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falfe prophets alfo among the people, even as there fhall be false teachers among you, who privily fhall bring in damnable herefies, even denying the Lord that bought them. As there were falfe prophets among the children of Ifrael, who feduced them to idolatry and the worshipping of other Gods befides the true God; fo there fhall be falfe teachers among Chriftians, who by plaufible pretences and imperceptible degrees fhall bring in the like damnable herefies, even denying the Lord that bought them, profeffing themselves to be his fervants bought with a price, and yet denying him to be their lord and master by applying to other lords and mediators. It is not any error, or every herefy, that is apoftafy from the faith. It is a revolt in the principal and effential article, when we worthip God by any image or reprefentation, or when we worthip other beings befides God, and pray unto other mediators befides the one mediator between God and men, the man Chrift Jefus. This is the very effence of Chriftian worship, to worship the one true God thro' the one true Chrift; and to worship any other God or any other mediator, is apoftafy and rebellion against God and againft Chrift. It is, as St. Paul faith, (Col. II. 19.) not holding the head, but depending upon other heads: It is, as St. Peter expreffeth it, denying the Lord that bought us, and ferving other Lords: and the denial of fuch an effential part may as properly be called apoftafy, as if we were to renounce the whole Chriftian faith and worthip. It is renouncing them in effect, and not treating and regarding God as God, or Chrift as Chrift.
Such is the nature of apoftafy from the faith; and it is Implied that this apoftafy thould be general, and infect great numbers. For though it be faid only Same shatt apoftatize, yet by fome in this place many are understood. The word fome may ufually denote few in English; but in the learned languages it frequently fignifies a multitude, and there are abundant inftances in fcripture. In St. John's Gofpel it is faid (VI. 60.) that Many of Jefus his difciples, when they had heard this, faid, This is an hard faying, who can bear it? and again a little afterwards (ver. 66.) Many of his difciples went back, and
walked no more with him: but Jefus himself speaking of these many faith (ver. 64.) There are fome of you that believe not; fo that fome are plainly the fame as mony. St. Paul fpeaking of the infidelity and rejection of the Jews faith, (Rom. XI. 17.) that fome of the branches are broken off: but thofe fome, it was evident, were the main body of the nation. The fame apoftle informs the Corinthians, (1 Cor. X. 5, 6.) that ith many of the Ifraelites God was not well pleafed; for they were overthrown in the wilderness: and their punishments were intended for examples to Chriftians. Wherefore he concludes (ver. 7.) Neither be ye idolaters, as were fome of them; as it is written, The people fat down to eat and drink, and rofe up to play: where fome are manifeftly the fame as the people. Again (ver. 8.) Neither let us commit fornication, as fome of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand: where fome are equivalentto many thousands. Again (ver. 9.) Neither let us tempt Chrift, as fome of them alfo tempted, and were deftroyed of ferpents: where fome are the fame with much people; we read (Numb. XXI. 6.) that the Lord fent fiery ferpents among the people; and they bit the people, and much people of Ifrael died. And again (ver. 10.) Neither murmur ye, as fome of them alfo murmured, and were destroyed of the deftroyer: where fome are the fame with all the congregation except Joshua and Caleb; for we read (Num. XIV. 1, 2.) that All the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night: And all the children of Ifrael murmured against Mofes, and against Aaron; and the whole congregation faid unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt, or would God we had died in this wilderness: and they had their wifh, for except Joshua and Caleb, they all died in the wildernefs. Some therefore may fignify many, but not all; as the apoftle fpeaketh elfewhere, (Heb. III. 16.) For Some when they had heard, did provoke; howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Mofes. The apoftle might have the fame meaning in this place; and this apoftafy may be general and extenfive, and include many but not all. If only fome few perfons were to be concerned and engaged in it, it was fcarcely an object worthy of prophecy :
phecy: nor could that properly be pointed out as a peculiarity of the latter times, which is common to all times, for in all times there are fome apoftates or other. It muft neceffarily be a great apoftafy; and it is called, as it hath been fhown, the apoftafy by way of eminence and diftinction; but it would hardly have been diftinguished in this emphatical manner, if only an inconfiderable number were to profefs and embrace it. Other prophecies likewise intimate, that there should be a great and general corruption and apoftafy in the Chriftian church; and the event will alfo confirm us in our opinion. For we have feen and ftill fee a great part of Chriftendom guilty of the fame fort of apoftafy and defection as the Ifraelites were in former times. As the Ifraelites worshipped God in the golden calf and golden calves; for (Exod. XXXII. 5.) they proclaimed a feast to the Lord, and faid (ver. 4. and 1 Kings XII. 28.) Behold thy Gods, O Ifrael, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt: fo there are Chriftians who worship their creator and redeemer in an image, or in a crucifix, or in the facramental bread. As the Ifraelites worshipped Baalim or departed heroes, and as the Pfalmift faith (Pfal. CVI. 28.) ate the facrcifices of the dead: fo there are Christians who worthip departed faints, and institute fafts and feftivals, and offer up prayers and praises unto them. And as this apoftafy overfpread the church of Ifrael for many ages, fo it hath for many ages too over-. fpread the church of Chrift. The apoftafy therefore is the very fame in both churches. The apoftle forefaw and foretold it; and upon the mention of Ifrael's provocation, very properly admonished the Chriftians to beware of the like infidelity and apoftafy, (Heb. III. 12.) Take heed, Brethren, left there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing, εν τῷ αποσηναι, in apofiatizing from the living God.
