THE HISTORY OF RELIGION: Particularly of the Principal Denominations of CHRISTIANS, VIZ.

  • Of the Church of Rome,
  • Of the Church of England,
  • Of the Church of Scotland,
  • Of the Nonjurors,
  • Of the Lutherans,
  • Of the Presbyterians,
  • Of the Independents,
  • Of the Baptists in general,
  • Of the Quakers,
  • Of the Antinomians,
  • Of the Moravians,
  • Of the Methodists in general.

CONTAINING A succinct and genuine Account of their original and present CONSTITUTION, DISCIPLINE, DOCTRINES, WORSHIP, and CEREMONIES: With a general Account of the various Sectaries of less Note, since the first Establishment of Christianity.

Including a general History of the REFORMATION, and so much of Civil and Ecclesiastical History as is connected with, or necessary to explain and illustrate the WORK.

To which is added, A DICTIONARY of the principal Religious ORDERS, OFFICES, DAYS, RITES, CUSTOMS, HABITS, and CHARACTERS; the most impor­tant TRANSACTIONS of Ecclesiastical COUNCILS, SYNODS, &c. explaining all such ambiguous Words and Phrases as have a proper Connexion with the Subject of this History.



LONDON: Printed for C. HENDERSON, at the Royal Exchange; W. NICOLL, in St. Paul's Church Yard; and J. JOHNSON, opposite the Monument.



CHAP. XIII. Of the State of RELIGION from the Revolution 1689 to the death of King George II. 1760.

WILLIAM had been invited to England by a coalition of parties, united by a common sense of danger; but this tie being broken, they flew asunder, and each resumed its original pre­judices. Their mutual jealousy and rancour revived, and was heated by dispute into intemperate zeal and enthusiasm. Those, who at first acted from principles of patriotism, were insensibly warmed into partizans; and King William soon found himself at the head of a faction. As he had been bred a Calvinist, and always expressed an abhorrence of spiritual persecution, the Protestant Dissenters considered him as their peculiar Protector, and entered into his interests with the most zealous fervour and assiduity. For the same reasons, the friends of the church became jealous of his proceed­ings, and employed all their influence, first in opposing his elevation to the throne, and afterwards in thwart­ing his measures. William began his reign with a pro­clamation for confirming all Protestants in the offices [Page 2]which they enjoyed on the first day of December. Having chose his Council, they resolved to convert the convention into a parliament, that the new settlement might be strengthened by a legal sanction, which was now supposed to be wanting, as the assembly had not been convoked by the King's writ of summons. The experiment of a new election being deemed too hazard­ous, the Council determined that the King, by vir­tue of his own authority, should change the conven­tion into a parliament, by going to the house of Peers, with the usual state of a Sovereign, and pronouncing a speech from the throne to both houses: which ex­pedient was accordingly practised.

Whatever promises William had made, and what­ever sentiments of respect he entertained for the church of England, he seemed now in a great measure alienated from it, by the opposition he had met with from its members, particularly from those Prelates * who had, by absenting themselves from the parliament, and re­fusing the oaths, plainly disowned his title. He there­fore resolved to mortify the church, and gratify his own friends at the same time, by removing the obstacles af­fixed to non-conformity, that all Protestant Dissenters should be rendered capable of enjoying and exercising civil employments. He recommended the establishing a new oath, in lieu of those of allegiance and supremacy. It was proposed to abrogate the old, and appoint new oaths, by which the sacramental test was declared un­necessary to render any person capable of enjoying [Page 3]any office or employment. This was however reject­ed by a great majority in the house of Lords. Another proposal for the same purpose, though in different terms, met with the same fate. These fruitless efforts, in fa­vour of Dissenters, augmented the prejudice of the churchmen against William, who would have willing­ly compromised the difference by excusing the clergy from the oaths, provided the Dissenters might be ex­empted from a sacramental test. But this was deemed the chief bulwark of the church, and therefore the proposal was rejected. The church-party in the house of Lords moved, that instead of obliging the clergy to take the oaths, the King should be empowered to ten­der them; and in case of their refusal, they should in­cur the penalty, because deprivation, or the appre­hension of it, might make them desperate, and excite them to form designs against the government. After a long and warm debate, all the mitigation that could be obtained, was a clause to invest the King with a power to indulge any twelve clergymen, deprived by virtue of the act, with a third part of their benefices during pleasure.

The King, though baffled in his design against the sacramental test, Note: Act for tole­ration. resolved to indulge the Dissenters with a toleration; and a bill for this purpose, was, after some debate, passed into a law, under the title of An act for exempt­ing their Majesties Protestant subjects dissenting from the penalties of certain laws. It enacted, that none of the penal laws should be construed to extend to those Dis­senters who should take the oaths to the present go­vernment, and subscribe the declaration of the thirtieth year in the reign of Charles II. provided, that they should hold no private assemblies or conventicles with the doors shut; and that nothing should be construed to exempt them from the payment of tithes or other parochial duties. That in case of being chosen [Page 4]into the offices of constables, overseers, churchwardens, &c. and of scrupling to take the oaths annexed to such offices, they should be allowed to execute the employ­ment by deputy. That the preachers and teachers in congregations of dissenting Protestants, who shall take the oaths, subscribe the declaration, together with all the articles of religion, except the thirty fourth, and the two succeeding articles, and part of the twentieth, should be exempted from the penalties decreed against Non-conformists, as well as from serving upon Juries, or acting in parish-offices; yet all Justices of the Peace were empowered to require such Dissenters to subscribe the declarations, and take the oaths; and in case of refusal to commit them to prison, without bail or mainprize. The same indulgence was extended to Anabaptists, and even to Quakers, on their solemn promise, before God, to be faithful to the King and Queen; and the latter's assenting by profession and as­severation to those articles which the others ratified upon oath: they were likewise required to profess their belief in the trinity and the holy scriptures.

A bill of comprehension had been brought into the house of Peers, by which moderate Dissenters might be reconciled to the church, and admitted into eccle­siastical benefices. This was extremely agreeable to the King, who had the scheme of comprehension very much at heart. In the progress of the bill several warm debates arose, some of which were carried in favour of the Dissenters: however the bill was re­jected by the Commons, after it had passed the Lords with great difficulty. All the clamour that was raised against it could not prevent the King from prosecuting the scheme. He granted a commission under the great seal to ten Bishops, and twenty dignitaries of the church, authorising them to meet from time to time in the Jerusalem-chamber, to prepare such alterations of the liturgy and canons, and such proposals for the reformation of ecclesiastical courts, as might most con­duce [Page 5]to the good order, edification, and uniting of the church; and tend to reconcile all religious diffe­rences among the Protestant subjects of the kingdom. However, all William's endeavours at this time proved ineffectual.

A. D. 1691.] The Bishop of Ely's being accused of having been concerned in a conspiracy with Lord Preston and others, furnished the King with a plausible pretence for filling up the sees vacated by the depriva­tion of the Nonjuring Bishops. The deprived Bishops had been given to understand, that an act of parliament might be obtained to excuse them from taking the oaths, provided they would perform their episcopal functions; but as they declined this expedient, the King now resolved to supply their places. Accord­ingly he conferred the vacant see of Canterbury, Glou­cester, Ely, Norwich, Bath and Wells, Peterborough, Chichester and Worcester, on Dr John Tillotson, Edward Fowler, Simon Patrick, John Moore, Richard Kidder, Richard Cumberland, Robert Grove, and Ed­ward Stillingfleet. Several of the inferior clergy had likewise sacrificed their benefices to their scruples of conscience with regard to taking the oaths, so contrary to those they had taken to King James, and were therefore denominated Nonjurors; but these were but a small number in proportion to those who complied, though they declared that they took the oaths in no other sense than that of a peaceable submission to the powers that were; affirming that the legislature had allowed the distinction of a King de facto and a King de jure, as they had dropped the word rightful, when the form of the oath was under debate.

