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A Treatise of Extraordinary
[ i.e. Visitations, Dreams, Miracles, Inspeakings, Visions, Transports, & Prophecies ]
under the Jewish and Gospel Administrations.
[1629 - 1691]
Account of the various W A Y S of
God's manifesting himself to MAN.
With Observations on those Dispensations call'd
E X T R A O R D I N A R Y.
VARIOUS have been the Ways, in which God hath Dispensed himself to his Church, since the Fall of Adam. But my chief design is here to discourse of those (now called Extraordinary) of which are Revelations; Infallible Prophecies; Responses from the Mercy Seat; Answers from the High Priests Pectoral, named (a) the Judgment of Urim, together with Angelical Dreams, Miracles, Voices, Visions, &c.
Now Visions of which I shall discourse more particularly than of the rest, were chiefly those of Representation of Angels, of the Internal Heavens, of Christ's glorified Humanity, and of the Similitude of God.
Voices were either Internal, which we may call inspeakings, or External, which were either from Angels, or from the Persons in the Trinity; some instances of which, and other extraordinary Ways of God's Discoveries in his Saints, so far as they Suit to the present design, I shall give in the Scriptures I have collected; which I intend first to present into View; and afterwards on them, as the Foundation, to build up my observations, which I shall conclude with a Vindication of some, who at this time, enjoy many of these extraordinary things.
(i) Gen. 37.
Now my purpose is to begin with God's discoveries of himself before the Law, which were ordinarily in Visions and Voices: By Voice to (b) Adam and Eve after their Fall. To (c) Noah oft, where before the Deluge, he commanded him to build an Ark, and after it made a Covenant with him, and all Mankind in him. So to (d) Abraham, in directing and counseling him; (e) in familiar discoursing with him, and comforting him with future Promises: By Vision, where God shew'd Abraham the appearance of a smoking Furnace and a burning Lamp; so Gen.17. God appeared to Abraham, discoursed with him, changed his Name, instituted Circumcision. So Gen.18. he had a Vision of three Men, going to visit Sodom, at which time, the Lord talked with him, and interceded Gen.19. for Sodom. Two Angels came to Lot, hastening him to depart, and at length, carried him, his wife and two Daughters out thence. (f) God commands Abraham to offer up Isaac, the Angel prohibits his Execution. (g) God appear'd to Isaac, directed him, and renewed the blessed Promises. Jacob in a Dream, saw a great Vision of Angels Gen.28. ascending and descending upon an appearing Ladder, above which, the Lord stood discoursing with him, and renewed the Promises to him. Now Jacob looked upon this Vision as a great thing, and therefore said, this Place is no other than the House of God, and Gate of Heaven, hence he named it Bethel. (h) God's Hosts of Angels met him, therefore he called the Place Mahanaim; here his Name was changed from Jacob to Israel; and the place where he wrestled and prevailed with God, he called Peniel, because there he saw God face to face, and yet lived. (i) Joseph who was God's and Jacob's Favourite, had two Mystical, prophetical Dreams, which were afterwards fulfilled: He had also the Gift of Interpretation of Dreams, Gen.40.12. which he (k) shewed to be an especial Work of God's Spirit, by interpreting Pharaoh's two Dreams, which the Magicians of Egypt could not do. (l) Jacob by a Prophetical Spirit blesseth his Sons, and foretells the Lots of the Twelve Tribes. Joseph before his Death, prophesieth of the departure of the Israelites out of Egypt. (m) The Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in a flame of Fire, and God gives his Commission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, silencing his Objections. Afterwards from Exod.4 to 12 God oft talked with Moses, giving Instructions concerning his Applications to Pharaoh, before whom he shewed wonderful Signs and Miracles. (n) He spake to Moses and Aaron, concerning the departure of the Israelites: (o) The Lord went before them by Day in a Pillar of Cloud, by Night in a Pillar of Fire, and so led them by immediate Directions, and many Miracles to Mount Sinai. He gave the Law by Administration of Angels, in that Majesty and Solemnity, Lightning and Earthquakes, that the Israelites were glad to own Moses, as their Mediator. Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, with Seventy of the Elders were called up to the Mount, where God honoured them with a great Vision of his own Likeness, for verse 10. 'tis said, they saw the God of Israel, and under his Feet, as it were a paved Work of Saphir-Stone, and as the Body of Heaven in his clearness, and verse 17. 'tis said, that the sight of the Glory of the Lord, was like the devouring Fire upon the Top of the Mount, where God talked with Moses. (p) The People saw the cloudy Pillar stand at the Tabernacle Door, at which time, God talked with Moses Face to Face; where after Moses's request to see God's Glory, he promiseth to shew him his back Parts, and to make all his Goodness pass before him, verse 19. I shall pass over all other Speeches and Appearances of the Lord to Moses and Aaron, which were very frequent, as may be seen in Levit., Deut., Numb., mentioning only, that of Numb.7.89: Where the Answer from off the Mercy-Seat is expressed in these Words, And Moses heard the Voice of one speaking to him from off the Mercy-Seat, that was upon the Ark of Testimony, from between the two Cherubins, and that of Numb.2.21: Where the Answer by Urim, from the High-Priest is declared for Joshua's Directions, whom Moses was Commanded to Constitute as his Successor.
