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power is, as it were, the isthmus between the regal and popular powers, keeping each within its due bounds, not suffering either to overflow its shores. Each of the pthers, in its turn, hath a like influence in tempering the powers on each side of it; nor is the influence of the collective body of the people wholly excluded by devolving its rights on the representative; for it not only creates the representative body, but holds it, when created, in continual restraint by the freedom and frequency of a new choice. Such are the fundamental principles, such the general plan, of our system of government; a system, beautiful and admirable in theory beyond all the ideal forms that political wisdom hath ever conceived; useful and salutary in practice, beyond all the real examples that civil history can furnish. Lowth's Assize Şerm. August 15, 1761.
In absolute governments there is no power of lifting up the sword against the higher powers, because there is none can obtain a share in the government, and so none can have any power of the sword, a right to be an avenger of evil, but the absolute power. In mixt governments, if any person or states can claim the power, it must be either, Ist, upon compact that such persons shall have power to defend their laws; or, 2dly, by virtue of that rule of Grotius, that, where a people hath confined not an absolute power but a government according to the law, they must be supposed to have reserved to themselves a power necessary to preserve their laws. · Butler's Serm.
Instead of that activity and zeal to propagate Christian knowledge, and to dispel the elouds of ignorance and barbarity which keep the minds of men in darkness, for us, he that is ignorant may be ignorant still, and he that is filthy may be filthy stille Though the world is much better opened by greater discoveries of new, countries, and greater improvements of trade and navigation, than there were formerly, we have made use of these advantages, not for the instruction, or conversion of the heathen, but for propagating of trade, with all the frauds that attend the most unchristian way of managing it. Instead of recovering men out of their errors and superstitions, we have rather rivetted and confirmed them in their evil ways; while we shew nothing of religion among them neither in life or doctrine, but rather an atheism and indifference, and greater signs of infidelity than are to be found among themselves. Nay, there is even a zeal to oppose and hinder every thing that has any tendency to the encouragement of religion or the propagation of the GOSPEL; and we will much more readily concur in methods of destruction and extirpation, than in any endeavours: Lowards the instruction or conversion of the heathen in our neighbourhood. Blair's Serinons, vol. i. p. 441.
It is obvious to observe one circumstance, which cannot fail of introducing the Gost pel into distant nations with great advantage. That part of the world, wherein Cluis. tianity is established, infinitely surpasses the rest in all the sciences and improvements, which raise one nation above another in reputation, or power. Of this superiority they Europeans have availed themselves to the utinost in every project for exteuding the in ėmpire or colnmerce, and have brought a great part of the globe into a dependence either on their arts or arms. Now, these same attainments in science or poliey might be employed to good purpose on the side of religion; and, though hitherto subservient to the designs of interest or ainbition, may we not flatter ourselves that at least they shall become noble instruments in the hand of God for preparing the world to receive the Gospel? This glorious prospecti may be distant, but it is not imaginary. Even in a degenerate age, zealous and active spirits have arisen, and societies have been formed upon the generous plan of propagating the knowledge of Christ to nations far ott. Robertson's Serm. for promoting Christian Knowledge.
If we prize the great blessing which was in the light of the Gospel as we ouglıt, and are actuated with a spirit becoming it, we shall be even zealous to maintain and secure it to ourselves; and, when occasion offers, and as far as our influence extends, to impart and communicate it to others; to which great work of zeal and charity (the propagation of the Gospel) the providence of God seems at this time expressly to call us: by opening an immense field to this pious labour in the vast accession made to our foreign dominions among barbarous and unenlightened nations. Lowth's Assizc-Serm. August, 1764.