A. D. 1694.] This year died, on November 22, Archbishop Tillotson, greatly regretted by the King and Queen; and generally lamented by the public, as a pattern of elegance, ingenuity, meekness, charity, and moderation. Queen Mary did not long survive him: [Page 6]she was taken ill of the small pox, and died on De­cember 28, in the thirty-third year of her age, and the sixth of her reign. She was a zealous Protestant, scrupulously exact in all the duties of devotion, of an even temper, and calm, mild conversation. She was ruffled by no passion, and seems to have been a stranger to the emotions of natural affection; for she ascended, without compunction, the throne from which her father had been deposed, and treated her sister, the Princess Anne, as an alien to her blood.

A. D. 1698.] At this period, Dr. Thomas Bray, an active divine, formed a plan for propagating the gospel in foreign countries. Missionaries, catechisms, liturgies, and other books for the instruction of igno­rant people, were sent to the English colonies in Ame­rica. This laudable design was supported by voluntary contribution; and the bill having been brought into the house of Commons for the better discovery of estates given to superstitious uses, Dr. Bray presented a petition, praying, that some part of the estates might be set apart for the propagation of the reformed reli­gion, in Maryland, Virginia, and the Leeward Islands. At this time likewise a Society for the Reformation of Manners was formed, under the King's countenance and encouragement. Considerable collections were made for maintaining clergymen to read prayers at certain hours in places of public worship, and admi­nister the sacrament every Sunday.

A. D. 1700.] The parliament having received a pe­tition from the Lancashire clergy, complaining of the insolence and attempts of Popish priests, a bill was brought in, decreeing a further reward to such persons as should discover and convict Popish priests and Je­suits; and perpetual imprisonment for those convicted on the oath of one or more witnesses. It enacted, that no person born after the twenty-first day of March next ensuing, being a Papist, should be capable of in­heriting any title of honour or estate within the [Page 7]kingdom of England, dominion of Wales, or town of Berwick upon Tweed; and that no Papist should be capable of purchasing any lands, tenements or he­reditaments, either in his own name, or in the name of other person in trust for him. After some alterations it was sent up to the Lords, and obtained the royal assent, contrary to the expectation of those who prose­cuted the measure, on the supposition that the King was a favourer of Papists. However the bill was deficient in necessary clauses to enforce execution; so that the law was very little regarded in the sequel.

A. D. 1701.] A bill was this year brought into the parliament for abjuring the pretended Prince of Wales (the son of James II. who died the sixteenth of Sep­tember at St. Germain) and swearing to his Majesty by the title of rightful and lawful King, and his heirs, according to the act of settlement. Warm debates arose upon the question, "Whether the oath should be imposed, or voluntary?" And, at length, it was carried for imposition by the majority of but one voice.

A. D. 1702.] King William's health had been for some time very much impaired, and a fall from his horse, by which his collar-bone was fractured, probably hastened his end. He died on March 8, in the fifty-second year of his age, after having reigned thirteen years. In courage, fortitude, and equanimity, he rivalled the most eminent warriors of antiquity. He was religious, temperate, a stranger to violent passions, and might have passed for an excellent Prince, had he never ascended the throne of Great Britain, after which he was opposed in the most generous attempts for the good of the public, and through his whole reign was the sacrifice to the faction and parties amongst the people he had saved from ruin.

A. D. 1702.] Anne Princess of Denmark, daughter of James II. by his first wife, ascended the throne upon the decease of William, in the thirty-eighth year of her [Page 8]age, to the general satisfaction of all parties. Even the Jacobites seemed pleased with her elevation, on the supposition that, as in all probability, she would leave no heirs of her own body, the dictates of natural affection would induce her to alter the succession in favour of her own brother. She had been taught to cherish warm sentiments of the Tories, whom she con­sidered as the friends of monarchy. Her inclination for them plainly appeared in her choice of ministers; which were mostly of that party. The Queen sum­moned a new parliament, which met on October 20. The Commons of this parliament had nothing more at heart than a bill against occasional conformity. On November 4, a bill was brought into the house for that purpose. In the preamble all persecution for conscience sake was condemned: nevertheless it enacted, that all those who had taken the sacrament and test for offices of trust, or the magistracy of corporations, and after­wards frequented any meeting of Dissenters, should be disabled from holding their employments, pay a fine of five hundred pounds, and five pounds a day for the time in which they continued to act in their em­ployments, after having been at any such meeting. But after several warm debates the bill miscarried. A bill was brought into the lower house, granting another year's consideration to those who had not taken the oath of abjuration. The Lords added three clauses, im­porting that those persons, who should take the oath within the limited time, might return to their benefi­ces and employments, unless they should be already legally filled: that any person endeavouring to defeat the succession to the crown, as now limited by law, should be deemed guilty of high treason: and that the oath of abjuration should be imposed on the subjects of Ireland. The Commons made some opposition to the first clause; but, at length, the question being put, Whether they should agree to the amendments? it was carried in the affirmative by one voice.

[Page 9]The two houses of convocation, which were sum­moned with the parliament, bore a strong affinity with that assembly, by the different interests which prevailed in the upper and lower. The last, in imitation of the Commons, was desirous of branding the preceding reign; and it was with great difficulty that they con­curred with the prelates in an address of congratula­tion to her Majesty. The lower house desired, in an application to Thomas Tenison Archbishop of Canter­bury, and his suffragans, that the matters in dispute concerning the manner of synodical proceedings, and the right of the lower house to hold intermediate as­semblies, might be taken into consideration, and speedily determined. The Bishops proposed, that, in the intervals of sessions, the lower house might appoint committees to prepare matters; and when business should be brought regularly before them, that they should have sufficient time to sit and deliberate on the subject. This did not satisfy the lower house: and the prelates refused to depart from the Archbishop's right of proroguing the whole convocation, with consent of his suffragans. The lower house proposed to refer the controversy to the Queen's decision: but the Bishops declined this expedient, as inconsistent with the episco­pal authority, and the Archbishop's presidency. The lower house, having incurred the imputation of favouring Presbytery, by this opposition to the Bi­shops, entered in their books a declaration, ac­knowledging the order of Bishops as superior to Pres­byters, and to be a divine apostolical institution. Then they desired the Bishops, in an address, to con­cur in settling the doctrine of the divine apostolical right of Episcopacy, that it might be a standing rule of the church. They likewise presented a petition to the Queen, complaining, that, in the convocation called in the year 1700, after an interruption of ten years, several questions having arisen concerning the rights and liberties of the lower house, the Bishops had [Page 10]refused a verbal conference; and, afterwards, declined a proposal to submit the dispute to her Majesty's deter­mination. They therefore fled to her Majesty for protec­tion, begging she would call the question into her own royal audience. The Queen promised to consider the petition, and ordered their council to examine the af­fair, how it consisted with law or custom. Whether their report was unfavourable to the lower house, or the Queen was willing to encourage the division, no other answer was made to their address. These con­tests produced divisions through the whole body of the clergy, who ranged themselves in different factions, distinguished by the names of High Church and Low Church. The first consisted of ecclesiastical Tories; and the other included those who professed revolution-principles, and recommended moderation towards the Dissenters. At present, however, the Tories, both in church and state, triumphed in the favour of their So­vereign.