Now after the Law was established as a standing Testimony for the ordering of Things, Civil and Ecclesiastical, (q) God withdrew not Extraordinary (then ordinary) Ways of Dispensation: For Joshua, the 1st. He Speaks immediately to Joshua, giving him Encouragements, and Instructions how he was to proceed in the general Affairs: So again Josh.3 and 4. Josh.5. The Captain of the Lord's Hosts appeared and commanded him to loose his Shoes from his Feet, at which Joshua fell to the Earth. Chap.7. After his Prayer the Lord answered him, with Directions how to find out Achan's Sin. Chap.8. God directs Joshua in the Surprising of Ai. Chap.10. The Sun and Moon stand still in the sight of Israel at his Command, which verse 14 the Spirit of God took notice of as a weighty and great Thing. Chap.13. He hath Directions from God by Voice, about dividing of the Lands to the Tribes. The Accomplishment of which contains the rest of the Books of Joshua, even 'till his Death. Judg.1. God answered the Israelites with immediate Directions, concerning Judah's going up against the Canaanites. (r) The Angel of the Lord came from Gilgal to Bochim, and reproved the idolatrous Israelites with such Power that they lifted up their Voices and wept. Chap.3. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Othniel and he judged Israel. Chap.4. Deborah a Prophetess by immediate command directed Barak to go to the Mount Tabor, prophesies Sisera's Overthrow, which was fulfilled and occasioned that spiritual Hymn, Chap.5. (s) A Prophet reproved the Israelites for their Apostacy, and the Angel of the Lord sate under an Oak in Ophrah, appeared to Gideon, promised he should save Israel from the Midianites, shewed a Miracle by producing Fire, ver.21. God talked with him, ver.34. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, he desired two signs in a fleece of wool, ver. 37-40. which were granted. Judg.7. God directed Gideon by Voice in his War against the Medianites. ver.13.14. The Victory was foretold by an Enigmatical Dream, which being interpreted encouraged Gideon. (t) The Spirit of the Lord came upon Jepthah. (v) The Angel of God appeared to Manoah's Wife, prophesied the Birth of Sampson. ver.8. Manoah intreated God for the re-appearing of the Angel, it was granted. ver.17,18. Manoah required the Angel's Name, who answered that it was a Secret. ver.20-22. Manoah feared he should die because he had seen God, the Angel ascended in the Flame of the Sacrifice. (w) Sampson is raised as an extraordinary Deliverer, in whom the Spirit of God moved at several times, by which he wrought great Wonders. (x) Israel enquired of God's Oracle by Phinehas, whether they should fight against Benjamin, had immediate Answer Judg.20.28. in the affirmative. (y) Hannah sings a spiritual Song by inspiration, a Prophet is sent to Eli, who predicts the Destruction of his Family, Cessation of their Office. Chap.3. The Lord called Samuel three times by his Name, shews him the Ruin of Eli's Family, established him a Prophet. God appeared and revealed himself to him in Shiloh. Chap.4. The infalliable Word of the Lord came to all Israel by Samuel so that he judged Israel all his Days.1Sam.7.15. (z) The Lord told Samuel in his Ear the time of Saul's arrival and commanded him to anoint him. Chap.10. He confirmeth Saul by Prediction of three Signs, the Last of which was the Meeting of a Company of Prophets, descending from the Hill of God with Instruments of Musick in prophetick Raptures, from whom the Spirit of God came upon him, so that he was changed and prophesied. (a) Samuel makes a long Speech concerning the Mind of God to Israel, and their evil Carriage towards him, and to demonstrate their Sin in desiring a King, he prayed for Thunder and Rain in Wheat-Harvest, which happening accordingly amazed the Israelites. (b) David enquires of God concerning smiting of the Philistians, and the Issue of his remaining in Keilah, was answered. Chap.28. After Samuel was dead Saul enquired of the Lord, was answered neither by Dreams, Urim, or Prophets, which ver.16. was a Sign that God was departed from him. (c) David enquired of the Lord and was answered with present Directions, Chap.5.19. God answered him concerning his War with the Philistians , and ver.24. bid him begin the Battle when he heard the Sound of a going in the Tops of the Mulberry Trees. (d) David is roused out of Sin by Nathan's parabolical Message from God. Chap.22. David sings a Hymn of Praise to God for his Mercies. Chap.24. The Prophet Gad, David's Seer, denounceth God's intentions in punishing Israel, and proposed three Evils, one of which was to be inflicted according to David's Choice, who saw the Angel that destroyed the People by the threshing Place of Araunah the Jebusite. (e) It's recorded that David saw the Angel between the Earth and Heavens with a drawn Sword in his Hand, which caused him and the Elders of Israel to fall on their Faces. 1Chron.25. It's recorded that David set some of the Levites apart to Prophecy, with Harps, Psalteries, Cymbals and Songs. 1Kings 6. The Word of the Lord came to Solomon concerning the Building of the Temple. Chap.8. When the Ark was brought by the Priest into the most Holy, the Cloud filled the House of the Lord so that the Priest could not stand to minister because of the Glory of the Lord. And 2Chron.7. It is recorded that God answered Solomon's Prayer by Fire, which descended from Heaven, consumed the Sacrifice, at which time the Majestick Glory of the Lord appeared to all that were present, causing them to bow with their Faces to the Earth. Chap.9.29. There is mention made of the Book of the Visions of Iddo. 1Kings 9. The Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, as before at Gibeon. (f) And promised his extraordinary Presence in the Temple, and with Israel by Way of Covenant. 1Kings 11. The Prophet Abijah discovered to Jereboam God's Intentions of giving him Ten Tribes. Chap.13. A Man of God prophesieth against the Altar at Bethel; the Altar for a Sign was Rent by Miracle: Jereboam's Hand Withered, and by the Prophet's Prayer was again restored. Chap.14. The Lord discovered to the Prophet Abijam, that Jereboam's Wife would come disguised; to whom he Predicts the Death of her Son, and the Captivity of the Ten Tribes. Chap.17. Elijah prophesieth that there should be neither Rain nor Dew in three Years; he is fed by Ravens at the Brook Cherith, makes a handful of Meal a Store-House, and a little Oil in a cruise, a lasting Fountain. And restores the Widow of Zarephath's Son to Life, by recalling his Soul. Chap.18. An hundred Prophets are fed by Obadiah in a Cave. Elijah convinceth the People of their Error, in serving Baal, by the Miracle of God's Fire, descending upon, and consuming the Sacrifices with the Wood, Stones, Dust, which also licked up the Water. He obtains Rains by Prayer, who by Prayer had before bound up the Heavens, that they afforded no Moisture for three Years. Chap.19. Elijah being in great sadness of Spirit, fell a Sleep in the Wilderness, under a Juniper-Tree, where an Angel touched him, raised him from Sleep, presented him with a Cake, and a Cruise of Water; with which being Refreshed he lay down again, and after was again visited by the Angel, and commanded to Eat and Drink as before: In the Strength of this he traveled forty Days and forty Nights, till he arrived at Horeb, the Mount of God, where he lodged in a Cave: Here the Lord discoursed with him, Commands him to come forth, and as the Lord passed by there was 1st, A strong Wind, that Rent the Rocks in Pieces. 