Freethought Archives > Thomas Woolston > Six Discourses on Miracles

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A SECOND

DISCOURSE

ON THE

MIRACLES

OF OUR

SAVIOUR,

In View of the present Controversy between Infidels and Apostates.


Audendum est, ut illustrata Veritas pateat, multique ab Errore liberentur. Lactant.


By Thomas Woolston, sometime Fellow of Sidney-College in Cambridge.


LONDON:

Printed for the Author, Sold by him in Bell-Alley, Coleman-Street, and by the Booksellers of London and Westminster. 1727.

[Price One Shilling.]


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TO THE

Right Reverend Father in God

EDWARD,

Lord Bishop of Lichfield.

My Lord,

Your Fame for that celebrated Book, call'd the Defence of Christianity, is the Occasion of this Dedication. I need not tell you, what vast Reputation you have acquired by it: You have been not only often applauded from the Press, but have met with large Compliments and Thanks from your Clergy for it. And tho' Mr. Scheme has very untowardly written against you, yet this is still your Honour, that you are an Author, not unworthy of his Regard and Notice.

I am, in Opinion with the Fathers, against an establish'd Hire for the[Pg iv] Priesthood, thinking it of disservice to true Religion: But when I consider'd the Usefulness of your Lordship's Episcopal Riches and Honours to this Controversy, I almost chang'd my Mind. Your exalted Station in the Church, has given Credit and Authority to your Work, which, if it had came from the Hands of a poor Priest, had never been so much admir'd; neither would Mr. Scheme, I believe, nor my self, have paid so many Respects to it.

For this Reason, I wish some more of your Order would appear in this Controversy, that the World might see what famous Men are our Bishops, and of what Use their Hundreds and Thousands a Year are to the Defence of Christianity; which, if such able Hands were not amply hired to its Support, might be in Danger, as certainly as, that Men of low Fortunes must needs be Men of poor Parts, little Learning, and slender Capacities to write in Vindication of it.

Some have conceiv'd Hopes that the great Bishop of London, from his last[Pg v] Charge to his Clergy, will second you in this Controversy; if so, there's no doubt on't, but his Performance will be commensurate to his State and Revenues. Of his Zeal in the Controversy, he has already given a notable Instance, when he prosecuted the Moderator; and I dare say, he'll vouchsafe us a more remarkable Specimen of his Knowledge in it, as soon as he can spare Time for't; and then (Oh my Fears!) he'll pay me off for my Objection against Christ's Resurrection, which he would have persuaded the Civil Magistrate to have done for him.

But whether the Bishop of London seconds you or not, it's Time, my Lord, to expect another Volume from you, in Answer to Mr. Scheme, which, for all the Reports that are spread of your intended Silence, I hope soon to see publish'd. What will the People say, if that Philisthin goes off, giving you the last Blow in the Controversy? Nothing less than that he has gotten the better of the Learned Bishop of Lichfield, and has refuted[Pg vi] Christianity to the Conviction of the Bishop himself, who would renounce it too, but for the temporal Advantages he enjoys by it.

Think, my Lord, on the Dishonour of such Reflections, and resume Courage against the Adversary. I look upon you as a more sturdy Gladiator than for one Cut on the Pate, to quit the Stage of Battle. Tho' Mr. Scheme has unluckily hit you on a soft Place, and weaken'd your Intellectuals for a while; yet he is a generous Combatant, and gives you Time to recover your wonted Strength of Reason. At him again then, my Lord, and fear not, in your Turn, to give him such a Home-Thrust, as will pierce his unbelieving Heart.

And when your Lordship engages him again from the Press, I hope you'll be more explicite for Liberty of Debate. Through godly Zeal for Church, you unhappily made a Slip, in your Dedication to the King, on the persecuting Side of the Question, which had lik'd to have sully'd the Glory of your whole Work. Such a[Pg vii] grand Philosopher, as you are, should trust alone to the Goodness of your Cause, and the Strength of your Reasonings, in Defence of it: Such a potent Champion for Christianity, as you are, should disdain the Assistance of any, but of God, to fight for you. The Use of the Civil Sword on your Side, is not only a Disparagement to your Parts, but a Disgrace to our Religion.

I know not what your Lordship may think on't, but the Prosecution of the Moderator was, in the Judgment of others, more than of my self, some Reproach to you: Because of a few slender Animadversions, I made on your renown'd Book, some think I suffer'd a Prosecution, which you, in Honour, should have discourag'd. I am willing to acquit you as much as may be; and would, if I could, impute it to your Forgetfulness, rather than your Malice, that you step'd not between me and Danger.

Whether this Discourse will be acceptable to your Lordship, is somewhat uncertain; I am afraid it will be a little[Pg viii] disgustful to your nice and delicate Taste in Theology, which relishes nothing better than the plain and ordinary Food of the Letter of Christ's Miracles: But however, you will readily interpret this Dedication to your Honour, and if you should make me a large present of Gold for it, I sincerely assure your Lordship, it will be more than I aim'd at; neither do I desire any other Return for it, than to be endulg'd the Liberty and Pleasure to pay my customary Respects to your Writings; and upon proper Occasions to testify to the World, how much I am,

London,
October 13th
1727.

My LORD,
The Admirer of
Your Wit, Learning
and Orthodoxy,
Thomas Woolston.


A Second

DISCOURSE

ON THE

MIRACLES

OF OUR

SAVIOUR, &c.

I here publish another Discourse on our Saviour's Miracles, which I am not only oblig'd to, by the Promise I made in my former; but am encouraged to it by the Reception which that met with. If any of our Clergy were, and besides them, few or none could be offended at my former Discourse, they should have printed their Exceptions to it, and, if possible,[Pg 2] their Confutation of it, which might perhaps have prevented me the giving them any more Trouble of this Kind.

In my former Discourse I fairly declar'd, that if the Clergy could disprove my Arguments against the Letter, and for the Spirit of the Miracles I there took to task, I would not only desist from the Prosecution of my Design, but own my self an impious Infidel and Blasphemer, and deserving of the worst Punishment: But since they are all mute and silent, even in this Cause, which in Honour and Interest they should have spoken out to, they ought not to be angry, if I proceed in it. I have given them time enough to make a Reply, if they had been of Ability to do it: What must I think then upon their Silence? Nothing less than that my Cause is impregnable, and my Arguments and Authorities in Defence of it irrefragable; and though they don't professedly yield to the Force of them; yet they have nothing to say in Abatement of their Strength, or it had certainly seen the Light before now.

I go on then in my undertaking to write against the literal Story of our Saviour's Miracles, and against the Use that is commonly made of them to prove his divine Authority and Messiahship: And this I do, I solemnly again declare it, not for[Pg 3] the Service of Infidelity, but for the Honour of the Holy Jesus, and to reduce the Clergy to the good old Way, and the only Way of proving his Messiahship, and that is, by the allegorical Interpretation of the Law and the Prophets. Therefore, without any more Preamble, I resume again the Consideration of the three Heads of Discourse, before proposed to be treated on to this Purpose. And they are,

I. To shew, That the Miracles of healing all manner of Bodily Diseases, which Jesus was justly fam'd for, are none of the proper Miracles of the Messiah, neither are they so much as a good Proof of his divine Authority to found a Religion.

II. That the literal History of many of the Miracles of Jesus, as recorded by the Evangelists, does imply Absurdities, Improbabilities, and Incredibilities; consequently they, either in whole or in part, were never wrought, as they are commonly believed now-a-days, but are only related as prophetical and parabolical Narratives of what would be mysteriously, and more wonderfully done by him.

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III. To consider, what Jesus means, when he appeals to his Miracles, as to a Testimony and Witness of his divine Authority; and to shew that he could not properly and ultimately refer to those, he then wrought in the Flesh, but to those mystical ones, which he would do in the Spirit, of which those wrought in the Flesh are but mere Types and Shadows.

I have already spoken, what I then thought sufficient to the first of these Heads; and though I could now much enlarge my Reasons, and multiply Authorities upon it to the same Purpose; yet I shall not do it; but only, by Way of Introduction to my following Discourse, say, that if it had been intended by our Saviour, that any rational Argument for his divine Authority and Messiahship should be urged from his miraculous healing Power; the Diseases which he cured, would have been accurately described, and his Manner of Operation so cautiously express'd, as that we might have been sure the Work was supernatural, and out of the Power of Art and Nature to perform: But the Evangelists have taken no such Care in their Narrations of Christ's Miracles. As for Instance, Jesus is supposed[Pg 5] often miraculously to cure Lameness; but there is no Account of the nature and degree of Lameness he cured; nor are we certain, whether the Skill of a Surgeon, or Nature it self, could not have done the Work without his Help. If the Evangelists had told us of Men, that wanted one or both their Legs, (and such miserable Objects of Christ's Power and Compassion, were undoubtedly in those Days as well as in ours) and how Jesus commanded Nature to extend itself to the entire Reparation of such Defects; here would have been stupendous Miracles indeed, which no Scepticism, nor Infidelity itself could have cavill'd at; nor could I, nor the Fathers themselves have told how to allegorize, and make Parables of them. But there is no such Miracle recorded of Christ, nor any thing equal to it; so far from it, that the best and greatest Miracles of Jesus, which must confessedly be those related at large, (for no Body can suppose he did greater than those more particularly specify'd) are liable to exception, being so blindly, and lamely, and imperfectly reported, as that, by Reasonings upon the Letter of the Stories of them, they may be dwindled away, and reduced to no Wonders, which brings me to treat again on the

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II. Second Head of my Discourse, and that is, to shew, that the literal History of the Miracles of Jesus, as recorded in the Evangelists, does imply Absurdities, Improbabilities and Incredibilities; consequently they, in whole or in part, were never wrought, but are only related as parabolical Narratives of what would be mysteriously, and more wonderfully done by him.

To this Purpose I, in my former Discourse, took into Examination three of the Miracles of Jesus, viz. those, of his driving the Buyers and Sellers out of the Temple; Of his exorcising the Devils out of the Madmen, and sending them into the Herd of Swine; and Of his Transfiguration on the Mount. How well I perform'd on these Miracles which have been admired for their literal Story, let others judge and say.

