Page images
PDF
EPUB

than these people. They think nothing too good for their divinities: every calamity
with which an Otaheitan is afflicted is considered the immediate effect of the ven-
geance of their gods; sickness, want, ill success in war, or the anger of their kings
and chiefs, have no other origin than in some offence or neglect of their gods. Upon
great solemnities, the chiefs of every district bring one or more humun sacrifices; it
was supposed that not less than from twelve to fifteen would be offered at the inau-
guration of Otoo." Vol. iii. p. 102, 103.
Parentum cadavera cum pecudibus cæsa convivis Gentiles convorant, qui non ita

,
decesserint, ut escatiles fuerint, maledicta mors est. De Hibernic insula habitatoribus
idem tradit Strabo, lib. iv.: “ De hâc (Hibernia intellige) nihil certi habeo quod di-
cam, nisi quod incolæ ejus Britannis sunt magis agrestes, qui et humanis vescuntur car-
nibus et plurimum cibi vorant, et pro honesto ducunt parentum mortuorum corpora co-
medere." Vide etiam Strabo, lib. xi. See also Alexand. ab Alexan. fo. 58, p. 2.
Thes. Græc. Antiq. tom. vii. p. 45, 46.

[ocr errors]

There are but four things which concur to make complete the whole state of our Lord Jesus Christ, his deity, his manhood, the conjunction of both, and the distinction of the one from the other being joined in one. Four principal heresies there are which have in those things withstood the truth. Arions, by bending themselves against the Deity of Christ; Apollinarians, by maiming and misinterpreting that which belongeth to his human nature; Nestorians, by renting Christ asunder and dividing him into two persons; the followers of Eutyches, by confounding in his person those natures "which they should distinguish. Against these there have been four most famous antient general councils: the council of Nice to define against Arians; against Apollinarians, the council of Constantinople; the council of Ephesus against Nestorians; against Eutychians, the Chalcedon council: in four words, namliws, tehéws, ádraigítws, áovyxútws, tiuly, perfectly, indivisibly, distinctly: the first applies to his being God; and the second to his being man; the third to his being of both one; and the fourth to his still containing in that one both; we may fully, by way of abridgement, comprise whatsoever antiquity hath at large handled, either in declaration of Christian belief or the refutation of the aforesaid heresies. Within the compass of which four hearls, I may truly affirm that all heresies, which touch but the person of Jesus Christ, (whether they have risen in these later days or in any age heretofore,) may be with great facility brought to confine themselves. Hooker's Eccles. Pol. book v. sect. 54.

With the greatest propriety we may believe heaven and the HEAVENS to be (where in reality Sacred Writ leads us to conclude they are) in the sun and in the fired stars; and we have reason to be persuaded that the sun is a habitation of glory and a place of bliss, and may very justly infer that there is no violent heat or fire on the surface of the sun beyond necessary vital heat, and such as properly appertains to the

glorified

glorified beings who dwell upon it. However, Iought to observe, that, if we venture to conclude that there is indeed a tabernacle or throne of God placed in the sun, wo should nevertheless be exceedingly cautious not to limit the idea of our blessed Lord's residence, in his glorified body, to that or to any other particular heaven. And con sidering, moreover, that, if the sun be our heaven and city above, still it is only one of those innumerable cities and mansions of Divine Glory in which are manifested the wonderful works of the all-wise and almighty Creator. One of the many mansions to which our Lord seemed to refer, John xiv. 2. King's Morsels of Criticism, p. 82, 618.

Various expressions in Scripture do so uniformly coincide to convey unto us the idea of a dreadful interior cavity in the centre of the earth, answering to the description in the Revelations of the aburoos, or cavity without bottom, that it is hardly possito avoid the supposition of there being really such a place of confinement existing ; especially as we have reason to conclude that such a configuration of our globe (which is a mere shell, every part whereof is a roof and every part also a bottom) may have been effected, consistently with every philosophical principle we are aequainted with. And Lord King shews, that Tertullian, and Novatian, and Jerom, even declared the place of Hell to be a vastness in the body and depth of the earth and an abstruse profundity in its bowels; which was also consistent with the opinions of Irenæus and Damascen. King's Morsels of Criticisin, p.595, 597.

JVhich art in heaven implies in it,' Ist, the Majesty of God and his dominion over all: the creatures, Ps, ciii. 14; 2dly, his power, 2 Chron. xx. 6, Ps. cxv. 3; 1 3dly, bis omniscience, Ps. xi. 4, 33, 13, 14, 15; 4thly, his holiness, Deut. xxvi. 15. Whitby.