2d, An Earthquake. 3d, A Fire. 4th, A still Voice, in which the Lord spake to him: Here he was commanded to anoint Hazael, King over Syria, Jehu over Israel, and Elisha, to be his Successor, who followed him after the Touch of his Mantle. Chap.20. A Lyon slayeth a Man for not smiting the Prophet at his Request. (g) Micaiah in a Vision, saw all Israel scattered upon the Mountains, and ver.19. Beheld the Lord sitting upon a Throne, and all the Host of Heaven, attending upon the Right, and Left Hand, &c. This is a remarkable Vision, containing four verses in the Chapter of 2Kings1. By Elijah's Prayer fire descended from Heaven, and devoured two Fifties, but an Angel directing him to spare the Third, he went with them to the King. Chap.2. The Sons of the Prophets, both at Bethel and Jericho, knew of Elijah's Translation, fifty of them stood to view it afar off; Jordan is divided; Elisha's promised a double Portion of Elijah's Spirit, if he could see Elijah snatched up; on a sudden there appeared a Chariot and Horses of Fire, and Elijah was carried by a Whirlwind into Heaven; Elisha seeing this cried out of the Chariots of Israel, and the Horsemen thereof. At his return, he divides the Water with his Master's Mantle, and heals unwholesome Water, by casting in Salt in the Spring. Chap.3. By hearing of Musick, the Hand of the Lord came upon him; and he prophesied of the Valleys being filled with Water, without the sight of any Rain. Chap.4. He Multiplieth the Widow's Oil, by Sale of which, she paid her Debts: And raised from the Dead the Shunamite's Son, who after Sneezing Seven times opened his Eyes: He also healed the Poisoned Pottage; and in a Time of Famine, satisfieth an Hundred with twenty Loaves. This was at Gilgal; where 'tis like, there was a School of the Prophets, Chap.6. He causeth Iron to Swim; discovereth the private Counsels of the King of Assyria; sees his own Security against an Host, by the presence of the Angels; Prays that his Man's Eyes might be opened, who presently saw the Mountains full of Horses, and Chariots of Fire round about Elisha, who smote the Assyrian Army with Blindness, by his Prayer. Chap.7. The Lord caused the Assyrians to hear the sound of Chariots and Horses, and as the loud noise of an Host; so that they abandoned their Camp, and fulfill'd Elisha's Prophecy of Plenty in Samaria. Chap.19. Isaiah predicts Sennacheribs overthrow, which the Angel of the Lord fulfilled, by Destroying 165,000 of the Assyrians. Chap.20. Isaiah Prophesieth of Hezekiah's Recovery, and of the Addition of Fifteen Years to his Life, confirmeth him by a Sign of the Shadows going back ten Degrees and Heals him by the Application of a Lump of Figs. Chap. 22. Huldah, who dwelt in the Colledge at Jerusalem, Prophesied of the Destruction of it.
book of Job, gives also a fair Testimony to these Administrations; out of
which, I shall here insert some few things, according to that order it's placed in the
common Bibles, tho' it's agreed upon, he lived before Moses.
(a) Eliphaz saw a Vision of a Spirit passing before
him, and heard a Voice saying: Shall Mortal Man be more Just than God? &c.
Chap.33.ver.14-17. It's said God speaks in Dreams,
in Night-Visions, in deep Sleep, in Slumberings, and all to instruct Man.
(b) God discourseth with Job
out of a Whirlwind, by proposing Mysterious Questions, which continue to Chap.40.ver.3.
Where Job answered the Lord, who replied again out of the Whirlwind.
Chap.42.5. That he had heard of God, by the hearing of
the Ear; but then he saw with his Eyes, which cast him into Self-abhorrence.
I shall pass to the Writings of the Prophets which were Prophetical Visions, upon some of
these, I shall only touch in shewing the Order of Time in Prophecy, as upon Hosea,
who being the first, Prophesied in the Days of Jeroboam, the son of Joash,
about the year 3170. About this time Prophesied Joel; which Chap.2.
describes the terrible Appearance of the Armies, which should bring Judah to
Desolation; he predicts also the Restoration of the Church, the Effusion of the
Spirit in it's Gifts. Amongst which, Chap.2.ver.28 are
reckoned Dreams and Visions; contemporary with these was Amos who affirms, Chap.3.7.
That surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secrets to his Servants the
Prophets. Chap.7. He saw a Vision of Grass-hoppers,
and of Consuming Fire. ver.7. He Beheld the Lord stand
upon a Wall, with a Plumb-line in his Hand, where ver. 8. The Lord
spake to him, and shewed him the Interpretation. (c)
He beheld a Vision of a Basket of Summer Fruit, which signified the Propinquity of Israel's
End. The next I shall look upon, is Isaiah's Prophesy, which was
begun somewhat after these, as it's very probable, and yet before those of the greater
Prophets: (d) He speaks of
such an extraordinary Time, when God shall Create upon the Assemblies of Mount Sion,
a Cloud by Day, and a Flaming Fire by Night. (e)
Isaiah saw the Lord sitting upon an high Throne, and his Train fill'd the Temple, above
it stood the bright Seraphims, who were adorned with six Wings, apiece, with four they
covered themselves, with two they Flew: These cry'd one to another, Holy,
Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts, the whole Earth is full of his Glory, (where they
repeated Holy Three, according to the Sacred Persons in the Trinity, as the Jewish
Rabbins well observe). At the Power of this Voice the very Posts of the
Doors were moved, and the House was fill'd with Smoak. ver.5.
Isaiah cryed out he was undone, because his Eyes had seen the King, the Lord of the
Hosts. ver.6. One of the Seraphims flew to him
with a live Coal and touched his Mouth, declaring that his Sin was taken
away. ver.8. The Voice of the Lord spake to him, who
answering, was sent with a Message from God. (f)
Isaiah is Commanded by the Lord to put off his Shoes and Sackcloth, and to walk
Naked, which he did for three Years, as a sign against Egypt, and Ethiopia.
(g) Isaiah by God's Command, set a Watchman upon a
Tower, who saw a Vision of a Chariot with two Horsemen, and ver.8. a
Lion; these were a sign of Babylon's Fall. (h)
Isaiah Prophesied of Sennacherib's Overthrow , and was commanded by God to
confirm it, with the Sign of the People eating that Year what grew of itself, and the next
Year what sprang from that; so that they were not to Sow 'till the third Year.