I now will take into Consideration three others of Jesus's Miracles, viz. those, Of his healing a Woman that was afflicted with an Issue of Blood, twelve Years; Of his curing the Woman that labour'd under a Spirit of Infirmity, eighteen Years; and Of his telling the Samaritan Woman her Fortune of having had five husbands, and living then in Adultery[Pg 7] with another Man: Which are, all three, reputedly most miraculous and admired Stories. The two former, they say, are Arguments of Jesus's mighty Power; and the latter, of his immense Knowledge: But how little of certain Power and Knowledge there is in any of them, according to the Letter, will be seen in the sequel of this Discourse. Infidels, I dare say, if they had not wanted Liberty, would e'er now have facetiously exposed those Stories. If I snatch that Work out of their Hands, our Clergy ought to be glad, because what I do in it, is to the Honour of the Holy Jesus, and to turn those pretendedly miraculous Stories into divine Mysteries.

In my former Discourse I gave my Readers some Reason to expect, that in this I would treat on some of Jesus's Miracles, which I there mentioned, viz. On his turning Water into Wine at a Marriage in Cana of Galilee; and On his feeding of Thousands with a few Loaves and Fishes in the Wilderness; and On his Cure of the Paralytick, for whom the Roof of the House was broken up to let him down into the Room where Jesus was, &c. And I then really did design to speak to these Miracles, but upon Consideration, finding them most ludicrous Subjects according[Pg 8] to the Letter, I forbear it at present, having no Inclination to put the Clergy quite out of all Temper. If any should say, this is Fear and Cowardice in me, I can't help it: But, for all that, now I have the Clergy in a tolerable good Humour for Liberty, I'll endeavour to keep them in it, and not disturb them by an hasty and unnecessary Provocation of them. Who knows not, that the Clergy, like an untamed Colt, that I have a mind to ride, may be apt to winch and kick, and may give me a Fall before I come at the end of my Journey, to the Disappointment of my Readers? They shall therefore be gently handled and stroak'd, till they are a little more inur'd to the Bit and Saddle: And for their Sakes will I postpone such Miracles as are most obnoxious to Ridicule, and at present chuse the aforesaid three, that of almost any in the Gospel may be most inoffensively treated on. I begin then,

1. To speak to that Miracle of Jesus's[79] healing a Woman diseased with an Issue of Blood, twelve Years. To please our Divines, I will allow as much of the Truth of the Letter of this Story, as they[Pg 9] can desire. The Fathers themselves, who are for turning the whole History of Jesus's Life into Allegory and Mystery, don't deny that a Woman was cured of an Hæmorrhage, after the Manner that is here described by the Evangelists. St. Augustin says[80] of this Miracle, that it was done, as it is related; and I have a greater Veneration for his Authority, than to gainsay it. But for all that, Infidels may and will take into Examination the nature of this Miracle, and if possible make little or nothing of it. And if I do this for them, it is not to do Service to Infidelity, but to turn Mens Heads to the mystical Use of it, for which it is recorded.

As there is a particular Narration of this Miracle, among the few others, that are specified; so Reason should tell us, that if the Letter of the Story of Christ's Miracles, as our Divines hold, is only to be regarded, this is one of the greatest that Jesus wrought, or it would not be related by itself, but thrown into the Lump of all manner of Diseases, which He heal'd. And how then shall we come to the Knowledge of the greatness[Pg 10] of this Miracle? Why, there are but two Ways to it, and they are,

First, By considering the nature of the Disease, or the lamentable Condition of the Patient before Cure. And

Secondly, By considering the Manner or Means by which the Cure was performed.

If one or both of these Considerations don't manifest the Certainty of a Miracle, Infidels may conclude there was none in it.

First, As to the nature of the Disease of this Woman, we are much in the Dark about it, and very uncertain of what Kind and Degree it was. St. Matthew writing of it, says the Woman was αιμορροουσα, that is, obnoxious to bleeding; St. Mark and St. Luke say of her, that ουσα εν ρευματε αιματος, she was in an efflux or running of Blood. But neither one nor the other of the Evangelists signify of what Degree her Hæmorrhage was, nor from what part of her Body it proceeded, nor how often or seldom she was addicted to it. It might be, for ought we know, only a little bleeding at the Nose, that now and then she was subject to: Or it might be an obnoxiousness[Pg 11] to an Evacuation of Blood by Siege or Urine: Or it was, not improbably, of the menstruous Kind. Any of these might be the Case of this Woman for what's written; and I don't find that any of our Divines have determined of what sort it was. But a great Miracle is wrought, they think, in her Cure, without knowing the Disease; which Infidels will say is asserted at Random and without Reason, in as much as it is necessary to know the nature of the Distemper, or none truly and properly can say, there was a great, much less a miraculous Cure wrought.

But supposing this Hæmorrhage proceeded from what Part of the Body our Divines think fit; How will they make a grievous Distemper of it in order to a Miracle? The Woman subsisted too long under her Issue of Blood, and bore it too well, for any to make her Case very grievous. Beza[81] will have it, that is was a constant and incessant Effusion of Blood that the Woman labour'd with. But this could not be, nor was it possible, as I suppose Physicians will agree, for Nature to endure it so long, or the Woman to live twelve Days, much less twelve Years under it.

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No more then, than some slight Indisposition can reasonably and naturally be made of this Woman's Distemper. And it would be well, if Infidels would rest here with their Objections against it. But what if they should say, that this Hæmorrhage was rather of Advantage to the Health of the Patient, than of Danger to her, and that the Woman was more nice than wise, or she would never have sought so much for Help and Cure of it? Some Hæmorrhages are better kept open than stop'd and dry'd up; and if Infidels should say, that this was a Preservative of the Life of the Woman, like an Issue, at which Nature discharges itself of bad Humours, Who can contradict them? Nay, if they should say that Jesus's Cure of this Woman's Hæmorrhage was a Precipitation of her Death, for she died some time after it, rather than a Prolongation of her Life, for she lived twelve Years under it, and was of good Strength, when she applied to our Saviour for Cure, or she could never have born the press of the People to come at him; Who can gainsay them? It is true she was very sollicitous for a Cure, and uneasy under her Distemper, or she would never have spent all she had on Physicians; which is a Sign, some may say, that her Disease was grievous,[Pg 13] irksome, and dangerous, as well as incurable by Art. But Infidels will say, not so; for there are some slight cutaneous Distempers, sometimes issuing with a little purulent and bloody Matter, that nice Women will be at a great Expence for Relief, and are always tampering, and often advising about them, though to no Purpose: And if they should say that this was the worth of the Case of this Woman, Who can disprove it?

In short then here is an uncertain Distemper both in Nature and Degree; how then can there be any Certainty of a Miracle in the Cure of it? Mr. Moore, the Apothecary, accurately describes the Diseases he pretends to have cured; and he is in the right on't so to do, or he could not recommend his Art, and aggrandize his own Fame. So the Bodily Disease of this Woman should have been clearly and fully represented to our Understanding, or we can form no Conception of Christ's Power in the Cure of it. And I can't but think that the Evangelists, especially St. Luke the Physician, had made a better Story of this Woman's Case, if Christ's Authority and Power had been to be urg'd from the Letter of it. It's enough to make us think, Christ cured no extraordinary and[Pg 14] grievous Maladies, or the Evangelists would never have instanced in this, that so much Exception is to be made to. As then, reasonably speaking, there was no extraordinary Disease in this Woman cured, and consequently no great Miracle wrought; so let us now,

Secondly, Consider the Manner of the Cure, and whether any Miracle is to be thence proved. The Woman said within her self,[82] that if she could but touch the Hem of Jesus's Garment, she should be made whole. And I can't but commend her, at this distance of Time, for the Power of her Faith, Persuasion, or Imagination in the Case, which was a good Preparative for Relief, and without which, it's certain, she had continued under her Disease. The Power of Imagination, it's well known, will work Wonders, see Visions, produce Monsters, and heal Diseases, as Experience and History doth testify. There being many Instances to be given of Cures performed by frivolous Applications, Charms, and Spells, which are unaccountable any other Way, than by the Imagination of the Patient. Against the Reason and Judgment[Pg 15] of a Physician, sometimes the diseased will take his own Medicines and Benefit. And I don't doubt, but Stories may be told of Cures wrought, the Imagination of the Patient helping, by as mean a Trifle, as the Touch of Christ's Garments, and no Miracle talk'd on for it. Even in the ordinary, natural, and rational Use of Physick, it is requisite, that the Patient have a good Opinion of his Physician and of his Medicines. A good Heart in the Sick, tends not only to his Support, but helps the Operation of Prescriptions. As despair and dejection of Mind sometimes kills, where otherwise reasonably speaking, proper Medicines would cure; so a good Conceit in the Patient at other times, whether the Medicines be pertinent or not, is almost all in all. And if Infidels should say that this was the Case of this Woman in the Gospel; if they should say as St. John of Jerusalem[83] did, that her own Imagination cured herself; and should urge the Probability of it, because Jesus could do no Cures and[84] Miracles against Unbelief, Who can help it? In this Case our Divines must prove, that this Woman's[Pg 16] Hæmorrhage was of that kind, that no Faith nor Fancy in herself could help her without the Divine Power; but this is impossible for them to do, unless there had been a more certain Description of her Disease, than the Evangelists have given of it.

Our Divines will indeed tell us, what I believe, that it was the Divine Power co-operating with the Faith and Imagination of the Woman that cured her; because Jesus says that Virtue had gone out of him to the healing of her: And I wish Infidels would acquiesce here, and not say, that Jesus's Virtue hung very loose on him, or the Woman's Faith, like a Fascination, could never have extracted it against his Will and Knowledge: But what if they should say, that Jesus, being secretly appriz'd of the Woman's Faith, and Touch of him, took the Hint; and to comfort and confirm her in her Conceit, and to help the Cure forward, said, Virtue was gone out of him? This would be an untoward Suggestion, which if Infidels should make, our Divines must look for a Reply to it.

It is said of the Pope, when he was last at Benevento, that he wrought three Miracles, which our Protestant Clergy, I dare say, believe nothing at all of. But, for all that, it is not improbable, but that[Pg 17] some diseased People, considering their superstitious Veneration for the Pope, and their Opinion of the Sanctity of the Present, might be persuaded of his Gift of Miracles, and desirous of his Exercise of it; and if they fancyfully or actually received Benefit by his Touch, I don't wonder, without a Miracle. And what if we had been told of the Popes curing an Hæmorrhage like this before us? What would Protestants have said to it? Why, "that a foolish, credulous, and superstitious Woman had fancy'd herself cured of some slight Indisposition; and the crafty Pope and his Adherents, aspiring after popular Applause, magnified the presumed Cure into a Miracle. If they would have us Protestants to believe the Miracle, they should have given us an exacter Description of her Disease, and then we could better have judg'd of it". The Application of such a supposed Story of a Miracle wrought by the Pope, is easy; and if Infidels, Jews, and Mahometans who have no better Opinion of Jesus, than we have of the Pope, should make it, there's no Help for it.