A. D. 1703.] The bill against occasional confor­mity was revived this year in the house of Commons. In the new draught however the penalties were lowered, and the several clauses mitigated. After several debates it passed; and was sent up to the Lords. It was op­posed by a small majority of the Bishops, and particu­larly by Burnet Bishop of Sarum, who exclaimed a­gainst it as a scheme to set the church and Protestants at variance: and, the question being put for a second reading, it was carried in the negative.

A. D. 1704.] On February 7, the Queen ordered Secretary Hedges to tell the house of Commons, Note: First fruits and tenths granted to the poor clergy. that she had remitted the arrears of the tenths to the poor clergy: that she would grant her whole revenue arising out of the first fruits and tenths, as far as it should become free from incumbrance, as an augmen­tation of their maintenance: and that, the house of Commons could find any method by which her inten­tion [Page 11]to the poor clergy might be made more effectual, it would be an advantage to the public, and acceptable to her Majesty. The Commons immediately brought in a bill, enabling her to alienate this branch of the re­venue, and create a corporation by charter, to direct the application of it to the uses proposed: they likewise repealed the statute of mortmain, so far as to allow all men to bequeathe by will, or grant by deed, any sum they should think fit to give towards the augmentation of benefices. Addresses of thanks, from all the cler­gy of England, were presented to her Majesty for her gracious bounty. But very little regard was paid to Gilbert Burnet Bishop of Sarum, although the Queen declared that Prelate author of the project *.

A. D. 1705.] Some debates having passed in the house of Lords upon the supposed dangers to which, the Tories affirmed, the church was exposed, the ques­tion was put, Whether the church was in danger? and carried in the negative by a great majority. Then the house resolved, that the church of England, as by law established, which was rescued from the extremest danger by King William III. of glorious memory, is now, by God's blessing, under the happy reign of her Majesty, in a most safe and flourishing condition; and that whoever goes about to suggest or insinuate that the church is in danger, under her Majesty's administra­tion, is an enemy to the Queen, church, and the king­dom. The Commons concurred in this determination, and joined the Lords in an address to the Queen, com­municating this resolution, beseeching her to take ef­fectual measures for making it public; and also for punishing the authors and spreaders of the seditious and scandalous reports of the church's being in danger. The convocation, instead of imitating the union and harmony of the parliament, revived the former divi­sions, [Page 12]and the two houses seemed to act with more de­termined rancour against each other. The upper house having drawn up a warm address to the Queen, for her affectionate care of the church, the lower house refused to concur; nor would they give any reason for their dissent. They prepared another in a different strain, which was rejected by the Archbishop. In conse­quence of this dissention the address was dropped, and a stop put to all further communication of the two houses. The Dean of Peterborough protested against the irregularities of the lower house. The Queen, in a letter to the Archbishop, signified her resolution to maintain her supremacy, and the due subordination of Presbyters to Bishops. She expressed her hope that he and his suffragans should act conformably to her resolution, in which case they might be assured of the continuance of her favour and protection. She re­quired him to impart this declaration to the Bishops and clergy, and to prorogue the convocation to such time as should appear most convenient. When he communicated this letter to the lower house, the mem­bers were not a little confounded; nevertheless they would not comply with the prorogation, but continued to sit in defiance of her Majesty's pleasure.

A. D. 1706.] The union between England and Scot­land, which had been so often attempted in vain, was this year ratified by the Queen and the parliaments of both nations, though not without a strong opposition, especially on the part of the Scotch. Before the Eng­lish parliament began to investigate the articles of the Union, the house of Lords, at the instance of the Archbishop of Canterbury, brought in a bill for the security of the church of England, to be inserted as an essential and fundamental part of that treaty. It passed through both houses without opposition, and received the royal assent, and the Union of the two kingdoms commenced on May 1, 1707.

[Page 13]A. D. 1707.] The lower house of convocation still continued to wrangle with their superiors; and, though they joined the upper house in a congratulatory address to the Queen, on the success of her arms, they resol­ved to make application to the house of Commons a­gainst the Union. The Queen, being apprised of their design, desired the Archbishop to prorogue them for three weeks, before the expiration whereof the act of Union had passed in parliament. The lower house de­livered a representation to the Bishops, in which they affirmed, no such prorogation had ever been ordered during the sitting of parliament. The Bishops found, in their records, several precedents of such prorogations, and a great many instances of the convocation's having sat sometimes when the parliament was dissolved. The Queen, informed of these proceedings, wrote a letter to the Archbishop, intimating that she looked upon the lower house as guilty of an invasion of her royal supremacy: and that, if any thing of the same nature should be attempted for the future, she would use such means of punishing offenders as the law warranted. The Prolocutor absenting himself from the convoca­tion, the Archbishop pronounced sentence of contu­macy against him: and the lower house, in a protesta­tion, declared this sentence unlawful, and altogether null. Nevertheless, the Prolocutor made a full sub­mission, with which the Archbishop was satisfied; and the sentence was repealed *.

[Page 14]A. D. 1709.] On the 13th of December, Mr. Dol­ben made a complaint to the house of Commons of two sermons, preached, and published, by Dr. Henry Sa­cheverel, Rector of St. Saviour's in Southwark, as containing positions contrary to revolution-principles, to the present government, and the Protestant succes­sion. Dolben's complaint was seconded by Sir Peter King and other members: and the sermons being read, were voted scandalous and seditious libels. Sacheverel, being brought to the bar of the house, owned himself the author of both: and the Doctor being ordered to withdraw, the house resolved he should be impeached of high crimes and misdemeanours, and Mr. Dolben was ordered to impeach him at the bar of the house of Lords, in the name of all the Commons of England. A committee was appointed to draw up articles, and Sacheverel was taken into custody. Being impeached at the bar of the upper house, he petitioned that he might be admitted to bail; but this indulgence was refused, and the Commons seemed bent upon prose­cuting him with such severity as gave disgust to men of moderate principles. Mean while the Tories were not idle. They boldly affirmed that the Whigs had form­ed a design to pull down the church; and that this prosecution was intended to try their strength, before they would proceed openly to the execution of their project. These assertions were supported, and even credited by some part of the clergy; who did not fail to alarm and inflame their hearers; while emissaries were [Page 15]employed to raise a ferment among the populace. The articles against Sacheveral being exhibited *, his per­son was committed to the Deputy Usher of the Black Rod; and the Lords admitted him to bail: and ap­pointed February 27 for his trial in Westminster Hall.

This extraordinary trial engaged the attention of the whole kingdom. It lasted three weeks, during which all other business was suspended; and the Queen her­self was every day present, though in quality of a pri­vate spectator. A vast number of people attended Sa­cheverel every day to and from Westminster Hall, striving to kiss his hand, and praying for his deliverance, as if he had been a martyr or confessor. The Queen's sedan was beset by the populace, exclaiming, "God bless your Majesty and the church. We hope your Majesty is for Dr. Sacheverel." When the Doctor's council had finished his defence, he himself recited a speech, wherein he solemnly justified his intentions to­wards the Queen and her government; and spoke in respectful terms of the revolution, and the Protestant succession. He maintained the doctrine of non-resist­ance in all cases whatsoever, as a maxim of the church in which he was educated; and, by many pathetical expressions, endeavoured to excite the compassion of the audience. He was surrounded by the Queen's chaplains, who encouraged and extolled him as the champion of the church; and he was privately favoured by the Queen herself, who could not but relish a doc­trine [Page 16]so well calculated for the support of regal autho­rity. After obstinate disputes, and much virulent al­tercation, Sacheverel was found guilty by a majority of seventeen voices; but four and thirty Peers entered a protest against this decision . He was prohibited from preaching for the term of three years: his two sermons were ordered to be burned by the hands of the com­mon hangman, in presence of the Lord Mayor, and the two Sheriffs of London and Middlesex. The lenity of the sentence passed upon Sacheverel, which was in a great measure owing to the dread of popular resent­ment, his friends considered as a victory obtained over a Whig faction, and they celebrated their triumph with bonfires and illuminations.

