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It was during the Crusades that the custom of using coats of arms was first introduced into Europe. The knights, cased up in armour, had no way to make themselves be known and distinguished in battle but by the ensigns on their shields; and these were gradually adopted by their posterity and families, who were proud of the pious and military exploits of their ancestors. Hume's Hist. vol. ii. p. 38.
We are to reflect, that, before an alphabet was invented, and what we call literary writing was formed into an art, men had no way to record their conceptions, or to convey them to others at a distance, but by setting down the figures and shapes of such things as were the objects of their contemplation. Hence the way of writing in picture was as universal, and almost as early, as the way of speaking in metaphor, and from the same reason, the necessity of the thing. In process of time, and through many successive improvements, this rude and simple mode of picture-writing was succeeded by that of symbols, or was enlarged at least and enriched by it. By symbols I mean certain representative marks, rather than express pictures; or, if pictures, such as were at the same time characters; and, besides presenting to the eye the resem. Q2
blance of a particular object, suggested a general idea to the mind. As when a horx was made to denote strength, an eye and sceptre, majesty; and in numberless such instances, where the picture was not drawn to express merely the thing itself, but something else which was, or was conceived to be, analogous to it. This more complex and ingenious form of picture-writing was much practised by the Egyptians, and is that which we know by the name of hieroglyphics. Hurd's Serm. p. 288. And the Israelites especially, who had their breeding in that country, at the time when the hieroglyphic learning was at its height, carried this treasure with them, among their other spoils, into the land of Canaan. And, though it be credible that their great lawgiver interdicted the use of hieroglyphic characters, yet the ideas of them were deeply imprinted on their minds, and came out, on every occasion, in those symbols and emblems with which, under the names of riddles, parables, and dark sayings, their writings are so curiously variegated and embossed. Idem, p. 291. See Hieroglyphics, Letters, and Writing.
If he, i. e. James the first, has composed a commentary on the Revelations, and proved the pope to be ANTICHRIST, may not a similar reproach be extended to the famous Napier, and even to Newton, at a time when learning was much more advanced than during the reign of James? From the grossness of its superstitions we may infer the ignorance of an age, but never should pronounce concerning the folly of an individual from his admitting popular errors, consecrated by the appearance of religion. Hume's Hist. vol. vi. p. 196.
Hume, by this observation, would insinuate the absurdity of this doctrine, that the pope is antichrist; and gets out of his way as an historian to shew himself a divine, or rather to discredit revelation.
By the law of Moses, death was the 'punishment of ADULTERY, and restitution with a fine was the punishment of theft. But in Christian nations, I know not how and wherefore, this rule is inverted, and it is safer to commit adultery than to steal, though surely it ought not to be so. The seventh commandment is of the utmost consequence to the peace of families and to the welfare of society, and forbids an iniquity most odious in the sight of God; an offence which all human laws condemn, but which they do not always punish as strictly as it deserves. Jortin's Sermons, vol. v. p. 161, 162.
Domitianus Cæsar salubri constitutione, probrosis fæminis, quæ mæcharentur, jus capiendi hæreditates legataque ademit, neve lecticis vectarentur, inhibuit.” Alex. ab Alex. lib. vi. c. 15.
Oliver Cromwell, agreeably to the Mosaic law, punished adultery with death; and, if it was necessary to make sheep-stealing a capital crime from the frequency of it, does not adultery, for the same reason, deserve the same punishment?
