A DISCOURSE UPON THE Powers of the World to come: AND The Great Charter FOR THE INTERPRETATION OF THE Prophecy of Scripture.

ADVERTISEMENT.

THere is an Exposition upon the whole Book of the Re­velation, Explaining the Sacred Text Word by Word, and opening and arguing the Divine Senses of that great Prophesy.

Sold by Richard Wellington at the Lute in St. Pauls Church-Yard, and are to be had at Mr. Marshals, at the Bi­ble in Newgate-street, and of Mr. Salisbury, at the Rising-Sun in Corn-hill.

A DISCOURSE UPON THE Powers of the World to come: OR, The Miraculous Powers of the Gospel, and Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And their Certain Return at the Kingdom of Christ in its Succession.

To which is Adjoyn'd The Great Charter FOR THE INTERPRETATION OF THE Prophecy of Scripture, And more particularly, of the Prophetick Numbers of Time; Evincing the King­dom of Christ in Succession at 1697.

And Consequently MIRACLES shall then Return.

By T. Beverley.

London, Printed for the Author, and are to be Sold by W. Marshal, at the Bible in Newgate-street. 1694.

TO The Right Honourable Sr. John Somers, THE Lord Keeper.

My Lord,

THAT I take the Boldness to make this Dedication to your Lordship, is not, that I can make the least pretension to be Known to, or to Know your Lordship; but as you are on such an Eminence, you cannot be hid; and as a Luminary of the Nation, every Eye is upon you.

But yet I have made this Presumption on Great Reasons.

First, That, the Truths I offer in the en­suing Treatise, are so little consider'd, or Receiv'd; that they are under a Necessity to remove from the Rigor of Prejudicate Opinion, and to make Appeal to the Chan­cery of a most Equitable Review.

Then, that I have much Reason to be perswaded, your Lordship hath in pecu­liar manner, in the Greatness of your Ap­prehension, the Noble Freedoms of a solid Judgment, and most condescending Chri­stian Temper, a truly High Court of Chan­cery in your own Breast; and will allow it to sober Proposals of Truth, Analogous to Faith, and Christian Morality, however Old Bottles, and Palates refuse New Wine; New to them, not so in it self; but spoken of by All the Prophets since the World began.

Another Great Reason I have, is, That tho I pretend to no Prognosticks, except Ju­stified [Page] by the Sure Word of Prophecy; yet, speaking humanely, it is very probable your Lordship shall continue in your High Administration till 97. and then I have Great Assurance, it will be capable of be­ing made much Higher, and more Ho­nourable, by the Kingdom of that Great Prince of the Kings of the Earth coming in­to its Succession: Wherein, undoubtedly, every Character of Humane Honour; Ap­pointed, and Justified by his Word, and seated in Persons ready to Kiss the Son, and pay Homage to him; will receive un­expressible Additions.

And hereunto I add, That it is most Reasonable, so publick a Personage, and that bears, as is said, the Conscience of the Go­vernment, and so fittest to make Judgment on such a Point; should have both the No­tices and the State of so great a Thing laid before him, and before the whole Nation in him.

Lastly, Although I very well know how Great a Prince I herein serve, and do most Freely, submit, as to my self, to his turning your Heart this way, or that way, as the Rivers of Water; yet I think it no way disagreeing to my Duty, according to his present Dispose, to desire such a Patro­nage as that of your Lordship; that I might rest under your shadow; and wait for the mighty Ratifications of All I have writ on so great a Subject; by Mighty Power.

It is now (My Lord) Ten Years, since I first made Publick the Prophetick Calendar of Time; and I have not found Reason to Vary from the First Moments, on which I Fix'd it; but have receiv'd Greater Addi­tions of Light, and Assurance, as I have continually, and publickly Remonstrated; and yet I have always, and do ftill disown all things Enthusiastick, and am upon the plain Principles of Letter of Scripture, [Page] Scripture Arguments, according to the most undoubted Chronology, and History; and so offer my self Freely to the Attack of All that can bring Contrary Reasons: And have now, as in a Chancery Proceed­ing, presented the Case to your Lordship; Let him that finds Reason, in the same Way, put in his Answer.

A Greater Cause, than this cannot come before your Lordship; Whether the Books of the Prophets of the New and Old Testament have declar'd such a Glorious, Visible King­dom of Christ; Whether they have declar'd it shall be First in Succession, preparing for its Glory by an Universal Preaching of the Gospel, as by a Flying Angel, seal'd with the Return of Miracles; For All this I af­firm; And whether they have given a Line of Time, Determining that Succession to 1697. For such a Line I affirm also, and have produc'd it, from the Sure Word o [...] Prophecy, by a Charter for Interpretation.

Now may that Supreme Prince, whom I declare, who is Essential Wisdom, by whom Kings Reign, and Princes Decree Ju­stice; Even the Judges, and All the Coun­sellors of the Earth see in his Light; (And who is so nigh Coming, as I affirm, to Reign in his own Name;) Guide your Lordship in all the things, that concern your own immortal Spirit; in all the Ar­duous Matters of so High a Judicature; and particularly a Rich and Glorious entrance into his Everlasting Kingdom I now present, as,

My Lord,
Your Lordship's most Humble Servant In the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, T. BEVERLEY.

TO My Very Esteemed Auditory at the Lecture at Cutlers-Hall; and in them to Every Reader.

I Have indeed in several Treatises (my most E­steemed Christian Friends) made publick before this; Asserted Things of the same Tendency; But I never yet Attempted, in a Set and Solemn Discourse, to Argue this Grand Point of Miracles; that shall so Distinguish and Assure such a Succession of the Kingdom of Christ, as I give now before-hand the most Open Notices of, God any way enables me to. Now, if that his Name, as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, shall be declared by his Wondrous Works at 97. to be so near, as that his Kingdom is in Successi­on; If besides the mighty Revolutions in the World, that shall bring it into Succession, and be brought in by it; That Time shall be severed from All other Time, by [Page] Miracles, as Great, and Greater than in the Times of the Apostles; as the Kingdom that was then▪ was to be un­der Patience, and Delay, particularly of the Times and Half Time; shall then by the Oath of Christ Allow no such further Time, nor Any Delay what­ever; but the Mystery shall be Finished with all speed. I Appeal to All, Whether Any One Decla­ring this, can be suspected of an Intention to Deceive, and if the Events do not Answer, to shuff [...]e under any Plausible Appearances, and so to Abscond? There are, and may be Great Changes in the World by that time; and speaking, but after the manner of men, It is more than probable, there will be; and one might take Sanctuary, to salve Appearances, at some of them. But so Great a Revolution as the Return of Miracles is such as will Allow no Subterfuge; Either it is, or it is not, will presently decide: Now this Test I have most Freely, in the following Discourse put my self upon.

It is true, there is yet a Distance of Time to 97. but not so far off now at 94. as it was at 84, when I Fi [...]st Publish'd that very Year, and when it was (as Little, All will commonly think) I Hope, Less Accepta­ble than under the present Reign; And have not now, nor ever since, either mov'd it nearer or further off: And I most humbly bless God, it is so much nearer, that we All write now 1694.

The Substance of the Discourse of Miracles was Preach'd in your Hearing, to whom I especially write; and hath for the most part undergone only such Alterations, Additions, or Detachments, as the Diffe­rence between a Free way of Speaking, and a more settled Writing, requires.

The Adjoyn'd Treatise, Entuled, The Great Charter for Interpretation of Prophecy, hath been occasionally interspers'd in many Discourses to you, though more Compacted, in Another Assembly. But the Matter being so much Allied, and so necessary to Direct Expectation, as to the Time of the Return of Miracles; Though it be an Ad­dition to what I propos'd, and Receiv'd the Contribu­tion of so many for; Yet the Discourse propos'd, Leaving Room for it so, as that it will come just up to the Proposal, with this Adjoyn'd, and no more; I hope, it will not be misinterpreted; and the rather, because it is the Authority I show for All I have Written, and Preach'd, concerning the Kingdom of Christ in Succession, at 1697. And I am so far satisfy'd in what I have, through Gracious Assist­ance, been enabled to say; that if I may be so Bold to make an Humble Allusion, to what our Lord said [Page] concerning the Passover; I would not set my self to Write (I do not say, declare) any more concerning it; Except Any one should call Publickly, and in Print, for an Answer of Any Objection made to it till it be Fullfill'd in the Succession of the King­dom of Christ.

I Know many will be very Forward to blame me, in this Confidence (as I know it will seem also) of Boasting. But I have well weigh'd my Grounds, and do not Fear. I know whom, and what I have Believed upon; and Rest Secure He will bring it to pass and Hasten it in its own Time, I have declared

Yet, According to the very Infirmity of the Present State, I have ballanc'd the matter; I know if Things, which can neither Deceive, nor be Deceived, Ratifie what I have written, God hath not vouchsafed by Any, to Declare Them, so Publickly Appearing, as he hath by one most Unworthy, and Desirous to Lye in the Dust before him, and All his People, in the Sence of my own Unworthiness; If so; Whatever hath, or shall befall me, None shall take This Glory from me, nor from the Remembrance of me: That I have beon thus Enabled by Him, to Speak, [Page] and Write thus, concerning the Kingdom of Christ, and the Time of its Succession; I Remember yet with due Honor that Fellow-Helper in his Anno­tations on the Revelation; Yet the least in the Suc­cession of that Kingdom, shall be much greater, than Any can be now.

But, if on the other side, I may have been Deceiv'd on such Grounds, as I Rest upon; I should neither Expect, nor Desire to have the mercy; so Great a Confidence should be covered in Silence; But that my so Great Assurance should he set as a Sea-mark, to Caution All Others, and to rest as an unremovable Shame, and Confusion on my self and Name.

But I hope better Things, and such, as shall Lay fast hold on the Kingdom of Christ, though I thus speak; and as I most Humbly, Sollemnly, Affectio­nately Pray for your Abundant and Rich En­trance into this Everlasting Kingdom of our Lord, and Saviour Jesus Christ; So I most earnestly desire your Prayers for the bringing forth that Kingdom, that you would look for, and hast on to it, even on my behalf also, as the Mi­nister of it; and that I may so Preach it, and all the Doctrines pertaining to it, which are [Page] indeed all the Doctrines of the Gospel; that I may both save my self, and them that hear me, and that while I Preach it to others, I my self may not become a Cast-away from that King­dom; and that you may be Found worthy to stand be­fore the Son of man at that day.

My most Honoured,
Your most Faithful, and Hum­ble Servant in this Mini­stry of the Gospel, and of the Kingdom of it. T. BEVERLEY.

THE CONTENTS OF THE Discourse upon Miracles.

  • CHap. I. The Opening of the Text, and the Heads of the Discourse given Page 1
  • Chap. II. Of the Nature of Miracles, and the due place of them p. 4
  • Chap. III. Giving yet a more Strict, and Exact Description of Miracles, in Five Particulars p. 15
  • Chap. IV. Of the Reasons, or ends of Miracles, as they are generally Assign'd by those, who have VVrit upon them p. 23
  • Chap. V. VVherein the Grand Scope of the Discourse is En­deavoured to be truly Fixed, viz. That the Chief and Ade­quate End, and Reason of Miracles is; That they are Por­tions and Pledges, Peices and Parcels and Portions of the Kingdom of Christ, or of the World to Come, and to Bring it in at Last; p. 30
  • Chap. VI. A Discussion of the Times wherein Miracles have been most Illustrious, and when there hath been greatest Dark­ness among the People of God, in Relation to them; Pre­paratory to the Asserting, That Miracles are not ceas'd, but a Return of Them is to be Expected p. 46
  • [Page]Chap. VII. The Direct Proof of the Power of Miracles Re­turning, by the following Arguments for it. p. 58
  • Chap. VIII. Of that Power of Miracles, that always Accom­panies the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; and hath rest­ed upon the Witnesses, and yet Rests upon them; During the whole Time past, and to the End of the Twelve Hun­ [...]ed and Sixty Days of the Woman in the Wilderness and the Witnesses in Sackcloath; and the Forty two Months of the Antichristian Apostasy. p. 75
  • Chap. IX. An Enquiry upon some late Miraculous Appearances of God according to his own Will, that look like a Begin­ning of Miracles Returning; and how far They give En­couragement to wait upon God in any case of Extremity to do for us above his ordinary Course of Providence, or Go­vernment of the World. p. 85.
  • Chap. X. Wherein a Representation of the Excellency of the State of Miracles in the Days of Christ, and of the Apostles is given, That we may thereby Judg of the Re­turn of such a State of Miracles, excelling even that in Ʋniversality, and reaching the utmost Effects. p. 88
  • Chap. XI. The Inferences from the whole Discourse of Mi­racles; Tending to make Wise to Sobriety, concerning Them; and to all Holiness and Heavenly Conversation; are Recollected and Presented. p. 94

THE CONTENTS OF THE Charter for the Interpretation of Prophesy.

  • THE clearing of the Text, for the Founding the Dis­course, from page 1. to page. 8.
  • The great Relation, this whole second Epistle of the Apostle Peter hath to the Apostasy, and to the Kingdom of Christ after it. p. 8. to▪ pag. 14.
  • The Heads of the Discourse laid down, p. 14. 15.
  • The Arguments Proving Interpretation of Prophecy is of Free, and Open, and not of Reserv'd Access, from p. 15. to p. 23.
  • The Objections against these Arguments Answered, from p. 23. to p. 32.
  • The Standards or Rules to be Observ'd in the Interpretation of Prophecy, for giving Assurance to the Interpreter himself, and to others; his Interpretation of Prophecy is Just [Page] and Right, and worthy to be Considered, from p. 32. to p. 37.
  • The Application of these Standards to the Interpretation of Prophecy in several Treatises by the Author; briefly given; from p. 37, to 42.
  • The particular Reason of Fixing the Epoch, or beginning of the 1260 Days at 437, so as to End at 1697. by way of Answer of an Objection, that that year is not remarkable enough to bear such an Epoch. From p. 42. to 47.
  • An Humble Enquiry into, and Prognosticks upon any Repre­sentation Prophecy may have given of the State of Things near the Time of the Succession of the Kingdom of Christ; as Now from 1694, and the two last Years before to 1697. by way of Removal of a fear'd mistake in Former Hopes, from p. 47. to p. 56.
  • The Table of Prophetick Time presented, from p. 56. to p. 67.
  • The consideration of a Prophecy, found near 100 years ago in the Study of Justus Lipsius; and Transcribed by Dr. Mayer in his Preface before the Prophets, above 40 years ago: Of great Consent with the Authors Expectation at 97. given as an Appendix to this Discourse, from p. 67, to the End.

A DISCOURSE UPON THE Powers of the World to come: OR, The Miraculous Powers of the Gospel and Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Heb. II. 4, 5.‘God also bearing them Witness with Signs, and Wonders, and divers Miracles, and Gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own Will:’For unto the Angels hath he not put in subjection the World to come, whereof we speak.

CHAP. I. The Opening of the Text, and the Heads of the Discourse given.

THE Apostle had said in the First Verse, Therefore we ought to give the more (that is, the most) Earnest Heed, that can be given, to the Things which we have Heard, lest at any Time we let them slip; Lest by any means they should Escape, or miss our Duest, and Deepest Con­sideration: For, saith he, if the Word spoken by Angels was sted­fast, and every Disobedience received a Just Recompence of Reward, how much more shall we not Escape, if we neglect so Great Salvation! That is, the Great Salvation revealed in the Gospel, with so great Lustre of Truth, and Power of Miracles.

For This Great Salvation hath a double Evidence and Assurance of its Truth.

1. That It began to be spoken by the Lord, who so spake, that if he had not come and spoken to Them, They had had no sin; For He was mighty in Word as well as Deed; He spoke as never man spake; and It was confirmed by them that Heard Him, even by the Apostles, who went forth in the same Spirit, and Power of Truth.

2. God bare witness to them with Signs and Wonders, and divers Mi­racles, and Gifts of the Holy Ghost, in the greatest Variety and Ma­nifoldness: That is, God gave Them All the Letters Patents, all the Credentials from Heaven that could be desired; That Our Lord came from God, and that his Apostles were sent by God, and by Christ Himself, the Lord of All.

And in all Th [...]s, it is diligently to be observed, as having great Influence upon all the After Discourse; That as the Works of Christ were Great Evidences of Truth, and Testimonies to it; so the Words, or Doctrine of Christ carry'd their own Evidence: For if this be not observed, the Doctrine of Miracles will never be rightly not truly understood.

3. These Divers Miracles, Signs and Wonders, were subject to the Wise, and Holy Cousel of the Will of God, and of the Blessed Spirit. So that only where, when, on whom, and by whom This Mi­raculous Power should be dispens'd, was, as on many Accounts is after to be observ'd; wholly after the Counsel of his own Will.

4. The Apostle gives the Reason of these Miraculous Powers being thus dispens'd by his own Immediate, Increated Will and Pleasure; Because they Closely Appertain to, and are Connect­ed with the World to come, whereof (saith the Apostle) we speak; That is, do now, and ought to speak continually, and only, as of that World so incomparably Great, that God will neither trust Holy Angels to have any Administration of, but as Commission­ed, as the Apostles were at any time by a Power given immedi­ately to them; and not the Power Resident in, and Connatural to their own Beings, under the General Divine Concourse, and Command or Permission; For Miraculous Power, truly so, God never can Give out of his own Hand; much less therefore will he permit Bad Angels to use it; and when this World shall appear in Glory, they shall be sealed up in their own Abyss.

That therefore which I propose, by the Grace and Assistance of God, to discourse on so great a Point, shall consist of several Heads, whereby our▪ Understandings may be Enlightned, [Page 3] and our Hearts Affected with many Truths of Exceeding Mo­ment.

1. I would closely enquire into, and endeavour to Explain the Nature of Miracles in general, and what place there is for any such Appearances of God; even peculiarly, and as on purpose prepa­red, or left for them.

2. I would search after the Great Ends and Reasons why God hath at any Time Appear'd by Miraculous Powers in the World.

3. I shall endeavour to make out, That though there are in­deed other Great Reasons and Ends of Miracles, yet there is none so Supream and Soveraign, as that they are design'd by God to be not only Pawns and Pledges, but Pieces, and Portions, or Parcels of that World to come. And that this will be found to be the most Adequate Reason, or End of Miracles, upon True and Impartial Enquiry, and separation from prejudice, and pre-possession of other more Received Opinions.

4. I shall consider what Times we read of in Scripture, which God hath been pleas'd most of all to illustrate, and make Remar­kable, by Miracles; and what Times have been a Dark Place, as the Apostle speaks, (on occasion most agreeable herewith, if not absolutely the same, viz. in regard of the powers of the World to come, not appearing in it;) and on what Accounts, upon a Bal­lance of one with the other, there have been such Differences, and so great a Non▪Appearance of Miracles these Twelve Hun­dred and Sixty Years.

5. I will endeavour to debate, whether Miracles are again to be expected, and shall prove, That upon All the Considerations that are assigned as Reasons of Miracles, generally (for herein I would speak to Men in their own Sense,) and which Divines give as Causes moving God to send out his Miraculous Power; That they are most certainly to be again expected; and beyond this, that the bringing in the World to come does much more both Require and Assure the Return of Mira [...]les.

6. I will with great Freedom and Impartiality, on the occasion of the la [...]e Miraculous Providential Dispensations, shew on that Occasion, how far we may lawfully apply to God with the Ex­pectation of a Miracu [...]ous Power in any Cases, wherein all second Causes fail, looking on it as a Beginning of Miracles.

7. I will, by way of Recollection upon the whole, set out the Admirable Excellency and Grandeur of Divine Power in the [Page 4] Miracles of that Time of Christ, in the Days of his Flesh, which Scripture calls the Fullness of Time, and argue, That for the bringing in the O [...]conomy, or Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, or All Time; that Miraculous Power shall return in the same, and in some Respects in Grandeur, more illustrious, because more U­niversal, and reaching the Full Effect, or bringing in the very World to come.

8. I will subjoyn to the whole Discourse the practical Applica­tions flowing from it. Position.

The Position I would lay down is this, Miracles are Extraordi­nary Divine Appearances, and Efficacies of Almighty Power, whereby He Gives Testimony to the Truth of the Gospel, as declaring his King­dom, and the World to come; the Spiritual Holy State of it, in or by the Spiritual and Holy Preparations, that give the abundant Entrance into it; and that Visible and Illustrious Glory that shall Appear; and All this by Miracles of those very Visible Specifica­tions of that World to come, in some part and pieces of it, according to his own Free Will and Pleasure; foreshewing the Great Chan­ges that shall be, in the whole Creation of God, when that World shall so come to its entire Sum and Perfection both in Spiritual and Outward Glory.

CHAP. II. Of the Nature of Miracles, and the due place [...]f them.

I Begin therefore with the First Particular; and that is to open the Nature of Miracles, upon a True and Just Consideration of them. Now that this may be understood, there must be a cl [...]se Attendance of Thought given to Creation and Providence; that it may be known wherein they and Miracles differ one from an­other. For if we do not look upon Miracles in that, they can ne­ver be Rightly and Distinctly comprehended: For it is Evident, Miracles, Signs and Wonders are some Appearances of God, that seem to us to Transcend, and to be Exalted above the State of Creati­on, and the state of Providence, and of the Government of the World at this day.

And indeed, if things were rightly stated; there is no other difference between Miracle and Creation, but that Creation we look upon, as a thing past and done, settled and fix'd Ages ago; but Miracle is a thing New, and Fresh, as we may say, out of the Mint of Divine Power; and so Providence, and the Go­vernment of the World we are Acquainted and Familiar with, as things that in some Points of them we see every Day; in o­thers we find, that in the continual Tossing and Rolling of [Page 5] Things, they are now and then thrown and cast up, and at least in a Revolution and larger spaces of Time, do at one time or other shew Themselves; and whether they every day, or sel­dom are seen, we can give Account of them, or make proba­ble Conjectures how they come to pass by the Train, Connexi­on, and Dependance of one thing upon another; and so they are accounted no Miracles; but still they are in themselves all of the Nature of Miracles.

Indeed it is no Miracle to us now, that there is a Sun gives Light by Day, and the Moon by Night; this is no Miracle, as we account it now: But I desire you to consider, if there had been any men, as it is generally allowed, there were Angels at the very beginning of the Creation, when the Earth was without Form, and Void, and Darkness was upon the Face of the Deep; What a Miracle had it been in our Sense, to see Light? When God said, let there be Light. and there was Light; And so if any had been in any Former Day, and seen the making the Things that were not made out of Things that did appear before, until every fol­lowing Day; as the wonderful disposal of the Waters, of the Light, as diffused into the Lights of Heaven; the Creatures Ri­sing out of the Earth. All these, if any Intelligent Being were sup­pos'd, as the Angels, those Morning-Stars shouting for Joy, must not he needs have acknowledg'd all Miracle?

And so in the Government of Providence, if we were wise to observe it throughout, every day we should see miracles: Onely this it is because the order is stated, settled, constituted so long ago; Therefore men have got another word for Creation, and Providence; that is; Nature, and the course of nature; Because they consider, they are settled; but do not consider, not onely whose ordinance first settled them, but that every moment the word going out of the mouth of God continues them, because all are Gods servants, and they need a Fresh command every minute. My Father worketh hitherto, and I work, without any Sabbath, Jo. 5. v. 17.

Oh how admirably is God himself pleased to discourse this matter, and that very largely too in the latter end of the book of Job; As to creation, Job. 38. v. 2. &c. Saith God to Job; Gird up thy Loins now like a man; For I will Demand of thee, and answer thou me; Where wast thou, when I laid the Foundations of the earth? Declare now, if thou hast understanding; who hath layd the measures of it, if thou knowest? Or who hath stretched the Line upon it? Whereupon are the Foundations thereof Fasten'd? Or who layd the Corner stone thereof▪ When the Morning stars sang together, and the sons of God shouted fo [...] [Page 6] Joy; or who shut up the Sea with Doors when it brake forth, as if it had Issued out of the womb? And so he goes on through the whole creation.

Now I say, if God should come to the Atheists of our days, to the men that are setting their mouth against the Heaven, and their Tongue walking through the Earth, if God should come, and say to them; Come now you Mighty Men of Wit, and Reason, and Sense, that look upon all as sillyness, but that you your selves speak; what if you had been by, when I was Laying the Foundations of the Earth, and had heard me command Light? when the Earth was without Form, and Void, and Darkness was upon the Face of it, and it immediately appear'd? would you have allowed it a Miracle or not? Would you have disputed it with the Heavenly Host, singing, and shouting too for joy at it? Consider it every way, and then give me an Answer, is it Miracle or not?

And, as it is thus concerning Creation, so concerning Provi­dence; it is perfect Miracle; for what is Miracle, but an Effect rising from the immediate word of God; now how does our Meat preserve our Life? not by it self only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the Mouth of God, as our Lord hath de­clared to us.

So, How do our Cloaths warm us? How does the whole Course of Nature maintain its Circulation? We are as ignorant in all these things, even as the Jews were, when Christ either Heal'd the Sick, or the Lame, or open'd the Eyes of the Blind, or cast out Devils, or whatever were the great things he did, and yet still, the things were evident Matters of Fact: Even so it is in the Dayly Evidences of the Divine Power, and Greatness, and Goodness in the Creation, and Dayly Providence.

How excellently does David speak upon this Subject, Psalm 104. He goes through this whole Oeconomy of Creation, and Provi­dence; and therefore he begins thus, Oh Lord my God, thou art very Great; Thou art Cloathed with Honour und Majesty, who coverest thy self with Light, as with a Garment, and so on. Now if we do really believe, that the whole World stands by Immediate Divine Power, and that every day the Motions of it come fresh out of the Hand of God, and that beyond all Natural Causes or Connexion of Causes; then we must acknowledg Miracles every day.

The Prophet Jeremy tells us, Lament. 3. 23. It is of the Lords mer­cies we are not Consumed, and because his compassions fail not, they are new every Morning. We are ready to think the Light and the Life, and the mercy of this Day, are the same they were Yester­day; [Page 7] but if we believe the Spirit of God by that Prophet, they are not the same, though of the same for Kind; yet not the same by any necessary Continuation, or Natural Connexion with those of Yesterday; but new, new every Morning: Now if the mercy of this Morning be new, why then it is certainly a Mi­racle; because no Power of a Creature could have produced it, or brought it forth, but an Immediate Act of the Power of the good­ness of God; And he had not done it so yesterday, that he must needs do it to day; yet if he did not generally do it, and that anew, our Life must cease for ever; Oh if our Hearts did but Live under this Sense of God, how Humble and Dependent would it make us! We are ready to think it is the Suns Duty to Rise to Day, because it Rose Yesterday, and we are too ready to Build upon it, that our Life shall be to Day, as it was Yester­day; but if we could consider, that it is indeed a New Life every Day, yea, every Moment, and that whatever Channel it runs through, yet that God alone is the Giver immediately from Himself; and it is continually a New Gift. If a Man were Dead, and Raised again from the Dead, then every one would look about them, and make a great wonder; but if we went up to the Fountain Head, we should find the very same Power, that Raises the Dead, giving Life every Moment; and if we could see but into that, we should see Miracle in the one, even as in the other: for both are immediately from Infinite Power; Both are New; Only one is out of the Ordinary Course of Gods Dispo­sal, the other not so.

I would only argue this further on one place of Scripture, and so pass on. It is said, Rom. 1. 20. The Invisible Things of him, from the Creation of the World, are clearly understood by the Things that are made. Even his Eternal Power and Godhead; so that they are with­out Excuse. The Apostle affirms, The Eternal Power and Godhead are in themselves clearly to be seen round about us, by the Works of Crea­tion and Providence, and so as to leave without Excuse. Although therefore we see not thus clearly, even the best of us; and so ma­ny bruitish, Atheistick Men not at all; yet this cannot make the Apostle's Words of no Effect; They continue Firm; The Eter­nal Power and Godhead are so to be seen, as to leave men without Excuse. What now can Miracles do more? They can only alarm, or call us to closer Attendance: They cannot more clearly inform, in­lighten or assure. We may therefore justly say of Creation and Providence, compar'd with Miracles, as the Lord said of Moses and the Prophets, compar'd with one rising from the Dead: If they [Page 8] will not believe the one, they will not be perswaded by the other: If not by Creation and Providence, no not by Miracles:

I would therefore consider what is said by the Men of Wit and Reason, as they are ready to Esteem themselves: They would suppose, that Matter and Motion being either Eternal, as some would have it, or Created by God, as others would at least seem to allow; and then either by themselves, or by a General Con­course of the Supreme Being, they could together, according to a sort of Mechanick Law, do every thing. But we see how soon, not only the Works of Art, but even of Nature, Run out of Order, or wear out themselves. It is True, if all things could have produced themselves, there were an End of the Miracle of Creation; Or if when made, they could Govern themselves, There were then indeed no Miracle of Providence, but what tur­ned Nature wholly out of its Course.

But to us instructed by the Word of God, the whole Frame of Creation is like a well Tuned Instrument, every String wound up to its due Tenor; but in evèry single String, and the whole Harmony, the Divine Hand was immediately, even wherein a­ny Second Cause had the least Activity: Every Wheel in this cu­rious Machine was plac'd by his Finger; And when all was put together, and so Tun'd, All had for ever notwithstanding lain still, like an Instrument on which the Musicians Hand never came, or was removed; Or as a Clock or Watch, whose Weights or Spring were never wound up, or quite down, or taken off. And to this Frame, and this Motion, no Vicarious Hand, but the Creator's alone, can suff [...]ce. He is every moment even a-new the Fountain of Life, Being and Motion; as the Apostle saith, In him we live, move, and have our Being. So that Creation and Providence are still Miracles. The Sun (and so all other of the Works of Creation, in their proportion) is prepared, as a Bride­groom coming out [...]f his Chamber, and rejoyces as a strong man to run a Race. But in all this, the Sun declares the Glory of God alone. Oh that therefore our souls could Bless the Lord, while we have our Be­ing, and all that is within us praise his Holy Name▪ that the meditation of Him, and his Works, could be sweet to us, and that we could say, we need not Miracles as further Evidences of his Creating Power, or Preserving Goodness, but for the Displays thereof to other High Ends, to be hereafter assign'd. For I have been thus large in this matter, it being both so Noble a Point, as also because it makes much to the True Consideration of the Chief End of Miracles.

[Page 9] 2. I come therefore to a Second Consideration of Creation and Pro­vidence, as giving Space and Room for Miracles to enter; and that I shall represent,

First, In the General, and then be more particular with relati­on to Miracles.

1. When Man had sinned, and forfeited the Glory of that State of the Creation, that had Respect to him; That all things did not immediately, as I may say, tumble about his Ears▪ dash in pei­ces upon him, or fall into an Universal Hell, is owing to the Me­diator, who therefore is said, Heb. 1. to Ʋphold all things by the Word of his Power; even he who purged our sins by his own Blood, thus upholds All; that the Sun shines, and invigorates all the Low­er Creation with its Light and Beams; that the Fruitfulness of the Earth, and the Courses of Water remain, All is due to the Glory of the Mediator; Else All had return'd to the First Tohu▪ Bohu, its first dark and desolate state.

And yet notwithstanding, it is so ordered in the Wisdom and Righteousness of God, and by the Counsel between him and the Me­diator▪ or, as Zachary says, between them both; that there should be many Interspers'd Appearances of the Curse, as we all know by abundant sad Experience; which are become so setled and expectable, that we call such Appearances of the Curse, Na­ture; or are so frequent, as we account them at least common to Man, or Humane Nature; such as Sickness, Death, Lameness, Blindness, many Insults of the Enemy, or the Diabolical Na­ture, either in plainer Possessions or more secret Impressions up­on the Mind and Body. Now if such Appearances of the Curse had not been, there had been no place for many Mi­raculous Appearances of God, and of Christ, in Mercy and Grace; and so if there had not been General Judgments, and more solemn Appearances of the Curse; there had not been such Miraculous Acts of Grace as the Ark was to Noah, Zoar to Lot, Goshen to the Children of Israel. Had not there been such Strokes of the Curse, there could not have been such Miracles of Healing, Restoring Sight, Raising the Dead; All these Miraculous Acts of Mercy come in by way of Relief against the Curse. There could have been no change [...]n Exalting the Creation, if it had continued accord­ing to the First State, Good and very Good; Except we suppose a­ny Openings to an higher Advancement of Adam and his Poste­rity, in the Kingdom of the Second Adam; of whom the First A­dam was but a Type, and the First Sabbath a Type of that Great [Page 10] Sabbatism of the Lord from Heaven, as the Apostle expresly asserts, Rom▪ 5. [...]2▪ Heb. 4. 7.

Let us therefore, I humbly beseech, attend to this very thing, that there are such Remains of the Excellent Frame of the First Creation D [...]e and Acknowledgable to the Grace of the Media­tor, and yet such Mixtures of the Curse, as give Place, or Room for Mir [...]cles; For if all were Judgment, there were no Place for Miracles of Mercy, except of a Total Restoration; For All had been One Peice of Wrath, and so must be wholly Re­stor'd, or not at all: Or if All had been in the First State of In­tegrity, there had been no need of Exalting the Creation, till that Glorious Kingdom, I can suppose, of the Mediator of Ami­ty or Conciliation, tho not of Reconciliation.

But as Things are now, That All Things do not unite in a State of Wrath and Ruine, is because the Mediator purging our sins, upholds All with the Word of his Power. Else, as God said, when Wickedness had broken into the World, to so great an heighth, I, even I, do bring a Flood upon the World; So he had put an End to it at the first coming in of sin, had not the Mediator come between, in the Seed of the Woman breaking the Serpents Head. But when Noah had offered a Sacrifice, an undoubted Type of the Sacrifice of Christ; God then promis'd he would not Curse the Ground so, any more, but there should be Summer and Winter, Spring and Harvest, Day and Night, until the very coming in of the Restitution of All Things. And God set the Rain-Bow to be a Sign of that Covenant, as we find, Gen. 9. 13. and Ezek. 1. 28. and Revel. 4. 3. The Rain-Ron encirculed the Throne. All which shews the great Prevalency of the Mediator, in the uphold­ing the World in its present State: That though God the Creator, be to be acknowledg'd, yet Creatorship and Providence are now Ve­sted in the Redeemer. But yet still there are such legible Cha­racters of the Curse, in innumerable Kinds, that they give full place to Miracles, in further and higher Grace, to relieve against that Curse.

2. There being such a State of Mercy and Grace, through the Mediator, there is place also given to another sort of Miracles, viz. Miracles of Greater and more Extraordinary Strokes of Wrath than generally we observe in the World; wherein the Mediator so far deserts his Interposal of Mediation, and then Miracle of Judgment immediately enters so far also; as may appear in seve­ral Great Instances to be given: And this I desire you would seri­ously [Page 11] attend to; because it will be found to contribute very much to the clearing the Great Point of Miracles: I begin therefore the clearing this Matter in that first Judgment of the Flood upon the Old World. In which, as also in the Judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, the Apostles Peter and Jude instance; because, as is after to be shewn, they have Great Concernment in making it appear, That Miracles appertain to the world to come, whereof we are speaking.

I begin therefore with this Flood on the World of the Ʋngodly; for which whatever Preparations there might According to the most Learn­ed and Ingeni­ous Theory of Dr. Burnet. be; yet to shew Gods own supreme Hand in it, he thus expresses, I, even I, do bring a Flood. And to shew how far the Mediator did desert, and how far he did not undertake, is made more manifest: He did undertake for Noah and his Family; Noah is therefore said to find Grace in the Eyes of the Lord; an Expression proper to the Media­tors Undertaking. The Rest, even the World of the Ʋngodly, not finding Grace, were swallowed up. Lo here a Miracle of Judgment; For this was beyond the ordinary proportion of the Curse upon the Fall, as bounded by the Mediator, a Curse on the Earth far Greater than usual.

Again, if we consider this, in relation to Sodom, Gen. 19. 23. The Sun was risen upon the Earth; so far the Mediator undertook for Sodom. Then Lot entered into Zoar; At that very same time God Rain'd up [...]n Sodom and upon Gomorrah Brimstone and Fire from the Lord out of Heaven. It could not be done before; For says the Angel to Lot, Haste thee, Escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Why, but because Lot was in a peculiar manner undertaken for by the Mediator, as is signify'd in Two Expressions:

  • 1. The Lord being merciful to him, and he finding Grace in his sight. And,
  • 2▪ God Remembred Abraham, with whom we know he had Established a Covenant in the Mediator, v. 16. 19. 22.

Behold here another Miracle of Judgment, because contrary to the General Undertaking of the Mediator. This was in­deed a strange work of Judgment; and as the Flood was of the Ge­neral Destruction, before the New Heaven and New Earth of the VVorld to come; so was Sodom a Type of the Vengeance of the Eternal Fire, that shall make that Destruction.

In the same manner the Plagues of Aegypt were Miracles of Judgment; because the Mediator was coming, (in Exodus all along to Chap. 16.) up against them with a Glorious Type of his Judg­ment on Spiritual Aegypt, with his Seven Vials, Revel. 15. c. 16. made on purpose parallel to the Plagues of Aegypt. Now the Reason was, the Mediator in Grace no longer undertook for Pharoah, and his Aegypt; but set him up as a Rock for his Judg­ments to be planted against.

The last Miracle of Judgment I will instance in, because it much declares the Nature of Miracle, is that of Corah, Dathan and Abiram, Numb. 16. 29. If these men, saith Moses, dye the common Death of all men, or if they be visited after the common Visitation of all men, Then the Lord hath not sent me. But if the Lord create a New Thing, and the Earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertains to them, and they go down quick into the pit: Then ye shall understand, these men have provoked the Lord. Every Miracle, as hath been spoken, is a New Thing; This is the Nature of Mi­racle, whether it be a Miracle of Mercy or of Judgment; A New Thing of Mercy lifting up the present State settled in com­mon, by the Grace of the Mediator; or a New Thing in Judgment, when the Mediator deserts this State upheld by him, and Judg­ment breaks in above Ordinary Judgments; and this to shew that Desolation, that shall be at last upon this World of the First Adam, that the New Heaven and the New Earth, according to his pro­mise, may come in. Thus this Opening and Swallowng Alive, is like the Opening of the Lake, into which the Beast, and the False Prophet, those Apostate Pretenders to be Sons of Levi, are cast a­live, Rev. 19. as the whole Antichristian Race say, They are Jews, but are not, but do lye, and so are given up to Wrath by the Medi­ator.

Thus it will be at the last Burning of the Earth, and of the Wick­ed upon it; Then the Mediator will bear up the World no longer. Thus when any particular Person is destroy'd, cut off by Death, and cast into Hell, until that very Time the Mediator undertakes; Then he undertakes no longer for him.

To draw up then these Po [...]nts to a Sum. We find the present State in an Equipoize, in an Even Ballance between the Grace of, and by the Mediator, and the Wrath and Justice of God keeping its Hold upon this World of Aposlate Adam; And both the settle­ment of Things by Grace and Mercy, and yet under Wrath and Justice, are now Call'd, and Styl'd, and Deem'd to be Na­ture, [Page 13] the State of Nature, the Law of Nature, the Course of Nature And whatever there is either in Mercy or Judgment, wherein a Divine Hand, a High Hand, a Hand Lifted up, and made Bare, appears, is called and styled Miracle.

The Light and Glory of the Heaven, the Fruitfulness of the Earth, the so General Health, Beauty, and Vigour of Body; the Order, Peace and Good Government we at any time observe in the World, we look not upon as Miracle, but as the Natural State of Things, under the General Goodness of God; though indeed, as hath been shewn, it is the Goodness of God in the Mediator; But together with these, we allow Storms, Tempests, Unfruitful Seasons, Pestilence, Famine, Sickness, Lameness, Poverty, Want. Deformity, Death, agreeable to the Course of Nature also, and no Miracle; Yet indeed why are They not Mi­raculous? when God made the World in such an Order of Na­ture, if we'll call it Nature. Can we think when God made Man in that Noble State of his own Image, it can be any other than Miracle of Judgment? Men are left to be such Butchers one of ano­ther: and that it is counted a Glory, a Bed of Honour to dye so doing: No, undoubtedly, Even that Christ shall Restore the World to, as the Prince of Peace, to learn War no more, and to make the Battle cease to the Ends of the Earth, is that which was at first the State of unfallen Nature. And all the contrary State is Miracle of Judgment; however, because setled, we do not call it so: When Navies and Fleets are destroyed at Sea, and Nations de­stroyed and desolated, and all the Sinews of Government loo­sed; we do not call this Miracle: And yet from the Beginning these Things were not so, nor design'd to be so much as Providen­tially Natural; but because, according to the Wisdom, Holy­ness, and Justice of God, the Mediator upholds the World un­der this Caution and Reserve, It should give Room, and be, as it were, the Stage for these Judgments of God to have their Play in and upon, They are so.

So though to die be now the ordinariest, and most certain Thing in the World, an Ordinance, and a Debt to Nature, as we call it; vet Adam was not made to Dye, and to Dye is a Mi­racle of Justice, if consider'd according to the Original Consti­tution. Indeed, because the Mediator undertook no further, but that it is, as the Apostle says, Fixed, Determined, Enacted, that All Men should dye, it is no Miracle; nor that any of the other Unhappinesses common to Men, befall Men, do we account them Miracles.

But the Things we account Miracles, are either the Extraor­dinary, Sudden, and Immediate Strokes of Wrath and Justice; as those on the Old World; on Sodom and Gomorrah, on those Impure Men of Sodom, struck with Blindness; the Plagues on Pharoah; on Nadab and Abihu, the stroke of immediate Death by Fire from the Lord; the swallowing up Corah, Dathan and Abiram; the stri­king Ʋzza dead; the withering Jeroboam's Hand; the striking Ʋzziah with Leprosie; the striking Antiochus with an Incurable and Loathsome Disease; and in the New Testament, the falling backward of the Men that came to take Christ; the falling down Dead of Ananias and Sapphira; the sudden and immediate Blind­ness; that fell on Elymas the Sorcerer; Herod eaten with Worms; These we account Miracles of Judgment.

On the other side, the Benefits God daily loadeth the Chil­dren of Men of all Kinds with, we account not Miracles; but the Raising the Dead by Elijah and Elisha; the Multiplying the Widows Oyl; the Healing the Leprosie of Naaman; the preserving Jonah from the Sea, in so wonderful an Ark as the Whales Belly; What is said of our Lord Jesus, Mat. 4. v. 24. when It is said, The Fame of him went out throughout all Syria; And they brought unto him all sick persons; those which were possess'd with Devils; those which were Lunatick, and had the Palsy, and he healed them; his opening the Eyes of the Blind, cleansing the Lepers, making the Lame to walk, the Dumb to speak, the Deaf to hear; the giving to speak with Tongues, to Interpret strange Tongues: But above all, Raising the Dead appears to All perfect Miracle; the Raising of Lazarus when Dead Three Days: John 11. 14. so alarm'd the Jews, and affrighted the Sanhedrim, who sat in Counsel upon it, that they said, If we let him alone, all men will believe on hi [...], and the Romans will come, and take away both our place, and our Nation. All these are Miracles of Mercy; and both these sorts, both of Judgment and Mercy, we allow to be Miraculous; because they are above the Standard of Gods general Government of the World, and settlement of what we call Nature, in this present State of it.

And thus I have labour'd in this First and Fundamental Point, to define the Nature of Miracle; because it will give Light all along the Discourse, and guide to the chief Point; viz. That they a pertain to the Kingdom of Christ, and World to come.

CHAP. III. Giving yet a more Strict, and Exact Descrip­tion of Miracles, in Five Particulars.

I Find it necessary to come up yet closer and nearer to the Na­ture of Scripture-Miracles, or its Account of them; and that so, that I may shew how close they lead up to that World to come. And herein I shall observe most particularly the Words the Spirit of God uses to express Miracles by. I will to this pur­pose insist on these Five Particulars.

1. The First Thing that speaks Miracle, and that is indeed the most Proper and Essential Description of Miracles, is, That in Miracle God acts by an immediate Hand, and does not work by any Second or Subordinate Cause, whatever Instrument, Con­veyance, or Minister of his Power, he may use: When he works perfectly, as the Creator, he is alone, and there is no other with him in his Work: He shews himself immediately by his own Hand, and stretched out Arm: If God blesses Physick, and the sick man is recovered, This is indeed Miracle, if we consider the First Spring▪ God is at the Fountain of All M [...]ans; For he is the First Cause. When a Man by Diligence in his Calling grows Rich; This Men say is no Miracle; He was a Diligent, and an Industrious, Laborious Man; and he had, be­sides, these and these Opportunities: But if we believe the Scri­pture, This is not to be attributed to the Second Cause, but to the First; and in that, it is Miracle; For The Blessing of the Lord maketh Rich; and The Lord maketh Thee to grow R [...]ch, as we Read in Moses; and a man to whom God giveth Riches, saith Solomon. But yet the Scripture it self does not call this Miracle, because a Train of Second Causes waits upon the First, and to a common Eye hides it: In Miracle God does All; and he works like him­self, [Page 16] suddenly, and not according to the Leisure and Slowness of the Second Cause; He heals immediately; He pour'd Riches on Solomon, like the most High Possessor of All; He commands, and the Effect stands up together, in the same moment he commands: If a Man hath Cataracts on his Eyes, and goes to a Skillful Oculist, and he Couches them, as we speak; we do not call this Miracle, because an Hand of Natural Cause waits upon God here for Concurrence; But when by the Power of Christ Men had their Eyes op [...]ned, without the use of Means, Then Every One agrees It is the Hand of God, and calls it Miracle.