The Queen now so apparently favoured the Tories, that the Whig ministry were entirely removed, and their places supplied by the other party. There was not one Whig left in any office of state, except the Duke of Marlborough: and he was greatly on the [Page 17]decline in the Queen's favour. That the triumph of the Tories might be more complete, her Majesty dis­solved the Whig parliament, after such precautions were taken, as could not fail to influence the new election, in favour of the high-church party. To this end nothing so effectually contributed as did the trial of Sacheverel, who was used as a tool to wind and turn the passions of the vulgar. Having been pre­sented to a benefice in North Wales, he went in pro­cession to that country with all the pomp and magni­ficence of a sovereign Prince. He was sumptuously entertained by the university of Oxford, and divers noblemen: and was received in several towns, by the magistrates of the corporation in their formalities, and often attended by a body of a thousand horse. No­thing was heard but the cry of "the church and Dr. Sacheverel." The clergy were actuated by a spirit of enthusiasm, which spread through all ranks and de­grees of people, and had such an effect upon the elections of the new parliament, that few were returned as members but such as had distinguished themselves by their zeal against the Whig administration.

A. D 1711] The house of Commons, in order to demonstrate their attachment to the church, in con­sequence of an address from the lower house of con­vocation, and a quickening message from the Queen, passed a bill for building fifty new churches in the suburbs of London and Westminster, and appropriated for this purpose the duty upon coals, which had been granted for the building of St. Paul's cathedral. Of the convocation, which was assembled with the new parliament, the lower house chose Dr. Francis Atter­bury for their prolocutor. He was an enterprising ecclesiastic, of extensive learning, acute talents, violently attached to Tory principles, and intimately connected with the prime minister Robert Harley, lately created Earl of Oxford, and Earl Mortimer; so that he di­rected all the proceedings in the lower house of convo­cation [Page 16] [...] [Page 17] [...] [Page 18]in concert with that minister. The Queen, in a letter to the Archbishop, signified her hope that the consultations of the clergy might be of use to redress the attempts of loose and prophane persons. She sent a licence under the broad seal, empowering them to sit and do business, in as ample a manner as ever had been granted since the reformation. The Bishops were purposely slighted and overlooked, because they had lived in harmony with the ministry. A committee being appointed to draw up a representation of the present state of the church and religion, Atterbury un­dertook the task, and composed a remonstrance that contained the most keen and severe strictures upon the administration, as it had been exercised since the time of the revolution. Another was penned by the Bi­shops in more moderate terms; and several regulations were made: but in none of these did the two houses agree. They concurred however in censuring some tenets favouring Arianism, broached and supported by Mr. Whiston, mathematical professor at Cambridge. He had been expelled the university, and wrote a vindication of himself, dedicated to the convocation. The Archbishop doubted, whether this assembly could proceed against a man for heresy: the Judges being consulted, the majority of them gave in their opinions, that the convocation had a jurisdiction. The Queen, in a letter to the Bishops, said, that as there was no doubt of their jurisdiction, she expected they would proceed in the matter before them. Fresh scruples arising, they determined to examine the book, without proceeding against the author, and this was censured accordingly. An extract of the sentence was sent to the Queen; but she did not signify her pleasure on the subject, and the affair remained in suspence. Whiston published a work in four volumes, justifying his doc­trine, and maintaining, that the apostolical constitu­tions were not only canonical, but also preferable in point of authority to the epistles and the gospels. The [Page 19]bill against occasional conformity was now revived in parliament by the Earl of Nottingham, in more mo­derate terms than those that had been formerly re­jected; and it passed both houses by the connivance of the Whigs, upon the Earl's promise, that if they would consent to this measure, he would bring over many friends to join them in matters of greater impor­tance.

A. D. 1713.] In consequence of the treaty of Utrecht, by which the French King obliged himself to abandon the Pretender (generally distinguished by the name of the Chevalier de St. George, since 1708) and acknowledge the Queen's title and the Protestant succession, the Chevalier had repaired to Lorrain. The parliament desired that the Queen would press the Duke of Lorrain, and all the Princes and States in amity with her, to exclude him from their dominions. Her Majesty taking little notice of this address, the Whigs were alarmed: they concluded that the dictates of natural affection had biassed her in favour of the Chevalier. Whatever sentiments of tenderness and compassion she might feel for that unfortunate exile, the acknowledged son of her own father, it does not appear that she ever thought of altering the succession as by law established. The term of Sacheverel's sus­pension being now expired, extraordinary rejoicings were made upon the occasion: he was desired to preach before the house of Commons, who thanked him for his sermon; and the Queen promoted him to the rich benefice of St. Andrew's in Holborn, London.

A. D. 1714.] At this period died the Princess Sophia, Electress Dowager of Hanover (daughter of Frederic King of Bohemia, and grand-daughter of James I. of England) upon whose heirs the succes­sion to the crown of England, by the act of settlement, devolved, as the nearest branch of the royal family in the Protestant line. She was in all respects one of the most accomplished Princesses of the age in which she [Page 20]lived. The court of England went in mourning at her death; and the Elector of Brunswic, her son, afterwards King of England, was prayed for by name in the liturgy of the church of England. On May 12, Sir William Wyndham made a motion for a bill to prevent the growth of schism, and for the further security of the church of England as by law esta­blished. The design of it was to prohibit Dissenters from teaching in schools and academies. It was ac­cordingly prepared, but eagerly opposed in both houses as a species of persecution. Nevertheless, it made its way through both, and received the royal assent; but the Queen dying on the day it was to take place, the law was rendered ineffectual.

Her Majesty's constitution was now quite broke, one fit of sickness succeeded another; and what com­pleated the ruin of her health was the anxiety of her mind, occasioned by the discontents which had been raised by the enemies of her government, and by the dissentions among her ministers. At last she was seized with a lethargic disorder, and, notwithstanding all the medicines which the physicians could prescribe, the distemper gained ground so fast, that, on July 30, they despaired of her life. The council immediately as­sembled, and took all the necessary precautions for securing the peace of the kingdom. They dispatched a messenger to the Elector of Brunswic, informing him of the measures they had taken, and desiring he would, with all possible speed, repair to Holland; where he should be attended by a British squadron to convoy him to England, in case of her Majesty's decease. The Queen continued to dose in a lethargic insensibility, with very short intervals, till August 1, in the morning, when she expired, in the fiftieth year of her age, and the thirteenth of her reign. The capacity of Anne Stuart, Queen of Great Britain, was naturally good, but not much cultivated by learn­ing; nor did she exhibit any marks of extraordinary [Page 21]genius, or personal ambition. She was not deficient in that firmness of mind by which a Prince ought to preserve his independence, and avoid the snares and fetters of sycophants and favourites: but whatever might have been her weakness in that particular, the virtues of her heart could not be questioned. She was a pattern of conjugal fidelity and affection, a warm friend, an indulgent mistress, a munificent pa­tron, and a merciful Princess, during whose reign no subject's blood was shed for treason. She was zea­lously attached to the church of England, from con­viction rather than from prepossession, unaffectedly pious, just, charitable and compassionate. She felt a mother's fondness for her people, by whom she was universally beloved, with a warmth of affection which even party-prejudice could not abate. In fine, if she was not the greatest, she was certainly one of the best and most unblemished Sovereigns that ever sat on the throne of England; and well deserved that expressive, though simple epithet, "The good Queen Anne."

