they turn to other Gods and serve them, and provoke me; so our Translation: but the Hebrew has it [...], which is properly, they will blaspheme me; as it is translated by the Seventy in Esay 52. 5. [...]. As also [...] is rendred Ezek. 35. 12. [...] is the word in the Original. Lastly, it is observable also that in Psalm 69. 9. where the Prophet David says, The reproaches of them that reproached thee, [...], (which is the same as if it had been [...]) are fallen upon me, the Chaldee Paraphrast interprets it of that reproach which God re­ceives by communicating his Worship unto Idols, whenas yet it is ex­pressed by Blasphemie or contumely of words; for so [...] signifies. Wherefore seeing the children of Israel are said in their prevaricating in the Worship of God, and turning to Idols, to blaspheme; it is very easie to conceive, by the rule of Conjugates, that this Idolatry of theirs may well be called Blasphemy.

Accordingly therefore Alcazar interprets the Names of Blasphemy, in the Apocalyps, on the seven Heads of the Beast, of the Temples of Idols; and Grotius paraphrases [...], Plena diis qui ità [Page 231] dicebantur in veri Dei injuriam. So easily is it acknowledged on all hands, that Blasphemy may be put for Idolatry. And it is the most happy and significant Icasmus that can be, nothing expressing the detestable nature of Idolatry so well as it. For Idolatry is as absolute a subsannation and vilifi­cation of God as malice could invent, and as ill as if they should call him by the names of all that base liveless matter that they make their Images of, and proclaim him no better then it: For they giving Divine worship to it, make it equal to him. And this Blasphemy is proportionable in other more worthy Objects that are not God: for they are infinitely worthless in comparison of him, and therefore it is an infinite reproach and horrid blas­phemy against God to worship any thing besides him.

12. Bloud. That Bloud is an Hieroglyphick of Slaughter, Providence it self seems to take for granted in praemitting that Prodigie of raining Bloud before the eruptions of war and bloudshed, as History reports, and all men naturally interpret. And where the Apostle says, Ye have not re­sisted unto bloud, the meaning is, unto death, be it mystically or naturally meant. But even there where Death is meant mystically, there is mention of Bloud: as when the Prophet is charged to denounce to him that sins Ezek. 33. 8. against the Law of God with an high hand, that he shall surely die, speak­ing of eternal death; yet, upon the omission of this warning, it is said that his Bloud shall be upon the Prophet. And chap. 14. 19. even natural death, where there is no effusion of bloud, is so expressed; Or if I send pestilence into the land, and pour out my fury upon it in bloud, to cut off from it man and beast. Upon which Grotius rightly out of the Chaldee Paraphrast, Omne mortis immaturae genus Sanguis Hebraeis. Bloud there­fore signifies Death, and bloudy, dead; because, as it is written, In the bloud thereof is the life thereof. And answerably to this Onirocrit, c. 103. Achmetes, ac­cording to the sense of the Aegyptians and Persians, [...] where the letting out his bloud must be his death; and in Analogie, the destroying the strength of any thing, or that power or virtue whereby it is what it is, is the death of that thing, not considering whether it be animate or inimate.

13. Bow and Arrows. They naturally signifie the aiming at some thing, and the hitting the mark the enjoying the scope of our enterprises: But it may more peculiarly refer to Victory in war, and the rather because they are warlike weapons. Achmetes out of the Onirocriticks of the Aegypti­ans and Persians, [...] Onirocrit. 249. [...]. If a man dream he holds in his hand Bow and Arrows, he shall victoriously insult over his enemies.

Buildings. Achmetes according to the sense of the Indian Interpreter, [...]. If one dream he is in an house of Marble or Stone, it imports long life, and riches where thieves cannot break through nor steal.

Burial. For a dead body to be unburied, it may have a two-fold sig­nification, either of a more infamous death, or of hope of recovering into life. According to the first is that of Ecclesias [...]es, If a man beget an hundred Chap. 6. 3. children, and live many years, and his soul be not filled with good, and also [Page 232] that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better then he. Otherwise not to be buried may signifie onely that what the Vision por­tends will not be quite finished; Burial being the consummation of all, even of Death it self. Whence Leonas Syrus dreaming that he was dead, but not buried, Artemidorus interprets it of that Event, viz. that he was Artemidor. lib. 4 c. 84. victorious, but not crown'd. But Menander of Smyrna dreaming also that he was buried, was also crowned Victor at the Olympick Games. Where­fore not to be buried, in Visions that portend good, is bad; in those that portend bad, is good. And Achmetes expresly, according to the sense of the Indian Interpreters, [...] If there be any thing wanting whereby the Interrement is hindered, it sig­nifies hope of recovery to life.

CHAP. VI.

1. Candle. 2. Character. 3. Clouds of Heaven. 4. Crown of precious Stones. 5. Darkness; Day; Death. 6. Desart. 7. Dragon, a figure of the Devil according to the ancient Cabbala, and then of the chief Poli­ties that oppose the Church. 8. Drunkenness. 9. Eagle; Earth-quake. 10. Eclipses. 11. Eye, an Hieroglyphick of Counsel and Prudence. 12. Fishing; Fish dead in the Sea. 13. Fire, the different significations thereof. 14. Fire from Heaven, its exact significancy of Excommuni­cation. 15, 16. Flesh, two notable significations thereof. 17. Floud; Fornication; Frogs. 18. Gemms and precious Stones; God.

1. CAndle. Candle seems to signifie the prosperous state of things in this world. Job 18. Yea the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine: The light shall be dark in his Tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out. And chap. 29. O that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; when his candle shined upon my head, and by his light I walked through darkness. The like prosperous success the Psalmist also denotes by the same figure, Psal. 18. For thou wilt light my candle, the Lord my God will make my darkness to be light; in his Song of thanksgiving for his deliverance out of the hand of Saul. Astram­psychus and Nicephorus,

[...].

And Artemidorus, lib. 2. c. 9. [...]. A Candle seen burning bright in the house portends good, the increase of riches and plenty. Lastly, Achmetes, according to the meaning of the Aegyptians and Persians, [...]. And in the same Chapter again he saith, That the lighting up of Lights signifies joy and chearfulness, [...] but the extinction of [Page 233] them against a mans will, [...], af­fliction and distress from a mans enemies proportionable to the darkness.