(i) The Prophet had a great
Vision of Christ, which he, ver.1. thus expresseth, Who is this
that cometh from Edom, with died Garments from Bozrah? This that is
Glorious in his Apparel, Travelling in the greatness of his Strength; I that speak
in Righteousness Mighty to save, &c. Chap 66. It is a
great Prophesy of the Church's Glory, and of God's intent, to stain the Pride of all
Flesh: It's said, the Lord will come with Fire and with his Chariots like a
Whirlwind, to render his Anger with Fury, and his Rebukes with Flames of Fire:
Now these Chariots are the Angels, in whom Jehovah Lives, and by whom he Executeth
his Decrees in the World.
this time Jonah Prophesied; and not much after these, before Cited Michah
about the Year 3223. Nahum Prophesied after the
captivity of the ten Tribes, about 3264. Habbackuk
before the captivity of the two Tribes, Anno 3283. But
these with Zephaniah, who Prophesied about the beginning of the Reign of Josiah,
I shall pass over and come to Jeremiah the II, in order of the greater Prophets,
who began his Office about Anno 3337, in the 13th Year
of Josiah, and continued till the Captivity of the two Tribes, in the 7th Year of Zedekiah.
Chap.1.4-10. God discourseth with him, encourageth him, touches his
Mouth with a Hand, in Type of impowering him to Prophesie.
ver.11. He saw the Visions of the Almond-tree. ver.12.
God Interprets it. ver.13. He saw the Visions of a
Seething Pot, towards the North. ver.14. the Purport
is opened. (k) He sees in a
great Vision, the sad desolation of Judeah. (l)
God Commands Jeremiah to take a Linnen Girdle, and hide it in a Rock by the Euphrates,
which he did, and this Corrupting in that Place, prefigured Judah's Destruction.
(m) The Lord presented Jeremiah with two Baskets
of Figs, the one very good, the other Bad, which Typed forth the different State of those
that were carried to Babylon, and those that remained. Chap.26.
Urijah the Prophet who predicted the Destruction of Jerusalem, was slain by
King Jehoiakim. Chap.36. The Lord commanded Jeremiah
to write all his Prophecies in the Roll of a Book. ver.26.
The Lord hid him and Baruch from the King's Messengers, and afterward Commanded him
again to Enrol his Prophesies. Chap 43. He is carried
into Egypt where (in Tahpanhes) the Word of the Lord came to him, commanding
him to take great Stones, and hide them at the Entrance of Pharaoh's Court and
Prophesy, Nebuchadnezzar's Throne should be set upon them, and his Royal Pavilion
spread over them. Chap.50.and Chap.51. The sad Destruction of Babylon
is foretold, and the Jews invited to fly thence.
now I shall bring Ezekiel's Testimony who began his Prophesy in the fifth Year of Jehoiakim's
Captivity about 3371. His Visions were so many, and
so great that to transcribe them at large were to write over almost his whole Book; I
shall therefore pass them as briefly as I can, mentioning only what is most pertinent to
by the River Chebar the Heavens opened Ezek. Chap.1. and he
saw Visions of God; here he gives a large Description of the Cherubims. 1.
They appear in the Form of living Creatures. 2. Their Number
was four. 3. They sparkled like burnished Brass. 4.
Each of them had four Faces. 5. Their Motion was direct.
6. Their Appearances like Lamps and Coals of Fire.
7. Their Emanations Lightning. 8.
They were attended with Wheels like the Beryl. 9. The Spirit
was their Mover. 10. Their Spirit was in the Wheels.
11. Over them was a Firmament in the Colour like terrible
Chrystal. 12. The Sound of their Wings was as the Noise of many
Waters, like the Voice of the Almighty. 13. Lastly above the
Firmament upon the Throne of the Colour of the Saphir Stones was the Likeness of a Man, in
the Appearance of Fire, encircled in a Brightness like the Rainbow. This
is call'd ver.28 the Appearance of the likeness of the Glory of the Lord;
at this Sight Ezekiel fell on his Face. (n)
God speaks to him, the Spirit entered and set him upon his feet: He
beheld a Hand directed to him with the Roll of a Book in it wrote on both Sides, which he
was commanded to eat. (o) The
Spirit took him up, and heard a Voice of great Rushing, blessed be the Glory of the Lord
from his Place. ver.13. He again heard the rushing
Sound of the Cherubims's Motion. ver.22. He was commanded
to go forth into the Plain, where God talked with him, and ver.23.
He saw the Glory of the Lord, as before by the River of Chebar. Chap.
4. He pourtray'd Jerusalem upon a Tyle, and in a Type laid Siege against
it. (p) He beheld one in the
likeness of Fire, from his Loins downwards, and upward of a bright Appearance, as the
Colour of Amber, who stretching forth his Hand took him by a Lock of Hair, and being
caught by the Spirit betwixt the Earth and Heaven, and was brought in the Visions of God
to Jerusalem: where he beheld the strange Idolatry of the
Israelites. ver.4. The Vision of God's Glory was
there renewed. Chap.9. A Vision of six Men is declared,
and that of the Glory of God again beheld. Chap.10.
There's a continued Vision of the Throne in the Firmament above the Cherubims, of the Man,
cloathed in Linnen, and scattering the Coals of Fire: Of the House filled with the
Cloud, and the Court, with the Brightness of the Glory of the Lord, with a large and
pleasant Repetition of the Cherubim's Appearance, who are said, ver.12. in
every Part to be full of Eyes. Chap11.1. He was caught up
by the Spirit and transported to the East-gate of the Temple, where he prophesied for
That, ver.13. Pelathiah fell down dead. ver.
23. The Glory of the Lord, removed from the City and stood upon the Mountain.
ver.24. He was caught by the Spirit, and brought in Vision again to Chaldea.
Chap.37.1. Ezekiel was transported in the Power of the Spirit, into
a Valley full of Bones, where God spake with him, and shewed him a lively Vision of the
Resurrection and Israel's Restoration. Chap.40. He
begins the great Vision of the Temple, and it's Service, which continues to the 48th
Chapter. Chap.40.2. He was Transported in the Vision of
God unto Judea, where being set upon a high Mountain, he beheld the frame of a
City, and ver.3. A Man in the appearance of Brass with a line of Flax,
and a Measuring Reed who commanded Ezekiel, to be attentive to the
Vision. Chap.43.2. He beheld the Glory of the God of
Israel, come from the Way of the East, with a Voice like the noise of many Waters, and
the Earth shined with his Glory, and ver.5. The Spirit caught him up, and
carried him into the inward Court, where the Glory of the Lord filled the House, ver.6.
