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Whether these Prophets and Prophesyings in the primitive Church, 1 Cor. 14. and 1 Cor. 12. 28. Ephes: 4. 11. were extraordinary, and so not to continue:


Whether these Prophets and Prophesyings in the primitive Church, 1 Cor. 14. and 1 Cor. 12. 28. Ephes: 4. 11. were extraordinary, and so not to continue:

James Dodson

Or whether they are precedents for the Preaching or Prophesying of such, as are neither ordained Ministers, nor probationers for the Ministry.


George Gillespie
Scottish Commissioner
To the Assembly of Divines
At Westminster.




There are three opinions concerning these Prophets mentioned by the Apostle, 1. That they had neither extraordinary and immediate inspirations of the Spirit, nor yet were ordinary Ministers called to the office of Teaching, but Church-members out of office, having good gifts of opening and interpreting the Scriptures, for the edification, instruction, and comfort of the Church, and hence is the warrant taken, for the preaching or prophesying of such Church-members as are well gifted, being neither Ministers, nor intending the Ministry: Neither doe the Independents only, but Socinians, and Arminians also cry up that libertas prophetandi. 2. That these Prophets were Church officers, and no more but ordinary Teachers or Interpreters of Scripture in the Church: without excluding the sons of the Prophets, or Probationers from their Assembly, and from exercising their gifts in preaching upon occasion, and for trial of their gifts, or of the growth and increase thereof, yet I remember no place in the new Testament, where ordinary Pastors are said to prophesy, except Revel: 11.3. where notwithstanding, prophesy is ascribed unto them in no other sense, than the working of miracles, vers: 6. Those have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophesy, and have power over waters to turn them into blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues as often as they will. All which (prophesying and miracles) is spoken by way of allusion to Moses and Elias. 3. That they were extraordinary Prophets, immediately and extraordinarily inspired by the holy Ghost; and that they are to be reckoned among these other administrations which were not to continue, or be ordinary in the Church. Synop: pur: theol: disp: 42. thes: 22. Martyr, loc: com: class: 4. cap. 1. Aretius, probl: theol. loc: 62. Calvin. Instit. lib: 4. cap. 3: § 4. Diodati on 1 Cor. 14. 1. the late English Annotations on 1 Cor. 12. 28. Mr. Baine on Ephes: 4. 11. together with two learned country men of mine, Mr. David Dickson, on 1 Cor: 14. 31. and Mr. Rutherfurd on his peaceable plea: cap. 16. Apostles, Evangelists, Workers of miracles: I know many Protestant writers of very good note, are of the second opinion. But with all due respect unto them: I hold the third opinion, with Gerhard, loc: com: Tom: 6. pag: 72. and diverse others; the reasons which move me are these. 1. The Apostle distinguisheth the Prophets from the Pastors and Teachers; 1 Cor: 12. 28, 29. Ephes: 4. 11. The Prophets are enumerate among the public Ministers which Christ hath given to the Church; Yet distinct from the ordinary Pastors and Teachers, 2. They are not only distinguished from Pastors and Teachers, but seem also to be set before them; yea, before the Evangelists, Ephes: 4. 11. And he gave some Apostles, and some Prophets, and some Evangelists, and some Pastors and Teachers, or as the Syriac readeth, and some Pastors and some Teachers, so distinguisheth Pastors from Teachers, as Mr. Bayne also doth: understanding here five, degrees of those who labour in the Word and Doctrine, the first three extraordinary, the last two ordinary. I know ‘tis not always preferred in honour and dignity, which is first mentioned: Yet I think our dissenting Brethren would not think it fit, nor suitable to enumerate their gifted and prophesying members, next to the Apostles, and before Pastors much less Evangelists, neither do I ground my argument simply and merely upon the enumeration, but upon such an enumeration as is noted, with first, second, third, 1 Cor: 12. 28. And God hath set some in the Church, first Apostles, secondly Prophets, thirdly Teachers, where he puts upon the Prophets the highest eminency and chiefest dignity next to the Apostles, which I think the prophesying Brethren of this age doe not look for; Chrysostom, de divers: nov: Test: locis: serm: 50. proves the chief dignity of Apostleship from these words: First Apostles: Is it not as good an argument to prove the next dignity, to belong to prophesy from these words, Secondarily Prophets. ‘Tis true helps are mentioned before governments in that same Text. But the Apostle hath left off his numerical order, before he come at these, and besides, both the Deacon and the ruling Elder, are Church officers, and neither of them Preachers, so that the disproportion is not so great when the Deacon is named before the ruling Elder: but that such Preachers or Interpreters who had no office at all in the Church, should be enumerate, not only among officers and Ministers of the Church, but before Teachers, and that in four Texts, Acts 13. 11. 1 Cor. 12. 28. ibid. vers: 29. Ephes: 4. 11. and next to the Apostles too, and that with an order, of first, second, third, is to me utterly improbable and incredible. 3. The Apostle mentioneth Prophets with a note of singularity, as not common, but more special, 1 Cor: 12. 