1 Aug. 17[altered from 24].
Prodigyes aspecting our late troubles.
I am under the promise of giveing you some accompt of the particular Prodigyes, which forenoted the late troubles of thiese nations. Nowe in performance thereof I send you a small volum conteining some particulars; In which you should first note, That it was <indicated> [deletion] before Wee fell to blowes in England, even when the first heate broke out in Ireland. Secondly, before wee had bookes of weekely intelligence, by which from all parts wee might have a full collection of like & coherent Indications.
Allso you may please to remember, That in a former letter I recited the ancient record of Iustine <the heathen Epitomiser of [Troyus?]>, That Ioseph was an interpreter of Prodigyes & dreames.
And you may note, That it is a very neere affinity, & allmost an identity of arts to prophesy and to interprete prophesyes, & prodigyes, & dreames, as I intend by Gods light hereafter to shewe more fully. [deletion] Here I begin with my frequent expostulation. Are all prodigyes, & Signes to bee despised, & neglected? If soe, Howe cam all
Historians, inspired, holy, & prophane, soe constantly to record them? On the contrary if they ought to bee heeded, Where are the interpreters; what care to find them out? what publique notice is taken of them? what care is imployed for them? to trye them, to encourage them, to enable them, to informe them? Where is their colledge, what discipline appointed, or allowed? Is it a busines soe slight, That it deserves noe discipline, but must bee left, as it were only to chance?
Therefore wee may well pardone the weakenesse, & defects of this small & hasty draught, if wee find many more considerable advertisements omitted, & some of thiese misinterpreted.
Some I will intersert that fell under mine owne observation <& such as you may allso find the opportunity to examine>. When I was at Eton Colledge, Mr Weaver was at charges to line the Pewes of the fellowes & singing men &c, & to face the walls with carved workes, made of the Elmes, that fenced, & adorned the walkes of the Colledge. I confesse I knowe
noe hurt in that; but I verily beleeve, That the prophane miscariage of Singing men in most Cathedralls, & frequently in the very time & place & action of publique worship, was a very greate provocation. And at that time, with a very greate thunder-clap two of the fayrest elmes standing in the middle of the walke were torne, above 6 foote from the grownd, The defacement was not much, but it shewd the force of the stroke, & the leades were carryed off the building, where the Schoole is, & throwne into the yard <or Courte> betweene the Schoole & the Church.
This I noted the more, because within a very fewe weekes after, the like storme was at Cambridge, & singled out one of the pinacles of Kings College Chappell, smiting it downe. Soone after, a difference fell there betweene the Provost with his Seniors, & <the> Iunior fellowes, which continued some yeares; & then a hot dispute betweene the fellowes of Kings in Cambrige
& of Eton; They in Cambrige claming by their statutes the precedence in all elections to Eton Colledge.
Allso a little before our
breaches<War with Scotland> a like storme defac't the battlements of Christe Church in Oxeford which (as I take it) were newely raysd. I conceive That the Pinacle of K Chappell [deletion] <in Cambrige> & the battlements of Christe Church <in Oxeford> were the most significant places, both of Royall & Ecclesiasticall importance, beeing the chiefe & remarkable places of both Universities; To thiese may be added the defacement or battery of the beautifull church of Withcomb in Devonshire, & Micham & Greenhith & Stone-church in Kent, & of St Anthony in Cornewall; all thiese neere about the same time at leaste in a time of strong importance. <as you may see in the treatise pag.39. 40.> And I have beene <told> of another like battery upon a Church in the North, as about that time: As if the Summons should bee to both Universityes, & to the three Corners of the Nation. Nowe, if it bee pleaded by many grave & learned men, That Ceremonyes & many
2 Aug 17.57. Prodigyes Aspecting our late troubles.
indifferent & harmelesse rites are too sharpely condemned in this small treatise; I desire it may allso bee weighed, Whether our newe raysed Altars & other applications to the Romane discipline, did not rayse a iealousy amongst Protestants abroade & in the bowells of the most pious of thiese nations: Whether they were not at that time unseasonable, & a scandall, by which the most conscienscious were discriminated for reiection out of their holy function, & from their livelihood. The like I may say of the Questions Concerning the Sabboth, as some say of Iobs friends. If
they<the Bishops> had the truth on their side, & the [strickt? altered] morality of the Sabbath <bee> undefensible; yet the rude pastimes which were by them too much countenanced, when most abominable in a time upon holy accompt appropriated for divine worship, & the eiection of Godly Ministers in such a cause, & (as some say) against lawe, must needes bee a greate provocation.