God spake to him, and promised him his Presence in that Place for ever. Chap.47.
He sees a wonderful Mysterious Vision of the Waters issuing from the Temple, and at length
rising so high, that they were impassible, and of such Virtue, that they gave Life to what
they flowed upon; causing the Trees that grew by them, to keep their Leaves and
Fruits continually. Chap.48. Being the last, contains the
Vision of parting the Land amongst the Twelve Tribes; of the Place, for the City to
be built, which was to have twelve Gates, and to take up 18000 Measures in the
Circumference, and the Name to be Jehovah Shamma, The Lord is there.
next Asserter of these Dispensations is Daniel, the beloved of the Lord, who began
his Prophesy near the Second Year of Nebuchadnezzar's Monarchy, Dan.2.
about the Year 3398. Dan.1. He
and his three Associates, looked better with Pulse and Water, than those that enjoyed the
King's Dainties. ver.20. They far excell'd the Magicians
in Wisdom. Dan.2. Nebuchadnezzar's Dream,
and the Interpretation were revealed to Daniel in a Night Vision.
Chap.3. Daniel's three Friends are seen by the King, in the midst of the
Fiery Furnace walking untouched, with a Fourth person like the Son of God.
ver.25. they came out of the Fire without hurt. Chap.4.
Daniel Interprets a second Dream of the King's, immediately before the
Accomplishment of which, the King heard a Voice from Heaven saying, Thy Kingdom is
departed from thee. Chap.5. He Interprets the
Mystical Words, which were Wrote by the Hand of some Angel, in the sight of Belshazzar
to his Astonishment, in the midst of the Prophane Feast. Chap.6.
Daniel's Innocency was declared by his Miraculous Preservation from the Lions,
whose Mouths were shut by the Angel of the Lord, so that they could not hurt
him. Chap.7. Daniel had a great Vision of the Four
Beasts appearing out of the Sea, after the struggling of the Four Winds upon it.
ver.9. He beheld the Thrones cast down, and the Antient of the Days
sitting in Judgment, whose Garment was White as Snow, and the Hair of his Head like the
pure Wool; his Throne like the fiery Flame, and his Wheels as burning Fire.
ver.10. A fiery Stream issued from before him, and Thousand, Thousands
Ministered to him, and Ten Thousand Times, Ten Thousand, stood round about him.
ver.13. He beheld one like the Son of Man, coming with the Clouds of
Heaven, who was brought to the Antient of the Days, who established him in an
everlasting Kingdom. ver.16. Daniel applyed
himself to one of those that stood by him, asking the Truth of those things, who
interrupted them. These great Visions were presented in a Dream. Chap.8.1.
Daniel had another great Vision of the Ram and the He-goat, by the River Ulai.
ver.13. He heard two Saints speaking, one of which, asked how
long the Vision of the Daily Sacrifice lasted. ver.14. One told
Daniel 2300 Days. ver.16. He heard a Voice between the
Banks of Ulai calling to Gabriel, to Interpret Daniel's Vision.
ver.18. Whilst the Angel spake, he was in a deep Sleep with
his Face towards the Ground, but by the Angel's touch he was set upright.
Chap.9. Whilst he was in Prayer, the Man Gabriel was caused to fly swiftly,
and touched him about the Time of the Evening Oblation, who discovered to Daniel
that he was sent to give him Skill and Understanding; and so Prophesied of Messiah
the Prince, his Death, and the Destruction of Jerusalem. Chap.10.
After three Weeks Mourning and Fast, as he was by the side of the River Hiddekel,
He saw a Man Cloathed in Linnen, whose Loyns were girt with the fine Gold of Uphaz,
his Body like the Beryl, his Face as the appearance of Lightning, and his Eyes, as
Lamps of Fire, his Arms and his Feet, in Colour, like Polished Brass, and his Voice like
that of a Multitude. ver.7. They that were with him
saw not the Vision. ver.13. It's Recorded, that the Prince of Persia
resisted this Angel 20 Days, who was succoured by Michael, one of the Chief
Princes. ver.16. One appearing in the similitude of the
Sons of Men, touched his Lips, so that he was impowered to speak, being before Dumb.
ver.17. Daniel calleth the Angel, Lord.
ver.20. The Angel returneth to Fight with the Prince of Persia.
Chap.12. After the Angel had finished his long Prophesy,
Daniel beheld two, standing on the opposite sides of the River. ver.7.
The Man cloathed in Linnen, who stood upon the River, lifted up his Hand to Heaven, and
swore by him that liveth for ever, that these things should be fulfilled, when God had
Perfected the Dispersion of the Holy People. ver.13. He
receives a Promise of the Angel, to stand in his Lot at the end of Days.
now I shall call forth Zechariah, as a Witness to these Dispensations (mentioning
only Haggai, who Prophesied about the same time, and encouraged to the
Re-edification of the Temple, as Zechariah was also Commanded) who began his
Prophetical Course, in the second Year of Darius, about the Year 3465.
Chap.1.8. The Prophet by night saw a Vision, a
Man riding upon a red Horse, standing amongst the Myrtle-Trees, and behind him three
Red Horses speckled with White. from ver.9. to the 15th. There is a
Discourse betwixt the Prophet, the Angel, the Man amongst the Myrtle-Trees, and those that
were in the Appearance of Horses and the Lord himself, who answered the Angel Interceding
for Jerusalem. ver.18. Zechariah saw a
Vision of Four Horns. ver.19. The Angel interprets them to be
the Powers that had scattered Israel. ver.20.