29, 30. Are all Apostles? are all Prophets? are all Teachers? are all Workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all Interpret? Here the Apostle maketh a second enumeration of such administrations as were more rare; singular, special, dignified, and privileged, and not competent to all Church officers, much less to all Church-members: Therefore here he omitteth the ruling Elder and Deacon; He saith not are all helps? are all governments? As if he had said; There are some officers appointed only for ruling, some appointed only for helping and overseeing the poor; These officers are neither Apostles nor Prophets, &c. And if prophesying be not a privilege of all Church-officers, how much less of all Church-members: I might add here, ‘tis most agreeable to the native signification of the word Prophesy, that we understand it to be an extraordinary and rare thing; For if you consider the very notation of the word Prophesy is prediction, and προφητεια is from προφημι, I foretell, of which more hereafter. 4. One of the Prophets of that time, is plainly described to have been inspired with extraordinary revelations, Acts 21. 10, 11. There came down from Judea a certain Prophet, named Agabus, and when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said; Thus saith the holy Ghost, so shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that oweth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. There were other Prophets of the same kind with Agabus, for so runs the Text, Acts 11. 27, 28. And in those days came Prophets from Jerusalem to Antioch, and there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit, that there should be great dearth in all the world. 5. That these Prophets spake in the Church from extraordinary revelation and inspiration, appeareth by 1 Cor. 14. 26. When they came together, they had a Psalm, a Doctrine, a Tongue, a Revelation, an Interpretation, not only a Doctrine, and an Interpretation, but a Revelation, and vers. 30. after he hath said, let the Prophets speak, two or three; He addeth, If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace: Upon which Text Gualther, Salmeron, and others who understand by prophesying in that Chap: the ordinary Ministerial Teaching, are yet made to acknowledge, that this revealing of somewhat to another, was extemporary and extraordinary, and that it is no president for our times.[1] P. Martyr, puts this difference between Teachers and Prophets, that Teachers were educated and instructed by Masters: Prophets, without all humane help; spake as they were on a sudden moved by the inspiration of the holy Ghost; Yea, although he takes the office and functions of Prophets and Teachers, to have been one and the same; yet he thus distinguisheth between them. So Aretius, speaking of those that bare office in the primitive Church, distinguisheh the Prophets from the Pastors and Teachers in this, that the Prophets had not only greater gifts for opening hard Scriptures, but that they did interpret Scripture with the same prophetical spirit, by which it was dictate and written, and likewise foretell things to come. 6. It hath been observed by Mr. Bayne on Ephes: 4. 11. and others that these degrees are capacious and comprehensive one of another downwards, not upwards, that is; An Apostle might prophesy, and doe the work of an Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher: a Prophet might do the work of an Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher: the Evangelist might do the work of a Pastor and Teacher. But every Pastor and Teacher could not do the work of an Evangelist, or of a Prophet, &c. If this observation hold, which hath pleased many, then we cannot understand those Prophets to have been no more but Pastors and Teachers, much less to have been any thing less than Pastors and Teachers, viz. Church-members, well gifted for expounding Scripture edifyingly, Chrysostom de divers: N.T. locis serm: 50. leaneth very much toward that same notion, for he calls Apostles the root, which was comprehensive of all the rest; a Prophet (saith he) might not be an Apostle, but an Apostle was a Prophet, Evangelist, &c. To prove that an Apostle did prophesy, he cites these prophetical predictions, 2 Tim: 3. 1. 1 Thess. 4. 15. Whereby ‘tis manifest that he understands the prophesy mentioned by Paul to be extraordinary.[2] 7. Unless we understand those prophets which Christ gave to the Church, 1 Cor. 12. 28. and cap. 14. Ephes: 4. 11. to have been extraordinarily inspired by the Spirit, then we shall not be able to prove from Scripture, that Christ hath given to the Church of the new Testament, any extraordinary Prophets to foretell things to come. But ‘tis certain that Christ hath given such extraordinary Prophets to the Church of the new Testament, such as Agabus, and the daughters of Philip: Eusebius tells us there were such Prophets in the Church, till the days of Justin Martyr; which we have also from Justinus himself. And now having the occasion, I must say it to the glory of God, there were in the Church of Scotland, both in the time of our first Reformation, and after the Reformation such extraordinary men, as were more then ordinary Pastors and Teachers, even holy Prophets receiving extraordinary Revelations from God, and foretelling diverse strange and remarkable things, which did accordingly come to paste punctually, to the great admiration of all who knew the particulars, such were Mr. Wishart the Martyr, Mr. Knox the Reformer; also Mr. John Welsh, Mr. John Davidson, Mr. Robert Bruce, Mr. Alexander Simson, Mr. Fergusson, and others: It were too long to make a narration here of all such particulars, and there are so many of them stupendous, that to give instance in some few, might seem to derogate from the rest. But if God give me opportunity, I shall think it worth the while to make a collection of these things: Mean while although such Prophets be extraordinary, and but seldom raised up in the Church, yet such there have been: I dare say, not only in the primitive times, but amongst our first Reformers, and others. And upon what Scripture can we pitch for such extraordinary Prophets. If not upon those Scriptures which are applied by some to the prophesying Brethren, or gifted Church-members; 8. There are but three senses of the word Prophesying, which I can find any where else in the new Testament.

