« AnteriorContinuar »
very far from being an original; and in his soul of man subject to be driven by the influstyle and method is so opposite to sacred ence of the stars, is no other than idolatry Scripture, that his language must not be im- and paganism : it was this notion that intră puted to the same author by any person who duced the vain science of astrology, and led has rightly considered both. But you tell the Heathen to worship the stars, as gods me, “ The words are his own, he says : the endued with the power of over-ruling the sense only was inspired.” And if he says affairs of this lower world. But God warned this, he is not to be believed any way: for, his people against this doctrine; Jer. x. 2. in the first place, his inspired writings will Learn not the way of the Heathen, and be then be like no other ; the prophets and not dismayed at the signs of heaven : the apostles having SPOKEN (not thought only) as same is repeated more than once in the law the Spirit gave them UTTERANCE : and the of Moses. And the contrary is again rewhole sacred Scripture is not called the peated by Jacob, chap. xx. 87. * Cain, sense, but the word of God; because Christ thy potent kingdom cometh not from God, and the Holy Ghost spake it by the prophets, but liath its influence from the starry heaven :"> whose usual introduction is, “Thus saith the and again, ibid. “ The rule and government Lord.” Hence it is that the prophet David, of this world, all according to the influence speaking of his own inspiration, says, 2 Sam. of the stars, not ordained of the Deily:" xxiii. 2. “ His word was in my tongue;" which is doubly false; for the government and again, in the xlvth Psalm, “My tongue established in the world is not from the stars, is the pen of a ready writer.” Whence it is as he affirms; but “the powers that be,” manifest, that the inspiration from the Spirit whether good or bad (for this was spoken of of God did, in fact, always extend to the Nero,) “ are ordained of God.” tongue, and the expressions whether spoken As for his explaining the book, let us take or written : and there are weighty reasons the following instance; whence will it follow why it cannot be otherwise ; but I have no that, if he was inspired, St. John, who wrote room for them.
the Revelation, certainly was not. The Secondly. If Jacob says this, he forgets seven golden candlesticks, as Christ expoundhimself, and is in two stories; for, in his ed their meaning in vision to St. John, second book, concerning the three principles, did signify the seven churches of Asia ; and chap. xxv. 51, he says, “ We speak nol our the seven stars, the angels (that is, the bishops own words, but we speak in our knowledge or chief rulers) of those churches. But and driving in the spirit that which is shown Jacob, taking the matter into his hands, exus of God.” Again, chap. xxv. 100, he tells pounds them afresh, and says, chap. xx. 42, us of “the Spirit that driveth his pen :” and “ The seven golden candlesticks are his his pen could not be driven to thought, but humanity, the seven stars are his deity:" only to utterance or ea pression. So that if which two expositions, as they can no way what you have observed be true, that the be reconciled with each other, we need only words are his own, he says, then he has con- compare, to detect the ignorance and imputradicted himself in terms, and that with re- dence of the impostor. From another pasgard to the first and great point of which he sage we shall have the same conclusion, ought to satisfy us, viz. the reality of his either against him, or against Moses and St. inspiration, which can receive but little Paul. Chap. xi. 40, he says, “ Adam looked honor from such inconsistencies. But the upon the tree of knowledge, became infected worst is, that he hath not only contradicted by lust, and was undone : and, then, said the himself, but the Scriptures; and that in many heart of God, It is not good for him to be more instances than I can enumerate within alone.” This throws the temptation of Adam the compass of a letter. You say, madam, quite into another order, and makes it arise he has not added to the book, but only ex- from other causes than what God hath replained it; whereas it appears to me (from vealed to us ; for Adam gives this as the some things which perhaps have not yet reason of his fall—“ The woman whom thou fallen in your way) that he contradicts it, gavest to be with me, she gave of the tree, and has added many things to it; for he has and I did eat.” Gen. iii. 12. To which St. set up doctrines expressly condemned by it, Paul referring, assures us (1 Tim. ii. 14.) that and has denied several of its most positive as- " Adam" not “deceived;" but that sertions.