2. Character. That Servants and Souldiers received Marks upon their foreheads and hands, whereby it might be known to whom they did be­long, is a piece of indisputable Antiquity, there being sufficient testimony thereof in Authours. See what is congested in Mr. Mede and Grotius up­on Apocal. 13. But in the Prophetick style it does not imply that there is any visible mark in the hand or on the head of those that are said to be marked, but onely that there is an open profession of belonging to them whose mark they are said to receive. For they are onely Types of Pro­priety, and are no more to be conceived to be really impressed upon them that are said to bear them, then those whole Kingdoms of men, that are called Beasts in the Prophetick style, are to be imagined to be meta­morphozed into Bears or Leopards. For all these are Typical Attri­butes, not Real.

3. Clouds of Heaven. In the Scripture-phrase they seem to signify Power and great Glory. Achmetes, Chap. 194. [...], according to the mind of the Persians and Aegyptians. And Chap. 162. according to the Aegypti­ans, Persians and Indians, [...]. And again in the same Chapter, [...]. The sense of all which is this, That the riding upon the Clouds and ascending into Heaven sig­nifies honourable prosperity, and success against our enemies, and enlarge­ment of power and dignity.

4. Crown of Gemms and precious Stones. Achmetes out of the Oni­rocriticks of the Indians, Chap. 247. [...]. Where the force of the Interpretation bears most upon the Gemms or precious Stones, they being the Emblems of Riches, Height and Honour. They have also a more Mystical meaning in this very Chapter, and signify [...], the brightness of Divine doctrine or Truth. But Chap. 248. they are onely inter­preted of worldly things according to the mind of the Aegyptians and Persians: [...], viz. Pearls and preci­ous Stones, [...] that he has got abundance of them, [...], he shall find proportionable riches and honour.

5. Darkness. See Candle and Eye.

Day. See Time.

Death. Death is a dissolution of Body and Soul, and therefore properly belongs onely to a natural Animal; but by Analogie may be transferred to all Bodies Politick, which the Prophetick style represents under the figure of Animals or single Persons, whether by the simple Appellation of Man or Woman, or else such Conditions of man or woman, as Whore, Wife, [Page 234] Witness, or the like. Now what Life and Spirit is to a natural Animal, that is Rule and Power to figurative Persons or Animals in the Prophetick sense, which are Bodies Politick. And therefore as the loss of the one is the death of the one, so the loss of the other is the death of the other. And because there is a Spirit in all things, even in those things that are inanimate, the fading or vanishing of that spirit may be said analogically to be the Death of those things. Instances are innumerable. I will onely adde, that as in the Hebrew Idiom not to be is to be dead; so in analogie any thing that is not what it was, namely, any thing that is changed from its former condition, this change thereof may goe for a kind of Death; as Death is ordinarily said to be a Change.

6. Desart. That by Desart is meant Paganism, Alcazar pronounces with great confidence, speaking of the Woman in the wilderness; In qua locutione notandum est per Desertum proculdubio figurari Gentilita­tem. For which opinion he produces a cloud of witnesses, Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, Ambrosius, Basilius, Hieronymus, Gregorius, Hilarius, Hesychius, &c. The reason of which Hieroglyphick I conceive is this; The Idolatry of the Pagans was much in Woods and Groves and on the tops of Mountains and wast places; and the names of their Daemons [...] and [...] have reference to the fields and desarts. Besides that Idolaters do not emerge above the pitch of the mere Animal life, and their worship and devotion is little higher then that of the Ele­phant or Cercopithecus. The Rapacity also and bloudy Cruelty of the Pagan Kingdoms farther fill out the congruity of the Type. And con­sequently where such a condition of things is as this does typify, that is to say, whatever Kingdoms or Empires do paganize, they do ipso facto be­come a Wilderness or Desart.

7. Dragon. The Hebrew word is [...] and signifies Draco or Serpens, and also Cetus, as being the great Serpent or Dragon of the Sea. And accordingly the Seventy render [...] Gen. 1. [...]. That it is a Figure of the Devil, the ancient Cabbala of Moses may assure us; and it may be, though one be noted chiefly, yet the Serpent there may have a Prophetick Henopoeia in it, and signify the whole Principality of Satan, that Kingdom of Darkness which has been ever in opposition against the Kingdom of God: and therefore it is no wonder that those Kingdoms that have in such a special manner afflicted the Church, have been represented under this Figure, as Aegypt and the Roman Empire.

Awake, awake, put on strength, O arme of the Lord, awake as in the Esay 51. ancient days, in the generations of old. Art no [...] thou he that hath cut Rahab, (that is, Aegypt, see Forerius) and wounded the Dragon? which is Pharaoh, as Ezekiel plainly speaks out; I am against thee, Pharaoh King of Aegypt, the great Dragon that lieth in the midst of the Chap. 29. Rivers. And for that he lies thus in the Rivers, he is called Leviathan, as if he were a Water-serpent or a Whale. Psalm 74. Thou brakest the heads of Leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to thy people in the Wilderness. [...] Heads of the Leviathan; as if this Levia­than, as the Dragon in the Apocalyps, had more Heads then one.

[Page 235] These considerations plainly intimate to us, That the Seven-headed Serpent in the Apocalyps, which is the Roman State or Kingdom, is so represented not onely in regard of that old Serpentine form that tempted our first Parents, but has a reflexion also upon that Tyrannical Kingdom of Aegypt which is typified under the image of a Dragon and Leviathan; and that not only Rome Pagan has a share in this Type, but Rome Paga­no-Christian. For all the Seven Heads are from the Body of the Dra­gon; and the Beast that was, and is not, and yet is, is as well the Dra­gon as not the Dragon, and therefore is as well Aegypt (and I wish I could not say more) as the Church of God, or the Kingdom of his Son Jesus.

8. Drunkenness. It is taken sometimes for the being so filled and intoxi­cated with the pleasures and affluences of this world, as to be regardless and senseless of the things of God. Esay 29. Stay your selves and wonder, cry ye out and cry: They are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the Lord has poured upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes; the prophets and the rulers, the seers hath he covered. Such a remiss Stupor and Drunkenness does the pro­sperity of this world often cast men into. Achmetes from the Indian Interpretations, cap. 111. [...] If any one dream he is drunk with wine, riches and power will flow in to him proportionably to his dunken­ness. And he affirms the like in the following Chapter according to the sense of the Aegyptians and Persians. There is also a Drunken­ness from the Cup of Affliction, which is often intimated in the Scriptures.

9. Eagle. Esay 40. 31. But they that wait upon the Lord shall re­new their strength; they shall mount up with wings as Eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not be faint. And Exod. 19. 4. Ye had seen what I did to the Aegyptians, and how I bare you on Eagles wings, and brought you unto my self. Artemidor. lib. 2. c. 20. [...]. For poor men to dream they ride upon an Eagle, it is good; for it signifies they will be supported and well relieved by the rich.