I say therefore, This is One Thing in Miracle; and I beseech the serious Consideration of it, because there is such assurance in Scripture, God will come to do great Things immediately by his own Hand; He will do them, as he said, he would Answer the Idolatrous Enquirers in Ezekiel, by Himself, by his own im­mediate Power.

According to this we are instructed, Exod. 7. 5. When I stretch out my Hand, saith God, upon Aegypt. Miracle is the stretching out of God's Hand; and Chap 8. 19. when the Magicians could not do what Moses did, They then said, This is the Finger of God.

Here then is the Nature of Miracle; It is God's shewing his own Finger: The Magicians acted by a Power, as we say, be­hind the Curtain; They acted by the Devil. But when Aaron smote the Dust of the Earth, and it became Lice, Then the Magicians themselves acknowledged, This is the Finger of God; because they tryed to do so with their Enchantments, and could not. This therefore pla [...]nly declares Miracle, when it comes to that, that no Angelical Power can do it, nor can he trusted to do it, as God's Commissioner; Then it is Miracle; Then it is a Power of the World to come, which God hath not put into Subjection to Angels, ei­ther Good or Bad. The Magicians acting by the Intervention, and utmost Power of Bad Angels, did some Things, as Moses and Aa­ron, so long they did not own Miracle: But when they come to that, They acting by, Created Power could not do, nor were any way Commission'd to do; Then they cryed out, The Finger of God. And it is very observable, our Lord makes use of the ve­ry same word, in arguing the Truth of that so great Miracle of Casting out that Potent Devil, Luke 11. by the Power of God, and not as the Magicians, by the Power of Belzebub, or the De­vil, as the Magicians did. If I by the Finger of God cast out Devils, saith Christ, then no doubt the Kingdom of God is come upon you; [Page 17] Where are Two Things most Remarkable concerning Mira­cles.

1. That Miracles are by the immediate Power of God Patra­ted, or Effected.

2. That there is a certain, undoubted, and inseparable Con­nexion between the Kingdom of God, or the World to come, and Miracles, or Effects of the Immediate Divine Power, or Finger, which shall indeed bring it in; All in it being Highest Power, and so is All, that works for it.

There is therefore a peculiar Word chosen by the Spirit of God in the New Testament, to Express Miracle by; and it is [...], or Power; so very often in Scripture; and most Re­markably Miracles are call'd, Heb. 6. Powers of the World to come. Now I find by the Consent of the most Sage Interpreters, Those Powers of the World to come, are understood of Miracles; They are Powers Demonstrative of Immediate Divine Power, and Powers proper to the World to come, prepar'd for all manner of Service to it; and which shall in the Due and Just Time intro­duce it; and, as I observed before, we find the same Expression taken out of Exodus, and so Acts 4. They are the Hand of God stretch­ed out, and his Arm, as Scripture speaks, made Bare.

When the Hand and Arm of God have Natural Means or Se­cond Causes to attend and wait on their Motion, then his Hand is not stretched out to the utmost Length or Line of Action, reach­ing that Effect; but it adds the Line of the Action of those Se­cond Causes, though but a Cypher without him; yet he being before them, in them, with them, they are of Value; and so his Hand and Arm are Cloathed, Shrowded, with these, as we call them, Natural Causes, and not Naked and Bare. There is another Expression, whereby also this Immediate Power is made known to us; and that is used, Dan 2. 34, 45. and Dan. 8. 21. Without Hand; And so it is used in Cases of Close Connexion with the World to come, 2 Cor. 5. 1. and Heb. 9. 11. of that House, and State of Sa [...]nts and Spirits in Heaven, that they may not be found Naked; till they are Cloath'd upon with their House from Heaven, Glorious Bodi [...]s of the Resurrection, in the New Jerusalem, coming down from Heaven. And that House Now in Heaven, is the same Tabernacle Christ is entered into. So that it is said, in regard to Saints, even as to Christ, (but of him as Principal and Supreme) It is made without Hands; That is, It is the Work of the Immediate [Page 18] Power of God. In the same manner it is us'd of a Circumcision made without Hands, Col. 2. 11.

Now in All These, it is most Evident, This manner of speak­ing is on purpose chosen by the Divine Spirit to impart to us Immediate, Divine, and Miraculous Power; so it Equally im­ports Things not of This World, not of This Frame, not of This Building, but that have intimate and undivided Connexion with the Kingdom of Christ, and World to come.

As our Lord Christ therefore, when he Opened the Eyes of the Blind, when he Healed the Sick, when he Restored the Lame, when he sent out Apostles to Preach in All Languages, he did not call for the Curious Oculist, the Learned Physician, the Skillful Chy­rurgion, the Learned Linguists to help him, or to hasten to in­struct in all Tongues: He wrought all without Hands: When he works by his Grace, in the Hearts of his Servants, to make them New Creatures by that Circumcision made without Hands; when he prepares the place of his Servants, Builds the Palace of his Kingdom; when he breaks his Enemies, He does All without Hands.

Now you know, as among Men, One of the Chief Measures for Every Building, is by Fingers and Hands, and so on; and for Every Enterprise, and Undertaking, we still account, how ma­ny Hands are prepared to work in it; So the Wars that are car­ried on in the World, They are wag'd by the Hands of the Men of Might; They finding their Hands, as David speaks, the Hands Taught to VVar, and the Fingers to fight. And they that have Most, and Ablest Hands; we fore-speak to them the Greatest Success. At this Day we are ready to say, such a Prince is so mighty, has so many Hands; who is able to contend with him? How Significant therefore is this Expression of Almighty Power working without hands?

Remember therefore, This is One of the Essentials of Mira­cle; It is the Finger of God; it is the Hand of God stretched out; it is the Arm of God made Bare; it is working without Hands, or that (as some Learned interpret of the Stone cut out of the Mountains) is not in any Hands; the Managements as to him are not entrusted to any Humane Created Hand; he works all by himself without Hand.

Thus in All these Expressions it appears Miracle is [...], Power, Naked Power, Pure, Perfect Power.

But because I have before urg'd, That however we are Blind, and cannot see a-far off, we cannot see back into the Retiring [Page 19] Room of Things; yet if we could, we should find, that all the Springs of Motion, and Action, of Life, yea, of very Being, are without Hand; and so Miracle is in Every Thing, Power is in Every Thing; and so here what we call Miracle, and no Miracle, does not differ; till Things come more into the Great Hall of this World, where Millions of Hands, or Second Cau­ses, are at work; So that the Difference upon the whole, in what we call Miracle, and not Miracle, is, That in Miracle Power without Hand goes all the way; In Things not Miracle, Created Hands take from God their share of Action and Appear­ance; and hereupon we attribute All; through our Stupidity, Carnality and Unbelief, to Created Hands; and God is hid­den, his Hand Covered and Shrouded: God therefore stretch­es out his Hand in Miracle, He lifts up his Hand, and makes Bare his Arm, and Forces Men to say, This is the Finger of God. But because God does not this Every Day, but seldom hitherto, therefore a Second Character of Miracle arises.

2. Miracle is properly something, that in regard of the Newness, and unusualness of it, makes Men Gaze, and look upon it with Wonder and Admiration; and from this Passion it raises in Men, it is call'd, Wonder, or Miracle; and because Men are Alarm'd, and Expect some Great Event upon it, it is call'd Sign, or Portent, in the Sacred Language of both the New and Old Testament. Two Words in the Hebrew denote Signs, and another expresses VVonder; and so in the Greek, sometimes Miracles are remark'd to us by a Word properly rendered Sign, and sometimes by a Word signifying VVonder and surprise.

And though I have before Asserted, That herein also the Works of God, though constant and perpetual, are yet also New and Fresh; our Life, Health, Freedom, All we Enjoy, are Fresh Mercies and Compassions, New Every morning, every moment: They are not the Mercies we had yesterday, but New mercies: I desire this Remark may be upon all our Hearts, to raise us to Thankfulness, Dependence, self Resignation, and Obedience; yet because these Every-days mercies of God, we seem to hold by a more constant Tenure of Providence, that exerciseth Loving­kindness on the Earth, Scripture it self calls Miracles of Mercy or Judgment, New Things; what God does in Mercy or in Dis­pleasure ordinarily, we are so acquainted with, and they look so like one another, that we look not upon them, as new; but when God does those great things, we call Miracles, we are in a [Page 20] Wonder, at an Amaze, we ask what is this a sign of? nay if things unusual fall out, and appear, although we account the things not Miracles, but Wonders; as a Comet in the Heavens, great Eclipses, strange Inundations, Earth quakes; we are Alarm'd, and Mov'd, and are ready to look for some extraordinary Things coming upon the Earth; And unusual Events in Provi­dence, either of Mercy or Affliction, make great Discourses a­mong Men as to their expectations.

And herein, so far as God permits him, the Devil is as often as he can, doing Wonders, or strange Things; and so are his Ministers, either by, or without his known help, of which sort are all the Antichristian Signs and Lying Wonde [...]s; and hereunto also may be reduced the many Policies and curious Designs of Men of Power, and great Motion in the World, that amuse ordi­nary Beholders; but all these, with the Artifices of men of lower Figure, are no mo [...]e, than greater or lesser Puppet play, moving things by Wires unseen, and unobserv'd; but God does, indeed th [...]ngs truly great▪ and New, and puts thereby a New Song of Praise into the mouths of his Servants; for they are indeed Signs and Wonders and mighty Acts.

And they are indeed New, because, as I have said they are all Peices, Parcels, Portions of that New Creation, the New Heaven and New Earth; that New World, the World to come, the Restitution of All things whereof we speak, as is further to be shewn.

But at the present, I rest upon that, which hath been already nam'd, as the steaddy Representation of a Miracle, in strict speak­ing to us; it is the Lords Creating a New Thing in the Earth; I only add, that proportionably to the New Heaven, and the New Earth [...]od makes in the Souls of his, what he calls, A new Creation, a new Heart, and a New Sp [...]rit, Old things passing away, all becomes New.

3. The more proper, and Adequate Character of Miracles is, that they are P [...]rtions, and Parcels, Pledges, and assurances of the World to come, and of the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the New Heaven, and of the New Earth, of the New Creation of God; whoever looks closely, and Intentively into them, shall find; that because the Old Creation as under the Curse, through Sin and Apostasy of the First Adam, will not, can­not serve the Ends of the Glory of God, of the Creator, and of Jesus Christ, the Lord and Heir of All; by whom, and for whom they were all made; and of his Body, the Church, the ful­ness of him that filleth All in All. Therefore a new Creation, is to [Page 21] be brought in, and it is to be brought in by a Dissolution of the Old, a Total Dissolution of the Old Creation, the World of the First Adam; and a Restitution of all things, and even an Exalta­tion into a far Higher, and more excellent State than the first:

Now this is to be done by Immediate Power in both Parts; of Mercy, and Judgment, else neither Could be done; No Hand but that, which put together this Frame, can Dissolve it; no Hand, but that which holds it together, can either let it go, or stir up those Tumults, and Combustions, that shall bring it to its End; which is a further Argument, that Creation and dayly Sustentation are Miracle, Effects of immediate Power; for else some, however unknown to us, Disorders, and Cr [...]ss, and Counter Motions of Second Causes, had Defeated the Frst Creation, or long since brought this Frame to Ruine; if there had been none to Guide, or Sustain them, but themselves. And hereby it is also Evident, the low State, in which the Creation is, is Miracle or Immediate Power of Justice; for else the Goodness of the Creator had undoubtedly kept it up to its first Being in all things Good, and very Good; Infinite, Immedi­ate Power hath let it down so low, and no lower.

Again, on the side of Mercy, and Grace; so far, and so much▪ as the Creation is gone down, and fallen from it self through Divine Justice, Retiring the Omnipot [...]nt Conserving Hand of Power, that would have kept it up; or suffering thos [...] Destructive Counter-Motions in the Parts of it, or in the Princi­ples of Motion; Omnipotency alone can Repair, and Fill u [...] those Gaps, and Hollows in the Present State, and effect a Restitu­tion of All Things, and Deliver the Creation now in Bondage, from that Servitude under which it hath so long, and yet Grones; and much more That Almighty Hand alone can Raise it above what it was at First; so that Miracle runs through all. Now seeing such a Bo [...]h Dissolution, and Restitution, and Exaltation of the Creation is Decreed by God; It becomes him, by whom are All Things, and for whom are All Things; and by whom, and for whom, this very Dissolution▪ and Restitution is; to give warning, to make Credit, and Assurance of These, even of Both; and therefore, as I have already Argued, and shall much further Argue in the Part of this Discourse allotted to it; That Miracles are Powers of the World to come, every way proper and peculiar to it.

4. Miracles are therefore Conjoyned with some Eminent, and Notable Appearance of the World to Come; As at the bringing of [Page 22] the People of Israel out of Egypt, and into the Land of Canaan, the Promised Land; and so when Christ was here in the World, and the Apostles so Preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, as if it had been immediately to appear; and so much more when that Kingdom shall indeed appear; For else Miracles would be as Seals to a Blanck; This therefore Detects all False Miracles, and Lying Wonders, that they are not in pursuance of the Kingdom of Christ; And this is most Evident, as was said before, by our Saviours In­ference from the Truth of that mighty work of Casting out the Deaf and Dumb Devil, and that is was done by the Finger of God; that no doubt, the Kingdom of God was come upon them, as he shews: Luke 11. For Miracles cannot be without the Kingdom of God in Eminent Appearance.

5. Miracles must, being Parts, and Peices of the World to come, give greatest Assurance of themselves to be the mighty works of God; this Assurance must be given to the whole man, to the Mind, Understanding, inward and outward Senses; for this is Assurance to the whole Man. The Understanding is oft un­der Error, and mistake, wherein it is not Serv'd, and Ministred to by Sense; Sense is oft deluded, when the mind does not make a Judgment. When both make a full Judgment, This is as great Assurance, as the Intellectual, sensible Being of Man is capable of; and therefore Resistance to such Light is Blas­phemy against the Holy Spirit, which is Blaspheming against full Con­viction of Divine Power, and Appearance, Mat. 12. 31. Mark. 3▪ 18. Luke 12. 10. The Miracles therefore proper to the Kingdom of Christ, are Armed at all Points by Infallible Proofs, as that grand Miracle of the Resurrection of Christ was, Acts 1. 3. And thus they ought to be from their Relation to the Kingdom of Christ, which shall give all assurance of it self to the whole Man, and for ever remove all possibility of doubt from Saints, who shall see then Eye to Eye; and from wicked Men, who would not see, but shall see in that day.

CHAP. IV. Of the Reasons, or ends of Miracles, as they are generally Assign'd by those, who have Writ upon them.

I Come now to shew the Ends, and great Uses, and Purposes of God in Miracles, what he intends towards the Children of men by them.

And I will Argue the thing Freely, both on the one side, and the other; because I know, the generality of Christians, and of the Interpreters and Teachers of the Doctrine of Miracles, al­most of all Judgments, and persuasions, are very narrow, and confined in their Apprehensions concerning the Reasons, or ends of Miracles; and have not consider'd this great End of them, their relation to the World to come, or to the Kingdom of Christ.

Far be it from me to take upon me, but I say; By evidence from the Word of God, it will appear, that this is the far greatest End of Miracles, which hath been Overseen, not considered, nor looked into, altho the Head of the Corner; and yet other Ends or Reasons of them are to be duly considered also.

1. A great end of Miracles is to call Men to an immediate Consideration of God; For Men can put off God in Ordinary Things, and say, Nature did it; this or that Natural Cause; Did you not see, say they, how this, or that Natural Cause wrought; and take away (say they) the Natural Cause, and the Effect will not be produced. As if a Man▪lies still, and does no­thing, he doth not grow Rich, if he had not Riches, and an Estate before; and so let a man be under a Disease, if he does not send for a Physician, then Nature, and the Disease must Contest it, and dispute it together; and it is odds against Nature, [Page 24] it will be overcome; if you take away the Fire, say they, there shall be no Warmth; if you take away the Sun, there can be no Light; so men leave God out; and therefore to awaken Bruitish Men, that do not consider God is at the Spring of all, and that he concurs with all, that Reaches any End; God very often crosses, and thwarts what we count the Course of Natural Causes, The Race is not to the Swift, nor the Battle to the Strong, nor Bread to the Wise, nor Favour to the Men of understanding, but the Wise, and their Works are in the Hands of God, the God of Nature; Eccles. c. 9. v. 1. 11.

All this notwithstanding, most men do not perceive; God therefore hath not been wanting to the World to give some ex­traordinary Appearances, and to make himself known by a Hand, and Arm stretched out, and made bare; and it is a great Aggra­vation, if Men do not take notice hereof. This was the great sin of Pharoh, that he harden'd his Heart against all those mighty Works of God done before him, and upon him. This sin highly provoked God against the Israelites, That they saw his Works forty years, and yet always Err'd in their Hearts, and did not know the ways of God, Heb. 3. 9▪ 10. So says Christ, If I had not come, and done among them the works, that no other Man did, They had had no sin, but now they have both seen and hated, both me, and my Father, John 15. 24.

From all this, It is very Evident, Miracles ought to be vehement Persuasions to Faith, Love, Obedience, Self-Resignation, ac­cording to any Manifestation of God to Men, with which Mi­racles go along; But yet consider on the other side, That though this is one great end of Miracles, yet it is not worthy to be the chief, or Adequate End of Miracles; For let these two or three things stand in Counter-ballance to supposing so.

1. That the general Works of God, and those in ordinary, or Constancy, are so great, that Men are without excuse, in not Fearing God, and Loving, and Obeying him, altho there had never been a Miracle in extraordinary in the World; as I have shewn from Rom. 1. 20. The invisible things of God, even his Eter­nal Power, and Godhead are so manifest from the Creation; All Men who do not Glorify him as God, and who serve the Creature, more than the Creator blessed for ever, are without excuse; if God had not done enough without Miracles, then indeed there would certainly have been Miracles upon this only account, that men might have no just Reason to complain of God.

And so let us consider that of Jerem. 10. 6. Who would not fear thee? Oh Lord, King of Nations; For to thee doth it appertain; For as much as there is none like unto thee; For thou art Great, and thy Name is great in might: When he uttereth his Voice, There is a multitude of Waters in the Heavens; And will ye not fear me, saith God, who have placed the Sand for a Bound to the Sea, that though the Waters toss themselves they cannot pass over; Are ye so Bruitish, so inconside­rate, so unreasonable, that ye will not fear me? Every day God doth Great Things and Miracles, and that without number.

It is not therefore, that God hath not given Evidence enough, for he hath given abundantly enough; yea, though Men had not the Light of his Word, They are without Excuse; How much more are they without Excuse, who have the Light of that, even of the Gospel of Glory!

I do not deny, that God makes a greater Offer of himself by Miracles, considering Mens great Stupidity; They are to excite them, who Believe not, I grant; yet I am much perswaded, there is so much, enough and to spare of Evidence and Assur­ance of God, that if that h [...]d b [...]en the sole end of Miracles to offer a further Evidence or Motive of acknowledging God; if there had not been a greater End, than that, There had never been a Miracle in the World shewn on that Account.

2. Let it be well weighed, that as Christ says, If I had not done among them, the Works that no other Man did, they had had no sin: So he says, If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin, but now they have no Cloak for their Sin; tho he should have done no Miracle.

That also weighs much with me; That the great End of Mi­racle is not to Convince Men, or move them home to God, Luke 16. ult. They have Moses and the Prophets, if they will not believe them, neither will they be perswaded, though one Rose from the Dead.

I do most sincerely, and with All clearness, and fairness de­sire to Reason these things, that I may see, whether the things, I design in this Discourse, will hold, or not.

I am very confident, Take any man of the Family, where there has been a great deal of Wickedness, and Prophaneness, and loosness of Living; and so the Courts, where there has been successive Debauchery, carelessness of all Religion, abundance of Pride, Luxury, and Sensuality; and if God should bring back any of those Princes, or Co [...]rtiers, or Family-Relations, from the Dead, and he should say, I was within such a Space [Page 26] of time, as you are now, Walking in the same Vanity of Mind, giving my self over to work all Ʋncleanness, with greediness, running into all excess of Riot, All for the present Enjoyment, never thinking what would come after, what would become of me for ever, but now I feel the Torment▪ and Woe of it; and have obtain'd Liberty to come to Advise you, that you would Repent, and Reform, that you may not come into the same state of Torment; we should be ready to think, this would certainly move us, and reclaim us; but you see, what he says, that Knew all Men, and that knew, what was in Man, and needed not, that any one should Testify to him of Man, what he would do in such a Case; he Assures us This would not per­swade; Now the very same thing, by all proportion of Sense, Reason, Experience, may be said concerning the Works of God, the Providence of God, the Word of God: If Men are not perswaded by these, neither would they be perswaded by Mira­cles, wer [...] they never so great and many; this there [...]ore Argues to me; To move Men to Conversion, and Repentance is not the proper, and Adequate Reason of Miracles.

2. I would further strengthen this by the observation of the Behaviour of those, to whom Miracles were more immediately Directed; and we may find, how they stood up like Rock a­gainst the Force of them, as we see in Pharoh; Would any one think God should send upon him Ten Miraculous Plagues, one after another, to take him down, and bring him into Subjection to God; and that at last we should find him Driving into the Heart of the Sea, after the People of God, and then overwhelmed; the sin God had so often warn'd him of, and Plagued him for; and yet thus it was: I acknowledg God magnified his Power, and got himself a great Name in his Destruction; but we may see there was a further Relation to the World to come, by the Recalling the Song of Moses at the Red Sea, the place of his Perishing, and Joyning it with the Song of the Lamb; and by the paralel Course of the seven Vials destroying Spiritual Egypt, as was before intimated, Rev. 15.

In the same manner the Miracles of Christ, and of the Apostles were Directed first, and immediately on the Jews of That time; But how little they Avail'd to Conversion, we know beyond Doubt; I do not deny, God Justified himself more abundantly thereby in their utter Destruction by the Romans, about forty years after; But the Interest the Kingdom of Christ prevail'd beyond that▪ End of Conversion, For It Faild; But when that was [Page 27] first Proposed, How Proper it was to make so glorious an appear­ance of that Kingdom that shall fully appear in its own time (tho not then, that not being the proper Time) in a like, but much greater and more Illustrious Efficacy of Miracles.

3. The moving men home to God cannot be the adequate end of Miracles: God hath been pleased to bring some Home suddenly without Miracle; as Matthew the Publican, Matt. 9. 9. and the Apostle prefers, 1 Cor. 14. 23. Prophecy or Powerful Preaching the Gospel, as above Miracles for the End of Con­version or a more Spiritual, Inward, Miraculous Power above a Miracle that seems more wonderful to sense, viz. a Speaking with all manner of Tongues, or [...]anguages; And indeed That great and mighty Work of Conversion, whatever service it may re­ceive from Miracles, yet is much more to be acknowledged to the Spirit of God powr'd out, and laying hold on those Ordain'd to Eternal Life, than to Miracles; which much assures, This working upon the Hearts of Men to a sense of God is not the End of Miracles in a full, direct Adequation to it.

2. It is assigned, as a much more Agreable, and Commensu­rate end of Miracles, that they are Given as a Testimony from Heaven of the truth of any Divine Revelation from Heaven, of the will, and mind of God▪ Touching any Law, or Rule of Faith, worship and Life in order to Eternal Life, especially when the Points of that Revelation are above, over, and super-added to the Law and Light, which we Call, of Nature; or to any former Manifestation, and Declaration of the Will of God, that had been fixed and setled in the Church, and among the People of God throughout their Generations; such Miraculous Power is there­fore given into the Hand of such Ministers of Divine Pleasure, as he hath Chosen for it.

Thus a great Presence of Divine Power was with Moses, the Servant of God, in the fixing that whole Frame of the Ceremonial Law; Thus the Tabernacle, and Service of it was fill'd with the glorious coming down of God into it; so Solomons Temple was, as we may say, Consecrated by God himself.

And thus Especially, and much more That supreme Revelation of the Gospel, for the Excellency of the Declaration it self, for the Glory of the Lord, by whom it began to be spoken▪ for the sake of so great and Antient a Sanction, as that of the Mosaick Law; which it gave a Cessation to, not so much by Abrogation, as fulfil­ing [Page 28] it; was so Seal'd; in all these Regards God bare Witness to Christ, and to the Apostles by Divers Signs, Wonders, Miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his Will.

In the assured Knowledg hereof, Ch [...]ist said, The Works, which the Father hath given me to do, bear Witness of me, Believe me for the Works sake; John 5. 36, c. 14. 11. The Apostle Peter sig­nifies the Boldness in speaking the word of God arising from the signs, and wonders, that were done by the Name of the Holy Child Jesus, Acts 4. 30. Paul, and Barnabas spake the word of God boldly, the Lord giving Testimony to that word of his Grace, and granting Signs, and Wonders to be done by their Hands, Acts 14. 3. These moved men to Believe, This beginning of Miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his Glory, and his Disciples believed on him. John 2. 11. Christ makes it the great Aggravation of the unbelief of the Jews, that he did the Works among them, that no man else ever did, John 15. 24.

Now from all these Scriptures Joyn'd with the Reason of the thing it self, It is undeniable, The Confirmation of the Truth of the Gospel, was a principal end of Miracles; and that hereby men might be made obedient by Word, and Deed, through mighty Signs, and Wonders, by the Power of the Spirit of God, Rom. 15. 19.

But all thi [...] notwithstanding, which I most Fully and Hum­bly Ackn [...]wledg; I have yet many things to observe upon, by which it may Appear; This is not the Adequate end of Mi­racles.

Now that wherein, It appears, The confirmation of the Doctrine of the Gospel is not the chief end, or Reason of Mira­cles, is, That Miracles need a Confirmation from the Doctrine Preached, with which they go along and are Joyn'd, as well as the Doctrine needs a Confirmation from Miracles; Nay, Doctrine may Prove it self by it self, when Miracles cannot prove themselves without the Doctrine; This appears from many Great Scriptures, as Deuteronomy. 13. 1. If there Arise among you a Prophet, and He giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign, or wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other Gods, which Thou hast not Known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not Hearken to the words of that Prophet, &c. For the Lord your God proveth you, &c. You shall therefore walk after the Lord your God, &c. If any Doctrines then be not according to wh [...] God hath before spoken in his word, and to those main points of the Love, and Fear of God and the Rewards he hath pro [...]ed, and Pun­ishments he hath Threatened; Although such a Contrary [Page 29] Doctrin be Confirm'd with such Appearances of a sign, or wonder, as cannot be D [...]stinguished by very Judicious observers from a Real Miracle; This will not Justify the person that turns aside from the Commands or Doctrines that are indeed from God, which ought to be weighed by all the Just Rules, and Characters of Trying truth.

According to this Grand caution thus Given by God, The Jews might have been excused in Refusing to withdraw from the Mosaic Law; or to receive Christ as the Messiah and Son of God, notwithstanding all the Miracles wrought by our Lord, and by his Apostles; if the Doctrine, and Action, and high Acknowledg­ment of God, of All holiness; if the Excellencies alwaies most Bright, and shining from our Lord, &c. If the Diviness of all his Preach [...]ng, His clearest dicovery of eternal Life, and everlasting Punishment upon all unholyness had not vindicated, and de­monstrated it self to be of God; Christ therefore says, as before observed: John 15. 22. If I had not come, and spoken to them, they had no sin; but now they have no Cloake for their sin; and so John 14. 10. Christ saith. The words I speak unto you, I speak not of my self, but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doth the works Certainly our Lord Im­plyes, His very Doctrine was all Miracle, All works; the works of his Father as well as the very Miracles, or Works strictly so called.

Thus Christ Argues from the Direct [...]endency of all his whole Ministry, and design, so manifestly tending to the Ruine of Sa­thans Kingdom, that he could not be suspected of Acting by way of Collusion with Sathan; except Sathan could be supposed to be Divided against Himself, and to Destroy his own Kingdom; Else the Pretence had been plausible, if all the Doctrine of Christ had not been Infinitely Holy, and Infinitely pure; Destructive to Sa­tan and his Kingdom Matt. 12. Mark 3. an [...] Luke. 11.

The Apostle Petet Comparing the Miraculous vision of our Lords Transfiguration, Prefers the Word of Prophecy, as more sure, 2. Pet. 1. 19.

And the Apostle Paul makes the powerful Preaching of the Truths of the Gospel, more Convincing of the mighty presence of God in Church Assemblies, then Miracles, or miraculous Gifts of Tongues were, 1 Cor. 14. 26. For hereby, saith he, the Se­crets of mens Hearts will be Discovered, and they will Fall down, and worship God, and say, He is among his Servants of a Truth.

From all this, It is most manifest; The Confirmation of the Truths o [...] the Gospel is not the Adequate end of Miracles, or a Reason of them Commensurate to them; Because they do not [Page 30] sufficiently serve that end, nor answer that Reason; If therefore They had been supremely to that end, or Reason of them; There is no doubt They should to the very utmost, and last point of effect have produced that Confirmation; For such mighty works of God Cannot be once supposed to be in vain; as they must be, if they do not Attain their End, or are-not Principal in Attaining it: As it hath been made out, They are not.

CHAP. V. Wherein the Grand Scope of the Discourse is Endeavoured to be truly Fixed, viz. That the Chief and Adequate End, and Rea­son of Mirac [...]s is; That they are Porti­ons and Pledges, Peices and Parcels and Portions of the Kingdom of Christ, or of the World to Come, and to Bring it in at Last;

I Come now to that Part of this Discourse, wherein as in a Center, All the lines of it meet; that is, to shew, that the Princi­pal, and most Adequate Reason of Miracles is; that They Bear a strict close, and Inseparable Relation to that world to come, whereof, saith the Apostle, we speak; And because This world is to come, and they have not yet Introduced it; Therefore they can be no more then Parts or Peices, and Portions, and not the entire sum; Pawns, and Pledges, and not the very Kingdom, not that very world it self.

And in the attaining of this, It will be found; That what­ever account can be given of Miracles, as if this moving mens [Page 31] Hearts Home to God were an end, or Reason of them; or as if the Confirmation of the Doctrine of the Gospel were an end by it self, worthy of them, even That account will be Found to Lye in their Relation, Those very effects have to that world to come, as will be seen in the Particulars, I shall now present in order.

Argum. 1. If there be such a World to Come, as the Scripture hath abundantly declared, there is; then every thing wherein the Present State of the World is lifted up above it self, or the present Course of setled Nature; (which being by Immediate Power, and not in the ordinary manner of Ʋpholding, and merciful Governing the World, we therefore call Miracle;) is in its very own Nature a Pledg, and Assurance of such a Restitu [...]ion, or New Crea­tion, or W [...]rld to Come, as we speak of, and is a part, or portion of it; For it is a Specimen, and a little part of what we shall see in full, and whole

And on the other side, if there by any thing done in Judgment, in such Extraord [...]nary and Miraculous manner; breaking the Frame of the Present State, either in any more Essential Settlement, or in the general Course of Gods Government of the World; it is an Assurance to us, that he [...]ill Dissolve the present World, to make room for a new World, and to bring in Ʋniversal Judgment upon the Ʋngodly; on whi [...]h account, all Extraordinary Judgments are delivered in the Language of the general Judgment, as is most observable in all the Phrase, wherein such Judgments are expressed in the Prophetical Parts of the Old and New Testament; which are not a high Rh [...]to­rical or Poetical Language, or manner of Expression, but have real Re­ference to what shall be Fulfill'd in the very Letter at last.

Now in the presenting Particulars, and Arguing upon them; If the things spoken seem to be new, or singular, I would only Desire the Noble Temper of the Bereans, to search the Scripture, whether these things be so, or not!

1. I would begin more orderly, and in the Foundation; Jesus Christ is the Second Adam, Lord of the World to Come; and un [...]r Him the present World is put▪ in regard of supreme Ad [...]nistration of the very Things, that are not put under him, in the [...]ense, They shall be put under him. I know we will All allow. This great Mediator, the Redeemer of the World Jesus Christ, The Messiah, the Prince of the King [...] of the Earth, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords; He into whose Hand, the Father hath committed all [Page 32] Judgment, to Execute it, even because he is the Son of Man; that His coming into the World was supreme Miracle; This none of us, that believe in Jesus Christ, will deny, but own it, as an Article of Faith. This the Scripture speaks of, as a great Miracle; For if Jesus Christ had come into the World, the ordinary way of man­kind, It had been a great Argument, that there had been no such Relation between Miracle, and the World to Come, as I now affirm to you; But I will make it Evident to you, how much, (though it be a thing we all Profess to believe, That Jesus Christ was born of a Virgin) The Scripture speaks of it in the High Language of Miracle; The Prophet Esay. ch: 7. v. 11. Commission'd by God, proposes to Ahaz, King of Judah, when there was a Confederacy against him, that yet God assured him, should have no success, To ask of God a sign of it, that is, a Miracle; and God knowing how great a S [...]gn He intended him, a Miracle or Sign Comprehensive of all Signs, bid him Ask it, as great, and wonderful, as he could desire; either in the Depth, or in the Heighth; as if God had said, I would have thee ask it; It shall be a Point of thy Faith, and of thy Obedience, and thus indeed God offers a Miracle as a Confirmati­on; as hath been allowed; of any Declaration of God to man, having yet an especial Relation to the World to Come.

Oh how great is this Goodness of God to Ahaz! As if God should say to us in any Extremity or Distress; I intend a Glorious King­dom a World to Come of Grace, Mercy and Peace to my Servants, brought in by my immediate Hand, and Power; and you shall have a share of it, a Lot in it; as God said to Daniel; and a part, a p [...]wn of it in an Extraordinary, a Miraculous Relief of your present Extremity, and Di­stress; How great a mercy would we esteem it!

But Ahaz being of a Perverse, Unbelieving, Disobedient Temper; Oh, saith he, I will not ask, I will not tempt the Lord, what do you talk to me of Signs, or Miracles? I am content with the Even Course of Providence, and with the stated Truth of the Word of God.

And so we are ready to say now; What do you talk to us of Miracles? They are Fancies, and Whimsies of Brain sick Men only; Let us keep to the Written Word, and to settled Pr [...]vidence; even thus they will say at a Time, when God is giving greatest Proof, He will Work, and Return on High; For else, I do acknowledg with all my Heart, we must wait Gods Appointed Time; But it is great Perversity, when we Refuse the E [...]idence of any thing Written in the Word of [Page 33] God, that we might, by the Scripture, have had patience, hope and Comfort in, and say, We won't tempt God.

Therefore immediately on Ahaz his Refusal, saith the Pro­phet Esay, Hear now, Oh House of David, Is it too small a thing for you to weary men? To weary his Servants, the Ministers of these things from God to you, but will you weary my God also? Tho you are not willing to ask a Sign, I'le single out a Sign for you; Behold, a Virgin shall Conceive a Son; This we know is perfect Mi­racle; It is True, This did not appear at that Time to the Senses of Ahaz, when it was thus Promised; what sensible Symbol God gave of it then, I will not now Dispute; but This Promise carries our Thoughts on the Very Miracle it self, when our Lord came in the Flesh; and so we find the Evangelists Matthew and Luke, give the History of the Virgin Mary bringing forth the Holy Child Jesus Thus we see in the Person of the Redeem­er, the very Foundation of the World to Come is laid in Miracle; and according to this very Miracle, and in Order to that very World, he is Emanuel, God with us; God in our Nature; a Mi­racle beyond all Miracles.

I'le give you one Scripture more concerning this very Thing, Jerem 31. 22, 23. How long, saith God, wilt thou go about, thou backsliding Daughter; The Lord hath, or will create a new thing in the Eartk, a Woman shall compass a Man; it is an Expression of the Miraculous Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, his Birth of the Virgin; For as I have said, the word, A New Thing, expresses the Nature of Miracle: And then it follows, They shall use this Speech in the Land of Judah, and Mountain of Ho [...]yness; which Holy Mount we know, is an expression of the World to Come, the very Assurance of which satiates every wea [...]y Soul, and replenishes every sorrowful Soul; and the ground of all this is the Miraculous Birth of the great Redeemer, Jehovah our Righteousness.

According to this, Genesis 3. 15. As soon as the present Creati­on was lapsed, and Fallen by the Sin of Man, and had sunk ut­terly int [...] Ru [...]ne, if it had not been Shor'd up by the Mediator; It is said, I will put Enmity between thee and the Woman▪ between her Seed, and thy Seed; It shall Bruise thy Head, and thou shalt Bruise his Heel. Here the Woman is taken a part from Adam; and between the Seed of the Woman in a Peculiar manner, and the Seed of the Serpen [...] is this Enmity Put, to express that Miraculous Conception, and Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And indeed, if we could lay the thing close to our Hearts, God Awakens us to all the great Things of the World to come, whereof we speak; and shews us plainly, that Things shall be lift­ed up to a far greater, and more excellent state; he hath given this as a Sign of it, A Virgin shall Conceive and Bear a Son.

Let us consider one Scripture more, Esay. 9. 6. For unto us a Child is Born, a Son is Given; and the Government shall be upon his shoulder; and his Name shall be called Wonderful; Counsellor; the Mighty God; the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace; of the Increase of his Government, and Peace, there shall be no end; Ʋpon the Throne of David, and his Kingdom, to order it, and to Esta­blish it with Judgment, and with Justice from henceforth, even for ever; The Zeal of the Lord of Hosts shall perform this; To us a Child is born, a Son is Given; Herein indeed is not an express Delineation of the wonderfulness of his Conception and birth; but it is implied, and Included; His Name shall be called; what shall it be called? Wonderful, The Man of Wonders, That Wonderful Man through­out; he is all Wonderful; all Miracle; the Counsellor, and Mighty God, and that which we call Everlasting Father, is in the Hebrew, The Father of the World to come; And of his Government, There shall be no End; Glorious and Great shall be his Kingdom. The Zeal of the Lord of Hosts shall perform this; and therefore the greatness of his Power, It being all Miracle, shall perform this. His hand shall be stretched out in it, and for the World to Come.

The Death of, our Lord Jesus Christ was stupendious Miracle of Justice, and Judgment, when the Lord Bruised, and put him to Grief, and made his Soul an Offering for Sin. This foreshewed the Dread of the Vengeance of God for sin, burning upon the wicked to the Neithermost Hell, setting on Fire the Foundation of the Mountains, Burning up the Earth, and the Works of it, and the wicked becoming as Bryars and Thorns Burnt on that their own Earth. For as Christ said in a Foresight of the Destruction of Jerusalem, If these things were done in the Green Tree, what shall be done in the Dry! This ought to be carried to all Desolations, and Destructions, the Manifestation of the Righteous Judgment of God shall make in his Holy Indignation, against the Posterity, and World of the Apo­state Adam not Reconciled by the Second Adam, The Lord from Heaven, and Father of the world to Come, whereof we speak.

The Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Mira­cle, as all that speak of Miracle, acknowledg, is a Glorious Pledg of the World to Come, and an entry into the very State of it; This World knew no such thing before, nor had any such [Page 35] Thing in all its Treasure, Riches, or Variety; He was the First Born, the First begotten from the Dead. Such was his Ascenti­on, his Glorious Entrance into the Tabernacle made without hands, not of this Building; his sending down the Spirit; as the Apostle hath said in the Context I am upon, in divers Signs, and Miracles, and Gifts of the Holy Spirit according to his own will; And all this in Connexion with the World to Come, not in Subjection to Angels, but the Kingdom of the Son of God; All which comes home to this, That Miracles are proper to the World to Come, as the Rea­son, and end of it.

Now there is nothing, wherein I can more Humbly and earn­estly Intreat you, that Read these Things; and wherein you can yeild a greater Acceptance, to what I am now Discoursing, than that you would Search these things, and Compare them, and Argue them to your selves; For I know they will, and must bear weight with you.

Argum. 2. The Second Argument, I would give you, is the Consideration of the way, by which God will save All, and every one of us, whom he will save by the second Adam, and fits them for that World to Come, for that everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He saves them, he does all for them in a way of Miracle.

This I will endeavour to make plain to you, by considering, That God would not save Men by the First Covenant, the Co­venant of Creation, the Law of Creation; They cannot be Saved by that; They must be saved by a New Covenant, a Cove­nant that is all Miracle. This I will shew you in two Parts of it.

1. When God Justifies Sinners by the Righteousness of ano­ther, by the Obedience and by the Suffering, and by the Death of another; This is Miracle; and it is as great Miracle, as any of the Things, that Men allow to be Miracle; and indeed in Regard of the Internal Excellency, the Intrinsick worth of the Thing, It is far greater than any Miracle, except what con­cerns the very Excellency, and Glory of the Person of the Mediator; Those Wonders of Miracle, if I may so speak.

Oh therefore that we could consider it; If we are Pardoned in Christ, if we are Justified by Christ, If we are Saved from Hell, from Wrath to come by him, or from the Curse of the Law; This is all Miracle; For I would Ask any Man; I am sure, [Page 36] None of the Men of Reason, and that seem to understand Mi­racle Best, can deny it; Is not Miracle a Lifting up of the pre­sent State of the World above the first Law, and Order of the Creation; sure this cannot be Denied; Now that Law of Righteousness, that was given to Man at first; Th [...]t Law, Do this, and Live; Be thou Holy, be thou Perfect, and thou shalt have the Reward of it; Thou shalt Live by it; This was the First Law, and Constitution of God upon Mankind; Now if Men were saved any way by this Law of VVorks, and Righteousness in themselves; Let it be, what way it will; Here were nothing Answering to Miracle, to the Powers of the world to come; only God may have Moderated the Point; Take a little in the place of a great Deal, Sincerity in the place of Perfect Obedience; But still that great Point of Doing, of Doing, that is the Thing; For there lies the Point of Miracle, of New Creation; That it is of Grace, and not of Works. For the Apostle hath Fixed the Firmament, as I may say, between Works, and Grace; He hath E­stablished the two Worlds; the World of the Old Adam, the World to come of the Second Adam, in saying; If it be of Wrk▪s, It is no more of Grace; otherwise Grace is no more Grace, or work is no more work.

Now Work was the very Foundation of the First Creation, Man made in Knowledge, Righteousness and True Holiness; and then working according to it, acting from and by himself, according to the Law of his Creation. I doubt not indeed, that Man was made with the Knowledge of Christ, the Mediator of Amity, and Conciliation, and Sustentation, in the state wherein he was made; seeing all things were made by and for our Mediator; and that Adam himself was the Type of him to come; and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and of the Tree of Life pointed to him; and the very Image wherein Adam was made, was Christ the Image of God. But this being not of the present Intention, I only intimate, and stand not to prove it; But Adam not keep­ing close to the Mediator, was wholly upon his own Bottom of Creation, and the Self Subsistence he chose out of a Mediator: Whatever therefore God does in Grace, through a Mediator, to Man Fallen, is Miracle of Grace; and though it may seem in all Spiritual Concernments, the Concernments of the Inward Man, there is not Miracle, because they do not at the present come into sense; yet in regard of the present state, they are of as Real Inward Deep Sense, and Peace of Conscience; and Exter­nal Evidence in the Change of the Life and Conversation; and [Page 37] shall in the Future State appear in Glory, and illustrious V [...]sibi­lity, and so are now by the Apostle call'd, a being chang'd into the same Image from Glory to Glory, as by that Spirit who is Jeho­vah; I think This may be most justly called Miracle throughout, and so great Miracle, that all outward Miracles are but the Out­side Case, and Representations of them.

Now then if it come to Grace, and to Faith to receive Righ­teousness by another, it must needs be Miracle: We are saved by Miracle in the pardon of sin, and being accepted through the Righteousness of Jesus Christ; I think the Apostle guides us to this very Apprehension; For what (saith he) the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the Flesh, God sending his own Son, and for sin condemned sin in the Flesh, so that it might not be imputed to the Believer in Christ, Rom. 8. 3.

I would but parallel it thus; A Man is Blind, or Lame, or Sick, or Lunatick, or any of those things we read of in the Gos­pel; All the Power of Nature summoned together, the whole Colledge of Physicians, and of all the Wise Men in Nature, be­ing summoned together, they could not have healed a Man born Blind; They could not have interposed in the Case of those per­sons at all, much less in an Instant, as Christ healed them in the Instant.

I say therefore, what Nature could not do, and all the Power of Art joyn'd with it, could not do, that God, sending his Son in the likeness of sinful Flesh, did; He hore away our Sicknesses, carried our Sorrows, so as to heave them off from us upon himself; This we greedily enough allow to be Miracle.

In the same manner, whatever the Law, the Eternal Rule of Righteousness cannot, in regard of the Sinfulness and Guilt of the Nature, and of the Transgressions and Iniquities of Men, do, in the point of Justification before G [...]d▪ when this Justifi­cation is accomplished by the Righteousness of God in the Medi­ator, it must needs be Miracle; For as is the Power of God, and his Omnipotency in Point of Efficiency; such is the Righteousness of God in the Point of Justification; and as is the Loss or De­privation of any of the Faculties of the Soul, or Body, of the Power due to, Innate, or Connatural to Them; So is the want of a Righteousness, of Approbation▪ or Accepta [...]ce in a Man, wherein he may stand before the Just J [...]dg as of full Number, Weight, and Measure, according to that Law of Righteousness▪ Given to Man; and by which his Righteousness shall be Judged, whether it be a Righteousness, or not.