“the woman, being deceived, was in the In the piece above-mentioned, which is transgression.” This makes the woman to the sum of all his doctrines, he preaches up have been first in the order of the transgres“the regiment (rule or dominion) of the stars sion, and also the immediate cause of Adam's and elements that driveth the body and soul falling after her example. But here Jacob of man," chap. xviii. 25. But to make the puts in his negative." Adam, according to
him, was deceived: and the woman was so meaning himself and the Spirit of God, far from being first in the order of the trans- with his frequent boastings of high and unutgression, that the angelic man fell and was terable knowledge, meaning such stuff as I undone, before the woman was taken out of have just now repeated ;—the foul venom him :
: so that unless Adam was deceived and of his tongue, in railing at the authority of not deceived, and unless he was both first and the church, and all Christian divines from last in the order of transgression, then it the days of the apostles down to his own, must be allowed that Jacob Behmen was not without excepting any that I can yet find, inspired, or that Moses and St. Paul were unless it be some of the primitive heretics, not; for their doctrines cannot stand togeth- who were just such saints as himself ;-his er: and here we are to remember, as it was ridiculous and anti-scriptural interpretation observed above, that if this man was not in- of words; for when the Gospel hath given us spired, and yet affirms that he is, while he is the important sense and interpretation of the so often giving the lie to the Spirit of God, name Jesus, “For he shall save his people he is not only a liar of the worst sort, but a from their sins," he goes to his deep language blasphemer.
of nature, and declares with much pomp, You tell me, madam, he has given no new that “ Je is his humbling, and the syllable Sus revelation. So he says, indeed, that he presseth aloft through.” Chap. xxii. 76. writes no new thing : but what is that account | These and many other things I might expose of a limbus, or matrix of pre-existing matter, at large : but as I am assured from your own out of which the world was generated, born, words, and am satisfied from the whole spirit and at length created? Chap. iv. What is of your writing, that you have humility that heavenly flesh, that quintessence of the enough to confess an error, when you are stars, of which man's body was made, chap. convinced of it, I will not weary your x. 10, though God hath revealed to us, that patience with any farther observations on the he “ formed man of the dust of the ground ?" writings of Jacob Behmen; but shall here To which also St. Paul alluding, says, “ The conclude them, with heartily recommending first man is of the earth, earthy." What, you and my own poor endeavors to the again, but a new revelation is that strange grace and blessing of Almighty God. story, that Adam should have propagated an You seem to take it ill that I apprehended angelical host out of his own will, without pain, some danger for you ; which indeed I did by awakening in himself the paradisiacal more than I do at present: yet I rejoice, centre ? Chap. x. 12. What is this centre ? madam, that any occurrence or any instruHave Moses or the prophets spoken of it? ment, be it who or what it will, has taught And are we not told that God said to Adam you to despise the world, and stirred up in and Eve in their state of innocence, “Be you a thrist after the wisdom of God. In fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth ?” this, go on and prosper: I heartily bid you Again, where did he learn that Adam had no God speed! and, if you desire to learn the entrails, stomach, or guts ? Chap. x. 19. Yet knowledge of divine mysteries for your edifiin the perfect state of Adam, God bade him cation and comfort in this vale of misery, eat of the trees of the garden. Therefore, there are ways and means, though the well says Jacob, he must have taken it into his is deep, by which, through God's blessing on mouth, and not into the body. Surely, madam, your industry, much living water may be this is not to explain the book of God, but drawn out of it; and that without letting to deny it, and to reveal to us such wonder- down into it the vessel of J. Behmen. If ful stuff instead of it, as is not fit to be re- any mysteries of the Scriptures are rightly peated or thought of. Yet these things, explained by him (and it would be hard inaccording to the author, are the root and deed, if, with all his pretences, he had not ground of the depth ; without allowing which hit upon something,) the same have also been he affirms we can know nothing at all. But explained by more sober men, and in a far if there are any depths here, I will be bold better manner. An English reader need not to say, they are the depths of Satan, without be at a loss for the interpretation of the fearing any mischief from that profusion of Scripture, so long as the writings of Bishop threatenings and imprecations which this Andrews, Hall, Brownrig, and Mr. Leslie, man hath bestowed, throughout his works, on and many others, are current amongst us. all those who dare to gainsay his doctrines. These are some of the books I would hum
I might here add something upon his bly recommend to your reading. Andrews Light of Nature; which, as he has described is a noble and profitable expositor : one of it at large, is the great mystery of Pagan his sermons on the Passion is the greatest enthusiasm, and the root of modern infidelity; human composition extant on the subject : -his abominable pride, where he says, we, I his discourses on Repentance and Humilia
LETTER ON JACOB BEHMEN'S WRITINGS.