Earth-quake. So we usually turn the Greek word [...], but it sig­nifies also more generally any shaking or concussion; as Heb. 12. 26. [...] where the Author says this [...] signifies the removing of those things that are shaken. Hagg. 2. 21. Speak to Zerubbabel Governour of Judah, saying, I will shake the Heavens and the Earth, and I will overthrow the Thrones of Kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the Kingdoms of the Hea­then. This is a plain [...]. The like ruine and over­turning of things is set out, but by what is the effect of [...], an Earth-quake properly so called, Jer. 4. 24. I beheld the Mountains, and lo they trembled, and all the Hills moved lightly. Which, verse 26, he interprets as Haggai before, I beheld, and lo the fruitful place was a Wilderness, and all the Cities thereof were broken down, &c.

[Page 236] Achmetes out of the Indian, Persian and Aegyptian Onirocriticks, [...]. Artemidor. lib. 2. c. 46. [...]. But this is so easy an Iconism, that it was needless to produce so many testimonies.

10. Eclipses. The Eclipses of the Luminaries what they mean, will easily be understood if we consider what the Sun and Moon are in the Political Universe. For certainly they are the highest Dignities in that Heaven. Of which more under their proper Titles. In the mean time it shall suffice briefly to note out of Achmetes, that according to the Indian, Persian and Aegyptian Onirocriticks, If the Sun be [...], without brightness (in such an hue, I suppose, as Virgil describes,

Cùm caput obscurâ nitidum ferrugine tinxit)

and without rays, [...], that inglorious obscurity and duskishness is referred to the person of the King, and implies an imminution of his glory. [...] But if the Sun be eclipsed, he will be afflicted and oppressed by war.

The same judgment they give of the Moon and of the Stars, if they be [...], or [...]. See cap. 167, 168. These things are too easie to insist upon, and will be necessarily acknowledged, it being once granted That the Universe is a Prophetick Emblem of a Kingdom or Polity, as we shall clearly shew in its due place.

11. Eye. The light of the body, saith our Saviour, is the Eye. And Topic. l. 1. c. 14. Aristotle, [...], That the Eye of the Soul is the Understanding or Intellect. So that it is plain that the Eye is an Iconism of Knowledge, as Darkness and Blindness is of Ignorance; an expression frequent in the Scripture.

But there is also a peculiar fitness of significancy of humane Policy and Prospection in the Eye; that Organ of the Body being not onely in the Head, but the chief guide of it and the whole Body, as being able to reach further by far and to act more quick then any other Sense whatsoever. Wherefore Prospicere in longitudinem, that is to say, wisely to consult afore-hand for the rightly managing affairs, and to contrive Counsels so as makes most for the future safety of things, and for the advancement of the Interest of a State, the Eye is a fit Emblem of this skill. Which the Aegyptians seem to have intimated in that known Hieroglyphick of theirs, A Scepter with an Eye on the top of it: where it is plain that the Eye sig­nified that Political skill, prospection and counsel which is necessary in managing and ordering affairs of State, for the greatest security and promotion of them. And that Eyes signifie the administration of Di­vine Providence also, seems to be intimated Zach. 4. 10. on which we have not here time to insist.

12. Fishing. Artemidor. lib. 2. c. 14. [...] To dream of catching fishes many [Page 237] and great, is good, and portends profit to all that dream so. Achmetes; c. 178. [...], &c. If any one dream that he catches fishes by angling in the Sea, he shall find riches, &c.

Fish dead in the Sea. Artemidor. lib. 2. c. 18. [...] To seem to see Fishes dead in the Sea, is not good: for it signifies disappointment of our hope, and that what we ex­pect will not come to pass.

13. Fire. Fire is a various Symbol, and signifies as well good as ill, but always in a way of Consumption or Destructiveness: but when it destroys that which is bad, it is good. The Holy Ghost it self is assimilated to Fire, as the Baptist witnesses of Christ, He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire; such a Fire as is to burn up the chaff, but save the wheat, as is inti­mated Matth. 3. 11. in the place. So Malac. 3. Who shall abide the day of his coming? For he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's sope: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he shall purifie the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver; that is, consume away their dross. Manifold instances there are of this sense of Fire, but it is needless to produce them.

But for Fire in the other destructive sense, it is still more obvious. I shall name one place for many; Esa. 66. 15. For behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirl-wind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebukes with flames of fire. For by fire and by sword will the Lord plead with all flesh, and the slain of the Lord shall be many.

The fitness of the Fire's signifying Consumption or Destruction Arte­midorus has taken notice of, lib. 2. c. 8. [...]. And in the same Chapter he says it signifies, if there be a considerable quantity of it in the Heavens, [...], the incursion of Enemies, and their coming from that part in what quarter of the Heaven it is seen. And answerably to this Achmetes, according to the sense of the Indians, c. 159. [...] And of the Persians and Aegyptians, c. 160. [...]. And again, [...]. And, lastly, he saith, that if his Chariot appear to be set on fire, [...]. So destructive is the Symbol of Fire every-where, and particularly denotes a destruction by war and hostility, as is observa­ble out of these citations.

14. Fire from Heaven. Fire from Heaven and Thunder may very well be the same, [...], as Artemidorus speaks, lib. 2. c. 8. But in allusion to Elias his bringing down fire from Heaven upon those Fifties that were sent to him from Ahaziah to apprehend him, the fame of that eminent Miracle may make the bringing down Fire from Heaven pass into a Proverbial phrase, for the doing exceeding great Mira­cles. This may be good sense, but we seek for an Icasmus.

Fire from Heaven therefore according to Artemidorus may signifie [...], the commination of those that are in Authority; and [Page 238] that very fitly, Heaven being the place of Dignity in the Political Universe. But nothing so minacious as that Fire or Lightning that goes before Thunder. What therefore can be more significative of Excommunication then this? especially if conceived to be vibrated from no inferiour Officer, but from an Oecumenical Bishop, the Head of the Church Catholick, who is placed in the higher Regions of the Political Heaven. Which Analogie will be still more exact, if we consider what Artemidorus observes of Thunder, [...]. For Thunder and Lightning does not unite, but disjoyns things that are united. So does Excommunication that rives off a Member from the Church.

And there is still a further congruity that Excommunication should be called Thunder and Lightning, or Fire from Heaven, in that it is the commination of Hell-fire, of which the destruction of Sodom was a Type, which was burnt by fire from Heaven, as Mr. Mede has judiciously ob­served. And what is the last [...] but Fire from Heaven? To which destruction whoever do take upon them to adjudge men, may very well be said to bring down fire from Heaven upon them, which that Thun­der-bolt of Excommunication does threaten.

