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A29049 A brief treatise about the spiritual nature of God and of His worship by Edw. Bagshaw ... Bagshaw, Edward, 1629-1671. 1662 (1662) Wing B405; ESTC R9965 16,963 38

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and are infallibly assured that Salvation is of the Jews i. e. the saving Doctrine is onely to be found amongst us and you Samaritans have nothing to shew that any such thing is committed unto you Our Saviour having thus fully satisfied this Womans Scruple and rectified her Erroneous Practise by bringing of her unto a Rule of Worship which alone can be a comfortable ground of any Religious Action since God looks not onely after the Matter but the Manner of our Worship and disdains to be served by the Inventions of Men since by their Adding to his Word they onely presume to be Wiser and Holier then he Therefore our Saviour repeats and enforces again what he had mentioned before and tells her plainly Vers 23 that as Gods Worship should no longer be confined to a certain place by way of Special Holinesse so neither should it be clogged with those Outward Forms and Ceremonies as before No such things as Pompous Garments Legal Washings and Fleshly Rites should be required any longer but the True Worshippers should worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth Which alone is the True Worship because all those External Rites were onely Shadows and Representations of it As if our Saviour had said it is no longer your Temples nor your Altars nor your Outward State and Magnificence which God now looks after but 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 he seeks with earnestness and approves with Delight and Complacency onely such as worship him in a Spiritual and Inward Manner The reason of which our Saviour gives in the words of the Text because God is a Spirit and therefore he expects a Worship altogether suitable to his own Nature They that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in Truth In the words there are two things considerable 1. What God is God is a Spirit 2. What kind of Worship must be paid unto him They that Worship him must Worship him in Spirit and in Truth From whence arise two Observations the first of which I shall handle as a Doctrine the other as an Use or Inference from it 1. God is a Spirit or a Being altogether Spiritual 2. The Spiritual Worship of God is the onely True Worship For the understanding of the first there are two things to be explained 1. What is a Spirit 2. In what sence God is said to be a Spirit For the first viz. what is a Spirit the Schooles define it to be an Immaterial or Incorporeal Substance where if in stead of the word Substance which is a Term very few understand they had put the word Essence or Being which answers to the Greek 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 and to the Hebrew 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 they had spoke some but not all the Truth For thus our Saviour likewise defines a Spirit in opposition to a grosse and palpable Body Luke 24.39 A Spirit said he hath not Flesh and Bones as you see me to have Which place though some have made use of for the definition of a Spirit yet it is clear our Saviour speaks there only of a Spirit in that sense that we call a Phantasm or an Apparition a Spirit and therefore Ignatius in one of his Epistles instead of the word 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 reads 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 A bodiless Demon or Ghost But in the word Spirit is implied something more Positive then barely to tell us what it is not and as in the Definition of a Man it would but little satisfie us to tell us that he is not an Horse nor an House c. because these Negative Descriptions would never lead us to those Essential Characters and Properties by which the Nature of man might be discerned So nakedly to tell us as the Schools do that a Spirit is Incorporeal i. e. not a Body will give but very little satisfaction to the Enquiry What it is To find out therefore more positively what a Spirit is I shall lay down this Ground The Nature of every thing is to be discerned by its manner of Operation as though we can see neither Fire nor Air yet we may justly conclude they have Different Natures because they produce Diverse and Contrary effects So that if there be some Things or Beings in the World which have such kind of Operations as are no way applicable to or produceable by Bodies then They have a Distinct Nature from Bodies i. e. They are Spirits What those Operations are every man may observe in the Actions of his Soul And I shall instance onely in these three 1. Power 2. Presence 3. Knowledge 1. The first Action by which the Nature of the Soul of man may be discerned to be Spiritual is Power I mean that 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 Or self-moving-virtue by which it can move not onely it's self but the Body too to which it is conjoyned And this no meer Body is capable of for motum movetur No Body can otherwise move then as it hath an Outward Principle to move it but the Soul hath no other Motive of it's Actings but it 's own Will and Pleasure And though there be some who affirm that the Will doth alwayes follow the last dictate of the understanding yet this is Demonstrably false by the experience of all men in the World as well as of the Apostle Paul who cries out of himself Rom. 7. The things I like not these do I. And it is a very true saying of one to whose writings the Christian world is little beholding As oft as Reason is against a man so often will a man be against Reason For which no cause can be given but meerly the Power of the Will to move i. e. to determine it self in spight of all contrary suggestions from the Vnderstanding Solomon therefore speaking of dying man divides him into his two distinct and seemingly inconsistent Natures The dust sayes he i. the Body returns to the Earth as it was but the Spirit i. Eccles 12.7 the the Soul returns to God who gave it It is the Spark of Divinity within us which puts Life and Motion into the Dull and Unactive piece of Earth about us and so enlivens it for the doing of such Actions as Flesh alone could not compass without the Influence and Conduct of some more Heavenly and Spiritual Principle 2. The second Operation which demonstrates the Soul of man to be a Spirit is Presence We know that every Body is tied and limited to a place out of which it cannot stir and whenever it is moved it moves onely one way and with one kind of Motion at once making a dull leasurely progress First how then there by steps without any Variety at all Herein therefore doth the Spirituality of the Soul of man most convincingly appear in that at one instant it can attend so many different Employments and without any distraction at all wheels about in so many Contrary and Repugnant Motions not onely Seeing in one place Hearing in another Feeling in