He saw a Vision of Four Carpenters, who by the Angel's Interpretation, were to
destroy the Horns. Chap.2.1. He beheld one with a
Measuring Line in his Hand. ver.2. He answers the
Prophet, he was to Measure Jerusalem. ver.3. Two
Angels meet. Chap.3.1. The Angel shews him Joshua
the High Priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing by to resist
him. ver.5. At the Prophet's request, Joshua was
cloathed with Honourable Garments, and a fair Mitre set upon his Head, in Presence
of the Angel of the Lord. ver.7. The Angel opens God's
Covenant to Joshua. Chap.4.1. The Angel returned
and waked the Prophet. ver.2. He saw a Candlestick of Gold,
with a Bowl on the Top of it, and seven Lamps thereon, with seven Pipes, to these seven
Lamps. ver.3. Two Olive Trees, one upon the Right, the
other upon the Left Side of the Bowl. In this Chapter which is a
Dialogue between the Prophet and the Angel, the meaning of some of these things is opened,
as in ver.14. Chap.5.1. He saw a
flying Roll, the purport of which is opened, ver.3,4. He
beheld also an Ephah going forth, and a Woman sitting in the midst of it: And
he saw two Women flying, the Wind bearing up their Wings, which were like Storkes;
these carried the Ephah betwixt the Earth and the Heaven. Chap.6.
The Prophet beheld Four Chariots come out from betwixt two Mountains of Brass: In the
first Chariot, were Red Horses, in the second, Black, in the third, White, in the fourth
Grizled and Bay. ver.5. The Angel answered the Prophet,
that these were the four Spirits of the Heavens, which go forth from standing before the
Lord: Those ver.7. are commanded to Walk to and fro throughout the
Earth. So much for Zechariah.
the Re-edifying of the Temple Malachi was raised up, an extraordinary Ambassador
from God, near the year 3521. Who Chap.2.
Denounceth a Curse against the Priests for breaking their Covenant, and Reproves the
Idolatry, and Adultery of the People. This was the last before John
the Baptist, of whom he Prophesieth, Chap.4. Whose Office was to Preach
Repentance to the Israelites; who by this time were much in Doctrine,
Discipline and Conversation, tho' in the Intermediate space, they had sometimes (tho'
rarely) experience of extraordinary Dispensations, as Church Histories Record:
Instances of which, may be given out of Machabees; and Josephus,
who tells us that Jaddus the High Priest (after his and the Peoples serious
Addresses to God) saw a Vision in his Sleep, in which, the Lord Commanded him to open the
Gates, and march towards Alexander in his Pontifical Robes; accompanied with
the Priests and People Cloathed all in White, which he performing, saved the City from
intended Ruin. And of Hercanus the High Priest, he affirms, that God
spake to him diverse times by Oracles and Revelations, and gave him Knowledge of Things to
come; two Instances of which he giveth, one Page 339. the other Page
408. He speaks likewise of one Manahen an Essene,
counted an Upright and Just Man, who obtained from God the Gift of Prediction or
Prophesy; nevertheless such as these are not to be Parallel'd with infallible
Prophets, God before afforded his Church, who were as living Oracles upon all occasions.
(y) Mark 16.5.
(z) Luke 24.5,6,7.
(a) Mark 16.9.
(b) Acts 5.18.
(c) Acts 7.55,56.
(d) Acts 10.3,30.
(e) Acts 18.9,10.
(f) Acts 16.9.
(g) Acts 27.23.
now I shall pass to the Writers of the new Testament, who give a fair and Luculent
Testimony to these great (and at that time extraordinary) Dispensations.
We Read Luke 1. That there appeared to Zacharias
an Angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the Altar of Incense, which struck
him into fear; but the Angel Prohibits it, predicts the Birth of John Baptist,
gives his Name, and shews his Office. ver.19. The Angel
discovers that his Name was Gabriel. ver.20. Zacharias
is struck Dumb for his Unbelief. ver.26. The same Angel
was sent from God to Nazareth, where he found the Virgin Mary, and Saluted
her in these sweet Expressions; Hail thou that art highly Favoured, the Lord is with
thee: Blessed art thou amongst Women; afterward he Comforts her, speaks of
her sacred Conception, of the Birth of Christ, Names him Jesus; speaks of
the Eternity of his Kingdom; and Reports to Mary, the Conception of Elizabeth.
ver.41. Elizabeth filled with the Holy Ghost,
Prophesieth. ver.46. Mary answers in the same spiritual
Language. ver.67. Zacharias Prophesieth.
Mat.1.20. The Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph
in a Dream, and informed him concerning Mary's Holy Conception, foretelling the
Birth of Jesus. (p) The Magi
were directed from the East by a Miraculous Star, and arriving at the Place where he was
Born, Worshipped him and presented their Gifts, and so returned as the Lord admonished
them in a Dream. Luke.2. The Poor Shepherds also had
news of this by one of God's Messengers, for whilst they were watching their flocks by
Night, the Angel of the Lord came upon them, and the Glory of the Lord shone round
about them, and the Angel discovered to them the blessed News of Christ's Birth
in Bethelem; upon which there suddenly appeared a Multitude of the Heavenly
Host, with the Angel praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth
Peace, good Will towards Men. ver.25. The Holy Ghost
was upon Simeon, and he had it Revealed he should not see Death, before he had
seen the Lord Christ; who coming into the Temple, took Christ into his
Arms and Prophesied. ver.28. Anna the
Prophetess, gave her Prophetick Testimony also to the Messiah. Mat.2.13.
The Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a Dream, and Commanded him
to fly into Egypt with the Child, because of Herod. ver19.
The Angel in a Dream reappeared to him, and bid him return because Herod was dead.
ver.22. Being again directed by God in a Dream, he
turned into the Parts of Galilee. (s)
After Christ's Baptism, the Heavens were opened, and the Spirit of God was beheld,
descending upon him in the Form of a Dove. And ver.17. There
came a Voice from Heaven saying, This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.
(t) After the Devil had left
Christ, the Angels came and Ministered unto him. (u)
Jesus walked upon the Waves of the Sea. Chap.17. He was
transfigured before three of his Disciples, so that his Face did shine like the Sun, and
his Raiment became White as the Light, and ver.3. there appeared unto them Moses
and Elias, talking with Christ. And ver.5. A
bright Cloud overshadowing them, a Voice was heard out of the Cloud saying, This is my
Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him; ver.9. this
Vision was not to be declared till Christ was Risen from the Dead.
(w) And Luke 23. The Sun
was darkened for three Hours, the Vail of the Temple was Rent, from the Top to the
Bottom: The Earth did Quake, and the Rocks Clave, the Graves also opened, and many
Bodies of the Saints which Slept, arose, and after his Resurrection came into the Holy
City, and appeared to many. (x)
When the Women came to the Sepulcher, ver.2. There was a great
Earthquake, for the Angel of the Lord having descended from Heaven, rolled back the Stone
from the Door of the Sepulcher, and sat upon it. ver.3.