And thus have I made my Descants on this supposed Miracle before us and argued, as much as I could, against the Miraculousness of it, both from the Nature[Pg 18] of the Disease, and the Manner of the Cure of it. Whether any one shall think I have said any thing to the Purpose or not, is all one to me. My Design in what I have done, is not to do Service to Infidelity, but, upon the Command and Encouragement of the Fathers, to turn Mens Thoughts to the mystical Meaning of the said Miracle, which I come now to give an Account of.

None of the Fathers (excepting St. Chrysostom[85], who writes here more like an Orator than a Physician) ever trouble themselves, when they speak of this Miracle, about the Nature of the Disease, literally, in this Woman, or the greatness of the Cure of it; but alone bend their Studies to the mystical Interpretation, for the sake of which, this Evangelical Story was written, and originally transacted.

Accordingly, they tell us that this Woman is a Type[86] of the Church of the Gentiles in after Times. And as to her Hæmorrhage or Issue of Blood, they understand[Pg 19] it of the[87] Impurity and Corruption of the Church by ill Principles and bad Morals, that the would flow with. Some of the Fathers, as[88] Gregory Nazianzen, and[89] Eusebius Gallicanus, will have the Issue of Blood to be a Type of the scarlet Sin of Blood-guiltiness in the Church: If so, we must understand it of the Effusion of Christian Blood by War and Persecution.

The twelve Years of the Woman's Affliction with her Hæmorrhage is a typical Number of the Church's impure State for above twelve Hundred Years. And whether some of the primitive Church did not, by the said twelve Years of the Woman, understand twelve Ages, I appeal to[90] Irenæus, to whom I refer my[Pg 20] Readers, Accordingly this typify'd Woman of the Church, should be the same with the Woman[91] in the Wilderness, that, as St. John says, was twelve Hundred and sixty Days or Years there sustained; and by whom many Protestants, as well as the Fathers, understand the Church universal. When the said twelve Hundred and sixty Days or Years of the Church's being in the Wilderness, did commence or will end, is none of my Business to enquire or ascertain. But as this Woman in the Gospel is said after twelve Years Affliction, to be cured of her Disease by Jesus; so it is the Opinion of the Fathers, that the Church universal, after twelve Hundred Years of her Wilderness State, will be purified and sanctified by the Gifts of the Spirit of Christ, and enter upon a more holy, peaceable, and happy Condition, absolutely freed from her Issue of Blood, which, through Persecution and War, she has for many Ages labour'd under. It is not my Concern to collect all the Authorities of the Fathers to this Purpose; but only say, that if at the End of twelve Hundred and sixty Days or Years, the Church, like the Woman, be not cur'd of her Hæmorrhage and mystical Wounds and Sores;[Pg 21] if her present impure and unsound State be not chang'd into an holy, healthy, and peaceable one; many good Protestants, as well as the Fathers, are mistaken, and abundance of Prophecies of the Old and New Testament, that have been hereunto urged, will lose their Credit.

But who are meant by the Physicians of the Woman, that have had the mystical Hæmorrhage and Diseases of the Church Under Cure all this while? Who should, but pretended Ministers, of the Gospel? Ministers of the Gospel are not only by the Fathers call'd metaphorically[92] spiritual Physicians; but our Divines and Preachers of all Denominations like the Metaphor, and think themselves able Physicians at the Diseases of the Church, which they are forward to prescribe and apply Medicines to, whenever, in their Opinion, she stands in need of them. Whether our Divines like to be accounted the Physicians of the Text before us, I much question; but it is certain that[93] Eusebius Gallicanus expressly[Pg 22] says, that our Divines and pretended Philosophers are meant by them; and venerable Bede[94] upon the Place is of the same Mind too.

The Woman of the Gospel is said[95] to suffer many Things of many Physicians, and was nothing better'd, but rather grew worse; that is, she grew worse not in time only, but through the Use of her Physicians, who were her[96] Tormentors. So the Diseases of the Church in time have increased, for all the Use she has made of her spiritual Physicians, the Clergy. In every Age has the Church been degenerating in Morals and Principles, as any one knows, that is able to make an Estimate of Religion in times past; and all along have her ecclesiastical Quack Doctors contributed to her ill State of Health. As many Physicians with their different Applications tormented the poor Woman; so our many Empericks in Theology with their different Schemes of[Pg 23] Church Government and various Systems of Divinity, like so many Prescriptions for Cure, have increased the Divisions, widen'd the Wounds, and inflamed the Sores of the Church. And if the Woman's Issue of Blood be, according to the Fathers, a particular Type of the Blood of the Church, that is shed in Persecution and War; our Theological Pretenders to Physick, have been so far from providing and prescribing a good Stiptic in this Case that they have been the Occasion of the Effusion of much Christian Blood; there having been many a War and Persecution, that these Incision Doctors, who should be all Balsam, have been the Cause of.

The Woman spent all her Living, all her yearly Income, upon her Physicians, and as it seems to a bad Purpose; so very great and large Revenues of the Church, are expended on her ecclesiastical Doctors in spiritual Physick: And to what End and Purpose? Why, to open and widen the bleeding Wounds of the Church, which they should heal and salve up. It is now about twelve Hundred Years, like the twelve Years of the Woman, that the Clergy, our Practitioners in Theological Physick, have received of the Church vast Fees, Stipends and Gratuities (for before that time her Doctors prescrib'd freely) to take care of her Health and Welfare;[Pg 24] but unless God provide in due time a Medicine of his own, she is likely to continue in a diseased and sorrowful Condition for all them.

One would think that the Woman of the Gospel might have had more Wit than to lay out all she was worth upon Physicians to no good Purpose; one would think that after some Experience of their Insufficiency to cure her, she might have forborn seeing them, and reserved the Remains of her Estate for better Uses: So the Fees and Revenues of the Church, after due Experience of the Inability of her spiritual Doctors to heal her Sores, might have been in my Opinion better employ'd, and the Church of Christ more out of Danger of Wounds and Sickness, by Sin and Error. Certain it is, that many an Issue of Blood, through Persecution and War, had been prevented; if such barbarous and blood thirsty Doctors of Ecclesiastical Physick, had never been so fee'd and hired to take care of the Welfare of the Church, which, for all their Spiritual Medicines, will continue in a languishing Condition, till heal'd by the Virtue and Graces of the Spirit of Christ in his foresaid appointed Time.

So much then to the mystical Interpretation of the Story of the Cure of the[Pg 25] Issue of Blood in this Woman. Every minute Circumstance of it is thus to be allegorized, if need was. Whether the Clergy will like this parabolical Explication of it, I neither know nor care. They have their Liberty with Atheists and Infidels to believe as little of it as they think fit; and I hope they'll give me leave with the Fathers of the Church to believe as much of it as I please. But whether they approve of this allegorical Interpretation of this supposed Miracle or not; they must own, that if the Church, after the foresaid twelve Ages, should be purified and sanctified; if her Errors and Corruptions, of which the Woman's Uncleanness is a Type, should be heal'd; if War and Persecution, typified by her Issue of Blood, should then entirely cease; if all Christians should then be united in Principle, Heart and Affection, and made to walk in a peaceable and quiet State, as the Woman was[97] bid to go in Peace; if the Church should then come behind Jesus (which[98] is a Figure of future Time) and rightly touch by Faith, and apprehend[Pg 26] his[99] Garments or Words of Prophecy, about which Christians have hitherto been pressing and urgent; and if the Gifts of the Spirit, like Virtue on the Woman, should then be poured forth upon the Church to the absolute Cure of her present Diseases, we must, I say, allow the Story of this Woman to be an admirable Emblem and typical Representation; and the Accomplishment of it most miraculous and stupendous; and not only an indisputable Proof of the Power and Presence of Christ with his Church, but a Demonstration of his Messiahship, in as much as an almost infinite Number of Prophecies of the Old Testament, will thereupon receive that Accomplishment, which hitherto, by no shadow of Reason, can be pretended to.

After such a mystical Healing of the Hæmorrhage of the Church, there's no doubt on't, but the Story of this Woman in the Gospel will be allow'd to be typical and emblematical. In the mean time, without making a Parable of the Story of her, I assert, there is little or nothing of a Miracle to be made of her Cure, unless we were at a greater Certainty about the[Pg 27] Nature of her Disease, and the Manner, rationally speaking, of Jesus's healing of it. And so I pass to the Consideration of

2. Another Story of a miraculous Cure perform'd by Jesus on another Woman, and that is on her, who[100] had a Spirit of Infirmity, eighteen Years, and was bow'd together, and could in no wise lift up herself——being bound of Satan, &c. This too, as I suppose, is with our Divines a great Miracle, and one of the greatest that Jesus wrought, or it had not been specify'd, but cast indiscriminately into the Number of all manner of Diseases, which he heal'd. And for the sake of the Letter, and to please our Divines, whom I would not offend wilfully, I will allow, that Jesus might lay his Hands on, and speak comfortably to such a drooping, stooping, and vaporous Woman, full of Fancies of the Devil's Temptation and Power over her; and she might thereupon recover, and be afterwards of a more cheerful Heart, and erect Countenance, freed from the whimsical Imagination of being Satan-ridden: And what of all that? Where's the Miracle?[Pg 28] If the Story of such a Miracle had been related of any Impostor in Religion, of an Arch-Heretick, or Popish Exorcist, our Divines would have flouted at it; they would have told us, there was nothing supernatural and uncommon in the Event, nor any thing at all to be wonder'd at in it. Taking the Devil out of this Story, and there's no more in it, than what's common for a simple, melancholy, and drooping Woman, to be chear'd and elated upon the comfortable Advice and Admonition of a reputedly wise and good Man. And the putting the Devil into the Story, in another Case, our Divines would have said was only the Fancy of the Woman, or the Device of the Miracle-Monger, to magnify his own Art and Power. And if Infidels, Jews, and Mahometans, should say so of this Story of Jesus, they would be no more unreasonable in their Conjectures and Solutions of this Miracle, than we should have been in another and parallel Case.