The oldest annals and histories of the Phænicians,'Egyptians, Libyans, Atlantians, Chaldæans, and Cretans, agreed, that the first Gods were men and women who were deified after their death, and they do not mention any worship paid to the celestial bodies and elements before this, and which was instituted after mankind became dispersed into different parts of the earth, and societies and kingdoms were formed. About the time of this dispersion, Sanchoniatho places the deification of Eliun, the father of Uranus; but most others agree either that Uranus, or Saturn, (Phænician Kings,) were the first kings who were worshipped' as gods; and, it seems to me most probable, that the Idolatry of hero-worship began upon the death of Saturn, about 800 years after the flood: and, it is most probable, that this laid the foundation of the worship of the ces lestial orbs, sun, moon, stars, &c. into which the souls of the first deified kings and eminent persons were believed to reside and worshipped in them;' and, by being worshipped, both they and the celestial bodies were in time believed to be eternal gods. And it appears from Sanchoniatho, whose history is the standard of pagan theogony, that the Phænicians bad temples and images of the hero-gods from the beginning, and Plato supposes the same of the Egyptians. And could these be erected by mere phy. sical elements ? could the elements or celestial bodies be represented by the forms of men and women. There could (as Eusebius well observes) be no occasion for these images to represent and put them in miud of the sun, moon, planets, earth, air, fire, and water, which they daily saw or perceived: and how came they also particularly to describe the complexions, statures, warlike and amorous exploits, and all the passions, virtues, and vices, of the gods and goddesses, if they did not believe they were men and women? Jackson's Chronol. vol.iii, p. 46, 47, 48, &c.
But, to this opinion, it may be objected that the supposition of Idolatry taking its rise among the Phænicians seems to have no good foundation; for, as this learned author allows, in p. 39, that Sanchoniatho, for the greater honour of his country, makes all the first ten generations of men live in Phænicia, and supposes the dispersion of them afterwards, according to their families, into different and distant parts of the earth, to have proceeded from that country, as Moses does more truly from the land of Shiuar or the country of Babylonia and Chaldæa, we may reasonably suppose that Idolatry was first practised in Chaldæa; and, from what this author says himself afterwards of the Persian, Arabian, and Chaldæan, Idolatry, it may be concluded that the worship of the celestial bodies was prior to any other, which he allows, page 53, the Chaldæans believed were animated with divine intelligences as well as the souls of dead men; and, by another passage on the origin of oracles, page 236, he rather ascribes the rise of Idolatry to the belief of these spiritual intelligences, where he says, “ The belief of tutelar angels, presiding under God as the ministers of his providence over every country and nation, was universally received, either by revelation or tradition, in the first dispersions and settlements of men, and Moses and the prophets seem to give credit to the truth of it. And, as men would be always desirous of their propitious presence and influences, so it was natural for them to seek out means of conversing with them by some visible representations or symbols, (such as these were probably the Teraphim of Laban,) which by degrees produced many sorts of superstitions and various kinds of oracles. It is hard to account any other way for the so antient and universal institutions of divination and oracles, which, by the policy of kings and priests, and also by the delusions of evil dæmons, became the source of endless Idolatry and superstition.” And again, p. 256: “ Whether any direct adoration was paid to these celestial angelic beings in the first ages of the world, or before the flood, does not appear; but it is highly probable, that, after the dispersion of the sons of Noah, men soon began to worship them. And there is nothing more unanimously attested in the most antient histories than the universally-received opinion of the sun, moon, stars, and planets, and the several parts of the earth, being inhabited by celestial spirits or demons, of different orders and degrees of knowledge and power, who presided over countries and influenced human affairs. Therefore they endeavoured, by sacrifices, divinations, and making teraphim, or visible representations of them, to secure their propitious influence and presence with them.” But, besides, he supposes that many of the American nations were descended from the Phanicians, for this reason, because they worshipped the sun, moon, and Saturn, which were the most antient Phænician deities. Page 355.
That a good or evil genius attended every man from his birth was a prevailing opinion among the heathens, as appears from these lines of Menander.
*Απαντι δαίμων ανδρί συμπαρίσταται
Ευθύς γενομένω, μυςαγωγός τη βία. The mythology or fabulous hystory of the gods and goddesses is a mixture of fiction and corruption of tradition; a manifest instance of which we have in the accounts o! 'Isis, who probably takes her name, as Vossius observes, from the Hebrew qwx, Ischa : that she has a crescent upon her head is an allusion to the moon in her increase and decrease; that she is adorned with a kind of serpent, tanquam regio diademate, as he again observes, most probably has reference to the history of the fall. See Deities also.
Gibbon, the historian of the decline and full of the Roman empire, is a consummate adept in the arts of misrepresentation; and, deserting the open path of truth, he has attempted to lead his readers into the intricate labyrinths of error, by assigning, l. à visionary and inefficient cause for the propagation of the Gospel; (namely, the doctrine of the Millenium ;) 2. attempting to invalidate the evidence of prophecy; 3. unwarrantably imputing uncharitableness to the primitive Christians; 4. drawing wrong conclusions from facts; 5. selecting passages manifestly inconclusive, and suppressing others of the same writers equally connected with the subject. Kett's Bampton Lectures, Sermon 5, p. 188.