If therefore there had been any Law or Rule of Righteous­ness, that, Mans Sin being consider'd, could have given Righ­teousness, let it have been the First Law, or any After Law, Verily Righteousness should have been by it, Gal: 3. 21. He Brings in these Words, Is the Law against the Promises of God? God forbid; it is as if he had said; Is there any Reason, the Eternal Law of Righteousness should, speaking of it as of a person Weighing its own Honour, Reputation, have Inclinati­on against the promises of God, as undermining it, and surprizing that Honour, and Glory from it, of giving Righteousness; or as if God, to speak with Reverence, were fond of Justifying men by the Righteousness of another; or, as if for the Glory of his Grace, and of his Son, he had brought in his Righteousness, and begg'd of Men to take it, when there was a Law, that was worthy to be call▪d a Law of Righteousness, by which they might better, or but as well, have had it of their own; All this, saith the Apostle, be far from God, to bring in his Promises in so Precarious a manner. But the Case of Man Absolutely Re­quires it, he could not satisfy, he could not Answer any such Law of Righteousness by himself. The Scripture [...]ath concluded, or shut up every way, on every side all mankind under sin. It must be by Miracle, by Free Justification, by the Righteousness of Another; and by Free Pardon upon that Righteousness, wholly out of the Creature, and by the Creator; Jehovah our Righteousness▪ and this is Miracle; It is therefore said, Scripture hath shut up men under sin▪ that the promise by Faith of Jesus Christ, might be given to them, that Believe; Now what is given by promise is Miracle; as Isaac, a Son of Miracle, Miraculously Given, was a Son of Promise; as we find, Rom. 9. 9. The Promise was, At this Time will I return, und Sarah shall have a Son.

And as it is thus in the Point of Acceptance, as Righteous be­fore God; So it is in the Point of Conversion, Regeneration, Sanctification: It is all by Miracle; For it [...]s by Promise; It is by a covenant of free Grace; therefore it is by Miracle: A new Heart and a New Spirit will I Give you; I will take away the Heart of stone, and Give you a Heart of Flesh; I will write my Laws in their Heart, and put my Fear in their Inward parts; and they shall not depart from me, Ez [...]k. 36. Jerem. 31. Heb. 8. All This is by promise; Therefore It is by Miracle; It is by a New Covenant, as I have said, Miracle is a New thing; therefore it is All Miracle. Both then, even Justificati­on and Renovation, they look toward the Kingdom of Christ, toward the World to come; So they are by Miracle; For Miracle [Page 39] and the World to come turn one upon another; Therefore as Ju­stification, so Renovation is by promise, by Free Grace, and so by Miracle; Free Will is according to the Law of the First Creation, and not Miracle, in any other way than, as hath been said be­fore, the First Creation, and the first Spring of All is Miracle; There are Two Frees, as I may so speak, that make a Great Noise among us, Free Grace and Free Will. And although they do not so in themselves, yet Men set them into an Encounter one with the other; They do not so in Themselves, any more than the Law and the Promises of God, which the Jews Rencoun­tered one against another, do; For if there had been a Free Will that could have produc'd Faith, Repentance, Renovation; Veri­ly they should have been by Free Will; But God hath concluded All under Ʋnbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

If therefore the Men of Free Will were speaking of the State of the First Creation; I confess, they discours'd well, excellent w [...]ll; but because it is the World to come, of which we speak; Therefore All Free Will in such sense falls to the Ground; All is by Miracle, by Miracle of Grace, by Miracle of the New Crea­tion.

For the making tfiis plain by Scripture, we shall see how Duely this arises from John 3. 1, &c. Christ had a Learned Man in the Jewish Law to deal with▪ Nicodemus, a Ruler among the Jews; and I doubt not, He might have sate among the Doctors of the Chair for Free Will; and he would have voted, no doubt, in all they said, with them. He came with a Great Complement to Christ, calling him Rabbi; We know, saith he, Thou art a Teacher come from God; For no man can do the Miracles thou doest, except God be with him. Here you see he had a great sense of Miracles, and of the Miracles of Christ; that is, his Miracles especially on the Outward Man: Christ therefore, as it were, withdraws him from the Outward Court of Miracles, into the Inner Court of Spiri­tual Miracles, that yet, as I have said, give both inward and out­ward Assurance of Themselves; Christ instructs him therefore in the Point of Regeneration, Except a man be born again, a new, or from above; Either way signifies Miracle; he cannot see the Kingdom of God. What says Nicodemus to this? This Great Man that came to acknowledge the Miracles of Christ? Oh, saith Nicodemus. How can these things be? Thou speakest of impossible things; How can a man be born again? Can he enter the Second Time into his Mothers Womb, and be born. We see this great Acknow­ledger [Page 40] of Miracles, when he came to a Point of Miraculous Power indeed; that is the Renovation of Man, the giving a New Heart, and a New Spirit; He is Puzzled, He is Posed, He do's not know what to say.

I cannot forbear to take notice, That the great Men of Free-will are the greatest Arguers of the Truth of Christianity by Miracles; and yet notwithstanding, they are as much puzzl'd, and Blunder as much concerning the very Miracles of Regenerating Grace, the Regenerating Spirit, as this great Man Nicodemus did; It is true, to hear them speaking of it, as it is not Miracle, but according to the Law of the First Creation, or very little Dif­fering, They may speak more Tollerably of it.

But saith our Lord to him, That which is Born of the Flesh is Flesh: According to the Law of the First Creation, Let Flesh be your Spring, and Well-Head, you shall never rise above it, do what you can; Therefore marvel not, saith Christ, I said, you must be Born again▪ This Regeneration is by the Spirit alone, no man can Beget himself, but he must needs beget himself the very same, He was before; The New Birth is, as Isaac was, the Child of Promise. It is as the Birth of our Lord, and several of his Pro­genitors was, by Miracle. He can Communicate no New prin­ciple to himself; And just, as the Apostle says here; Divers Mi­racles and Gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will; So in this Miracle of Regeneration, saith Christ, The Spirit bloweoh where it Listeth; To shew, It is all immediate power, that is, Mi­racle.

Thus also the Apost. Discourses 2 Cor. 5. If any Man be in Christ, he is a new Creature, or a new Creation; All Old Things are past away, behold all Things are become New.

I would ask any one, whether this is Miracle or not? If it be only according to the Law of the First Creation, It is not Miracle, but if it be entirely, and perfectly a new Creation, It must needs be Miracle.

Argum. 3. The Resurrection is agreed to be Perfect Miracle; The Kingdom of Christ is the Kingdom of the Resurrection. From hence appears the strong, and close Connexion between the Kingdom of Ch [...]ist, and Miracle.

I could Heartily Pray, the Threed, and Train of the prin­ciples Arguing from the R [...]surrection, as Miracle, were closely pursued, and followed Home; The Apostle says, Acts 17. 31. God hath appointed a Day, in which he will Judg the World by that [Page 41] man, He hath Ordain'd, whereof he hath given Assurance unto All men; whereof, saith he, God hath made Credit; He hath offered greatest Reasons of being assured of what he had so Ordained, by Raising the Lord Jesus from the Dead; and therefore he is so often called, He that is Risen from the Dead; and the First Born, the First Begotten from the Dead; God says to him, Thou art my Son, this day of the Resurrection have I Begotten Thee; and so Royal Power is more solemnly settled upon Him; I was Dead, and am Alive, and behold, I Live for evermore; I have the Keyes of Hell, and Death; the Prince of the Kings of the Earth: Now this Resurrecti­on is the very Finger of God, and therefore, It i [...] justly acknow­ledged the Principal Miracle; It is indeed the Center Miracle in which all Lines meet; as all the greatest Reasoners on Mi­racles do also Fix in it, as so.

Now that the Kingdom of Christ is the Kingdom of the Resurrection of all his Servants, is plain; For he Rose First; His Saints Rise at his Coming, 1 Cor. 15. 23 His Coming, and his Kingdom are Conjoyn'd, 2 Tim 4. 1. So it is the Kingdom of the Resurrection; But I would expresly Establish it on that, Revel. 20. 4. I saw Thrones, and they sate upon them; And I saw the Souls; that is, the whole Persons of Saints; Souls Re-united to their Bodies of them, who were Behead­ed for the Word of God, &c. Now these Lived; They Lived and they Reign'd with Christ a Thousand years; And the rest of the Dead, That is, all those who were not in a State of Blessed Life, but under the Condemnation of Christ, during the Thousand Years; They Lived not again, after the Thousand Years were fulfilled; This is the first Resurrection, the Kingdom of the Resurrection. Blessed and Holy is he, who hath his Part in this First Resurrection, as all the Living, Remaining Saints have; Over them the Second Death shall have no Power; For they in a Paradisiac State, on the New Earth, chang'd in­to Bodies of Paradise, are Priests of God and Christ, for the Thousand Years; Fitted to be Caught up, and to be together with the Saints Dead in Christ, Raised to Enjoy the Kingdom of the Resurrection; as the Children of the Resurrection, the Principals of the First Resurrection in the New Heaven.

I have often Heard, and Read the Discourses of the Men of Reason, Magnifying the Resurrection, as is most Due; As the Hand of God stretched out in the Highest manner, as the Greatest of Mira­cles But, oh, why should they not follow on to the Kingdom of the Resurrection, the World to Come of the Resurrection, during its Thousand Years; the New Creation, the New Heaven, the New Earth, [Page 42] the Kingdom of all Miracle; and then All delivered up to God and the Father, that he may be All in All.

For from all this I conclude, the Kingdom of Christ is the King­dom of all Miracle; Every Miracle therefore that hath been in this World, is but a Peice, a Parcel, a Portion of that so vast, and entire Sum.

Argum. 4. I have now Argued, The New Creation, The New Heaven, and the New Earth are certainly Miracle; because above the Constitution, and Law of the First Creation; and that therefore all Miracle is but part, and parcel, a peice, and porti­on of the Great State of the Kingdom of Christ: For he that is upon the Throne, says, Behold I Create all New. And he adds, Write, For these Words are True and Faithful; Why did he say so? But because he knew very well what an Opposition, what a contrary Sentiment, even Christians would be of to this Truth; Be assur'd therefore, saith the Great Prince upon the Throne, These Things are Faithful and True, and shall have their full Accomplishment in their own proper Times.

But now, as there is in The Kingdom of Christ so Miraculous a State of Mercy, and of Grace to his Servants; so there is a Mi­raculous State of Judgment, Desolating, and Dissolving the Pre­sent State of this World; even, as it is upheld now by the Grace of the Mediator; and that in the Introducing the World to Come, whereof we speak; and also to settle such a Counter-state of Wrath, and Judgment, wherein all the Wicked that have been in the World, shall be in a most Visible State of Contempt and Dishonour, under the wrath of God and the Lamb. And of this, all the Judgments that have been hitherto in the World, have been Parts, Peices, and Portions; also Pawns, and Pledg­es of that State. Those Great Judgments therefore on the Fallen Angels, on the Old World; on Sodom▪ and Gomorrah; on Egypt; on Corah, Dathan, and Abiram; on Nadab and Abihu, have been already instanced in; the Destruction of great Armies, as most especially in the Valley of Jehosaphat, 2 Cor. 20. 24. Joel 3; 12. a great Type of that last Result at the Battle of Armaged­don is most worthy to be considered; and so indeed are All the Judgments we Read of in the Book of God, The Book of the Wars of the Lord, Numb. c. 21. 14. Run down with a strong Stream, and Torrent into their Great Sea, the last Judgment at the Kingdom of Christ; and having all the Nature of Miraculous, confirm the [Page 43] Point we are now upon; That Miracles, and the Kingdom of Christ are closely Connex'd and Joyn'd together.

Argum. last. For a Summary or Recapitulating Argument, we may look back on some of the most Remarkable Miraculous Appearances of God in the Old Testament; and see what an Il­lustrious Correspondence they bear to the World to Come, or to the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ; as the Translation of Enoch, that he should not see Death, Gen. 5. 22. Heb. 11. 5. That, we know was perfect Miracle, compar'd with the Present State of Dying; Elijah, and Elisha's Raising the Dead, Types of the Resurrection, 1 Kings 17. 17. 2 Kings 4 28. The Dividing the Red-Sea, and Jordan, Types of the smiting the Egyptian River in the Seven Streams, and Destroying the Tongue of it, making men go over Dry shod, and of a High way for his People, as to Israel in the Day he came up out of the Land of Egypt, Esay 11. 16. and Like Drying up the Deep, and the River, and the Pride of Egyptian and Assyrian Departing away; when all shall be strengthen'd in God, and the people shall walk up and down in the Name of the Lord, Zech. 10. 11. &c. The giving of Mannah, as Bread from Heaven, looks to Christ the Bread of Life, and the Tree of Life; as the Water out of the Rock to the Water of Life.

But I would especially have Respect to that Standard Miracle of the Sabbatical Year: A great Wonder of the Riches, and Might, and Power of God: Every Seventh Year there was a mighty shewing forth of the Power of God; For that the Earth brought forth it self so much in the Sixth Year, that they might Live upon it without any Plowing, or Sowing the seventh Year. The seventh Year was to be a Sabbath of Rest unto the Land, a Sabbath to the Lord; the Children of Israel were neither to Sow their fields, nor to Prune their Vineyards, nor to Reap, nor to Gather, but all were to Live alike of what came forth of it self: God pro­mised to Bless the sixth Year so, that It should yeild meat for three years, that so the seventh year, might be a year of Sabbath or Rest to them.

Now let us Consider, what the Prophets have spoken concern­ing this World to Come▪ how exactly suitable, and agreeable to this they have spoken of the World to Come; From whence I Argue, and do appeal to any one, whether the Argument be not exceeding great; The seventh year among the Jews was a Symbol, was a Peice, Parcel, Portion of the World to Come, whereof we speak, and of the great Sabbatism of it.

Amos 9. 11. In that day will I Raise up the Tabernacle of David, that it may be Built, as in the days of Old; That they may possess the Remnant of Edom, and of all the Heathen, which are called by my Name, saith the Lord, that doth this. And then it follows, Behold the dayes come, saith the Lord, that the Plowman shall overtake the Reaper, and the Treader of Grapes him that soweth Seed; and the Mountains shall drop sweet VVine, and All the Hills shall melt

The Earth, and the Mountains, and the Hills shall Flow out with a great Freedom, and Spontaneousness into an abundance for the Servants of God; Then shall the full Sense, and Meaning of the Sabbatical years be understood; Then shall the Full Sum, of which that was but a Part, and Portion, be brought into open View; Then instead of the Briar, and Thorn, shall grow up the Mirtle Tree, and the Fir Tree; And It shall be unto the Lord for a Sign, and a Memorial, that shall not be cut off.

When our Lord was here in the Days of his Flesh, he gave an Experiment of Divine Power to the same purpose; and it was a Miracle he seem'd to delight in; For he several Times Repeat­ed it; He fed with a few Loaves, and small Fishes so many Thou­sands; and the Baskets of Fragments far exceeded the Principal, or very first Provision.

Now these Things are all own'd to be Miracles, let us but ask our selves whether these things were not so? If we now in this Nation should let Plowing, and Sowing alone, for a year, would we not look upon it as the Introduction of a Famine? but now if God should positively command us, and Assure us; That there should be care taken in any one year, for three years, and we should Find it so taken, Would we not look upon it as Miracle?

If any one should Set down so great Numbers of People, as Christ did, to so small a Provision, that every one could not take a little; should we not look upon it with as great, or great­er amazement, than the Apostles did upon Christs doing so? But if the small Feast in the Beginning should Multiply in the Eating, and become More, after a plentiful Eating, than it was before Eating, Should we not look upon it as a Miracle? Now All this Imports, That a Sufficiency of Food, and Durable Cloathing, shall be in the Kingdom of Christ, that his Servants may Eat and be Satisfied, Eat and Drink at his Table in his Kingdom, and at­tend upon the Lord without Distraction; that is, Fulness of Enjoyment.

Thus the Miracles Christ did in Healing, and Recovering the Sick, the Blind, and the Lame, How did these mighty Acts look to that State of the World to come, Revel. 21. 4. There shall be no more Sickness, Sorrow, Pain▪ Death, nor Curse, but God shall wipe a­way all Tears from his Servants Eyes.

The Great Readiness of Christ, in shewing his Mercy and Power towards the Blind and Lame, that they might be so no lon­ger, makes me think of that Glory in the Book of Samuel, when it is said of David; the Blind and the Lame, whom David's Soul hated. I only make an Allusion, not considering the strict Sense: Jesus Christ his Soul hated not the I ame, or the Blind; but the Blindness, and the Lameness, the Sickness and the Death: His Soul had such a sense, that this came upon the World, upon Mankind by sin; That he Laboured and Travailed in Spirit, till he brought forth, as you know, so many great Instances of the Redemption of Mankind, in Carrying our Sorrows, and bearing our Sicknesses, till there be that perfect Restitution of All Things na­med before; and the Creatures, or Creation it self, be Delivered from the Bondage of Corruption, into the Manifestation of the Glorious Liberty of the Children of God.

Now these things joyn'd together seem to me so full of E­vidence, that my heart is, while I speak of them, so satiated with them, that I cannot but hope they will be also most Accep­table, and satisfactory to them that read them; so as to conclude, how close Miracle, and the Kingdom of Christ are Related one to another; and that the Chief, and Adequate End, and Rea­son of Miracle is, that they are Portions and Parcels, Peices and Pledges of the Kingdom of Christ, or of the World to come, and shall bring it in at last.

CHAP. VI. A Discussion of the Times wherein Miracles have been most Illustrious, and when there hath been greatest Darkness among the Peo­ple of God, in Relation to them; Prepa­ratory to the Asserting, That Miracles are not ceas'd, but a Return of Them is to be Expected.

SEeing from All I have Discours'd, it appears very undoubted, that a Return of Miracles is, and ought to be expected; be­cause the Great and Adequate End of Miracles is a Connexion with, and even an Introduction of the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the World to come; which Kingdom and World to come is not yet come; and when it shall indeed come, it shall have a mighty Power of Signs, Wonders, Miracles, and Gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own Will, to appear with it, to introduce, settle and establish it, in the Order and Glory of the New Creati­on. I shall therefore, before I come to the down-right Proof, endeavour to anticipate, or to be before hand with the greatest Objection I meet with to it.

Object. The Great Objection I find in my own Thoughts, and which Raises, and Confirms (I doubt not) in others a Resolved Pre-judgment, that Miracles shall not Return, is; Because, that now for a Thousand, Two Hundred and Sixty Years, or near about, Miracles, except the Lying and Legendary ones, the Antichristian A­postasy [Page 47] hath pretended to, there hath been a going off, and a Cessation of the True Power of Miracles; and the Reason to be as­sign'd for it, hath been thought; Because the Doctrine of Salva­tion in the Gospel, and the Canon of Scripture, and particu­larly of the New Testnment, hath been so summ'd up, finish'd, setled, and sealed; so confirm'd and assur'd by undoubted Pow­er of Miracles, that brought it into that Settlement, and gave it so large a spread in the World; that any further use, or service of Miracles, seems wholly superfluous, and unnecessary: For if it were not so, it looks very strange, and there seems no Reason to be given, why God should be pleased to order so long a Paren­thesis, so Long and Dark an Interval; such a long space, and, as I may call it, Gap, between the Power of Miracles, in the Days of Christ, and the Apostles, and some space after; and the present Time.

And indeed, I would add, To give the Objection all the strength I can; That the Papists or the Antichristians, both pretending Themselves to Miracles, and finding among the Protestants, and Reformed Churches, no such Power, nor so much as Pretension to it, have been Loud and Clamorous upon it; and have hereby assum'd it as a Good Reason to Damn the Reformation, because it hath come Naked, and Unarm'd of Miracles; From whence the Reformed, not having considered enough the True Reason of Miracles, nor of their Cessa [...]ion, have been under a Necessity to Defend Themselves, by asserting, Miracles are wholly ceas'd, and no Return to be expected; and that the Popish Pretences have been but so much Counterfeit and Falshdod; In which Last Part they have spoken most Evident and undoubted Truth, and this Defence hath also in the First Part, seem'd so necessary, that it could not be, but it must sink Deep into the Minds of All the Most Holy, Sober, Serious, Wife Protestants, as well as the more General Profession of the Reformation; and hath brought All Discourses of a Return of Miracles, under Great Disrepute, as Wild, and Fanatical, Altho indeed this part [...]f the Defence arose from a not due consideration of the Reasons of the Cessati­on, and of the certain Return of Miracles, when the Force of those Reasons sh [...]ll expire.

And I cannot but acknowledge, It may seem strange, accor­ding to the very Reason I am to lay down, why there hath been such a Cessation of Miracles: And there does arise a Difficulty upon it; That there was not any Return of the Power of Mira­cles [Page 48] with the Reformation. But I hope to give Fairest Solution to it.

In the mean time, I cannot but take n [...]tice, that the Popish Pretensions to a constant Power of Miracles does very notably, not only agree with the Character of Prophecy, in their Lying VVonders; but also that they make indeed a Counterfeit Kingdom to the True Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, both in Prophecy, and in their own Pretences; and so far Counterfeit proves, what ought to be in the Truth, and the Life; of That, It is the counterfeit of, and by Prophecy It was to counterfeit; They give a Proof by the By, That Miracles do indeed appertain to the Kingdom of Ghrist.

But to come to the main Answer to this Objection, I pro­pose upon it,

First, To observe the State of Miracles, or Miraculous Pow­er, in all the several Ages, or Times Recorded to Us in Scrip­ture; and to collect the Light, that may from thence be received, to shew, that Miracles shall certainly Return, and Introduce the Kingdom of Christ.

2. I will lay down, what, upon Great Reason, I Esteem to be the True Cause of the Cessation of Miracles, these Last Twelve Hundred and Sixty Years; and why, especially, since the Reformation, Miracles have not return'd; seeing as Miracles per­tain to the Kingdom of Christ, so the Reformation it self was an ap­pearance of that Kingdom: Wherein I will consider any Colla­teral Objections, that may spring up from any Discourse in this Answer.

That therefore which in general I pitch upon, is; that when we look upon the several Varieties of Appearances of Miracu­lous Emanations, or Flowings out from the Divine Glo [...]y, and Power in Miracles, according to the Records of Scripture; there have been no Times wholly without them, of which Any Records of Scripture have given us the Memorials, Because there was always a certainty of that Kingdom Coming▪ and the mo [...]e Notable, and Remarkable Manifestations have been prepared for those more Noble and Remarkable Manifestations of the Kingdom of Christ. The History of Scripture is indeed very short in the Time before the Flood, yet we have an Eminent Instance of a Miraculous Power of Grace in the Translating Enoch to Hea­ven, without any sight of Death; Enoch walked with God so many [Page 49] years, and was not; For God took him, Gen. 5. 22, 23, 24. This was an Eminent Peice of that World to come; Enoch was tran­slated without seeing Death; As the Apostle saith; Some shall not Dye, but be Changed, and Caught up.

There were two Miraculous Appearances of Judgment. The Lapse, and Curse upon the Creation, and Death upon mankind, that Came in upon the Disobedience of the First Adam; the grand Pro­ [...]unciation of Judgment upon the whole State of the World of that First Adam; and this compar'd with the First Glory of the Creation, on which it Brake in, is most justly to be esteemed Miracle, tho now not so. The so universal, and general Judg­ment upon the Old World by the Flood, of which was spoken before; and how closely it Relates to the VVorld to Come; as also of the Peculiar Miracle of Grace towards Noah, and such a Remnant of the Creation with him; as should give a present Restitution of all things; and how Representative was that also of the World to Come, in which the Servants of Christ shall be Saved from the Deluge of the Vials, and of that Fire of the last Vial!

Now it was very Agreeable, even to that Beginning of the World; That it should not be left wholly without a Testimony of that Kingdom, signified in the Promise of the Womans Seed, wherein there is given the History of that Seed, propagating it self, as the almost whole History of that Time; tho it was so very far off at that Time from Coming, and was to pass through so many several Changes of Representation, ere it came into its Glory.

The Confusion of Languages, and the Division of the Earth in the Time of Shem, the great Melchisedec, and Eber the Holy Patriarch, through whose Loyns the Holy Seed Ran; and whose Son Peleg, in an especial manner bore the Character of that Division, had this Remarkable Relation to the Kingdom of Christ; That it carried the Face of a Miraculous Judiciary Driving asunder the Nations, and made the great Distincti [...]n of Mankind, That Kingdom hath made all along in the World, and shall make; For hereby the Oracles of God were so long committed to that parti­cular Seed of the Hebrews, of whom Christ, God over All, Blessed for ever came.

And hereupon arose that Temporary and present Remedy, or Divine Expedient of the Gift of Tongues, shewing the Miracu­lous Power of Christs Kingdom, making way for its enlargement in the World; and Foretelling also that Reunion of Languages At Pentecost in his Kingdom.

Thus the Time of the second Patriarchal Roll of Generation is Illustrated with a Miracle, separating the Hebrews from all the Nations of the Earth.

The Time of Abraham with his Call to the Going out of Egypt was Enlightned with the continual Appearances of God to A­braham, Isaac, and Jacob, which were indeed of the Na [...]ure of Perfect Miracle; besides what was Miraculous in the Birth of Isaac, of Jacob; and that Miracle of Judgment on Sodom before spoken of.

Thus we see, No Time hitherto to the Going out of Egypt hath been a Dark Place in Regard of Miraculous Appearances of God to his Servants, because of the Great Son of Abraham, according to the Flesh; in whose Right of Inheritance as the Prince of the World to come, Abraham is call'd Heir of the Worlds, Rom. 4. 13.

The Time of the Going out of Egypt, from the Multiplication of the Children of Israel there, to the very settlement in Canaan, was one Continued Train of Miracles: Nor was the Time of the Judges or of the Kings of Judah Un-illustrated by various Irra­diations of the mighty Power of God towards his People in Fore-Assurances of the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ; which is much to be Remark'd; Because the Law of God, by his Servant Moses, had Receiv'd the full settlement, and Establishment by as high Testimonies from Heaven, as serv'd not only the neces­sariness of its Sanction, but the Glory and Grandieur of it. And if only Prophets, without any Power of Miracles, had been Rais'd up in Addition to it; There had been yet a Measure of Truth Shaken Down, and Running Over; For besides those Extra­ordinary Prophets, there was the Standing Ministry, as in Ordi­nary, of the Priests Lips preserving Knowledg.

But that which is most Wonderful, and Deserves particular Enquiry, is, That even in the Apostasy of the Ten Tribes, besides the Communication of whatsoever great things God did in the Kingdom of Judah; There were Those two Prophets, Eli­jah, and Elisha, like two Witnesses, after Moses, and Aaron, set out, and Credential'd with a Mighty Power of Miracles, to be as a Light shining in the Dark place of that Apostasy, that was so great a Type of the Antichristian Apostasy; and the Types of one are made by great Wisdom of the Divine Spirit, Correspondent to the Types of the other; even to so undoubted clearness, and Cer­tainty; that I make no doubt to Assign it, as one Reason, Why there was such a Miraculous Presence there, even that It, [Page 51] with those witnesses at the Deliverance out of Egypt, might be a Prophetical Plat-fotm of the Witnesses Appearing in the Twelve Hundred Sixty Days against the Antichristian Apostasy.

But besides that, There was with Regard to Joseph, of whom the Prophetick Benediction of Jacob, and Moses spoke so great Things; and who was so great a Type of Christ, in his High Administration in Egypt; and whose was, as the Spirit of God Testifies, the Birth-Right, 1 Chron. 5. 2. There was a Type, I say, of the Kingdom of Christ, necessarily to be Erected in his peculiar Posterity, whereof he himself Foretold in Ephraim; so that tho the Kingdom was Judah's, and no one Good King of the House of Joseph over the Ten Tribes; yet God being pleased to have some Representation of the Kingdom of Christ, tho in so continued an Apostasy; he was pleased also to Honour it with so peculiar a Prophetical Ministry; and that so Illustrated with Miraculous Pow­ers, till he gave them a Bill of Divorce under the Name of those three Children of Whoredom, Jezreel, Lo-Ruhamah and Lo-Ammi, Hosea 1.

Yet because it was still a Type of the Kingdom of Christ, There was an Eminent Type of the very Kingdom of Christ, Elijah carried up to Heaven, even above the Translation of Enoch, in a Chariot of Fire, without Dying.

Some years after the Captivity of the Ten Tribes, when they were come under the very Perpendicular Influences of that Dreadful Lo Ruhamah, and Lo-Ammi, The Miraculous Power of God shone out with very Bright Rayes upon Hezekiah King of Judah, a most Excellent Reforming Prince; First, in the Destruct­ion of so great an Assyrian Army; which threatn'd him with the Lot of the Ten Tribes; and Immediately after, with that Mi­raculous Sign in the Shadow; that is, as the Learned make manifest, The Sun going so many Degrees back, to assure his Life restor'd.

Then came on the Babylonish Captivity; during the Time of which; besides the Grandieur of the Spirit of Prophecy during that Time, in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel; there were very Resplendent Signatures of the Mighty Power of God in Nebu­chadnezzar's Dream, and Image; both Retrieved by Daniel, when He had lost all Lines of it; as also Expounded to him, which both satisfied, and convinced that Insolent Monarch into an ac­knowledgment of God; the Miraculous Chaining up the power of the Fire upon the Three Servants of God, in that so over­heated Furnace, while yet it had Full Force to Fly out, and Ravage upon the Servants of the Idolatrous, Furious Prince, that doted up­on [Page 52] that very Image of Vast Arbitrary Dominion; most probably; which being so Miraculously Represented, and Expounded, had Extorted from him the Confession of the one True God: That immediate Hand of the most High upon him in such a Deliration and Phrensy, which turn'd him to Grass with the Beasts, and as wonderfully Restor'd him with a Mouth so full of acknow­ledgments of the God of Heaven; The Dreadful, and Asto­nishing Starting of the Hand and Fingers out of the wall, to that In­temperate Sacrilegious and Idolatrous King Belshazzar, with the Affrightful Comment of Daniel upon the writing of them; The preserving Daniel in the Den of Lyons, when their Rage was yet so quick upon the men, that gave him as a prey to their intend­ed Ravenous Teeth: All these very stupendious and Mighty Works of God, were undoubtedly on purpose provided for that very Time, wherein These most Admirable, and Truly more Miraculous Visions of the Kingdom of Christ were in Giving, and as most Connatural to them; so for a Confirmation of them; They lasted therefore so long, and were succeeded by not so many Miracles, as very wonderful, and Mighty Providences in the Restoring Judah and Jerusalem, by such Signal, and almost mi­raculously moved, and Ingaged services of so many Princes of Persia; together with the Glorious Prophecy of Haggai and Zecha­ry; which lasted, till Judah, and Jerusalem were Restor'd, and so long continued the Spirit of Prophecy; Then immediately came on those Strait Cramped Times, both as to the Prophecy, the Miraculous Power and all Appearances of the Kingdom of Christ; One Rising and Setting with the other, as by the strongest Sym­pathy and Configuration, or most Wise Disposals, to, for, and with one another; For when those Straits of Time, under the Power of Heathen Princes, and the more settled Times of the Gentiles came in, the Spirit of Prophecy Retired in Malachies Prophecy, and took, as it were, its Leave, and gave its Fare-well in those Words ending it; Remember ye the Law of Moses my Servant in Horeb for All Israel, with the Statutes, and the Judgments, viz. As Enlarg'd upon by the Prophets; Let my Written Word be your Rule; Thus there was a Sealing up Prophecy till the sending of Elijah the Pro­phet, which Elijah the Prophet, our Lord Assures, was John the Baptist, in One Degree, but not in the Highest; For another Elijah like Ministry, and of an Higher Elevation, or exaltation shall yet Arise; as our Lord hath Intimated also in saying; Eli­jah truly Cometh, and shall Restore All Things; even before that Notably Great, and Terrible Day of the Lord; And when the mighty Con­verting [Page 53] Power, the Power of Miracles being also Joyn'd with it, shall be abundantly given out; For John did no Miracle to shew the Prophecy was not in him Fullfill'd to the utmost; then shall indeed the Heart of the Fathers be Turn'd to the Children, and the Heart of the Children to the Fathers, or of the Disobedient to the Wis­dom of the Just.

However, in the mean time, The Beginning of the Gospel, in every Evangelist, is plac'd in John, to whom says Luke, The Word of God by immediate Mission came; and he was a Man sent from God, as the Evangelist John says; And the very Beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God is Fix'd in Him by Mark cap. 1. 1, 2 As if he would have Joyn'd the last words of Malachi, and the first of his own together, and in a Continuation, as one and the same Holy Scripture.

But notwithstanding all this, tho John was so great a Prophet; Yet he (saith Christ) that is Least in the Kingdom of God, is Greater than he; His Greatness above all, that were Born of Women stood in this, That he prepar'd the way to Christ, and to that great Power, with which the Son of God came: He was so Great in his being so near the Kingdom of God; yet because he was so near, and not in that very Kingdom, It was not fit for him to do any Miracle; That was a Glory Proper only to the Kingdom of God it self Now it was just in its Appearance.

And thus, I have brought Time down to its Fullness, just to that very point wherein our Lord Jesus Christ Appearing, there were so great Reasons of Expectation, that his Kingdom should also have then Appear'd Immediately, and all Miracles have been summ'd up in its Coming with Power; But tho in the Days of those Kingdoms; I mean of those Four Monarchies in Daniel, that were so Determin'd by God and by Christ; a Room was re­serv'd, That the God of Heaven should set up a Kingdom, and a Do­minion never to End; yet it was in Infinite Wisdom, and Coun­sel so Determin'd, that it should shew it self, and its right, and so withdraw again; because the last of the Four Monarchies, even the Roman Monarchy, had that large Stage of Time allow'd to it to run over; and concerning the last State or Part of which Christ had Sworn, There should be Time, Times and half a Time, e're the Wonders, or Miracles proper to the Introducing his Kingdom should be Finished. Dan. 12. 6.

However for that very Appearance of that Kingdom set up, so great a Power of Miracles, as were wrought in the Days of Christ, and of the Apostles of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ [Page 54] was so shewn; both in regard of that Kingdom of Faith and Ho­liness, that did then actually show it self; and which indeed can never suffer a Total, so much, as Interruption, much less an End; But yet an Apostasy from it, even a General Apostasy, the Apostasy of a Generation, the Antichristian Generation, express'd by the Apostle, 1 Tim. 4. 1. by [...], was to come; as the A­postle does with so great an Earnestness and Zeal Assert, 2 Thes. 2. And by the same degrees, the Mystery of Iniquity wrought in order to that, and to bring it forth, by the very same, the King­dom of Christ withdrew; and Retired in the Spiritual Vertue, and Power of it, and also in the Miraculous Power that comes along with it.

This stop to its present glorious Appearance is very Forcibly Express'd by Daniel in these words, Dan. 9 24. The Sealing Vision, and Prophecy at the very Time of making an End of Sin, and Fi­nishing Transgression; shewing, that whereas the Glory of the King­dom was in strict Justice due to Christ at the very Time of the Sacrifice offered, and Reconciliation made, and the great Assurance God gave of his Acceptance of it by the Rising of our Lord from the Dead for our Justification; which was in Daniels Phrase, bring­ing in Everlasting Righteousness; That then immediately sollows the Sealing Vision, and Prophecy, viz. The Vision, and Prophecy of the Glorious Temple, and Kingdom of Christ, even to Ezekiel 40. &c.

Indeed there was a Gradual Unsealing that first Sealing in the Opening the Seven first Seals, which produc'd the Appearance of the Kingdom of Christ in the Christian Empire of Constantine, and his Successors; but because under it the Antichristian State of the Em­pire made up every day nearer and nearer to Antichrist's, (2 Thes. 2.) own Time, wherein he was to be Revealed; therefore there was a second s [...]aling of the Servants of God in their Forehead; which sealing being contemporary with the Witnesses in Sackcloath, and that contemporary with the Forty Two Months of the Gentiles, and of the Beast, and of the Woman in the Wilderness, is, by con­struction, a Time of 1260 Days of Years. So that the Glory of their State was indeed secur'd, but Conceal'd also, and Reserv'd. Upon which the Kingdom of Christ could not be Reveal'd, during that sealing also; and this, as I shall argue, was the True Cause of the cessation of the power of Miracles.

And when there was a Challenge of the Kingdom of Christ, Rev. 10. by the Roar of the Lyon, and Seven Thunders uttering their Voi­ces, there was yet (which shall be the last) a sealing up the Voices of the Thunders; So that there coald not be the mighty Works of Mi­racles [Page 55] shewing forth themselves, notwithstanding the Reforma­tion.

I have thus far now shewn the close connexion of Miracles, and the Kingdom of Christ, all along from the Promise of the Seed of the Woman breakiag the Head of the Serpent unto the very Kingdom of Christ appearing in far Greater Glory, than ever yet it hath done; and no Time excepted, but the Time of Straits, from the Restoring Jerusalem to Messiah; and the Time of the 1260 Days of the Apo­stasy, not expiring at the Reformation, nor yet expired.

That I may then give, what I account, the True Reason of the Suspension, rather than Cessation of Miracles, I will lay down my sense of it in these Following Particulars:

1. There is a solemn Oath of Christ. That the Potentacy of the Beast would have Time, Times, and half a Time, 42 months, or 1260 Days.

2. This Potentacy of the Beast was to attain its power by doing Great Wonders, and working Miracles. For that which is called, The other Beast, Rev. 13. 13. while he says to them that dwell on the Earth, that they should worship the Beast, and make an Image to the Beast; that is, give him in the Image of Spiritual Supremacy, Im­perial Power. He works miracles, tho false ones. And thus it was to be, because, as hath been said, the Kingdom of the Beast is the Coun­terfeit of the Kingdom of Christ, and so must Appear with Mira­cles.

3. The Kingdom of Christ cannot appear while [...]he Be [...]st's Term lasts; For those Two Kingdoms, can no more stand toge­ther, in Manifestation and Appearance, than the Ark and Da­gon.

4. In the Kingdom of Christ then, Miracles come, when his Name in his Kingdom comes; For where his Name is near, in any Out­ward Lustre, and Visible Glory of his Kingdom; in that Psalm of his Kingdom, Psal. 75. 1. There his wondrous works must and shall declare it.

5. Where True Miracles come, False Miracles cannot Abide, but Vanish, as those of Simon Magus, Acts 10. of Elymas the Sor­cerer, Chap. 13. 8. of the Exorcists, Chap. 19. 13. as those of Jannes and Jambres, before Moses, 2 Tim. 3. 8. as the Priests of Baal, whose God could not Answer by Fire, before the True God by Elijah, 1 Kings 18. 28. 38. When God indeed appears, All Counterfeits are forced to cry out, This is the Finger of God. God cannot be out-shot in his own Bow.

5. Where the Miracles proper to the Evangelical Kingdom and Glory of Christ come, there is also a pouring out of the Di­vine Spirit in the Hearts of Men, by mighty Operations of Grace, according to his own Will; and in proportion to the Appearance his Kingdom is to make at that time; And this must prevail over All that stands in the way of it.

Lay then these together, They make Demonstrative Proof; There could be, There can be no Miracles while the Antichristi­an Times last; that is, no open, visible, sensible Miracles; For if the Beast must, by the Oath tf Christ, last 1260 Years; If it must begin, and be sustain'd by Lying Signs and Wonders; And if where Christ's Kingdom comes in Glory, Miracles come, and his Spirit also; If the False Miracles of Antichrist's Kingdom can­not stand before the True Miracles of Christ's Kingdom, much more with his Spirit; Then it necessarily follows, there can be no Miracles, no Divine Visible Miracles, while the Kingdom of the Beast is by the Oath of Christ to continue: It would present­ly break All in pieces, over-throw All: The Beast's Kingdom cannot stand before them: His Kingdom having been so near to 1260 Years, so long Miracles must have been suspended, and the Miraculous Power have lain still; and been quiet, as in its Scab­bard.

For what can such Lying VVonders, as are done by the Dead Bones of Martyrs; Relicks of this or that Saint; the Virgin Mary; or even pertaining to Christ's Garments, VVood of his Cross, before the mighty Power of Truly Evangelical Doctrine, seal'd with Mira­cles; such as were done by Christ, and his Apostles; together with the Inward Power and Grace of the Divine Spirit, making obedient by Word and Deed; What could All the Legendary Mira­cles of Transubstantiation do in Resistance to Divine Truth so ar­med; or Brutish Excommunications effect before that True Apo­stolical Power of casting to Sathan; The One True Fire from Hea­ven; the other Brutum Fulmen, False Fire, though pretended to be brought down from Heaven; where, by the way, I cannot but observe how Prophecy hath guided common Language; For as Lightnings, or Fulminations are Fire from Heaven, so common Language hath styled Excommunications; Fire as from Heaven, though indeed only from the Magical Heaven of the Pope, and most truly from the sulp [...]ureous smoak of the bottrmless Pit, Revel. 9. 1. Falling in with Revel. 13. 13. to Great Exact­ness.

Now a due Consideration of what I have now Repre­sented, makes Full Solution to Two Objections, that may arise from an overly Reflection upon it.

Object. 1 It may be asked, Why had the Apostasy of the Ten Tribes, so Great a Type of the Antichristian Apostasy; so many and so great Miracles by Elijah, and Elisha?

Ans. The Answer is already given, because the Kingdom, and Apostasy of Antichrist was sworn by Christ; and therefore could not be broken till the End of the 1260 days; but it would have been broken by Miracle; whereas the Kingdom of the Ten Tribes being Israelitish, and Appointed by God, was not Touch'd by the Mira­cles of Elijah, and Elisha, altho their Paganiz'd Apostasy was; the Kingdom therefore continued, notwithstanding those Miracles, so long as God intended; But after he Removed it, as he saw good. But if the Antichristian Apostasy had or should Fall before the Time, the Papal Kingdom must fall with it; Now the Power of Gospel Doctrine, of Miracles, of Powring out the Spirit, must needs have Broken it without Remedy; which had been contrary to the Oath of Christ. There were yet Spiritual Miracles, as is to be shewn, together with the Doctrine of the Witnesses; But they being not visible, and so not Forcible on the Sense, nor Joyn'd with the Spirit powr'd out, as it shall be in the Succession of the Kingdom of Christ; the Antichristian, both Kingdom and Apostasy have stood notwithstanding.

Object. Why had not the Reformation a proportionable ap­pearance of Miracles with the Revival of the Doctrine of the Gospel, and the Retrenchment of the Papal Kingdom, in so many States and Kingdoms?

Ans. It hath been already Intimated; The Antichristian Po­tentacy and Apostasy were to continue not only Time, and Times, but the Half Time also; the 180, as well as the 1080 Days of years; Now at the beginning of Half Time the Reformation ap­pear'd, yet the Beasts Half Time was Remaining due; Christ therefore Seales the Thunders, Rev. 10. 4. Gives out no Miracu­lous Power, nor Gifts of the Spirit in Extraordinary, or according to his Kingdom, but stays till the Expiration of Half Time also; For if the Revival of the Doctrine only, with ordinary Gifts of the Spirit, hath so far prevail'd without these Mighty Powers; [Page 58] How much more must These Joyn'd with Miracle, and extra­ordinary Effusions of the Spirit have prevail'd; even to the Ruine of the Papal Kingdom, and taking away the Apostasy before the Time sworn by Christ!

And so I have settled what I had to say on the Various Times, and the various appearances of Miracles in all Times.

CHAP. VII. The Direct Proof of the Power of Miracles Returning, by the following Arguments for it.

I Now Address my self to the Immediate proof, That Mira­cles are not so Ceas'd, notwithstanding an Interruption of 1260 years, but that they shall yet Return, when the Succession of the King­dom of Christ, and the service of that Kingdom shall Require it.

Argum. 1. The general Argument I give for it, is this, That Miracles have not perfected the End, and Intention of God in that, whereunto they are appointed; Now all the Works of God are Perfect, and shall attain their End; If then they have not done it, it is certain, they must return to do it; For God cannot be Disappointed, or Frustrated, in what he De­signs.

There are two great Ends of Miracles, which have not yet been Answered by them, which are Assurances to us, Miracles shall, and must Return.

Partic. 1. Miracles are Appointed by God to Attend the Gos­pel in its motion to the Ends of the Earth, as the Gospel is the [Page 59] Rod of Christ's Strength, by which he is to Rule so Extensively to the Ends of the Earth; That hath not yet been Done; Therefore Miracles must Return to do it, as I shall now Argue. First, I say, the Gospel was, and is to prevail to the very Ends of the Earth. This we see is not yet done; The Gospel is to Establish the Glory of Christ, the Glory of his Sacrifice, of his Righteousness, of his Intercession, the Greatness of his Kingdom; These Things, we know, how Imperfect they are as yet, both in the Clear­ness of their Knowledg, in the Extensiveness of them, and in the Ʋniversal Communication of the Gospel to all the World.

Now if any one will say, why may not a mighty Pouring out of the Spirit of Christ, together with greater Light, and more Abundant Evidences of the Gospel, and of the Truths of it serve in the place of Miracles; seeing it is an Affirmation al­most General, God works no Miracles, except upon Necessi­ty?

I Answer, It is True, If it pleased God; It might be so, but then so It might have been in the Days of Christ, and of the Apostles; Do we not certainly know, that the Power of Christ, could in the Days of his Flesh, and by the Preaching of his Servants, with the Presence of his Spirit, have done all He, and they Did, without Miracles; and wrought yet even to the utmost Effect? If he had not pleased and thought fit to make Miracles the Convoy, and, as it were, the Triumphant Chariot, in which That Power should Ride: For when the Apostle saith, God bare them Witness with Signs, and Wonders, and Divers Miracles, and Gifts of the Holy Spirit: He yet adds, According to his own Will: He saw no such Necessity of Miracles, but all was according to his own Will, his own pleasure.

