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ilty#ss%y, that theses Answers were .(Communicated by the Stones in the Breastplate* dwhich. exprese'd an AfBi;ma,ri ve,; by spw^iœ&Bffueb, and a Negative, by not dtts'mQ their common I^ustre. But % is mtj&i probable, the Answer was givers by ,. the H^b-Triest, who was empowered upon such. Occasions, by the TJrim contains wphin the Breast;-plate* ten which; God had annex'd fuel* £• Quality, C) ,
As to inquiring)--..-^fu^fed byA prophets, it - was a very ancient Msage. In the Days of Sat$miiM^^if^^r^mei *« Israel, x Sam. when a man -went to inquire of Gqd, thus ix-9he^fpaks, Come, and Ut m go to the Seen, • or Trophet, Benhadad* King of Syria., being sick, sent one. to enquire os\the L.oiii>, * Kings by M\$$^saying, SheM J recover <f tfa.yvi. 8. diseajehAysy ■ '' i...- c? ,,'\': .-.bnd'.ns
And sometimes, when God was offend* ed with the iniquitous Courses of either, or both the Persons, the Enquirer, or him by whom he enquired, he would per-? mit an evil, lying Spirit, to return the Answerv .to the Deception and Confusi©b, perhaps, of both..
3 j o* R E 11 tf r ou 5 .A * "f rf i fcsK
<5f this, we have a notable JfostaVtfe}.
where >4&*Æ •K'tfg' of Israel, /»w/ JeferfKto*r phat King of Judah who was coma^to'/ visit him, fate each on his throne, chaihed in' their robes, at the entring in of the gate of Samaria; and all the Prophets prophesied before them, saying, Go up to Ramoth Gilead, for the L oRd shall deliver it into the hand of the king. But, Micaiab unwilling- to speak his Mind, because he .<. knew how ill the Truth would be relisted by Ahab, when• ir did not suit with his Inclinations', being at last press'd to it,
x^Hr°n' toW him» Behold the L o Rt> hath pat a ice' ' lying sptrit in the mouths of these thy Prophets; and'the Lord hath spoken evil againstthee: Which is afterward thus explains j If thou return in peace, then bath not the Lord spoken by me.
Another Way* of God's declaring his Will, was by Dreams-, communicated, in sucli an extraordinary Manner, that the*3fii Person dreaming might certainly knovri'vo thafGod had spoke to him. The Loxi)'?-.', expresly declares that he would sometimes Numb, thus reveal himself. If there be a Pro
phet among you, I the Lord will mtiehm
JelfZ&nwn to Mm, in a vision; and will ea^lxtetui him, in a dream ,; my servant
Qf this Manner of God's declaring his 7411, we. have Abundance of Instances, \roughout the whole Bible: In the new estaoient, we read that, the angeI of the Matt. i. ,oxd appeared, to Joseph in . a dream; *°\. ^vepal Times. And it is among the 22. iigns and Effects of the Promulgation )f *.t1^i jGoffjel,! prophetically said; It shall Joel ii.^a. ■ome ta pass afterword, llfat I will pour' )ut/>tny spirit upon all, fefit; your sow and . your daughters stall prophesy ; your old men (hall dream dreams; your, young men stall fee . visions. :•. h
Sometimes God. imparted his Will tor; Men, directly.and immediately; sometimes he,appointed his Angels to be instrumental in .it. But, in whatever Manner it was., convey'd to Men's Understandings, when.*' then by only hearing a Voice,, or more* over by actually seeing a Vision,.all:that we can pretend,, or ought to >desire, to knowv is^ only this; that the < Minds of. Men were hereby convine'd of the Truth: and-Certainty of a divine Revelation.
And, when God is said to speak or appear to any Person, we are to imagine no more than this; that such Person's Mind was affected, by the incomprehensible Operation of God's holy Spirit, in such a Manner, as to make him perceive the. Intent and Purpose of the divine Monition, as clearly, as if he had heard a Voice, or seen a Person speaking to him. Since, it may easily be. conceiv'd, at the same Time, that God (by whose Power the Elements, and every thing in Nature subsists,) can so model Air, which is the Vehicle of bound, and Light, by which all Objects become visible, as to convey what Voices and Shapes he thinks proper, to the Ears and Eyes of Men. Art. i. For as God is a Being (as the Articles of our Church declare) without Body, Parts, or Passions, we must understand all those Passages of Scripture, where he is represented as doing any thing after the Manner of Men, to be written only by way of Accommodation to our mortal Capacities, to which God, in his own Nature, is incommunicable. So that when he is written or spoken of, it can be done
■ho other Way than in those Terms w&ch \ye use, when we write and speak of one another. Therefore he is introduc'd as talking, being angry, plcas'd, repenting^ grieving, sometimes in one Place, sometimes in another, having Eyes, Hands* a. Moujji, with other Circumstances of the fame KLind. All which argues no Imperl^cti^nin God, but in us poor Mortals; wno are not able, either -.to, think or speak of him.'in any other^ Terms than those which relate to our selves.
. And &r this, as Iqng as. we continue in our mortal State, there is no Remedy. And therefore, God, at such Times as he thought proper, has convey'd his Will to Mankind, chiefly by inspiring some Men to declare, and deliver it to others; by which Means, it comes to be call'd, the word of Godt speken by the mouth of the L o R D, &c. The Persons, who were so. inCpir'd, being call'd Prophets-, and the Things ..which they deliver'd, 'Prophesies, And cherefore it is frequently said of them, Vhe. WQrd of the Lord came unto them. And, they themselves, are oblig'd to fay, The Lor ~s>. spake unto me, faying.