A. D. 1714.] King George I. ascended the throne of Great Britain in the fifty-fifth year of his age, with­out the least opposition, tumult, or sign of popular discontent; and many were now convinced that no design had ever been concerted by Queen Anne and her ministry in favour of the Chevalier de St. George. On September 17, his Majesty arrived in the river, and, landing at Greenwich, was received by George Fitz-Roy Duke of Northumberland, Captain of the life-guards soon removed and the Lords of the council. It was the misfortune of this Prince, as well as a very great prejudice to the nation, that he had imbibed a strong prepossession against the Tories, who constituted such a considerable part of his subjects. They were now excluded from all share of the royal favour, which was wholly engrossed by their enemies; and these early marks of aversion, which he was at no [Page 22]pains to conceal, alienated the minds of many from his person and government who would otherwise have served him with fidelity and affection. The number of malecontents considerably increased by the King's attachment to the Whig faction. The clamour of the church's being in danger was revived; jealou­sies were excited, seditious libels dispersed, and dan­gerous tumults raised in different parts of the country. Birmingham, Bristol, Chippenham, Norwich, Reading, &c. were filled with licentious riot. The party-cry was, "Down with the Whigs; Sacheverel for ever!" Many gentlemen of the Whig party were abused; magistrates in towns, and justices in the country, were reviled and insulted by the populace in the execution of their office. Religion was still mingled in all po­litical disputes. The high churchmen complained, that impiety and heresy daily gained ground, from the connivance, or at least the supine negligence, of the Whig prelates.

The lower house of convocation had, before the Queen's death, declared that a book published by Dr. Samuel Clarke, under the title of "The scripture-doctrine of the Trinity," contained assertions contrary to the Catholic faith. They sent up extracts from this performance to the Bishops; and the Doctor wrote an answer to their objections. He was prevailed upon to write an apology, which he presented to the upper house; but, apprehending it might be published se­parately and misunderstood, he afterwards delivered an explanation to the Bishop of London. This was satisfactory to the Bishops; but the lower house re­solved, that it was no recantation of his heretical assertions. The disputes about the Trinity increasing, the Archbishops and Bishops received directions, which were published, for preserving unity in the church, the purity of the Christian faith concerning the Holy Trinity, and for maintaining the peace and quiet of the state. By these, every preacher was restricted from [Page 23]delivering any other doctrine, than what is contained in the holy scriptures, with respect to the Trinity; and from intermeddling in any affairs of state or go­vernment. The like prohibition was extended to those who should write, harangue, or dispute, on the same subjects.

A. D. 1715] The proceedings against the late Queen's minister, and partiality to the Whigs, increa­sed the spirit of discontent, which was so much fo­mented by the friends of hereditary right, both in England and Scotland, that it broke out into open re­bellion, the suppression of which proved fatal to some of the first families in both kingdoms.

A. D. 1717.] The deliberations of the convocation turned chiefly upon two performances of Dr. Benja­min Hoadly Bishop of Bangor. One was intitled, A preservative against the principles and practices of the Nonjurors. The other was a sermon preached before the King, at the chapel royal at St. James's, on March 31, under the title Of the nature of the king­dom or church of Christ. An answer to this discourse was published by Dr. Snape, Master of Eaton college: and the lower house of convocation took so great of­fence, and were so highly scandalized at some of the doctrines advanced by that prelate, in those two pieces, that they unanimously appointed a committee of six of their members (Dr. Moss, Dr. Sherlock, Dr. Friend, Dr. Sprat, Dr. Cannon, and Dr. Biss) to examine the Bishop's two performances. They drew up a repre­sentation, in which the preservative and the sermon were censured, as "tending to subvert all government and discipline in the church of Christ; to reduce his king­dom to a state of anarchy and confusion; to impugn, and impeach, the royal supremacy in causes ecclesiasti­cal, and the authority of the legislature, to inforce obedience in matters of religion by civil sanctions." This representation was not carried to the upper house; for the King or his ministry, being informed of the [Page 24]matter, took care to prevent the heats and animosities which this dispute, if not timely checked, might have occasioned: and therefore his Majesty sent a writ to the Archbishop of Canterbury to prorogue the con­vocation. As for the consequences it produced after­wards, among the contending parties, who, upon a trivial incident, in which their own reputations indeed were concerned, but the merits of the cause not in the least affected, grew so outrageous, as, by advertisement in the public news-papers, signed by their own hands, to give one another the lye, and thereby not only ex­pose themselves to the derision of the sober part of man­kind, but even the church of England to the attacks and insults of her enemies; I have neither room nor inclination to insert them. The Bishop's chief antago­nists were Dr. Snape and Dr Sherlock, whom his Majesty removed from the office of his chaplains. The convocation has not been permitted to sit and do business ever since that period, unless it be to make complimentary addresses to the throne *.

On December 13, Earl Stan­hope declared in the house of Lords, Note: The acts to prevent occasional conformity, and the growth of schism, repealed. that, in order to unite the hearts of the well-affected to the present esta­blishment, he had a bill to offer under the title of "An act for strengthening the Pro­testant interest in these kingdoms." It was accord­ingly read, and appeared to be a bill repealing the acts against occasional conformity, the growth of schism, [Page 25]and some clauses in the corporation and test acts. This had been concerted by the ministry, in private meetings with the most eminent Dissenters. The Tory Lords were astonished at this motion, for which they were altogether unprepared: nevertheless they stre­nuously opposed it. They alledged that the bill, instead of strengthening the church of England, would certainly weaken her, by plucking off her best feathers, investing her enemies with power, and sharing with churchmen the civil and military em­ployments, of which they were then wholly possessed. Earl Cowper declared himself against that part of the bill, by which some clauses of the test acts were repealed; because he looked upon those acts as the main bulwark of our excellent constitution in church and state, which ought to be inviolably pre­served. Archibald Earl of Ilay (late Duke of Argyle) opposed the bill, because, in his opinion, it infringed the pacta conventa of the treaty of union, by which the bounds, both of the church of England and that of Scotland, were fixed and settled; and he was ap­prehensive, if the articles of the union were broke with respect to one church, it might afterwards be a precedent to break them with respect to the other. William Wake Archbishop of Canterbury said, the acts, which were by this bill to be repealed, were the main bulwark and supporters of the English church. He expressed all imaginable tenderness for well-mean­ing conscientious Dissenters; but he could not forbear observing, that some among that sect made a wrong use of the favour and indulgence shewn to them at the revolution, though they had the least share in that happy event: it was therefore thought necessary for the legislature to interpose, and put a stop to the scanda­lous practice of occasional conformity. He added, that it would be needless to repeal the act against schism, since no advantage had been taken of it to the prejudice of Dissenters. Dr. Hoadly Bishop of Bangor [Page 26]endeavoured to prove, that the occasional and schism acts were in effect persecuting laws; and that, by ad­mitting the principle of self defence and self-preserva­tion in matters of religion, all the persecutions main­tained by the heathens against the professors of Christi­anity, and even the Popish inquisition, might be justi­fied. With respect to the powers, of which many clergymen appeared to be so fond and zealous, he owned the desire of power and riches was natural to all men; but that he had learned, both from reason and from the gospel, that this must be kept within due bounds, and not intrench upon the rights and liberties of their fellow creatures and countrymen. After a long debate, the house agreed to leave out some clauses, concerning the test and corporation acts: then the bill was committed, and afterwards passed. It met with great opposition in the lower house, but was carried by the majority.

While the bill was depending, a clause was proposed, whereby all persons, who came to qualify themselves for offices, were obliged to acknowledge the holy scriptures to be a divine inspiration, and their faith in the holy Trinity; but was rejected as too great a re­straint.