It is most certain, If he had not Freely chosen to Work by Miracles, his Spirit would have immediately Reach'd any Heart without them; we find it did so. If Christ spake to any Person; In the very moment, he Rose up immediately and Followed him; As Matt. 9▪ 9. He saw Matthew sitting at the Receipt of Custom, and he saith unto him, Follow me; and Immediately, he made no more words of it, but Rose up, and [...]ollowed Him, He Conferr'd not with Flesh and Blood. He was in a Profession, that required much Intention; He was in the Very Business of it, and warm, as we say in it; and it was in such a Kind of Profession, as Men do not use easily to be call'd off from, to mind Things of a Re­ligious Concernment; For Publicans and Sinners often in the Gos­pel Joyn'd together, were Men of no Tender, or Scrupulous Consci­ences; [Page 60] Yet when Christ Commanded, and no Miracle was wrought, he was Obeyed; If a Man among us were waiting up­on his main Business, his way of Gain and Profit; and one should come to him without such a Power, as the Spirit of Christ Acts by, and say to him; suppose on any Gospel Account, when the Man was a Stranger to it; Leave that you are wait­ing upon, tho it be your Office, and your Interest, and attend the Gospel of Christ; what a Scorn would such a one make of such a Proposal; But the Power of Christ can, where he pleas­es, Touch a Heart, Bow a Heart without the outward conveyance of a Miracle; But even a Miracle, tho It may Amuse, and Startle, yet if the Power of Christ come not along with it, it could not do more, than amuse, and possibly move for a while.

In Zaccheus it was the very like Case. To Andrew, and Peter Christ first gave his Commands and his Promise, to make them Fishers of Men, and they left their Nets, and Follewed him, without any Miracle at first, because his Spirit wrought Effectually in all things.

But then on the other side, as I have shew'd abundantly; Miracles did not prevail, when the Spirit came not; For how ma­ny saw the Miracles of Christ, and yet Believed not?

Indeed in the Conversion of the Apostle Paul, Jesus Christ saw fit, for the great purposes, for the Honour, and for the Manifestation of his Kingdom, of the New Creation, there should be a Miraculous Appearance; A Light therefore shone round, and other Manifestations of the Powerful Visible Presence of Christ, were given at it.

All this shews then another great Reason, why God is pleas'd to make Miracles the Conveyance, (as I have said) the Chari­ot of his Mighty Spirit; and what End, but that God would give Testimony, That a New Creation, a New Heaven, a New State of Things, a World to come shall be, when the Gos­pel shall attain its Glory; Then shall be a Visible Represen­tation of the Inward Spiritual Glory; The Case, and outside to the Inward Glory shall be the outward Glory, the outward Glorious State of all Things; some Parcels and Portions of which are according to the Word of God shewn with the Gospel, at such Times, and in such Cases, on such occasions as the Lord sees meet.

For this is Demonstration, If without Miracles Christ drew Souls, when he pleased, even whole Cities (as that of Samaria, John 4.) without any Miracles we Read of; And if, notwith­standing [Page 61] Miracles, he left many to the Blindness, and Hardness of their Heart: It is then Evident; There is no necessity of Miracles, but the Spirit powr'd out from on High is Enough, and only Enough with Miracles, or without, for Conversion; It follows then, Miracles are wrought chiefly because God would give Pledges, and, as I said, Parts, and Peices of the World to come before hand; that shall be a Visible Glory over and upon the Spiritual Invisible Glory of the Gospel at its Height and Per­fection; Tho it may Collatterally serve for Confirmation, and a Testimony to it now.

Yet still Miracles duly attend the Gospel in the World, in the Days of Christ, and of the Apostles; in All its Grander Ap­pearances in the World; as is allowed, and agreed on all sides; I Argue then, seeing the Gospel is yet in a very Imperfect State of Acquist, or of getting the whole World into its possession; there­fore, when ever the Gospel is to come out again in that Glory, and Power, as to bring the uttermost Ends under it; Then even in Course there must be, there shall be a return of Miracles: Tho as I shall Argue much more, because the Gospel shall then Introduce the Kingdom of Christ, and the World to come, It must be attended by Miracle.

But to Argue first, according to the Allowances of Men with whom we now deal, let us look on the second Psalm v. 7. saith Christ, I will declare the Decree, the Lord hath said unto me; Thou art my Son, This Day have I begotten thee; Ask of me, and I shall give thee the Heathens for thy Inheritance, and the uttermost ends of the Earth for thy possession. This shall indeed be done by Angry Power, by a Rod of Iron, where the Gospel does not prevail; but yet it is to be done also, and principally too by the Gospel: For Psal. 110. When the Lord shall send the Rod of Christs strength out of Zion, That he shall Rule in the midst of his Enemies, and, even as other Scriptures say, to the very Ends of the Earth; His People shall be willing in the Day of his Power and through the Power of Con­verting Grace, he shall, as in regard of Abundance of Con­verts, have the Dew of his Youth, the Children of his Youth Re­newed, at that Time, Like the Eagles, as numerous as the Drops of Dew from the dawn of the Morning. His People perswaded by the Gospel, shall come in, as Free-will▪Offerings in so great numbers: When this Day of Christ's Power therefore shall be, and the Effects of the Gospel Preaching so mighty, then according to all Rules of Proportion Miracles shall return to attend the Gos­pel.

But I Argue further from positive, and Express Scriptures be­yond Contradiction (and indeed, I do not find many, that are so unreasonable, as to disagree, however, they may think, that Miracles shall not Return) that the Gospel must have yet a greater Publication to the ends of the Earth, than it yet hath had; For we know, what vast parts of the Earth there are now, that are without the Gospel, not only without the Belief of it, but without the very Sound of it; or at least a Sound, that is at all Considerable, if any at All; Yet few think it shall be so to the very End; Few think God hath done, what he intends to do; that God hath gone over the World with the Gospel, as far as he hath any purpose to go; and that he intends to go no fur­ther.

But whoever may think so, Christ Discoursing concerning the End, hath told us, Matt. 24. 6, 14. There shall be Wars, and Rumors of Wars, but yet we must not be so shaken in Mind, as to think, therefore, The End must needs be; For, saith he, The End is not yet; It is True, saith Christ, I have been Prophecyed of as the Prince of Peace; and that under my Government Wars should be made to Cease to the Ends of the Earth; that the Nations should learn War no more; but beat their Swords into Plowshares, and their Spears into Pruning hooks, That I should Break the Bow, and Cut the Spear, and Arrows Asunder, and Burn the Chariots in the Fire; And therefore when ever you have Wars, and Rumors of Wars, you may think that it must needs be, I must Come, and put an End to all Things, as in this State of the World, that I may put an End to Wars; But saith Christ, These things must be, yet the End shall not, as yet, be.

And therefore I freely profess though we see the World at this Day, almost All in a Combustion, in a Flame; Every one knows what an Universal State of War there is at this Time; yet I should not look on this as an Argument of the near Ap­proach of the Kingdom of Christ, if there were not more Assur­ed Arguments from the Scripture Line of Time; For Christ hath told us that there shall be such Things all along, and we may see by the History of All Nations; There have been Wars, and Rumors of Wars all along; and yet this is no Argument, The End shall yet be; But v. 14. Christ tells us, what shall be an as­sured Argument, The End shall be; that is, The End of this State of the World; For, saith he, v. 14. This Gospel, This very Gospel of the Kingdom (it is very Remarkable, It is the Gospel of the King­dom of Christ) It shall be Preached in all the World for a Witness un­to [Page 63] all Nations, and then shall the End Come; Surely there can be no­thing more Express, and Full to the purpose; That there must be just upon the End, a Preaching of the Gospel in all the World; Take what Preaching of the Gospel you will, that hath been before, if the End hath not Followed upon it; That is not the Preaching of the Gospel, on which the End Follows, that is here spoken of; This must needs be granted; For when Christ says, such things shall Be, but the End shall not be yet: This Preaching shall be, and the End shall be; Nothing can be more Full, that it is the Preaching of the Gospel at the End, and no other, that Christ speaks of▪ The End must immediaiely Follow that Preaching.

And if any one should say, By the End, is not meant the End of this State of the World, but the End of the Jewish State; I Argue further, If it be the Gospel of the Kingdom, and be just before the End; It must bring in the Glory of Christs Kingdom, at that End, or else the End comes, and yet the Gospel hath not done its work, and attain'd its End; Why is it then call'd the Gospel of the Kingdom, If it brings in an End, and yet does not bring in the Kingdom. Now we know the Kingdom was not brought in by the Jewish Desolations; For besides, that Israel must be a Glorious part of Christ's Kingdom, as all Scripture Wit­nesses; The Roman Pagan Monarchy kept out the Kingdom of Christ for near 300 years after the Destruction of Jerusalem, and the Papal Roman Monarchy hath (except a short Symbol of it in the Christian Empire) kept it out ever since; seeing therefore the Kingdom has not come, The End has not come; and if the End be not come, that Preaching of the Gospel, Christ intended, has not yet been: I Argue last of all; the Gospel had not been Preached in All the World, before the Destruction of Je­rusalem, nor so far, as it hath been since; Nor was any Thing, but the Kingdom of Christ the proper Thing to be Witnessed to all Nations; the concernment being small to several Nations in the Destruction of the Jews, especially if compar'd with the Kingdom, which the Gospel is the Gospel of; or with the End of this World, that is just before that Kingdom. By all which it is most mani­fest, there is yet the greatest Preaching of the Gospel to come, that ever yet hath been; why then should Miracles be Divided from it, see­ing all acknowledg they are so proper to it? And why, seeing it is the Gospel of the Kingdom, and Miracles and the Kingdom are so together, that Christ said, If I do indeed Act by a Miraculous Power, no doubt, the Kingdom of God in a gracious Offer of it is come upon you? And how seeing the End, and the State after it de­pend [Page 64] on a Miraculous Power to bring them in, can Miracles be divided from Them!

Another Scripture I Argue upon, is Rev. 14. 6. After Christ had Risen; After the Apostles Preaching some Numbers of years; some reckon 70 years, some more before the Revelation was given; all which time the Gospel was Running, and (if at any time yet) Flying through the World; yet it is said, After that, I saw another Angel Fly through the midst of Heaven, having the ever­lasting Gospel to Preach to them that Dwell on the Earth, and to every Nation, Kindred, Tongue and People; saying with a loud Voice, Fear God, and give Glory to him; For the Hour of his Judgment is come; I desire you would weigh this; saith our Lord; The Gospel must be Preached to All Nations, and then the End shall be; saith John, I saw an Angel having the Gospel to Preach, and to say, the Hour of his Judg­ment is come; therefore no Preaching of the Gospel but at the Hour of his Judgment is the Preaching here spoken of.

I appeal therefore; if there Remain such a Preaching of the Gospel, as never has been yet, so Great, so Mighty, so Universal, that should come to every Nation, Tongue, and Lan­guage; whether then ought not to be upon All Christians an Ex­pectation of the Return of Miracles? I appeal to the Reason of All Men; and most particularly to the Searchers of these Things; For tho it may look like a singular Opinion, that Miracles should return again; yet it is no singular Opinion, that Miracles should return again; yet it is no singular Opinion, That the great End of Miracles is to go along with the Preaching of the Gospel; and to be a Testimony from Heaven to it; This is gene­rally Consented in; If therefore there remains so great and universal a Preaching of the Gospel, certainly Miracles shall return to wait upon it.

And how nearly this is Conjoyn'd with that World to come, whereof we speak, is Evident; In that it is call'd the Everlasting Gospel; even as the Restitution of All Things is that, which hath been spoken of by the Mouth of all the Prophets, since the World began, Acts 3. 18. &c. And as the Finishing of the Mystery of God is said, Rev. 10. 6. to be that, which he had Evangeliz'd or Preached as Gospel, before, or of old, by his Servants the Prophets; So the E­verlasting Gospel must needs be that which hath been always Preaching, and Declaring; It must be therefore the Preaching of that Restitution, of that Mystery always Preached as Gospel.

Again it is said; The Hour of his Judgment, that is, of his Government, or of his Kingdom is come; For his Kingdom is both Judgment in a strict sense, or the Universal Government [Page 65] of Christ; So that it must be, as Christ call'd it in the forenam'd Matth. 24. The Gospel of the Kingdom. Thus it is every way prov'd, there must be a Return of Miracles; both in Regard, the Intention of God in Miracles is not accomplished in the Universal Preaching of the Gospel; or in the Kingdom brought in by the Preaching of the Gospel; of which Kingdom, the Gospel is the Gospel; and for the Bringing in of which Kingdom, or Restituti­on, or World to come, Miracles are so closely joyn'd with the Gos­pel.

Particular 2. But I come to a second Particular, to shew Mi­racles must Return; because the great End of Miracles in Bringing in the Kingdom of Christ, the Restitution of All Things, the World to come, the New Heaven, the New Earth, is not yet Fi­nish'd, and Perfected; seeing, as I have, I hope, fully made out; All Miracles are but Parts, Portions, Parcels of that New Creation, Speciminous Appearances of that great Power on the Throne, that said, Behold I Create All New.

Now that Christ is to have such an Universal Kingdom, and in a Restitution of All Things, is so Evident, that they, who would deny it, are Forc'd to Fly to a Spiritual Kingdom, and to a Providential Kingdom; In the Spiritual Kingdom, they think all Things may be said to be now Restor'd and made New; In the Providential Kingdom, They think, All Things Subdued under him, and whatever is beyond These, they Consign over to Eter­nity.

Now it is most True, All these Kingdoms are to be acknow­ledg'd; and I do Acknowledg them with all my Heart; and I do confess, It would be prejudice enough against any Doctrine that should deny, that Christ hath now a Spiritual Kingdom▪ a Providential Kingdom; and a Kingdom in Eternity, he shall most as­suredly have.

But yet that he hath distinct from these, a Kingdom of Resur­rection, of Restitution, of Judgment, putting All Things under him; a Kingdom of New Heaven and New Earth; and before the State of Eternity; I will endeavour to make out; and that this being not yet accomplished, There cannot be yet such a Cessation of Mi­racles, but that they must Return to serve so great an End.

That h [...]s Providential Kingdom or Spiritual Kingdom (if any should think of That) have not brought all things under him is most [Page 66] Evident by two places of Scripture; Heb. 2. 8. Thou hast put all Things in subjection under his Feet, For in that he hath put all Things in subjection under him, He left nothing, that is not put under him; but yet in the sense, wherein All things are put under him; It is my positive Doctrine, saith the Apostle, All Things are not yet put under him. It was in the Time, when Christ was Risen, the Apostle said this; when he was Ascended, when he was Crown'd with Glory and Honour. For this, saith the Apostle, we do see, viz. by an Eye of Faith; thus he Distinguishes between what we do see, and what we do not see, so much as by the Eye of Faith. I am sure, If All Things were not put under him then; They are not put under him Now; For there was a far greater Appearance of All things put under him at that Time, Than of All things being put under him at this Time; even in regard of his Providential Kingdom, and much more in regard of his Spiritual Kingdom; and that his Kingdom in Eternity is not the Kingdom, wherein All things shall be put under him is most Evident; For when All Things are put under him, even the last Enemy Death; then he delivers up the Kingdom to God and the Father, that God may be all in all; which surely, If we can have any Apprehensions of the Eternal Kingdom must needs be that Kingdom of Eternity; Before the Kingdom of Eternity, therefore All Things must be put under him. And seeing the last Enemy, that is to be Subdued is Death; The Spirit of God hath given us the exact Time of the Subduing the Last, even Death; And it is not till after the Thousand years of the Kingdom of the first Resurrection; For then the Devil, All the Dead, and Death and Hell are cast into the Lake; so that, as it is so far Subdued in the beginning of the Thousand years, as that the Dead Saints are rais'd, the Living Saints Chang'd; So at the End of the Thousand years it is utterly Abolish'd, and can never again make the least appearance or possibility of Entrance any more for ever; upon any of the Saints, who are secur'd in an Eternity of Life; so it remains shut up with its own Dead for ever; And this is that Second Death oppos'd to the First Resurrection. Rev. 20. 14, 15.

The second Scripture I Rely upon for the Proof, that the Kingdom of Christ, wherein All things shall be brought under him is not yet so Accomplished; as that All Things should be indeed under him, till the Time Appointed by the Father; is that Evi­dent one Heb. 10. 13. where the Apostle speaking of Christs sit­ting down on the Right Hand of God, says, He sits expecting, till his Enemies be made his Footstool; Expecting; Now, as the A­postle saith, what we see fulfill'd, and accomplished, why do [Page 67] we yet hope for, there is no more work for Hope; If the thing be seen, and Fullfilled; so to what End is Expectation of a Thing already come to pass; why should any one sit expecting, for what he hath already in Hand: It is, as if a Man should say, when the Sun is up, and hath Fill'd the Air with Light, and spread his Beams upon the whole Earth; I am waiting to see when the Sun will Rise: You know that Man would be count­ed a Fool, or a Madman of any one, that should hear him say, when the Sun is in his Eye, and its Rays spread on the Moun­tains about him; I am waiting to see, when the Sun will Rise; so if Christ should sit in Heaven Expecting, that his Enemies should be made his Footstool, and they are already his Footstool, would it not be to impute the greatest Folly to Christ? Seeing therefore in this ordinary way of Gods Government of the World, The Enemies of Christ are no more probable to be made his Footstool, than they have been these so many Hundred Years now past; There must be Miraculous Appearances of God for the bring­ing this great thing to pass, and therefore they cannot be ceased so, as not to return; For All the Scripture Witnesses, God will do this great Thing with great Wonders of Power; He will be rais'd up out of his Holy Habitation, when his Enemies shall fall before him.

Thus we find in the Revelation, in the very beginning of the Kingdom of Christ, or for the making way to its Succession; there must be a Raising those Witnesses from the Death, under which they had long lain, and under which they continue to Lye, Till a Spirit from God enter into them, like a Resurrection, which we all acknowledg Miracle; even as the Ascension to Hea­ven in a Cloud Following upon it; there must be a Dreadful Earth­quake, a Mystical Earthquake, wherein the Powers of Nature have nothing to do; and so it must must be immediately from the Power of Christ; wherein that Gabalistick (as I may call it) or Figurative Tenth of the great City Falls; that is; all the Kings, that now give their power to the Beast, (which Prophecy so often gives by the Number of the Toes of the Feet of the Image, the Feet of Iron, and of Clay;) These Ten shall Fall off from the Beast, and that Roman Woman they call, Holy Church sit [...]ing upon it; whom then They shall hate, Seven thousand Names, those many Orders of Antichristian Founding; from the Pope, that sits on the Throne, to the meanest of that Hierarchy, the poorest Fryars that profess Mendicancy, or Beggary; All these shall lie like the Witnesses slain, wholly dispirited; but shall not, as they, ever any more be Vi­sited [Page 68] with any Spirit of Life; The Remnant shall be Affrighted, and give Glory to the God of Heaven; that is, multitudes of the Pro­selites of Popery shall be Affrighted, and give Glory to the God of Hea­ven; The Second Woe, that is, the Tyranny of the Turks, that hath hung like a Scourge over the Christian (as we call it) World, and particularly lain with a full weight upon those, we Stile Greek and Eastern Christians, This shall pass off; All these, when we come to see them, what Wonders will they appear! when we see them, we shall Account them Miracles, and they shall bring in greater Works than these, even the Kingdom of Christ in Succession, proclaim'd by those Loud Voices in Heaven, sound­ing down to Earth; The Kingdoms of the World are become the Kingdoms of the Lord, and of his Christ: So while these things are to be done, and yet are not done; Miracles, tho suspended, are yet not ceased.

Arg [...]m. 2. The second Argument I give, Miracles are not Ceas'd, However suspended, is; That Scripture, Acts 2. 17. For there the Apostle Peter is giving an account of the same Things, as in this Text, Heb. 2. 4 Those Divers Signs, and Wonders, and Gifts of the Holy Spirit; so says the Apostle out of Joel, And it shall come to pass in those days, I will powre out my Spirit on All Flesh, and your Sons and Daughters shall Prophecy, &c. before that Emphatical, that Illustrious day of the Lord come. Indeed the Apostle does say, This is that was spoken of; It began then; God gave a very bright show of it then; It looked out upon the World with a great Glory at that Time; But an Eclipse came upon it; it is yet notwithstanding due to that great and Notable Day of the Lord, that Day, which he calls by a word that signifies Illustrious, Apparent, Glorious; and so, as we Tran­slate, Notable Day; How Notable, and so Illustrious, but by many Wonderful Magnifyings of Divine Power upon it in so Im­mediate a way; So indeed none can deny, that Miraculous Powers must needs introduce that Day of Judgment according to the general Notion, or Doctrine of it.

But saith the Apostle further, Before that Notable and Illustrious Day of the Lord Come; Now to have spoken this only of that Thing, that was seventeen Hundred years ago already, or ve­ry near it; and we don't know, how many more it may be, if we have not a True Judgment upon Time by the Scrip­ture Line of Time, and the Exposition of the Sure word of Prophe­cy [Page 69] concerning the nearness of that Day, we don't know how much longer, how many years more it may be to it; and yet to call this pouring out of the Spirit, before it, that was so long ago, as if it were but just before it; seeing God speaks to us, as to Creatures of Time; is a very unexpected way of speaking in any, and not easy to be Allowed to be the way of the Divine Spirits speaking; considering how often Scripture speaks of Great Things just upon that day, and not so long before it.

This indeed seems so unreasonable to very sagacious Inter­preters, that they cannot acquiesce to, before that Day, so long before it; and therefore have found this way to salve it; to un­derstand this Notable Day of the Destruction of Jerusalem, and of the day of the Vengeance of God upon the State of the Jews; I do not deny, but that is made every where a Type of the very Day of Judgment; But that Day of Desolation, however on many ac­counts very great, is not yet great enough to Answer as a Rea­son of so great a Thing as before that Day only; nor will it be ad­justed to the things spoken of in the Prophet Joel, nor to the great Things every where spoken of in Scripture, as coming near that day.

It cannot therefore in just Reason be understood only of that Day of the Judgment of God upon that City and Temple; nor in­deed at all of it, but as of a Type and Symbol of that Day; and yet if be not so understood, except another powring out of the Spirit be understood before that day as near; we make a wide breach, and Gap of Inconsequence in the Apostles Discourse; and yet still the general Opinion even of Christians, and their usual way of Discourse, makes that Notable Day of the Lord no nearer, than it was a Thousand and more years ago; So far are we from what the Apo­stle Requires, of hastning on to that Day of God.

Argum. 3. I Argue from the great Truths, that are yet to be Preached in Declaration of, and order to this Kingdom of Christ. For Miracles are to give Testimony to Truth, when God hath great Truth to Communicate to the World, and that Uni­versally to be given; As the great Things of the Gospel had such a Glory of Miracles to Seal them; even so the Truths, that are given proper to that Time, shall be Witnessed, and Sealed with mighty Power of Miracles: The great Masters of Discourse concerning Miracles are herein Agreeing; that one great Rea­son of Miracles is to recommend some Manifestations of God; [Page 70] that had not been before made, at least, so far known, or so plainly known, or so convincingly known.

I doubt not therefore, every One will be ready to say; hath not God made known all Truth already? In these last days hath he not spoken all Truth by his Son, and by his Apostles that heard him? hath he not Seal'd up, as we say, the Canon of his Word, the Treasury and Standard of Truth? What Truths therefore can there be ex­pected, that will need or require the presence of Miracles to give Honour and Assurance to them? Is not this very thing a suffi­cient Argument against any Further Expectation of Miracles, that there are no such New Discoveries of Truth, to which they can be proper?

I will therefore give three Instances of the Truth, that at least, in the further more Glorious Manifestation of, especially after the Time of the Apostasy, God will grace with Miracles.

I. The first great Truth, that shall be in a wonderful manner Preached, is, The Freeness of the Grace of God in Christ, the riches of Redemption in his Blood.

I do acknowledg, This is Preached now so, that there is a very high measure, as I may say of yea yea; yea, and Amen, concerning it, among the Servants of Christ; both as to Conversion, and Calling, according to his purpose, and as to the Justification of Sinners Freely by his Grace, through the Redemption that is in Jesus Christ: But it must needs be confess'd also; there is a great deal of Cloud, and Darkness concerning it; It is much Contested and Encountred on all Sides.

This was the New Song, that was Sung, Revel. 5. saying to the Lamb, Thou art Worthy to take the Book of the Kingdom, and to open the Seals thereof; For thou wast slain, and hast Redeemed us by thy Blood out of every Tongue, People, Kindred, and Nation: And this Redeeming by the Blood of the Lamb, that was slain, was the most especial Truth, that Miracles at first gave Testimony unto in the Apo­lical Times.

Now in the Deep Times of the Apostacy, this New Song was lost alltogether; and tho at the Reformation it was in some measure Recovered, yet even as [...]he Reformation hath sunk, as almost all Considering Men allow; so hath the high and Lofty Ayres of this Song been Lowerd; So that at the Time of the Witnesses coming out of their Sackcloth, and when the Servants of God, who have all this Time bore a Seal of Concealment on their Foreheads, shall appear with [Page 71] the Fathers Name on their Foreheads in open, legible Characters, made so plain, that he that Runs may read them.

This Song therefore, shall be as it were a New Song; I lay great stress on this word, [...], as it were a New Song: It is not a New Song; For it was Sung in the Days, and Times of the Apostles; but yet it hath been so much lost, that it is, as it were a New Song: And the Hundred forty four Thousand, that bare the Seal of the Living God in their Foreheads▪ shall now bear his Name openly on their Foreheads: Now the Spirit of God hath assur'd us, It is the Law of the Name of God, that when that Name is Near, His won­drous works shall declare it. So then These Hundred forty four Thou­sand singing this, though but as it were, New Song, shall sing it with the Fathers Name on their Foreheads: That is, with an open Mani­festation of Miracles: And it being as a New Song, It calls for a Power of Miracles to make the manifestation of it Honourable in the Restoration, even as it was in the first manifestation, or singing of it by the Apostles; and None then shall be able to open their mouths against it; The Harpers Harping so sweetly, and These Sweet Singers of Israel Taking this Song from them, shall drown and overcome All other sounds; And that this may be most Evidently; The Fathers Name, with his wonderful Works declaring it, shall be on their Fore­heads: And so it shall go along with them in the propagation of that Doctrine or that Song.

And as the Sealing on the Forehead, was an interruption, and stop put on Miracles, that there could be no Miracle wrought during the Time of that Sealing, with which the Witnesses Sackcloath was concurrent; So when the Seal is taken off, and the Name Writ­ten on the Forehead, Miracles cannot but be; and then shall that New Song be Sung, as one Principal Point to which Miracles shall give Witness.

And then shall no Dog move his Tongue against this Truth; as the Apostle calls them Doggs, that were of the Conci­sion, cutting short the Robes of the righteousness of Christ, to the Dishonour of Christ, and of his Saints, for thereby the Saints shame is seen: In that their own Righteousness is worse than Filthy Raggs; Now such cut short, I say, the Robes of the Pure and Perfect Righteousness of Christ, that they may find room and space for the Works of men: And as Dogs they bark at the Free grace of God: But then none shall so much as move their Tongue, against that so Glorious Righteousness of Jesus Christ.

[Page 72] 2. The Second Truth to be Sealed and Witnessed to by Mira­cles shall be the Free Declaration of the Immediate Appearance of the Kingdom of Christ: We know, Any, that now speak of it, speak of it with greatest Disadvantage; we are as the Jews to the Spiritual Kingdom of Christ; they could not believe that; So we cannot Believe this Spiritual Kingdom, that hath been now in the time of an Adulterous, and perverse Generation kept so low, as to all Glory of Appearance; that it shall now shine out, and be seen in Glory, the Kingdom of the great Son of Man, that hath been spoken of by all the Prophets, and by the Apostles of our Lord, and Saviour Jesus Christ; when therefore that Kingdom shall come into its Succession in the Days of the seventh Angel, when he shall begin to sound, and that Mystery of God be Immediately to be Finished; a Miraculous Power shall Cleave this present World, so that through the Clefts, and Breaches of it, we shall see the World to come on every side; These Miracles Attending that Swift Ministry of the Flying Angel will make all indeed know, that the Hour of his Judgment, or Kingdom and Government is come: For that is undoubtedly the great Truth of the Everlasting Gos­pel, that the very Hour of his Judgment is come; and if the Gos­pel in its First Preaching, when that Hour of his Judgment was not come, had Miracles to Seal it; how much more, when that Everlasting Gospel is Preached, and the very hour of his Judgment is come, shall Miracles certainly wait upon that Everlasting Gos­pel, not only as the Gospel, and as then more Admirably Ap­pearing to be the Everlasting Gospel, but as it Brings that great Truth, that the Hour of his Judgment is come; This Power of Mi­racles shall Exalt that Voice, and make it a Loud Voice, sound­ing through the midst of the Heavens of the Lord.

Argum 4. A Fourth Argument that strongly perswades me; There shall be a Return of Miracles is that Scripture, Jerem. 16. 16. A place I desire we may often Meditate upon; because the Time of its Fullfilling is very near, and even at the very door; Oh, let us Pray that Prayer of Jeremy joyn'd with that great Assurance; Oh Lord, my S [...]rength, and my Fortress, my Refuge in the Day of Affliction; the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the Ends of the Earth, and say, Our Fathers have Inherited Lies, and things werein there is no Profit: Nothing will make God appear a greater Refuge in the day of Afflictipn, than to be deeply apprehen­sive of this; For God that can do this, can be a Refuge in the most Extreme necessity. How shall this Work on Men, to [Page 73] hear such Gentiles saying, Shall a Man make himself Gods, and they are no Gods? How will this Affect all that Hear, and draw them off from their Idols of Silver, and of Gold!

Or these words may be look'd upon, as Gods words by the Prophet; shall a man be so unreasonable, or bruitish, as to make Gods to himself of them, that are no Gods? And so they are rather to be taken; but which way ever we take them; Therefore, or Because of this so great Misprision of me, saith God, I will this once cause them to know my Hand, and my might, and they shall know, that my Name is Jehovah; Now the Hand of God, and Might, and Power of God, are every where in Scripture, expressions of Mira­cles; And they shall for this once know my might; It is an expression to be paralell'd with that, Heb. 12. 27. Yet once more I shake Heaven, and Earth; So once more, the Nations shall know my Might; God hath oftentimes in one way, or other made the Nations know his might; especially in the Days of Christ, he made them know his might in a sense of Miraculous Power, above any time before it; but the making the Nations know for this once, is the making them know for once, that they shall never need to be made to know any more; That Once shall be so Efficacious a making to know. For so the Apostle hath Taught us to understand This Once, or yet Once: It is taking away, or removing every thing, that is to be moved out of its place by such shaking; so the making the might to be known this once, is the utmost removing all the Pagan Igno­rance, or Bruitishness of making Gods to themselves, that are no Gods. Now seeing the Gentiles have not yet been so made to know, it is manifest, It was not this Once, that God here speaks of; For it must needs have produced the Effect so, that it never should have needed to be produced any more; It must therefore be the last making known; and consequently the Miraculous Power must Remain to that last making known; which is therefore great Proof, the Power of Miracles is not so ceas'd, but that it shall Return.

Argum. 5. Another Argument I would give for the return of Miracles, is that Prayer, Acts 4. 29, 30. Lord grant unto thy Ser­vants, that with all boldness, they may speak thy word, and that Signs and Wonders may be done by the Name of thy Holy Child Jesus. I desire to know, what words of Limitation are to be found in this Prayer? or where any place of Scripture can be found, where the Servants of God are Discharg'd from expecting Mi­racl [...]s any more? Where is it said, Hitherto shall Miracles go, [Page 74] and no further? Where is it said, they shall cease here; or here, They are ceased, here are the Bounds? I have given Leave, They shall reach unto this Point, but no further? There was a Sealing up Scripture from the Day of Malachy the Prophet, un­til John the Baptist his Times; With him Scripture began a­gain by the Evangelists. There is a sealing up Scripture again by the Apostle John in the end of his Gospel, c. 20. 39. c. 21. 25. These things are written, that ye might Beleive, and if All things were written, the World could not contain them. It seems order'd by Peculiar Disposes of Providence, that the Books of Scripture should be clasp'd up with that End of the Revelation, c. 22. 18, 19. But there is no bound set to Miracles, or Miraculous Power; It is true it hath ceased, but by no Act cutting off, as I may say, the Entail; tho there is a suspension; This Prayer therefore, altho it hath had a long Interruption in its effect, yet it hath no cessation put upon it; but It shall prevail unto the Kingdom of Christ, from the Promise of which, Psal. 2. it was taken; The Hand of God, we know, is not shortned, that it should work no more Miracles; but the Apostasy fallen upon the Profession of Christianity hath brought forth this long Inter­val; yet the Lords Hand shall be again stretched out, and shall not be called back, till he hath accomplished the thoughts of his Heart; and whatever he hath spoken concerning the Glory and Kingdom of Christ; and of that World to Come, whereof, saith the Apostle, we speak, when we speak of the various Miracles, and Gifts of the Holy Spirit according to his own will; there being so close a Connexion between the one, and the other.

CHAP. VIII. Of that Power of Miracles, that always Accompanies the Gospel of our Lord Je­sus Christ; and hath Rested upon the Witnesses, and yet Rests upon them; During the whole Time past, and to the end of the Twelve Hundred and Sixty Days of the Woman in the Wilder­ness; and the Witnesses in Sackcloath; and the Forty two Months of the Anti­christian Apostasy.

IT may seem, that by giving such Accounts of the Cessation of Miracles, and such Arguments for the Return of Mira­cles; that it is the Intention of this Discourse to deny all Mira­culous Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ now with his Gospel; I shall therefore, to clear that Part, spend this Chapter in the Stating, and Vindicating so weighty a point in these following Particulars, shewing the Constancy of Spiritual Miracles.

1. Those Mighty, Miraculous, Spiritual Powers of the Gos­pel never remove from it; wherever the Gospel comes, they come; wherever the Gospel-Styl'd the Kingdom of God Re­moves, being taken from any, they Remove also; And tho these are not accounted Miracles, because they do not assure [Page 76] themselves to sense, yet the Intrinsick, Inward excellency of them is such, that they are indeed the true Miraculous Nature, if I may so speak; both as they are Effects, and Emanations of Immediate Power from Heaven; and as they are so many es­sential Parts and peices of the World to come.

And First, The Gospel is its own Miracle; so rich a Mani­festation of Truth, that had been Hid from Ages▪ and Genera­tions, and now manifested in these last Times; But besides, It is Truly Miraculous in its Effects.

2. The Acceptance of Believers in Jesus Christ to Righte­ousness, before and with God, through Free Pardon, and Justi­fication by the Blood, and Obedience of Jesus Christ.

3. The Renovation, and change of the Whole man, and of the Action, and Conversation, by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, mortifying the corrupt Lusts, Inordinate Affections, and filling the Soul with every Grace, to Newness of Life and Obedience.

4. Dying, or Sleeping in, and by Jesus Christ, when Saints Spi­rits call'd out of the Body, go up to God and Christ;

5. When any one is Assured in his own mind, hath full Evi­dence; when he Finds all he ever did, is brought under Convict­ion and Confession, as in the Woman of Samaria; and that the Heart and Life are chang'd; why should Miracles be narrow­ed so much to sense; while thus there is surmounting Evidence to the whole man.

Now altho the Working, and Actings hereof are Invisible, and Indiscernible by Sense, yet they are (as Spiritual) greatest Realities, every way above the Power of Nature, or its Com­prehension; Asserted in all Scripture to be the mighty Power of God, and giving a Rich, or abundant Entrance into the Kingdom of our Lord und Savi [...]ur Jesus Christ; and therefore wanting only the Externe Appearance, and Assurance, but giving greatest Inward Assurance; For they are Acknowledged, and Compre­hended by All Saints, even this Heighth, Depth, Breadth, and Length, of which the Apostle speaks, Ephes. 3. 18. As if he hereby intended Mathematical Assurance; They are Inwardly Seen, Heard, Tasted and Felt, and they have the Odours, the Flavours of the Kingdom of Christ, causing the Triumphs of his Servants; the certain Observation of all by standers, who cannot but acknowledg their good Conversation, the Holy Lives, and Comfortable Dying of the Saints of Christ; and many have been wrought upon hereby to Faith in Jesus Christ, the acknowledged Principal End of Miracles.

But besides these, which are always Inseparable from the Gospel; There are those, the Spirit of God hath told us are proper to the very Time of the Apostasy, as a Counterpoison to it, manifested in and by the Witnesses of that Time. I would therefore open, as I have before shewn, Miracles are to be Di­vided into Miracles of Mercy and of Judgment, How far Mi­racles continue, even all the Time of the Antichristian Apostasy, in each way or manner of Exercise.

But it is Heedfully to be Remembred; They were not Re­presented, and Counterparted with those open, and sensible Miracles, which are indeed the Miracles, that more properly we are now in Discourse of; such as force the Sense, and call upon men Universally to say; Here is the Finger of God▪ For the Witnesses and their Miracles were under the Seal of the Liv­ing God, as I have already Reason'd, and so were not seen, and acknowledged, but by comparing Spiritual Things with Spiritual; and therefore not by Natural Men, even Men of Sense, great Reasoners, as they are Reputed, without the help of the Divine Spirit.

1. It was truly a Miracle to a Spiritual Eye, and wherein the Power of God appear'd; That He held up a pure, and sincere state of Christianity in the midst of all the Roman Apostasy, al­tho it was so dark, and Dangerous a Time, or Place, as the Spirit of God calls it by the Apostle Peter, 2 Pet▪ 1. 19. And as he assures, it must needs be, because the Witnesses were in Sackcloth, and War made upon them; and they were kill▪d; and the Wo­man, or the Witnesses, Collectively taken, were in the Wilder­ness, Rev. 11. c. 12. or as Daniel speaks, the Power of the Holy People was scat­tered, Dan. 12. 7. God was pleas'd to keep it up, not only since the Reformation, but throughout the whole Time, or space of the Time and Times from 437, to 1517. the 1080, as well as the 180 of the 1260 Days; when by the Reformation there was a Party-Rising of the Witnesses, and Party-Retrenchment of the The Fresh Memorial of Christs King­dom. Papal Power, and Apostasy, at the Half Time (according to the two Oaths of Christ, Dan. 12. and Rev. 10. Allowing it;) as I have made out in a Discourse wholly to that purpose.

2. For this is that, which is spoken of, Rev. 1 [...]. 3. And I will give Power to my two Witnesses, and they shall Prophecy in Sackclo [...]h a Thousand two Hundoed, and Threescore days, cloath'd in Sac [...]cloth; I will give them Power, but yet that Power shall be hid; they shall be Cover'd or Cloath'd with Sackcloth. So a place shall be [Page 78] prepared for the Woman the Church, where she shall be nourish­ed; but it shall be in a Desert State, not known, or acknowledg­ed, it shall be in the Wilderness: But; saith God, I will give Power to my Witnesses: Now Power is one of the Words expressive of Miracles. They are call'd Power; and by that we have had the Great Truth of the Gospel Continued, so as to be Restor'd to us in the Reformation, by their Constancy of Declaring, and Maintaining, Professing, and Teaching the Truths after Godliness, the Doctrine of Salvation by Christ; And this in Regard of the Darkness of that Time is call'd Prophecy; and Power to Pro­phecy, in regard of Miraculous Virtue in so doing; For there hath been a Connexion, a linking between Witness, and Witness, be­tween one Age of Witnesses, and another Age; and with the Reformation it self; which we are All so willing to acknowledg. It hath been from the Power, God gave to his Two Witnesses in the midst of all the Barrenness, and Darkness of the Papal Apostasy: These are the Two Olive-Trees, the Two Green Olive-Trees Em­ptying their Oyl into the Two Golden Candlesticks, that stand before the God of the Whole Earth; not by might, nor by Power, but by my Spi­rit, saith the Lord of Hosts.

These were the worthy Witnesses of Christ throughout that Dark Time; when no man could any sooner look out with any of the purest Truths of the Gospel, that stem'd that Apo­stasy, but presently Heretick, Heretick, was cryed out upon him; or [...]ince the Reformation among those, who hold of the part of the Synagogue of Sathan some Finer parts of that Apostasy ve­nerated, as purer Antiquity; Schismatick, Schismatick was as vehe­mently Fasten'd on any one, if he broach'd any thing, (as they call it,) against the Hierarchic Church. They have been Ana­thematised, Excommunicated, Prosecuted with Corporal, or Pecu­niary Punishments, even to the most cruel Deaths, and Im­prisonments: Fire hath been call'd down from Heaven, and fetch'd up from Hell, against them; yet notwithstanding a Mi­raculous Power hath been given to them, to Prophecy for the 1260 Days.

I know, Many cannot understand, how these Witnesses could be said to Prophecy, while they lay Dead Three Days, and an Half: But I have endeavour'd, in a peculiar Discourse to Assoyle that also in the Vision of the Witnesses; and to shew, that as it is said of Abel the first Martyr, Be­ing Dead, he yet speaketh; so of these his Successors, although Kill'd, they yet Prophecy. And it is much more plain on [Page 79] their side; For their Death, however Violent-Natural also, yet is chiefly Mystic; They were Kill'd, as Witnesses; Hateful, and Cursed Hereticks, being the Sambenito, the Disguise whereinto they were presently put; but still they Prophetied, tho they were slain: And in this Sense also they continued Prophecying, because, as any were Naturally Killed, others still rose up in their Room; and which is great Miracle; They were Dead, yet they could never be Buried; The People, Nations, Tongues and Languages would not suffer them to be Buried, because their Doctrine, however Condemned before hand, was still kept above-ground, as we speak, in several parts of this Universal Roman Empire; under the Pope and his Ten Kings, the Princes of Europe, notwithstanding all their Fury against it, their Joy in hopes they had suppressed their Prophecy, and their sending Gifts one to another for it; yet it hath, and shall continue to the Kingdom of Christ; in regard of which to Come, till it comes, Their Doctrine is call'd Prophecy also.

And All this may be most justly Styled Miracle, because it is not in the Train, and Connexion of Things according to the general Order, and Government of the World. For so when Men Dye, even all the Living World is in hast, They be Buried, what way soever it be; But these Witnesses were not suffered to be Buried. Their Doctrine, their Slain Testimo­ny must Remain Above to Annoy, and Nusance the Papal and half Reform'd World.

And with these Gospel Witnesses, Those Gospel Miracles be­fore Named, were Deposited all this Time; the Turning and Changing Men from Sin and Sathan to God, which must needs be Miracle; For in the Train and Order of Things, a wick­ed Man will go on in his Wickedness and Lewdness, and not be purged from it, till he Dye: All the Justifying, Sanctifying Grace of the Gospel, the Dying and Sleeping in, and by Je­sus, tho by Violent Deaths under the Rage of Persecutors, was all in the Tenure, in the Conveyancings of these VVitnesses. Churches are Candlesticks Fed from these Sons of Oyl, Ministeri­ly; Originally from Christ, and his Spirit.

Consider then, Spiritual, Inward Miracles, Miracles appre­hended by Faith, and Scripture-Reason, never ceas'd; For if they had, the Everlasting Kingdom given to Christ, must have Ceased; And this is an Infallible Argument, there shall be a Return of Miracles in an outward, and Glorious Appearance, because inward Miracles, to which the outward, as an externe [Page 80] Transparent Air, are Due, have never ceased. The outward shall, whenever the Reasons of State, as I may say, in that Kingdom shall Require it, appear greater, than ever yet; and this I propose to Universal Consideration, but more especially, of the Wise, Judg you what I say.

2. In the Second Place, I will propose the Judiciary Miracu­lous Power, The Spirit of God affirms, the Witnesses to have had, and this consists of several Particulars.

1. Fire proceeds out of their Mouths, and Devoureth their Enemies; And if any one will Hurt them, in this manner must he be Killed: Rev. 11. This was indeed a Bringing down Fire from Heaven. Now what was this, but a denouncing the Judgments of God up­on Antichristianism, that shall so surely be Fullfill'd in their Sea­son; And of this there are many great Witnesses, and Monu­ments; In the Darkest Times, there were those that let Fly, as we speak, against the Papacy, who spared not to call the Pope, Antichrist to his Face; to Affirm Christianity was Turn'd into Paganism among them. Fire went out of their mouths to this very purpose to Threaten that Antichristian Monarch, and his, so call'd, Catholick Church, with all the Vials of the Revelation, the Plagues, and the Curses of it; to say, God abhorr'd it, and would Bring it into Judgment; And tho the Witnesses were Slain before men, as Witnesses of Lyes only, by the Anathemas, Excommu­nications, Brands of Heresy Pour'd out upon them; yet that Antichristian State▪ These Witnesses of Christ, had Power to Kill, Ten Thousand Times more; For all that they have spoken, shall certainly, and everlastingly be Fullfi [...]l'd upon it; and it is condemn'd already by the Mouths of so many Servants of Christ; of which each Particular Soul of that Antichristian Union going out of this World hath Found the dreadful ef­fects; of which the Reformation hath been the effect, and stands a Monument; of which many severe Judgments by Mahome­tans and others; Many strokes from Heaven have been the Evidences; and in Regard of which Threatned, and Executed. The Witnesses a [...]e, and were accounted by the Antichristian World, their Tormentors. But the Illustrious Fullfilling is yet to come, when that wicked one shall be Consum'd, or carried off by the Breath of Christs Mouth, in the Preaching the Everlasting Gosp [...]l, and utterly Abolished by the Brightness of his coming.

[Page 81] 2. The Second Thing, in which the Spirit of God sets out the judiciary Miraculous Power of the Witnesses, is; They had Power to shut Heaven, that it should not Rain in the Days of their Prophecy; Now what was this? It is taken from Elijah's swearing in the Name of the Living God; There should be no Rain, no Dew for three years and an half; 1 Kings 17. A Symbol of these Three years and an Half of years, or 1260 years; For so I understand them: Yet with Relation to a de [...]per Time, like that of our Lord's Lying in the Grave a part of Three Days; For which Reason they are call'd Days, and signify the Three Times and an Half; as Days in all Languages Import Seasons.