15. Flesh. By Flesh is understood in Scripture whatsoever is opposite to the Spirit, and I mean in a Moral or Mystical way, and that is all to be consumed by the Spirit and by Fire. But more particularly Flesh signifies sometimes that which they vulgarly call Carnal Ordinances, in some such sense as that is meant by S. Paul, Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Gal. 3. 3. spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Where he speaks of the Law of Moses. And the Author to the Hebrews more expresly, who speak­ing Chap. 7. v. 16. of Christ, and comparing of him with the Mosaick Aaron, Who is made (saith he) not after the Law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. And still nearer to our purpose, chap. 9. ver. 10. where he speaks of a service which stood onely in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal Ordinances imposed on them untill the time of Reformation. By Flesh therefore may be understood all the external Ordi­nances and Institutes that men have rashly heaped upon Christianity, whether merely useless, or else Superstitious and Idolatrous: for these are to the spirit of Christianity, as the over-load of a fulsome and over-grown and unwholesome Flesh to the spirit of man. [...].

16. But there is another sense of Flesh taken much notice of in the Oni­rocriticks. Artemidor. lib. 3. c. 23. [...] It is not good for a rich man to dream he eats his own flesh, for it signifies the utter wasting of his riches or substance. Achmetes c. 283. according to the Indian, Persian and Aegyptian Interpreters, [...]. Like that of the Israelites eating the flesh or the Leviathan in the Wilderness; for the Leviathan or Dragon is the King of Aegypt. And again, c. 285. [...]. And, lastly, according to the Indians, c. 87. [...]. [Page 239] And compendiously and at once, [...] Flesh is universally referred to gold and riches in the in­terpretation of Visions or Dreams.

17. Floud. See Water.

Fornication. See Whoredom.

Frogs. A Frog is an Hieroglyphick of Imperfection, saies Hieroglyph. lib. 29. Pierius, according to the sense of the Aegyptian Priests: and he makes as if the occasion thereof was the observation of the half-finished generation of this Animal out of the slime of Nilus which he casts up in his overflowing, after which this Creature is seen half-formed, part Frog, part Mud; as Lib. 1. Hie­roglyph. 25. Horus Apollo also expresly affirms, [...].

But in that it is thus gendred of filth and mire, I should look upon it as a fit Emblem of that Wisedom which is not from above, but is [...], Earthly, Animal or Sensual, and Devillish, and is accompanied with bitter zeal and strife in the heart, as the Apostle in­timates just before, and contrary to that Wisedom which is from above, which is first pure, not bemired with worldly lusts, then peaceable, not breeding contention, nor full of words and brawlings, like the impor­tunate, narsh and disharmonious Coaxations of Frogs, (so called in the Greek from that very ungratefull noise, as if [...] were as much as [...], from the shrilness and asperity of the noise they make) much less forward to war and bloudshed, or to the instigating of Princes and men in Power thereunto: which the hoarse and harsh Coaxation of these Creatures may be a fit Symbol of; and the rather, if these Trumpeters to war be conceived to be such men as are as soft and unwarlike as these naked and slimy Animals, no more fit to fight then they, but be onely Trumpeters to war and confusion, and that for their own Interest; the zealous declamations and vociferations they make being in behalf of themselves, as all the noise the Frog makes is with its tongue turned inwards towards its one gullet. Whence that Creature seems a very lively Emblem of such Wretches as these. Arte­midor. lib. 2. c. 15. [...] Ranae homines impostores & scurras significant; which has no small affi­nity with our larger description of them.

18. Gemms and precious Stones. See Crown.

God. In the Hebrew [...] signifies Magistrates as well as God; as appears from several places of Scripture. And Artemidorus has taken notice of the Analogie even from the highest Antiquity, lib. 2. c. 37. [...]. Quicquid do­minatur, vim habet Dei. And again, lib. 3. c. 13. [...]. If any rich man dream he is made a God, it prognosticates a very great Principality: For Princes are in a power of doing good and hurt in a manner equal to the very Gods.

[...]
[...]

CHAP. VII.

1. Hail; the signification thereof according to Scripture, 2. And the ancient Onirocriticks. 3. Harvest, the evil and auspicious sense thereof. 4. Head, how clearly significative of Sovereign Power, whether in Many or One. 5. Heaven and Earth. 6. Horn. 7. Horse; Islands. 8. King, and Kingdom. 9. That Kinds or Sorts of things are sometimes expressed as if Individualls of the same Kind. 10. Leo­pard; Locusts. 11. Male-childe; Mark; Measure; Mill; Month; Moon. 12. Mountain, the several significations thereof.

1. HAil. Whenas Winds and Storms signify Political Commotions and Warres, as is acknowledged by Grotius and all other Inter­preters that they doe, as in Daniel 7. 2. (where the Four winds of Heaven are said to strive upon the great Sea,) well may a storm of Hail signify War and Incursion of the enemie; and especially if they come from the North, the congeledness of this Meteor bearing upon it the character of that Quarter.

Two eminent Examples of this Prophetick Figure we have in Esay. The first, Ch. 28. Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong One, which as a Tempest of Hail and destroying storm, as a floud of mighty waters over­flowing, shall cast down to the Earth violently. The crown of Pride, the Drunkards of Ephraim shall be troden under feet. Haec significant (saith Forerius) hostium adventum, qui universum regnum Israel devastaturi erant. But it is so plain it wanted no interpretation. The other example is Esay ch. 30. And the Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lighting down of his arme with the indignation of his anger, and with a flame of devouring fire, with scattering, and tempests, and hail-stones. For with the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian be beaten down, &c. that is to say, The forces of the Lord will come against Assur like Thunder and Lightening and Hail. So plain is it that an Hail-storm is significative of the incursion and assault of an enemie, accor­ding to the style of Scripture.

2. The like significancy is also acknowledged in the Onirocriticks. Artemidor. lib. 2. c. 8. [...]. The like he saith also c. 41. which have some similitude with that in Daniel. But to come nearer to the point concerning Hail; Achmetes, out of the Indian, Persian and Aegyptian Onirocritical Solutions, c. 191. [...]. But yet more par­ticularly of Hail, and more to our present purpose, [...] If one dream that Hail falls on a place, he may expect a through and sudden incursion of the enemie. And further, [...] But if he dream that the Hail hurt the stemms or [Page 241] stalks of the Corn, accordingly as they are broken, in the same proportion will the slaughter of men be upon the place.