On November 27, the Rev. Mr. Edward Bysse, Rector of Portbury, and of St. George, in Somerset­shire, was brought to the court of King's-Bench, West­minster, to receive the judgment of that court for the several facts of which he had been convicted; viz. at the assizes at Salisbury, in Wiltshire, July 25, for speak­ing at Abury, in that county, the following words: "George has no business here: we have had no laws these thirty years, never since the time of King James II. nor shall until King James comes; he is my master, and my rightful King." At the assizes at Aylesbury, in the county of Buckingham, July 28, he was convicted for speaking the same words at Slough [Page 27]in that county. At the assizes at Wells, in the county of Somerset, August 29, he was convicted for speak­ing the same words in the said city of Wells. At the same assizes he was convicted for uttering at St. George's in the said county, these words: "King George is an usurper; King James is my lawful King." He was also convicted at the same assizes, at Wells, for preach­ing, in the parish-church at Portbury, in these words: "However God may in judgment allow usurpation, yet God will never prosper or bless the same: I need not go to foreign countries for proof of this, but con­fine ourselves to our own island, where we have groan­ed under that plague these thirty years. We have had neither King, parliament, nor laws, these thirty years. Things have never been right these thirty years; that is, since the misfortune of the father; and things will never be right till the restoration of his son, my master." He was, moreover, convicted at the same assizes, at Wells, for preaching, in the parish-church of St. George, in these words: "King George is an usurper." For the above-mentioned preaching, at Portbury church, he was sentenced to stand in the pillory for an hour at Charing-cross, on the first of December, with this in­scription over his head, "For seditious and treasonable preaching;" to be imprisoned four years, and to find sureties for his good behaviour during life; himself in 200 l. penalty, and two sureties in 100 l. each. For his before-mentioned preaching in St. George's church, he was adjudged to stand in the pillory at the Royal Exchange, on the second of December, for an hour, with the same inscription over his head, and to pay a fine of 200 l. For his four other offences, above-men­tioned, he was fined 100 l. each.

A. D. 1721.] Joseph Hall, Esq having wrote a blasphemous pamphlet, intitled, A sober reply to Mr. Higg's merry argument, or the Tritheistical doctrine of the Trinity, was tried for the same on March 6, and being [Page 28]found guilty, was, on June 15, sentenced to stand on the pillory at Charing-cross; to pay a fine of 200 l. to be imprisoned for three months, and to find security for his good behaviour for seven years. Mr. Hall had 150 l. of his fine remitted, and his standing in the pil­lory dispensed with: but Mr William Wilkins, who only printed off the said pamphlet, was adjudged to pay a fine of 100 l. to be imprisoned for three months, and to find security for his good behaviour for seven years, and had no mitigation of his sentence.

A. D. 1722.] The Quakers presented a petition to the house of Commons, Note: Act in fa­vour of the Quakers. praying that a bill may be brought in for omitting in their so­lemn affirmation the words, "In the pre­sence of Almighty God," as enjoined in an act passed in the reign of King William, for making their solemn affirmation to be equivalent to an oath, and made perpetual by a statute in 1715. The house complied with their request; but the bill gave rise to a warm debate among the Peers. Dr. Francis Atter­bury Bishop of Rochester said, he did not know why such a distinguishing mark of indulgence should be al­lowed to a set of people who were hardly Christians. His Lordship was seconded by the Earl of Strafford, Lord North and Grey, and the Archbishop of York: but they were opposed by the Earl of Sunderland, the Duke of Argyle, White Kennet Bishop of Peterbo­rough, the Earl of Ilay, and the Earl of Macclesfield: and the question being put for committing the bill, it was carried in the affirmative by sixty-four voices against fourteen. On January 17, their Lordships were to go into a grand committee upon the said bill, but were prevented by an unexpected petition from some of the London clergy, which was presented by Sir William Dawes Archbishop of York, and was as follows:

[Page 29]

To the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in parliament assembled,

The humble petition of the clergy in and about London, with all submission, sheweth,

That there is a bill now depending in your Lord­ships house, intitled, An act for granting the people call­ed Quakers, such a form of affirmation or declaration, as may remove the difficulties which many of them lie under. Which bill, should it pass into a law, as it may in its consequences nearly affect the property of the sub­ject in general, so it will, in a more especial manner, endanger the legal maintenance of the clergy by tithes; inasmuch as the people called Quakers pretend to deny the payment of tithes upon a principle of conscience; and therefore, as your petitioners apprehend, may be under strong inducements to ease their consciences in that respect, by violating them in another, when their simple affirmation in behalf of friends of the same per­suasion shall pass in all courts of judicature for legal evidence.

However, the injuries that your petitioners in their private affairs may possibly suffer, are, as they ought to be, of small account with them, in compari­son of the mischiefs which may redound to the society from the indulgence intended, as it seems to imply, that justice may be duly administered, and government supported, without the intervention of any solemn ap­peal to God, as a witness of the truth of what is said, by all persons, in all cases, of great importance to the common welfare; whereas your petitioners are firmly persuaded, that an oath was instituted by God him­self, as the surest bond of fidelity among men, and hath been esteemed, and found to be so, by the wis­dom and experience of all ages and all nations.

But that which chiefly moves your petitioners to apply to your Lordships, is their serious concern, lest the minds of good men should be grieved and wound­ed, [Page 30]and the enemies of Christianity triumph, when they shall see such condescensions made, by a Christian legislature, to a set of men who renounce the divine institutions of Christ, particularly that by which the faithful are initiated into his religion, and denominated Christians; and who cannot, on this account, accord­ing to the uniform judgment, and practice of the Ca­tholic church, be deemed worthy of that sacred name.

Your petitioners moreover crave leave to repre­sent to your Lordships, that, upon the best informa­tion they can get, the instances wherein any Quaker hath refused the solemn affirmation, prescribed by an act in the seventh and eighth year of William III. have, from the passing that act to this day, been exceeding rare; so that there might be ground to hope, that the continued use of the said solemn affirmation would, by degrees, have entirely cured that people of all those unreasonable prejudices against an oath, which the favour designed them by this bill may tend to strengthen and confirm.

And your petitioners humbly leave it to your Lordships wise deliberations, whether such an extra­ordinary indulgence granted to a people already, as is conceived, too numerous, may not contribute to mul­tiply their sect, and tempt persons to profess themselves Quakers, in order to be exempted from the obligation of oaths, and to stand upon a foot of privilege, not allowed to the best Christians in the kingdom. Your petitioners therefore humbly hope, that these and other considerations, which may offer themselves to your Lordships great wisdom, may induce your Lordships not to give your consent to the passing of this bill into a law *.

And your petitioners shall ever pray, &c.

[Page 31]The Archbishop of York spoke in behalf of this petition, and moved that it might be read; and he was seconded by several Bishops and Noblemen. How­ever the petition was branded by the ministry as a se­ditious libel, and rejected by the majority. On Janu­ary 18, the Lords went into a committee on the Quakers bill, and after reading the first clause, the Archbishop of Canterbury moved, that the Quakers affirmation might not be allowed in courts of judica­ture, but among themselves; and the Archbishop of York moved for a clause, that the Quakers affirma­tion should not go in any suit at law for tithes: but af­ter some debate the question being put thereupon, was carried in the negative by fifty two voices against twenty-one: and the question being put in the house, whether the bill should pass? it was resolved in the affirmative.