Now the Doctrine of the Gospel, and indeed all Instruction is Compar'd to Rain, and Dew in Scripture; My Doctrine shall drop, as the Rain, and Distil, a [...] the Dew; The Doctrine of the Gospel after the Ascention of Christ, is expressed by Gods send­ing a plentiful Rain, whereby he Confirm'd, Strengthen'd, or Refresh'd his Inheritance, when It was weary, Psal. 68. 9. So in the Prophet, the People are Call'd to, to Break up their Fallow Ground; Till God come, and Rain Righteousness upon Them. Hos. 10. 12.

The Shutting up of Heaven therefore in the Days of their Pro­phecy, that It should not Rain, shews,

1. That there should be, as is very well known, was, a very Dark, and Barbarous Time, as to all Learning, and Know­ledg in the Moons of the Apostasy; that Chill, Fruitless Planets of the Night; from which the very Borrowed Beams of the Sun Fall Cold, and Languid, and without Vigor, or Preg­nancy.

2. That there should be an exceeding Drought, and Barren­ness, as to all Gospel Doctrines in their Life, Purity, Sweet­ness; And how Remarkable this was, all Protestants are, I hope, Sensible; except they themselves Love still those Cor­rupted Pits, and Cisternes of Popery; or what hath the brackish Tast thereof!

3. That there should be a very sad, and woful Turning of the Earth, or the Hearts of Men, under the Name, and Pro­fession of Christianity, into Iron and Brass, as to all Gospel Softness, and Fructification.

3. And this will be yet clearer in the Third Particular, They have Power to turn Water into Blood, into the Blood of a Dead man; (as another Expression of the Revelation gives it us) that is, that hath no Motion, Circulation, Spirits, Activity; shewing [Page 82] the utter Ineptitude, nay, Impossibility of Popish D [...]ctrines; as of Justification by Works, Transubstantia [...]ion, Pardons, Indulgences, Pennances, Pilgrimages, Worship of Saints, Angels, Virgin Mary, Saints; to be the Instruments of Conveying Life to Souls, any more than the Stagnated Blood of a Dead Man to give Life, or Motion to the Body, in which it is so Arrested, and Con­geal'd.

But as Elijah said, As the Lord Liveth there shall not be Rain, nor Dew, but at my word. So the Witnesses may say, but at our word, at our Doctrine, according to the Plainness, Purity, Sincerity of Gospel Preaching; If they had stood in my Counsels, They should have turned Sinners from their evil ways. When men cull out the Morality of the Gospel only, and our own Workings; as many, even of the; Styled Reformed do; little else; Neglecting the Holding out of Christ in his Blood, in the mighty Grace of his Spirit; Hence the Doctrine of the Gospel becomes as the Blood of a Dead Man, without Power of Conversion.

But it may be said, would the Witnesses, or should they; ought they to shut Heaven, or to turn VVaters into Blood?

I Answer, The Preaching God hath given them to Preach, the VVord, he hath given them, they must speak, they must Preach; If God hath given them to declare the rare, and Seldom Con­versions, the Lowness, and Penury of True Gospel Doctrine, the Heavens shut during the days of the Apostasy, they must De­clare it; their Declaring it done is the doing it; what the Prophets Declare, They Do; as God says to Jeremy, I have set thee to Build, and to Plant, to pull down, and to Destroy; So God Set these Witnesses to shut Heaven, to turn Waters into Bood.

Again, as Christ Taking to himself the Instruments of a good Shepherd, condemned the Instruments of the Foolish Shepherd; and so turn'd all the Preaching of the Scribes and Pharisees into Folly; by Preaching himself with Authority, and not as the Scribes; So the Witnesses shut up Heaven, and no Rain falls but at, or by their Word, and they turn waters into blood, by Preaching Plainly, and Powerfully, and Sincerely, the Truths of our Lord Jesus Christ; And even many Souls perceive it of them, as they did of Christs Preaching; They find the Dullness and Deadness of other Preaching by that.

Thus God hath given Power to the Witnesses; It is given to them to turn Waters into Blood, and to shut Heaven; that is; to Preach sincerely themselves; And to shew other Doctrines, Poi­sonous, Ruinous to the Souls of Men.

Thus at this Day, all the Doctrines, that turn from Christ, and Free Grace; that is, from the Spirit, and Power of Chri­stianity; They are Discover'd by the Witnesses to be Destructive; The Sheep that come up from the washing, have Teeth white as Milk, washed with the sincere Milk of the Word, purified from this blood between their Teeth; the Blood as of a Dead man; They hang out the Scarlet Thread of Christs Blood; They set up Christ, and Christ Alone; and so there is none Barren among them; They are blessed with doing Good to Souls; made Wise to Win Souls, and to turn many to Righteous­ness.

4. The last Miraculous Power they Exercise is, They smite the Earth with all Plagues, as often as they will: That is, they may, as Freely as They Desire, Declare the Judgments of God, even those seven last Plagues, that shall make an end of the Antichri­stian State, and of all the Enemies of Christ; yea the whole Corrupted State of this Earth; and all they say, shall certainly be made good, and Fulfill'd; even as the Plagues Moses was Commanded by God to Smite the Land, or Earth of Egypt with, and which had their full effect, are Recorded as Mira­cles of Judgment; even so shall the smiting of Spiritual Egypt, and its Earth be found to be, when the Seal in their Forheads is Removed, and all they have spoken and done fully under­stood in the Light of that Day.

But this [as often as they will] tho it seem altogether a word of Concession, and Leaving the Matter to their Freedom, and Choice; yet it indeed gives the Faulty Reason on the part of the Witnesses, why Popery has not been more prevail'd against, even throughout the whole Time, Times, and Half Time of the Apo­stasy: For the Wise, and Holy Counsels of God do not Re­move the Faultiness of Mens Actions which bring those very Counsels to pass; as we see throughout Scripture in the greatest Instances, as in Judas and all the Powers, that Joyn'd in Cru­cifying the Son of God; They were never the less wicked Hands, because they did what God had determined in his Counsel and Fore-knowledg should be done; And while the Jews heard the Voices of the Prophets, they did notwithstanding, most Evilly, Fu [...]fill them; Even so the V [...]itnesses, not having a Will to smite so much, and so often as they should, and ought, have fallen under Blame by our Lord▪ And this helps us to understand what Christ says to those Two Churches, even the two Candle­sticks, slanding before the God of the whole Earth in the Time of the [Page 84] Apostasy; Pergamus, and Thyatyra; To one it is said, I have a few Things against Thee; That thou hast them, who hold the Doctrin of Balam, &c. To the other, it is said, I have a few Things against thee; That thou sufferest the Woman Jezebel, &c. Now these small Things may be very well Interpreted; They did not will, so much as they should have willed; However, they are called small, or Little Things; because they were indeed under an Over­powering, as well, as an Under-willing.

But surely Sardis, the Symbol of the Churches under the Refor­mation (except in the Few and Small undefiled Names) and yet more especially, the They on the part of the Synagogue of Satan, are under much severer Censure; that they have not Will'd more to smite the Antichristian Earth with the Predictions of Divine Judgment upon them; who have a Name to Live, and yet are Dead; who have not strengthen'd the Things that Re­main, but are ready to Dye, in order to the Kingdom of Christ, nor Fill'd up their Works before God; who have not stamp'd with their Foot, and with all possible Zeal Prophecyed, Prophecyed (as God Commanded Ezekiel) the Ruin of Babylon the Great; who as Jehoahaz, have smote only Thrice, and Staid, when they should have smitten Six, or seven Times, till they had Consumed Ba­bylon, and cut it off Root and Branch; For the Reformation was the Arrow of the Lord's Deliverance, but not pursued to the utmost, as 2 Kings c. 13 15. And this is signified by the Thunders, that opened in the Reformation then Sealed; and so it hath sunk and gone backward, and not forward; and so it will be to the End of the 1260 days; we have rather been Giving back to Egypt; this should stir up our Zeal to smite to the utmost now with the Ar­rows of the Lord's Deliverance; and tho many who have gone further than others, have been Laugh'd at, Despis'd, Persecut­ed by them; Them especially of the Synagogue of Satan; as Rash, Heady, Hot, Fanatical Persons; yet at Last it shall be found to be under a Divine Commission to smite, as often, as they would; and all they have said shall have the full Effect, even as greatest Miracles, and Justified as true Interpretation of Pro­phecy; Neglected too much, by the Learned, under pretence of a Sealed Book.

And thus far I have shewn, That Miracles have not in the Inward Spiritual Part been cut off, but have run along the whole Apostasy, tho underground and Invisibly; But they shall now within short Time appear in their Glory.

CHAP. IX. An Enquiry upon some late Miraculous Appearances of God according to his own Will, that look like a Beginning of Miracles Returning; and how far they give Encouragement to wait upon God in any Case of Extremity to do for us above his ordinary Course of Providence, or Go­vernment of the World.

TOuching the late Miraculous Appearances, I will not say, The Fr. maid. Mrs. Salvage. The Shepherd near Hitchin, Hertfordshire. Sir D. C. of Glocestershire more than we generally know of them, that such things then were.

1. Because the particular Instances, altho an Atheist does not know (I Believe) what well to say to them; yet they do not Rise to so great a Heighth as to Argue upon them alone.

2. Because I do not observe, God is pleas'd to go on, and joyn them with others in a continued Series, or Course, that should strengthen one by the other, and make All together more considerable, remarkable and demonstrative of Divine Power.

3. Because altho I see no more Reason to doubt of them, than of any Miraculous Appearances of God, that Rest on Human Testimony only; yet I cannot, but put a great differ­ence between all Human Judgment on Miracles; and those, which the Holy Spirit hath Recorded, as such.

I shall therefore Place no other sense upon them, than this only; that they are Providential Awaknings, and Alarms of such a Returning Power of Miracles, as upon all the fore-go­ing Discourse, and the Arguments of it, we have Reason to expect.

As to the Question therefore propos'd, I will give an Answer in Four Assertions how far we may in any Case ground Ex­pectation of a Miraculous Power.

1. The Time of the Return of Miracles is not yet; because the Days of the Four Monarchies, and particularly the Time, Times, and Half Time of the last State of the Fourth Monarchy, or Roman Papal Apostasy, are not yet expir'd; nor the Kingdom of Christ yet in its Succession. So that though our Time, as the Lord speaks, is always ready, we have great need, in all re­gards, of the Miracles of Mercy; But his Time is not always; It is not yet. If that Time be not yet, we cannot look for any Miracle in our particular case, with any certain Assurance we shall receive it. This is a Rule in all Cases, not to mea­sure Christ's Time, God's Time by ours, John 7th. v. 6.

2. The Time of Miracles Returning may be very near, and yet no Miracles till that very Time, be wrought: John the Baptist was the immediate Forerunner of Christ, and yet it is expresly recorded to us, John did no Miracle. That was no Argument the Miracles of Christ, and of the Apo­stles, were at a distance; No more is it that the Return of Miracles is far off; Because we may at the present be with­out Ground, or Encouragement, that any should be wrought for us, as yet.

3. That Great Admonition of our Lord's, concerning Mi­racles, should be alway on our Thoughts, Luke 4. 25. I say unto you, there were many Widows in the Time of Elijah the Prophet; but to none of them was Elijah sent, but to her in Sarepta, a City of Zidon. And there were many Lepers in the days of Elisha the Prophet, but unto none of them was he sent, but unto Naman the Syrian. This Christ spake, as the An­swer that the Great Physician gave, when call'd upon; Physician, heal thy self: Whatsoever thou hast done any where else, do in thy own Countrey and City. We may not think, on any Account, to oblige this Miraculous Power of Christ to us, because he hath pleas'd to extend it to any other; yea, though it be of a Time of Mira [...]les.

[Page 87] 3. Even in a Time of Miracles, Christ in doing great Things for his Servants, will not be Limited to Miracles. He expressed some Dislike, when he says, John 4. 48. Except you see Miracles, you will not Believe; To Thomas, Desiring sensible As­surance; He said with Insinuation of Reproof; Because thou hast seen, thou hast Believed; blessed are they, who have not seen, and yet have Believed: Christ, as I have observed, before, drew many Souls to himself without any Miracle; Epaphrodotus was not, when sick, and Nigh to Death, Healed Miraculously by Paul, from whose Body Aprons, and Handkercheifs were carryed, and had Healing Virtue in them; and yet God had mercy on Epaphro­ditus, and on Paul also in him, and Healed him; God does great and Wonderful things for his Servants, and yet without Mira­cles: This is our great Consolation; he Works Miracles, and saves; He Works not Miracles, and yet saves; according to his own Will, he does All.

4. When all ordinary Means Fail, and the thing looks Des­perate in Relation to all such Ordinary means; when the Fig­tree does not blossom, &c. yet we may Trust in the Lord, and Glory in the God of our Salvation; even at such a Time, our Feet should be Like Hinds Feet, and walk on our high places; In the Mount of the Lord it shall be seen; we may then come unto God; Oh thou that hearest Prayers, unto thee shall all Flesh come; And tho we cannot Find by Sense, we have the Petitions we have asked of him; yet by Faith we may know it; and he will give us outward Testimo­ny of his hearing; for rather than his Servants should not find him a God Hearing Prayers, he will either put the working of Second Causes so together, that such putting together shall be next to Miracle; or rather than these Things should not be done for them, he will step out of the way of his present Ordinary Government of the World, and work a Miracle for them.

CHAP. X. Wherein a Representation of the Excellen­cy of the State of Miracles in the Days of Christ, and of the Apostles is given, That we may thereby Judg of the Return of such a State of Miracles, excelling even that in Ʋniversality, and reach­ing the utmost effects.

THat I may now draw this Discourse of Miracles to its Con­clusion, I will Briefly draw up the State of the Miracu­lous Powers of the Holy Spirit, that were so Visibly, and Glo­riously Acting in the Days of Christ, and of the Apostles of our Lord, and Saviour Jesus Christ; that none may say, Lo here, and Lo there, a Power of Miracles; or this, or that is the Time of them; but that the Time of them may be known to be like the Lightning; For as the Lightning Lightneth from the East, and shineth to the West; or as the very day, and the Brightness of it is known from all the Deceptions, and Mistakes of the Day, when it is not; so shall the True Time of the Return of Mi­racles be known by a Compare with the Standard, and Exem­plar of them in the Fore-nam'd Time; For it was a Stand­ard, and Exemplar above all other Times; All therefore must be measured by this; altho indeed in some Things, the Return of Miracles shall exceed, as the fullness of Times, or [Page 89] of All Times in the Second Coming of Christ, exceeds the fulness of Time, Singular only, or of that First Coming of our Lord Je­sus in the Flesh; Yet then there was an Offer of the Kingdom to the Jews, and it should have been Propagated to the Gentiles; but the Kingdom being refus'd, the Wonders could not be Finished, nor Miracles consequently Consummate.

1. The State of Miracles at the Time, I am speaking of, was Illustrious above any Time before, or since it, for the va­riety of Miracles; various Signs, and Miracles, and Gifts of the Holy Spirit, as we find in 1 Cor. 12. To one The Gift of Healing, to another of Knowledg, to another of Tonues, &c. So one hath an Exhortation, a Psalm, a Prophecy; yea, Then was Raising of the Dead. This was the First Fruits, the beginning of what was spoken by the Prophet Joel. Now by such a Variety of Miracles, how great is the Confirmation? One or Two might be Attributed to some unknown Cause, but such a Consort, and Harmony could be only Divine; even the Atheist would be puzzled to Sacrifice to his Occult Causes decently for such a Variety; God saw in the whole Creation, where Miracles were fit to be Planted.

Then Behold and look, Judg, and Distinguish of the Re­turn of Miracles hereby; They shall Return in such a Vari­ety, as may Testify their Relation to that Original Exemplar-Variety in the First Appearance of Christ, and his Apostles in them; and that together they may make up that one (however Interrupted in regard of Visible Miracles) pouring out of the Spirit before the great and Illustrious Day of the Lord, spoken of by the Prophet Joel, as aforesaid.

2. There were Commission'd Ministers of the Power of Mi­racles; the Twelve Apsstles of our Lord Jesus; and some, that were as Gifted Brethren, sharing in the Communication of these Miraculous Powers, as we may perceive by the Seventy sent out by the same Power in some Regard, as the Apostles; and those Christians, to whom the Apostle Writes among the Corinths, 1 Cor. 12. To One, To Another, such Power was given, &c. For hereby the whole Power became of greater Notoriety, of greater Authority, as in a Sanhedrim: as our Lord says to the Pharisees, accusing him of Acting by Belzebub; By whom do your Children Cast out Devils? Therefore they shall be your Judges, as in a Conneel. The Miraculous Efficacies were also of great­er Disposition, and freer Distribution: Accordingly we may [Page 90] suppose; The 144000 with the Fathers Name writ on their Foreheads; who learn the New Song First, and those who are In structed by Them in it; shall very Universally, yet according to his Wisdom and Will, who is the Supreme Donor, be En­dued with Power from above; as Ministers of State in the King­dom of Christ, and Receiving Gifts for it.

3. These Miraculous Powers were Dispens'd in a Frequency, in a Continued Dayliness, in an universality; we find our Lord on all occasions dispens'd these Largesses of Heavenly Bounty, and Compassion; He never denyed any; He extend­ed them to his very Enemies, the High Priests Servant; onely he was (as it were) Repuls'd in his Grace, by the Ʋnbelief of some; He could do no mighty Works, because of their Ʋnbelief; that is, he declar'd himself so, that he might leave a Testimony against that Sin; and Warn all of it: Else He went about doing good; He Healed all manner of Sickness, and diseases. And so by the Apostles, This Miraculous Power was carried throughout the several Circuits of their Ministry, as the Apostle Paul Witnesses concerning his own, round about from Jerusalem to Illyricum; He Preached the Gospel with mighty Signs and Wonders, and Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Rom. 15.

And without doubt in the same manner shall this Miraculous Power Compass Sea and Land, in the Preaching the Everlasting Gos­pel to every Tongue, Nation and Lauguage. And till this be I would Require none to believe, Miracles are Return'd, and then indeed it will be undeniable.

4. As there was thus a Power of Miracles given to the Com­mission'd Officers of Christ; and to his Gifted Servants; So there was a Faith of both doing Miracles, and a Faith of Re­ceiving the Benefit of those Miraculous Efficacies; For as the Apostle speaks of All Faith, 1 Cor. 13. 1. Viz. Miraculous, or Wonder working Faith; So that I could; saith he, remove Moun­tains, &c so there is a Faith of Receiving the Benefit of Mi­racles; For Peter, and John, and Paul are said, Acts 2. c. 14▪ To perceive a Faith to be Healed, a Faith of Receiving; And our Lord took notice of the Faith of the Centurion and others; altho it is True; In many Acts of Grace, there was no Regard we can Find to the Faith of the Receiver; but the mighty Power and Mercy of God Sallyed out upon Persons, by the Faith of the Ministers of the Miraculous Power; Having Mercy, because he would have Mercy: And it gives us an Emblem of the Grace and Power of Christ in Conversion, and bringing home to him­self; [Page 91] sometimes, as it seems in a way of Preparation; sometimes wholly without; but however it seems, it is certain; Divine Power and Grace Drawing near, did Erect that Faith, that is in the Wise Ordination necessary to Receive Christ, Grace Pardon, Justification, Sanctification; even as the Miraculous Power of Christ being abroad, and Drawing Nigh, Raised so generally a Faith in that Miraculous Power, so general; and the particular Dtawing Nigh of Christ excited it in the par­ticular Persons, on whom the Benefits were bestowed.

And thus in the Return of Miracles the Servants of Christ, both in Ordinary, and Extraordinary, Commission'd to Work Miracles, shall be Cloath'd with a Faith to that End; that those who can by no means Believe now, such a Power shall Return, will by Feeling that very Power comming upon them, and the Hand-writing of the Fathers Name by the Spirit on their Foreheads, will be fully perswaded of his wondrous works, be­ing as near, as his Name, to Declare it; and these effects flowing out from it upon others, There will be a Rousing the Senseless, sleepy World, that knows not yet the Blessings near it, to wait for the Graces to be bestowed by this Power; Till these things are, No Opinions, or best Fram'd Discourses, No Essays, Beginnings, or Scatterings of such a Power can per­swade (I know none, would have it so) that Miracles are Return­ed; But when these are, none will be able to perswade the contrary; and in the mean time the Hopes, Expectations, and Prayers of Christians are hereby rais'd.

5. There arose then, and there will arise at the Return of Miracles, such full Assurance, such Plerophory of Persuasion con­cerning the Truth of Things, that they can be no more doubted, than the Assurances of the Light, and of the Day; and indeed, as Cartes Argues; Rational, Intellectual Assurance surmounts all Sensible, even so Spiritual Surmounts both Sen­sible, and Intellectual; and this, both as to matter of Fact, that indeed such things are wrought; and that they are wrought by God, by a Divine Power, and that herein is the Finger of God.

6. Herewith a mighty Stream, and Torrent of Truth pass'd along, and Fill'd the World with the Light, and Glory of it in very wonderful manner then, and shall much more do so at the Return of Miracles; that the Isles shall wait for the Law of Christ, his Name shall be great from the Rising of the Sun, to the going down of the same; The Knowledg of the Lord and of his Glory shall Cover [Page 92] the Earth, as the VVaters do the Sea; The Light of one Day shall be, as the Light of Seven; For so hath the mouth of the Lord spoken: He hath spoken, and he will do it; He will VVork, and none shall let it: He the Lord will hasten it in his own Time; No one of these things, shall want it's Mate; and tho it be wonderful in our Eyes, yet shall it be so in his?

7. There was a mighty Power of Converting Grace, a change of the Hearts, Tempers, purpose, manner of Life, and Con­versation of men; as appears by the 3000 Converted at one Sermon of the Apostle Peters, Acts 2. a Real, and Sincere, and Sound Conversion, as the Spirit of God Implies to us; say­ing, the Lord Added to that Number, then of his Church, and to his Church Daily, such as should be saved; The Five first Chapters of the Acts plainly shew us, what the State of Christianity, and of the Churches of Christ was, before the Apostasy made some Inroads upon it, c. 6. How they walk'd in singleness of heart, all Spiritual Joy and Gladness of Heart, in the Fear of the Lord, and had all things Common; a Heavenly Spirit and Temper prevailed in them; And so shall it be at the return of Miracles; a Spirit of Holiness, Heavenly Mindedness, Love, Charity, Singleness of Heart, and all Purity shall come back with them; For these inward Powers of Grace, and Divine Presence are the Life, and Spirit to Miracles; when the one returns, so shall the o­ther also; and nothing will indeed so convince the World of a Divine Power, and Presence, as to find it self thus Chang'd, and quite other, than as now it Criminates, and recriminates upon it self; as it now perpetually complains of, Accuses, and Condemns it self.

8. As in the Miracles of Christ, and of the Apostles, there was a great Offer of the Kingdom of God, and of Christ, at that Time to have Appear'd; as Christ says; Be sure the Kingdom of God is come upon you; and Christ Commands the Apostles to Preach the Kingdom of God in the Doing of Miracles, as I have fully shown; And it did indeed then come in the Spiritual State of it; so at the return of Miracles, that Kingdom shall indeed without any further Delay come in the Highest, both Spiritual Glory, and outward Manifestation of it; in which regard Miracles, as I have manifested through this Discourse, shall be most Universal, and to the highest Efficacy; Because the world to Come, which is the Kingdom of the Second Adam, the Lord from Heaven, shall be prepared for, and effectually brought in thereby; so that till the Time of that Kingdom be in its Succession, [Page 93] There can be no such return of Miracles, expected; and that, as I have shewn, cannot be, till the Four Monarchies are fully Ex­pired; For the Kingdom of Christ and of this Monarchy cannot mingle; As therefore the Miracles proper to this Kingdom have been more Interrupted by the Course of those Monarchies; and es­pecially the Three Times, and Half of the Last State of the Last Monarchy, than at any other Time; so they must be fully end­ed, and the Kingdom of Christ be Proclaimed, according to Rev. 11. The Kingdoms of this World, are become the Kingdoms of the Lord, and of his Christ; and he hath taken to himself his great Power to Reign; and then shall Miracles, the mighty Powers of the VVorld to come, Return again to Huisher it in; even a Stated Pow­er of Miracles, as in thr Days of Christ, and of the Apostles; as our Lord says, I work Cures to day and to morrow, &c. A con­tinuity, a Connexion of one Miracle with another, a Miracu­lous Power waited at his Hand, at his Right Hand, a state of Miracles there was, that God was Magnified, who had given such power to men; a settled Power; the Account he sent to John the Baptist of himself; was, The Blind receive their Sight, the Lame walk, the Lepars are Cleansed; and that great Spiritual Miracle run­ning along; The Poor are Evangeliz'd, and under the Power of the Gospel: Messiah and his Kingdom, and the Power of Mi­racles are always joyn'd; mighty in word and deed, in doing good, Full of Compassion; because he himself took our Sickness, and carried our Sorrows; and so heal'd, as in Mercy to himself; that it might be truly said, Physitian, Heal thy self: The Apostles, as Mini­sters of State in his Kingdom, were Ministers of Miracles, Freely Received of this Power, a [...]d commanded, Freely to give; and so we find they did, and with that Power, that the Shaddow of Peter, and the very Linnen touch'd by the Apostle Paul, con­veyed Cure; insomuch, that the very Pagans, in sense of Di­vine Power, said; The Gods are come down among us, Acts 14. 28. And surely when that Kingdom of the Restitution of all things shall actually appear; then in all things It shall be fulfilled, that our great Prince hath Received Gifts for men, even for the Rebellious also, that the Lord God may dwell among them; Mira­cles shall Husher it in, and Miraculous Powers shall Found, and Settle it.

CHAP. XI. The Inferences from the whole Discourse of Miracles; Tending to make Wise to So­briety, concerning Them; and to all Ho­liness and Heavenly Conversation; are Re­collected and Presented.

Inference 1. MIracles indeed from Divine Power are able to bear the se­verest Tryal and Examination, because they give Evidence of themselves to the whole Man; not always to the outward Sense; For, as hath been before remarked, the Words of Christ are Works. Now Words of Great, and Supernatural Effica­cy, are Miracles to, and before the sense of Mind; but not to the Outward Sense: So they were to the Woman of Samaria, Behold a Man (saith she) that hath told me All that ever I did; Is not this the Messiah, or the Christ? John 4. 29. and the Sama­ritans said to the Woman, We believe not for thy Words or saying, but we have heard him our selves, and know, that This is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the World, v 42. And yet here was no Miraculous Appearance to the Outward Sense; and so our Lord says, Blessed are They who ha [...]e believed, and yet have not seen. Now whatever produces Faith, is Miracle be­fore the Mind; For it is the mighty Power of God that works in all them that believe; Even as Miracle before the Eye is sensible Miracle. Yet generally Miracles did commend Themselves to both the Inward and the Outward Sense; and so that their most obstinate Opposers could not Resist their Eviden­ces. They could bear the severest Scrutiny, sustain the utter­most Test and Tryal.

When the Enemies of Christ, of his Doctrine and Miracu­lous Power, at any Time sate in Judgment on Christ, and his Miracles; They were Confounded and Amazed; They were forced to lay their hands upon their mouths, and to keep silence. This is the Excellency of the Miracles of the Gospel; when the Juggles, and Cheats, and Tricks of the Devil, and of All Deceivers, may be easily found out, if they are but search'd into; They must be swallowed in silence, and be­lieved in the Dark, or they vanish: What an Abundance of the Popish Miracles have been Trac'd and Tracked, (Like their Story of Bell and the Dragon, that they Fathally put in their Scriptures, or Bible, the very semblance of their Miracles), to the Juggle and Cheat that lay under Them! But the Miracles of the World to come, and of the Kingdom of Christ, are the Greater, the more they are Eyed: They have no Enemies but Ignorance, Stupidity, and Ʋnbelief, or Counterfeit.

We have an Admirable Instance of this, John 9. in the Cure of the Blind Man; The Neighbours had it in question, and were convinced first; the Pharisees emptied it from Vessel to Vessel; They Examin'd it at all Lights; the Man being Blind himself, his Parents were every way sifted, and the Matter canvass'd; and all they could do, was to drop the Cause, as they say, and in their own defence to Excommunicate the Person on whom the Miracle was wrought: They cast him out Juridically, v 34.

Again, We shall find the Jews sitting in Judgment upon a Miracle wrought by the Apostles; And what was the Great Effect of it? Acts 4. 21. The people Glorified God, seeing the mi­racle of Healing that was done. The Apostles Peter and John, had by the power of Christ heal'd a man Lame from his mothers Womb, c. 3. v. 1, &c. Now They beholding the man which was healed, standing with them, They could say nothing against it. Ob­serve, They fain would have Remonstrated unto it, but could say nothing against it; and the Result was, What shall we do with these men? For that indeed a Notable Miracle hath been done by them, v. 16. is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. So that here was the Great Excellency of the Miracles of Christ in his Time, and in the Time of the Apostles: There was such Evident Matter of Fact, it could not be denied by Sense in what pertain'd to Sense, or by the Mind in what pertain'd to Mind.

Infrence 2. This Ponderous, and Tremendous Considerati­on Rises from hence; We ought to give the more Eaynest Heed to the things that have been spoken, lest at any time we should let them slip; For if the Word spoken by Angels was stedfast, and Every Transgression and Disobedience, received a Just Recompence of Reward, How shall we escape, if we neglect so Great Salvation, &c. If the Salva [...]ion was so great, and God brought it in, and surroun­ded it on every side with Miracles, or Miraculous Power; Oh how shall we escape, if we neglect so great Salvation, so Almightily Testifyed?

I appeal to All, whether we do not Think, God dealt Righ­teously with Pharoah? whether he had not a great deal of Patience with him to shew him Miracle after Miracle, al­though he after Buried him in the Red Sea? and whether he did not deal Righteously with Israel in the Wilderness, that for Forty Years saw his Works, and yet did alway Err in their Hearts, and did not know the ways of God, though their Car­cases Fell in the VVilderness? and whether seeing the Miracles of Christ, and yet Rejecting him, They Crucified him, and were delivered up to the Romans not many Years after; and are now scattered over the Face of the Earth; because they sinn'd with so high a hand against a Miraculous Power, so exalted before them.

Now if God bare so Great Witness to that very Gospel, we have now confirm'd with Signs and VVonders, and divers Gifts of the Holy Spirit, How shall we escape, if we neglect so great Salva­tion! Oh therefore let us look to it continually: If God hath been at so great Expence (as I may call it) in the manifesta­tion of Himself, as to give us the Gospel sealed with such a curious Needle-Work of Miracles, with such a Rich Expli­cation of the manifoid VVisdom of God; Oh, how shall we escape, if the Gospel-Faith, Repentance, Holiness, be not found in us, which will convince us of Great Neglect of it!

If it be said, what was Miracle undeniable to the Beholders, hath lost the Force of Miracle to us, to whom it is gone out of Matter of Fact into Htstorical Account, Tradition and Discourse; I answer to this in a Third Inference.

Infer. 3. That which presses forward the Exhortation, and Answers the Objection, is; Let us consider, and deeply weigh, that God sealing any Doctrine with Miracles, declares the In­trinsick Value, and worth of that Doctrine, the Fitness of it, [Page 97] to bring Souls into the Kingdom of Christ: Miracles are only a sensible Declaration of the Intrinsick Excellency of the Doct­rine; whether They are present, or absent; The Excellency of Divine Truth is still the same; For Miracles are never a Seal to a Blank. The Writing hath the Essence of the matter, whe­ther the Seal be at every Line, or not: It is enough, It is once set: It needs not be set a new, every Time, It is Read: The Fine of Miracles once pass'd, the Gospel as a Deed of Uses im­ports the Sense, and Virtue of All, and carries it, and the Fine of Miracles, as I may call it, along with it, however, but once pass'd. Miracles are no more necessary continually, than One Rising on all Occasions from the Dead. But the Di­vine Excellency, and Truth of the Doctrine is always the same: Christ coming, and speaking Things of so Supreme Excel­lency, that never man spake like him, did also the works, that no man else ever did. Hence it is alike Infer'd; If I had not come and spoken, they had had no Sin, but now they have no Cloak for their sin; and if I had not done among them the VVorks, no man ever did, they had had no sin. Conversion therefore hath been without Miracles, and with Miracles; Not therefore by the Vertue of Miracles, which of themselves raise no more than Wonder, without the Spirit of God working with the Truth of the Gospel; and that without Miracles is most Efficacious. Miracle can do nothing without the principal Truth; even the Divine Spirit never works by Miracles without the Divine Doctrine; It continually works by that without Miracles; many, who themselves wrought Mi­racles, shall yet have that dreadful Sentence upon them, I know you not, depart from me, you that work Iniquity. A man may have a Faith Removing mountains, and yet be nothing, Matt 7. 22. 23. 1 Cor. 13. 1. It is certain therefore, Conve [...]sion follows not Mi­racles; But Miracles have and shall indeed Follow the mighty Power of Converting Grace, working with the Gospel; as at the Time of Christs Appearance in the Offertures of his King­dom when here upon Earth, and by the Apostles; so at the Glorious Appearance of his Kingdom; Great and many workings of Miracles; so great Conversions, many Converts; and there­fore by the way, let me give this very Serious, and Practical Notion; It may be, we should look upon our Selves, as Persons highly Favoured of God; If we could Heal Diseases, or do any thing that would look like Miracle; But it is not so great a Thing, as a Power to Touch Christ, and Believe in him; To Conquer the Lusts, and Corruptions of our own Hearts, and [Page 98] the Impurity of our own Spirits; The Faith that Touches Christ, and Draws Vertue from him, is a far more Excellent Faith▪ than that which can Remove Mountains, or Heal Diseases. If we had a Power of Miracles, it would indeed amaze the World, with the View, and be a kind of Nine days Wonder, But it would Flatten upon the Hearts of Men by being daily; They would grow familiar with it, and Resist it, as the Jews did, as Pharaoh did, If the Power of Converting Grace did not go along with it; But this Inward Power is all pure, perfect Spirit, and never fails; Tho Christ will say to many, that had Cast out Devils, and did many wonderful works in his Name; I never knew you, depart from me, you workers of Iniquity; yet to them, who have by Faith Deriv'd from him Righteousness, Holiness, Victory over Sin, Vanity, Lusts, and Corruptions, over the World; that have Receiv'd Renovation, Mortification, Hea­venliness of Heart: Christ will never Profess, I know you not, depart from me, you workers of Iniquity. Agreeably therefore to this, when the seventy Returned, and gave Account of their Success, and Christ gave them Power to Tread on Serpents, and Scorpions, &c. Yet, saith he, In this Rejoyce not, but Rejoyce that your Names are written in Heaven.

Oh! what an Admirable Thing is True Grace, Faith, Re­pentance, Love, Hope, Obedience; How curious is the Inlay, and Variety, the Curious Needle VVork, like the Variety of Mi­racles in the Times of the Apostles, or as Solomon speaks in his Song, there are all Spices, and Perfumes, all the Richest Perfumes, and Powders of the Merchant in the various Graces of the Spi­rit; of which the Diversities of Miraculous Operations were but the outward Counter point; And therefore herein, we may understand the Supernatural Excellency of Grace, and Salvation by Christ; Even as we Acknowledg Miracle far a­bove Nature; so the Salvation of the Gospel being most Per­fect Miracle is in every Thing above Nature; VVorks of Righte­ousness we have done, is Nature; If we are sav'd by them; It is then indeed no other than Nature; but if by the Free Grace of God. Pardoning, and Accepting through the Righteousness of Christ; This is Miracle; Works done by Free VVill is Nature; Works done by the Grace and Power of the Divine Spirit is Miracle: Oh! how great a Tryal is this of Doctrines; whatever enters into that VVorl [...] to come, whereof we speak with Acceptanee, is Mi­racle; a part of that VVorld to Come: And though what we call Nature now, is indeed Grace from the Mediator; yet It [Page 99] is so mix'd with the Apostasy, that if it is not sublimated, Raised to the Height by Grace, it will subside, sink down to the very Bottom of the Apostasy.

Lastly, Miracles Rightly considered shew the Order, even the Primary Oorder of Grace: For as Miraculous Power was first in Motion, and Manifestation of it self, ere there could be particular Application; and not only so, but there was a par­ticular Approach of such Grace ready to Work, which excit­ed the Faith of the Person, that was to Receive the Benefit of the Miracle; and so the Miraculous Power Entred; where Mi­raculous Power had no Place, there Unbeleif prevail'd, and no mighty Works were, or could be done: Even so in all the Spiritual Miraculous Powers, The Grace given and Working Faith and Repentance, and Obedience first En [...]er, and then the Graces Themselves: For Grace, even as Na­ture Fabricates, and Raises its own Habitation, or Recep­tion, Even by it Self: So it is not of him that willeth, or of him that runneth, but of God who sheweth mercy; Yet it is our Duty to pray earnestly for Grace in ourselves, and others; even as it is our Duty to wait upon All Means, to wait especially on Grace it self.

Infer. 4. How admirable is the Gift and Grace of God, in Removing out of the World that Diversity and Strangeness of Tongues; that both in different Words and Sounds, as well as different Pronunciations of the same Words, came in by a Miracle of Judgment on the Builders of Babel; and hath con­tinued a certain Diagnostick, or Brand of the State of Confusi­on, whose Base and House is in the Land of Shinar, the Anti­christian Babylonian Kingdom; most contrary to the Kingdom of Sa­lem, and to the True Melchisedec, Jesus Christ, King of Righte­ousness, King of Peace: Now therefore at his first Appearance in his Kingdom, and the Preaching of the Everlasting Gospel by the APostles in an Offerture of it at that time, and a Pledg of what shall be; There was a very Illustrious Specimen of the Ba­belism, or Confusion of Languages Removed: Yet it shall be much more illustrious at the utter Fa [...]l of Babylon, and its King­dom; For then the Lord shall shall turn to the People universally a pure Language; They shall All speak the Language of Canan: [Page 100] And this must needs be so, when the Everlasting Gospel shall be Preached to Every Tongue, and Language under Heaven; Then must there be either one Ʋniversal Language spoken, and understood by All, to Preach it in; or else there must be an Immediate Passing out of one Language into Another, both in Speaking and Understanding; Either of which is most undeniably the Work of that Infinite Power, that made mans mouth, that gave it speech, and then Activity of Reason, Turning every way, and guiding that Speech: This alone can Conciliate those both Dif­ferent Voices, Sounds, Accents, and manners of Pronunciati­on, that are found in Different Languages, or Tongues; and the Different Formings of the same Language; and Frame all into one Universal Character, or Sound and Expression of Truth, of the Gospel, most suitable to the Glory of that Ʋniversal Monarch, King of Kings Lord of Lords. Then also shall all that Babelism, or Confusion of Opinions, so proper to Babylon concerning the Truths of the Gospel, be Reconcil'd into Speaking one Thing, being of the same Mind, and Judgmen, tand that perfectly, or to Perfection.

Infer. 5. And to conclude this Discourse; Seeing the Mes­siah, the Second Adam, the Lord from Heaven, and his King­dom, his World to come, and these Miraculous Powers, e­ven to the bringing forth the New Heaven, and the New Earth, are always together; Oh that moved by the Blessed Spirit, who says, Come; and Joyning with the Bride, which says, Come: we also Hearing, and Sympathizing, or moved Alike, may say, Come. Oh let it be said, Oh Zion, Thy King com­eth. The Flock of Saints, the multitude of Them Come; The Lord our God shall come, and all the Saints with Thee: The Breaker shall come up before them. They have broken through, They have passed through the Gate, and are gone out by it: and their King shall pass before them, the Lord, even Jehovah, on the Head of them, Mic. 2. 13. Even so Come Lord Jesus, Come quickly.

And thus I have Finished the Proof of the Return of Mi­racles, I shall in this following Discourse Essay a Full, and Sa­tisfactory Proof by the Sure Word of Prophecy; That The Return of Miracles shall be in the Succession of the Kingdom of Christ 1697.

THE Great Charter FOR THE INTERPRETATION OF ALL Prophecy of Scripture, AND OF The TIMES Defined by it: PLEADED, In Justification of what hath been Written there­upon, against the several Imputations of Curi­osity, Groundless Presumption, Phantastry, or Enthusiasm.

2 PET. I. 20.‘Knowing this first, That no Prophecy of Scripture is of any private Interpretation.’

IT is very Notorious, there is nothing Learned, and good Men are more Scandalized at, or give slighter Regard to, throughout all that is offered to them from the Word of God, than the Interpretation of Scripture Prophecy; espe­cially, if Any come to the Interpretation of those Prophecies that Define Time.

Now this arises from a strong Pre-judgment or Pre-possession of Mind, That such Prophecies, and most particularly concern­ing Time, are not possible, or hardly Lawful to be Interpreted, and that it is presumption to offer at it; and that all that is drawn from such Interpretation, is no other than Groundless Phantastry.

I have therefore Resolved, since the Lord, as I Trust, hath Himself engaged my Labours in this his Vineyard, to make it my Humble endeavour to Explorate, and to Find out by this Scripture, How far such Attempts of Interpretation are Justified, and the Success assur'd by the Word of God: Now, this Text, and the whole Context seem, even at the first sight, to give Highest Countenance and Favour hereunto; for it expresly af­firms, No Prophecy of Scripture, not of Daniel, or of the Revela­tion, or any other Scripture Prophecy, nor of the Numbers, rela­ting to Time in those Prophecies, and wherein the preciseness of Times is Deposited and Lay'd up, is of Private Interpretation.

I begin therefore with the Consideration of the Direct Terms, or Words of this so Full Proposition of the Apostle:

1. The Subject-Matter, concerning which the Apostle thus affirms, is not Scripture in general, but most particularly Pro­phecy of Scripture; If his Proposition had been upon Scripture in general, it had necessarily included Prophecy of Scripture in par­ticular; Because Prophecy is so excellent a part of Scripture; but it is Greater, and more Emphatical, that He particularises up­on Prophecy it self.

2. The Care the Apostle hath Taken to shew it is the Uni­versality of Scripture-Prophecy, He thus asserts concerning All Prophecy of Scripture, [...]; which imports, All Pro­phecy; and Every Prophecy. All Prophecy in general, and Every Prophecy in particular is the subject spoken of; and therefore a Word is chosen out by the Spirit of God, that may fully An­swer thereunto in both regards.

3. That to which the Apostle directs his Speech, is not with Relation to the Excellency, or Certainty, or Divine Inspiration of Scripture Prophecy it self; although that He does also in the former Verse, calling it the Sure Word of Prophecy; and by way of proof in the next Verse, of what he affirms in this: But that which He is precise upon in this Verse Relates to Interpre­tation of Scripture Prophecy.

[Page 3] 4. That which He fixes upon as to his Point, to consider concerning Interpretation, is concerning the Privacy of it; Whe­ther it is a Publick, Free, Open, Accessible, Self-communica­tive Thing; or whether Private, Reserv'd, Uncommunicated, or under Any ones Propriety and Enclosure, so that no other may Presume to Enter into the Interpretation of it, but under some Character for such a Propriety?

5. The Form of the Apostle's Proposition is a flat and down­right Negative; Scripture-Prophecy, All Scripture-Prophecy, Every Scripture Prophecy is so Constituted, Framed, Descended, as not to be of Private Interpretation; and that the Negation may be the stronger, It is Kept, and Reserved to be placed with the Full strength of its Accent upon the Words, Is not private: The Apostle would not lessen it by setting [...] in place of [...], both for the Force of the Word of Ʋniversality before Noted, as also, That the Negative might urge the more, being applied to Private; And so it amounts to a strong Affirmation; on the other side, it is of an Interpretation, Open, Publick, Free; a Common Good and Right.

6. The Apostle lays it as a Foundation, as a fitst Principle, Knowing (saith He) this first, That All Prophecy of Scripture is not of a Private Interpretation. And it comes in as a strong Ar­gument or Motive for what he had spoken, by way of Vehe­ment Incitation to the Taking Heed to Prophecy; for saying That Every one did well, who Took Heed to the More sure Word of Pro­phecy. He goes on by way of Encouragement, and Assurance of Good Success, Knowing, That It is of an Open, Ftee Interpre­tation, or being well principled in that first, as is after to be urged.

Now who that Considers these Words of the Apostle thus pre­sented, and lay'd out before Him, and what The Spirit by his Ho­ly Minister hath spoken thus, [...], so expresly can have a preju­dice against All utmost Endeavour to Interpret Any, Every Prophe­cy of Scripture, and contradict the Holy Ghost; saying, It is a Dark, Retired, Reserved Thing; not to be presum'd upon, or to be medled with.

But before I proceed upon the main Points arising from this Proposition of the Apostle, in Justification of Interpretation of Scripture-Prophecy; I am very sensible, the very Foundation is endeavoured to be shaken by suppositing, or shifting in another word for [...] or Interpretation, viz. [...], a word differ­ing but an Iota, an [...] for [...]; and so may seem fair for adm [...]ssion; [Page 4] and a word that would be had, to signify Inspiration; or if that be not found so convenient to Change the word; yet it is Designed to Bring the Matter to the same Point by giving a sense to it foreign to this Point, viz by affixing to [...] a sense the same with Inspiration; viz. Dismission or sending out the Pro­phets; that so either way the Apostles Proposition might speak thus: Knowing this first, That no Prophecy of Scripture is of a pri­vate Illaps, or Inspiration; and so Interpretation should have no place, nor any thing to do here.