But wee are not bound to defend all the
lines of the Treatise: Thus far the iustification is liquid.
Let mee adde, That at the first sitting of the Parliament, Anno 1641 notice was given to both Universityes, That the Earle of Arundell at a sollemne feast found his oysters bloody. As I take it Dr Holesworth gave us notice of it in Cambrige. I deny it not to bee from a naturall cause, but the time, solemnity & unexspectednes, at the Table of that noble Persone, Who was then chiefe in the Court of honour, was interpreted to import, That Their honour & festivalls would bee turned into a field of bloud.
I could repeate many abodements which the King then had, & received with very greate horror. The eyes of his minde were awakened for the observation; & the advertisements pursued him to the scaffold. Some are recorded in the briefe history of his life.
A little before Mr Ascham tooke his unhappy journey for Spaine, I was takeing my leave of
him, where I found him lodging in the house of one Browne an upholster (as I take it) <at the Key, or Crosse keyes> In Charles streete in Comin Garden. There hee produc't his Landlord Browne an eyewitnesse to the stroke of bloud, which a bird made upon the necke of the famous Italian Statue of the King; as[altered] it was remoovd by the Kings Command. The King being told the manner of it by Sir En: Iones, enquird all particulars from Browne very exactly: and was much appalld at it.
Then & there I was assurd by Mr Ascham, That the Saturday before the battle at Edge-hill & Keinton, This Browns wiefe, a persone well knowne to Mr Ascham from his childehood, dreamd shee sawe the fight, & heard a Voice, or Angell declare the issue of things to come, & the utter overthrowe of the King <not only in the battell, but afterwards &c>. Her interest & affection beeing then for the King, this did put her into such a terrible affrightment, that shee fell very sicke in the agony, & being then greate, she [deletion] fell
in labor, & loste her
childe burden. I thinke shee is yet living to declare the Vision, maner & circumstances more fully. Such horrible impressions will not bee forgotten.
To thiese things may bee added, The wonderfull Comet which began Dec. 11. 1652. Of which I sent you the Scheme drawne by Mr Lyddell, Dr Martin & Mr Rookes. This I do not appropriate to England: but Hee that shall consider, Howe the greate Orbs in England have daunct, & shall compare, Howe well the Instrument did agree with the staring phænomenon, over-topping & out-running Comon lawe, & yet pretending to lawe, Hee will find it, as sortable for our affayres both at home & with the Dutch, as for the Hurricane of Swedland; The dauncing Queene, & the swift revolutions of the world aspected.
By our late helpes of Tubes, wee may in later ages bee better accomodated for the discovery of Signes in Heaven. For though God does his Wonders as well for the simple, as the learned, yet oft times hee makes the wise men & learned his greater Engines, by whom Hee drives the multitudes, as heretofore to the Wise men of the Easte.
I have allso told you of the bloud that raind in England Scotland, & Ireland & some other Signes. &c [left margin:] But. Dr Iacksons Sermons were more indicative of the troubles at hand, than any signes in heaven could bee.
3. Aug.17.Interpreters of Prophesy, prodigyes & dreames.
Did I see safe footing to a safe care, & were I worthy to bee heard in Secrete Councells, I thinke I could propose an easy & cheape methode, Howe thiese mysteryes might bee duely reguarded, advanced to wonderfull use, & yet reserved for the bosome only of the chiefe. Tis held to bee the Interest of Greate persons to pretend to some depth of divine mysteryes; & their power is sayd to bee somewhat strengthned by the very guise of Divinity, & by the cloake or guarde of Divination. Surely & in very truth it will bee strengthned by a reall reguard to Gods workes, & by a willing inspection into his discoveryes. Formall & hypocriticall applications will end in contempt & confusion; but a syncere hearte, well ordered in the wayes of God, did allwayes obtaine a cleere answere from the Lord. There is a greater depth in the 91 psalme, than evry reader doth discover. Hee that dwelleth in the secrete place of the most High, shall abide under the shadowe of the Allmighty. &c <weigh the whole psalme.>
Nowe I conceive it may bee demaunded What helpes I can affoord towards the Interpretation of Prodigyes, Prophesyes & dreames.