His Countenance was like Lightning, his Raiment White as Snow. ver.6.
He spake to them, bids them not fear, declares Christ's Resurrection; and
Commands them to tell his Disciples of it, and how they should see him in Galilee.
(y) It's Recorded, they saw in
the Sepulcher a Young Man, Clothed in a long White Garment, and John
20.11-13. It's said, Mary saw in the Sepulcher Two Angels in White sitting,
the one at the Head, the other at the Feet, where the Body of Jesus had
lain. (z) This is called a
Vision of Angels. (a) Christ
appeared to Mary Magdalen, who did not know him. John
20.15. Mark 16.12. Luke 24.15. He afterwards appeared in another
Form, to two of them, who as 'tis more than probable, were those spoken of, whose Eyes
were held that they could not know him, but afterwards opened, so that they knew him, but Luke
24.31. he vanished out of their sight. Aphantos egeneto
John 20.19 He appeared to the Eleven when the Doors were shut, and
Blest them. ver.26. He came again when the Doors were
shut, and stood in the midst of them, who then were altogether, at which time he convinced
Thomas. Acts 1.9. After he had promised the
Holy Ghost, he was taken up into Heaven, a Cloud receiving him out of their sight, and
whilst ver.10,11 they looked towards Heaven, Two Men stood by them in White
Apparel, and told them, as they saw him ascend into Heaven, so they should see him come
again from Heaven. Acts 2.1. And as they were
together on the Day of the Pentecost, there suddenly came a sound from Heaven, as of a
rushing mighty Wind, and fill'd all the House where they were sitting; and there
appeared unto them Cloven Tongues like as of Fire, and sat upon each of them, and
they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. Acts 4.31.
After they had prayed, the House was shaken where they were assembled, and all were fill'd
with the Holy Ghost. (b) The Apostles
being cast into the Common Prison, were delivered by an Angel of the Lord, which by Night
open'd the Prison Doors, and said ver.20. Go stand and speak in the
Temple to the People all the Words of this Life. This done, and the
Doors shut again without the Keepers Knowledge, who to little purpose stood without,
Watching. (c) Stephen being
full of the Holy Ghost, saw the Heavens opened, and beheld the Glory of God, and Jesus
standing on his Right Hand. Chap 8.26. The Angel of the
Lord spake unto Philip, and Commanded him to go towards the South, where he
met the Eunuch. ver.39. The Spirit of the Lord caught
away Philip, so that the Eunuch saw him no more, who ver.40. was
found at Azotus. Chap.9. and Chap.26. As Saul was
Journeying towards Damascus, suddenly there shone a light from Heaven, above the
Brightness of the Sun round about him, so that he fell to the Earth, and heard a Voice
saying to him, Saul, Saul, why Persecutest thou me? ver.5.
Christ answered Paul, I am Jesus whom thou Persecutest: After this
he Commanded him to go into Damascus. You may see Acts.26.
that Christ at this time, gave Paul his Commission to be an Apostle:
In this Vision Paul saw Christ, as it's clear by the 17th
ver. of the 9th Chap. Where Ananias affirms,
that Jesus appeared to Paul in the way, ver.10.
The Lord spake to Ananias in a Vision, and Commanded him to visit Saul, who
had seen Ananias in a Vision, coming in and imposing his Hands upon him to restore
his Sight; Christ and Ananias discourse here. (d)
Cornelius about the Ninth Hour saw in a Vision, an Angel of the Lord in bright
Cloathing coming to him, who Commanded him to send for Peter, discovering where he was.
ver.10. Peter fell into a Trance and saw
the Heavens opened, and a certain Vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great Sheet
Knit at the 4 Corners, and let down to the Earth, wherein were all sorts of Beasts, Fowles
and Creeping things. ver.13. The Voice said, Arise, Peter,
Kill and eat. ver.15. The Voice spake again;
This was three times done, and the Vessel received up again into Heaven.
ver.19,20. The Spirit bid Peter to go with the
Three Men, which Cornelius had sent. Chap.12.7.
Whilst Peter was Sleeping betwixt the Prisoners, the Angel of the Lord came upon
him, and a great Light shone in the Prison, so that Peter was raised from sleep by
the Angel, and loosed from his Chains; and commanded to cast his Garments about him,
and to follow. ver.9. He knew not that it was really so,
but thought it a Vision. But after the Iron Gate opened of itself, and the Angel
departed, he saw it was real. ver.15. The Christians
thought it had been Peter's Angel that knocked at the Door.
(e) The Lord speaks to Paul by Night in a Vision, be
not afraid, for I am with thee, hold not thy Peace, for I have much People in this City.
(f) A Vision appeared to Paul in the
night, in which he saw a Man of Macedonia standing by him, desiring him to come
over into Macedonia and help them. Acts 23.11.
When Paul was in great Danger, the Lord stood by him in the Night, and said, Be
of good cheer Paul, for as thou hast testified of me at Jerusalem, so must
thou bear Witness at Rome. (g) In
the Night, the Angel of the Lord stood by Paul and bid him not fear, foretelling
the Preservation of all that were in the Ship. (h)
Paul speaks of himself that he was caught up into the Third Heavens into Paradise,
where he heard unspeakable Words, which is not lawful for Man to utter.
|I shall close up these instances with only mentioning the glorious Revelations of John, which is made up of diverse Visions and Voices, and therefore cannot but give an effective Testimony to these Dispensations, seeming to be the very Accomplishment of Christ's Promise to John, of tarrying till he came, which was a peculiar priviledge of his, above his fellow Disciples.|
But now having Collected these choice Scriptures, in which, the Enjoyment of these extraordinary Dispensations is clearly held forth; and that in the time of Patriarchs, Prophets, and Primitive Christians, I shall pass to the Observations, which I intend to draw from them, as the Ground Work of my Discourse.
The first Thing therefore I shall observe is, That from the Beginning of the World, till Malachi had ended his Prophesy, the CHURCH of God, in every Age hath been blest with some extraordinary Dispensations.