1. For such prophesying as is competent to all converted and gifted persons, when they are filled with a spirit of illumination, and speak with other tongues as the spirit gives them utterance: In which sense Joel foretold, that daughters as well as sons, hand maids as well as men-servants, young and old should prophesy, Acts 2. 17, 18. Which was accordingly fulfilled upon the day of Pentecost, for Acts 1. 14. and 2. 1. 4. This Spirit of Prophesy was poured out upon all the Disciples, men and women.

2. For such prophesying, as is the preaching of ordinary Ministers, although I know no Text where without any controversy, the word is used for the ordinary Ministerial preaching; Yet I understand the word to bee used, in this sense, (though by allusion only where of before). Revel. 11. 3. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundreth and threescore days clothed in sackcloth.

3. For extraordinary prophesying from immediate and miraculous inspiration, in which sense it is often used in the new Testament, as I shall shew anon.

But a fourth sense, viz. The prophesying of gifted Brethren, (not sisters) out of office, and that publicly, and by an ordinary gift, I can find no where; and if we go either higher or lower, then the ordinary Pastoral preaching, women as well as men might prophesy. in the Scripture language, Prophetesses, as well as Prophets. 9. The Apostle plainly distinguisheth, Prophesy, both from the word of knowledge, and from the word of wisdom, 1 Cor. 12. 8. 9. 10 For to one is given by the Spirit, the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another prophesy; now what is that gift and manifestation of the Spirit, which is supposed to be given to gifted and prophesying-members, must it not fall under that enumeration, 1 Cor: 12. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. Is it then the interpretation, or opening of Scripture, that is the Teachers part, the word of knowledge: Is it both to interpret, and apply Scripture, that is the pastors part, the word of wisdom; Is it to prophesy, that is more nor either the word of knowledge, or the word of wisdom, and is therefore distinguished from both. 10. In that Text last cited, prophesy is mentioned, not only as a gift by which the Spirit worketh, for the profit and edification of the Church, but as a Ministry, function, and administration in the Church, for vers. 4, 5, 6. The Apostle teacheth us, that there are diversities. 1 Of gifts Χαρισματων, 2. Of administrations, διακονιων. 3. Of operations, Ἑνεργηματων, thereafter in reference to all these three, he addeth the enumeration of the particulars, ver. 8. 9, 10. In a Prophet therefore there is διακονια Ministerium, as well as Χαρισμα, and Ενεργεια, or Ενεργημα. Now διακονια is frequently used in the new Testament for the Ministry, not only of ruling Elders and Deacons, Rom: 12. 7. of Pastors and Teachers; yea, of Evangelists and Apostles, Ephes: 4. 12. Col: 4. 17. 2 Tim: 4. 5. 11. Acts 1. 17. 25. and 12. 25. and 20. 24. and 21. 19. Rom. 11. 13. 2 Cor: 4. 1. and 5. 18. and 6. 3. and 9. 1. and else where the English translators in these places render it sometimes Ministry, sometimes Office, sometimes indeed διακονια is used in the new Testament for any Ministering to the necessities of the poor Saints, by charity and alms. But no body that I know doth imagine or can imagine that this is the sense of the word, 1 Cor: 12. where διακονια is joined with Χαρισμα and Ενεργημα. Therefore I conclude that the Prophets in these primitive times, had an office or Ministry in the Church. 11. The word Prophesying is often used in the new Testament, for that which is extraordinary, and by Revelation, Mat. 26. 68. Rev: 1. 3. Acts 21. 9. Luke 1. 67. Revel. 22. 10. 19. Revel. 10. 11. Mark: 7. 6. 1 Peter 1. 10. Jud: 14. John Baptist is called a Prophet, Luke 1. 76. and 7. 28. Matth: 21. 26. and 14. 5. Christ himself is called a Prophet, Matth. 13. 57. Luke 7. 16 and 24. 19. John 4. 19. and 9. 17. Elymas the Sorcerer is called a false Prophet, Acts. 13. 6. Prophesying in the name of Christ, is joined with other miraculous, gifts, Mat: 7. 22. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works, Acts 19. 6. and when Paul laid his hands on them, the holy Ghost came on them, and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. In this sense is the word used, when ‘tis said that Caiaphas prophesied, John 11. 51. the same word is used for prophetical prediction, 1 Tim: 1. 18. according to the prophesies which went before on the Rev. 2. 22. Jezebel did call her self a Prophetess. 12. Prophecy (as Paul speaks of it) is so far from being a common privilege of gifted Saints out of office, that it is one of the special and rarest gifts which the Apostles themselves had or could have, 1 Cor. 13. 2. And though I have the gift of prophesy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, which stands there between the gift of tongues, and the faith of miracles: again, 1 Cor: 14. 16. Now brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak unto you, either by Revelation, or by knowledge, or by Prophesying, or by Doctrine. The first two, Revelation, and knowledge are immanent in the Apostle: The other two Prophesying and Doctrine; are transient from the Apostle to the Church. What shall my gift of tongues profit you, saith he; or how shall you be edified or satisfied thereby, unless, either I utter some Revelation unto you by Prophesying, or utter my knowledge unto you by Doctrine, so distinguishing Prophesying from Doctrine as greater then it; because Prophesying proceeds from Revelation, Doctrine from knowledge, in him that teacheth. 13. I have yet another reason, which I think will be a hard knot to our dissenting Brethren, the Apostle compareth in that 14. Chap: the gifts of tongues, and the gifts of prophesy. He commendeth both, as desirable, vers: 1. and wisheth to them all both these gifts, vers: 6. but rather prophesy as comparatively the better for edifying the Church. Et magis & minus, non variant speciem. There are both good and desirable gifts of the Spirit, given to profit withal, 1 Cor. 12. 7, 10, 11. The Apostle also alloweth as many to speak with tongues in the Church, as he alloweth to prophesy in the Church; that is, as two or three of the Prophets may speak by course in one Assembly, so may two or three speak by course in a strange tongue, so that one interpret, 1 Cor: 14. 27, 29. Moreover, whereas it is supposed by our dissenting brethren, that all or most of the Church, women excepted, did prophesy; they must upon the very same ground, suppose that all or most of the Church, women excepted; spake strange tongues in the Church. For in the same place where ‘tis said, that every one of them had a Doctrine and Revelation, ‘tis said also that every one of them had a tongue and an Interpretation, 1. Cor: 14. 26. Which tongues considered and compared together, it will be found, that if the reasons hold good, and the consequences be valid, which are brought for the prophesying of gifted members out of office, and that therein they have the Church of Corinth a president, the like reasons, and also strong consequences will prove, that any two or three of a Church, who shall happily have the gift of strange tongues, may speak by course in the Church, so that one Interpret, and that the Church of Corinth is as good a president for this, as for the other; Let our Brethren therefore, either make both these gifts (prophesy, and tongues) in the Church of Corinth, to be extraordinary and miraculous, and so neither of them to bee an ordinary president: or otherwise, they must make them both to be set forth for ordinary Patterns and presidents, and so begin to cry up tongues, as well as prophesying, for if the gift of prophesy, be such as men may attain by industry and study, so is the gift of tongues: I know no way to loose the knot without acknowledging, that both the gift of tongues and that of prophesy, were extraordinary and miraculous, which is the truth.

These are the reasons which I lean to in this matter. I come next to answer, Objections. The first three Objections I find in the διατριβη concerning Ordination: But I shall answer other Objections also omitted there, but which have been objected by others.