I will therefore Argue, first against any other word, than that of [...], and then against any other sense of the word [...], but that of Interpretation.

The Arguments that the word Epilusis, and not Epelusis, was used by the Divine Spirit, are these two.

1. There is an Universal Consent, and Agreement of All Coppies in the word Epilusis, wherein that Providence watch­full over All Scripture, hath particularly shewn it self in care over this; so that there is no occasion for any one to Change it, except He Himself were Given to Change, or would make an In­terest against it, because He would not own the Prophecy (at least) of Scripture, to be of a Free, Open, Publick Interpreta­tion; nor to be Approached unto.

2. It is observed by the Learned, The word Epelusis is not the proper word to signify Illaps, or Inspiration, or any thing like it; But the word [...], as it comes something near the word [...], and yet can never be it, or the same; so it seems somewhat a-kin in sense to Super, or Preternatural Emo­tion, but at so great a distance, It can never be Divine Super­natural, nor like it, but most Contrary to it, and Abhorred of it: For it is a word of very ill Intention, and signifies the Force of Enchantment on the Enchanted Person; a sense that can by no means be suffered to Enter into the Tabernacle of the Holy Spirit, the Spirits of his Prophets; nor Agree to the Sacred scope and purpose of the Apostle.

But I will yet further Argue against any other word, but Epilusis in Arguing against any other sense, but that sole and single sense of Interpretation; so that by Epilusis shall not, cannot be understood, as some would have it, any kind of Dismission, or sending out the Prophets to Prophecy. For,

1. The very same word, differing only as a Noun and a Verb, that is used here by the Apostle Peter, is used in the very [Page 5] same Sense, and in the very same matter, and purpose, Mark 3. 34. Only what is denied here by this Apostle is affirmed in ano­ther Case there, viz. Our Lord Expounded his Parables but Apart or Privately to his Disciples: There Epelue, He Expounded [...], or Apart; Here the Exposition or Interpretation of Prophecy is denied to be Apart.

This Scripture in Mark therefore is, as if the Spirit of God had on purpose provided an Assurance, in what manner these same Words are to be understood in Peter, viz. by the Certain, Undoubted Sense of them in Mark: And it is the more to be Noted, if we give heed to the Ecclesiastic Memoir, that, the Apo­stle Peter super-intended the Evangelist Mark in his Writing that Gospel: Observe therefore, The same Divine Spirit by the very same Servant of his, the Penman of this Epistle, and the Super­visor of that Gospel, uses both Words; the word so much the same with Epilusis, so undoubtedly in the sense of Expounded; and of Privately, or Apart in the Word Idios; and that they are us'd both Affirmatively, and Negatively in the same sense; For what the Evangelist spoke Affirmatively, viz. Christ did Expound or Interpret but Apart, that the Apostle in this Text lays down in the Negative, or denies concerning the same Exposition or In­terpretation, viz. That it is not Apart or Private.

This is so full in this kind of Argument, that it seems unne­cessary to add; It is the word used by the Septuagint, for the Interpretation of the Dreams of Pharaohs Officers by Joseph, Gen. 41. 82.

2. But that which is indeed above All, is, The Reason, and Scope of the Apostles Discourse, require the word, Interpreta­tion, and no other; For the Apostle was not Pressing, that the word of Prophecy is a sure Word; That He knew, was Agreed, and most acknowledged between Him, and the Hebrew Strangers scattered Abroad, to whom He wrote, and so the Apostle takes that for a most confessed Thing, and that they gave heed to it, as such; but that which required immediately to be further spoken to, was, That the sure Word of Prophecy shines, as a Light in the dark place, in which the Churches of Christ are, till the Day of the Kingdom of Christ dawn, and He the Phosphor, and Day-Star of it shine into the Hearts All His; For that is every where the Cha­racter of that Kingdom, it first dawns, and then it shines, and it shines into All Hearts, possesses All Minds; The Day of Gospel-Light, and the Day-star of that had already shone; for they were Established in the present Truth; but that the Apostle intended, [Page 6] was to come; For He says, Ʋntil it shine, which could not be ptoperly said of what is past: Besides, That could not be come, that was yet in Prophecy, and needed Prophecy to shine in the place of it; which Place had been altogether Dark, if it had not been for the Light of Prophecy: And the Darkness of it was, because that Day did not yet Dawn, nor the Day-Star Arise.

Now to this Light of Prophecy, saith the Apostle, You do well to Take Heed, you do well, as it is your Duty so to do; and as it is honourably well; So it is said; Blessed is He that Readeth, and They that Hear.

But to this, This Objection might well be made; It is a great difficulty to understand Prophecy; who, or how few are agreed about the Sense and Interpretation of it? and especially in what relates to the Time of it, and those Numbers relating to Time so particularly in Daniel. This therefore the Apostle would pre­vent, and surprize before hand, and He does it by laying this, as a first Principle, That All, and every Prophecy of Scripture is not of Private Interpretation; If it were so, it were indeed vain to Take Heed to it, as to a Light shining in a dark place, for then it would be as dark, as the dark place it self; A Prophecy of the Kingdom, that cannot be Interpreted, can no way enlighten the Dark State of the Non-appearance of the Kingdom: But the Apostle assu­ring, the Sure word of Prophecy is not Private, Secret, Apart, but of an Open, Free Interpretation, is full to the Purpose of Taking Heed, or Giving Attendance to it, as to such a Light.

And then the Apostles following words evince the same Thing; Prophecy came not of old Time by the will of Man; But Holy Men of God spake, as they were [...], Carried, Moved, Inspi­red by the Holy Spirit, as is further to be Explain'd: Now this comes as a Reason of what had been said before, as is manifest by the Particle For; And it is, indeed, a great Reason, why no Prophecy of Sceipture should be of a private Interpretation; because it was given, as shall be shewn, from the Publick Spirit, and not from a Private Spirit, as every Created Human Spirit is.

But if we understand the word us'd for Interpretation, to signify either Illipse, or Inspiration, these following words would be only words of Amplification, and not of Proof; and to be Interpret­ed as the opposite to Private, by the Adversative But; and not Ratiocinative as the Causal Conjunction For, assures them to be. And the sense must run thus; No Prophecy of Scripture is of Pri­vate Interpretation; But Holy Men of God spake, moved by the Holy Spirit; and if any one should put in For, after Inspiration; or Il­lapse [Page 7] suppos'd in place of Interpretation; It is as if the Apostle had said, It is not of private Inspiration, and therefore of Divine; For there can be no opposite to Private, but Divine in the Apostles sense, and therefore it is not of private Inspiration; Because, or, For, Holy men were not Privately, but Divinely Inspired; which is Amplification, and not Probation: But if we take, as on all Accounts we ought, the word to be Interpretation, the For, comes in most justly, as introducing a Great Reason, Why Prophecy cannot be of private Interpretation, because it is of publick Inspiration, as shall be shewn; How strong a Reason is this!

Now seeing Probation, or Proof, makes a Discourse stronger than Amplification only; If there be any doubt concerning a word, Whether This or That? That ought to be pre [...]erred which makes the Sacred Text more Sinewy and strong, and so does the word Interpretation here: And seeing there is so much for that word, and nothing against it, it ought to be acquiesced in by All, as offering so great a Truth; That we ought as in Hearing, so in Preaching, to give the sense of Prophecy; as it is said of Ezra and the other Levites, and the People under them, Nehem. 8. 7. They gave the sense of the Law, and Caused the People to understand, the Reading, or Preaching; that is, the inward sense of it, and not only the Syllabical Reading lost in Babylon; as some may suppose; For that is beneath the Holy Spirits notice: And thus ought Prophetical Scripture to be Administred; Because it is not of private Interpretation. It, and the Time of it, ought to be opened, and explained, All and every part in all its Divine senses.

But that, further yet, This point of Interpretation may be set­tled, and secured, and not only so, but highly illustrated; I will endeavour to clear, that the Grand Importance of the Context, nay, of this whole Epistle, is Adjusted and Prepared to Assure, That Prophecy of Scripture is not of a Private Interpretation in that great­est Point of Prophecy, of the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Time of it; That Mystery of God to be Fulfilled, Evangelized by All his Prophets, that Restitution of All Things in that Kingdom spoken of by All the Prophets, since the World began: Now of this King­dom, and the Time of it, The Apostles Affirmation. The Prophecies of Scripture are not of any private Interpretation▪ when and in what they speak of it, hath the chief, and most emi­nent place; And therefore the Discourse upon so great a Scrip­ture, so levelled, and prepared (as I may say) to all intents and purposes, for the Justification of search into Prophecy, concerning [Page 8] the Kingdom of Christ, and what, or what manner of Time, the Spirit of God hath signified, is, indeed, a Magna Charta for In­terpretation of it.

Now then, the occasion of all the Context, is the mention of the Abundant Entrance into the Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and That, an Everlasting Kingdom: Now of this King­dom there is a Twofold state; That which is now at present and by way of preparation, or the Ministration of an Entrance; and concerning that, The Apostle says, They were established in the present Truth. 2. There is a Future State, and Glory of that Kingdom, which is that Everlasting Kingdom, and to which this present Kingdom of Grace Ministers an Entrance; and of this, saith the Apostle, I will not be negligent to put you in remembrance.

Upon this Basis or Foundation laid then, I will first give great Arguments, That through the whole Epistle, and particularly in this Context, the Apostle hath very great Relation to this Kingdom, and most particularly to the Time of it. 2. That the Context having so great Relation to this Kingdom, and par­ticularly to the Time of it also, there is great Reason the Apostle should speak concerning the Interpretation of Prophecy, as the prin­cipal Point, and that Inspiration should Attend upon it; In the first Part I will give Arguments, First, That the Kingdom is in­tended; And then in the second place, for the Time, as intended also.

Argument 1 That which I have already said is most manifest; That the mention of the Kingdom of Christ, to which the Apo­stles Discourse before made haste, and to which the whole Epi­stle after issues, hath immediate Relation to this Context: For the Connexion and Coherence is so close and strict, that there is no dividing the one from the other; as will appear in the following Particulars. For,

2. The Apostle gives notice what Kingdom of Christ He had regard to, when He Styles it in Remembrance of that Kingdom Promised in Daniel, the Everlasting Kingdom, as it is there Styl'd, C. 7. an Everlasting Dominion, and a Kingdom, that shall not be de­stroyed.

3. In that so Emphatically, He gives the Title of Saviour to Christ; as the Apostle Paul joyns the appearance of the Great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ together: For therein above All Christ is seen, and will be known to be the Saviour, Restoring All that was Ruined by the sin of the First Adam.

[Page 9] 4. The great care the Apostle expresses, They should have that Kingdom in remembrance, although they were establish'd in the present Truth, that Ministers but an entrance into that King­dam; as was intimated before.

5. The Apostle, as the New-Testament generally does, calling the Kingdom of Christ his coming, remembers the Admonition Christ gave him of hss dying, or putting off that Tabernacle before he should so come; whereas the Apostle had an expectation of that Kingdom immediately, as they said; Wilt thou at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel.

6. The Apostle giving so full a Representation of the Transfigu­ration, which was it self an admirable Landskip, and a Model of it, gives it on purpose to foreshew it; the Apostle therefore gives it in Terms most expressive of the Kingdom of Christ, v. 16. to v. 19.

1. It is called the Power and Coming of Christ, and the word Majesty imports Royal Gr [...]atness, v. 16.

2. The sollemn Inauguration of Christ by the Voice from [...]he ex­cellent glory; This is the beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; like unto that other so great Declaration of him, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee, when he set his Kingdom on his holy hill of Sion, v. 18.

3. As the New-Jerusalem, the Palace of the Kingdom of Christ is an exceeding high and holy Mountain, so all this glory was on the holy Mountain.

4. In that the Apostle is so apprehensive, it might be suspected to be a cunningly devised Table, which Caution of the Apostle is in­deed a great Key of this whole Discourse; and will lead us into the reason of this Context, as shall appear after.

5. In that the Apostle passes so immediately from the Transfigu­ration, to the sure Word of Prophecy, and to prophecy shining as a light in a dark place; by which two Characters put together, it manifestly appears the Kingdom of Christ in [...]ended is neither the Kingdom of Grace, the Spiritual Kingdom, the Gospel of Grace, as we generally speak; not the Kingdom of Eternity; not the King­dom of Grace; because not only Prophecy looks to things to come, if still in Prophecy, and to be fulfilled; but also if it should be suppo [...]'d: That Prophecy shin'd in that Kingdom of Grace, and of the Gospel by the Apos [...]les so Illustrious Ministry; that could be by no mean called a dark or squalid or foul place: For it was the Gloriousest State of the Kingdom, and of Prophecy fulfill'd in [Page 10] it, that had been ever before, or hath been since, or that shall be, till that very Everlasting Kingdom of Christ come into its suc­cession; then it could not be the Kingdom of Eternity, For the King­dom of Eternity is not the manifestation of Prophecy, but one of the plainest and most Fundamental Doctrines of the Gospel, and of Christianity.

I come therefore to the second thing; that this Epistle of the Apostle Peter is adjusted to, and that is, to the shewing the time of the Kingdom; for which I give these Arguments.

1. That the Apostle calls it the Everlasting Kingdom; by which; as was before intimated, he refers to Daniel's Prophecy of that E­verlasting Kingdom and Dominion, Dan. 7. 27. which is postpon'd to four Kingdoms and Monarchies, the last of which was then in course, when the Apostle wrote this; and to the last state of which, viz. the Feet of Iron and Clay, and the ten Horns, and a little one chief of the Ten, there was an allowance of Time, Times and Half a Time, before the Kingdom of Christ could come into its Suc­cession.

2. The Apostle by saying, The sure word of prophecy shines as a light in a dark place, intimates, it foretels the time of that glori­ous Kingdom; how could it shine so effectually, as to enlighten the dark place, if it gave no Knowledge, when Prophecy should be ful­fill'd. For that Prophecy does not pass immediately into effect, made the space between the appearance of Christ in Flesh and in Glory dark: and therefore the light of Prophecy gives us a direction upon the Time, when the eflect of Prophecy shall be, the hope and assurance of which Enlightens.

3. The Apostle according to other Scriptures, distinguishes be­tween the day dawning, and the Day-Star arising; one signifying the succession of the Kingdom of Christ; the other the glory of that Kingdom. So the Mystery of God is to be fulfilled in the days of the Seventh Angel, and then Christ appears in his Glory. So the Apostle distinguishes between Christ blasting the man of sin with the Breath of his Mouth; which is by the mighty power of the Everlasting Gospel, and then utterly consuming and anni­hilating Him, with the Brightness of his Coming, or Appear­anee.

4. The Apostle describes the Apostacy that should so long delay the Kingdom of Christ in mystical Terms, under the shade of Nicolai­anism, and Gnostiscism, so fit to type out the Idolatry, impurity of [Page 11] Manners, and all the Abominablenesses of the Antichristian State; of which Antichrist, the little Horn in Daniel, whose representation Daniel gave, as thinking to change Times and Laws, until the time of the Kingdom of Christ; Now of this very changing Times and Laws, is the Second Chapter of this Epistle a delineation and most prophetically, and at greatest advantage after the mention of Prophecy, it is given.

5. His Third Chapfer most plainly and exprsly refers to Time; for he answers not as some think, the Atheists, but the Antichristians Objection, those great Burlesquers of Christianity into Fables; called therefore Scoffers; who say, That all things from the Flood having continued as they were, there is no such change as of the Kingdom of Christ to be expected; and so all that which concerns the Kingdom of Christ hath passed with them for Millenarian Heresie. The Apostle hath therefore laid down the Rule and Standard of Time, accounting the Six-days of Crea­tion, each as at a Thousand Years; and in the Evening, or as between the two Evenings of the sixth Millenary begins the Sabbatical Milenary, or the Seventh Thousand; which is with the Lord; that is, with relation to the Lord, or the Lord Jesus Christ, in relation to his Kingdom; but as one day, often cal­led the Day of Judgment, and that Sabbath Day; in which Saying of the Apostle, That a Thousand Years is as one Day; there is a manifest foresight of the Di [...]ine Spirit, what it would make known by John, even that number'd, exactly Numbered Time of a Thousand years; which the Apostle Peter affirm'd to be with the Lord, viz. as Time designed, and set out to the Lord as his own Times That one Day.

Now as this view of this Epistle gives us a clear apprehensi­on, how full to the purpose of Prophetical Scripture, this Epistle is written, how it simpathizes, and is contemporate with the whole Scope and Spirit of it; so the Words and Sense of Interpretation is exactly fitted to all, and no other can fit it.

For there were two things, all the Hebrews, both unbelieving, and believers, were fully agreed in.

1. That the Prophecies of Scripture were of Divine Inspiratien; that Prophecy of Scripture came not by the will of man, but was from the Holy Spirit: This the Believing, and Unbelieving Jews were both most zealous of.

[Page 12] 2. That Messiah had a Kingdom assured to him in the Prophe­ [...]ies of Scripture: This even the Unbelieving Jews were all in [...]ighest expectat [...]on of at that very time; and the Be­lieving Jews also were earnestly at that time in expectation of.

To these the Apostle therefore cannot be supposed to direct the force of his Discourse.

But that Jesus Christ was not to be owned as the true Mes­siah, the Son of God, and the King of Israel; notwithstanding his King­dom did not immediately appear; was a Point the Unbelieving Jews are to this day scandalized at, even to their rejection of Christ the True Messiah; and the Christian Hebrews were very tender in. Therefore that Jesus Christ was the True Messiah, and that great Prince, the Apostle gave first the p [...]oof of the Transfiguration, as hath been shewn: And that he with James and John were Eye and Ear-Witnesses; Three Witnesses; in the Mouths of whom it was establish'd, and no Cunningly devised Fable, to shift off the Scandal of the mean Appearance of our Lord, in the days of his Flesh. But, saith the Apostle, We have a more sure word of Prophecy, as hath been opened; to which you do well to take heed.

But the Objection still remains; That the Prophecys run all upon a Glorious Kingdom of Messiah at that time to appear, as the Unbelieving Jews thought; and therefore the Scribes, Pharisees, Chief-Priests, Elders, their whole Sanhedrim determin'd against him with a high hand, that he was a Deceiver. The asserting therefore the Divine Inspiration of Prophecy could not be to the main purpose; but that it is not of Private Interpretation, but that serious Christians may find the sense and meaning of it, and that it is not within the Enclosure or Embarasse of any San­hedrim, Council, or Infallible Breast; This is indeed highly to the purpose; and that according to the Sense and Meaning of the Divine Spirit in it; one part compared with another, by the Assistances of the same Spirit; it would appear, that as Da­niel's Seventy Weeks brought down Time to its fulness, viz. at the Death, Resurrection, and Ascention of Christ, that a dark place, or Interval of delay and patience, for that Kingdom must needs be for a long space, but that yet that all Takers heed to pro­phecy Prophecy leads through the dark place, with the Illuminati­on of that Course of Time, and how long it shall be until the dawning of the day, and the shining of the day Star into the hearts of [Page 13] all his Saints, by the glorious appearance of Christ, and in the fulness of times, or all Times.

Now all this is very evidently to a great and admirable end, purpose and [...]ffect in the Apostle's Discourse in this Context and whole Epistle, viz. to settle the hearts of the Believing Hebrews, and of all Christians in the comfortable Expectations of that Kingdom, in the midst of the greatest Darkness of the worst Times; and it is with the greatest Wisdom of the Divine Spirit of Prophecy, that at this very Advantage the Apostle goes on to set out this Apostacy, at this very Joint of Discourse of the dark place, which that very Apostacy was to create; and at naming of prophecy; and tells them, that there shall be false Prophets among Christians, as there were among the People of Israel of old: (So the Apostle John in the Revelations joins the Antichristian Beast, and False Prophet) in several Particulars opposite to the Apostles Doctrine, concerning Prophecy and Interpretation of Scripture, whe [...]ein they have Antichristianiz'd, as the Pharises at that time had Prevaricated.

1. In that insolent Pretence to Infallibility of Interpretation by a Pope▪ and Council; and their Clergy would engross Interpretation, and the Power of Interpreting Scripture, as their own Propriety, Right and Dominion.

2. In their Locking up Scripture from the people, under this ve­ry Pretence; They cannot interpret, nor have right to interpret it; so they cannot a tend to the sure word of prophecy, as they are commended here for doing.

3. In their peculiar Enmity to the searching the Prophecy of Scripture, and denying even to the most Learned to intermed­dle with it, seeing their own Condemnation in it; contrary to the Apostle's most peculiar Commendation of those, who give heed to Prophecy.

4. In their setting up Tradition, a thing dependent wholly on Human Will above Scripture; whereas the Apostle commends Scripture and its Prophecy, that it came not by the Will of man, but by the Spirit.

5. In their allowing to their own Votaries the Credit and Ho­nour of their pretended Inspirations above the Close attendance to Scripture Prophecy, and its Interpretation; which the Apostle hath here so recommended to every Christian, and without the least signification of Inspiration Given to All; and his plain making former Scripture the Test of All following.

[Page 14] 6. By exalting their Fabulous Legendary Miracles above Scrip­ture, or the Prophecies; notwithstanding even to the Transfigura­tion, The Apostle prefers the sure Word of Prophecy, Although That was no Cunning devised Fable, and of so great an Excellency; by which the Apostle seems prophetically to Glance most severely up­on those Cunningly Devised Fables, that should arise in the Christian Profession.

7. The Apostle, Foretelling those Scoffers in the last days, who should set up the Mock Fifth-Monarchy; so earnestly recommends the Words of the Prophets, and the Commandments of the Apostles of the Lord and Saviour, the Great Messiah, and Jesus; where­by he hath also given a very damning Predictory Admonition of the Grand Antichristian Apostacy.

Now in all these, it may be said to those Antichristians, as it was to the Jews, and their Rulers of old; while they read these Scriptures, and the Prophecys of Scripture in their ownway, they not understanding the Voices of the Prophets, are most justly con­demned in fulfilling them. For thus ought the Antichristian A­postacy to do, though most wickedly they do so, that these Scripture Prophecys may be fulfilled.

All that hath now been spoken being by way of premisal and preparation, I lay down these Propositions;

1. That Scripture Prophecy is given by God, for a Light that must shine in the dark place of the Antichristian Apostacy, till the end of which the Kingdom of Christ is in delay.

2. Christians do well to take heed to it as so shining, and giving the time, when the day of that Kingdom shall dawn, and the day Star of it shine into the hearts of all Saints.

3. Such heed cannot be given, except there be a Right gi­ven to Christians, and a power of interpreting Scripture Prophe­cies.

4. It is a First Principle to Christians, of the Apostle's setting and fixing; that all and every Prophecy of Scripture, and particu­larly of Time relating to the Kingdom of Christ is O­pen and Free, and not a Private Record, or of any way an Enclos'd, Impropriated, [...]or Appropriated Interpretation.

For the more clear and illustrious arguing the Grand Proposi­tion; That all, and every Prophecy of Scripture is not of a pri­vate [Page 15] or secret, but of an open, free, and publick Interpretation; I will first proceed by direct and down right proof and Ar­gument, that of all Scripture, except that which lays down the Truths, precisely, and absolutely necessary to Salvarion: The Prophecy of Scripture is in its Interpretation, most Free, open, and most certain.

I will in the second place give Answers to the great Objecti­ons against this Proposition so prov'd.

I will in the Third Place consider what Standards according to Reason and Scripture-understanding may be given, where­by we may judge whether any one hath given a true Interpretati­on of Scripture Prophecy, viz. whereby the person giving such In­terpretations, may know himself he hath given such true Interpretation, and whereby Any other may judge of it, and find it so.

In the Fourth Place, I will draw out in most publick view, the Evidences I my self have within my self, and have offered to others, that I have given a True Interpretation of Scripture Prophecy.

All this I will do with most particular relation to prophetical numbers of Time.

I will Super-add a Judgment upon the state of Time Inter­medious from hence to the Kingdom of Christ; and shew, that the Kingdom of Christ shall be very sudden, and as Lightning: And this I shall do by way of retractation, and correction of Any thing wherein I have err'd in this matter; and what will be as an An­swer of an Objection, that Glories in the present appearance of Things to Sense, as if no such Kingdom were near.

I will recollect the whole in some very Brief Reflections for the settlement of the Judgment and practice, in relation to Scrip­ture Prophecy, concerning Time.

I begin with the First; The arguing the Proposition, which shall insist upon these Four Heads, or Topicks.

1. I argue from the Infinite Ability of the Divine Spirit, so to give Prophecy, that the Interpretation may be Free and Pub­lick.

2. I argue from the necessity; That whatever is written with sense, and coherence of the things written, and with the Har­mony of Truth, if the parts of such Discourses are dilig [...]tly compar'd, and sagaciously intermedled with by persons separa­ting [Page 16] themselves thereunto, a certain Interpretation must needs fly out to them.

3. I argue from the gracious Assistances and Promises that the Holy Spirit will as the Spirit of Truth lead into all Truth, shew­ing things that are to come; and give the key of knowledge, leading into the Sectets of Prophecy; even wherein our Dulness and Slowness of Heart makes them so, notwithstanding the Provisi­on of the Spirit for their Interpretation.

Argument I. The Divine Spirit hath an Infinite and Infalli­ble Prescience of things that are to come to pass; Known to him are the Works of God from the very Foundation of the World to the end of it, with every particular Accident to the very least Cir­cumstance; and therefore he can foretell all things, as clearly as he pleases; and so that they may be interpreted and under­stood.

He searcheth all things, even the deep things of God, whose Counsels of old are faithfulness and truth; who calleth the End from the Beginning, and can declare it; For he worketh all things af­ter the Counsel of his own Will, which Will he knew from E­ternity within himself.

This Prescience of the Divine Spirit is acknowledg'd by All Christians, except some few who least deserve the Name of Christians, who deny the Actual Determinations of Free, or what we call Fortuitous Agents, to be Scibilia, or Knowable.

I make not therefore here any dispute concerning the High Mystery of the Supreme Pr [...]science; how, or in what manner God foreknew, when the things fore known depend on causes acting so freely, that what they will choose, seems impossible to be known before hand; or so fortuitously, that if it could be foreseen how they would be cast, the Fortuitousness seems de­stroyed: But that God does foreknow, I take for granted, even as it is much the more generally agreed; and in several greatest Instances of each kind, it is most evident and undeniable in Scripture, God hath foretold the Events of each sort; God mag­nifies his own Divinity; and challenges all False Names of De­ity upon this very Point: For thus he says, Declare to us things to come, that we may know you are Gods, Isa. 43. 23. And as he foresees, and fore-knows with infinite clearness and perspicuity; even so he is able, according to the nature of Prophetick Language, which he hath constituted and fram'd, taking the Example from none, but giving it to all.

—to Express all things Prophetically.

He employs the true Laws of speaking Prophetically, and shewing things to come; he knows by his own Wisdom, so to go­vern the speaking of his Servants the Prophets, that prophetical things may be compar'd with prophetical: Prophetical things in the Old-Testament, with prophetical things in the New: Even as he hath ta­ken care in all Spiritual Things in General, as the Apostle shews at large, 1 Cor. c. 2. That they may be so express'd, that Spiritual things may be compar'd with Spiritual; Even so that Prophetical Emblems, Figures, Iconisms, Types, Numbers of Time in the Old and New-Testament may be compar'd and co-ordina­ted one with another; that They as face to face, or as Tally to Tally may answer and agree, the one to the other; and may not be of any such private Interpretation, as not to be search'd into, or understood. He also foresaw there would be, and took care there should be Monuments of clear, undoubted, and Uni­versal History, to correspond with Prophecy, as Testimonies of a mighty and powerful providence, that should ratifie it by e­vent; and that there should be among all Nations in their Hi­storical Records witnesses thereunto.

Nay, beyond this, by the Infiniteness of the Divine Foresight, the Holy Spirit hath chosen out such Words, as should themselves give great Light and Confirmation in the Explanation of Pro­phecy by their own Light; by falling in with the Words, made use of in the time of Events coming to pass. For the Ho­ly Spirit having a certain Foresight of the Words that should be at any time in general use, could point to them many Ages be­fore, for his own service in Prophecy; and being so pointed to, and coming so into use, they make a very considerable Chara­cter to distinguish both Times, and their just place in Prophecy. In the same manner the Holy Spirit foreknew, what celebrated Rule or Number there would be found necessary in any Age for the Adjustment and Mensuration of time to such purposes, as he had to remark upon in his Prophetical Frame; and when he is pleas'd to make any Allusion to it, it is of singular use to the Ex­plication and assurance of Prophetical Time, and whereabout in Time we are, by concerting one with another, viz. One such Note in History, and Event with such its correspondent Note in Prophecy; many particulars in each sort of these shall after be re­marked, and they [...] plainly shew, that Prophecy was not inten­ded, nor design▪d for secrecy, and rese [...]ve from All Interpreta­tion.

Now in all these Particulars I use the Word Foreknew, or Foresaw; to avoid any dispute on the Word Fore-ordered, which else I altogether prefer.

God therefore in scorn to the Dark Oracles of the Devil, as well as to the Black Dens and Caves, out of which he gave them, says thus; Esay 45. 19. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I said not unto the seed of Jacob, seek ye my face in vain, viz. my Counsel and Will in Prophecy, as they that seek to the Idols of the Heathen; For I the Lord speak Righteousness, I declare the things that are Right; Right in Regard of Infinite Under­standing and Fore-knowledg of all Events; I speak Things That are All plain to him that Ʋnderstandeth, and Right to them that find Knowledg.

It cannot be suposed, that the Divine Spirit can have any necessity upon him to speak Darkly, or Ambiguously concerning things to come, if he please to speak at all of them; as un­doubtedly he hath been pleased to speak of them; or that in that Rega [...]d Prophecy of Scripture should be of any reserv'd, or secret Interpretation; For all things, however to come, are so Open and Naked before him, with whom we have to do, that he need not Darken Counsel by words without Knowledg, either, as they do, who know not Themselves, nor Ʋnderstand; and so cannot be­get Knowledg in others; Or that would deceive; For he knows All, so as to speak plainly, clearly, certainly, concerning Them; He understands them fully, the certainty of their coming to pass: He is neither Nescient, nor Doubtful concerning any Thing, or the Manner, or the Time of its comming to pass; and therefore, how long soever he speaks of them before hand, yet he needs not so to speak, as to hide himself in his Prophecy concerning Them, or seek Subter-fuges, or Ambi Dextrous ex­pressions concerning Them any more, nor so much as any Other He, that looks most downright on things present; For as Darkness and Light are all one to the Father of Lights, so Yesterday and to Day are all one to him, who Inhabits Eternity, and who is without any Variation, or Shaddow of Turning.

All these Things are so undoubtedly certain, so Universally Agreed, and Acknowledg'd, that altho they themselves make a High Argument in this point; yet They need no Proof, but Require only to be Magnified, Displayed, and Illustrated.

Argnm. 2. Any Author, or Writer that can Write Sense, and who does indeed Write Sense, and Writes with some [Page 19] Largeness, and Diffusiveness of that his Sense, and does declare He would be Heard, and Read; and would have the Minds that have Wisdom, Exercise themselves upon what is Written; let him wrap up his Mind, and Sense in such Figures, that none but the Wise, and Considering should find out his mean­ing, and let it but be, that he accordingly hath Framed his Discourse; whenever such a Writer gives out, and makes publick such a Writing; he thereby puts it under the Domini­on of every One, that is Wise and Sagacious, and who will allow the Time, and Thought, that is necessary to make such Observation and Compare of the Hints, and Remarks that can­not be Avoided in Rational and Coherent Discourse; however Involv'd in Symbols and Figures; by which the Sense and Meaning may be Understood, and Found out.

But now it is on one side most True, that None, as the Divine Spirit can Write Highest Truth, and of Stupendious Signifi­cancy, and Coherence; and yet Veil, and Hide it so, as that it should be impossible to find it out, but remain perfect Mystery, till the time of Revealing it should come; if he pleased so to have it; But then on the other hand, none, as he can Write in Figures, and under Veils, and yet so mix the Lights, and the Shades, if he please to have it so; that the Minds, that have Wisdom shall find Light Arising, and Springing out in Taking heed to the sure Word of Prophecy: And if They are Inclin'd and stirr'd up, to separate Themselves to Intermiddle with this Wisdom. it cannot be, but they must make great Discoveries; If they faith­fully attend and lay the parts one to another, and it be the will of that Holy Spirit of Prophecy, they should do so.

Now that it is his Pleasure, They should do so, is made known by the very Writing, and Publication of Prophecy, and no Prohibition of Searching it; as also by the obligation, that lies upon all, when he Writes to observe, and u [...]derstand. (This is due in Measure to every Intellig [...]nt, and Worthy Wri­ter, but without Measure to his, the Spirits Writing) It is known to be hi [...] pleasure; Because there is a General Co [...]mand to Search the Scripture; Because All Scripture is given by Inspiration of God, and is Profitable, and there i [...] no Interdict upon Prophecy as to the search, nor Limitation, as to the Profitableness; It i [...] known to be his pleasure concerning Prophecy, because it is said by our Lord with Relation to the Prophecy of Daniel; Let him that read­eth Ʋnderstand; Because the Apostle Peter hath said of the more sure word of Prophecy, yee do well in Taking [...]eed to it; because it is [Page 20] written, as in Golden Letters on the Por [...]al of the Revelation; Blessed is he that Readeth, and they that hear the words of the Pro­phecy of this Book; which must needs imply with Understand­ing; Because it is the Epiphonema, the Burden of every Epistle of it; He that hath an Ear, let him hear.

And if it be thus, then all the Locking up the Mind of the Holy Spirit of Prophecy is, that he may reserve the Secrets of it for the peculiar Friends (I say not of his word in general) but of his Prophetick Word; and that they may whet up the sharpest Exercise of their Powers of Understanding to find the Golden Taches, and Couplings; and one Part of Prophecy may be joyn'd to Another, and the whole peice be under view in all its Frame, and Contexture.

As soon as ever therefore, the Holy Spirit hath once Publish'd, and Expos'd his Prophetic Writings, and thereby, and therein Affix'd them to the Pillars of the Temple; They are by his Grace made the Right of his Servants to search into, and to Under­stand; For they then cease to be the Secret Things that Belong to God; But they being Reveal'd, become those that Belong to us, and to our Children; we enter into that Priviledg of the Israel of God, To us belong the Oracles of God; every servant of God, that hath his Heart stirred up, hath very good Right to search, and his search is no Sacriledg, nor shall be imputed to him, as Curiosity, or presumption; It is his Right to Search, even as among Men, it is no Violation to Inquire into the Sense of any Author, offer­ing himself to the Publick; and there is greater Encourage­ment in Searching the sure Word of Prophecy than in Searching any other Author, or Writing, as is next to be spoken.

Argum. 3. I Argue from the Infinite Grace of the Divine Spi­rit, that as he hath Given to Man a searching Mind after all Knowledg, so he would not give any part of Scripture, as a Torment of wise Inquisitive Persons, but give the Key of Knowledg to Them; and that he will, as the Spirit of Truth so Lead into All Truth, and shew his Servants Things to Come, with such Uprightness, Faithfulness, and Sincerity; that there shall be no more Secresy, or privacy in the Interpretation of Prophecy, than is necessary according to the Laws, He knows Just, and Due; and which he hath himself weigh'd out, as so Just, and Due to Prophetick Oracles; even as in All other parts of Scripture, he hath in Infinite Wisdom, as he weighed out the Mountains in Scales, and the Hills in a Ballance, so proportion'd to every point of [Page 21] Scripture-Truth its Exact measure of clearness of Revelation, and so consequently of Interpretation; the most necessary are the most plain; and yet there are Truths of the Grace of God freely Justifying, and Accepting sinners in Christ, that call for the most Quicken'd, and Awaken'd Faculties, for the Interpre­tation of them; as also concerning the inward Operations of the Grace of God in the Hearts of Men; and yet in all These, and such as These, The Holy Spirit hath Wisely, and Holyly Given out his Oracles in a most Righteous Scale, between the Excel­lency of the Truth he Reveals, and the Exercise he knows ne­cessary to the Mind of Man in Searching out the Interpretation; and so hath made the Manifestation more Lightsome, or Requir­ing Closer Attendance; And thus in Prophecy according to the Vehemency of Search and Enquiry he hath thought fit, he hath Dispensed. This doth not make it yet Private Interpretation; because there are such Lines of Communication between part, and part, Emblem and Emblem, number of Time, and number of Time; between words in Prophecy, and words used in the Time of Prophecy Fullfill'd; between Rules of Time in Prophecy and cele­brated Rules of Time among Men in Prophecy Fulfill'd; between Prophecy, and Ʋniversal History, that all may be made Plain.

But beyond All this, Interpretation of Prophecy is not Private, because The Spirit of Prophecy, who Knowes it, because he gave it; Even that Blessed Publick Spirit of Wisdom, Truth, Scripture, is pre­sent to Assist his Servants, Searching into Prophecy; Leading them into the Treasures of it: Springing Thoughts into them all of the Sudden; Bringing Things to their Remembrance, that else would not have come the [...]e; and so Enabling them to Match, and Enterweave All those Foremention'd Indentings one with another; and thereby raising in them Assurances, equal to De­monstration.

He also foresaw, what Humble Enquirers into these Things he would stir up and Assist in every Time, and what measures of Assistance he would Allow them; And yet, this does not make Interpretation Private to such persons apart, because such Accesses to All the Means of Interpretation, and to those Assist­ances of the Spirit are free and open to one, as well as another; and what is given in Interpretation to any one▪ ought to be freely Communicated, and in the Reasons and Grounds of it, It lies open to All: And they who are thu [...] Assisted, are not Assisted for Themselves only, but as Lights set on an hill, that they may not be Hid.

Now this Assistance of that Blessed Spirit, as a Spirit Graci­ously present to the Searchers into Prophecy, is an Encouragement beyond what any Author in the World can give to them, who search into their Writings; For who as he, can be so always present to the Minds, and Understandings of Those, who Read, and Meditate upon them? Who, as he can Recompense the Love Reverence and Diligence of those, who wait upon Him? Who can, as he Prompt to Them, summon to their Memory; keep them in Doubt, and so urge them to further Enquiries, refresh their Researches, and so make Things fur­ther known to Them? so settle, confirm, and assure Them, that they may know the Certainty of the Words of Truth?

This is an undeniable Priviledg, and Ground of Hope to All, who set Themselves by Prayer, Desire and Humble En­deavours to Search, and so seek out the Misteries of Wisdom to be found out in the Book of Prophecy; why then should it be Thought a Hopeless Undertaking, or an Incredible Thing that any one should be so Assisted, that doth Humbly Profess, he hath so waited upon God in his Word? Or that That Key of Prophetical Knowledg should be vouchsafed to such a one, when so gracious Assistances are Promised from and by the Divine Spirit, the Publick Spirit of Prophecy, and its Interpretation?

Now All this I have Discoursed in General, I would parti­cularly Argue concerning Prophetick Time, and by an Argument most peculiar to it:

For not only in general, If All and Every Prophecy be Consti­tuted of a not private Interpretation, then not Prophecies by Num­bers defining Time to the Kingdom of Christ; For as hath been said, if All Scripture, as the Apostle Paul says, be of Divine Inspi­ration, Then Prophecy; So if All Prophecy be not of Private Interpreta­tion, then not that very particular Part of Prophecy, which Defines Time; And as Prophecy is so excellent a part of Scripture, so the Numbers Defining Time are an excellent part of Prophecy, and therefore cannot be of private Interpretation, if Prophecy be not so; For every General includes all, especially chiefest Particulars.

But I shall further Argue with a Peculiar Respect to the Pro­phetick Numbers of Time, that they of any cannot be of Private Interpretation; For Number, Weight and Measure are Things of so great Exactness, that the whole Communication of the World Depends upon them; and Scripture puts upon them great Honour also, requiring above all, that they be Exact; [Page 23] as the Rules of all Enter-Course; Now therefore when Scripture takes Number and Measures of Time into it self; if these are not well understood, how can they be such Standards of En­ter-course? Seeing then Prophecy hath so many Numbers 2300 Eves, Morns; Time, Times, Half a Time; 12 [...]0 Days; 1335 Days in Daniel; 1260 Days with Time, Times, Half a Time, Three Days and an Half; and 42 Months 2 Times mentioned in the Revel. if these Numbers, that so evidently speak a Fitness for Calculation of Time with greatest Exactness; If these by a due Search and Compare one with another cannot be understood; what spaces of Time they D [...]fine, when they begin, and when they End; They of all the Points of Prophecy, tho they carry the Face, and Appearance of Greatest Significancy, yet would be indeed of all the most Insignificant. Now seeing an Insignificancy in the Highest Points of Signification can by no means be imputed to the Wise, and Holy Spirit of Prophecy; I conclude, that even these Prophetick Numbers in a peculiar, and Eminent Manner, may be understood, both what space of Time they Emensurate, or Line out to us, and also when they Begin, and when they End; and so I have finished the First Head of Discourse I pro­posed.

I come now therefore to the Second Head proposed, to give Answers to the great Objections, that are Levyed against this Proposition, viz. That All, and every Prophecy of Scripture is not of Private, or Reserv'd, but Publick, Free and open Interpretati­on.

Object. 1 If Prophecy of Scripture be of so Free, Publick and Unreserv'd Interpretation, how comes it to pass, that so few have so much, as Attempted the Books of Prophecy, that Fore-tell Great Events, and the Times of Them? Yea, that Most judg it so Unpresumable an Undertaking, as to Reject all Interpreta­tions of Daniel, and the Revelation, that Debate Things through­ly to their utmost point and issue; and that search what, or what manner of Time is signified by the Spirit in them; or is more, than by way of ordinary Comment; as if they were the Performances of only Fanatical, and Imaginative Men; and upon the Evidence but of such an Endeavour, condemn them immediately as such.

Ans. Let God be True, and every Man a Lyar; Now God hath said Every Prophecy of Scripture is so Descended, that it is not of Private Interpretation; that they do well, who attend to the Light of it, shining as in a Dark place, and so Enlightning it; if then it were Dark it self, how should it enlighten a Dark Place; for it would be Dark to Dark, which increases Darkness still; what­soever enlightens, must be it self Light. This main Truth ought therefore at all times to remain Stable, and Firm.

The immediate Cause therefore of this so general prejudice against search into Prophecy, however Coloured over with Mo­desty and Reverence of Divine Mysteries, and secrets, into which Men pretend they would not Pry, are these.

1. There is so great a Darkness upon the present state, that though the Light Shines in it, yet it, as Darkness, comprehends not the Light of Prophecy shining upon it.

2. Hence, as Men in the Dark, they are Afraid of every ap­pearance of Difficulty; They say concerning All Interpretation of Prophecy, There is a Lyon in the way. It is as the Sons of Anak to them, that cannot be Encounter'd, and as the Walls that cannot be Scaled; so difficult and unintelligible is Prophecy, that it cannot be Interpreted; It is as a Sealed Book, the Learned cannot Read, because Sealed; nor the unlearned, because not Learned:

3. How many are they, who are afraid of the very Light it self? what Prophecy Reveals, is so contrary to the State they are in, that they are, as the Expression is in Job, upon all appear­ance of such Light, as it were in the Terrors of the shaddow of Death; The Aspect of Prophecy upon both the Civil and Ecclesiastick State of the present World is most Terrible, especially, when it comes to the Determination of Time, as near: Thus the Lord makes Foolish the Wisdom of the Wise, &c. Esay 28. that they cannot endure it, and so hate the Light, and will not come to it, least their State should be Reproved and Shaken; and are An­gry, that such a Light should be flashed in their Faces.

But these are only the next, or second Causes, there is a high­er judiciary Cause, that sways Righteously, and Holily; and yet so, as Permitting, and leaving Men to themselves; even this; That Because men do not like to attend to the sure Word of Prophe­cy, God gives them up to this Culpable Cause, and Reason, of all the Injudiciousnesses concerning the meaning of Prophecy▪ and [...] Prepossessions against the Interpretation of it, as if it were pri­vate, and Reserv'd; and thus that his Wise, and Just purpose [Page 25] purpose should be fulfilled; that the dark place should be a dark place still, while the Apostacy should, according to the Oath of Christ for Time, Times and half Time continue; and till the Day dawn, and the Day-Star arise in mens hearts; and yet no Encouragement, or Boldness ministred, to it, that it might continue so Dark without Great Sin. And indeed, though the faulty Cause of all this be the not Receiving the Truth in the Love of it; (on which God gives up the [...]postacy to strong Delusions, and to believe a Lye;) and because of the Few, and Small Things he hath against his Suffering Churches of Pergamus and Thyatyra; and the Sardian State of the Reformation, that hath a Name to Live, and yet is dead; Upon all these Ac­counts Prophecy is so little understood; saving the Glimmerings of Light given by a very Few, and those very Little Accepta­ble Interpreters, that do inlighten, and shew by a Little, how this dark place would be inlightned by taking heed to the Sure Word of Prophecy. But I am about to say, if Prophecy were as Fully and Truly Interpreted, as the Publickness of its Constitution for Interpretation, would give Leave to; it would especially now so near the End, fo [...] inl [...]g [...]ten the dark place, that there would be no Room found for the Darkness of the Apostacy, but it would fly away like Shades of the Night at the Morning Appearance. But as the Apostle says, God hath concluded All under Sin, so under the Apo­stacy, either in Full, as in the Antichristian World; or in Part, as in the Reformation-Part, that in his own Time he might have mer­cy upon All. Oh the Heighth and Depth of the Riches of both the Wisdom and Knowledge of Go [...]! How unsearchable are his paths, and hù ways past finding out! For of him and by him are all things, to him be glory for ever.

