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William Nicholls.

A Conference with a Theist : containing an answer to all the most usual objections of the infidels against the Christian religion ... (Volume 1) online

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cies, but only a fupernatural Power of God which did
continually attend him? And {o Ifa, lix. 2 1. God tells
the Prophet, that it was his Spirit that infpired him with
the Words that he fpoke. Saith the Lord, my Spirit
'which is upon thse, and the Words ivhich I have put into thy
Mouthj 6cc* And fo feveral Times in Ez.eklel, The
Spirit of the Lord fell upon me, Ezek. xi. 5 . and the Spirit
entered into me^ Chap. iii. 24. A^nd often in the Book of
iDaniel-i the Spirit of the holy Gods is faid to be in him, Dan»
iv. 8. and ix. 5, 11, and 14. In fhort, divine Revela-
tion is all over the Old Teftamient, called by the Name of
Spirit ; and even that extraordinary Infpiration v/hich was
foretold by the Prophet Joel^ to prevail under the Gofpel,
is called fo likewife : Iwillpour out mj Spirit upon all Fkfl)y
land jour Sens and jour Daughters fhall Prophsfj^ your old
Men JImU dream Drea?m, and yoy.r young Men jjoall fee
Vijions, Joeliu 28. Where you may particularly obferve,
that the word Spirit is joined with Prophecy and Revela-
tion. And upon this Account the Holy Ghoft, which
was the Giver of thefe prophetick Gifts, is in the New
Teftament called 'rnvy.ct a-^ovy the Holy Spirit, And fo
is divine Revelation among the Heathens called by the
fame Name. As, Dii coeptis infpirate meisy and Infpirmt^
Deo,

It is plain, therefore, that by the word Spirit in Scrip-
ture, is frequently underftood Divine Revelation^ which
is the Effed of the Operation of God's Holy Spirit, con-
veying to the Minds of feveral prophetical Men, whom

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God has beenpleafed to chufe many extraordinary Truths^
conducible to the Good of his Church. Which is a
Thing fo frequent and fo plain in Scripture, as is not to
bt bantered away by a little foolifli Criticifm ; and is z
Truth never to be fliaken, unlefs the Infidels have Force
enough to overthrow the whole Body of the Scriptures.

Phil, Well, we will fee? Credentmsy what we can do as
to that Matter, feme Time or other. But in the mean time,
methinks, you ourihoot your felves a little in your No-
tions of Revelation. For you generally affert, that Re-
velation is caufed by a more immediate and fupernatural.
Application of the divine Spirit, to the Mind of Man,
and fo does make known to it thofe extraordinary Truths 5
which indeed is only a Cad: of the Jewifh unphilofophi-
cal Ignorance. For when they, poor Wretches, could
not underfland the natural Caufes of Infpiration, they
were prefenrly for a ^^^i dm. fu^^vYn for calling in God
to help out their forry Philofophy. Every Thing which
was a little furprifing to them, they muft needs attribute
to the immediate Ad of God, they were every Moment
making Mountains as well as Men of God ; and accord-
ing to their Philofophy, an equal Degree of the divine
Power was requifite as well to make a great Hunter, as a
great Prophet. But if they had underftood better the
natural Caufes of Infpiration, they would never have
been guilty of fuch manifefl: Abfurdities. For that In-
ipiration which the Jews, and the Chriftians after them,
would needs have proceed imimediately from God, is on-
ly the Elfe6l of a vivid Imagination, For it is not to be
thought that the Prophets had any more immediate Con-
verfe with God Almighty, than other Men ; but only
they had warmer Heads, a quicker Imagination, and a
more lively Fancy. Other Men's Imaginations and
Dreams did not leave fuch deep and Lifting Imprellions
upon their Minds, but were quickly over, and they per-
ceived that they v/ere but Dreams and Fancies : but the
prophetick Imaginators had fuch ftrong Fancies in their
Heads, that were as clear to them as the Reprefentations
made by their outward Senfes, and they thought they.

were



Part IL "lioith ^ Th E I s t. oo.j

were as certain of what they fo fanfied, as of what they
heard or faw*

And *tis plain from Scripture, that flrong Imagination
only is the grand Requifite for Prophecy. And upon
this Account, without doubt, the Jews will not allow
Solomon the Gift of Prophecy ," for he was a wife Man in
whom good Senfe and a clear Judgment was prevalent,
and therefore he was ill qualified for Prophecy, to which
Tmcy was chiefly requifite. So thofe famous Men in
Scripture* who are renowned for their Prudence ^, He-
rmm^ Darda, Kaichol, were not Prophets ; but on the
other fidcy the Prophets were for the moft Part out of
the Country People, or Men of no Erudition ; or fome-
times Women, as Hagar, Abrahams Maid, had the Gift
of Prophecy. For thefe People having but little Under-
ftanding, had ftronger Paffions, and did abound more irt
Imagination, than Men who had better Senfe, and who
governed their Fancies by their Reafon.

And that you may underftand that Imagination was
the Foundation of Revelation, be pleafed to confider,
that their Prophecies differ'd only by the Diverfity of their
Imagination, which is a plain Argument, that the one
was the Caufe of the other. If the Prophet was of a
merry chearful Temper, then Vi(^ories and Peace were-
revealed to him ; becaufe Men of that Complexion are
apt to entertain their Thoughts with fuch delightful Sub-
jeds. If he was a melancholy Man, then he prophefied
only Wars and Judgments, and fuch other difmal Things,
which are ufual to go along with fuch black Thoughts*
And fo the like Diverfity, if the Prophet was addided
to Anger, or Grief, or Pity. And for the Proof of this
there is a remarkable Inftance in Scripture, z Kings \\u
15. The three Kings o£ Judahy Ijracly ind Edomy are
iri a great Strait for want of Water for their Armies, they
go and confult Elijha the Prophet^ and he being very
angry at the Sight of his Enemy, the King of Ifracl tells
him, if it Ti^as not for the Prefime of Jehofophat King of

f I Chron. ii. 6. i Kings iv. 31.

Q^ 4 Jtidiihi



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Judah-i he "would not lookjoward him, nor fee him. Now
ne could not Prophelie any Thing that was pleafing to
them, whilft his Choler was fo high. And therefore he
very prudently defires that a Minftrel fhould be brought
him : And when the Minfir el played, the Hand of the Lord
came upon him : That is, the Mufick put him in a good
Humour, and then he was inclined to imagine as pleafant
Things as the Kings would have him.

So when Afofes w?s an^ry with Pharaoh, he had re-
vealed to him the miferable Slaughter of the



Online LibraryWilliam NichollsA Conference with a Theist : containing an answer to all the most usual objections of the infidels against the Christian religion ... (Volume 1) → online text (page 21 of 47)