Object. 1. The Prophets, 1 Cor: 14 were not immediately inspired with prediction; for women that were so inspired, might deliver their prophesy in the Church, but there women are forbidden to speak, vers: 34. Answ: 1. But where find we that women which were prophetesses, and immediately inspired, were allowed to deliver their prophesy in the Church. I suppose he had a respect to 1 Cor: 11. 5. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head covered, dishonoureth her head, which is meant of the public Assembly, for the Apostle is speaking of covering, or uncovering the head in the Church. But diverse Interpreters understand here by a woman, that prayeth or prophesieth, a woman that joineth as a hearer in the public Assembly, and so vers: 4. by a man that prayeth or prophesieth, a man that is a hearer, and joineth in the ordinances. So that the Geneva annotation upon verse 5. gives a good sense of that Text: That women which shew themselves in public and ecclesiastical Assemblies, without the sign and token of their subjection, that is to say, uncovered, shame themselves. See more for this in Junius his annotations on the Arabic version in that place. 2. If the Apostle by prophesying, 1 Cor: 11. 4. 5. Understand prophesying by immediate inspiration, then the Objection may bee retorted and turned into an Argument against the Objectors: For the sense of the word prophesying in the 11. Chap: may give light to the word prophesying in the 14. Chap. 3. Peter Martyr, loc: com: eccles: 4. cap: 1. Is indeed of opinion, that women which were prophetesses, and extraordinarily inspired, might speak in the Church, provided that their heads were covered, in token of feminine subjection, and that the forbidding of women to speak in the Church, extendeth to such, and so he reconcileth, 1 Cor. 14. 34. 1 Tim. 2. 13. with 1 Cor: 11. 5. I doubt his opinion in this particular is not well grounded, only so far I make use of it, that if 1 Cor: 11. 5. be meant of prophetesses, praying or prophesying in the Church, (which the Objector hath to prove). Then certainly the forbidding of women to speak in the Church, cannot be understood universally, but with a reserve and exception of extraordinary cases: But how can this exception of prophetesses consist with the Text, Let your women keep silence in the Church, Why ὑμῶν, Your women, they had prophesying women, as is supposed by these of the other opinion, from 1 Cor: 11. 5. Nay, even your women must be silent saith the Apostle; and the reasons which he addeth, are so universal as to comprehend even prophetesses, they are commanded to be under obedience, and to be in subjection, which Martyr himself noteth, holds true of prophesying women, as well as others, and that for that cause their heads were to be covered: Another reason is added, 1 Tim. 2. 14. Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, was in the transgression: It might be feared, saith P. Martyr, if women were permitted to speak in the Church, Satan should return to his first wile, and deceive the man by the woman. Surely he that made use of Eve, might also make use of a prophesying woman to deceive, and so much the more, because, now since the fall, both man and woman are more subject to temptation. So that both the Apostles command, and the reasons of it seem plainly to exclude, even prophesying women from speaking in the Church, and if they be allowed to deliver extraordinary prophesies and revelations in the Church; why not also to prophesy as other gifted members. If that which is greater be allowed them, why not that which is less? And if prophetesses be excepted from the rule, 1 Cor: 14. 34. Why not also other women of excellent gifts.