The Pope, when last at Benevento, is said to have exorciz'd a Dæmon out of a young Maid, which our Divines no more believe than Infidels do. But it is not at all impossible or improbable, that a young Woman might be troubled with Vapours, and go droopingly upon it, whom the[Pg 29] holy Father, of whose Prayers and Sanctity she had a good Opinion, might relieve with his Talk, and give another Turn to her Thoughts and Temper: And if she fancy'd herself before possess'd with a Dæmon, or rather, if the Pope's Partizans persuaded her so, it's not unlikely to make a Miracle on't. Just so may Infidels, with their Descants on this Miracle before us, reduce and lessen it: And what must we Believers do then? Why, we must find out a Way to ascertain the Truth and Greatness of the Miracle, or give it up. We must determine certainly what was the Woman's Distemper, and how the Cure of it by ordinary Means was impossible, or make no more Words about it.

And how can we come at the Knowledge of this Woman's Disease, but by the original Words of the Evangelist. St. Luke says, she was one πνευμα εχουσα ασθενειας, that had a Spirit of Weakness, that is, was poor-Spirited and pusilanimous; and if she was συγκυπτουσα, bow'd down upon't, its no more than might be expected of a disconsolate, melancholy and dejected Person. Here then is the Disease of the Woman: If it had been worse, St. Luke, the Physician, if he was of Sufficiency in his Art, should better have express'd himself; so as to give us another[Pg 30] Conception of it. And if Satan had not been brought into the Tale, whom it is easy, by reasoning as above, to exorcise out of it, here is a no more grievous Distemper, than what upon the comfortable Exhortations of a wise Man may be cured. And do what our Divines can, they can make literally no more of this Story.

It is said, that for eighteen Years the Woman labour'd under this Disease. And she might be hippish and drooping for a longer time, and be no less easily at last cured. It's pity the Evangelist had not told us how old this Woman was, when the Distemper first seiz'd her; then we could have made better Conjectures about the Nature and Cure of it. If there was any room to suppose, either from the Words of Scripture or extra-scriptural History, that she was about fifty or sixty, when she first began to droop and the Devil got upon her Back; here had been Scope for a most stupendous Miracle; and our Divines might have asserted, what no Body could have contradicted, that Jesus had made an old Woman, who was bow'd down, not only under the Weight of Satan, but under the Burthen of seventy or eighty Years, young again; and had restored her to the Health, Vigor, and Beauty of one of fifteen. Here would[Pg 31] have been a mighty Miracle indeed. And I don't doubt, but our Divines would willingly get into such a Notion of this Miracle, and would heartily espouse it, but for the Offence they must needs give to decrepid old Women, who may be out of Conceit with themselves upon it, as if they carried the Devil on their Shoulders, as the Cause of their Decripedness and Incurvity. And such an Offence would be of ill Consequence.

Reasonably then speaking, there was not much in the Disease and Cure of this Woman. Excepting that Part, which Satan bears, in the Story, there is nothing wonderful in it. And supposing Jesus might exorcise the Devil out of this Woman, or dismount him from off her Shoulders; yet even this makes nothing for his Divine Power and Authority, in as much as many Exorcists among the Jews and even among Papists, if Protestants had not more Wit than to believe it, could do as much. And after all, I don't believe the Evangelist intended, that our Saviour should be had in Admiration for the Letter of this Miracle, or St. Luke would accurately have described the Disease, so as to put it out of the Power of Nature and Art to heal it, and of the Wit of Infidels to cavil at the miraculous[Pg 32] Cure of it. Neither do I find that the Fathers of the Church ever trouble themselves about the Letter of this Story, which is some Argument, that no great Heed is to be given to it; but are only curious about the Mystery, for which this Miracle was related, and which I come now to give an Account of.

As the Fathers said of the Woman with her Issue of Blood, that she was a Type of the Church; so they say of this Woman with her Spirit of Infirmity, that she is a[101] Figure of the Church too.

As the Woman was bow'd together; so the Church, as the Fathers do interpret, may be said to be[102] bow'd down to the Earth, when she is prone and bent to, and intent on the literal or earthly Interpretations[Pg 33] of the Scriptures; and can in no wise lift up her self, like the Woman, that is, can't raise her Thoughts to the Contemplation of the cælestial, spiritual, and sublime Sense of them. Hence we see the Propriety of the Name of the Woman's Disease, call'd πνευμα ασθενειας, a Spirit of Weakness, which is not properly significative of any bodily Distemper, but succinctly is very expressive of the Church's Weakness at the Spirit of Prophecy, which at this Day she labours under.

As it was eighteen Years that the Woman was griev'd with her Spirit of Infirmity, for so long had her Distemper been growing on her; so it is almost eighteen (hundred) Years, or the eighteenth Century of Years, that this Infirmity of the Church at the Spirit of Prophecy has been coming on her: And she is now so bent to the Earth of the Letter, that nothing less than the Hand and Power of Jesus, that erected the Woman, can raise her to mystical, divine, and sublime Contemplations on the Law and Prophets. St. Augustin[103] will have these eighteen Years of the Woman's Infirmity, as[Pg 34] she is a Type of the Church, to be synchronical with the[104] three Years of the Fig-Tree's Unfruitfulness. I don't rightly apprehend his mystical Arithmetic. But this is certain, upon the Authority of the Fathers, that those two Numbers, with the twelve Years of the Woman's Issue of Blood, are all conterminous and will end together: Consequently at the same time, that the Woman of the Church will be cured of her Issue of Blood, she will be heal'd of her Infirmity at the Spirit of Prophecy; that is, at the Conclusion of certain grand Periods of Time she will enter upon a blessed State of Peace and Vision; which is the concurrent Doctrine of the Fathers, as any one may discern, that has dip'd into them, and is a good Confirmation of our present Exposition, and mystical Application of the miraculous Story before us.

St. Luke says, that the Woman could not lift up herself εις το παντελες, v. 11. which, without animadverting on our English Translation, should be rendered, until all was perfected, or until the Perfection of Time, which, the Apostle[105] and the Fathers agree, is the Time for the Church to be cured of her Weakness, and to be[Pg 35] endu'd with Power at the Spirit of Prophecy.

As the Woman was heal'd by Jesus on the Sabbath-Day; so the Church, upon the ample Authorities of the Fathers, which Men of Reading will excuse me the Production of, is certainly to be heal'd of her spiritual Infirmity, at the Understanding of Prophecy against the mystical and[106] grand Sabbath, which, according to the Fathers, commences at the Expiration of her eighteen (hundred) Years Weakness.

But the Ruler of the Synagogue is said to be moved with Indignation, v. 14. at this charitable Work of Jesus, in healing of the Woman, because it was done on the Sabbath-Day; which in my Opinion[Pg 36] can't be literally true: Though I am willing enough, to please our Divines, to allow as much as may be of the Letter of this Story, yet I except against this Part of it. Origen says, there are some things of the Gospel related as Facts, which were not done; and I believe this of the Ruler of the Synagogue to be one of them. Human Nature, I think, is not capable of such base and unnatural Resentment. Works of Necessity, and requisite Offices of Kindness and Charity to Man and Beast, were allow'd by the Law, and practised by the Jews on the Sabbath: And the Cure of this Woman, though on the Sabbath-Day, was such an Act of Beneficence and Compassion in the Holy Jesus, that I can't but think bad, as well as good Men, would rather glorify God, that had given such Power unto Man, than find fault with it. But in the Mystery of this Part of the Story, there is clear Sense and Truth. Who then is this Archisynagogus, or Ruler of the Synagogue, that will be full of Indignation at the healing of the Church of her foresaid Infirmity at the Spirit of Prophecy? Origen says that the[107] right Interpretation of[Pg 37] the Names of Persons and Places in Scripture is of good Use to the mystical Application. Accordingly Archisynagogus does signify the Chiefs of our Congregations: And who should they be then but the Clergy? And if this ben't enough to fix this Name and Character upon them, then let Theophanes Cerameus speak here, who says, that the Archisynagogus, is a[108] Type of all Priests, who will be against the foresaid miraculous healing of the Church. And why will the Clergy be mov'd 'with Indignation at the curing the Church of her Infirm, and restoring her to a sound Spirit of Prophecy? Because as St. Augustin says,[109] they are not only bow'd down to the Letter themselves; but because this Infirmity of the Church will be a Reproach to them, in as much as it is a Proof of their Apostacy and Insufficiency at Prophecy; and the Cure of it will be attended with such Consequences, as affect their Reputation and Interests. Who can question but the Clergy, who are the Archisynagogus of the Text, and who are for the Church's bending and[Pg 38] stooping to the low Sense of the Letter of the Scripture, will be averse to her being rais'd, lifted up, and erected to the Contemplation of the sublime, anagogical, and heavenly Sense of it? Such an Healing and Erection of the Church will vex them at the Heart, as it will bring Shame and loss of Interest along with it; and they will undoubtedly be Adversaries to this good Work of Christ, which, upon the Testimony of all Antiquity, is to be done on or against the Evangelical and great Sabbath.

Our Saviour is supposed to reprove the Ruler of the Synagogue, for his Indignation at the Cure of the Woman on the Sabbath-Day, saying, v. 15. Thou Hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his Ox or his Ass from the Stall, and lead him away to Watering? And ought not this Woman to be loos'd from this Bond on the Sabbath-Day? There is Force in this Argument according to the Letter: And the Ruler of the Synagogue, and other Jesus's Adversaries hereupon, might well be asham'd for finding Fault with such a merciful and beneficent Work done on the Sabbath; when they themselves did Works on the Sabbath of much less Consequence. But to[Pg 39][110] the Mystery. What may be said to our Ministers of the Letter, of whom the Archisynagogus is a Type, for their Averseness to the healing of the Church in like manner? Why, that they are Hypocrites, that is, superficial Criticks on the Scriptures, and don't consider that the Law is spiritual, and how against the Evangelical Sabbath every Man is to be released from his Bondage and Servility to irrational Principles (for which he has been like an Ox and an Ass) and to be conducted to drink of the Waters of Divine Wisdom: For this grand Sabbath will be a Day of absolute Liberty, perfect Rest, immense Knowledge, real Vision and Contemplation on God and his Providence, as the antient Jews and Fathers so copiously declare, that they who are ignorant herein, may be ashamed; consequently they might know, that the Church is to be cured of her Spirit of Weakness at Prophecy on that Day.