3. Harvest. That cutting down Corn is significative of the death of men, appears by that Apparition of twelve men seeming to mow the Corn-fields with sithes in Merchia, upon which a pestilence followed. But that mortality that is by war is still more fitly expressed thereby. Achmetes, out of the Indian Onirocriticks, [...] If a King dream he sees harvest reaped in his own Countrey, he will suddenly hear of the slaughter of his people. This similitude is also used in Scripture. Jer. 15. 33. The daughter of Babylon is like a thrashing-floor, it is time to thrash her; yet a little while and the time of her Harvest shall come.

But Harvest sometimes has a more auspicious sense, as in that of our Saviour, John 4. 35. Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to Harvest. And he that reapeth, receiveth wages and gathereth fruit to life eternal, that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.

4. Head. That the Head of a Beast in these Prophetick Figures signi­fies that Person or those Persons in whom the Supreme Power resides, is as infallibly to be concluded as the fourth Proportional in Arithmetick, three Numbers being given. For we have three terms of the Analogie here also; viz. a Kingdom and the Sovereignty thereof, and a Beast which is the Prophetick figure of a Kingdom: Wherefore we cannot miss to say, As a Kingdom is to the Sovereign Power thereof, so is this Pro­phetick or figurative Beast to the Head thereof; and alternately, As the Kingdom to the Beast, so the Sovereign Power of the Kingdom to the Head of the Beast. Whence we see plainly that the Head of a Beast answers to the Supreme Power, and that whether the Supreme Power be in one single Person or in many. For as the Power abstractedly is not considered, so neither the Persons abstracted from their Power; but both, in concreto, make up this Head Politick. And therefore if the Supreme be not but in many, those many are the Head; and not the less one Head for consisting of many persons, no more then the Body is less one Body for consisting of many persons. Nay, if a man should follow the Symmetry of his Phancy rather then his Reason, a Head of many persons to a Body of a vast multitude of persons would look more ele­gantly and proportionably then one single person: As if a Beast were made of little wax bullets sticking together, a head of one bullet put to it would not look so conformably as an head of many bullets, such as the whole body consisted of.

5. Heaven and Earth. By Heaven and Earth is understood the Uni­verse, as Grotius has rightly noted upon Genesis, and abundantly proved upon 2 Pet. 3. 13. But that by Heaven and Earth the Prophets some­time understand a Political Universe, that is, a Kingdom or Polity, there needs no further proof thereof then what is found in Esay ch. 51. 15. I am the Lord thy God, that divided the Sea whose waves roared, the Lord of Hoasts is my Name. And I have put my words in thy mouth, and [Page 242] have covered thee in the shadow of my hand, that I might plant the Hea­vens and lay the foundations of the Earth, and say unto Sion, Thou art my people; that is to say, to make them that were but scattered persons and slaves in Aegypt before, a Kingdom or Polity, to be governed by their own Laws and Magistrates. Again, chap. 65. 17. For behold, I create new Heavens and a new Earth, and the former shall not be remem­bred nor come into minde. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. Upon which Text Forerius, Decrevi enim novum Orbem condere, by which he means the Kingdom of Christ upon Earth, that is, his Church. According to which sense also he interprets, For as the new Heavens and the new Earth, which I shall make, shall remain before me, so shall your Esay 66. 22. seed and your name remain: Quam diu duraret novus Orbis, i. e. Reg­num Dei & Ecclesiae, &c. And Grotius also, though he look a-scue, and is very shie (himself best knows the reason) at these places that have been mentioned, yet he cannot abstain from interpreting the new Heaven and the new Earth, Apocal. 21. of the state of the Church upon Earth. And Dr. Hammond upon 2 Pet. 3. doth expresly acknowledge the new Heaven and the new Earth there mentioned to have a Political sense. Which noti­on was worth the clearing, because this general Analogie will make us the better understand what the parts of the Universe figuratively signify; as, to be called up into Heaven, or cast down to the Earth, and the like.

6. Horn. Horn also signifies the Supreme Power of a Body Politick, which is resembled to a Beast, it being the highest part of the Beast and the Defender of his body. It is the interpretation of the Angel in Daniel, The great Horn is the first King. And the ten Horns are interpreted ten Kings by the Angel in the Apocalyps. For they were the height and summity of their respective Kingdoms, though in some sort subordinate to the seventh Head of the Beast.

7. Horse. There is no express interpretation of that Animal in Scrip­ture. But a generous Horse with his Rider does naturally emblematize Rule and Command. Which may seem also hinted to us from that of Psalm 45. 4. [...], which is, Prosper and ride: which the Seventy turn [...], Prosper and reign.

But an Horse signifies also any success or fortune of him that rides on him. So Achmetes out of the Indian Interpretations, [...], &c. If one dreams that he rides on Pharas, (which is a generous Steed) which goes orderly and obediently, he shall obtain [...], honour and renown proportionable to the Beast he rides on. And so after he descants on the largeness, thickness and length of the tail, declaring that his power and train shall be answer­able; but if bob-tailed or thin of hair, it signifies defect of power. The halting of the Horse also signifies impediments in the affairs of the Rider; and his contumacy and intractableness (if he be [...] hard-mouthed) the Rider's both fault and affliction. And several other things in the Horse are in like manner referred to him that rides him, c. 152.

And again, c. 233. [...] [Page 243] [...]. And presently after, [...]. And a little after, [...]. And lastly, [...]. Out of all which it is plainly manifest that these Horses are the Symbols of the Conditions of their Riders, or of the People over which they are set, who are the Beast they ride upon. Which will facilitate the understanding of the Visions of the Four Horses in the Apocalyps, whose Riders are easily conceived to be Commanders, who are properly Emperours, and what is signified in the Horses, to respect either the Empire or the Emperours themselves.

Hour. See Time.

Islands. That Islands may signifie persons of greater Dignity, their emi­nency or bearing themselves above the Planicies of the Sea does intimate to us: But that they may sometimes signifie Temples or places consecrate, their being disterminated from other Land, as these Edifices are from all other Houses, may well allure a mans imagination to believe. See Mr. Mede upon the Sixth Seal.