I answere, That tis the guift of God, even one of the guifts of the spirite & not the guift of Man. And this is one of the guifts that was never promised to all beleevers, but peculiar to some members of the Church. And this I take to bee the sense of the Apostle 2 Pet.1. 20 No prophesy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation; For the prophesy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were mooved by the holy ghoste.
This shewes That there must bee a speciall guift of the spirite as well to interprete prophesy, as to utter prophesye.
And as on the one hand it is a gross impiety, & shewes the notorious neglect of God & his workes, if wee cannot at all discerne the finger of the Lord, &
apprehend the Cominations & iudgements of the Lord, for which the incredulous Iewes are blamed by Ieremy 8. 7.8.9.&c And for which the Pharisyes are rebuked by our Lord Mat.16. 1,2,&c. Soe on the other hand, it is a fearefull thing to bee harryed by a vaine our carnall curiosity to attempt the dreadfull mysteryes of the most High.
If the Lords spirite for the glorious ends of exalting his owne name amongst his people, & over his enemyes does not apparently give the impulsion, Let us closely adhere to the Sage & holy Councell given Deut.
10. 219<29.> 29. The secrete things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things which are [deletion] revealed belong to us & to our children for ever, that wee may do all the words of this lawe.
Therefore I may iustely & must necessarily hold you under the Seale of Secrecy, Wisdome, & fidelity, That you doe not comunicate thiese discourses to others than such as you find by a due
strength of Fayth & aweful reverence prepared, & fitted for such mysteryes.
Upon that Covenant I doe nowe proceede to open two greate points. First To [deletrion]<shewe> That there is a Holy discipline, by which the guift of Prophesy, & of interpreting prophesyes, prodigyes, & dreames, & other branches of divine Wisedome, may bee excited, advanced & improved. Secondly by Gods assistance I will offer particular directions in discovering That Holy discipline, & the severall branches of it.
The first I will dispatch briefely by two arguments, first by the language of the writers of the newe Testament; Secondly by the practise of the prophets of the old Testament.
First the language of the newe Testament shewes their industry, diligence, & heedefull attention to bring their guifts to maturity. For soe Paul is understood by wise & learned men in his exhortation to Timothy ep 1. c.4. v.14. 15. Neglect not the guift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophesy, with the laying on of the [left margin:] hands of the presbytery: Meditate upon thiese things, give thy selfe wholly to them that thy profiting may appeare to all.
Interpretation of Discipline of prophesye &c
If it bee said That this may signify other guifts of the spirite, & not the guifte of prophesy, I answere, That then at least it serves my turne in some good sense. for my discourse describes a larger circle than the guift of prophesy. For
And it undertakes the whole compasse of the ancient wisdome of the Easte. Secondly, if the guifts of the holy spirite, which were given to such an eminent Evangelist[altered], as Timothy was, to enable him, by the demonstration of the spirite, to that mighty worke, of laying the foundation of the Gospell; if those guifts were not to bee neglected, but might (by our meditations & serious addictions) bee [deletion] more apparently advanced; Then <much more> the guift of prophesy, (which seemes to mee inferiour to the other High endowments which pertained to the plantation of the Gospell; & which were [deletion] in the dayes of the old Testement, yea & frequently allowed amongst the Gentiles of old,) may seeme to receive ayde from our well ordered industrye.
And in the 2 Epist to Tim 1 chapter 6 verse. Wherefore sayth
hee, I put thee in remembrance, That thou stir up the guift of God that is in thee by the putting on of my hands. Iubet eum [Greek: anazopurein] .i. quasi flabris et fomitibus admotis, excitare donum divinitus
datum acceptum: Loquitur n de dono extraordinario, ut de scintilla ignis cælitus delapsâ quæ esset fovenda, non secus ac ignis altaris [Greek: ouranopetes?] quotidianâ lignorum iniectione a sacerdotibus alebatur. Ipse Paulus cum abundaret donis Spiritus præe cæteris, habebat tamen schedas, & membranas quas iubet sibi afferri a Timotheo 2 Tim.4. 13. sayth Peter de Moulin. And Beza notes, That the guift of God is as a living flame kindled in our hearts. which our flesh & Satan will endevour to extinguish, & wee must the more endevour to cherish, foment & excite.