But Satan is said to have v. 16. bound, and, as is supposed, bow'd down this Woman; the literal Truth of which I much[Pg 40] question: But how then has Satan bound and bow'd down the Church? This, seemingly, is the great Difficulty in the mystical Application of this Story, and must be the great Curiosity of my Readers to know how I will account for it. If the Fathers don't help me out at this dead Lift, and that clearly and intelligibly too, I shall abate of my Veneration for them. If they don't tell me, and make me to apprehend, what this Satan is, that for many Ages has bound and oppress'd the Church after the supposed Manner of the typical Woman, I had better have held my Peace, and said nothing to this parabolical Miracle.

The Writings of the Evangelists so abound with Stories of Satan, Belzebub, the Devil, and of greater and less Number of Devils, and of Dæmons and of unclean Spirits, more than any Histories before, as one would think, if these Stories were literally to be understood, that was the Age in which Christ came, that Hell first broke loose, and then primarily infested Mankind; and that upon the Destruction of Judæa and Propagation of the Gospel, the Devils accompanied the Jews in their Dispersion, or the Apostles in their Travels, and have been the[Pg 41] Tempters, Seducers, and Tormentors of other Nations ever since.

Arnobius[111] says, That before Christ, Devils were things unknown to the World; by which Arnobius must mean, either that they were hardly talk'd of before, or that their Nature was not understood, till Christ inform'd us of it. In both these Senses, I believe, Arnobius may be taken, viz. that there was not only little Talk of Satan and the Devil, but less of his Nature apprehended, before Christ by his Parables and parabolical Miracles, rightly interpreted, instructed us in it. And if after Ages have departed from the true and original Doctrine of Devils, making a literal Story of that, which is only mystical and cabalistical; and have formed to themselves Ideas of hideous and horrible Fiends, Mormos and Hobgoblins, it shall not disturb me.

As to the Place and State of Hell, many are the Notions of Divines of several Ages past, as well as of the present. I shall not recount them all here, much less refute any of them. But there is an antient, rational, and cabalistical Notion of Hell, which I have learned of the Fathers, who signify, that the babylonish[Pg 42] and bewilder'd State of Christ's Church may be call'd Hell, because, as the Word αδης does import, it is a State without Vision. Hence Origen says,[112] that whoever can form to himself an Idea of the Church in time to come, when she will be dignified with the Title of the New Jerusalem, for her Peace and Vision may understand what is meant by Hell, and all that is written of it.

As then the Fathers had a cabalistical Notion of Hell, which modern Divines are Strangers to; so they had of Satan, and the Devil and his Angels. I own myself at a Loss for an express Testimony out of the Fathers about Satan in the Text before us; but according to their Explications of Satan in other Places, nothing more is meant by him here than, "That furious Principle and Temper in Man that is not only averse to Liberty in Religion, but for binding, restraining, and tying down the Church and Christian People to certain Opinions and Ways of Worship." In such a State of Bondage has the Woman of the Church been kept, by such a Satan, in one Order of Men[Pg 43] or other, for all Ages past. And that this is a right and primitive Notion of Satan, I could prove by Authorities enough. Origen tells us[113] of the Names of Kings in prophetical Scripture, which would be Enemies to Christ's Church; but such Kings never did, nor would personally exist; their Names, according to Interpretation, standing only for so many Sins and Vices, reigning in Mankind. To the same Purpose he says[114] human Vices are Devils: And Satan himself, (as the Word signifies Adversary) is with him[115] and the antient Jews too, no other than an Aversness in Man to the Will of God. I could quote other Fathers to this Purpose; but being sparing of my Pains at present, I refer[Pg 44] my Readers to my former[116] Discourse, in which they will see the Opinion of the Fathers about the Devils in the Madman, and afterwards in the Herd of Swine; from which let them judge, whether the Fathers could have any other Notion of Satan here, than what I have represented. It is certain, and may be easily prov'd, that by Satan, the Dragon and the Devil, mentioned in the Revelations, nothing more is to be understood, than a furious, persecuting, satanical, and diabolical Temper in Man; and if what St. John writes of Satan be cabalistical and allegorical; the other Assertions of the Evangelists and Apostles about him will of Course come under that Denomination; or the primitive Rule of Interpretation of Scripture according to the natural Signification of the Names of Persons and Places is not good.

As then the Woman of the Gospel was, as is supposed, v. 16. bound by Satan, loe, for eighteen Years: So the foresaid furious Principle in Man, which is a mystical Satan, an Adversary to Liberty, has bound the Church, loe, to the eighteenth Century of Years: But she is to be entirely released from this spiritual Bondage,[Pg 45] and set at[117] perfect Liberty against the acceptable and Evangelical Sabbath. And here it is to be noted out of St. Augustin, and most worthy of Observation it is, that at the[118] same time, in which the Church will be loosed from her Bondage; Satan himself will[119] be bound and chain'd for a[120] thousand Years, the time of the evangelical Sabbath, that is, says Ephræm Syrus[121] for ever. And how will our mystical Satan or the Dragon be bound and chain'd? Not with Chains or Links of Iron or other Metal; but Vinculis Rationis, with the Chains of Reasons and Arguments for Christian Liberty, which will restrain the Adversary, Satan, from any more Impositions and Persecutions of the Church. And I can't here but applaud the great Mr. Grounds and Mr. Scheme, for their Work and Labour of Love to Mankind,[Pg 46] in making Chains of Argumentations for Liberty, which I hope will prove of sufficient Strength to bind Satan and restrain him (in Dr. Rogers, Bishop G—bs—n, and others his Angels) from giving any more Molestation to Christian Philosophers in their Enquiries after, and Lucubrations on Divine Truth. All the Honour that I aim at in that Work is, by the Help of the Fathers, to point out that anti-Christian Principle or Temper in the Clergy[122] which, for its Averseness to Liberty, is called Satan; for its Calumnies, is called the Devil; for its Furiousness, is called the Dragon; and for its Unreasonableness, is called the Beast, to the intellectual Views of Mankind, and to direct them how to apprehend and lay hold on it.

Our Saviour, according to Origen, had never call'd Peter,[123] Satan, if Satan had been any Thing else than Man-averse to the Will of God.

And thus have I spoken to the Miracle of Jesus's healing the Woman of her Spirit of Infirmity, whom Satan had bound and bow'd down, which, according to[Pg 47] the Letter, is no Miracle at all; and some Parts of the Story are improbable and incredible; but the mystical Completion of it will be most prodigious, and a Demonstration not only of Christ's Power and Presence in his Church, but of his Messiahship, in as much as a vast Number of Prophecies of the Old Testament, more than can soon be collated to this Purpose, will thereupon receive their Accomplishment. And so I come to a

3. Third miraculous Story of Jesus's, that is of his telling (John iv.) the Woman of Samaria her Fortune, of having had five Husbands, and being then an Adulteress, &c. in which there is a notable Miracle display'd, in the Opinion of our Divines, that proves Jesus's Omniscience, or he could not so have search'd into the Heart of this Woman, and told her such Occurrences, that concern'd her Life past. I thought once of transcribing here entirely this Story; and so I would, but that it is a long one, and might have set some Readers, who are by this time awaken'd to pry into the Absurdities of the Letter, a laughing, before I had time my self regularly to animadvert on it.

[Pg 48]

Whether there was any Truth at all in the Letter of this Story, I should much have questioned, but that some Fathers write of it, as if they believed it literally, tho' they make a mystical and allegorical Explication of the whole and every part of it. And I, having a sincere Veneration for the Fathers, will not contradict them, (and I hope this Concession will please the Clergy) but, for all that, can't like any part of this Story literally, but could almost wish, that the Fathers, for the Honour of Jesus, had made the whole no other than a Parable.

It's strange that no Jews or Infidels have as yet ludicrously treated this Story to the, almost, Confutation of our Religion. If their Tongues had not been ty'd by the aforesaid Satan or Adversary to Liberty, I can't think but they must have made some pleasant Animadversions upon it before now. If such a broken, elliptical, and absurd Tale had been told of any other Impostor in Religion; the Wits of our Clergy had been at Work to expose it plentifully; and indeed there's no need of much Wit to make this Tale nauseous and ridiculous to vulgar Understandings.

I shall not myself here make all the Remarks I can to the Disadvantage of this Story: I am not as yet so disposed to make[Pg 49] Scoffers and Infidels laugh at the Clergy for their Adherence to the Letter of it. All I shall do now, is to make my Observations on the two Uses, that the Clergy very seriously put this Story to, and they are,

First, to prove the Expectation that there was amongst the Samaritans, of a Messiah to come; And

Secondly, to prove Jesus's Omniscience, or he could not have entered into the Heart of the Woman, and told her, that she had had five Husbands, and was then an Adulteress. To these two Purposes, I find this Story urged by our Divines, and I must needs say, as to the

First of them; it is rightly from hence asserted by the[124] Bishop of Lichfield and others, that the Samaritans had an Expectation of a Messiah: But why then did not the Bishop and others, who are now in Quest after Arguments of Jesus's Messiahship, prove him hence to be the Messiah, because he told the Samaritan woman her Fortune? If this was a real and substantial Argument to her of Jesus's Messiahship, it ought to be urg'd by the Clergy at this Day. The Controversy about Jesus's Messiahship is now on foot;[Pg 50] Why do the Advocates for it overlook this Proof of it? Why, because, as I suppose, they are aware, that Infidels would make sport with it. But if Jesus's telling the Woman her Fortune was no real and conclusive Argument of his being the Messiah; St. John has told us an impertinent Tale of a simple Woman, upon whose Credulity and false Notions Jesus palm'd himself as the true Messiah; and whether he did not ill thus to banter and deceive the Woman, let any one judge.

But let us here behold the Difference amongst the Jews and Samaritans, as to the Expectation of a Messiah. Some of the old Jews, like the Apostles, expected the Messiah would be a temporal Prince, a great Warriour and Conqueror of the World. Others[125] of them, like the Fathers, expected he would be a Prophet[Pg 51] like Moses in all Things, and deliver his People out of another Egypt: But here the Samaritans expected he would be a Conjurer and Fortune-Teller; or there is no Sense in what the Woman said to the Men of the City, v. 29. Come and see a Man that has told me all that I have done, particularly my Fortune of having had five Husbands, and being now an Adulteress, Is not this the Christ? What could she mean, but that the Messiah would be a strolling Fortune-Teller, to inform People of the Events of their Lives past and to come? And Jesus to humour the Woman in her Conception of himself and of the Messiah, says to her, v. 26. I that speak unto thee, am He. Whether our Divines like Jesus the better for this Story of him literally, I can't tell; but I am sure they dislike the Fortune-telling Trade at this Day in others, and believe it to be all Fraud, and are for punishing strolling Gypsys for Cheats, who practice it; and in the last Age were intent on the[126] Prosecution of judicial Astrologers, who pretended to it: And if antient History had furnish'd us with an Instance of the Punishment of a pretended Fortune-Teller in the Reign of Tiberius, they could not have found Fault with it. Whether any Accusations were laid against[Pg 52] Jesus for such his Delusions of the People, we know not. Evangelical History is silent, or the Evangelists have prudently suppressed it. But I much wonder, that our Gypsys, from this Story, don't account themselves the genuine Disciples of Jesus, being endu'd with the like Gifts and exercising no worse Arts, than he himself practised.