Object: 2. The Apostle, 1 Cor. 14. 24, 26. speaks of prophesy as a gift in all, or most of the members of the Church, and forbids it to none, but women. Answ: 1. I have already proved from, 1 Cor: 12. 28, 29. and 13. 2. and 14. 6. that prophesy even in those days, was not a common, but a rare and singular gift. So, ibid: vers. 5 when he saith, I would that all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied; he intimateth that all of them did not prophesy. 2. When the Apostle speaks by way of supposition, vers; 24: But if all prophesy, this proves not that all did prophesy, neither can the very supposition be understood universally: For if an unbeliever had come into their Assembly, and heard all, and every one of them prophesying; sure he had been so far from being won thereby, that he had been more alienated from such a confusion. 3. That which gives greatest color to the Objection, is vers: 26. When ye come together every one of you hath a Psalm, hath a Doctrine, hath a Tongue, hath a Revelation, hath an Interpretation: I shall freely offer my judgement concerning this Text to be considered. I hold the first hint from Cajetan upon the place; It is not said, every one of you can speak a strange tongue, or can utter a Revelation, &c. But εχει hath i.e., every one in the Church hath these things for his good and benefit, when one prophesieth, or two, or three, every one in the Church hath that prophesy, the like of Psalms, Tongues, &c. Even as 1 Cor: 3. 21. 22. all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollo, &c. Where it may be truly added, or Psalms, or Tongues, or Doctrines, or Revelations, or Interpretations, all these are yours, all these hath Christ given to the Church for her good, men are said to have these things of which they have the good fruit, use, benefit, at least are allowed to have, and may have the benefit thereof, Luke 16. 29 they have Moses and the Prophets, Ephes: 1. 7. and Col. 1. 14. In whom we have redemption through his blood, 1 Cor. 2. 16. But we have the mind of Christ; Philip. 3. 17. ye have us for an example, Heb: 13. 10. we have an Altar, 2 Pet. 1. 15. we have a more sure word of prophesy, and the like. And thus I understand the Text now in controversy, the Apostle having from the beginning of that 14. Chap: persuaded that the gifts of tongues and prophesy might be used, not so as the men might be most admired, but so as the Church might be most edified, and that not so much the gifts, as the profitable use of the gifts was to be desired, he concludeth this point, vers: 26. Making a transition to certain Canons, for order in the use of tongues and prophesy, as if he had said, If these gifts be thus improved to edify, then although every one of you hath not the gifts of tongues, prophesy, &c. Yet when ye come together, every one of you hath all these tongues, prophesies, &c. They being yours, for your good and edification. 4. But if our dissenting Brethren will not receive this sense, (which is quite contrary to theirs). Yet in this Text, here, they can no more extend to all or most of the members of the Church, one of these branches, then another: If all or most of them did prophesy, then all or most of them had the gift of tongues, and the Interpretation of tongues, and Revelations, and the gift of composing Psalms, and so the same president shall bring in strange tongues, as well as prophesying, (of which more before) beside that of composing Psalms. I shall hardly believe that our dissenting Brethren themselves will say, that all or most of the Church of Corinth had the gift of tongues. Let us see then, how they will restrict the words ἕκαστος ὑμῶν every one of you in reference to tongues, they must allow us to make the same restriction in reference to prophesy: But if they will say at large, that all or most of the Church of Corinth, had the gifts of tongues, as well as that of prophesy, then they are losers another way, by yielding the precedent of the Church of Corinth (in that very place upon which they build their prophesying) to be extraordinary and miraculous. 