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last gleam of a candle just about to be extinguished ;'1 that men would only follow this 'candle of the Lord,' as
it directs them in the ways of God, which are ways of Prov. iii. 17. sweetness and pleasantness,' for this was 20787 53-the Eccles. xii. 13. very end why God set up such a light in the soul, that it
might search out his Creator with it.
And as for the mind of the words, though one would think they were very clear, and shining with their own light, yet interpreters are pleased to cloud them, to turn light itself into a chaos, and to cast darkness upon the face of the text; like some unskilful ones, while they go about to snuff the candle, they put it out, but we will try whether it can be blown in again.
We shall reduce their several meanings to these three heads.
1. Some would have it thus :— The candle of the Lord is in the understanding of a man ;'3 as if the words did run thus, 1978 mg 078 nowa, that is, God with His candle discovers the very thoughts and intentions of men, He searches into every corner of the heart; He has 'a candle in the heart;' He spies out every atom, He perceives the first starting of a motion, the first peeping out of a thought. But this, though it be very true, yet is nothing to the purpose here.
2. Some gloss upon the words thus: The understanding of man, when it is enlightened with supernatural knowledge, is then the candle of the Lord ;' but these do rather dictate to Solomon, and tell him what they would have him say; they do rather frame and fashion a proverb to themselves, than explain his meaning: and these are they that are afraid to give natural light and natural reason their due. But,
1 Tanquam mox emorituræ lucernæ supremus fulgor. 3 "The whole of man.
3 Lucerna Domini in mente hominis.
3. I shall fully agree with them that take this for the proper and genuine meaning of the place, that God hath breathed into all the sons of men, reasonable souls, which may serve as so many candles to enlighten and direct them in the searching out their Creator, in the discovering of other inferior beings, and themselves also; and this is that which is here implied by 078 nous, that same 'breath of life,' nay, that same immortal breath, that same rational Gen. ii. 7. breath quickened by God himself, and flowing from Him as a pure derivation from His own being; and thus the Hebrew doctors do still look upon this word nous, as that which expresses the reasonable soul,'? and, as they observe, it has a plain vicinity with d'ou-heaven, but, to be sure, the being is derived from thence whether the word be or not. So then novi points out the supreme region, the very top and flower of a reasonable soul, 'the summit of the soul ;'3 as 4 does speak nothing but the dregs and bottom of it, the inferior and sensitive soul. The Apostle Paul, in his learned speech to the Athenians, Acts xvii. 25. mentions them both, and calls them very significantly
life and breath ;'5 and so some also take that other place of the Apostle in that accurate discourse of his to the Corinthians. That which he calls 'living soul,' they call 1 Cor. xv. VDJ 'and that which he terms 'quickening spirit,' they render Don nous; though it be true also that sometimes they take the word was in a more generical sense ;-for thus they tell us, there are in man three souls-nions. 1. Anipsn, the vegetable soul, a soul in the bud, the very blossom and flower of life. 2. D'Onan— the soul of the irrational,'8 a soul looking out at the window of sense.
1 Spiraculum vitæ.
5 Zwny kal avohu.
3. Wb) npann—a soul sparkling and glittering with intellectuals, a soul crowned with light; and this is the same with now here. Now, as for that other word 799-spirit, though sometimes the mind of man, his intellectual part, be expressed by it, yet the word in its own nature is a great deal more large and comprehensive; and as it extends to some material beings, so it reaches to all spirituals ; hence 777 797:77177717—the Spirit of the Lord,' 'the Holy Spirit,' and the angels both good and bad, frequently come under this name; but when it is put for the mind and spirit of man, I find it yet very well differenced from nors; for 917 doth properly import 'the vigour and energy of the soul'1' the soul? (seat of feeling and passion), rather than the mind’3 (seat of reason); and the Hebrew doctors are pleased to tell us the several situations of these : 017, they say, is 'in the heart;'4 novi 'in the brain ;'5 WD 'in the liver.'
Now, though I know that some places in the New Testament which speak of soul and spirit meet with this interpretation, that spirit there is the purest eminency, the most refined part of the soul ; yet this is not at all prejudicial to what we now speak of. For, 1. they may take it for the regenerate part of the soul, that which the Apostle calls the new creature; or else, 2. suppose it to be spoken of the soul in its natural condition, it is worth the considering then whether it would not be better ren
here is rendered the spirit נשמת as ,רוח than נשמת dered by
of a man; but, 3. grant that ni be more answerable to it, and that 117 should have the worth and precedency of nows, which yet will scarce ever be shown or explained ; yet this is very sure and unquestionable, that now does very properly speak a reasonable soul, and that the more peculiarly, because when Moses speaks of that very moment when it was created, and breathed into man, he calls it O'n now; and the Arabic interpreter keeps as close to the Gen. 1.7. words as so vast a dialect will give leave, and styles it 178938 203—' breath of life.'1 And it is sooth worth wondering at, that that learned interpreter of Genesis, who is so well versed in rabbinical writings, should yet expound that of the sensitive; but they run as far into the other extreme that would understand nous of a soul advanced above itself by supernatural principles; and I think this sense will scarce be owned by any that can construe Hebrew,
1 Impetum animi, motum mentis. 3 Tov voûv. 6 In cerebro. 9 Toy Ouubv.
4 In corde. In hepate.
So then, these words are a brief commendation of natural light, of the light of reason. For the further clearing of which we must inquire,-1. What Nature is ? 2. What the Law of nature is ? 3. What the Light of nature is ?
2 Hugh Broughton?
WHAT NATURE IS.
The words being to be understood of the light of nature,'' according to the minds of the best and most interpreters, it will be very needful to inquire what Nature is, and here we will be sure not to speak one word for Nature, which shall in the least measure tend to the eclipsing of Grace; nay, nothing but what shall make for the greater brightening and amplifying of the free grace and distinguishing goodness of God in Christ; and nothing but what an Augustine, or a Bradwardine, those great patrons of grace, would willingly set their seals unto.
Well then, as for nature, though it be not far from any one of us, though it be so intimate to our very beings; though it be printed and engraved upon our essences, and not upon ours only, but upon the whole creation; and though we put all the letters and characters of it together as well as we can, yet we shall find it hard enough to spell it out, and read what it is; for as it is in corporeal vision, the too much approximation and vicinity of an object does stop up and hinder sight, so also many times in intellectual optics we see something better at a distance. The soul cannot so easily see its own face, nor so fully explain its own nature. We need some scholiast or interpreter to
1 Lumen naturale.