8. King and Kingdom. If King be look'd upon as one distinct kind of Sovereignty, when it is put for Supreme Governour, it may either be an Icasmus, (for every Supreme Governour is to his Body Politick as a King to his) or else a Diorismus, which is a kind of Prophetick Synecdoche, as I have said, setting down the Species for the Genus. But if it be so, as Mr. Mede seems abundantly to have proved (in his Regnum Romanum est quartum Regnum Danielis,) that King and Kingdom in the Hebrew is as large in use of signification as Supreme Power and that Body that is subject thereto, be it Kingdom or Commonwealth, then to use King promiscuously of any Supreme Power, calling him [...], as Apoc. 17. it is onely an Hellenism; and the calling the Seven Heads there Seven Kings needs neither the solution into a Diorismus nor Icasmus, but onely an Henopoeia, for those Heads amongst them which are conceived to be such a Sovereignty as resides in many.

9. And that they are said to be Seven Kings, and not seven sorts of Kings, that is no unusual manner of speech; for we say, Four Moral Vertues, Five Senses, Three Physical Principles, Four Passions, and the like, for three kinds and four kinds of Principals and Passions, and so of the rest. So the Four Beasts in Daniel that are said to rise out of the Sea are four kinds of Beasts, not Individuals of the same kind. And the Two Witnesses in the Apo­calyps are Two several kinds of Witnesses, as Grotius himself acknow­ledges.

But were it not that use has made it thus familiar, to call seven sorts of Kings seven Kings were a Diorismus, the speech being more restrained and determinate. For an Individual is more determinate then the Species, and the Species then the Genus. So little difficulty is there in calling seven sorts of Supreme Governours Seven Kings, as the Text of the Apocalyps does, chap. 17. 10.

10. Leopard. Achmetes, c. 272. [...] [Page 244] [...], A Leopard signifies an unreconcilable Enemy. And in the same Paragraph he saith, If a Commander dreams that he fights with this Ani­mal, [...], Cum hoste potente, fraudulento & formidoloso bellum geret.

Locusts. That Locusts signifie numerous Armies of men pillaging and destroying a Country, is plain from Joel 1. 6. For a Nation is come up upon my land, strong and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a Lion, and be hath the cheek-teeth of a great Lion. He hath laid my Vine waste, and hath barked my Fig-tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away, the branches thereof are made white. By Nation the Jews and Vatablus with others understand a multitude of Locusts; but that is but the Type. The Persians and Babylonians, as also other Na­tions that were to lay waste Judaea, are signified thereby, according to Munster and Clarius. Grotius also interprets it of the Armies of Phul and Salmanasser. Also in the next Chapter, vers. 2. the gloominess and dark­ness of that day is imputed to the cloud of Locusts that flie in the aire; and their sudden lighting on the place compared to the morning spread upon the mountains. And v. 3. The land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; namely, by reason of their de­vouring all the green herbs where-ever they come. That is the Interpre­tation of several Hebrew Expositors, as also of Vatablus, Castalio, Drusius, Liveleius. But Munster and Grotius expound it of the numerous Armies of the Babylonians and Assyrians that were to waste and destroy Judaea.

Achmetes, c. 300. according to the mind of the Indians, Persians and Aegyptians, [...]. The latter part of which Aphorism is to be referred to the In­dian Onirocriticks, and does assuredly allude to that of Joel. And again, [...] If any King or Potentate see Locusts come upon a place, let him expect a powerful multitude of Enemies there; and look what hurt the Locusts doe, the enemy will doe mischief proportionably.

11. Male-child. As the Woman that brings forth is not a single woman, but the Apostolick Church; so the Child must not be a single person, but a company, Apoc. 12. to which Grotius also subscribes. And Andreas upon the place, Filius masculus est Ecclesiae populus, the Mystical Christ. Totus enim Christus & Caput & Corpus est, as Cassandr. Consult. Art. 7. Cassander has noted out of S. Austin. If [...] therefore may be understood of a Multitude un­der one Head, why may not [...], 2 Thess. 2. 3?

Measure. See Balance.

Mark. See Character.

Mill. Achmetes, out of the Onirocriticks of the Indians, c. 194. [...], &c. If any one dream he has a Mill grinding, he shall prosper in his employment, and live in affluence proportionably to the [...] thickness and fairness of the Mill­stones, [Page 245] &c. And cap. 195. out of the Persian and Aegyptian Interpre­tations, [...].

Month. See Time.

Moon. See Sun, Moon and Stars.

12. Mountain. Mountain may have several significations. As first, it may signifie the Temples or Holy places of Idolaters, of which there is frequent mention in Scripture under the title of High places. Jer. 3. 23. according to the vulgar Latin, Verè mendaces erant colles, & multitudo montium; verè in Domino Deo nostro salus Israel. Upon which Grotius, Colles illi in quibus Idola colebantur nos deceperunt. Secondly, Mountains signifie Cities. Esa. ch. 13. 2. concerning Babylon, Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain. Forerius out of the Chaldee Paraphrast, super munitio­nem quae habitat pacificé. The vulgar Latin has it, super montem caligi­nosum. Upon which Grotius, Id ideo, quia vetus Babylon in palustribus locis sita erat, unde ascendens vapor urbem obscurabat. Jer. 51. 25. Be­hold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, I will stretch out my hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks. Upon which Munster, Vocat Babylonem montem ob aedificiorum molem, cùm urbs ipsa in planitie fuerit sita; and analogically he interprets the Rocks, de praesidiis turrium emi­nentium. To which Vatablus and Clarius agree expresly. But all interpret this Mountain of the City Babylon. And Zach. 4. 7. Who art thou, O great Mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain. Grotius interprets it of Babylon cast down by Cyrus. Thirdly, Achmetes, accor­ding to the sense of the Persians, Indians and Aegyptians, interprets Mountains of great and wealthy men, cap. 144. where speaking of Earth­quakes and the things that are overturned by them, [...] (saith he) [...]. And lastly, it seems to be spoke of a whole Kingdom that is grown great, as Dan. 2. where the Stone cut out without hands becomes a Mountain, and fills the whole Earth.

CHAP. VIII.

1. Nakedness; Paradise. 2. Philtre. That [...] is Virus amatorium. 3. That Magical words were used in the mixing of Philtres. 4. Pillars; Rain; Red. The seventh Head of the red Dragon what it intimates. 5. Resurrection. That to be cut off and slain signifies also Politically. 6. Rivers, what they signifie in reference to the Sea. 7. What in re­spect of their limpidity and irrigation. 8. Saints; Scorpion; Scorched by the Sun. 9. Sea; Serpent; Slain; Slaughter. 10. Sun, Moon and Stars. The spiritual signification of Sun and Moon. 11. A secular sig­nification of them in general. 12. A more particular signification of them in that sense. 13. In what sense the King of Babylon is called [...] or Lucifer; and the Western Caesar a Star in the Apocalyps. 14. A more mystical signification of Stars, and what [...] sig­nifies.