As wee see in the poeticall faculty; no man can by industry attaine unto it, except it bee given to him, Poeta non fit; yet to him,
That to him That hath the greatest endowments very much may bee added by Art & Industry. The fire that descended from heaven must bee cherisht by fewell on the altar, or in the Temple.
And Peter speaketh expressely[altered] of prophesy 1 Pet.1. 10 Of which salvation the prophets enquired & searched diligently, who prophesyed of the grace that should come unto you, Searching what or what manner of time the spirit that was in them did signify, &c. The whole phrase & particular words in the originall doe most emphatically signify a most industrious inquisition, & a sedulous scruteny: Whence Moulin concludes, Neque enim Prophetæ pendebant ex sola revelatione, sed etiam incumbebant studijs et pijs exercitationibus.
And this interpretation will bee well confirmd in my second Taske, which representeth the practise of the prophets of the old Testament.
For if of old there were no colledges of young prophets, nor any discipline, then to what purpose were the prophets assembled, & to what purpose was Samuel appointed over them, See 1 Sam.19. 20. And Saul sent messengers to take David, & when they sawe the company of prophets prophesying, & Samuel
standing as appointed over them, The spirite of the Lord was upon the Messengers of Saul & they allso prophesyed.
Yea this history, if well weighed, may seeme to import, Howe effectually in an assembly of Prophets the spirite of[altered] prophesy may bee transferred, or at least excited in such as approach.
As<Soe> Causabone shewes, Howe ecstacyes may bee contagious, & spread into an Epidemicall[altered] distemper. Our Quakers are much abused by fables, if they doe not prove it at Padderbone, & elsewhere. Neyther can the evill spirite bee more energeticall or powerfull in his operations over the wicked; than is the holy spirite over the children of [deletion]<wisedome & obedience>. If the Subiect bee prepared, such as the qualification of the subiect is, such wilbe the Spirite that inspireth. Ungodly Saul shalbe [hausned?] with an evill spirite, David shalbe inspired with the holy spirite <of God>. Yet here the Messengers get good, by approaching to the assembly of the prophets. For the spirite of God was upon the Messengers, & they
5. Aug:17 Discipline of Prophesy, Interpret of dreames.
& they allso prophesyed; And when it was told Saul Hee sent other Messengers, & they prophesyed likewise. & Saul sent messengers againe the third time, & they prophesyed allso. And Saul himselfe went thither to Nayoth in Ramah, & the spirit of the Lord was upon him allso, & <hee> went on, & prophesyed &c ibid.
If the heard of swine affoords a more wellcome hospitality to a Legion of devills, than the deepe Luc.8. 31. Then an uncleane persone, whose spirite is defiled (as in that possessed persone verse 27) shall by many degrees bee a fitter cage for those uncleane spirits. And thus allso a sanctifyed soule is a fit Temple for the spirite of the Lord.
Secondly, It is noe newe notion, but anciently understood, That there was a colledge of young Prophets at Gilgall, that were taught & disciplind by Elisha 2 King 4. 38. And Elisha came againe to Gilgal, & there was a dearth in the land, & the sonnes of prophets were sitting before him: & hee said unto his servant, Set on the greate pot, & seeth pottage for the sons of the prophets. Thiese young prophets verse 43 are said to bee 100 men as was before mentioned. Thiese hundred sonnes
of prophets, or young prophets, had not belongd to Elishas charge, & beene collected into one family, if it had not been for the benefit of some discipline by which they were improved.
And thiese young students <of prophesy> are frequently <mentioned> in the holy records, especially in the bookes of Kings as 2.King 2. 3. 7 &c Soe called sons of prophets more Hebræorum, qui eos a quibus erudiebantur, patres [deletion] appellabant.
And that they had such Colledges, & a certaine discipline, may appeare by Daniel, Who was him<selfe> made a President over the wise men of Babilon; & who [deletion] requested of the King to set Shadrach Mesech & Abednego over the affayres of the province of Babilon. Dan 2. 48. 49.
Neyther can wee conceive That Daniel would have undertaken to bee governour of thiese wise men, if their profession had beene unlawefull. Dan 2. 48, Neyther would hee have made use of the extraordinary revelation bestowd upon himself to sollicite & plead the safeguard of the
Wisemen, Magicians, & Astrologers, as Dan.2. 24. 27. 30, If I say their profession had beene unlawefull.
