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PART I, Scriptures, is reduced to this, whether Christian
kings, and the sovereign assemblies in Christian commonwealths, be absolute in their own territories, immediately under God; or subject to one vicar of Christ, constituted of the universal church; to be judged, condemned, deposed, and put to death, as he shall think expedient, or necessary for the common good.
Which question cannot be resolved, without a more particular consideration of the Kingdom of God; from whence also, we are to judge of the authority of interpreting the Scripture. For, whosoever hath a lawful power over any writing, to make it law, hath the power also to approve, or disapprove the interpretation of the same.
OF THE SIGNIFICATION OF SPIRIT, ANGEL,
AND INSPIRATION IN THE BOOKS OF
HOLY SCRIPTURE. Body and spirit SEEING the foundation of all true ratiocination, is how taken in the Scripture the constant signification of words; which in the
doctrine following, dependeth not, as in natural science, on the will of the writer, nor, as in common conversation, on vulgar use, but on the sense they carry in the Scripture; it is necessary,
before I proceed any further, to determine, out of the Bible, the meaning of such words, as by their ambiguity, may render what I am to infer upon them, obscure, or disputable. I will begin with the words BODY and SPIRIT, which in the language of the Schools are termed, substances, corporeal, and incorporeal.
The word body, in the most general acceptation, Part III. signifieth that which filleth, or occupieth some certain room, or imagined place; and dependeth not Body and spirit on the imagination, but is a real part of that we the Scripture. call the universe. For the universe, being the aggregate of all bodies, there is no real part thereof that is not also body; nor any thing properly a body, that is not also part of that aggregate of all bodies, the universe. The same also, because bodies are subject to change, that is to say, to variety of apparence to the sense of living creatures, is called substance, that is to say, subject to various accidents: as sometimes to be moved; sometimes to stand still; and to seem to our senses sometimes hot, sometimes cold, sometimes of one colour, smell, taste, or sound, sometimes of another. And this diversity of seeming, produced by the diversity of the operation of bodies on the organs of our sense, we attribute to alterations of the bodies that operate, and call them accidents of those bodies. And according to this acceptation of the word, substance and body signify the same thing ; and therefore substance incorporeal are words, which when they are joined together, destroy one another, as if a man should say, an incorporeal body.
But in the sense of common people, not all the universe is called body, but only such parts thereof as they can discern by the sense of feeling, to resist their force, or by the sense of their eyes, to hinder them from a farther prospect. Therefore in the common language of men, air, and aerial substances, use not to be taken for bodies, but (as often as men are sensible of their effects) are called wind, or breath, or (because the same are called in
PART III. the Latin spiritus ) spirits ; as when they call that
aerial substance, which in the body of any living Body and spirit creature gives it life and motion, vital and animal the Scripture." spirits. But for those idols of the brain, which
represent bodies to us, where they are not, as in a looking-glass, in a dream, or to a distempered brain waking, they are, as the apostle saith generally of all idols, nothing ; nothing at all, I say, there where they seem to be; and in the brain itself, nothing but tumult, proceeding either from the action of the objects, or from the disorderly agitation of the organs of our sense. And men, that are otherwise employed, than to search into their causes, know not of themselves, what to call them; and may therefore easily be persuaded, by those whose knowledge they much reverence, some to call them bodies, and think them made of air compacted by a power supernatural, because the sight judges them corporeal; and some to call them spirits, because the sense of touch discerneth nothing in the place where they appear, to resist their fingers : so that the proper signification of spirit in common speech, is either a subtle, fluid, and invisible body, or a ghost, or other idol or phantasm of the imagination. But for metaphorical significations, there be many : for sometimes it is taken for disposition or inclination of the mind; as when for the disposition to controul the sayings of other men, we say, a spirit of contradiction ; for a disposition to uncleanness, an unclean spirit ; for perverseness, a froward spirit; for sullenness, a dumb spirit ; and for inclination to godliness and God's service, the Spirit of God. sometimes for any eminent ability or extraordin sion, or disease of the mind, as
when great wisdom is called the spirit of wis- PART III. dom ; and madmen are said to be possessed with a spirit.
Other signification of spirit I find nowhere any; and where none of these can satisfy the sense of that word in Scripture, the place falleth not under human understanding; and our faith therein consisteth not in our opinion, but in our submission; as in all places where God is said to be a Spirit; or where by the Spirit of God, is meant God himself. For the nature of God is incomprehensible ; that is to say, we understand nothing of what he is, but only that he is; and therefore the attributes we give him, are not to tell one another, what he is, nor to signify our opinion of his nature, but our desire to honour him with such names as we conceive most honourable amongst ourselves.
Gen. i. 2. The Spirit of God moved upon the The spirit of face of the waters. Here if by the Spirit of God the Scripture be meant God himself, then is motion attributed to for a wind, God, and consequently place, which are intelligible or breath. only of bodies, and not of substances incorporeal ; and so the place is above our understanding, that can conceive nothing moved that changes not place, or that has not dimension; and whatsoever has dimension, is body. But the meaning of those words is best understood by the like place, (Gen. viii. 1.) where when the earth was covered with waters, as in the beginning, God intending to abate them, and again to discover the dry land, useth the like words, I will bring my Spirit upon the earth, and the waters shall be diminished : in which place, by Spirit is understood a wind, that is an air or spirit moved, which might be called, as in the former
PART 1. place, the Spirit of God, because it was God's
work. Secondly, for Gen. xli. 38, Pharoah calleth the Wisdom of gifts of the Joseph, the Spirit of God. For Joseph having understanding. advised him to look out a wise and discreet man,
and to set him over the land of Egypt, he saith thus, Can we find such a man as this is, in whom is the Spirit of God? And Exod. xxviii. 3, Thou shalt speak, saith God, to all the wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, to make Aaron garments, to consecrate him : where extraordinary understanding, though but in making garments, as being the gift of God, is called the Spirit of God. The same is found again, Exod. xxxi. 3, 4, 5, 6, and xxxv. 31. And Isaiah xi. 2, 3, where the prophet speaking of the Messiah, saith, the Spirit of the Lord shall abide upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and fortitude, and the spirit of the fear of the Lord. Where manifefly is meant, not so many ghosts, but so many eminent graces that God
would give him. Thirdly, for
In the book of Judges, an extraordinary zeal extraordinary
and courage in the defence of God's people, is called the Spirit of God; as when it excited Othniel, Gideon, Jephtha, and Sampson to deliver them from servitude, Judges, iii. 10, vi. 34, xi. 29, xiii. 25, xiv. 6, 19. And of Saul, upon the news of the insolence of the Ammonites towards the men of Jabesh Gilead, it is said, (1 Sam. xi. 6) that the Spirit of God came upon Saul, and his anger, (or, as it is in the Latin, his fury), was kindled greatly. Where it is not probable was meant a ghost,, but an extraordinary zeal to punish the cruelty of the