tion, on the necessity of receiving the Holy so as to advance us in the spirit and pracSpirit, with the Way to distinguish his tice of the Christian life. I had almost forgenuine Fruits, are all admirable. His Devo- gotten Mr. Wogan, the last able expositor tions breathe a most exalted spirit of piety, which this church has produced; whose four while they contain a complete body of the volumes on the Proper Lessons are in the Christian mysteries. There are some Eng- hands of many pious people, and are greatly lish editions ; but the best is from a Greek recommended by those who make the Bible and Latin copy found among his papers after their study.* his death, blotted and soiled with his tears. After all that can be said, the Holy Ghost Bishop Brownrig has, among other excellent himself is the best interpreter of his own discourses, eight sermons on the Transfigura- writings; and so boundless is the treasure tion, wherein the great mysteries of that part therein contained, that the Scripture comof our Saviour's history are unfolded with pared with itself will frequently open some equal skilfulness and piety. Leslie, in his things to the faithful inquirer, of which no History of Sin and Heresy, will lay open to commentator will inform us. But, nevertheyou the whole mystery of iniquity, traced less, our weakness is obliged to call in the from the fall of Lucifer out of heaven, down help of our brethren on several occasions ; to the modern heresies and blasphemies : and, though the Scripture be itself the and, if you would see every false pretence word of life, yet it is profitably held forth to to inspiration detected and exposed beyond a us by the hand of man, and placed on a canpossibility of a reply, you may look into his dlestick, that they which are in the house pieces against the Quakers, with his preface may see the light, and partake of its influon Antonietta Bourignon.
His works are in ences. two volumes in folio, easily to be met with. That this may ever be the fruit of all your For the spiritual dispositions no author ex- reading, and that the light of God's revelaceeds Kempis in his Imitation of Jesus tion may clear up all your doubts, and guide Christ. Dr. Cave's Lives of the Primitive your feet through the paths of sound and Fathers, is a book very useful and entertain- wholesome doctrine into the way of eternal ing, necessary to give some notion of the peace, is the sincere wish and prayer of, primitive times, with that knowledge, spirit,
Madam, and discipline, which are now departed from
Your most obliged, &c. &c. &c. amongst us.
There is one book more which I believe * If this letter had been of modern date, the may be very acceptable; and, as you are writer of it would certainly have added the Comalready in possession of Bishop Hall, it is the mentary on the Psalms: and perhaps he might last I shall mention ; —that is—Quesnel's have added the Lectures on the Figurative LanMoral Reflections on the New Testament. Commentary on the Liturgy of the church of Eng.
guage of the Scripture; and certainly Mr. Waldo's He has a great talent in speaking to the land, heart, and applying the history of the Gospel
PO E MS.
HAVING MENTIONED (p. 34) DR. HORNE'S TURN FOR POETICAL COMPOSITION, THE EDITOR THINKS
THE READER WILL NOT BE DISPLEASED, IF A FEW OF HIS POEMS ARE ADDED FOR A SPECIMEN.