5. Whereas the Objection saith, that all or most of them did prophesy, this addition, of most of them, is fictitious and fallacious to hide weakness, for the Text hath no such thing, but saith, every one of you: Themselves dare not understand every one of you, universally, but in a restricted sense, for then Prophets, and Brethren should be acciprocal [], and convertible names in the Epistles to the Corinthians, and when ‘tis said, the spirits of the Prophets are subject to the prophets, 1 Cor. 14. 32. the sense should bee no more, but equivalent (upon the matter) to this, the spirits of all the Brethren are subject to the Brethren. 6. Wherefore, every one of you, vers: 26. (if extended to prophesying) can be no more, but every one of you prophets, even as Isa: 1. 23. every one. i.e., every one of the Princes; Heb: 2. 9. Jesus tasted death for every man; i.e., for every man whom the Father had given him, or chosen to be redeemed, 1 Cor: 12. 7. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man; i.e., that is, to every gifted man in the Church, to profit withal; Ephes. 5. 33. ὑμεῖς οἱ καθʼ ἕνα, ἕκαστος , let every one of you in particular, so love his wife; that is, every one of you husbands, Isa: 9. 17. every one is a hypocrite, that is; every wicked person who cometh to worship before me; Luke 13. 15. Doeth not each one of you on the Sabbath, loose his ox or his ass, that is, each of you who hath an ox or an ass: many other such instances might be given from Scripture. 7. Bullinger noteth out of the Greek Scholiast, that the Apostle here, 1 Cor: 14. 26. useth ἕκαστος, for ὁσμεν, and ὁσδε, that is, one of you hath a Psalm, another a Doctrine, another a Tongue, &c. Beza gives us the same sense, and refers us to 1 Cor: 1. 12. which is a notable clearing of this Text, for the very same phrase: ἕκαστος ὑμῶν, is there used: Every one of you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Apollo, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ, yet every one of them did not say all this, but one said, I am of Paul, another said, I am of Apollo, &c. The Syriac confirmeth the same sense, for 1 Cor: 14. 26. he rendereth thus: Whosoever of you hath a Psalm, let him say on, and he who hath a Doctrine, and he who hath a Revelation, and he who hath a tongue, and he who hath an Interpretation: So the Arabic version (which Junius on his Marginal annotations upon it here commendeth) runnes thus. If any of you hath a kind of Psalm to say, and he that hath a Doctrine, and he that hath a Revelation, and he that hath a Tongue, and he that hath an Interpretation, let all this be done to edifying.

Object: 3. These gifts which are required in a Prophet, 1 Cor: 14. 3. 26. are such as men ordinarily may, and do attain by industry and study Answ. 1. The contrary hath been clearly proved, and that very Text, vers: 26. proveth it; the more strange it is, that a Text which mentioneth revelation, tongues, should be cited for ordinary study and industry. 2. ‘Tis said indeed, vers: 3. He that prophesieth, speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. What then; did not an extraordinary Prophet, an Apostle, an Evangelist speak unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort? No man dare deny, but they did, yet this cannot prove that Apostles and evangelists were not extraordinary Ministers: The edification and fruit which come to the Church by these Prophets, is one thing, the way of revelation and inspiration by which the prophesy came, another thing: the Apostle is there only comparing two extraordinary and miraculous gifts together, tongues and prophesy: Of the two, prophesy is rather to be desired, for the edifying of the Church, for he that speaketh a strange tongue, cannot edify the Church, except it be interpreted, but he that prophesieth, edifieth the Church by his very gift of prophesy, with less business, and without an interpreter; This being the scope and sense of the Text, it may discover the weakness of that ground, upon which many have supposed that the Apostle means nothing by prophesy, but the ordinary gift of expounding, and applying Scripture; yea, vers: 6. prophesy and revelation, are at once held forth, both as edifying, and as distinct from doctrine, and revelation distinct from knowledge, must needs be taken a gift, and not to be numbered among ordinary gifts (as Junius upon the Arabic, in the place noteth) what ever acceptions of the word, we may find else where in Scripture.