As it was the first glory of the Gospel (or Christianity) to call forth into action the most benevolent feelings of the mind, the treasures of its most opulent converts were not lavished on votive offerings and bloody sacrifices, but were appropriated to the relief of the shipwrecked mariner, the distant exile, and the fettered captive. The songs of gratitude and the supplications of distress were no longer wasted on sculptured images, but were addressed to the high and lofty one who inhabiteth eternity, and who heareth when the righteous call. The dark and fraudulent oracles of the priests were deserted for the predictions of inspired prophets, and for the lessons of the Book of Life. The parents' who formerly exposed their infant-offspring to untimely death, or reared them to maturity that they might barter their innocence for the wages of prostitution, awoke to the exquisite feelings of nature, and led them to the paths of holiness and virtue. The slave no longer dreaded the stripes of his despotic master; for, as soon as he was purified by the water of baptism, he arose' to 'a spiritual equality with him, and was entitled to all the benefits of a free-born citizen. The bloody combats of gladiators, which had long been the favourite spectacles of the polite as well as of the vulgar, gave way to amusements more refined and more consistent with humanity. The licentious festival of the Saturnalia was superseded by the commemoration of the birth of Christ, and the feasts of Flora were abolished for the observance of his meritorious Passion. The prophane mysteries of Ceres and of Bacchus, and the horrid barbarity of human sacrifices, were succeeded by the pure A a
and simple celebration of baptism and of the Eucharist. The Cross of Calvary, which had been the contemptible instrument of the execution of slaves, avlorned the summit of the churehes, and was depictured on the standard of the legions. As soon as divine honours were paid to Christ, the heathen acknowleged the weakness of his gods. -- The barriers of national enmity and inveterate prejudice, which bad for ages obstructed the intercourse of mankind, through the increasing influence of Christianity were broken down; and the inhabitants of diflerent countries, with benignant looks of esteem and cordiality, met around the social hearth or filled the solemn assembly. The Ježo, enlightened by the evangelical law, no longer viewed the Gentile with disdain, or refused him the common offices of benevolence: nor did the converted Gentile any longer survey the Jew as the hater of mankind and the advocate for an intolerant superstition. The nations, who, before the glorious advent of Christ, had been only distinguished by their abject and coarse barbarity, rose, from the condition of rude savages, to a higher clevation in the scale of reason and of morals.' The Ægyptiau Idolater ceased to bend at the shrine of Serapis and Typhon, and to exalt the sacred animals of his country to the rank of celestial spirits. The mysterious syinbols of the sacerdotal hieroglyphics were changed for the practical and intelligible precepts of the Gospel. The Parthian and Persian tribes instituted the decent rites of sepulture, abolished their incestuous alliances, and restrained the inordinate license of polygamy. The warlike inhabitants of Scythia, of Germany, of Spain, of Punnonia, and Britain, forsook their gloomy superstition for the pure religion of Christ; and, while its precepts softened their ferocious spirit, they imbibed a taste for literature and for arts. Their adoption of Christianity from their Roman foes was, at once, an argument of its intrinsic excellence and of their ardent and sincere veneration for truth. They relinquished the savage prospect of reveling after death in the gloomy palace of Odin for the bright hope of a heavenly paradise. They no longer shed the blood of human victims at the altar of their shapeless idols, but bent a willing knee to the God of mercy. The druids, who were wont to lead the rude inhabitants of Germany and Guul from the deep recesses of the forests to the field of carnage and death, and inspired them with the delusive hope that the soul would re-animate another body, were succeeded by peaceful orders. of ecclesiastics, who taught their converts the real value of life and the true doctrine of immortality, Kett's Bampton Lectures, Sermon 4, p. 142, &c.
The term Son of God, I supposc, was then first assumed, when the dogos ouet iyoratu, and that therefore the royos was not necessarily vlog. The noros, who existed in the beginning, who existed with God, who was God, who existed from all eternity, ww.cexn, with God, became incarnate; and, in consequence of this incarnation, “ We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father.” After this, the evangelist drops the term noyos, and uses only inos; and, of the isos, he says, (c. üi.)