If the Samaritans did not expect the Messiah would be a Fortune-Teller; how came the Thought into the Woman's Head, that Jesus was the Messiah, because he had told her, her Fortune? What can our Divines say to it? Why, they must either say, that his telling the Woman her Fortune was a real Proof of his Messiahship; or that the Woman was foolish and credulous, and drew a false Conclusion; and if she had not been an impudent and graceless Whore, would have gone away blushing, and never have divulg'd, as the Text supposes she did, her Shame to the Men of Sychar, who too had but little Wit, or they had never stir'd from their Homes, to see such a Fortune-Teller upon the Report of a poor Whore.

But the Men of the City had their Fortunes too told them by Jesus, and they concluded him to be the Messiah upon it;[Pg 53] or there is no Sense in what they v. 42. said to the Woman, Now we believe not because of thy Saying, for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ: What could they hear, but their Fortunes, as the Woman had before? And if Jesus, whose Ability at all fair Questions in the magic Art I don't question, did tell them their Fortunes; I hope he had more Prudence than to talk to them in common of their Fornications and Adulteries, which might occasion domestick Jarrs, and the Breach of good Neighbourhood amongst them; but if he directed any of them to find their lost Cattle, and help'd them again to their stolen Goods, he did well, and they alone did amiss, to conclude thereupon, that he was indeed the Christ. Let our Divines now judge whether I have not made a natural and excellent Comment on this part of the Story, which relates to the Expectation and Opinion, which the Samaritans had of a Messiah to come. But,

Secondly, From this Story literally our Divines prove Jesus's[127] Omniscience; and Cardiognostick Power to tell what was in the Hearts and Thoughts of Man. But how so? Is it because he told a Woman, that she was an Adulteress, and had had[Pg 54] five Husbands? Where's the Consequence? Duncan Campbel, and other Moorfields-judicial-Astrologers have done greater Feats at Conjuration than this, and never were thought to be Omniscient. And for any Thing appears in this Story of our Saviour, it might be all Cheat and Fraud in him. If Infidels should assert it, our Divines could not disprove it. If they should say, it was possible for Jesus to get Intimations of these and other Circumstances of the Woman's Life, before he attempted to tell her, her Fortune; we can't say, that this is an impious and unreasonable Suggestion, since it is the common Subtilty of delusive Fortune-Tellers, to get what Intelligence they can by Insinuations and Informations, before they utter their Oracles, and ambiguous Responses to simple poor Folks. And there is one Circumstance in this Story, that looks very ill upon Jesus, and is enough to make him suspected for a Cheat in his pretended Art, and that is, he seems to draw the Woman in by a[128] Wile to hear her Fortune, saying to her, v. 16. Woman go, call thy Husband; upon whose denying she had any Husband, Jesus was forward,[Pg 55] very forward to surprize her with his Knowledge of her having had five Husbands, and living then in Adultery; which raising the silly Woman's Admiration of his prophetick and soothsaying Talent, he closes with her Conceptions, and what upon other Occasions, before wiser People, he was[129] backward to own, says to her, that he was the Messiah; and so he pass'd for the Messiah with her and the Men of Sychar, who had no more Wit than to receive him for such, upon such Proof, and gave him Entertainment for no less than v. 40. two Days. I am glad we hear of no Money, he squeez'd out of them for the exercise of his prophetick Art, which our Divines would have made an Argument of their Divine Right to Tythes, Fees, and Stipends for their Divinations.

But no more of this silly Story according to the Letter. To point at it is enough to expose it to the considerate and unprejudiced. I could not help saying so much as I have; because it is necessary to form some Invective against the Letter, to make way for the Reception of the mystical and allegorical Interpretation of it, which I am now to speak to.

[Pg 56]

Tho' the Fathers, against whose Authority I dare not write, or I should be tempted to it in this Case, acknowledge the Letter of this Story, suspecting only some[130] particular Passages of it; yet they look upon the whole, for all that, as a[131] typical Narration, and endeavour at the mystical Construction of all and every part of it. St. Augustin, as if he was afraid some Christians of after Times should espouse, as our Divines do, only the Letter, prefaces his Exposition of this Story with these Words, saying,[132] There are mysteries in all the Sayings and Actions of our Saviour, particularly in the Story of the Woman of Samaria, and whoever carelesly and imprudently (meaning literally)[Pg 57] interprets it, will advance erroneous and pernicious Doctrine; which, if modern Commentators had any Regard for the Authority of St. Augustin, is enough to deter them from their literal Expositions. The most literal Interpreter among the Fathers, whom I know of, is St. Cyril, and he says[133] there is a Type and Parable in this Story. But to descend to Particulars.

By the Woman of Samaria is to be understood an[134] Heretical and Adulterous Church, which Jesus, being wearied with her[135] corrupt State, will meet with in the sixth Hour, that is in[136] the sixth grand Age of the World. So, by the By, according to the Fathers, Jesus will come to, and meet with the Samaritan Church to her Edification, at the same time, that he cures the Church of her Issue of Blood and Spirit of Infirmity.

[Pg 58]

And where did Jesus meet with the Woman of Samaria? At Jacob's Well, where she was for Water to quench Thirst: So at the[137] Well of the Holy Scriptures, whose Sense lies deep as in a Well, and flows with Knowledge as with Water, will Christ then find his Church, drawing and drinking of the[138] Waters of the Letter, which could not quench the Thirst of the Soul hitherto: But in the Perfection of Time, signified by the sixth Hour, will Christ, according to the Fathers, enable her to draw out of this Well of the Profundity of the Scriptures, spiritual Waters of Divine Knowledge, which will daily more and more, like the Fountains of the Waters of Life, arise and flow in upon the Soul, and constantly recreate and refresh her with Wisdom, to her Delight and Satisfaction; so as she[Pg 59] may be said never to thirst more, after the Manner she does now.

And Jesus then told the Woman of Samaria, all that she had done: So will Christ in the sixth Hour, that is, towards the latter End of the sixth Age of the World, give the Woman of the Church to understand all that she has done, according to the Writings of Moses and the Prophets, who, upon the Testimony of the Fathers, have written a prophetical History of her, in Types, Symbols and Parables; which Understanding of the Things that have been prophecy'd of her, will enable her, of Consequence, to prove and declare to the World, with Joy and Pleasure, that Jesus is the true Messiah, the Christ, and Fulfiller of the Law and the Prophets.

But particularly, as Jesus then told the Woman that she had had five Husbands, and was then an Adulteress with one who was not her true Husband: So the Church will be made to apprehend, according to[139] Origen and[140] St. Augustin, and others, how she[Pg 60] has had five Husbands of the five bodily Senses, that is, metaphorically speaking, has been wedded not only to sensual Pleasures, but to the sensible Things of the Letter of the five Books of Moses; and that at present, consequently, she lives in Adultery[141] with Anti-Christ, whom the Fathers call the Devil, instead of the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the Law, who should be her true Spouse, whom she should call for, and believe in.

And not only the Woman of Samaria, but the Men of the City, Sychar, believ'd Jesus to be the Messiah, v. 42, upon what he said to themselves as well as to her: So the Ministers of the Letter, who are Sycharites, according to Origen and Theophanes Cerameus, will be clearly convinced, and be able to convince others, that Jesus is the Christ or Messiah, when[Pg 61] they shall hear, learn and apprehend from the Spirit of the Law and the Prophets, that the Church and all she has been doing, was foretold and prophecy'd of.

Lastly, Jesus's Disciples, v. 27. are said to Marvel that he talk'd with the Woman. What in the Name of Wonder, literally, could be the Meaning of this? Did they Marvel at Jesus's Condescention to speak to a Woman, as if the Sex was beneath his Care? Or did they Marvel that he who was very bashful, had Courage to speak to one? Or did they Marvel at his Conversation with a Whore, for fear of his being tempted by her? Some one or other of these must be the Marvel of the Disciples; but how absurd and ridiculous they all are, according to the Letter, let a reasonable Man judge. But mystically, the true Disciples of our Lord, who understand the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, will, when they are apprized of Jesus's spiritual Conversation with his Church, and of all the Things that she has done according to Prophecy, Marvel with rapturous Astonishment at the Wisdom and Power of God in the Accomplishment of the Scriptures.

After such a Mystical and Allegorical Manner, is every minute Circumstance of this Story of the Samaritan Woman to be[Pg 62] apply'd. St. Augustin[142] says there are so many great Mysteries contain'd in it, that they require much Time to go through them all. I find it so, and that no less than a Volume might be written of them, out of the Fathers. But what I have briefly here touch'd on, is enough to convince any one of the Absurdities of the Letter of this Miracle, which consisted in the telling a Woman her Fortune, and such a Fortune, as Jesus by Craft might come to the Knowledge of. Therefore, for the Honour of Jesus, let us look upon the whole Story as a typical and parabolical Representation of what would be mysteriously and more wonderfully done by him.

And thus I have spoken to the three Miracles, proposed to be treated on in this Discourse. Before I enter upon my third general Head, which is, to consider what Jesus means when he appeals to his Miracles as to a Witness of his Divine Authority; I must take to Task some more of his pretended Miracles even till I have not left him a good, credible and substantial Miracle, according to the Letter, to appeal to. The Consequence of which will be, that his mysterious Operations[Pg 63] are to prove his Authority and Messiahship, or we must give up him and his Religion for a Piece of Fraud and Imposture.