But brevity beeing promisd, I must omit many prooffes, And nowe answere To the Second maine pointe
What particular directions Wee can discover, as pertaining to the holy discipline of exerciseing the guift of Prophesy, & of interpreting prophesy, prodigyes & dreames.
It is not needefull, That I should lay the foundation
of soe large, as to repeate the necessary helpes that doe in generall advance Sanctity, as fasting, prayers, watching, retirement, meditations &c
Yet the fasts of
Elias Moses, & Elias, & Daniel, & of Iohn Baptiste & of our Saviour; & the peculiar abstinence from some kind of diete & choice of other, most expressely noted in Daniel c.1. v.8. 10. c.10. v.2. 3. & in Iohn Baptist &c do note a more than ordinary vigour of fasting in them that were eminent in the guift of prophesye: & this in the iudgement of sound men will give noe countenance to revoke the distinction
of meates; or to authenticate the Papall usurpation. Compare Act 10. 10 & verse 15. It seemes verse 10 That Peter by long fasting was fitted for a trance, but in that trance hee was taught That what God had cleansed should not bee called common: verse 15. Though the words & figure had a larger importance.
Soe the prayers of eminent Prophets had such a binding force, That wee durst not mention it, if the holy ghoste had not recorded it. Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah in some closer manner than formerly, as it should seeme by the emphaticall distinction of time. Gen 5. 22. Abraham held familiar friendship with God, & prevayled in all things. Iacob wrestled for a blessing wth the Angell of the Lord. Moses' hands by an assisted supportance defeated the [letter deleted] enemy; And generally the righteous man by the lifting up of his hand delivereth the Island. But[altered] howe importunately have holy <men> required haste, to make haste, to bow downe the heavens &c Aske mee, yea & Comand you mee & of things to come. The holy agonyes of prayer must needes doe miracles.
6. Aug.17. Exterior helpes to prophesy &c
As much I could say of the Austerityes of Watching, Meditations, Silence, Retirement & such Mortifications, by a strong fayth howe powerfull! Howe operative! Generally as thiese are [deletion]<more> extraordinary, soe the guifts are moste extraordinary, but wee must keepe the spirite & reasone awake, That wee may not caste our selves violently out of this frayle Tabernacle. For <this> is to offer an uncleane sacrifice, & not [Greek: logikto? ...ourgian?].
I could not say more in fewe words than the Apostle sayth 1 Tim.4. 15 Meditate upon thiese things, give thy selfe wholly to them, That thy profiting may appeare to all.
Nowe, when the hearte is clearely remooved from the lees of our owne Vanityes, & wholly [deletion] renounceth[altered] selfe-Interest, & selfe-revenge, intirely [deletion] zelous of the glory of God, & of the generall good of fraile mankind, but especially of Gods deare people; Then the internalls of the soule are prepared, & set in right order to partake of the Secrete of the Lord.
To thiese may be added
some extrinsecall helpes, as prospects from lofty hills: For which Abraham is called to his mysterious sacrifice upon one of the mountaines of Moriah Gen 22. 2. And God appeared to Moses in the blazing bush upon mount Horeb; & Moses had his chiefe converse with God upon Mount Sinay. And in mount Sinai Hee is admitted to behold the glory of God Exod 34. 2. And Hee is sent unto mount Nebo, That thence Hee should behold the land of Canaan, & that there hee should compose himselfe for death. Deut 32. 49. To passe by many [deletion] instances. Eliah hath his speciall conference with God on the top of Mount Carmel 1 King 18. 42. And our Saviour layd the foundation of the Gospell upon Mount
Sinay<Sion Mat.5.&c>, & repayred frequently to mount Sion Of Olivet to pray.
Many other such exterior helpes may bee recompted, as Musique. Hence 2 King.3. 15. Elisha calls for a Minstrell, And it came to passe when the Minstrell played, That the hand of
the Lord came upon him. & hee said Thus sayth the Ld.