The session of Christ at God's right hand may be properly enough resolved into a. literal sense. For, admitting the divine Majesty to be seated in heaven, in some sort of elevation, that may have a small resemblance of a mighty monarch sitting on his throne of state; (for in this manner St John, who by a door opened in heaven was admitted to the beatific vision, represents the King of Kings, Revel. c. iv.) though this imperial throne of God has neither right side nor left; yet, since our Saviour, who ascended in his natural body, had his right and left hand, as other bodies have, it will hence certainly follow, that he, siting by the throne of God with his left hand next to the throne, may, in strict propriety of speech, without any figure, be said to sit on the right hand of God, or of the throne of God, which amounts to the same thing. And to this sense I am the rather inclined, because we find St Paul, who had a glinpse at least, if not a perfect sight, of the heavenly glories, expressing himself in this manner, Heb. xii. 2. Stackhouse on Creed.

That there is a local heaven and hell is evident from that noted description of the judicial proceedings, Matt. xxv. 46; and that the abode of the wicked will be in the central part of the earth, and that the fiery vaults therein contained are now the prisons of apostate angels and reprotated spirits, is a probable conjecture from those words, Phil. . 19. 7. Stackhouse on Creed, p. 408. • Bb

Some

Some have imagined that the souls of all good men, after their departure out of the body, are immediately conveyed into the highest heavens, are there admitted into the glorious presence of God and Christ, and enjoy the same happiness, in substance and degree, which they shall after the resurrection of the body, barely with this difference, that their bodies are not as yet partakers of this glory. But this opinion seems to vacate the necessity of a future judgenent. But an opinion, which seems more consonant to the word of God, is, that the happiness of departed souls, in the degree of it, is less perfect before than after the resurrection; that, before it,' they are not only freed from all care, grief, and pain, but, being delivered from all pollution and danger of sin, have their virtues much improved, and their happiness proportionably augmented, by a nearer prospect of the glory reserved for them at the last day; but thai, after the resurrection, their happiness shall be vastly auginented, not only by being glorified in body as well as spirit, but also by an increase of that bliss which before they enjoyed in less proportion during their abode in the receptacle for departed souls. Stackhouse on Creed.

That one sect of the methodists suppose that the elect cannot fail of salvation is evident from these words of ROWLAND HILE: Durid (says he) stood as completely justified in the everlasting righteousness of Christ, at the time when he caused Uriah to be murdered, and was committing adultery with his wife, as he was in any part of his life. For all the sins of the elect, be they more or be they less, be they past, present, or to come, were for ever done away. So that every one of these elect stand spotless in the sight of God. Daubeny's Guide, &c. p. 81.

But in Mr Daubeny's Appendix, vol. i. Richard Hill, Esq. not Rowland Hill, is made the author of the foregoing expressions.

: When they anointed the HIGH 'PRIEST, the figure of the Greek letter x, chi, was described on his forehead. · Lewis's Heb. Antiq.

The sin against the HOLY GHOST consisted in the Pharisees, who were eye-witnesses of Christ's miracles, which plainly evidenced a divine power and presence accoin panying him, ascribing them, most maliciously and unreasonably, to a diabolical combi-nation. They were, in their consciences, assured that he wrought them by the power of the blessed spirit, and yet, before the people, insinuated his acting jointly with the devil. And herein appears the heinousness of their sin, that so outrageous were they in reviling every thing that gave any countenance to Christ, that they did not spare even God himself, but called him Beelzebub, spitefully defaming his most divine works as nothing else but diabolical impostures. And therefore Christ declares it absolutely unpardonable, because it proceeded from an incurable malicious disposition of mind, incapable of amendment; and that the Pharisees were arrived at such a degree

of

of obstinacy, that God would (as justly he may) withdraw his grace from them, and leave them to the bias of their malicious minds, which will end in their perdition. The same sin may now a days be committed in kind, but not in degree, because circumstances are different; but an open opposition to, or a total defection from, Christianity, an abuse of Scripture, or jesting with miracles, nearly approaches it. Stackhouse on Creed.