What Miracles will be the Subject of my next Discourse, I can't certainly foretell, but there are many Historical as well as miraculous Parts of Jesus's Life, that according to the Letter, are to be call'd into Question; such as

The History of his riding on an Ass to Jerusalem. I have given some Offence on this Point already in my Moderator, and ought to excuse or justify my self, by calling the Fathers to Account for laughing at the Letter of that Story. It was an untoward saying of St. Jerome, that I there cited, and suffered a Prosecution for: But it is a worse Intimation of St. John of Jerusalem, who, if there was any literal Truth in the Peoples pulling off their Garments, and Branches of Trees, and strewing them in the Way of Jesus, will needs have it not respectfully but mischievously done, to make the Colt stumble, and so dismount his Rider. And according to him it may be questioned, whether the Hosannahs of the People were of any more Respect to Jesus, than the Huzzahs of a Mob would be to the Bishop of L——n, if to shew his Meekness and Lowlyness, he should ride upon an Ass, in his Pontificalibus through[Pg 64] this City. But I have here a momentous Controversy to decide about the Beast Jesus rode on. St. Matthew seems to say, he rode upon both Ass and Colt together. St. Mark and St. Luke say, he rode upon the Colt, on which Man never before sat. The Bishop of Lichfield says, he rode upon the Ass (on which Man had before sat) and the Colt ambled after. St. Cyril and St. Chrysostom say, he rode upon the Colt, and the She-Ass trotted after. St. John the Evangelist says he rode upon a Mule, or an οναριον Ass-like Creature of the neuter Gender. The Jewish Cabalists say, their Messiah was to ride on a great huge Ass, big enough to carry him and all true Israelites, and that the Ministers of Antichrist would then hang an A-ss. So do the great Doctors of the World differ! To whom I shall decree the Prize of Orthodoxy, I shan't foretell; but am inclined to favour the Opinion of the Cabalists. However, I shall be very grave as well as learned on this Head: And if I can, I will, to oblige Dr. Sherlock, hook in a Digression about Shilo's binding his Fole to the Vine, and his Asses Colt to the choice Vine: The Accomplishment of which literal Prophecy seems to have been drop'd in the Providence of God, or[Pg 65] the Dean of Chichester[143] had never stopt at it. I will endeavour to look it up, in some Corner of History, if it be but to merit the Praises of the Master of the Temple.

I must also sometime take into Consideration the Story of Jesus's Abode in the Wilderness, forty Days, in Company of the Devil, who tempted him. This literally, as our Divines understand it, is a Scandalous Story. The Jews, in our Saviour's Time, said, that through Belzebub, he cast out Devils; and their Posterity have asserted, that he learn'd the Magick Art of a Dæmon. This Story gives too much Grounds for such a Suspicion. Our Divines, who should know best, talk of abundance of Mischief, the Devil has been permitted to do in the World ever since; I hope it was not by Compact and Agreement between them; but it would have been of some Satisfaction to the Contrary, if the Evangelist had told us expresly upon what Terms they mett and parted. As Fables go, it is said to the Honour of St. Dunstan, that he took the Devil by the Nose, when he tempted him; and if Jesus had taken him by the Collar, and thrust him into his[Pg 66] Dungeon, and there chain'd him, and shut Hell-Gates upon him; I appeal to honest plain Christians, whether such an Herculean Labour would not have pleased them well. Ever since I read of Martin Luther's Conversation with the Devil, I have had but indifferent Thoughts of his Protestantism; and unless the Fathers turn this Story before us into Mystery, Allegory and Cabalism, I shall think ill of Christianity.

I should also take into Examination the Story of an Angel's appearing to the Shepherds, and saying to them; Behold I bring you Tidings of great Joy, &c. If there was any Truth literally in this Story, and in that of a Star's appearing to the wise Men, there must be a great Mistake in the Report of both of them. St. Matthew and St. Luke have both blunder'd. It was the Star that appear'd to the Shepherds by Night; and the Angel (I speak upon Reason and Authority) that was sent to the wise Men. What then to do with these two Stories, and to salve the Credit of the Evangelists, I knew not, till the Fathers directed me to the Use of a mythological Metamorphosis: And then I presently learn'd the Trick on't, to transform Stars into Angels, and Shepherds too, or Pastors of Christ's Flock[Pg 67] (which was the Difficulty) into wise Men; and so I made one Moral or Mistery of the two Fables.

I must also some Time take to task the Story of the many dead Bodies of the Saints, that upon Christs Resurrection, came out of their Graves, and appear'd unto many; which is too imperfectly related to merit Credit. The Evangelist, if he would have a reasonable Man believe his Story, should have told us, who those Saints were, and what Numbers of them; and whether they appear'd to the converted or unconverted Jews; whether they were some of the Patriarchs and Prophets of old, or some lately departed Disciples, who, for all Jesus's healing Power, died in the Time of his Ministry; and whether there were any Women among those Saints; and whether they appear'd naked (as Jesus modestly did to Mary Magdalen, unless he flip'd himself by Stealth into the Cloths of the Gardener, which might be the Reason of her Mistake, for she suppos'd she saw the Gardener) and whether they return'd again to Corruption, or ascended into Heaven. For want of these specifical Circumstances, the Evangelist has told us a Tale, that has neither Head nor Foot to it: and unless the Fathers mystically answer, to Satisfaction, every one of the aforesaid[Pg 68] Queries, I'll reject this Story for mere Romance and Imposture.

These and many other historical and seemingly miraculous Stories of the Gospel, are some time to be taken into Consideration; for I will not give this Work over, till I have demonstrated beyond all Contradiction, that the evangelical Writings are but the Shadow of Divine Mysteries; and that literal Interpreters, whom[144] Origen calls vulgar Capacities, are under a Mistake, if they think, they understand any Thing, as they ought, of the four Gospels.

I should conclude now, as it becomes a Moderator, with an Address to Infidels and Apostates, the great Combatants in this Controversy. But I have not Room to be as large, as I would, in my Exhortations to them distinctly, so I can only desire them to continue the Controversy with Zeal and Vigour, not doubting but it will end to the Honour of Jesus, the Good of his Church, and the Happiness of Mankind. The blessed Fruits of this Controversy are already seen and felt in[Pg 69] the almost Cure of a most malignant Distemper, call'd Bigottry, which has been the Bane of human Society, and in Times past more destructive of the World than either War or Pestilence. Go on then, Great and Good Sirs, till the Cure is perfected. And as you merit Praises and Rewards for your several Labours; So I hope you'll meet with them. The Nobility and Gentry, of the Kingdom, as I learn, are sensibly touch'd with the Usefulness of this Controversy; whereupon it is to be hoped the Legislative Authority will soon give Thanks to the great Mr. Grounds and Mr. Scheme for their Pains in it; and not forget to do Justice to the Bishops and Clergy according to their Merits. But I can't stay here to talk more on this Head, being obliged to make an Epistolary


P. S. To Mr. T. Ray, the Author of a Discourse, call'd Our Saviour's Miracles vindicated, &c. As I, Sir, enter'd the Press, you came forth, or I might possibly have paid more of my Respects to you another Way. But upon mature Consideration, I found a properer Reply could not be made to you, than is the foregoing Discourse; which, if you are not sick of your former Performance, will find you some more Work. And that you may[Pg 70] write more pertinently against this Discourse, than you did against my other, I'll give you some Instructions, viz. if you think of writing to the Purpose, you must prove these two Things; First, that the Fathers did not hold the Stories of Jesus's Miracles to be typical and figurative; and Secondly, that Jesus's Miracles neither will nor can receive a mysterious and more wonderful Accomplishment. But you have not said one Syllable to either of these Points; consequently have written nothing to the Purpose against me. As for Instance; In the Miracle of Jesus's driving the Buyers and Sellers out of the Temple: You should prove, First that the Fathers don't hold that Miracle to be typical of the future Ejection of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons out of the Church, that make Merchandize of the Gospel: And Secondly, that it was impossible that the Miracle should receive such an Accomplishment. But you have done nothing of this. So, if you should attempt again to write against this Discourse, as for Instance, against my Explication of the Miracle of Jesus's healing the Woman, that had an Issue of Blood; you must prove that that Story neither was in the Opinion of the Fathers Typical, nor could receive a mystical Accomplishment; or you may as[Pg 71] well hold your Peace. And after all, whether your Reasonings for the Letter of Christ's Miracles, are equal to mine against it, let our Readers judge, who will easily discern, that you jump over my choicest Invectives against the Letter, as if you was afraid of being touch'd by them.

As to your charging me falsly in one or two Places, with Misrepresentations of the Fathers, I'll expostulate that Matter with you, when I hear that the Bishop of London gives your Performance, the Reputation of a solid, and substantial one, by a Change of your Cloak into a Gown, which you seem to aim at; or you had never so besmear'd the Bishop with your Compliments, nor had been so mealy-mouth'd as to the Point of Liberty.

But what need you, Sir, have told the World, that you take me for an Unbeliever of the Scriptures. If the Bishop's wise Prosecution of me for an Infidel had not given you the Hint, you could never of your self have made that Discovery. And why did you not join the Fathers with me in Unbelief? I thought I had been of the same Faith with them. A Man of your Penetration into another's Principles, will, I suppose, from this present going Discourse, conclude me to be[Pg 72] a downright Atheist. And what must I do then to clear my self!

If you write any more, Sir, I desire you, without making more Haste than good Speed, to be as expeditious as you can; or you will not prevent my Publication of another Discourse, like these two, to the Honour of Jesus, to whom be Glory for ever and ever. Amen.

FINIS.

[FOOTNOTES]

[79] Matt. Ch. ix. Luke Ch. viii. Mark Ch. v.

[80] Factum quidum est, &, ita ut narratur, impletum. In Serm. lxxvii. Sect. 7.

[81] On Mat. Chap. ix.

[82] Matt. Ch. ix. v. 21.

[83] Non autem Fimbria Jesu, sed ejus Cogitatio eam salvam fecit. In Loc. Marci.

[84] Matt. Ch. xiii. v. 58.

[85] In Locum Matt.

[86] Illa vero Mulier quæ Fluxum Sanguinis patiebatur, Ecclesiam figurabat ex Gentibus. St. August. in Serm. lxxvii. Sect. 8. Præparatur igitur Mulier, in cujus Typo universalis Ecclesia sub specie designetur. Paschas. Ratbert. in Loc. Matt.

[87] Hæc Mulier, i. e. Sancta Ecclesia de Gentibus congregata quæ lapsu Criminum deperibat Sancti Ambrosii in Loc. Luc. Ut Mulier, quæ fluxum sanguinis patiebatur, &c. ita omnis Anima percussa incurabili Vulnere Peccati, habens fontem pravarum Cogitationum, &c. Macarii Ægypt. in Hom. xx.