My 2d, Observation is this, That God's withdrawment of extraordinary Prophets and Dispensations from the Church, after Malachi's Time, till Christ's coming was a sign of God's Displeasure against them, for that Corruption which began to grow both in Priests and People, as you may see in Malachi; and a Token of leaving them more to themselves, that so experimenting the sad Effects of their own Reasons and Understandings in the Absence of these infallible Discoveries of God, the coming of the Messiah, in the Renewal of these things, might be more acceptable, and satisfactory to the Pious.
The 3d, Thing I shall observe is, That these Dispensations, after their long Eclipse and Cessation in the Church, (by which much Corruption crept into Doctrine, Discipline, and Conversation), at Christ's Entrance into the World, began again to be renewed, and appear more eminently.
My 4th, Observation is this, That although in the time of the Patriarchs especially, Visions of Angels were represented many times to the external Senses, (The Angels assuming Bodies compacted of the purest elemental Matter) yet afterward Visions and Voices, in the Time of the Prophets and primitive Christians, were much presented to the inward Senses; being neither seen nor heard by the outward.
And I believe, that most of those Visions, whether of Angels or Representation, which were seen by the Prophets, Apostles and Primitive Christians, were discerned by the Faculties of the Soul, without the help of external Organs, being spiritual, not corporeal Objects: The Reason of my Judgment in this particular is partly grounded on my former Instances, and more which I could give partly on the Experience of many Christians of this Age, who having frequent Visions and Voices, find certainly that most, if not all, are Objects of the Internal, not the External Senses, being absolutely, if not Spiritual and Incorporeal, yet as they speak Spiritual, like those Species which proceeding from a hundred different Places and Objects meet in one point of the Air, without hindering or excluding one another. But if any inquire how, and in what manner these Visions are seen? I answer by way of Distinction.
And as to my own, and some other Christian's Experience (which in such rare unusual things is the best Judge) according to Scripture most Visions when we are Awake, are Objects presented to the internal Senses, as those that are seen, when we are in Sleep; and many times tho' we are not asleep, the Soul is much gathered up, from the acts of external Sensation, in strong Visions, yea, many times the very Power of Visions casts those, that it suddenly breaks in upon, into a kind of Sleep, or deep Silence; thus the Angel that appeared to Daniel, Chap.10.8,9. caused him to fall into a deep Sleep; and Rev.1.17. at the glorious Appearance of Christ, John fell at his Feet as dead; which Instances shew, how the Soul at such times is drawn into it's own Centre from acting freely in the corporeal Organs of Sensation, yet both sees and hears in a more intrinsical spiritual Manner.
The 5th Thing I shall observe is, that the Heavens which in the Scripture are many times said to open, Ezek.1.1, Acts 7.56 & Chap.10.10,11. are not the external but the internal spiritual Heavens.
My 6th Observation is, That the Saints are continually attended, and guarded by the blessed Angels, Psal.34.7. The Angels of the Lord encampeth round about those that fear him and delivereth them.
But to conclude this Head, if it be inquired what good we receive by the Administration of the Angels? I Answer, whatever Prejudices we may receive from Casualties, Evil Men, and Evil Angels, the contrary Advantages we may expect, and when God sees fit, do receive from good Angels:
But if is it so, that we enjoy such happy Priviledges by their constant Attendances, how then should we carry our selves before those bright Flames of Fire; these Chariots of the Great Jehovah, which carry God's Name in them? If Princes were continually conversant with us, how should we fear to commit any Absurdity in Carriage? But how much greater are the Angels than Earthly Princes? Zach.6.4. and Dan.10.17. How cautious then should we be in our Conversation before them, how much declining all Speculative and active Pollutions, all vain Imaginations, uncomely Speech, idle Discourse? How ready are we to please, even the unreasonable Humours of those we converse with, that so we may avoid Offences? How then are we obliged to suit our selves to those, who besides their protecting of us, are so pure and spiritual, that we are sure to lose nothing, yea, to gain much by our Conformity to them? Do not they rejoice at the Conversion of Sinners, and delight in our Happiness? Ought not we then to rejoice, in affording them cause of Joy and Delight, to delight them? For it is extremely unjust to retaliate nothing, for their kindness to us.
And how can we express ours to them but by oft and serious Reflections upon them, by living like them in constant Communion, with their and our God, and with them in him; as likewise by Discoursing, Praying, and Singing together; for in such things they delight, and take much Notice of our Carriage of divine Worship, 1Cor.11.10. Which Place, tho' it unfolds a deeper Mystery, yet, it also discovereth the presence of the Angels in holy Assemblies, and our Duty to demean our selves accordingly.
My 7th Observation is, That Angels are employed for the good of the Church, in the Affairs of States and Kingdoms, who many times prevent the Designs of God's Enemies, by their powerful Administrations.
Hence 2Kings 19.35. when Jerusalem was in Danger by the great Army of Sennacherib, who thought to have swallowed it up; The Angel of the Lord went out in the Night, and smote in the Assyrians Camp 185000, and so prevented this Wicked design, forcing him to return with Shame, instead of Success. So, when Samaria was besieged by Benhadad, 2Kings 7. the Angelical Host discovering their presence, by forming the Sound of Chariots, Horses, and a great Host in the Assyrians Ears raised the Siege, and caused them to fly in the Twilight, and leave their well furnished Camp, to Recruit the Wants of Samaria, by which Elisha's Prophesie was fulfill'd: And it is more than probable, that is was by the Administration of Angels, that Elisha knew 2Kings 6.12. the very Words that the King of Syria, spake in his Bed-Chamber, and his secret Designs against Israel, which Elisha oft discovered to the King, and so prevented the dangerous Stratagems of the Enemy. But Dan.10.13. gives a very clear Testimony to this, where that Glorious Angel (Gabriel, as it's most probable) in his Discourse with Daniel saith: But the Prince of the Kingdom of Persia, withstood me One and Twenty Days: But lo, Michael, one of the Chief Princes came to help me, and I remained there with the Kings of Persia.
In which Scriptures, there are some things very considerable,
But to conclude this Head, it may be worth our Consideration seriously to weigh, whether the 6th of Zachariah doth not give probable ground to the Assertion of the Cabbalists, who say there are four Chief Angels, being as the Antesignani and prime Leaders of the angelical Host, to whom the Government of the Heavens and Earth, is especially, under God committed; seeing that ver.5. the four Chariots Zachariah saw, are interpreted by the Angel to be the four Spirits of the Heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of the whole Earth, by whose Administration, ver.8. God's Spirit is said to be quieted.
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