The next affair that engaged the attention of the public, Note: Proceedings against Dr. Atterbury, Bi­shop of Rochester. with regard to the establish­ed church, was the prosecution of Dr. Francis Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester. This Prelate had emi­nently [Page 32]distinguished himself as an high-churchman, and was promoted to his see by Queen Anne in 1713. After the accession of George I. he appeared generally among the protesters against the measures of the ad­ministration, and drew up the reasons of the protests with his own hand. This exposed him to the resent­ment of the ministers, and on August 24, 1722, he was committed to the Tower on an accusation of high-treason; several noblemen and gentlemen, being also taken into custody, on the same pretence, about that time or before the end of the year *. The con­finement of the Bishop was considered, by the ecclesi­astics throughout the whole kingdom, as an outrage upon the church of England and the episcopal order; and most of the clergy, in and about London and Westminster, offered up public prayers, in their seve­ral churches and chapels, for his health. About the end of March, this year, a bill for inflicting pains and penalties on his Lordship was brought into the house of Commons, when Sir William Wyndham affirmed, that there was no evidence against him, but conjectures and hearsays. The Bishop, as a member of the upper house, made no defence before the Commons: but when the bill was carried up to the Peers, his Lordship and counsel were heard, and supported by many of the ablest speakers and lawyers in that assembly, who pointed out the insufficiency of the evidence. How­ever, his antagonists not being so solicitous about an­swering reasons, as eager to put the question, the bill was carried by a majority of eighty-three against forty-three, [Page 33]but not without protests, and on May 27 re­ceived the royal assent. By this act his Lordship was deprived of all offices, benefices, and dignities, and rendered incapable of enjoying any for the future: he was banished the realm, and subjected to the pains of death, in case he should return, as were all persons who should correspond with him during his exile, un­less authorised under the privy-seal; and the royal prerogative so far retrenched, that the King could not pardon him without an act of parliament. His Lord­ship being put on board the Aldborough man of war on June 19, landed on the 21st at Calais, and died on February 13, 1732, in the 70th year of his age, at Paris, whence his corpse was brought to England, and interred in Westminster abbey .

This was the last material transaction, relating to the church, in the reign of King George I. who being suddenly seized with a paralytic disorder on the road to Hanover, lost the faculty of speech, became lethargic, and on June 11, 1724, expired at Osnaburgh, in the 68th year of his age, and 13th of his reign. George I. was plain and simple in his person and address, grave and composed in his deportment; though easy, fami­liar, and facetious in his hours of relaxation. Before he ascended the throne of Great Britain, he had the character of a circumspect General, a just and merci­ful Prince, and a wise politician. If afterwards he seemed to deviate from these principles, we may take it for granted, that he was misled by the venal sug­gestions of a ministry, who had engrossed all his fa­vour, and whose power and influence were supported by corruption.

An attempt of the Quakers to get themselves re­lieved from the payment of tithes, church-rates, and [Page 34]other ecclesiastical dues; an intended general natura­lization of foreign Protestants; a proposed review and alteration of the liturgy; adapting the calendar in the book of Common Prayer to th [...] Gregorian or new stile; the marriage-act; and the act for naturalizing the Jews, which however was but of short duration, being repealed the next session after it passed, were (unless the gin-act, &c. be included, as affecting the morals of the people) the most important transactions relating to the interests and constitution of the church of England during the reign of King George II. who departed this life at St. James's palace on October 25, 1760, in the 34th year of his reign, and the 77th of his age.

The History of the CHURCH of SCOTLAND.

THE church-government in Scotland was epis­copal, from the time of their conversion to the Christian religion, which was begun by Palladius a­bout the year 430 * after the birth of our Saviour; or rather, from the first establishment of Christian churches in that kingdom, in the fifth and sixth centuries, and so continued till the reformation took place, in the reigns of Mary, mother of James I. and of Mary I. of Eng­land; but the Presbyterian discipline was not finally established therein until the reign of King William and Mary, A. D. 1689, when episcopacy was totally abolished.

[Page 35]Mr. John Knox, a native of Scotland, and a bold and courageous divine, was the instrument, in the hands of Providence, to bring about the work of re­formation in that kingdom, for which he was well qualified by his undaunted spirit, his learning, and his eloquence, which were extraordinary for those times. He had been a public preacher, in King Edward VI.'s reign, in England; was, in the next, an exile at Franckfort, and afterwards one of the Pastors of the English congregation at Geneva: from thence he came to Edinburgh, May 2, 1559, being then 54 years of age. He settled at Perth; but was unwearied in his travels and labours over the whole kingdom . He had the boldness to maintain this position, "That if Kings and Princes refused to reform religion, inferior magistrates and the people, being directed and instruct­ed in the truth by their preachers, may lawfully reform within their own bounds themselves; and if all, or the far greater part, be enlightened by the truth, they may make a public reformation."

Upon this principle Knox and his brethren petition­ed the Queen-mother, who was Regent for her daugh­ter Queen Mary, then in France, for liberty to assem­ble publickly or privately, for the performance of re­ligious duties and offices in the vulgar tongue, and for administring the sacrament of the Lord's supper in both kinds, according to the institution of Jesus Christ. Their petition, tho' so reasonable, not being admitted, an association was formed by a considerable number of the nobility, who resolved to risk their lives and for­tunes in behalf of the indulgence they had requested. They encouraged the curates of the parishes within their respective districts to read the prayers and lessons in English; but not to expound the scriptures till li­berty was obtained from the Queen. This being practised, with success, at Perth and some neighbour­ing [Page 36]places, and no disturbance ensuing, the association was entered into by greater numbers, and even at Edinburgh, the capital, many signed it

Having made such a multitude of proselytes, they again petitioned the Queen-Regent, and represented to her the unreasonableness of the r [...]gour she exercised a­gainst the Protestants, considering their numbers: but the Regent continued deaf to their remonstrances, and rejected every moderate measure to which she was ad­vised.

When the parliament met, the congregation, or chiefs of the association, presented a set of articles to the Regent, relative to liberty of conscience, to be laid before the house; but she would not admit them to be debated; whereupon they drew up the following pro­testation, and desired it might be recorded: "That since they could not procure a reformation, agreeable to the word of God, from the government, that it might be lawful for them to follow the dictates of their own consciences: that none that joined them in the profession of the true faith should be liable to any civil penalties, or incur any damages for so doing. If any tumults arise on the score of religion, they protest the imputation ought not to lie upon them, who now humbly entreat for a regular remedy; and that in all other things they will be most loyal subjects."

The Regent having acquainted the court of France with the situation of affairs, received orders to suffer no other religion but the Roman Catholic. and a pro­mise to supply her with forces to back her proceedings. Hereupon she summoned the inhabitants of Perth, and the reformed ministers, to appear before her at Stir­ling; and they accordingly attended, followed by multitudes of people, well armed, and determined to defend them, if any violence were offered to their per­sons. This sight filled the Regent with apprehensions for her safety, and she prayed the multitude might re­tire, giving her word that nothing should be decreed [Page 37]against the ministers. However, as soon as they had yielded to her persuasions, and were retired quietly home, she condemned them for non-appearance.