The condemnation contained in two or three clauses of the ATHANASIAN CREED belongs (as the most zealous defenders of our faith in the holy Trinity agree, and as every one who reads it considerately will soon perceive), not to all who cannot understand or cannot approve every expression in it, but only to such as deny in general the Trinity in Unity, or three persons who are one God. This alone is said to be the Ca. tholic faith. The words that follow, for there is one person of the Father, &c. are designed only to set this forth more particularly. And the conclusion from the whole is not, that in all things which are aforesaid, by the use of every term above-mentioned, but in all things as is aforesaid the Unity in. Trinity is to be worshipped: meaning, that, as at first it was said, that in all acts of faith we are to believe in each person, so here it is added, that in all acts of worship we are to adore each; never considering one, cren while addressed distinctly, as separated or separable from the other two. Now this Trinity in Unity we apprehend to have been, ever since it was fully revealed, a fundamental article of the Christian faith. And yet those who believe not even so much, the creed no otherwise teaches cannot be saved, or shall without doubt perish, than as our Saviour teaches concerning the whole of the Gospel: he that believeth and is baptised shall be saved, but, &c. Our condemnation is no more uncharitable than his. And neither is so, because both are to be interpreted with due exceptions and abatements. Suppose a collection of Christian duties had been drawn up, and it had been said, This is the Catholic practice, which except a man observe faithfully he cannot be saved; would not every one understand that allowance must be made for such things as a man, through involuntary ignorance, mistook, or through mere infirmity failed in, or was truly sorry for, as far as he knew he had cause? Why, then, are not the same allowances to be understood in speaking of doctrines? Indeed, for the sake of such who take these condemning clauses in tob rigorous a sense, and therefore only are afraid, from a spirit of charity and humanity, to join in them, it may seem pity but either they had been originally omitted, (since, though defensible, they are not necessary to be inserted in a profession of faith, or the limitations, with which they are to be understood, had been signified in two or three comprehensive words. Secker's Sermons, vol. vi. p. 224, 225, &c.
The creed, which contains the opinions of Athanasius, may be thus elucidated. The second, twenty-eighth, and forty-second, verses are to be taken in the same acceptation as the passage of St Mark's Gospel, xvi. 16, on which they are grounded. The implied qualifications, which are admitted in the interpretation of the Gospel-declarations, are to be admitted in the exposition of those clauses in the creed. The tenth and seven following verses contain the attributes of Deity. The object of these clauses is to guard against the idea, that Christians maintain the doctrine of three principles contrary and opposite to each other, as the Manichæans conceived of their
two principles. Perfectly consistent with each other are verses twenty-five, twentysix, and verses twenty-two, twenty-three; for they are considering the subject in a different point of view. On the one hand, they assert that the time of existence and the nature of power are the same in all; on the other, that nevertheless the origin of such existence and of such power is with the “ Father.” The Godhead was communicated from the Father to the Son; again, the same Godhead was communicated by the Father and the Son unto the Holy Ghost. Though therefore this was done from all eternity, and therefore can admit of no priority in reference to time, yet that of order must be preserved. (Pearson on the Creed, p. 322, ed. 1704.) In verses twenty-eight and forty-two, the expressions, “must thus think of the Trinity,” and “this is the Catholic faith,” apply only to the general doctrine of the Trinity, and not to the particular mode of explanation given in this creed. To the general doctrine every Christian is bound, because it is the very doctrine of his admission into the Christian covenant. Inability to account for a thing is no proof that the thing could never have existence. It is, therefore, no proof that human and divine nature may never have been united. Whoever is sincere in using the apostles creed may without scruple: assent to the leading doctrines of the Athanasian creed; for most assuredly they both mean to inculcate one and the same doctrine of a Trinity in Unity; that is, of three divine Persons united in one substance of Godhead, distinguished by the appellations of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and the same doctrine of our Lord's Incarnation. Dr Huntingford, Bishop of Gloucester, on the Trinity. · I am ready to acknowledge, that, in my judgement, notwithstanding the authority of former times, our Church would have acted more wisely, and more consistently with its general principles of mildness and toleration, if it had not adopted the damnatory clauses of the Athanasian Creed. Though I firmly believe that the doctrines themselves of this Creed are all found in Scripture, I cannot but conceive it both unnecessary and presumptuous to say, that “ except every one do keep them whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.” Bishop Prettyman on the Articles.
With respect to the inforcing of the STAMP-ACT in AMERICA, Lord Chesterfield delivers himself thus, “ Thie administration are for some indulgence and forbearance to those froward children of their mother-country; the opposition are for taking vigorous, as they call them, but I call them riolent, measures, not less than les dragonades; and to have the troops collected by the troops we have there. For my part, I never saw a froward child mended by whipping; and I would not have the mothercountry become a step-inother. Our trade to America brings in comununibus annis two millions a year, and the stamp-cuty is estimated at but one hundred thousand pounds a year, which I would by no means bring into the stock of the exchequer at the loss, or even the risk, of a million a year to the national stock. The stamp-act has proved a
. most pernicious measure; for, whether it is repealed or not, which is still very doubt