Which may adde some light to the reasone of the Musique, which attended the prophets in their descent from the Hill of God mentioned 1 Sam.10 5. It shall come to passe, That thou shalt meete a company of prophets coming downe from the High place with a psalter, & a tabret, & a pipe, & a harpe before them, & they shall prophesye, & the spirite of the Lord shall come upon thee, & thou shalt prophesy with them, & shalt bee turned into another man. Here wee see the Hill, & Musique, & the spirite by approach obtaind.
And note here That Bethel is a hill, called the Hill of the Lord verses 5 & 10. by which it appeares That Iacob had his most mysterious dreame of the Angelicall ladder upon this Hill, a Hill of God. Gen.28. 19. And Miriam allso the prophetesse the sister of Aron, tooke a timbrell in her hand, & all the woemen went out after her with timbrells & with dances.
And David most apparently tund his Instruments very frequently to propheticall uses. And some psalmes are appropri-
ated to subdue evill spirits, as psal 68 & 91. & some to awaken the spirite of prophesy, as psal.2. & 45. & 72[altered]. & 87. & 110. And it is very anciently recorded, That the forecited 68 psalme was the psalme which David sung to Saul, when Hee allayed the evill spirite which molested Saul. Of which wee read 1 Sam.16. 23 And it came to passe, when the evill spirit from God was upon Saul, That David tooke an harpe, & played with his hand: Soe Saul was refreshed, & was well, & the evill spirit departed from him.
Other exterior helpes are not all fit to bee adventured at this time, nor till I have cleared some considerable points.
But nowe I will give you the golden key, fitted for all Secrete Wards, soe that by it You may (through Gods speciall blessing upon your holy endeavors) enter into the gates of Heaven, & understand the mysteryes of the Kingdome of God, & peruse the volumnes of Eternity.
7 Aug.17. The Key to revelations.
Beeing engaged to declare the discipline of prophesye, I shall open a dore to revelations, & shewe the easiest way to arrive unto the depth of all mysteryes. The Lord is my guide, & hath given mee the teste of my owne experiences, not once or twice, but frequently, & familiarly; Soe that I may truely say, as the beloved disciple sayd, That which was from the beginning, which wee have heard, which wee have seene with our eyes, which wee have looked upon, & our hands have handled: That which wee have seene & heard declare wee unto you, That yee allso may have fellowship with us. &c
And Hee is worse than an Infidell, That cannot beleeve his owne frequent experiences, when they are allso attested with the ioynt evidence of Gods Spirite; When Gods hidden workes, his Wonderfull workes, & his Workes that are to come, doe conspire, & agree with the information of his holy Spirite.
To enforce anothers beleefe, or at least his
consent, or silence, two things I would premonish.
First aske the Infidell, the Atheist & the Scorner, Whether Hee doth not sometimes find in himselfe, & oft times observe in others, That in their sleepe they are foretold of many things, which come to passe beyond all humane expectation: Whether such as are constantly attentive hereunto, doe not more clearely & more constantly forespeake the affayres that come to passe. The visite of guestes, their losses, their deliverances, their surpriseing passions. I say of my selfe & of many others, That wee have foreseene & forenoted the evill, & the importance of our owne infirmityes, & have engaged mutuall assistances, with all watchfullnesse, & diligence, to prevent, & escape the Evill, & yet all in vaine; The prenotation hath beene frequently strangely confirmed by the unavoydeable issue. In our sleepe
sometimes wee receive advise for the remedyes of diseases, that <are> not by humane skill cureable, sometimes the advertisements are of very light & ordinary concernement, & yet true, & pertinent. Hence I argue. Can a reasonable soule beleeve <& find> the vulgar & trifling affayres of humane life to bee forenoted to heathens & triflers; & are not the Weighty things of God much more certainely forenoted to them That are sollemnely & syncerely, & fervently addict & devote themselves to attend the spirite of God. If the Spirite of Man hath by dreames an insight into the smallest of future things, will not the same spirite, (when inlightned by the beames of Gods Countenance, by the Love of God, & the Light of his Spirite) see deeper into those things which doe more properly belong to the spirite, & are the effects of Gods Love, & which are the greate wheeles upon which the revolution of all outward things depend. Weigh this. I must be briefe, & leave
amplifications for your meditations. Say not in your hearte, That Nature forenotes which hayre shall fall, & what shall betide the sparrowes, but God gives noe knowledge of his pleasure to his owne elect.