Object. 4. But the Apostle bids them desire that they may prophesy, vers: 1. how can one desire, or pray in faith for a miraculous and extraordinary gift of the Spirit. Answ: 1. He bids them not only desire, that they might prophesy, but that they might have other spiritual gifts, such as the gifts of tongues, So vers: 1. and the interpretations of tongues, and he wishes to them all the gift of tongues, now the gift of tongues was extraordinary and miraculous, as Acts 2. 6, 7, 8. They might desire both the one gift and the other, to glorify God, and to profit withal. 1 Cor: 12. 7. yea, they might pray for it in faith for these ends, and so much the more, because Mark. 16. 17. the promise is made to believers of that first age. And these signs shall follow them that believe, in my name shall they cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues, &c. And why might not the prayer of faith obtain the gift of prophesy, as well as recover the sick, Jam: 5. 15. although neither the one nor the other might be prayed for, with that absoluteness, and peremptoriness of desire, as saving mercies and graces necessary to salvation, which is intimated in part by the different phrase, noted by Erasmus, and others to be used, 1 Cor: 14. 1. follow after charity, διωκετε, pursue it, or as (the Syriac) run after it, so follow after love, as never to be satisfied till ye overtake it, be earnest in the pursuit of it. But concerning tongues, prophesy, and the like, he addeth; and desire spiritual gifts ζηλουτε a word which falleth short of the other, not signifying any affecting of any thing with all our endeavour (as the other word doth) but only a high esteeming, valuing, admiring, wishing of a thing which, yet, if it be denied to us, we must sit down satisfied without it.

Object: 5. But these Prophets were to be judged, examined and tried, 1 Cor: 14. 29. 32. therefore it seems they were not extraordinary Prophets infallibly inspired. Answ: 1. If those who came under the name of extraordinary Prophets, might not be tried and examined, why are there so many caveats in the new Testament, to beware of false Prophets, Mat: 7. 15. and 24. 11, 24. 1 John 4. 1. Did not the Lord admit of Moses his objection, that peradventure the children of Israel would not believe him, that God had appeared unto him, and sent him, wherein God will have him to satisfy them by signs and miracles, Exod. 4. 1. to vers: 10. are not the Bereans commended, Acts 17. 11. for proving and trying the Doctrine of the Apostles themselves by the Scriptures? 2. Although such as had the gift of prophesy, did not, nor could not err, so far as they were inspired by the holy Ghost in prophesying, much less in writing Scripture, yet they might have, and some had their own mistakes and errors in particular cases; whereof I shall have one instance in Elias, who said, he was left alone: But what saith the answer of God unto him, I have reserved to my self seven thousand, &c. He spake from his own spirit, when he said he was left alone, but the answer of God corrects his mistake. Another instance in those prophesying Disciples, Acts 21. 4. Who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem. Therefore foretelling and foreknowing of Paul's danger at Jerusalem, was from the spirit of prophesy, but the consequence they did draw from hence, that therefore Paul should not go up to Jerusalem. This Interpreters conceive, was only from their own spirits, though they misfathered it upon the Spirit of God. 3. ‘Tis well observed in the English annotations upon 1 Cor. 14. 32. That although those prophesies were infused by the holy Ghost, that cannot err, yet all things are not always revealed to one, and that which is not revealed to one, is oftentimes revealed to more, and sometimes in clearer manner. There might be also some thing mingled with that which the Prophets received, and it might fall out, that that which they added of their own, by way of confirmation, illustration or application, might be justly subject to censure, whether it must be tried and judged by others, whether the prophesies proceed from the inspiration of the holy Spirit, and according to the rule of faith, Isa. 8. 20.

Object: 6. The Apostle distinguisheth Prophesy from ministry, Rom. 12. 6, 7. therefore they who prophesied, were gifted persons out of office. Answ: 1. Diverse resolve that Text thus, that first the Apostle maketh a general division of Ecclesiastical offices, Prophesy, comprehending these that labour in the word and doctrine, Ministry comprehending those that labour not in the word and doctrine, and that thereafter the Apostle subdivideth prophesying into the pastoral and doctoral function: and Ministry, he subdivideth into the office of the ruling Elder, Deacon, and the other of shewing mercy, which was committed sometimes to old men, sometimes to widows. 2. When I look again and again unto that Text, I rather incline to understand by prophesy there, the extraordinary prophesy, and by Ministry, the ordinary offices in the Church. Having then gifts saith the Apostle, and differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophesy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith, that under the color of prophesy and revelation, wee bring nothing which is not agreeable to the rule of faith, Or Ministry, let us wait on Ministry. If our office and administration be ordinary, let us attend it; and not slight it, because it is ordinary. Then he enlargeth this last by an enumeration of the ordinary offices in the Church, Pastors, Teachers, ruling Elders and Deacons. While I am writing these things, I find Gomarus upon Rom. 12. 6, 7. of the same opinion, that prophesy is meant here of that which is extraordinary, Ministry of that which is ordinary.