[88] Επιγαζες γαρ την φοινικην αμαρτιαν. In Orat. xl.

[89] Quæ est enim hæc Mulier nisi Ecclesia Gentium—Fluxum Sanguinis patiebatur, quia in suorum Peccatorum Sanguine versabatur; quia Sanguinum Rapina & Occisione nutriebatur. In Dominic. xxiv.

[90] Adversus Hæreses. Lib. I. Cap. iii.

[91] Revel. Chap. xii. v. 6.

[92] Excellentes Verbi Prædicatores tanquam magni Medici.—Sancti August. in Psal. Lxxxvii. Sect. 10.

[93] Per hos enim Medicos, Ariolos & Philosophos intelligere possumus, quorum persuasionibus cæteri credentes a fidei Veritate aberrantes ad Animæ Sanitatem attingere non valebant. In Dominic. xxiv.

[94] Per Medicos intellige falsos Theologos. In Loc. Marci.

[95] Mark Ch. v. v. 26.

[96] Medici Molestiam potius quam Sanitatem ægrotanti præbentes. Ephræm. Syri. p. 63.

[97] Mark Ch. v. v. 34.

[98] Dei Posteriora sunt novissima tempora. Origen in Psal. xxxvi.

[99] Vestimenta Jesu sunt Sermones & Scripta Evangeliorum. Origen in Matt. Ch. xvii.

[100] Luke Ch. xiii.

[101] In Muliere infirma est Figura Ecclesiæ. Theoph. Antioch. in Loc. Lucæ. Unde intelligitur illa Mulier in Typo Ecclesiæ a Domino sanata & erecta, quam curvaverat Infirmitas, alligante Satana, Sancti August. de Trinit. Lib. iv. Sect. 7. In Typo Ecclesiæ fæminam salvat. Sancti Ambros. in Loc. Lucæ.

[102] Totum Genus humanum tanquam ista Mulier curvatum est ad terram,—Diabolus & Angeli ejus Animas hominum curvaverunt ad terras, id est, ut pronæ in ea quæ terrena, superna non quærerent. Sancti. August. in Serm. cccxcii. Qui occidentem sequuntur Literam terrena sapiunt. Sancti Hieron. in Lib. Amos, Ch. i.

[103] Quid illa Mulier octo decem Annos habens in Infirmitate. Sex Diebus Deus perfecit opera sua. Ter seni decem & octo faciunt. Quod ergo significavit triennium in Arbore, hoc octo decem Anni in illa Muliere. In. Serm. cx.

[104] Luke Ch. xiii. 7.

[105] 1 Cor. Ch. xiii. 9, 10.

[106] Ut Deus sex Dies in tantis Rebus fabricandis laboravit; ita & Religio ejus & Veritas in his sex millibus Annorum laboret, necesse est, malitia dominante & prevalente. Et rursus, quoniam perfectis operibus requievit Die septimo, eumque benedixit; necesse est, ut in sine sexti millessimi Anni Malitia omnis aboleatur e terra & regnet per Annos mille justitia; sitq; tranquilltas & requies a Laboribus, quos Mundus jamdiu perpessus est. In Lanctant. Instit. Lib. VII. Ch. xiv. Dies septimus etiam nos ipsi erimus quando (Christi) Benedictione & sanctificatione fuerimus pleni & refecti; ibi vacantes videbimus, quoniam ipse est Deus. Sancti August. de Civit. Dei. Lib. XXII. Ch. xxx.

[107] Contemnenda non est accurata circa Nomina Diligentia ei qui volucrit prole intelligere sacras Literas. In Johan. Evang. Tom. 8.

[108] Jam Archi-Synagogus adumbrat omnes Sacerdotes, &c. In. Hom. xii.

[109] Caluminabantur autem erigenti, qui, nisi curvi? In Serm. cccxcii.

[110] Sed nesciebat Archi-Synagogus vel hoc vel illud multo excellentius sacramentum, quod Sabbato curando Dominus intimabat, quia scilicet post sex hujus seculi Ætates perpetuæ Vitæ immortalis erat gaudia daturus. Venerab. Bed. in Loc.

[111] Ante Christum in cogniti & a solo sciente detecti. In Lib. II. adv. Gentes.

[112] Consequens autem est ei, qui cognoscit quæ sit Hierusalem in divisione veræ Hæreditatis filiorum Isræl, ut intelligat Sermonem de Gehenna. In Matt. Ch. xxiii.

[113] Ego puto quod nomina hæc Scriptura divina non pro Historia narraverit sed pro Causis & Rebus,—non enim tam Regum quam Vitiorum Nomina, quæ regnant in hominibus referuntur. In Numer. Ch. xxxi.

[114] Quid ergo mirum videtur, si per singula genera Peccatorum singuli Dæmones ascribuntur. In Lib. Josu. Ch. xi.

[115] Sed in alio quodam Libello, qui apellatur Testamentum duodecem Patriarcharum, talem quendam sensum invenimus, quod per singulos peccantes, singuli Satanæ intelligi debeant. Evidentius autem & ipsa Nominis ejus interpretatio hoc idem significare videtur; Satanas namq; Adversarius dicitur. Omnes ergo qui adversantur dei voluntati, Satanæ possunt dici. Ibid.

[116] On Miracles, p. 36.

[117] Quamdiu vera Pax veniat, & Sabbatismus, & Septem decadarum Numerus.—Ecclesia non plenam recipiat Libertatem. Sancti. Hieron. in Zechar. Ch. i.

[118] Illa Mulier curvata intelligitur figurare Ecclesiam, quam in Sexta Mundi Ætate a Captivitate Diaboli Jesus liberabit. In Quæst. 25. Dialog. lxv Quæst.

[119] Vidi Angelum habentem Clarem & Catenam ad ligandum draconem.—In Sexto Annorum Millenario hæc Res agitur. De Civit. Dei. L. XX. Ch. vii.

[120] Revel. Ch. xx. v. 2.

[121] Propter Infinitatem Annorum Mille Annos dixit. In Serm. de Pænitentia.

[122] Diaboli Forman assumimus—Leonis Personam induimus & Draconis,—quando crudeles & callidi sumus. Origen. in Luc. Hom. viii.

[123] Mark Ch. viii. v. 33.

[124] Defence of Christianity, p. 8.

[125] Doctioribus inter Judæos notissimum est,—quod Moses qui primus fuit Salvator Isrælis etiam in omni Vita & Operibus suis fuerit Typus & Figura ultimi Redemptoris. Christian. Meyer de Gen. Christi, p. 145. Judæi Veteres expectabant similem Ægyptiacæ Liberationem, ut scilicet Pharaoh & omnis ejus Exercitus qui per 430 Annos Populum Dei Captivum tenuit, in Mari Rubro submersus est; sic etiam Romani qui eodem Annorum Numero Judæos possessuri, Ultione Domini deleantur. Sancti Hieron. in Joel. Ch. v.

[126] See the Life of William Lilly.

[127] See Dr. Hammond on the Place.

[128] Percontando de Viro, Occasionem cepit occulta revelandi. Sancti Cyril. Alex. in Loc.

[129] John Ch. x. v. 24.

[130] Fortasse verum non erat, Judæos cum Samaritanis Commmercium non habere,—ac ne illud quidem verum, neque Haustorium habes, & Puteus altus est,—fortasse etiam neque illud, quod Jacob ex Puteo biberit, & filii ejus, & Pecora ejus. Origen. in Loc.

[131] Plena Mysteriis & gravida Sacramentis. Sancti August. in Johan. Ch. iv.

[132] Evangelica Sacramenta in Domini nostri Jesu Christi dictis factisque signata non omnibus patent, & ea nonnulli minus diligenter, minusque sobrie interpretando, afferunt plerumque pro salute Perniciem, & pro Cognitione Veritatis Errorem, inter quæ illud est Sacramentum quod Scriptum est de hac Samaritana, &c. In Quæst. 63, de Lxxxiii. Quest.

[133] Ως εν τυπω παλιν ημιν και δι αινιγματος υποδεικνευς. In Loc. Johan.

[134] Illa Mulier Typum gerebat Ecclesiæ, quæ ventura erat ex Gentibus—Ecclesiæ non justificatæ, sed justificandæ. Sancti. August. in Loc. Johan.

[135] Tunc fatigatur Christus, quando nullam Virtutem in Populo suo recognoscit. Sancti August. in Serm. xciii. Appen.

[136] Hora sexta id est, sexta Ætate Generis Humani. Sancti August. in Quæst. 64. lxxxiii. Quæst.

[137] Puteus est Divina Scriptura, scientia scatens, ut aqua, Cujus putei Profunditas sunt plena Mysteriis Symbola. In Theoph. Ceram Homil. xxxviii. de Samaritana.

[138] Lex secundum Literam est aqua amara. Hieronym. in Ezekiel. Ch. xlvii. Qui bibit ex hac aqua sitiet rursus, id est, qui participat profunditatem humanæ sapientiæ, prudentesque Rationes, receptis Intelligentiis judicio suo inventis, tamen rursus secundo cogitans, denuo dubitabit de his in quibus requieverat. Origen. in Loc. Johan.

[139] In Locum Johan. Evang.

[140] Quinque enim Viros habuisti, & nunc quem habes non est Vir tuus. Sed non sunt hæc carnabiter accipienda, ne huic ipsi Mulieri Samaritanæ similes videamur,—Per quinque Viros, quinque Libros Mosis Nonnulli accipiunt—sed quinque Viri intelliguntur quinque Corporis sensus. Et quia naturales sunt ipsi Sensus, qui ætatem primam regunt, recte dicuntur Mariti. In Quæst. 64. de lxxxiii. Quæst.

[141] Et nunc quem habes non est Vir tuus; Quia non est in te (Ecclesia) Spiritus qui intelligat Deum, cum quo legitimum potes habere conjugium; sed Error Diaboli potius dominatur, qui te adulterina Contaminatione corrumpit. Venerab. Bedæ in Locum.

[142] Magna quidem acta sunt Sacramenta, sed augustum Tempus est, ut omnia pertractentur. In Serm. xci. Sect. 2.

[143] In his Dissertation on the Blessing of Judah.

[144] Ut Lex Umbram continet futurorum bonorum, quæ declarantur ab ea Lege; sic etiam Evangelium, quod vel a quibusque vulgaribus intelligi existimatur, Umbram docet Mysteriorum Christi. In Præfat. ad Johan. Evang.


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