2. The Disagreement among the Interpreters of Prophecy, and more particularly, the Great Mistakes they have fallen into in [...]oint of Time, seems a more formidable Objection against the Freeness and Publickness of the Interpretation of Prophecy; and most as to Time; For when Wise, Learned, Sagacious, and ve­ry Diligent, Zealous, and Holy Persons have set themselves to inquire, and find out the Mind of the Spirit, and have not found it, but have disagreed among themselves; and so some must be in mistakes; For they cannot differ, and all be in the Right; This is much more against the Interpretation of Prophecy, being not priv [...]te, than if none had attempted: For were it not under Reserve, why have they not been more successful in find­ing, that have so tryed, and put themselves forth to the utmost therein.

Answ. 1 We ought to be very wary to urge either Mistakes or Differences of Interpreters, in interpreting Prophecy of Scripture, left we shut our selves out of all Interpretation of Scripture in Ge­neral; yea, even out of Great Points of Faith, and Trnth of the Gospel; Because in all these there are Great Differences of Explication; and therefore Mistakes on some side: Should we therefore Reason, These are so Dark and Reserv'd as not to be medled with? This would be an high Dishonour to our Chr [...]sti­an Profession; Let us much rather make our Attendances to Rea­ding and Meditation, more Inward, Constant, S [...]rious, Deep, Humble, with more earnest Supplications for Divine Assistance, and Free Communications of his Sp [...]rit, the Author of all Knowledg in the Truths making wise to Salvation, and so in Interpretation of Prophecy.

Answ. 2 Whensoever Any have fallen short, or are mistaken in the Interpretation of Prophecy, we must conclude there was a want of Due Attendance; and God Left even Good Men and his Servants so to themselves, that they have miss'd in what they have seem'd to themselves, or even to others, to have attain'd. But in the mean time nothing is to be charg'd upon Prophecy of Scrip­ture, or the Nature and Constitution of it as to Interpretation; as if it were dark and incertain, and we could ne're be sure whether we had it aright or not, so contrary to the Apostles Doctrine concerning it; For as no Weakness or Indisposition of the Eye, or Disadvantage in Avenues▪ or Entrances of Light, are to be charg'd on the Light it self; so none of the Hallucinations, or o­ver▪sights, or Stumbles of the Interpreters of Prophecy, are to be imputed so much to the Difficulty of Interpretation of it, as in it self; but to our Dullnefs of sight, or hearing, what the Spirit hath therein said to the Churches. Nor is any one therefore to be dis­couraged, but only cantioned, not to be high minded, but to fear; Even as the many Miscarriages in persons seeking Eternal Happi­ness, should not deter us from walking in the way of Life, but ob­lige us to do it with an holy fear and trembling, lest we should so much as seem to fall short.

Object. 3 It will be said, It is true, Nothing is to be laid to the charge of Prophecy it self, or to the Constitution of it for such Inter­pretation, as God intended for it. But it may hence be collected, God intended Prophecies should be kept secret, until either they shall be opened in such a glorious state of the Church, as is signified [Page 27] by the Kingdom of Christ, or till each Prophecy shall be fullfilled; or, at least, till as near the Time of fullfilling, as it was when Daniel by Beoks understood concerning the End of the Seventy Years Cap­tivity.

Answ. 1 Nothing of what is mentioned in this Objection will satisfy what the Apostle Peter hath here affirmed; For that Prophecy should be a Light shining in a dark place, can by no means be ac­commodated to the state of the Kingdom of Christ: That could ne'r be styl'd by the Apostle a dark place; although it is most True, Prophecy shall lye open, as a Volume, most clearly and fully un­derstood, in the Hall (as I may say) of that Palace of the King­dom; but not as in a dark place, but as Light uniting with Light, unto perfect Brightness; Then it is the Day shall dawn, and the Day-star shine in the very Hearts of all the Servants of Christ, and the Light of one Day be as the Light of seven.

Nor can the Apostles sense be made good by Prophecy being un­derstood, when fullfilled: For indeed the Disputes are as Great concerning the Time, at which Prophecies, that undoubtedly have been long ago fullfilled, were fullfilled as concerning Prophecies yet to be fullfilled. And though it may well be allowed, that there have been some Bruits and Noises of the Things foretold by Pro­phecy, that they were coming to pass at the time they did come to pass; yet there are Two Things evidently intended by the Apostle as the Great Scope and End of his Discourse, much to be consider­ed by all that would find the Purpose of the Holy Spirit by him.

1. That there is one Glorious Day, and Day-Star to break out and shine in the World; which is the Great Point at which Prophecy aims, and into which it shall uni [...]e, as a Lesser Light with a Great­er, and more Glorious: which is indeed the Kingdom of Christ, and to which the Apostle had respect, as is to be shewn througho [...]t this Epistle. This is that Time of the Restitution of All Things, of which all the Prophets have spoken, since the World began; as that same Apostle Peter spoke▪ Acts 3. 21. This is the Mpstery to be fulfilled, as he hath spoken, or Evangelized, as Happiest Tydings, by All his Strvants the Prophets: Rev. 10. 7 Prophecy is therefore a Light shining till then, and guiding to the Time when i [...] is to begin, and then falls in One with it, as the sorenam'd Sc [...]iptures shew.

[Page 28] 2. There is a very particular dark place, that Prophecy shines as a Light in, tfll then; and it is indeed the whole Time from the Delay of the Kingdom of Christ at his Resurrestion and [...]scension, till it dawns and rises as a Day-star; but it is yet more particularly the Time and State of the Apostacy, which is as a Smoak darkning the Air, even the whole State of Christianity in the very Heavens of it. Prophecy shines therefore as a Light in a dark place, giving Assurance of, and shewing the Time of that Day; and Day-Star dawning upon the World; till it shall Illuminate into the very Heart, with its mighty Influences and Beams of Glory.

Object. 4 It is to be further urg'd, If the Time of this Kingdom and Glory be not generally known, and agreed upon, it can do but little Service for the Inlightning the dark place of the Apostacy; and that we do not find it hath been; and if Prophecy be not in its own Constitution of private Interpretation, yet if it hath Eventually proved so, how is the Light of it seen?

Answ. 1 It is very agreeable to the Wisdom and Glory of God, that the Fountains of Truth should be running, and the Lights of it shining, though the Streams and Rays are not recei­ved, nor have their kindly Effect; as the Evangelist John says, The Light shineth in darkness, though the darkness comprehend it not. God l [...]ft not himself without Witness among the Heathen, though we know of Few who received the Testimony, Acts 14. 17. How many have the Gospel-Light w [...]thout its proper saving Effect!

Answ. 2 There hath been a s [...]range Collineation, or Level­ling, and Aiming of the Servants of God upon the Years of this Last Part of this Seventeenth Century, for the Glory of Christ's Kingdom; and besides some Later, a Prophecy found in the Study of Justus Lipsius transcrib'd into the Preface of Dr. Mayer, to the Volume of his Interpretation on the Prophets Great and Small, is perpendicular on the Year Ninety Eight, in such a Language as speaks Effects begun, and in their Course as at Ninety Seven, as shall Appear in a short Appendix to this Treatise.

Bu [...] to All that hath been said, it may be added, in sati [...]faction of the Principal Obj [...]ction; that supposes [...]ro [...]hecy hath not been understood t [...]ll fullfill [...]d. It is very plain, we cannot give a cer­tain Account what Light God may have given his Servants into P [...]ophecy in any Times. He gave Noah the Ex [...]ct Time of an H [...]ndred and Twenty Years before the Fl [...]od; to Abraham Four [Page 29] Hundred years from the Time of that Oracle to his seed Return­ing from the Egyptian Nation, after God had Judg'd them; Till which time They were under that oppression; According to which Moses very Probably thought, His brethren would have understood, God would deliver his people by his hand; Because it grew so near the time, and Moses was a person so signalized by God in his miraculous preservation, and his having the offer of be­ing called the Son of Pharoahs daughter, and yet Refusing that Glit­tering Honour, as mark'd out by God for much Higher, viz. In the deliverance of his People, with whom he Chose to suffer Affliction rather then to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Of all which I have no doubt, He had the notices from the four hundred years, He knew were Given to Abraham; The Children of Issachar were men, that had Knowledge, and understanding of Times, and Knew what Israel ought to Do; 1 Chron. 12. 32. And undoubtedly some Oracular In­structions they had Joyn'd with Jacobs Prophecy, by which they knew, Judahs being a Royal Tribe, and that the Lyon of the Tribe was the Emblem of it, even till Christ, the Lyon indeed of it; and they Collected Davids Royalty should then begin; Daniel understood by Books, not onely the Book of the Prophet Jeremy; But (as we may very Reasonably suppose) by the Books of other Servants of God, that Kept, or Searched Records of Times, according to Jeremies Prophecy; I doubt not, Simeon Waited for the Consolation of Israel according to Daniels Se­venty Weeks. What Light God gave to his servants in the First times of Christianity, we have not such certain accounts as might be desired: But as it is reported to us by Ecclesiastick Histo­ry, It was foretold of Julian, he was Nubecula cito Transitura, a Cloud tbat would soon vanish. But this I am sure was according to Prophecy, that Sathan being cast down by the change of the Pagan Empire into the Christian Empire, After Constantine there could be in the Roman Empire no place found for him any more, of continu­ance in its Heaven (though some short Attempts there might be, as of Julian, Eugenius, Argobastes, Maximus) in his Pagan Su­premacy; altho under the Name of Christ, as it were in his Right, and as the Vicar of the Fifth Monarchy [...]f him the Manly Birth on the Th [...]one, Satan crept in as an underminer, and in the Anti-Christian Supremacy He hath a Throne as on Earth; whether therefore the Speaker had his Ground it self in Pro­ph [...]cy, The thing it self had; and it could not be otherwise, but that the Empire of an Apostate to Paganism must be very Short, ev [...]n as of a Prince relapsing to Popery in these Nations.

It was the business of Anti-Christianism to suppress the Inter­pretation of Prophecy; that had so dreadful an Aspect upon it self, as much as it could; yet the common Fame and Bruit of Anti-Christs coming was spread far and near, when the Christian Empire, which was the Let, according to Thes. 2. c. 2. was taken out of the way; the joynt being so Natural between the Christian Ceasing, and the Anti-Christian Beginning to supplant, having so much of the Name Christian.

The Voicing the Papacy to be that Antichrist lifting up him­self above what ever was called Sebast or August; as he did about that Time; was heard all along from the time of Petrus Waldo, till the Reformation; and since the Reformation how many Emi­nent Servants of Christ have Labour'd with success in the Inter­pretation of Prophecy, notwithstanding some particular mistakes; with whom I humbly joyn my self a Fellow Labourer, and one that hath taken part of their Labour; and now the Fields are white unto the Harvest, when many others shall enter into our Labours; according to that saying, One soweth, and another Reapeth; and yet he that Reapeth, shall yet receive wages unto Life Eternal; so that they who have sown, and they that reap, may Rejoyce together.

And indeed, the Time is now so near, that whatever In­fluence, That nearness may be hop'd to have upon Interpretation of Prophecy according to Truth, I may humbly hope for; For tho the Time of Daniels public Interpretation upon the Seventy Years, was nearer to their End; yet the Time of his understand­ing was undoubtedly earlyer; The Time of his Prophecy was designed to be close upon the very end of the Seventy Years, and that so sollemn Prayer; for else it is Evident, The Time of his praying was every Day, towards the Desolations of Jerusalem, with his Windows open'd Three Times, with foresight of the very time.

Seeing then the very Time of Ninety Seven, I have now for some years pitch'd upon, as the very Time, when the Desolati­ons of the Sanctuary shall be Accomplished, and the Kingdom of Christ be in Succession; of which I find dayly new Confirmations, and Assurances, as the Time Approacheth; Therefore I hope I shall be Enabled, and many Servants of God with me, to set our selves dayly by Supplication, and Prayer, and so much the more, as we see the Day approaching.

Obj. 1 It may be said, what is the Good, or Advantage of Knowing the Secrets of Prophecy. or the Times more especially Defined by it; have we not such plain Doctrines and Rules of [Page 31] Scripture, that are every way sufficient to take up our Time, and Thoughts, that are more sure, and certain in their ten­dency to God, and have less of Scruple and Dispute in their Sense, and Importance?

Ans. 1 Whatsoever is vouchsafed to us by God, as a Mani­festation of, and Revelation from himself to us in his Word; not to regard, receive, and improve it, is in the Scripture Phrase, a wearying of God, Isa. 7. Ahaz made a fair and plausible Pretence of Trusting God without a Sign, when God so Gra­tiously offered it to him; he said, He would not Tempt God, and yet this his Refusal was called a wearying of God; God under­standing much better what is necessary for us, and to our ad­vantage, than we do our selves; and if he hath given us a Rule of Times, it will be found to be our great Sin, and Neglect, if we do not search, and enquire, every one in our places, What of the Night, and also how near the Morning is Comming. Esay. 21. 11.

Ans. 2 Let us ask what Good it was to Noah, that God told him, The Old World should have only the Reprieve of an hun­dred and Twenty years before the Flood? What Good was it to Abraham, when God told him, It should be Four Hundred years, ere his Seed should be brought back? What Good was it to the Church of the Jews to be assured, the Babylonish captivity should be but Seventy VVeeks; and that there should be but Seven­ty weeks of years from the full Restoring Jerusalem, to the com­ming of Messiah? Such as was the Good of these Manifestations to the Servants of God; such is the good, that arises from the Knowledg of Time, Times, and Half Time, the 1260, 1290, and 1335 days of years, given as the measure of the Antichri­stian Times; as the Measure of the Preparation for the Kingdom of Christ, till the Glory of it; such is the Knowledg of the 2300 Eves, Morns from the Babylonish Captivity ending, to the Justifica­tion of the Sanctuary in the New Jerusalem, according to the Vision of Ezekiels Temple: And Lastly, such is the Good of the Knowledg of the 1000 years Glory of Christs Kingdom manifest­ed to us; and then of the Kingdom Delivered up to God and the Father, the Last end, and Consummation of All.

I have thus far argued the Grand Assertion, that All, and e­very Prophecy of Scripture is not of private Interpretation, and there­fore not prophetick Numbers of Time, but that there are Standards [Page 32] of Interpretation inlaid into Prophecy it self; and such Assistances from that publick Spirit vouchsafed to All that wait for them; that it is justly to be stiled not private but publick Interpretation; I have also counter-argued all the Objections I could discover; I come now to the Third Head.

Head 3d. The Third Head shall be to consider, What Stan­dards, according to Scripture-Reason, and the Ballance of the San­ctuary, there are, by which the Interpretation of prophecy may be judg'd to be a True Interpretation, when it is offered us by any one that hath made it; or whereby the person that hath himself made it, may know it to be Just, and according to the Sense of the Holy Spirit of prophecy, and his Conduct into that Sense.

The Standards of Tryal for the True Interpretation of prophecy, I would lay down, are These:

1. When the Types and Symbols of prophecy in the Old and New Testament, are taken, All, as under One intire View and Con­sideration, and so Analogized, and shewn in their Agreement one with another, as to make up a Full and perfect Portraicture and Table, each Part appearing in its proper Symetry and Pro­portion, in its own Scituation, in its Lively [...], the Beau­ty, and Lively Air of prophecy. This is like a philosophick System of the Creation, solving All Phenomena. But if we take some sin­gle Parts only, though there may be handsome and fine plausi­ble and probable Descants upon them, as they stand by them­selves, and if they alone were to be answered for; Yet when they come to be examined by the rest of prophecy, and it be consi­dered, how one part answers another, in the whole Frame of prophecy, and one single part under such or such a Descant; Those Descants will be discovered to be only worthy of Rejection This therefore I have endeavoured, and most closely and diligently attended to in the Scheme of prophecy I have given, viz. to make a Just and Full Agreement and Correspondency between All parts of it, and a Conciliated Harmony in the whole Frame of pro­phecy.

2. In the point of prophetick Numbers the Standard is,

1. That All the Prophetick Numbers are made to meet also in One full and intire Consideration and Computation of them one with another, and not any of them single, and by them­selves [Page 33] only. And that they be so both distinguished, and yet so joyned, and so concerted, that they stand fair one with ano­ther: Else the application of them will be precarious, incer­tain and contingent only.

2. That when they are thus both Distinguished and Har­monized; they can be applied and ascertained by that Appli­cation to such Events, as are witnessed to, and acknowledged by the most known, agreed and general Records of Histo­ry and Chronology; providentially prepared by God to Gibeonite, as it were, to Sacred Prophecy; to give both Testimony to the Truth of Prophecy, as also to be Helps to the Interpreta­tion of it; if Interpreters take care to compare one with the o­ther, or would be perswaded to do so. Furthermore, these being so s [...]ttled by Compare, and so Testified, enable the In­terpreter himself, and those to whom his Interpretation is offer­ed, to Judge whether the Interpretation be True, and whether it be Just and Right: Whereas, if either there be no Concord of Supporting History; or that if it be not as a City on an Hill, History universally Known, and agreed; the Interpretation will be but Dark and Lubricous, and the standing upon it not firm and stable.

3. When the Prophetical Numbers being by Fair and Just Commissures, Joyn'd to, and United with the Plain Histori­cal first Part of the Scripture-Line of Time, Run on together in a strait, even, progressive Motion, from the Creation and first Sabbatism, so as to Run upon a Last Issue and Event; Great enough to be that Last, and to constitute a Fullness of Times, or of All Times; the New Creation and its Sabbatism, the Apocata­stasis, or Restitution of All Things to the First State, and much above it; the Anacephalaiosis, or Bringing All under Christ, as the Head: And all This, as I said, in a Strait, Even, Pro­gressive Motion, Taking in at their Just and Proper Seasons All other Great and Cardinal Events, Embossing the Line of Time; and principally that Great and Soveraign One, the Co­ming, Dying, Rising and Ascension of our Lord Jesus into Hea­ven, styl'd by the Apostle, the Fullness of Time; the greatest Honour of Time, except the Forenamed Fullness of All Times. These Two, The Fullness of Time; and the Fullness of Times, or of All Times, stand thus Distinguished, Gal. 4. 4. and Eph. 1. 10. and Fix all Time.

Now This Constant, Even Progression of Time, keeps All Interpretation at a Gauge, and at a Certainty, from a Fugitive, [Page 34] or Arbitrarious wandring hither and thither; and is the greatest security for the Truth of it; both to the Interpreter himself, and to All that would put his Interpretation to the Test, that can be; For thus Nothing can be taken in, nor thrust out at pleasure; nor can there be Any Other Events shuffled in, but what are found in that very Just and Natural Order of Time, according to all History. Thus Interpretation comes to the same Certainty as the Progresses of Time it self; from Day to Day, Month to Month, Year to Year, and Century to Century; or as the parts of the Body in their True Situation one to another. Whereas any other way of Inter­pretation hath its Starts and Leaps, its Subterfuges and Evasions, without Certainty or Fixedness.

3. Another Standard of Interpretation of Prophecy, is, when there are found in the Interpretation, some surprizing Tran­scendenc [...]es in the Contrivances and, as one may humbly say, Artifices which the Spirit of Prophecy hath inlaid the Propheti­cal Frame with, and engraven upon it, as upon the Stone that hath seven Eyes, throughout Perspicuous, as well as Perspi­cacious. And these falling in with the more Essential, and Substantial Parts of Prophecy, and the Events Answering in not only those Substantials, but those Extraordinaries, as it were, Peices of Art, in the Frame of Prophecy; They must needs give sometimes even Ravishing Transports of Satisfacti­on, and Assurance; That one hath the True Key of Interpretation of Prophecy, by the Becomingness of the Work to the Great Artist, when Materiam fuperat Opus; The Curiousness of the Work excells the very Materials wrought upon.

Even as besides the main Pillars and Rafters of the Creati­on, and the more Bulky Parts of the Animal Creatures; such Exquisite Curiosities are found herein; They, as much as is possible, give Scientific Proofs of the Supreme and Divine Workman: and when any one hath found them, he cannot but break out into a Kind of Ecstatical [...]; or, as Galen, I have Found. into an Hymn to the Creator, upon beholding the Admirable­nesses of his Divine Hand, in the Animal Contextures; For both in the Works of God, and in his Prophetick Word, such Won­ders plainly discovered give greatest pleasure, both in re­gard of the Beauties of the Hand of God, and in regard of the Joy, that we have receiv'd the Key of Natural, or Prophetick Knowledge.

For these are Great Things, we looked not for, and meet­ing with them unexpectedly, we become more than Assured, even Triumphantly Assured; For thus it becomes him, whose Ʋnderstanding is Infinite, both in Creation, and Prophecy, to abound to us beyond All we could Ask or Think; and though our Assu­rance might be solid without these, yet it would not be vivid, and so high.

4. A Fourth Standard of True Interpretation of Prophecy, is, When there is Found in All Parts of the Interpretation of Pro­phecy, a perfect Agreement between Prophecy Interpreted, and the Grand Principles of Scripture, which the Apostle calls Prophe­cying according to the Analogy of Faith: When Prophecy is so Inter­preted concerning the Kingdom of Christ, that it be not Repre­sented as a Carnal, Sensual Kingdom, but like it self, Holy and Spiritual; That it Agree with the Apostles, and our Lord's Doctrine, concerning the Resurrection, both as to the Saints dead and sleeping in and by Jesus Incorruptibly Raised, and the Living Remaining Saints Changed, and as to the wicked Rising to Condemnation, to Shame and Contempt; that Prophecy is not made to call the Proud happy, or to make sad the Souls, whom God would not have made sad; that Darkness is not put for Light, nor Light for Darkness; That those Black Names in Scripture-Prophecy, as Beast, False Prophet, Whore, Horns Giving their Power to the Beast, be applied to such Persons, and Things, as the Constant and most Avowed Doctrine of Scripture makes worthy to be so Character'd; however call'd by Great and Glorious Names in this Dark place of the Apostasy. And on the other side, that Persons and Things be Cloathed with the Honourable Names, Prophecy hath put upon them; as the Woman Cloathed with the Sun, Witnesses, Martyrs of Jesus, to whom the same Constant and Allowed Doctrine of Scripture will Allow them; al­though in this Thick and Gross Atmosphere they are Bandeni­toe'd with other Names, as Hereticks, Schismaticks, Factious, or Fanaticks.

5. The Crowning, and Topping, and most Assuring Stand­ard for the Interpretation of Prophecy is, when a Thread and Line is Laid from some Plain, and Litteral Interpretation of Pro­phecy by the Holy Spirit of Prophecy it self in one Place, to such Litteral Interpretation in another place; till we come at last to that Issuing Point of All Prophecy, The Glory of the Kingdom of Christ: [Page 36] We have the Beginning of the Four Monarchies in Nebuchadnez­zars Image by very Litteral Interpretation, settled in Nebuchadnez­zar himself; For Daniel said to him, Thou art this Head of Gold, Dan. 2. The Persian and Grecian Monarchies are in the same manner by Littteral Interpretation of Prophecy, assured, Dan. 8. In the same manner the Epoch of the Revelation is Assured by the Apostles being in the Spirit on the Lords Day of the Resurrection, Rev. 1. c. 5. By the Mention of the Lamb Newly Slain. The Fourth Monarchy is Assured to be Current in the Time of the New Testament by Augustus Caesar Censing all the World, Luke 2. By the Litteral Interpretation of the Great Whore to be the City Reigning then, or that at that present was Holding the Kingdom over the Kings of the Earth, which could be no other than Rome; For no other had then the Kingdom: besides the Seven Mountains, on which she Sate, is Litteral; The Seven Successions of Go­vernment are given Litterally; And that under the Beast, is Affirm'd to be the Seventh Succession, as Head, and the Eighth as King; The Sixth Succession is Litterally Affirm'd to be then in Being, or now is: that the Seventh King, being the Christian Em­perours, was no Head; It is Litterally Assur'd, the Eighth King, but Seventh Head, call'd The Beast, goes into Perdition, and the Kingdom of Christ immediately Succeeds; Now all these do so lead us in the True Line, and Course of Time, that we can­not be surer of the Course of the Seasons, and Months, that run along, and fall out between Season, and Season; then we are of the Things, which in Event or Matter of Fact, and Histo­ry run along all this Time, from the Resurrection of our Lord, and Answer the Symbols, and Images of Prophecy; Here­by then the Seals, the Trumpets, with the grand Events Com­priz'd under Them are made most certain to Run along the Time of the Roman Empire from the Appearance of Christ in the Flesh, at the Fullness of Time, to his Appearance in the Fullness of Times, or of All Time at the Kingdom of Christ.

Now if any one should say, These Standards of Interpretation of Prophecy of Scripture are not sufficient to secure Interpretation according to them, to be also according to the Mind, and Sense of the Holy Spirit of Prophecy; I should be Bold to say, he either Contradicts, what the Apostle hath said, That Prophecy of Scripture is not of private Interpretation; or he must suppose the Sense of the Apostle in these very words, All, Every Prophecy of Scripture is not of [Page 37] private Interpretation, are, as, or more Dark, and more Hard to be Understood, than the Darkest Prophecy of Scripture it self; and Further, That things may be made by Art▪ or by Chance to fall into an Exact Harmony with the Word of Prophecy; or that even a Serious, well grounded Research of Scripture, accord­ing to all the Commands, and Encouragements of the Word of God, and a keeping close to all the Rules of Scripture, and Reason in such a Search, may be all to no End, or purpose; we are never the Nearer to the Truth and Mind of the Holy Spirit of Prophecy, than if we had never search'd at all; which how Opprobrious and how near to Blasphemy against the Ho­ly Spirit, It is so to say, I leave to every serious Considerer to Judg.

Now as to what I have my self done, I cannot without Tran­scribing a Considerable Part, of what I have already Written, and made Publick, shew; How close I have kept to these Rules, and Standards, given by my self for Interpretation of Prophecy; Nor will I presume to say any thing in the gross concerning it; I will only first make my Humble Petition to any Person, able to Weigh, and to Consider, and to Compare one part of Things with another; that if I have been wanting in any one, he would please by Free Entercourses to Remonstrate it to me, and to allow Liberty of Debate upon it, that so a due Care may be Taken to Vindicate, Enlarge, Strengthen, or if necessity should so Require, to Retract or Reform.

I will therefore here subjoyn but some of the grounds I have rested upon in the Interpretation of Prophecy according to a few Notes on these Standards, as the Next Head of Discourse Proposed.

I First, according to our General Scripture Account, Fix Historical Time.

For the drawing then into one View the Types and Symbols of Prophecy, from the Time the Spirit of Prophecy was pleas'd to Com­pose it into a Scheme, and had prepar'd so to do; I have consi­der'd the Archetypal Vision of Ezekiel's Temple, and City, c. 40. to the End: Representing the Kingdom of Christ in its Glory, and the New Jerusalem also, having the Glory of God; Now when this was once given, it becomes a Standard; gives Types to the State of the Church of God from that Time among the Jews be­fore Christ, and in the Days of our Lord in the Flesh: then of the Jewish and Gentile Christian Church in all the States of it; either in the Dartings out of the Glory of it; or the Stops, Stays and Darknings of its Glory; because, as is Evident both [Page 38] by Scripture, and Experience, that Glory hath been, and yet is under so long a Delay, from the Time of that Vision given to this Day.

Now this I have all along observ'd, from Prophetick Vision to Prophetick Vision, through the Prophecy of Daniel, and of the Re­velation; in those Express References to that, as I justly call it, Archetypal Vision, from the very giving it to the End; And I Account it as a Pole-star; like the Star that Led the Wise men to Christ; so this Vision shapes an Unerring Course to the Kingdom of Christ.

And because, one Principal Point in that Vision of Ezekiel, was the Throne, Leading to the Throne of God, and of the Lamb in the New Jerusalem, Ezek. 4. 3. 7. and Rev. 22. 3. And that there was to be, as I have said, so long a Delay; Soon after the Vision of Ezekiel given, There is a Vision given to Daniel, c. 2 in Nebu­chadnezzars Image, and of Four Beasts, c. 7. describing Four Monar­chies, as Four Thrones, which should successively reach to the Kingdom and Throne of Christ; And then, as it is expresly said, the Thrones were east down; these Counter Thrones to the Throne of Christ; and the Throne of the Son of Man Established alone, Dan. 7. v. 9

This therefore I lay before me, as another Archetypal Vision, relating to the Powers of the Gentiles, and the Enemies of the Kingdom of Christ.

And having to do with the Roman Monarchy, the last of the Four from the Times of the New Testament; I most particularly consider that: and Finding, that the Evangelist Luke gives an Early Notice of it as an Ʋniversal Monarchy in Augustus Caesar Commanding a Cense of the whole World, as his own Domi­nion, Luke 2. 1▪ Even before the Birth of our Lord: I conclude this must be the Fourth of Daniels Monarchies; For though some would have it the Macedonian, as Divided after the Death of Alex­ander the Great; I find, That cannot be; both because the God of Heaven would not have set up a Kingdom in the Days of those Kings, as is expresly said, Dan. 2. v 44. And also because, The Kingdom of Christ, Even yet, is not that Universal Dominion, it was Foretold, it should be: And Lastly, Because I find so Admira­ble an Ha [...]mony be [...]wen the Prophetick Figures in the Revelation, and the plain Historical Accounts of that Monarchy; and that the Spirit of God hath even to plain Litteralness, or more than so, Interpreted it to be Rome and its Empire; I lay there­fore before me this Roman Monarchy in the Pagan Empire; in the [Page 39] Antichristian Empire, viz. The Papacy; which to give publick Notice, it is a Throne, Assumes so Solemnly, and Notoriously Enthroniczation to it self; and the European Kings given as Horns of Strength to it; as also the Mahometan Saracens, and Turks, coming as two Woes upon it, are adjusted in Time.

Now finding the Iconismes, or Images of Prophecy every way Agreeing herewith, both in the Freest Analogical, and even Litteral Interpretation, as I have shewn, all parts squaring one with Another; I cannot but be thus far assur'd, The Interpretation of the sure word of Phrophesy must needs be Fair, Just and Right; or seeing no other Interpretation can be Found thus to Square, Prophecy must be indeed of Private Interpretation, altho the Apo­stle assures it is not so.

More particularly with Relation to the Prophetical Numbers of Time, I Found the purely prophetical Time on that Basis, or Ground of it, the Three Hundred Ninety Days of Years of Ezekiel his Bearing the Iniquity of the House of Israel. These I make Sevenfold, according to the Standard of Seven God so of­ten fixes in the punnishment of Iniquity, Levi [...]. 26. And so they comprehend in that Seven foldness, (which makes the 390, 2730,) the Forty Days of Years of Ezekiels Bearing the Iniquity of the House of Judah, and the Twenty Three Hundred Eves, Morns of the Sanctuary Troden under Foot, until the Sanctuary Cleansed, or Justified, according to Ezekiels Vision, in the Glorious King­dom of Christ.

These Twenty Seven Hundred Thirty Years, making Se­ven Times Three Hundred and Ninety, is one of the Transcendents I find in the Scripture-Line of Time, according to my Computation of it, and the Third Standard now given.

In this Grand Portion of the Line, viz. Of the Twenty Three Hundred Eves, Morns; Fall Evenly and Justly All the Num­bers of Time given after in Daniel, and the Revelation; or that can be supposed necessary to fill up any Spaces according to History; or that are necessary to make up the 2300. although the Numbers are not, in Lesser or Collatteral Lines to the 2300, Named in Prophecy, which Yet must be, and are Seventy Five before the Weeks, and Four Hundred Years after the Weeks; For all others are expresly named in Scripture-Prophe­cy; But however, as I have often shewn, All Agree in their Just Order, and Agree among themsel [...]es, and Agree with the Notes of Discerning them, Scripture hath given; and lastly, Agree with History and General Chronology. All [Page 40] which make as great Assurance, as can be of a True Compu­tation and Account; seeing neither Chance, nor Art can Tune Thin [...]s to such a Manifold Agreement; For, as They say, Res nolunt Decipi, Things will not be deceived, nor impo­sed upon; so they cannot be Forc'd, Compell'd, nor Flatter'd into an Agreement, and so manifold an Agreement; when the Natural, Mutual Respect, they have one to another, does not incline them.

That particular Portion of the Line of Time, given to mea­sure the Time of the Apostasy by, so often, and so variously given; viz Time, Times, Half a Time; Twice Forty Two Months; Twice Twelve Hundred Sixty Days; and Three Days and an half; and so the Last Thirty, and Forty Five, most Even­ly and Justly, according to the Line of Time, take hold of, and succeed one another in their Just Places; The 1260 concert with the Ten Kings Receiving Power at one hour with the Beast; The Beasts Supremacy, the Mahometan Times; (So as to give all the Assu­rance that can be) Fall in One with Another; All according to the Justest Configurations of Prophetical Images, and Hi­storical Events. And herein I observe Four Transcendencies, which most unexpectedly and surprizingly meet the Consi­derer herein, according to the Third Standard here given; and would make the Meditative upon them cry out, I have found, I have found.

1. That as Scripture-Prophecy gives the Time by Moons to the Gentiles, and to the Beast; and Days of the Sun, to the Witnesses, and the Woman; and that these Days of the Sun and Moons, are to Agree one with another, as Lunar and Solar Time do; I find, according to my Calculation, they do A­gree according to the so celebrated Rule of the Golden Number; and that thereby the Succession of the Beast, or the Antichristi­an Papacy, according to the Exact Laws of Succession, to the Christian Emperor, as Seventh Head, and Eighth King, Revel. 17. 10, 11. is fix'd at 475, or 6. as it ought, according to all History, to be; and determin'd to its End, or Going into per­dition at 1697. Lunar Time and Solar Falling in Exactly according to all Chronology with this Prophecy.

2. According to my Calculation, by the Time, the so known Character of Time, Indiction, or accounting by Fif­teens of Years, was well known and settled after Constantine; the Spirit of Poophecy hath Adopted it to Enter into its Own [Page 41] Computation of Time; For the Time, Times and half Time, beginning accordingly at 437. are in the whole, and in each Division, cast into Indictions, or Fifteens of Years; viz. the Three Times, or Thrice Three Hundreds and Sixties; and the Half Time, or the One Hundred Eighty; and for their sakes the Thirty, making 1260 1290, by Two Fifteens; and the Forty Five making 1290 to be 1335. Dan. 12. 11. 12. is evidently by Three Indictions, or Fifteens.

And to All this may be added the Observation, that the Words chosen out by the Spirit of God in the Chaldee, Hebrew, and Greek, to express Time, Times and Half Time, so Sworn by Christ, as to be Determinate Time, may be Emphatically Translated Indiction, or Indicted Time.

Now what can this mean? but that, Over-Ruling Provi­dence so Disposes All, that such Notations of Time should be found out, and come into Use, as when it self hath Oc­casion for them to Ascertain its own Calendar of Prophetick Time; and who also would Direct, and Guide his Servants into the Observation of, and most Assured Distinction of Pro­phetick Time by Them; according to the fit Seasons appoint­ed by himself, to make them so known to them; so that it is no wonder they have not been known before; or that they are made known to some, and not to others, when they are made known.

3. It is even of Transcendent Remark, that the Reforma­tion, at that so Agreed Epoch of it, should be at 1517. as the just Point of Half Time beginning; that necessarily casts the begin­ning of the Time and Times upon 437. according to my Fixa­tion of it; before (I can Truely Appeal) I had made a Re­flection upon the Wonderful Service it does to assure the Line of Time, and the beginning of those 1260 days, at 437; but accord­ing to the Natural Progress of the 2300 Eves, Morns, in the Assignation of Each to their Proper Points of Time Adorn'd with their Suitable Events; Each, I say, of the Collatteral Lines so Assign'd Led me to 97.

Now all these Transcendencies of Evidence eoncerning the just Interpretation of Prophecy, I have from Time to Time fully opened, declar'd, and argued in their Proper Treatises, ac­cording to further and further Light, Euidence and Assurance, given in by the Father of Lights; and which are in many Hands.

4. That which it hath pleased the Lord further to open and manifest to his Unworthy Servant, by way of Transeendency, [Page 42] is; That whereas I was led to fix upon 437. as the Beginning of the Times given to the Apostasy, as I said by the most Free, and Natural Progress upon the Line of the 2300 Eves, Morns; Distributed into the Particular, Lesser and Collatteral Lines: The very Year 437. lay only amongst the Years of Great E­vents, most Agreeable to all the Prophetical Characters of that Time; But it self was unadorn'd, and lay bare from any No­table Event, or Events to guard it; and it hath been charg'd by several, as an Objection against my Fixing so positively up­on it. But by Further Search, and particularly help'd by that Worthy Annotator on the Annotat. on the Revela­tion. Revelation, I find that Year very Notably Remark'd, with Events suitable to such an Epoch, or Year, Beginning the 1260 Years, as it does. And that this may be Fully understood, I will somewhat more at Large Dis­course it; Because I have not in any Treatise upon Prophe­tical Subjects, had the so Attent Consideration of it, as it re­quires; especially being charg'd as an Objection against it, that there are no Reasons in History to rest so upon it.

Now then first, I must premise, that there is not the same Reason to expect so particular an Illustration of it by any pecu­culiar Event, as in some Cases in the Line of Time, For the Line of Time it self must Umpire, and Determine which shall be such, or such an Epoch, or Point of Beginning; when a Great Like­ness or Similarity of Euents gives a Likelyhood to One Point of Time, as much as to another.

Thus when the Seventy Years of the Captivity of the People of God in Babylon began, (because there were several Captivations) cannot be Judg'd, but by very strict Attention to the Line of Time; as I have endeavour'd to make appear in Discourses proper thereunto.

In like manner, where we should Fix the Seventy Weeks begin­ning, Dated from that Word given forth for Restoring Jerusalem; which went forth first by Cyrus, then by Darius, and by Artaxerxes in Full; must be Judged by deep Intuition into the Line of Time; And to bring this to our purpose, The Epoch of Time, Times, and Half a Time, must be cheifly assured by the Line of Time, and Evi­dences thence arising; because if we would Judg of it either by the Barbarous Nations Invading the Roman Western Empire; the Design of the Four first Trumpets; whose Impression upon the Universal Roman Territories, was the often taking the City Rome; [Page 43] Removing out of the midst the very Name, and Thing of Western Emperor; the taking away all Consular Power from it.

Now here is such a Similarity of Events, no certain Judg­ment can be made; but as Samuel was deceived in the Sons of Jesse, concerning the Lord's Anointed, by the Fairer Appearance of some of them, than of David, whom God had alone Chosen; So shall we be mistaken in the Fairer Appearance of some E­vents to give the Epoch of the Time, Times, and Half a Time, than that which is indeed so; such another Concatenated Simi­larity of Events was Ceremonialness; preparing to Superstition; Super­stition to Idolatry; So Love of Pre-eminence preparing to Hierarchy, Hierarchy to Papacy; and this from the very working of the m [...]stery of Iniquity in the Apostles days, until the Beast, or that Papacy entring into its Succession; when the Roman Empire ceasing, viz. at 476. That Name of Bishop then, and to this Day by an Especial Ordination of Providence was the Sole Title of a Sin­gle Person over that great City Rome (tho in Spirituals) who thence Rose to Supremacy over all Bishops. Thence he came to his Number in having an Image made to himself in the Worship of Images, settled by the 2d Councel of Nice; and Assuming Power over Emperors, from that Time, to the Exalting himself above All Styled, August.

Now in such Chain shot Events, as these may be Justly De­nominated, No single Event either ought or can express the Epoch; For neither in Nature can a Chain of Events suffer it self to be engross'd by any One, nor can one be Comprehensive of All, tho it be a very grand, and principal one; indeed when any Epoch is wholly, and fully Comprehended in one Event, then the Time is Fixed, and [...]olely Determined by it; as the Cessation of the Christian Empire in the West, as in one Indivisible Point, fixes the very Succession of the Seventh Head, and Eighth King, call'd the Beast; together with the Ten Kings Receiving Power, at the same Time with him. In the Reformation, tho the Event indeed did not consist in an Indivisible Point; yet in that it began the Retrenchment of the Papal Power, that had so long been Intire; It was as in an Indivisible Point of one straight, or Right Line Drawn out.

But indeed in the very whole Course of Events, the Plumb­ing by the Line of Time, and comparing every part of the Line with the Event, and of the Event with the Line is the most Stable, and Satisfactory Assurance that can be Given; and in such a Multiplicity of Events Frees from Distraction, and Per­plexity: [Page 44] And this hath given me Plerophory of Assurance, as from the Bright Shining of the sure Word of Prophecy in the midst of so many Mistakes, and so much Incertainty thereupon.

But altho Any single Event among so many, and in a Con­junction one with another, ought not without the Peculiar Distinction of the Line of Time to separate it self from all the Rest, and Claim to it self the Right of Giving the Epoch; yet it was most Condecent to the Wisdom of that Providence, that looks to the bringing to pass All, that hath been declared by the sure word of Prophecy; to take care, that there should be a sufficiency of Events to Type out the whole Chain, having a Concentring and Rest upon that year as the Epoch of Time, Times and Half a Time; as I shall very briefly present to View.

When then God had been pleas'd to make known by the Types of Prophecy; that soon after the Empire in Constantine became Christian, the Apostasy was preparing to Enter; in that the Hundred Forty, and Four Thousand were Sealed; that the Worshipers were taken, as it were, in their last Appearance in the Outward Court, and Retired into the Inner-Temple; and the Church Flying into the Wilderness; and the Trumpets in preparation to Sound. Thus All being in Readiness, God gives Types of those Four great Events, to which Time, Times, Half a Time, Three Days and an Half, Twice Forty two Months, and Twice Twelve Hundred Sixty Days as hath been often observed, are allowed; and which Receiv'd their Epoch here; Types I say; For I have not, I declare, dar'd to Rely upon them, as events Determining the Epoch, of these Great Times, but fair Types, and Representa­tions of Each.

1. The First Event, I would observe, is; That, which I find most agreed in All Chronology; that this very year; Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, brought forth his Cyclus Paschalis for setling the Due Time of Easter; Adjusting Lunar years to Solar, accord­ing to the Golden Number. Now this is very Wonderful, that just at the Time, when the Lord, for the Interpretation of Pro­phetical Time should, (to Allude to the Need Christ had of the Asse in the Gospel,) have need of such an Adjustment to be sollemnly brought in, and Avowed in the profession of Christi­anity Antichristianized; which is the Outward Court given to the Gentiles, viz. the Antichristian Gentiles to Tread under Foot, it was so done: For then Forty two Months of the Gentiles Precalated to the Forty two Months of the Beast, This was very observable.

[Page 45] 1. Because hereby Providence gave notice; that this was the very year, that by Prophecy, according to the Foundations, upon which a setled Time of Easter is Found, viz. by Conforming Lunar, and Solar Time one to another; The Moons of the Gentiles, and the Beasts Moons are together made just even to the 1260 Solar Years; And which is very wonderful, just so many years, as the Beasts Moons want to make them equal to 1260 Solar years of the Witnesses, and the Woman according to that Golden Number; (the very Ground of any Cyclus Paschalis;) viz. 38 years, and something more; Just so many are Found between 437, (when the Paschal Cycle was, as I say, first brought forth,) and the Cessation of the Christian Empire; when the Beasts Succession, and so Time Dated from him, as the Supreme or Seventh Head, and Eighth King (for so it ought to be) began, viz. at 475 ending, or 476.

2. It is very observable, Because as hath been also more Fully spoken of elsewhere, and as is very well known; The Aposta­sy hath in regard of Shrivings, or Confessions, Pennances, Indulgen­ceo, Pardons; the so superstitious Sollemnities of its Good Friday; the Idolatry of its High Easter Day Mass; such deep Interests in Easter, and the Moveable Feasts dependent upon it.

But altho I cannot but think this very Remarkable, when I find 437, the very year Determin'd upon by the Line of Time; yet I could not dare to rest upon it without that; For some Attempt the Predecessor of Cyril, Theophilus Bishop of Alex­andria had made this way; and Dionysius, Sirnam'd Exiguus, perfected upon what Cyril had done; But when the Line of Time concurs with such a Note of Lunar Time, proper to Moons, Equated to Solar Time; It appears to me very great.

Event 2▪ The Barbarians, or Goths this year made an Excursion upon the People of the Empire, call'd the Arverni, with all manner of Calamities; This was a Type of the Hail mingled with Fire in the First Trumpet; yet so that this is not to be taken, but in Conjunction, as hath been already said, with what went before, and followed after; For it could not be in one year, that the whole third part of Trees, and of Green Grass; that is; the Ter­ritories of so great an Empire, (of which Empire Third part is made by this Prophecy as a Hieroglyphic,) should be destroyed. But a Resemblance of this, Any part of the Empire, and at what distance soever from Rome (the Further, the more Lively the Emblem) might be of the Hail Dishevelling it self year after year, [Page 46] through the whole Empire; Yet on this neither dare I rely alone; For as great Events of this Kind, and much Greater before and after There were; yet this, however a small Fi­gure coming in its just Place after so great a Figure, as the Line of Time, Directing perpendicularly upon 437, as the Epoch of the Time, Times, Half Time, is very puissant Assurance of that very year.

Event 3. As a Resemblance of the Gentiles Entring into the Out­ward-Court, this very year; Gensericus, the King of the Vandals, set himself to Extirpate for the sake of Arrianism, the Faith of Je­sus Christ, the Eternal Son of God; and Raised in Africk, where he had planted himself within the Roman Empire, a Cruel Per­secution upon it.