Might we presume so far as to give an opinion of the sin against the Holy Ghost, it would be this, that every slander or blasphemy committed against Christ while upon earth, and his divine mission wanting some of its most authentic evidence, should be capable of pardon; but that, after these last seals of his mission were superadded, to wit, his resurrection from the dead, ascension, and effusion of the Holy Ghost, attended as it was with such miraculous gifts, as prophecy, gift of tongues, miracles, and the like, there remained no excuse for unbelief, and consequently no forgiveness either to the present or future generation of the Jews who should obstinately persist in it; nor, indeed, to any other persons or nations who should reject the glorious - light and evidence of his Gospel, when offered to them. This may be thought to lean hard on our modern unbelievers; but, as the Gospel plainly tells us that nothing but faith in Christ, accompanied with sincere repentance, can obtain pardon of sins, how should they hope for it who have neither the one nor the other to entitle them to it. Therefore we think it plainly follows, that this is that unpardonable sin pointed out by our Saviour. And, from what our Saviour says, Matt. xii. 38, it is plain that his resurrection was to give the finishing stroke to the evidence of his mission. Before that, if his other miracles had convinced them that he was the Messiah, they would not have put him to that shameful death, which yet it was decreed and foretold he should undergo;, and it is upon this account that St Peter excuses that atrocious deed, as being done through ignorance. But, after his resurrection was proved by so many irrefragable testimonies, who rejected him became inexcusable. Univ. Hist. vol. x.

p. 554.

By being inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost, and being called to the ministry in ordination-office, is signified the disposition a person hath to enter into the clerical office, founded in his liking the profession and preferring it to any other, and in a consciousness that he hath the proper powers to be useful in it, and in a persuasion that he shall apply himself to the discharge of the several duties of it with pleasure. Dr Newton's Sermons.

INDULGENCES were originally exemptions from taxes, granted by the emperors and governors to provinces that had been harassed by enemies, earthquakes, unfruitful seasons, &c. The popes applied them to spiritual matters, and granted them to those who went to the Holy Land to recover it from the Saracens. They dispensed them likewise to those, who, instead of marching personally against the Infidels, con

Bb2 10:37

tributed

tributed to the expense of the expedition. Afterwards the indulgences and pardons becainc more common; bat Leo, at this tiine, prostituted them to a greater degree than ever had been known. The Dominicans not ouly absolved the lising from all their sins, but delivered the souls of the dead from the pretended pains of purgatory They likewise sold the liberty of eating flesii, egys, anilky and cheese, upun prohibited days; and publicly squandered a great part of the money, arising from the sale of the indulgences, in taverns, where they frequently staked their absolution at a game of tables. Modern Univ. Hist. vol. xxvi. p. 273, 276.

As the reformation was first brought on by the enormities of indulgences, so, since the reformation, they have in many places, both in this and other respects, greatly moderated their practices, though they have never effectually disclaimed their principles. And, for one proof of it, I have now in my custody a plenary indulgence, granted for a small piece of gold, this very year, (1745,) to an absoluic stranger, for himself, for his kindred to the third degree, and to thirty persons more, for whose names a proper blank is left in the instrument. Secker's Sermons, vol. vi. p. $68.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Ignatius Loyola, a gentlemen of Biscay, in the year 1535, founded the order of JESUITS, at Mount Martie, in the neighbourhood of Paris: 'He at first had followed the profession of arins; but, being dangerously wounded at the siege of Pampelunas during his sickness he made à vow to embrace an ecclesiastical life, and after his recovery he applied himself to study in Spain and Trancé; and, having undergone many difficulties and dangers, he, with six others, took the vows of his society in the church of the Virgin Mary. The chief of these vows are; to renounce all temporal pomp and grandeur, to preserve än inviolate chastity; to receive nothing for celebrating mass, to gò and preach at Jerusalem; but, if prevented from undertaking that pilgrimage, to offer their service to the pope without any réserve. Modern Univ. Hist. vol. xxvi. p. 805.

.' Therefore may be various degrees of INSPIRATION requisite, and therefore granted, according to the variety of circumstances. Moving a person 'inwardly to undertake the work is one degrée. Superintending him during the execution of it, so as to preserve him from any considerable mistake or omission, is another. Preserving him from all, even the least, is a higher still. Enabling him to express himself in a manner loftier, clearer, more convincing, or more affecting, than he could have done otherwise, is yet a farther step. Suggesting to him also the matter which he shall deliver goes beyond the fortner, especially if he tras unacquainted with it till then. And putting into his month the very words he shall use is the completest guidance that can be. Now we say not that God hath done all these things in every part of Scripture, but so many in each as were 'needful,?' Secker's Sermons,' vol. vi. p. 8..

[ocr errors]

Concerning

« PreviousContinue »