II. It is more particularly fhown, wherein this apoftafy should confift, in the following words, giving heed to feducing fpirits and doctrins of devils, or rather giving heed to erroneous spirits and doctrins concerning demons. For I conceive not the meaning to be, that this apoftafy fhould proceed from the fuggeftion of evil fpirits and inftigation
gation of devils. That would be no peculiar mark ftinction; that might be faid of any wickedness in al, as well as of this in particular. The means too hich this apoftafy fhould be propagated, and the us who fhould propagate it, are defcribed after; fo that this part is to be understood rather of s than of perfons, rather of the matter wherein this afy fhould confift, than of the first teachers and rs of it. Spirits feem to be much the fame in fenfe arins, as Mr. Mede and other divines have ob1 the fame word to be used alfo by St. John. hn IV. 1.) Beloved, believe not every spirit, that is doârin, but try the fpirits, that is the doctrins, er they are of God; because many false prophets are. out into the world. Spirits and doctrins therefore be confidered, the latter word as explanatory of the : and error fometimes fignifying (3) idolatry, erus doctrins may comprehend idolatrous, as well as octrins. But it is ftill farther added for explanathat thefe doctrins fhould be doctrins of devils or of s; where the genitive cafe is not to be taken acas if demons were the authors of thefe doctrins, flively, as if demons were the subject of thefe docThus a doctrin of vanities (didacnaria patαion . 8.) is a doctrin concerning vanities or idols. arin of the Lord (didan т8 Kypie. Acts XIII. 12.) loctrin concerning him: Then the deputy when he at was done, believed, being aftonished at the doctrin Lord. The doctrins of baptifms (didaya BaπTIOμar VI. 2.) and of laying on of hands, and of refurof the dead, and of eternal judgment, are doctrins g to all thefe particulars. And by the fame ction, διδασκαλίαι δαιμωνιών, do&rins of demons, Arins about and concerning demons. This is re a prophecy that the idolatrous theology of s profeffed by the Gentiles fhould be revived Chriftians. Chriftians fhould in procefs of time rate, and refemble the Gentiles as well as the
apoftate Jews. They fhould not only apoftatize after the manner of the Jews, but thould also worship demons after the manner of the Gentiles.
Demons, according to the theology of the Gentiles, were middle powers between the fovran Gods and mortal
So faith Plato, the moft competent judge and the most confummate writer in thefe fubjects; (4) · Every 'demon is a middle being between God and mortal man.' Thefe demons were regarded as mediators and agents between the Gods and men. So faith Plato again, (5) 'God is not approached by man, but all the commerce ⚫ and intercourfe between Gods and men is by the me ⚫diation of demons. The demons, faith he, are interpreters and conveyers from men to the Gods, and from the Gods to men, of the fupplications and facrifices on the one part, and of the commands and rewards of facrifices on the other.' Apuleius, a later philofopher, giveth (6) the like defcription. Demons are middle powers,
by whom both our defires and deferts pafs unto the Gods; they are carriers between man on earth and the • Gods in heaven; hence of prayers, thence of gifts; they convey to and fro, hence petitions, thence fupplies; or they are interpreters on both fides, and bearers of faluta⚫tions; for it would not be, faith he, for the majesty of the 'celeftial Gods, to take care of these things.' The whole is fummed up by the faid Apuleius (7) in few words. All things are done by the will, power, and authority
(4) Και γαρ παν το δαιμονιαν μεταξύ 851 DETE NA JIT. Omnis enim demonum natura inter deum et mortale eft intermedia. Platonis Sympof. p. 202. Tom. 3. Edit. Serrani.
(5) Θεος δε ανθρώπῳ 3 μιγνυται, αλλα δια τελε πασα ετιν ἡ ὁμίλια και ἡ διαAxlos Dears weus avṛpes. Deus autem cum homine non mifcetur, fed per hanc dæmonum naturam commercium omne atque colloquium inter deos hominefque confcitur. Ερμενευον και διαπορθμεύον θεοις τα παρ' ανθρώπων, και ανθρώποις Ta waga Dewr, Twμer Taç denσεις και θυσίας, των δε τας επιτάξεις τε nai apoicas two duo. Interpretis et portitoris quafi munere fungitur, ut res humanas ad deos, divinas ad ho
mines tranfmittat: horum quidem preces et facrificia, illorum vero præcepta et facrificiorum remunerationes. Ibid. p. 202, 203.`
(6) Media poteftates, per quas et defideria noftra et merita at deos conmeant, inter terricolas colicolafque vectoros, hinc precum, inde donorum, qui ultro citroque portant hinc petitiones, inde fuppetias, feu quidem utrinque interpretes et falutigeri.-Neque enim pro majeftate deum colertium fuerit, hæc curare. Αpuleius de Deo Socratis, p. 674, 677. Edit. Delph.
(7) Cuneta cœleftium voluntate, numine, et authoritate, fed dæmonum obfequio, et opera, et ministerio fieri arbitrandum cft. Ibid. P. 675. · of