[Page 246] 1. NAkedness. It is either understood spiritually, as Apocal. 3. 18. for be­ing destitute of Divine Graces; or else in a more vulgar meaning for Distress, Poverty and Disgrace. Achmetes, [...]. See also ch. 117. to the same purpose.

Paradise. Achmetes cap. 8. according to the sense of the Indian Inter­preters, If a man dream he enters Paradise, it fore-signifies salvation to him: [...], But it signifies also riches and worldly prosperity. And presently after, concerning the fruits of Paradise, [...] Because the fruits of Paradise are Divine and useful Notions.

2. Philtre. Philtrum is a Love-potion, Virus amatorium, a Composi­tion that is to extort love from the party that drinks it. Mr. Mede makes that Apocal. 14. 8. of the wine of the wrath of her Fornication (which in the Greek is [...]) to be a Periphrasis of a Philtre: which therefore he renders thus, ex vino veneficii scortatio­nis suae. For as the Hebrew word [...] signifies both wrath and poison, so the Greek word [...] signifies the like: as is plain out of that one place, Deuteron. 32. 33. Their wine is the poison of Dragons, and the cruel venome of Asps: which the Seventy render, [...]. There are also several other places of Scripture to the same purpose. See Grotius on the Text. [...] therefore is as much as Vinum venenatum, in such a sense as it may be Virus amatorium. For what other kinde of Potion should be in the hand of a Whore? especially such an one who is said [...], by her sorcery and enchantment to have deceived the nations of the earth, that is to say, by her enchanted cup, [...]. For [...] signifies venenum as well as [...].

3. But that Magical Rites and Charms were used in the mingling these Love-potions, is up and down famed in the writings of the Poets. As in Juvenal, Satyr. 6.

Hippomanes carménque loquar coctúmque venenum.

And towards the end of that Satyre,

Hic magicos affert cantus, hic Thessala vendit
Philtra——

Which plainly implies that Philtres are made by Witchcraft. And Virgil concerning the superstitious gathering of Hippomanes, potent, as it was believed, for this purpose, Georgic. 3. intimates the like;

Hippomanes quod saepe malae legere Novercae,
Miscuerúntque herbas & non innoxia verba.

And, lastly, Ovid in his De Arte amandi, lib. 2.

Non facient [...]t vivet amor Medeïdes herbae,
Mistáque cum magicis Marsa venena sonis.

[Page 247] All which places with several others do sufficiently inform us of the na­ture of a Philtre, That it is a Magical potion, and superstitiously mingled according to certain Rites and Laws of Sorcery or Witchcraft, whatever the Ingredients be. And that therefore [...], rendred Vinum Veneficii, or Philtrum, which is Virus amatorium, agrees very well with [...], with the Sorcery of the Whore mentioned Apocal. 18. 23. which she being accused of, and no other signs appearing upon her of that wickedness but this Cup in her hand, it is in all likelihood to be found there.

4. Pillar. Pillars signifie Princes or Nobles in a Kingdome, [...] or [...] as you may see in Achmetes, c. 148. & 160.

Rain. Rain may signifie the refreshment of pure and heavenly Do­ctrine. As in Deuteronom. ch. 32. 2. My doctrine shall drop as the Rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass. Also Peace and Righteousness through the goodness of the sovereign power. Psal. 72. 6. the Kingdome of Christ is so described, He shall come down like the rain upon the mowen grass, as showers water the earth. In his daies shall the righteous flourish, and abun­dance of peace so long as the Moon endureth. So likewise Hosea 10. 12. there is mention of the Lord's coming and raining down righteousness upon them. Achmetes out of the Indian Solutions, c. 171. [...] Rain is an emblem of mercy from God in answering our Prayers. And therefore he saith, If any one dream that his field is rained upon, [...], he shall find riches, and joy, and mercy from God. And a little after he interprets [...] to be [...]. Accor­ding to which is that of the Psalmist, Thou, O God, sentest a gracious rain on thine inheritance, and refreshedst it when it was dry.

Red. That Red does emblematize bloudy Cruelty and barbarous Perse­cution, is so obvious to conceive, that it seems needless to have noted it. Every one acknowledges that that [...] Apocal. 12. that great red Dragon with seven Heads is so called from his Sanguinolency: But that his Seventh head's growing out of this red body signifies that this Beast will be cruel also under the Seventh Head, and that this Cruelty it self is part of the Image of the Beast, this every one has not noted.

5. Resurrection. That the Resurrection of the dead has a Political sense as well as a Theological or Physical, may appear plainly from Ezekiel 37. 9. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God, Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood upon their feet, an exceeding great army. That this is to be un­derstood in a Political sense concerning the restoring of the people of Is­rael to their own Land out of thraldome and captivity, is plain from the very mouth of God himself in the following verses; Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost, we are cut off for our parts: Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, O [Page 248] my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

Whence it is plain that to be cut off, to be slain, and to rise from the dead, has (as I said) a Political sense as well as a Natural or Theological; and that Resurrection is a Recuperation of such rights and liberties as have been taken away, and a deliverance from persecution, affliction and bondage. Achmetes, cap. 5. according to the Indian doctrine, [...]. And cap. 6. according to the doctrine of the Persian Oniro­criticks, [...]. And lastly, ac­cording to the Aegyptians, c. 7. [...]. The sense of all which put together is, That the dreaming of men rising from the dead signifies the execution of Justice, and deliverance from war, bondage and affliction.

6. Rivers. A River has a double consideration. The first in respect of its Original and its recourse thither; which is hinted Ecclesiast. 1. 7. All the Rivers run into the Sea, yet the Sea is not full: unto the place from whence the Rivers come, thither they return again. According to which consideration, supposing the Sea a Type of the Extent of the Jurisdiction or Empire of any Potentate, as it indeed is, Rivers will signifie any Emissary Powers from thence, whether Armies, or Provincial Magistrates, or what Agents abroad soever that are under this chief Power, and so act in reference to it. These may, according to exact Analogie, be called Rivers, because both themselves and their affairs have recourse to the main Sea, the amplitude of that Jurisdiction to which they belong.

Achmetes, c. 178. according to the mind of the Indians, Persians and Aegyptians, [...]. The sense of which is, That any great King is resembled by the Sea, I suppose he means his Kingdom; and as all Rivers run into the Sea, so the wealth of the world to him. And again to the same purpose, [...] That new Rivers running into the Sea signify new Revenues accruing to the King or Kingdom from people afar off, suppose made Provinces by his power.