Object. 7. But that Text, The Spirits of the Prophets are subject to the Prophets, is applied by many Presbyterial writers, for the upholding the authority of Classes, and Synods, which is not a good argument of these prophets, if these Prophets were extraordinary. Answ. This makes the argument nothing the weaker but so much the stronger. For if Prophets who were immediately inspired, were to be subject to the examination, and judgment, and censure of other Prophets, and if Paul and Barnabas gave an account, before the Apostles and Elders at Jerusalem of their doctrine, so much opposed by some at Antioch, Acts 15. and if Peter being accused for going in to the uncircumcised, was put to make his defense to them at Jerusalem, Acts 11. then à fortiori, it doth much more become ordinary Pastors and Teachers, to submit to the judgment of an Assembly of Pastors and Teachers; And generally as in civil justice, ‘tis a good and equal rule, that a man be judged per pares, so proportionably in Church censures, it will hold among Church officers or Ministers, that they should be judged per pares, an Apostle by the Apostles, a Prophet by the Prophets, an Elder by the Elders.

Object. 8. Judas and Silas are called Prophets, Acts 15. 32. and they exhorted the Church, yet they were out of office, for they are distinguished from the Apostles and Elders, and said to be chief men among the Brethren, vers: 22. Answ: 1. This president will carry the prophesying Brethren very high, for Silas is reckoned by Divines to have been an Evangelist, which may be collected from his travelling through so many places with Paul, for spreading the Gospel, Acts 16. 17. Act. 17. 4, 10. 14, 15. Act. 18. 5. others think he had a Ministerial charge at Jerusalem, but the former opinion seems to be better grounded. 2. The word Brethren and Brother, does not ever note such as were out of office in the Church, but ‘tis diverse times used, (and so I take it here) of such as were neither fixed as Elders nor so eminent in the Church as Apostles, but had special and extraordinary employments, or administrations in the Church, as 2 Cor: 8. 18. 22, 23 1 Cor: 16. 12. 2 Cor: 1. 1. Heb: 13. 23. 1 Cor: 1. 1. 1 Pet: 5. 12. Ephes: 6. 21. Col: 4. 7. Philem: 1. 20. From which places it is manifest, that the Apostles fellow labourers in their extraordinary administrations, are often called Brethren, and among these Brethren, Judas and Silas were chief men, either for the greatness of their gifts, or more abundant labours.

And now in the close, my advise and exhortation is unto such Brethren as take upon them to preach, or prophesy, neither being nor intending to be ordained to the Ministry, that they would yet take them to serious second thoughts of this business, and seeing that prophesying which they take for their president, hath been so clearly proved to have been extraordinary, seeing also Christ hath appointed Pastors and Teachers for the ordinary work of the public teaching, edifying the Church, and perfecting the Saints, Ephes: 4. 11. 12. (which ordinance is sufficient for that end), those Brethren should do well to improve their gifts in another way, by writing, and by occasional exhorting, admonishing, instructing, reproving, comforting others, in that fraternal manner, which is suitable to Christians out of office: If they desire any other work in the Church, let them desire the Pastoral office, and offer themselves to trial in order thereunto, for as Greg: Nazianzen saith, orat: 7. Christ hath appointed this order in his Church, that the flock may be one thing, Pastors another thing; And again, ‘tis a great business to teach, but it is safe and harmless to learn, why makest thou thy self a Pastor, when thou art one of the flock.


[1] Loc. com. class. 4 Cap. 1. Sed in primitiva Ecclesia cum Prophetia vigeret, quid discriminis erat inter Prophetam & Doctorem? Respondeo, quamvis idem fuerit utriusque munus, tamen Doctores instituebantur a Praeceptoribus: Prophetae vero, fine Omni ope humana, repente afflatus Spiritus sancti concitatiloquebantur, Probl: theol: loc: 61. Prophetae ampliora habebant dona ideo Scripturae obstrusiora loca illustrabant eodem Spiritu, quo scripta fuerunt—ideo de Scripturis rectius praedicabant. So Calvin. Instit: loc: 4. cap. 3. § 4. opening that Text, Ephes. 4. 11. understands by Prophets, such as had extraordinary Revelations.

[2] Justin Martyr, dial. cum. Trypho. Jud. Και μεχρι νυν προφητικα χαρισματα εστιν, &c. For even to this present time, there are prophetical gifts, so that we ought to understand that the gifts which were of old in your nation are transferred unto us.