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path, and possibly an unacceptable one to some. As for all those interpretations that are beside the allegory, you know I have already waved them, and therefore shall not so much as mention them in this verse, nor in the whole ensuing discourse. As for those that say, the sun, and the light, the moon, and the stars, signify the several ages that man must pass through, as was before hinted; they make this allegory, not so much a description of old age, as of the way to it, and therefore are not to be admitted : forasmuch as this is the description of compleat and perfected decrepit age, as you have already heard. There are that take these Juminaries abfolutely literally, for the several heavenly bodies as they stand fixed in their orbs, and differing from one another in glory. But unto man in this state they are not really darkened, for as they communicate of their light and influence equally both to the good and bad, to the just and unjust; so also, to the young and old, to the strong man, and to the feeble, by reason of his age. And then it must of necessity be underderstood, per hypallagen, only that they appear so to them, by reason of their inability to receive their light, and by reason of the weakness and dimness of their outward sense. And to this pinion will in effect coincide with the following, which is indeed most considerable. And that is, that these lights are metaphorically here expreffed, and do principally allude to the lights of the
body. And this interpretation doth principally and primarily arise and take its authority from the Chaldee paraphrase ; which is by interpretation as followeth : Antequam mutetur fplendor gloriæ faciei tuæ qui assimilatur foli, & lumen oculorum tuorum antequam obcæcetur, & decor maxillarum tuarum antequam obtenebrefcetur, & pupilla oculorum tuorum qui asimilantur fellis antequam extinguentur. And after this, men of very great names have walked in the same steps. But as most other interpreters seem to strain the metaphor too far, and carry it beyond the signification of the natural parts of man; so these seem to me to draw it too straight, while they keep it within the compass of the external parts of the body. And so much the rather, because by this exposition is intimated only the change of the countenance towards deformity, which is sufficiently elsewhere expressed, as you will hear anon ; and the dimness of the sight, which is far more plainly expressed in the latter end of the third verse, nemine contradicente. And that in this brief description the wise man should tautologize, is not to be supposed. On the other hand, it is not to be imagined, that any infirmities appertaining to this state, especially those of the mind, which are the greatest of all, should be neglected herein.
Omni membrorum damno major dementia. Now as Dalilah said to Samson, Thou hast mocked me these three times, and haft not told me where
in thy great strength lieth, Judges xvi. 17. so might it be said of Solomon, if he should take upon him to describe any thing, and do it but in part, and so deceitfully, that he should neglect the principal part, wherein the great strength lieth ; but I am otherwise persuaded ; that he hath here told us all his heart, and that there is no remarkable infirmity, either of body or mind, that belongs to age, which is not contained in this allegory. Now forasmuch as all the symptoms in the four following verses belong properly to the parts of the body, as you Thall hear, I take this verse to be a description of the infirmities of the internal powers of the foul; and why most divines do on set purpose avoid this interpretation, which is so plain and obvious in this place, I cannot tell, unless it be because they are so much taken up with the contemplation of the soul of man, that they forget it hath any thing at all to do with the body. There is a vast difference between the soul of man as it is in its united state, and as it is in its state of separation. It is not sent from heaven into the body as an aslistant only, or like some tutelar angel, with commission and full power to guard, protect, and counsel that person, towards which it is for a season the deputed minister. For if so only, then it might recount and tell us, how curiosly it wrought for us in the lower parts of the earth, and what wonderful ideas it had before it, to have done further
for us in that darksom region, had we been capable to receive them ; yea, then it might accompany us beyond our pilgrimage, remaining in the body even after dissolution, and taking care for our burials.
But the case is far otherwise, it is sent to inform the matter, and together with it to make up one compositum, the man being not the one, nor the other ; but most properly that which doth arise from the perfect union of them both; and whatsoever is predicable of the whole, is predicable of the parts united; whatsoever may be said of the man, may be said of the body and soul united ; and as they are throughly joined together, so they do intimately participate one with another, they are cleansed, they are defiled together; they are bound, they are loosed together ; they are well, they are ill together : If the files upon him have pain, the foul within him mall mourn, Job xiv. 22. they grow up together, they stand together, they de cay together. How often are persons in scripture said to grow both in mind and body, and eminently concerning our Lord, which is inftar omnium; he encreased in wisdom, in ftature, in favour both with God and man, Luke ii. 52. The soul is as weak as the body, both at first and last ; fenes bis pueri, is a known maxim, and daily experienced ; and by all men understood of the feeble understanding. Anima comes into the world, tanquam rasa tabula ; and it goes
out tanquam derasa. The soul appears at the first as an unwritten table-book, and when it disappears at the last, it becomes blank as it was before. Job's pious and patient exclamation, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked must I return, Job i. 21. may be well extended to a separation, not only from the goods of the body, and estate, but from those also of the mind; which hath nothing at best, but the beginning and ground-work whereof, at the least, is picked up from the communication of the outward fenses, and when those publick intelligencers fail, so also doth this their Lord and master. And therefore by the sun, light, moon, and stars being darkened, we do poritively affert to be meant, the most inward powers of the mind, in this state do, together with the outward members of the body, weaken and decay.
But it may be here faid, is the whole inward man liable to this decay? Is there not something in man, while in this state, altogether independent of the body ? and perfectly free from the frailties of age? Doth not the scripture in many places seem to speak of renewed strength in this state of weakness, and plainly prove, that while the outward man decays, the inwara man may be renewed day by day? 2 Cor. iv. 16. For the right understanding of this, and several such places as these are, we must of neceility distinguish of the inward man. There is the