7. The other consideration of Rivers is their limpidness and irriga­tion: but in this respect they have either a Spiritual sense or more Mun­dane. The former appears from what our Saviour hath said John 7. 38. He that believes in me, out of his belly shall flow Rivers of water. This he spake of the Spirit, which they that believed in him should receive. The fruit of which Spirit, as it is communicable to the generality of the Church, is Righteousness, Peace and Joy; according to that Onirocriti­cal solution of Astrampsychus,

[...].

Of this Water our Saviour Christ, John 4. Whosoever drinketh of the [Page 249] water that I shall give him, shall never thirst: but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. Like that in Esay 58. And thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.

But Waters are also meant of worldly affluency: Jerem. 31. 12. There­fore they shall come, and sing in the height of Sion, and shall flow together for the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd; and their soul shall be as a watered garden, and they shall not sorrow any more at all. Achmetes, c. 176. accor­ding to the Aegyptian Solutions, [...]. Rivers that water the soil are interpreted of mans livelihood. [...] If one sees a River that uses to water the country dried up, it portends death, sorrow and affliction.

8. Saints. The first style of Saintship belongs to the Israelites, who were a separate people, set apart from other Nations and made holy to the Lord by adhering to that Law he gave them, not contaminating themselves with the Idolatrous Institutes of the Gentiles. Deu­teron. 33. 2. The Lord came from Sinai, and rose from Seir unto them; he shined from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of Saints: that is to say, (saith Vatablus) cum populo Israel, quorum fuerunt qui­dem multa millia; licèt n [...]n singuli Sancti, tamen sancta fuerunt mil­lia, quòd Deus illos sanctificâsset, & in populum suum illos sibi segre­gâsset. And further in the following verse, Yea he loved the people; all his Saints are in thy hand. Which is plainly spoke of the Israelites according to that sense in Exodus ch. 19. v. 5, 6. where they are called a peculiar treasure above all people, and also a Kingdom of Priests and an holy Nation. And this they are said to be, if they obey his voice and keep his Covenant.

Whence it is easy to conceive that those Christians succeed into this Title that are purely Evangelical, and do not contaminate themselves by any Idolatrous Practices against the Command and Covenant of God; they are Saints in this peculiar and separate sense, in that they do not mingle with the Rites of the Gentiles, but keep themselves to the Com­mands of that one Master, Christ. If they doe this sincerely and constantly, (and truly there is little doubt of their sincerity, that did not stick to lay down their lives for the truth) though they be not so wise and plausi­ble according to the mode of the world, nor devoid of all blemishes of humane infirmity; yet undoubtedly they are those Saints of which there is so frequent mention in the Apocalyps, and are the true Israel of God, under whatsoever hardship or low condition of fortune they may be found, to disguise the worthiness of their persons. For the Witnesses were to be clothed in sackcloth a thousand two hundred sixty days.

Scorpion. See Serpent.

Scorched by the Sun. Achmetes, Onirocrit. c. 167. [...] If one dream that the Sun has scorched him much, he will be punished by the King proportionably to that scor­ching, [Page 250] according to the doctrine of the Aegyptians, Indians and Persians.

9. Sea. Waters signifying people, as the Angel tells S. John; the ga­thering together of people into one Body Politick, Kingdom or Jurisdiction, may fitly be called a Sea in the Political world, as the gathering together of the Waters is so termed in the Natural, Gen. 1. And the whole University of Kingdoms or a great part of them may according to this analogie be called either the great Sea or Ocean, as is figured out also in the Vision of Daniel, Ch. 7. I saw in my Vision by night, and behold the four winds of Heaven strove upon the great Sea. Where by Winds undoubtedly is meant War, as well as by the great Sea a comprehen­sion of several Kingdoms in which this bluster and tempest of War is made, one Kingdom fighting against another to enlarge their do­minions.

This analogie of the Sea is also acknowledged in the Interpretations of the Indians, Persians and Aegyptians. Achmetes, c. 178. [...]. If any dream he is Master of the Sea, he will be entire successour in the whole Kingdom. And so likewise of the Winds, [...]. If a King see the Sea troubled by a wind from a known quarter, [...]e will be molested by some Nation from that quarter. [...]. But if he see the Sea calm, he will enjoy his Kingdom in peace. This interpretation therefore of the Sea will farther confirm that of the Rivers.

Serpent. That notorious Serpentine shape which deceived Adam and Eve and lapsed them into rebellion against God, cannot but assure any one that in Scripture all the Serpentine kind that are described in Prophe­cy do in all likelihood refer to the Kingdom of the Devil.

Ship. That a Ship as well as a Mill may be an Hieroglyphick of Profit, any one may easily conceive, if he think but of Merchandizing. Achmetes, according to the mind of the Aegyptians and Persians, c. 180. [...]. If one dream he builds Ships, he shall grow rich proportionably to the number of the Ships he builds. But out of the foregoing Chapter, according to the doctrine of the Indian Interpreters, [...]. Which is an interpretation as far fetched as from the Indies indeed. Nor is it easy to conjecture why a Ship should intimate the congregating of men for the celebrating religious Mysteries, unless we conceive a Ship to represent a Temple: Which why we should, I know not, unless because they are disterminated and solitary buildings, as Temples are; not joyned to one another, no more then a Temple to other Houses. But in that it is said to be [...], Navis mercatoria, it may be the profit of the Priest from sacrifices or offerings to Idols may be alluded to. And whether any darker recesses in the Ship may represent the Adyta in Temples, I know not. Such par­ticularities I leave to every mans phancy to pursue at leisure.

[Page 251] Slain. See Resurrection.

Slaughter. See Death.

10. Sun, Moon and Stars. The Sun and Moon have either a Spiritual signification or a Secular. Of the Spiritual signification of the Sun there is an example, where Christ is called the Sun of Righteousness, as he is by the Prophet Malachi. Also the Apostle to the Ephesians, Awake th [...] that sleepest, that Christ may give thee light. The Moon also may have a Spi­ritual signification, supposing it to typifie the Mosaical dispensation: Which it may very well doe, both because it is a light, and a far dimmer light then that of the Gospel; as also in allusion to their New Moons and other Festivals of the Jews, the order of which depended on that Planet. See Mr. Mede on Apocal. 12.

To which you may adde, That as the Law of Moses is compared to the Moon, so may the Light of the Gospel of Christ be compared to the Sun. For that the Word of God is compared to Light, is plain from that of David, Thy word is a Lamp unto my feet, and a Light unto my path. And Psalm 119. 105. that great Lamp of the Universe, the