Now, as in the Former, I do not Lay stress upon this with­out that principal Figure, Testimony and Evidence from the Line of Time: But that lying in the Foundation, I Reflect in these Observations upon this, as Agreeing to this Epoch of this Time.

1. That taking the Arrian denial of Jesus Christ the Son of God, it was in two Regards a most fit Type to give notice by of the Antichristian Apostasy.

1. That tho it be not a plain Point of that Roman Antichristi­an Apostasy; yet in that it is a Denial of Christ being come in the Flesh, which the Apostle John saith is the very Spirit of Anti­christ; [...]t is most Fit, as a Type to Represent that, which in many grand Instances has overthrown Christs coming in the Flesh, in the Scripture sense of him, as the One Mediator; a Point as Fundamental in Christianity, as the one God is in Natural Re­ligion.

2. It was Fit in this Regard, that it might give notice of Antichrist in that Antichristianiz'd Age, in a Point wherein they were ve [...]y Zealous; that is; the Eternal Godhead of Christ; in o­ther points of Antichristianism found in Themselves, they could not discern it.

2. There could not be a fitter Type of the Witnesses putting on Sackcloath, than the Spread of the persecution, and several Excellent Persons Ecclesiastical History makes mention of, who suffered even to Death in that persecution, though I own it but a Type; And this gives also the Fourth Event, viz. of the Wit­nesses [Page 47] putting on Sackcloath, and the Church flying into the Wilder­ness.

3. Africk was a very fit place to be used in such a Type, both as it was one of the Three Parts of the Kn [...]wn World; and as it was a worthy, and excellent part of the Christian Church; where God had setled so great a Light in the Ministry of Au­gustine Bishop of Hippo; who had in his Epistle to Januarius, Remonstrated against that Throng of Ceremonies, Crowding in upon Christianity in that Time; and in that, a place was most Fit to be Chosen, that should not it self be the Seat of ei­ther pretenders of Rome, or Constantinople.

4. Gensericus being King of the Vandals was a fit Type of the Gentiles coming into the Outer Court, and Holy City; as he was one of those that came in upon the Christian Empire, that had been made an Emblem of the Kingdom of Christ; and as those Irruptions Caused great Mourning of all the Servant [...] of Christ from a Sympathy with those Calamities upon their own Country, and the Profession of Christianity.

2. As the People he brought in were to Coalesce, and be­come Incorporated with the People of the Roman Empire; and so to be the Beasts People, and to Constitute the ten Kingdoms under the ten Kings, that should receive Power with the Beast.

And tho all these are thus very Worthy to be Consider'd; and It Appears, when once the Line of Time hath pointed upon them; They fall in with great Conformity to the shewing the Epoch of the Time, Times▪ Half a Time, the Forty two Months and the 1260 days of years, to be 437.

Having then an undoubted Assurance of 97, as the Period of the 1260 years▪ It lies with some Pressure upon my Thoughts, to make a Judgment according to the greatest Light, I can Ob­tain from Prophecy, upon these Three Years, or till 97; what we may humbly Expect, and especially under the great Pheno­menon, the Blazing Star, as I may call it, of the French Power; here the Doubt Hangs between two Points, which should cast the Scale.

1. Whether the Progression of Providence in Preparation to the Kingdom of Christ, may be expected to be Gradual; or whether the Motion may be expected to be sudden; whether things may continue much at a Ballance till upon that Time, and that then the Divine Power may, as all on the Sudden, [Page 48] manifest it self; and like it self work in an Instant, and as it were in one Day.

I must Acknowledg, as I have also publickly Declared; I have been much more inclined to Hope (tho not without, as Freely, Professed Fears, and Doubts for Reasons, as openly given) that we should in these years have seen much greater Works of God; because I estimated the Pace, I thought Provi­dence would choose, and the steps, it would take, according to what hath been generally hitherto in the World.

But it Pleased the Wise, and Holy, and Gracious Governour of All things, so to Direct; that One peculiar Advertisement of Prophecy should even start out to me; that tho I do not profess the same Confidence upon it, as upon the Scripture Line of Time, I have given; yet I am Reduced by it to another kind of Ex­pectation, till 97, than I have had; For in place of the wonder­ful Progress of Providence, for the Pulling down the French Power, the Change of the ten Kings, and other the great Effects I expect at 97. I have now far greater Reason to Beleive; There shall at present be only a Divine Interposition for the stay­ing things much where they are, and that there shall be nei­ther a Remarkable going forward, or backward. VIZ.

1. That none of the Eminent Kingdoms, that have Revers'd their Pow [...]r from the Beast, shall ever be Re-Enthrall'd under that Power; or shall Re-exchange their Protestant, and, as we stile it, Reform'd State for a Papal Government; which I now find to be the great Account of these so many late Extraordinary Revolutions within the Nations of England, Scotland and Ireland; and yet the Dawns, Appearances, and the very, so much, as Apprehen­sions of the Kingdom of Christ are so Reserv'd, and make so small Offertures to the World, or so much as to these Na­tions.

2. That no one of the Ten Kings shall so much Exceed his Figure, as to be more than one of Ten; However some one may stretch himself every way to Grasp at Ʋniversal Monarchy; and be so far succssful, as to draw great Powers to himself, that he may answer one Peculiar Note in Prophecy, presently to be given in Memorial.

And this is that most Acquiescible and Satisfactory Resoluti­on of the Mysterious Providence in Twisting a Confederacy be­twixt Protestant Nations and so many of the Vowed Tributaries of the Antichristian Supremacy of the Beast; whose Interest Lies, as [Page 49] Deep, in the Extirpation of Protestancy, which they call, Heresy, as that of France; and in Pure Bigottry to Rome much deeper; and have been, and now are, as great, tho more silent Op­pressors of the Reformation within their own Territories, and Persecutors of it, if any appear for it: But thus Infinite Wis­dom hath Harmonized this State of the European Nations for his own Wise and Holy Ends, according to Prophecy; that the French Aspirings to Universal Monarchy may be Embarrass'd.

These things then being Premis'd, I have very great Rea­son to Doubt, and Fear; The Protestant Princes, and the Refor­mation under them shall Advance little higher, till the Period it self 97; which I ground upon singular Remarks in that Prophe­sy of the Vision of Nebachadnezzars Image, Dan. 2.

First, I observe in that grand Calendar of Time for the King­dom of Christ; The Descent of Time is by the parts of the Image, and so by the Metals Assigned to the several, as I may call them Regions or Parts; the First, or Beginning Point of Time is in the Gold of the Head, or the Babylonish Empire; Thence it goes down to the Breast, and Arms of Silver the Per­sian Kingdom; and from thence to the Belly, and Thighs of Brass, the Kingdom of Greece; and so comes down to the Legs of Iron, the First part of the Roman Pagan Empire, and lastly, To the Feet and Ten Toes, part of Iron, and part of Clay; that is, the Ten European Kingdoms, into which that Pagan Empire was Divided; when joyn'd with the Papacy, and Hierarchy, the Clay proper to each of those Kingdoms.

Now the Order, and Distinction of the Parts, and of the Metals of the Image is so Essential to the Vision, and Prophecy is so exact; there can be no change without great Reason, and even great signification Designed by that Change, and no chance in it.

The Order of the Parts, and the Metals, is given first Synthe­tically, or Constitutively, v. 32. 33. The Image's Head was of Fine Gold; his Breast and Arms were of Silver; His Belly and his Thighs of Brass; his Legs of Iron; his Feet part of Iron, part of Clay; The Conjunction therefore between the Iron, and the Clay; tho they did not mix one with the other, must needs be very close in the Constituting the Feet; and yet to make more clear this con­junction, and order; It is said, when the Stone cut of the Moun­tain came to smite the Image, the stroke was upon the Feet, that were of Iron, and of Clay. Again, v. 35. when the Method is [Page 50] given, as they say, Analytically, or the Image in the Breaking is Resolv'd from its Bottom to its Top, from the Foundation to the N [...]ck It is said, Then was the Iron, the Clay, the Brass, the Silver, and the Gold Broken to Peices together, and became like the chaff of the Summer Threshing Floor. Before the Image was given from Head to Foot; Here from Foot to Head; But the Conjuncti­on is kept most Inviolate, and the Order, considering forward First, and then backward, is the very same.

Now this Conjunction, and order are so Essentially, and Substantially Fix'd, They can never be unfix'd any more; This must be the Conjunction, this must be the Order, and nothing that Comes after it, can Disannual it.

And yet when it comes to the last Catastrophe in the Interpreta­tion of the Dream; and so when the Event is suppos'd to come to its Complement, that the Stone cut out of the Mountain without Hands Falls upon All, and Grinds them to powder. Then the Iron and the Clay are separated by the Brass; that has nothing to do in the Feet, but with the Belly, and the Thighes only; For they only were of Brass.

This is the very Order given by the Spirit of God in this last part of the Vision, I Find upon search no Reason to doubt in the least; there appearing no demurr on a Different Read­ing, as it stands in the Chaldee Verity, or the Syriac Version, as may be seen in B. Walton's Polyglot Bible: And yet it is, as if the Feet of Iron were joyn'd immediately with the Thighs of Brass, and the Clay removed out of their place; and, as if the stroke were on the Brass, before it was on the Clay; whereas it was made again and again, and a third Time Certain, The stroke is on the Feet of Iron and Clay, before the Brass should feel the Force of it; Now all these are so great Points of the Vision, that nothing can unsettle them without subverting the whole Frame: For th [...]n the Dream could not, as he hath said, be Certain, nor the Interpretation be sure, nor what is grounded upon it be un­shaken.

It must needs therefore be; That for the Truth of the Con­junction, the Order of the Metals, and of the Parts, and the Order of the Stroke, were all given before, as they are, were and shall be; And that the Spirit of Prophecy presumes, that none would think; It either on purpose, or Casually, would Destroy its own Frame.

I offer therefore to deep search of others, and the Consid [...] ­ration of All, who have Regard for the sure word of Prophecy to [Page 51] Attend to the Reason, He hath Assisted me, the Unworthiest of all his Servants to give: and I am Humbly perswaded, he Foresaw, He would so Assist me, to give it in so publick a Ministry to his Servants in general.

And the Reason is this, That God might make known to the King, and in him to after Ages, what should be hereafter, As Daniel assures us. Now the very utmost of that Hereafter is very near Come, Even, as Near, as Ninety Seven, as I have fully set out; By comparing therefore the state of Things now with this Change in the Vision, we may arrive to some good de­gree of Understanding in the Reason of the Change; I say, comparing it with the present State.

I look then upon the present state of the Ten Horns, as Pro­phecy calls them, or Kings, and their Kingdoms, I consider, which of them, of All others bears the Metal; Iron; at the greatest Lustre of Appearance at this Time; and by plain matter of Fact that is the French Power, and Kingdom; Then I consider where that, which was heretofore, call'd the Brass in the Image of the Four Kingdoms now Resides; and the Brass being the Grecian Kindom, as All Interpreters agree; The Greci­an Empire is beyond all Contest, known to be in the Hands of the Turk, whose Port is known to be at Constantinople.

There are then two things, God makes known to us by this Change in the Vision, concerning that last State of this Image, when the Stone shall fall upon it.

1. That the Stroke shall be struck, and the Fall of the Stone Grind [...]ng the Image to Powder, shall be, when the Iron in the most Illustrious Appearance of it, near the very End shall be joyn'd to the Brass, and in League with it; So that tho the Iron, even the whole Iron together with the Clay shall be broken be­fore the Brass; yet the Brass is Transferred out of its proper, both Conjunction, and Order; not indeed so, but as in a Fi­gure to give a Watchword, that when the Iron in an Eminen­cy shall be signally Conjoyn'd with the Brass, viz. That Turco-Grecian Power; Then the Blow shall be given; and the Brass, not before the Clay, but in its own Order shall be Broken, viz. The Feet of Iron and Clay First, and in their own Conjunction; then the Brass, and the Silver, and Gold immediately upon it; Now therefore observing the Iron in so Illustrious Appearance, joyn'd with the Brass, at a Time, we know by the Line of Time the Blow is so near to be given, It is a Concurrent Assurance, It is very near.

[Page 52] 2. The Spirit of Prophecy is pleas'd hereby to Brand the Unna­turalness of the Conjunction of France with the Turkish Power; a Kingdom belonging to the Feet, and Toes, mixed with the Hi­erarchic, Antichristian Clay, and giving Power to it; and yet Uniting with the Brass or Mahometan Power, a Woe upon that Antichristian State; A thing, as Monstrous, as if the most Emi­nent Toe should separate it self from the Feet to joyn it self im­mediately with the Belly, and Thighs; so is the Papacies most Christian King Leagued with the Mahometan Enemy of Christia­nity, as in the Antichristian State.

Rem. 2. The second Remark I make on that Vision is from yet more undeniable, if possible, Letter of Prophecy; that the management of the last Stroke, when the Stone, by its own Direction of it self, shall fall on the Image, and Smite it; It shall be not by Humane, but by Immediate Divine Power; that tho it will Raise, and Fit what Instruments it pleases; Seven Shep­hards, and Eight Principal Men; yet the Stone it self will be Vi­sibly seen Illustrious above All; altho there shall be with the Lamb the Faithful, and Called, and Chosen; yet the Lamb himself, as by his Immediate Power, shall be seen above All: For the Stone that is Cut out of the Mountains is said to be in no Hand, or which is not in Hands, (according to the Strictness of Translati­on) or in any Hand of Man; And when he comes to work, it shall be as on the sudden, and at an Instant. For when Di­vine Power works, Nullum Tempus Occurrit Regi, Nothing can Lett Divine Power.

Altho then I most Sincerely, and Earnestly Pray, that the Lord of Hosts would Please to give Success to the Arms of the Protestant Princes and States, and most particularly to our own; So far as may possibly consist with his own Wise, and Holy Determinations; Yet I am Bold to make these Prognosticks from this Light of Prophecy, I have first Receiv'd, and now Of­fer'd; Partly to Arm with Patience, and Submission to the De­lay of such an Issue, as we Naturally Desire; partly to En­courage, and Assure, as to some great Points at the Present; and Especially to Ascertain that Grand Issue of the Kingdom of Christ in the End.

Prog. 1. Seeing the Time of the Fall and Stroke of the Stone is not upon the Iron and Brass till 97. and that it is to be upon them in Conjunction, and upon the Iron, as it shall in any [Page 53] Part in an Eminency be Conjoyn'd: Therefore neither the Eminency of France as the Iron, and so in League with the Turk, nor the Potentacy of the Turk, who is so to continue a Woe upon the Antichristian State; shall be brought down, till 97. Let there­fore no Impatience at the Disappointment of an Expectation herein seize us; For thus it is Determin'd by the sure word of Prophecy, They must both continue in a Conjunction till that Time, and the Stroke with it so fall upon Them so far as can be Found by Prophecy.

Prognos. 2. Notwithstanding this; Let what can be done, France shall be kept within his own Bounds, to be, but one of Ten; and the Turk shall be but in a Low, Tottering Condition, to be Supported only upon the Aides, and Help of France; that he may not come to his End so soon, but must do at last; as is intimat­ed concerning the Turkish King of the North, Dan. 11. ult. Now to keep France so within its own Figure, is a Service so consi­derable to Providence according to Prophecy; that it should make Princes, and Nations Patient under the inconveniency of War to such an End; And it may Answ [...]r for a Confederacy of Protestants with Popish Powers so far; as that it may be made use of by Providence to such an End as Restraining France, Agree­ably to Divine Determination; And it may justly call us to the Observation of Providence, in Ballancing Things so, as this Last and former Years it has done; so that while, as with one hand, God is pleased to keep the French Power at such a Height; with the other he so Ballances, that it should not ex­ceed its Figure; So we see it in all the Disposes of Things to this Day; So in the Wonderful Preservation of the Kings Per­son▪ when danger was so every way about, and Death so near him: Because he hath raised Him up, as so peculiar an In­strument to that purpose, to give a stop to the Exorbitant Power of France; as also to be an Interposer against the Return of Papal Power on these Protestant Nations, of England, Scotland and Ireland.

3. As it was said to Barak; This Journey, or Expedition shall not be for thy Honour, because God would fell Sisera into the Hands of a Woman; Judges 4 9 So the great Success of Finishing the War upon France in Conjunction with the Turks, God hath re­serv'd for the Stone cut o [...]t of the Mountains, who is not in any Human Hand; No Greater, nor more Victorious Atchieve­ments have been therefore Granted to the Confederate Armies, nor any gradual Appearances of the Kingdom of Christ, because the Glory [Page 54] is reserv'd to Christ; so that all shall be done by him in an instant, on the sudden, at the very Time Appointed by God, viz. in the year 97. so near Approaching, These things shall be done; The French Grandieur, as it now stands in opposition to the Kingdom of Christ, shall be ground to Powder; The Witnesses, both the Vaudois, and the French Protestants at this Time under his Power, and Tyranny, shall see the Morning Star Dawning; They shall be with Christ, when he Breaks the Nations with a Rod of Iron; They shall feel a Spirit of Life Entring into them, and Causing them to stand on their Feet, and they shall hear a Voice from Heaven, saying, Come up hither. The Turkish Woe shall be clear Remov'd; But then together with this, The Confederate Princes as giving their Kingdom yet to the Beast, or Papacy; and even the Protestant Princes so Far, as they enter into the Constitution of a Nebuchadnezzars Image; the Papal Hierarchic Clay; where ever it is Found; with i [...]s 7000 Names, shall all be Ground to Powder also.

5. The Supreme Sovereign Event of Events shall then come to pa [...]s; The Kingdoms of this World shall become the King­doms of the Lord, and of his Christ; He shall Reign in his own Name, take to himself his Great Power, and send out his Everlasting Gospel, as on the Wings of Angels; and Blessed is he, who is not offended at these Things, but Loves, and Waits for them.

But indeed, if God should please any way to bring down the French Power, or Cause it, but so much as to Lye still; and to Dissolve the League between him, and the Turkish Potentacy sooner; my Hopes, and Expectations might be, that God were sooner also working by such Beginnings to much greater Things for the Change of the World. In the mean Time I can­not but Represent things as Prophecy Represents them, and I presume no further, And that I find not to be till 97.

Another Prophetical Note, The Lord hath been pleas'd much to imprint upon my Spirit, is that Habac. 2. 13, 14. where the Prophet beholds in Litteral Babylon, the Mystical Babilon; the Town Built [...]ith Blood; the Intoxicating Soreeress, Enchanting the Nations to the Exposing their Nakedness, and Shame, through Inebriating them with the Golden Cup of Fornication, she holds in her hand; and makes the Kings of the Earth Drunk with, that they may commit the Whoredoms of Idolatry with her; and in the behold­ing of this, and the Foresight of the End, and Destruction of it; The Prophet is made to see in Spirit, by the mighty In­fluence of that upon him; while That bore, and carried him [Page 55] alought; and moved him; and not any Created VVill, but the Holy Spirit alone: He speaks the State and Posture of Things, that shall Confine, and Border upon the Ruin, and Destructi­on of that Babylon; and the Manifestation of the Glory of the Lord, Immediately Consequent upon it; And this State he declares, shall be by the peculiar Ordination, and Constitu­tion of the Lord of Hosts; of him, who has the Government of the whole Host of Heaven and Earth; so that nothing shall be able to move to the Contrary. The People shall La­bour, as in the very Fire, the pure perfect Fire, and shall weary themselves for very Vanity, pure and perfect Vanity; For so is it ordain'd by God, that thus he may prepare for that great change of the World; The very Reason, why he orders it so, is, Because the Knowledg of the Glory of the Lord shall cover the Earth; The Glory shall cover the Earth, that the knowledg of the Glory of God may so cover it also; even as the Waters the Sea; that even as in the Sea, there is nothing to be seen for Water; even so in the Earth, There shall be nothing to be seen for the Glory of the Lord, it shall so take up the whole View, throug­out all the Earth. From hence therefore, I Argue, All kinds of Disappointment, and Frustrations of All the Labour, Un­dertakings, Enterprizings, that are in the World; the Ex­pectations from Princes, Councels, Governments; From Trade and Commerce at Home, and Abroad; From Armies, and Navies; From Generals and Commanders of them, and their whole Force; and this not only in one part of the World, but in the Nations, and People taken together, and in the Gross; Such Labouring in the very Fire and wearying themselves for very vanity, are no Argument against such a Glory of God being near, and the Knowledg of such a Glory covering the Earth as the Waters do the Sea. Such a Glorious Revolution, and Change of the World, being very nigh, and at the doors; so that they are rather an Argument for the nighness of it to us. For God hath given us this, as a Prognostick.

In the very same manner, This Divine Prophet beholding that Great Vision of the Kingdom of Christ in its last Accomplish­ment; when all his Enemies shall be under the Invasion with his Troops; Intimates That even in the Labour and Service of Nature it self; There shall be great F [...]ustrations, and Disap­pointments, that the Fig▪Tree may not Blossom, the Labour of the Olive may fail; there may be no Fruit in the Vine; the Flock may be cut off from the Fold, and the Heard from the Stall; And yet, [Page 56] saith he, will I Rejoyce in the Lord, and Glory in the God of our Salvation; For tho I do Acknowledg, the World is always so full of Disappointments in, all these Kinds, that what the Prophet speaks; is most suitable to all Times; All is full of La­bour and Vanity, as Solomon speaks; Vanity of Vanities, All is Vani­ty, and Vexation of Spirit; All is made subject to Vanity, and to Cor­ruption; yet as if God would wind up the whole Web of Vani­ty, before the Time of the Salvation, of the Restitution of All Things. The Prophet thus speaks, and goes on, That the Lord will make his Feet like Hinds feet, and set them upon the high pla­ces, the Mountain of Spices; and that then the Time of Songs shall indeed come in, and of Singing to the Stringed Instru­ments Like David; at the Kingdom of the True David, the Root and Off▪spring of David together; in comparison of which, All songs are but Howling, and Lamentation now.

Now if we were to Judg of Things by the present Aspect of Things, and of what is in Prospect; we may have Reason to hope, That the Change of the World is near; and I should Rejoice to be so happily Mistaken; that it is indeed nearer, than, according to the Line of Time, I can conclude it; There is every where such Labouring in the very Fire, and Wearying our selves for very Vanity▪

In the last place, to conclude the whole Argument from the sure Word of Prophecy, I would in brief present the whole Table of Time.

The whole ground Plot of Prophecy is the State of Things from the First Creation, and Sabbatism under the First Adam, to the New Creation and Sabbatism of the Second Adam; First Design'd, but Remaining to be Accomplished; even from the Foundation of the World; even when God on the Seventh Day Rested from the Works, which He had made, according to Heb. 4 5, 7. It began to Remain to be Accomplished.

This Sabbatism Comprehends the Highest and most ex­cellent Temple State, or a State of Enjoyment of God; and also a Dominion, Lordship, Throne and Kingdom of the Second Adam, and of his Seed over the Creation of God; All things being put under the Feet of him, and of his Seed, in the Sabbatism which remains to the People of God.

God the Lord of Time, , hath made, and given in his word an exact Line of Time, from Sabbatism to Sabbatism; of near, or to the Evening, or between the two Evenings of the Sixth and [Page 57] Last Milenary, and allotted a Just Cubical Thousand years, the perfection of Time to that Sabbatism it self, or Kingdom of Christ;

This Line is at this Day to be Found in Scripture, made up of Historical Time; reaching as far, as it was necessary to Reach, to make up such a space of Time; Till by Fair Commissures Prophetic Time came in, and joyn'd it, and made up the Rest even 5759 years, to the great Sabbath.

To the two great Types of this Temple, and Kingdom ex­piring, viz. The Reigns of David and Solomon, at Solomons Death, This Line of Time is given plainly and Historically; Emboss'd only with some Ornamental Resemblances of that Kingdom and Temple-State: All which I have made out ac­cording to the very Letter of Scripture, and Fortified our He­brew Copy, as truly the Word of God, by great Evidence (as I hope) of Argument from Scripture, and Scripture-Rea­son; And those several Historical Lines to Solomons Death make 3029 years; These I do not particularize, because they do not so properly fall under the sure word of Prophecy, but the sure word of Scripture-History.

From thence, even at Solomons Death, begins Prophetical Time, however Historically Supported in many great Branches of it; yet the Ministration, and Representation of it is All Prophetical, and Mystical: All and Each of these are of great Considerat­ion to him, whoever he be, that would understand Prophe­cy.

This general Plat-form being now laid according to, and in my Line of Time, I here present it in brief to View together.

THE Prophetical Scripture Line of Time, As it is Given from the Death of Solo­mon to the Temple, New Jerusalem, and Throne of the great Solomon, Son of David, in purely Prophetical Numbers.

FRom Solomon's Death, when the Types of the Kingdom of Christ in David his Father, and himself, Ceas'd, to Ezekeil's Temple, &c. The first Time of Sollemn Bearing Iniquity, or the Punishment of it in the delay of the Kingdom of Christ the Antitype, giving Spring to all Prophetick Time. Days of Years. 390 Ezek. 4. 5. c. 40. &c.

In that Ezekiels Temple was but a Visional Temple, the former 390, years are made, according to the Standard of Seven given by God, Levitic. 20. 18, &c. seven times three Hun­dred ninty days of years of bearing Iniquity; in the Delay of the King­dom of Christ, to Ezekiels Sanctuary Cleans'd or Expiated, and Justified in that Kingdom. Days of Years. 2340

From Ezekiel's Vision of the Temple after Forty Days of years Bearing the Sin of Judah, and stop­ing any so much as Appearance of a Temple-state to a Faint Appear­ance of that Vision, in Cyrus his Decree for Building the Temple, the first 40 of the 2340. Days of Years. 0-40 Ezek. 4. 6.

From the End of the 40 days of years at Cyrus his Decree to the Sanctuary Cleans'd. Days of Years. 2300 eves, morns, Dan. 8. 14.

From the Decree of Cyrus; the first going out of the word for the Restoring the Temple by the God of Israel, and Cyrus King of Persia; to the full going out of that word by Artaxerxes Longimanus; the first Days of Years. 75 Made out by Scripture Argu­ment and Chronolo­gy. [Page 60] 75 of the 2300 Eves, Morns of years, a Time of the Treading it under foot; this Time therefore is Detach'd from the 2300.

From the word fully gone Forth, to the Time of Annointing the Sanctuary by the Powring out the Spirit on the Apostolick Church at the Ascension of Christ; Repre­sented in the midst of the Half week by the Vision, Revel. c. 4. c. 5. And so the other Half Week continues the Time of the Confirming of the Cove­nant, a Time cut off from the 2300 of Treading the Sanctuary under Foot. Days of Years. 490 Dan. 9. 24.

Of these 490 years, or 70 Weeks, seven of them were a Time of Building the Walls, and Streets of Jerusalem, according to all History; Assuring the former 75, with these 49 years to reach ten years within the Reign of Da­rius Nothus, and to be 124 years; and therefore the First seven weeks are so cut off from the seventy 49 Dan. 9. 25. Ezr. 6. 14. Fsther. 1. 1. Neh. 12. 22. [Page 61] Weeks, and so many Persian Prin­ces expresly nam'd in sacred Hi­story.

From the end of the First for­ty nine years of the Weeks, are Sixty two Weeks distinctly nam'd, a Time of Vassalage, Tributari­ness, Straits and Difficulties under Heathen Princes; especially Anti­ochus Epiphanes; a great Type of treading the Sanctuary under foot by Antichrist; until the Publick Mini­stry of Messiah the Prince. Days of Years. 434 Dan. 9. 25.

From Messiah the Prince Ap­pearing in his Ministry, to the end of confirming the covenant to the Jews, at the last week; in the midst of which he Died; the other half week by the Apostles; and their Begin­ning Desolations. Days of Years. 0007 Dan. 9. 27.

The Duration of the Force of Annointing the Sanctuary was to continue during the Sealing of Vision and Prophecy; viz. That great Vision of Ezekiels Temple; which Sealing was both of Re­serve from Immediate coming to pass of that Vision; and of se­curing Days of Years. 400 Rev. 6. c. 7. [Page 62] it from Antichristian Vio­lation for that Time.

Therefore this Sealed time is Divided into two halves.

The First of which was of the Purer time of the Sanctuary, when the Annointing was most upon it; And this the Wisdom of the Spirit of Prophecy has set out by Ballances in the hand of that Just Emperor Alexander Severus, weigh­out the time of the Purity of the Sanctuary, according to the weights of the Sanctuary. Days of Years. 202 Rev. 6. 6.

The Sealing was to secure, till there was a Full and Perfect Em­blem of Christs Kingdom in the Christian Empire.

The other half from Alexander Severus his Death, till the taking away the Daily Sacrifice; when the Annointing pass'd off, and the Seal­ing, as to the Security, went off from the Outer-court; and Rested Days of Years. 202 Rev. c. 6. to c. 8. and c. 11. 1. [Page 63] on the Inner-court, and Persons Worshiping in it.

From the end of sealed time, be­gan Indicted time, or time, times, half time, so stil'd in Chaldee, He­brew, Greek, so call'd, because sworn Time, or Time declar'd by Oath, Dan. 12. 7. Dan. 7. 25. c. 12. 7.

And Accordingly God Provid­ed by Constantine a Character of Time to be an Agreeable Di­stinction of Time, viz. Indictions of 15 y. to Ascertain when the In­dicted time, times and half time should have place; there are there­fore twenty four Indictions that make the first Time, or Third of 1080 Days. Days of Years. 360 Rev. 11. 3. c. 12. 16.

The two Times, or two Thirds of 1080 Days, are twice 24 15 of years, or 24 Indictions. Days of Years. 720

The last half of Indicted Time or an 180 years, in twelve Indictions making up 1260 y. [Page 64] Days of Years. 180 At Rev. 10. Half Time begins as hath been shewn.

The Epoch, or beginning of the Time, Times, and half Time, is to be taken from the 42 Moons of the Gentiles; as hath been shewn; Beyond the time, times, and half time, or the 1260 days of years are the Thirty days of years of the Voices, making 1290, by the Addition of two Fifteens or In­dictions. Days of Years. 30 Dan. 12. 11. Rev. 14.

The last part of Time till the Fullness of Time, makes the 1290, 1335, by the Addition of three, Fifteens, or Indictions, or 45 Days of years; and are the time of Powring out the Vials. Days of Years. 45 Dan. 12. 12. Rev. 16.

Now these two last parts of Time, are Indicted Time also; because they come under the Oath of Christ; that in the Days of the Seventh Angel, and his beginning to Sound, the Mystery of God shall be Finished.

Then follows the Thousand years, the Glorious Kingdom of Christ, the Fullness, the Perfecti­on of time, Stild, Rev. 20. Thrice, The Thousand Years. Days of Years. 1000

I am now come to the last Head of this Discourse I propos­ed; Some Brief Reflections, by way of Inference upon the whole.

Infer. 1. This shews the great Price God hath put into our Hands, in the Profession of Christianity, of giving mighty Evidence to the Truth of the Scriptures; if the Apostacy that hath come upon our Profession, had not Robbed us of the Hearts, to make use of it.

For God hath given us a Sure werd of Prophecy, that cannot Fail, nor deceive us in any of the great Futurities, the things to Come, It hath Foretold; They shall certainly be Fulfill'd, each in their Season; For Infinite Wisdom, hath disigned, and contrived them, that cannot upon any Emergent Uncon­sidered, Change its Counsel; For it calls the End at the very beginning; Infinite Veracity or Truth hath Declared them, which cannot deceive, it is a sure word; and Allmighty Power will bring them to pass.

Now Prophecy, or Declaring things to Come is by God insist­ed upon, as the greatest Assurance of the Divine Being; De­clare to us, says God, Things to Come, that we may know, you are Gods: Yea, do good, or evill; viz. When you have Foretold them; Let the Things Foretold come to pass by your power: Now seeing our Scriptures are full of Prophecies, on which these Evidences must be Founded; There wants nothing but Interpretation; Adjusting what is past, to its Just Times of Coming to pass, according to Prophecy, and History; and there­by laying assured Grounds of Interpr [...]ting Prophecy concerning what is to come: Oh, why do we not then concerning Things to Come, which Christ hath Promised, the Spirit shall lead us into and shew us; engage our selves in Interpretation? Seeing the Apostle Peter hath assur'd, No Prophecy is of Private Interpre­tation, or Reserv'd; even as in things past, Relating to Christ, which we so vehemently Argue upon against the Jews, and with so great Reason, why not in things to come concerning his Kingdom?

Infer. 2. We have hence Authority to Joyn Interpretation of Prophecy, and the Expectation of the Return of Miracles together, that when in Daniel, c. 12. 6. It is Enquired, How long shall it be to the End, or to the Perfecting of Wonders? Those great Numbers of Time leading to the Blessed Time of the 1335 Days, that shall make every one Blessed, that [Page 66] Comes to them are Given; Certainly therefore Wonders shall be, or Miracles Return, when the Time of Finishing is. And those numbers must Lead to that Time.

Infer. 3. How Earnest, and Diligent should we be to be Found of him in Peace, without Spot, and Blameless; not in a state of War, when that Prince Comes, with his Name written on his Vesture, and on his Thigh, King of Kings, Lord of Lords; who in Righteousness Judges, and makes VVar, and slays with the Sword, that proceeds out of his mouth: Oh, Let us therefore be Diligent, we may be found of him in Peace, and not in the Army of Arma­geddon, in that Battel with God Almighty; this is the coming to the 1335 Days, A Blessedness is pronounced upon in Daniel; A Coming with Christ, with the Armies of Heaven, in white Linen, on white Horses, as his Called, Faithful, and Chosen; with him; on his side. How looking, and considerate should we be upon this Concernment! That we be found truly Fix'd in the Firmament of Christianity, that neither in Regard of the fowl Antichristi­an Errors, nor the inward Impurities of Heart, and Life, we are as wanding, and Falling Stars, for whom is reserv'd the black­ness of Darkness for ever; but may shine, as the Stars, and as the Firmament, Fix'd in that Firmament of Christianity; by the light of which Holy Men are now wise to win Souls, and to turn many to Righteousness; from which Antichrist by Transgression Fell, as a Star from Heaven upon Earth, and went down to Open that bottom­less Pit, and fill'd the World with Darkness and Smoke; and shall be cast into his own place at that day, the Lake that Burns Rev. 9. 1. with Fire and Brimstone; But the Righteous shall shine forth as the Sun in the Kingdom of their Father, in the New Jerusalem with God and the Lamb; and for Ever.

If these Things seem hard to be understood, let us there­fore grow in Grace, and in the Knowledg of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be Glory for Ever.

THE END.

An APPENDIX.

This Prediction I have added by way of Appendix, eoncerning Greatest Revolutions in the so near Ap­proaching Year, 1698.

Found in the Study of that eminent, Learned Person, Justus Lipsius, who Dyed in the year 1606.

Transcribed by Dr. Mayer, into his Preface upon all the Prophets, published 1653. and there to be seen by any who will inspect it.

Translated, and Remark'd upon according to its Agree­ment with Scripture Prophecy, and the Line of it's Time explain'd in several Discourses; de­monstrating, the time, times and half time sworn by Christ, as the space of the Antichristian Apostasy shall end in the year 1697. And so these so Grand Events appear in a settlement and Consistency, 1698.

The Original PREDICTION.
POst Mille Expletos a Partu Virginis Annos,
Et post sexcentos Rursus ab Orbe Datos,
Nonagesimus Octavus, Mirabilis Annus
Ingrue [...]; Issecum Gaudia Laeta Feret.
Corruet hoc Anno Turcarum Invisa Propago;
Roma, Tuum in Libris Fabula Nomen Erit,
Omnia Tunc [...]bu [...]t Mundi fursum, arque Deorsum
Imp [...]ria, ut Populos Sceptra Novella Premant;
Utque su [...]m Cunctas Verbum Diffundat in Oras.
Christus, & imperitet Nomine Ubique Suo.
The Translation.
FRom Virgins Son a Thousand Years when told,
And after them six Hundred more are Roll'd;
Then Ninety Eight, a year of VVonders Comes,
And Joyes on Joyes It heaps, to Vastest Sums;
The Hated Stem of Turks that year shall Fall:
Oh Rome, in Sacred Books Foretold, men All
Shall call thy Name That Lye: Earths Empires Move
Their upside down; a Novel Empire prove
The Universal Monarchy; Then Christ
To th' Everlasting Gospel giving Rist,
Shall through all Tongues, and Kindreds it diffuse,
And for Imperial Style his own Name use.

I can Humbly Bless God, I have never been subject to be lightly Impress'd upon by any Pretensions to Prophecy; Re­vering only that sure word of Prophecy, Scripture Prophecy; to which I esteem the word, Prophecy, in proper speaking, to be now only due; as the word Scripture to Sacred Writ; and the Word to the Word of God; yet it is very certain, there may be still, and there is still vouchsafed by God such Expositions of the sure Word of Prophecy, as that his Servants thereby have the Testimony of Jesus, which is the Spirit of Prophecy; or some Eminent Servants of God, as A. B. Ʋsher had; may have particular Foresights given them; or God may provi­dentially Dictate to the minds of whom he pleases, the Fore­telling of particular Events, and their Times; and each of these may, in general speaking, be call'd Prophecy, or rather (as I choose) Prediction; All this notwithstanding; A Vain Credulity, a weak Superstitiousness, Fanatick Hears I have, through his Grace, Far Removed from me; and I desire still to Renunciate to them.

Yet being (as I may Account) Providentially Directed to this Prediction; which I can sollemnly Affirm had so little to do yet with my so constant Fixing on Ninety Seven; that I had never Taken the least notice of it, before the latter part of the last year; Nor had I now minded it in the least; but that I found it to Tread the path of Scripture Prophecy in so great, and won­derful Events; and according to the Line of Time given also by [Page 69] that Prophecy; with which I have for several years last past, Separated my self to Intermeddle, and to make, as publick, [...] I could, as one Principal Point of Wisdom at this Season, now the Day is so near Approaching; I have found upon most Assured grounds; This Prediction hath fallen upon the Just Time for those Events, that commencing 1697 shall settledly appear, 1698.

Moreover, I find, This Prediction Formed in the very Phrase and Words, which are so Applicable to the sacred Style; that considering both the Substance and the Happiness of the very Expression in several Instances, I cannot deny my self the Sa­tisfaction, and others the Benefit (as I hope and desire) of ma­king some Remarks upon such an Effort of Providence; in giving to, whoever it was, a Prediction so agreeable to Prophe­cy; a Prediction, in undeniable Fact, many years before the pre­sent Time, so consonous to what, upon strongest Arguments from the Word of God, with the Consent of Undeniable, Universal History, I have offered to General Knowledge, and Observation; To Excite to the Pondering of which Substanti­al Proof, I have some Expectation; such a Concurrent, short Prediction (because we are naturally Inclin'd to have some kind of Quicker Thoughts for such) may not be unuseful.

This Prediction is affirm'd by Dr. Mayer, to have been found in the Study of Justus Lipsius, a Name so known to the World, for All Learning, and Sagacity of Enquiry into All Things; and of the Roman, (as they will have it call'd) Catholic Church.

I confess, I can give no greater Proof, It was found there, than that Dr. Mayer hath left it so Affirm'd; but if it was so; It Argues, There was some Observation Defer'd to it by him; that he [...]ave that Paper a place in his Study, which Foretold Rome, a the Catholick Church, should become one of the most no­torious Fables in the World; and be exposed, as one of the greatest Cheats upon it, Altho he seem'd to adhere to it; I say, He seem'd (for of so great a Wit, I question it) However bigotted he appear'd in Writing the Virgo Hallensis.

But that which is enough to me, and will be, I suppose, to others in thi [...] Kind, is; That it hath undoubtedly been extant in Print above Forty years, and so in the Hands of many per­sons; and that any one may see it at any Time, that Pleases.

Now it must needs be, Dr. Mayer knew it a Predicti­on of [...]o [...]e Age in his [...]im [...], in Assig [...]ing it to Lipsius his Study, who Died near Fifty years before; and how long be [...]ore it came into Lipsi [...]s his Study, it cannot be said; Yet indeed Forty years in this matter, is as much as an Hundred; and Dr May­ers Preface in this C [...]e, as much as Lipsius his Study. For the whole stres [...] lie [...] here; that such Events were Foretold so long before; that there was no Train of Causes leading probably to that Ninety Eight, more than any other year; and that there be sufficient Assurance of this by the Predictions being in well known Hands: Now both these are uncontestable concerning this Prediction by being so long ago in Print in Dr. Mayer, and Dr. Mayer's Works in many Hands. The Sum of the matter is, This Prediction was so long, before 98, an undeniable matter of Fact in Print, and known to be so.

But I must not conceale; There is a Prediction in S [...]ows An­nals, p: 749. According to which, This, I am Discoursing, most probably was Form'd, as appears by several Allusions of the one to the other, so plain as not to be Denied. It is a Prediction up­on that famous year 1588, running thus.

Post Mille Expletos a partu Virginis Annos,
Et post Quingentos Rursus ab orbe Datos.
Octagesimus Octavus, Mirabilis Annus
Ingruet; Is secum Tristia Fata Feret:
Si non hoc Anno Totus Malus Occidet Orbis,
Si non in Nihilum, Terra, Fretumque Ruant
Cuncta Tamen Mundi sursum, Ibuntque Retrorsum
Imperia, & Luctus undique Grandis Erit.
There Englished thus
When after Christs Birth, there shall be expir'd,
Of Hundreds Fifteen years, Eeighty and Eight;
Then comes the Time of Danger to be fear'd,
And all mankind with Dolors it shall fright;
For if the World that year shall not fall,
If Sea and Land then Perish, ne decay,
Yet States and Kingdoms then alter shall,
And men to ease themselves shall have no way.

Now this last Recited Prediction is said to be written by Regio­ [...]ontanus, that most Famous Astronomer of his Time, in the [Page 71] year 1475. the year before he died at Rome; And the Pre­diction I now Recommend, may seem to be a meer Imitati­on of it; and so to be the Diversion of a Fanciful, Poetical, and Adventrous Pen, wantonizing upon a Former Prediction, and Running Counter to it; and that therefore there is no Regard to be had to it. But I shall argue the contrary, and that upon Due Compare of the one with the other, That in Dr. Mayer will be much advanced in Repute.

I do grant, That it was written by one, that had laid the Prediction of Regiomontanus before him: Nay, I make no doubt, he writ it after the year 1588. when the Remarkable Events of that Famous Year had given Reputation to the Prediction upon it: Whoever therefore writ the Prediction before us, Coasted, and Glanced along upon that of Regio­montanus, grown into Esteem by Things Answering it; and grafts a far greater Prediction upon so much, as would serve his main purpose, and Leaves the Rest. And this he did to give it some Remarkableness, by appearing in some of the Garb of what had obtain'd a Degree of Honor by the Effect Following it: But it indeed far exceeds its Copy; and since I know, it is so Truly according to the Sure Word of Prophecy, I am assur'd, whoever writ it, writ it either from a Judgment enlightned by deep Enquiry into Scripture Prophecy, or by some Divine Impulse, and far above the Copy.

And as Reasons of my Assurance herein, I make these Ob­servations upon it.

1. In the other Prediction, there is nothing, but what falls within an ordinary Human imagination, supposing the world in an Hurly Burly, and Confusion; but such a Series of Events known only to Scripture, and its Prophecy, not to be Read in the Stars, nor in the Book of Nature, but the Book of God only, shews a much higher Original, than Human Imagination, taking Copy from one much lower than it self; but either a mind Divinely Taught by Scripture Prophecy, or at least, Pro­videntially Impell'd, as Caiaphas's was, John 11. 51. and not speaking of it self.

2. Whereas in the other Prediction, The Events, though sig­nified to be great, yet are but General, and Confused, and no one Express; In this Prophecy, all is very great, each Event is of [Page 72] the greatest, that can be Thought of with in the state of the whole present World; each is Distinct, Firmly declared, Like one that knew he spake on great ground; this Poetry and Fancy do not use to do.

3. Whereas a mere Fancy, or Humor of Foretelling would have chosen some nearer Time than above a Century beyond that 1588, to raise a quicker Expectation; and thereby a great­er Amuse; this Prediction, carries steddily to 1698, so far off.

4. A Naked Fancy, or Incertainly guided Arrogancy of Fore [...]elling, if it had born so Aloft, and at a Distance from the Time of the Former Prediction, would have hardly miss'd of the C [...]im [...] of 1688, Answering 1588. For we see common Expectation hath of it self run upon that year, and has not been greatly mistaken, in Regard of the Revolution in this Na­tion, wherein All the European World hath been so much con­cern'd also; to carry therefore the Prediction as from one 88, and not to stop, and quarry (as one may say) upon the next 88. but to fall Perpendicularly upon 98. is a higher flight, than of a Fancy.

5. The words chosen out, by whoever, was the Predictor, so susceptible of, so ready to Fall into, and to Cope with the words, and Images of Scripture Prophecy, are a very great Argu­ment, and Assurance; He either from Great Acquaintance with Scripture Prophecy, and Assistance from it in that mediate way, or some more immediate Inspirings of that Holy Spirit of Prophecy; or at least from a Providential Impulse, or Motion of Mind was Enabled to use words, which the Holy Spirit Teacheth, comparing Spiritual Things with Spiritual.

6 [...] That, which above All Assures me, there was a Divine Extraordinary, either Explorating, and searching out of the Testimony of Jesus in the Written word; or from some Emoti­on of the Spirit of Prophecy in some Holy and Sanctified Person; or at least from some Providential Impulse of that Spirit upon the Person, that writ the Prediction, is, that he hath fallen upon that very time, I have by exact Calculation found to be the very Time for the Coming of these great Events to pass in a settle­ment in 98, after their beginning 97.

FINIS.

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