Secondly, I premonish That of the many wayes by which God declares futures, There is none so easy & pleasant for us, none soe cleare & soe assiduous, as by dreames. Some in horrid ecstasyes, in desperate diseases, in alienation of the minde or at the point of death, (when the whole frame of our fleshly Tabernacle is soe broken to pieces, That the Soule or Spirite sees (as through thousands of chinkes or cranyes) into the state of Eternity,) then only are they propheticall; & some are propheticall in some lesse matters by the helpe of a very strong phantsy, which over tops, or overstraines all the other Facultyes. But without thiese violencyes or iniuryes done to our humane nature, or any ecclipses to the sober light of a solide iudgement in a sweete, serene, & holy composure of our Spirits, [left margin:] Our sleepes may bee made propheticall.
8 Aug: 17 The Key to revelations
Whence upon naturall & holy demonstration I infer, That if the Lord give mee Light here to discover the Interpretation of Dreames, To them that sit upon the Watch, (as the prophets of old &c allwayes have done) & attend to holy things in the way allready declared) To them I shall thereby [deletion]<shewe> The best & most considerable branch of the Discipline of Prophesy, & under one the Interpretation of Prodigyes allso.
And sometimes the propheticall dreames will bee soe cleare, That there needes noe additionall interpretation. Such was Solomons dream See it 2 Chro: 1. 7. Where, (for the better understanding of other like places in scripture) you may observe, That in that holy history it is only sayd That in that night, did God appeare to Solomon, & sayd unto him, Aske &c But the same mater beeing related 1 King 3. 5. The Lord appeared unto Solomon in a dreame. & verse 15 And Solomon awoke & behold it was a dreame. The very Light that shined upon Solomons spirite, & bare testi-
mony to his conscience, That his desires were very comendable; & the very actuall opening of his spirite to the inquisition after Wisdome, did testify That God was in that dreame. Hence in many other places of Scripture, When wee read, That God appeared, Wee may understand, That Hee appeared in a dreame. And sometimes when wee only find a dreame, Wee may understand, That God was in that dreame.
Sometimes the matter is represented in a dreame by a kind of Vision, which Vision is afterwards in the same dreame, or in another explained.
Sometimes the Vision is varyed, That one Vision may bee helpefull to explaine the other, & both ioyne & concur in the confirmation. as in Pharoahs dreames, of kine, & of eares of corne Gen.41. 32.
Sometimes the vision That of it selfe was intricate, or difficult to bee understood, shall bee explained by some ominous words that may afterwards bee spoken, or by some other circum-
And sometimes in a dreame there is a direction to a further Signe, which may allso bee anothers dreame, & the declaration of the future issue, as Iudges 7: I cannot positively say, That the Lord spake to Gedeon by dreame verse 7; but it may well bee soe, as I shewed in a parallell place. But it appeares verses 13. 14. 15. That by anothers dreame
s, & a third mans interpretation, Gedeon was confirmd, That it was from the Lord.
Nowe because the cleare dreames are more seldome, & are not allwayes a full proofe, That the Lord is in them, except they carry an instructing light unto the conscience; & because the spirite is allwayes busied in some kind of dreames, Therefore I must take some paynes to produce the full Art of Interpreting dreames.
In this matter I shall bee allowed to produce some of my owne experiences, as a visible clue; by which wee may safely enter into this Laborinthe. And first I will tell a very true
& plaine story.
In my first yeares of Logique, I had allmost broken my braine with incessant studyes. I allowd my selfe noe minute of reste. our very Sabboth (according to the Custome of those times) was taken up wth Logical <or disputative> Theology. our dinners & suppers were the times of our sharpest cumbats in Sophistry: The spirite of ambition, & pride of Victory forct mee to learne by hearte, & [promply?] all the Logicians, old & newe, Protestants & Romanists, Dominicans & Iesuites, briefe or voluminous, That from Germany, Spaine, Italy or France, wee could procure. By this inhumane industry my sleepe was allmost taken from mee, & with this wretched spirit of unquietnesse, I got the habite, or Art to direct that short sleepe that I had, about what kind of busines my dreames should bee imployed: which I did most carefully observe, When I was engaged upon compositions in prose or verse. For I had found, That my phansy was more serene, & my [left margin:] compositions more elegant in my dreame than wakeing: only those Conceits did oft times set mee upon better designes, than I could prosecute, whe