his Relation unto your Excellent Lady then by his Resemblance and Imitation of the same Vertuous and Noble Qualities Vnto whose indeavours on my behalf I have me thinks made but too faint a return since by his means I have been made partaker of one of the greatest Temporal Happinesses I could ambition and that is an acquaintance with and a Personall Relation to your Lordship and Family in which who ever fails of living virtuously must fall inexcusably by his own Fault since he is every day taught the contrary and that by Eminent and Illustrious Examples As for that other Maske of a Glittering and Pompous Worship which makes the Romane Religion so taking with Vulgar and Injudicious Observers and by which their eyes are so dazzled that they are unwilling to admit of any thing which may undeceive them I did conceive nothing could better take them off from doting upon that Painted Carcasse of Devotion then to make a discourse ahout the Inward purity of Gospel-worship which depends upon and flows from the consideration of Gods Spiritual Nature which were it but once thoroughly understood men would presently spurne and trample upon all that Devised and Fantastick Beauty of the Romish Dagon and when true worshippers felt how much the Splendor of service which feeds the eye is short of the Spirituality of it which satisfies the soul they would no longer feed upon Huskes or let their senses lead them in the choise of their Religion Since it may be found by experience that Thretrical Pomp Delightful Aires Wel-tuned Orisons and the loud Insignificant Jargon of Latine Payers do only glut and sate the appetite but leave the Understanding unfruitful like Rich and Poinant sawces they gratifie the Flesh but perish with the Using and after all the Immoderate care about them their end must be to be cast out into the Draught I have therefore in this short Treatise endeavoured to raise the Soul that it might understand the True Height of Religious Worship by fixing an intent eye upon the Author of it which may be of great Vse in this Age we live in as equally opposing the Bold Atheisme of some and the mean-spirited Superstition of others and because I entend it as an Introduction unto my following Discourse against the Pope and Church of Romes Infallibility I humbly begg your Lordship's acceptance of it which is the only way to make both It and the Author Considerable Since to omit your Lordship 's other Excellencies even in this very part of Learning which argues a great and universal insight of Accurate and close writing as well as speaking your Lordship hath gained such a General and Deserved Esteem that if this piece doth pass into the World under the Countenance of your Lordships Approbation it will be a sufficient pass-port without any other Recommendation But I shall forbear to urge what though it may become me to speak because I speak knowingly yet your Lordship may be unwilling to hear since you care not for living in the Aire of your own praise I shall conclude therefore with desiring that your Lordship may be long preserved to do what you have alwaies hitherto done things truly great and Noble that while others begin to scorn Religion you may still go on to practice the Truth and stricktness of it That with Your Honourable and Virtuous Lady and Family You may shine in the brightest Sphere of Honour here and of Happiness hereafter this is and shall be the Constant Prayer of Drury-Lane Feb. 15. 1661. My Lord Your Lordships most Obliged and most Obedient Servant and Chaplain Edw. Bagshaw Iohn 4.24 God is a Spirit and be will be Worshiped in Spirit and in Truth IN this Chapter is contained the Substance of a Discourse between our Saviour and the Woman of Samaria Vers 19 who perceiving at last that our Saviour was a Prophet because he had told her a thing which she thought concealed from all the World thereupon she presently desires satisfaction in that great and famous Controversie which at that time was handled with great Animosity Namely Whether God was to be Worshiped on Mount Gerizim according to the Samaritan or on Mount Moriah which was Sion according to the Jewish Institution She It seems thinking it absolutely Necessary that God should be served in one of those two places and in no other and to defend her self in her present way of Worship she makes use of that common Asylum of Lazy and Ignorant Superstition I mean Tradition and the Practise of her Fathers Our Fathers saith she Worshipped in this Mountain Vers 20 but ye say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship To this Demand our Saviour is graciously pleased to return a double Answer First In general whereby he takes away the ground of her Scruple for whereas she erroneously thought that God must necessarily be served in one of those two places our Saviour tells her that the hour or time was approaching when neither on this Mountain nor yet at Jerusalem ye shall worship the Father i.e. that God would no longer have his Worship limited and fixed to this or that peculiar place Mal. 1.11 but as all places were in their own Nature Equal so in every place where men met together to serve God pure Incense viz. of Prayer and Praise should be offered up to God and that it should not be material where but how men served him as to his acceptance of them Secondly And more particularly our Saviour refutes her fond Argument whereby she nuzled up her self in her own Superstition Ye i. Samaritan● Worship saith he ye know not what i. e. However ye plead prescription and Custom of your Ancestors yet in Religious Worship ye ought not to be guided barely by the Example of your Fathers nor draw over you the Mask of Antiquity to countenance an Error for trace up your Opinion to the Top and let it run as high in Antiquity as you please yet as long as you have no certain and infallible Rule to walk by but devise forms of your own Heads and serve God not according to the Word of God but your own Inventions the Older your Opinion is the worse it is as being nothing else but Gray-headed Ignorance and Dotage made incureable by Time But saith he We know what we worship i. We Jews have received from God himself Ordinances and Rites of Worship according to which we serve him not weakly confining God to a Place as you do but obediently worshipping him in that place which he himself hath appointed and of which many glorious things are spoken as that this Mountain shall be exalted above all Mountains Isa 2.2 and all Nations shall flow in unto it And that a Law shall go out from Sion and the Word of God from Jerusalem M●cah 4.1 with many other special Priviledges which long since have been prophesied of in reference to Jerusalem our place of worship by which we know