The falsification of her promise no [...]ooner reached Perth, than the burghers, encouraged by the neigh­bouring nobility and gentry, formed an army of 7000 men, which was put under the command of the Earl of Glencairn, for the defence of their ministers against the Regent, who marched against them with an army composed of French and Scotch, in order to drive them out of their country. Seeing the burghers had made preparations to give her a warm reception, she was willing to consent to a treaty, by which it was agreed she should be received into the city with all due honour, and suffered to reside there some days, provided she promised to make no alteration in religion, but refer­red what related thereto to the parliament, and the Scotch forces, on both sides, to be dismissed. But the wily Regent had no sooner entered the city, and the reformed had dismissed their troops, than she broke the articles, set up the mass, and left a French garri­son in the town, with a resolution to make it a place of arms. She also declared that "promises were not to be kept with hereticks;" whereupon the congrega­tions of Fife, Perth, Dundee, Angus, Merns, and Montrose, raised a body of men, and engaged to stand by one another, in maintenance of the reformation, with their lives and fortunes. Mr. Knox inspirited them by his prea [...]hing, and the common people, warm with resentment, pulled down altars and images, de­stroyed the Popish ornaments in churches, and plun­dered many monasteries. The Regent marched against them at the head of 2000 French, and 2000 Scotch, in French pay; but not being inclined to hazard a bat­tle, she retired to Dunbar, and the reformers made themselves masters of Perth, Scoon, Stirling, and Linlithgow, which soon produced a truce, and the re­formed ministers had liberty to preach in the pulpits [Page 38]at Edinburgh, for the present. But the scene was soon changed, and upon receiving the recruits and money from France, the Regent took possession of Leith, fortified it, and stored it with every thing ne­cessary for its defence. The confederates complained of this breach of the truce, and besought her to de­molish the works; but she commanded them not to violate their allegiance, and to lay down their arms. To inforce her commands, she marched suddenly to Edinburgh, and obliged them to desert that capital and retire to Stirling; but the French troops following them close at the heels, they were dispersed into the mountains. The spirit which actuated them was far from being abated in this distress, and they even pub­lished a proclamation, wherein they deprived the Re­gent of her authority, and threatened to treat all those as enemies who obeyed her orders. These sort of acts, tho' they were tokens of their fortitude, yet could not enable them to face the Regent's forces, whereupon they resolved to put themselves under the protection of Queen Elizabeth. That wise Princess weighing the nature of the case, and perceiving the danger that would arise to her own crown, as well as the Protestant religion, if Scotland became entirely attached to Popery, under the government of a Popish Queen, who was also Queen of France, and claimed the crown of Eng­land, entered into an alliance with the confederate re­formers, to support them in their religious and civil liberties; and the treaty was signed at Berwick, Fe­bruary 27, 1560. By this treaty the Queen engaged to send forces into Scotland, to continue there till Scotland was restored to its liberties and privileges, and the French driven out of the kingdom. Eliza­beth pursuant thereto sent a body of forces, consisting of 7000 foot and 1200 horse, which joined an army of the same force, raised by the confederates. This combined army was, sometime afterwards, reinforced from the northern marches, by a large detachment, [Page 39]commanded by the Duke of Norfolk; and upon this junction they reduced Leith, and obliged the Regent to shut herself up in the castle of Edinburgh, where she deceased June 10, 1560.

The French alarmed at this progress would have restored Calais, provided Elizabeth would recall her forces from Scotland; but this she absolutely refused. But the troubles in France laid the French, soon after, under a necessity of sending for their troops home, for which purpose they dispatched plenipotentiaries into Scotland to treat with those of Elizabeth about the method of withdrawing them, and the restoration of the Scotch to their parliamentary government.

At the beginning of the month of August * a treaty was concluded, by which a general amnesty was granted; the English and French troops were to with­draw in two months; and a parliament was to be as­sembled with all convenient speed to settle the affairs of religion and the kingdom. Though Francis and Mary refused to ratify this treaty, the parliament as­sembled in August 1560, by virtue thereof, without any direct authority from the crown for that purpose. Francis indeed died before they met, and left his wife, Queen Mary, a young, and not very prudent widow, being entirely and zealously attached to Po­pery, and under the management of her French re­lations.

The barons and gentlemen petitioned the parliament to suppress the doctrines of the church of Rome, in certain exceptionable points; to revive the ancient church-discipline, and to abolish the Pope's usurped authority.

All this received their approbation, and the ministers were desired to draw up a confession of faith: this they performed, in twenty-six articles, following there­in the sentiments of Calvin and the foreign reformers. [Page 40]This confession being read, was carried in the parlia­ment, only three voices dissenting therefrom, and the Popish prelates offering no arguments in defence of the old religion

By another act they abolished the authority of the Pope, and reading mass was to be punished; for the first offence with loss of goods; for the second, with banishment; and for the third, with death. This last punishment was certainly not to be defended in these reformers: difference of sentiment may arise from want of understanding, or from the prejudices of education; and no man, as a good writer has ob­served, should be destroyed for his sincerity, unless his opinions tend to mutiny and treason, and sap the foun­dations of civil society.

When the parliament broke up, a commission di­rected to Mr. Knox, Mr. Willock, Mr. Spotswood, and some other divines, to draw up a scheme of dis­cipline for the church, was executed by them nearly upon the plan of the church at Geneva; save that they admitted superintendants in the name of Bishops, and, in the ordination of ministers, rejected the impo­sition of hands; their reason for the latter omission was, that they apprehended miracles formerly accom­panied that ceremony, which they now imagined had ceased. They appointed superintendants, to the num­ber of ten or twelve, to plant and erect kirks, and to appoint ministers where there were none already. "But," say they, "these men must not live like idle Bishops, but must preach themselves twice or thrice a week, and visit their districts every three or four months, to inspect the lives and behaviour of the parochial ministers, to redress grievances, or bring them before an assembly of the kirk." These super­intendants were to be elected by the ministers and elders of the several provinces, and to be deprived by them for misbehaviour. The assemblies of the kirk [Page 41]were to be classical, provincial and national, in which last the supreme kirk jurisdiction was reposed.

The reformers warmly expected that when this plan of discipline was laid before the estates, it would meet with a parliamentary sanction; but instead there­of it was referred to future consideration. Upon which, after the recess of parliament, many of the nobles, barons and chief men of the nation, met to­gether, at the instance of Mr. Knox, and signed the plan, resolving to abide by the new discipline, till it should be confirmed or altered by parliament: thus, in effect, without the authority of an act of parlia­ment, the hierarchical government was laid aside, and the kirk of Scotland established, though, as will be seen, it had the sanction of no law, till some years after.

It may not be improper, before we proceed, to ex­plain the motives of the first reformers for making so great a difference in the new model of church-government, from that which had been so long esta­blished, and to reflect a little upon the proceedings already related.

* As the vices of the clergy had at first excited the indignation of mankind, and roused that spirit of enquiry which proved so fatal to the whole Popish system: as this disgust at the vices of ecclesiastics was soon tranferred to their persons, and shifting from them, by no violent transition, settled at last on the offices they enjoyed; the effects of the reformation would naturally have extended not only to the doc­trine, but to the government of the Popish church, and the same spirit which abolished the former would have overturned the latter. But in Germany, Eng­land, and the Northern kingdoms, its operations were checked by the power and policy of their Princes, and the ancient episcopal jurisdiction, under a few limita­tions, [Page 42]was still continued in those churches. The epis­copal hierarchy appears to be more conformable to the practice of the church, since Christianity be­came the established religion of the Roman empire. The ecclesiastical government was, at that time, plainly copied from the civil; the first not only borrowed its form, but derived its authority from the latter, and the dioceses and jurisdiction of Patriarchs, Archbishops and Bishops, corresponded with the division and con­stitution of the empire. In Switzerland and the Low Countries, the nature of the government allowing full scope to the genius of the reformation, all pre-emi­nence of order in the church was destroyed, and an equality established more suitable to the spirit of re­publican policy. The situation of the primitive church suggested the idea, and furnished the model of the latter system, which has since been called Presbyterian. The first Christians, oppressed by continual persecu­tions, and obliged to hold their religious assemblies by stealth and in corners, were contented with a form of government extremely simple. The influence of re­ligion concurred with the sense of danger, in extin­guishing among them the spirit of ambition, and in preserving a parity of rank, the effects of their suffer­ings, and the cause of many of their virtues — Calvin *, whose decisions were received among the Protestants of that age, with incredible submission, was the patron and restorer of this scheme of eccle­siastical policy. The church of Geneva, formed under his eye, and by his direction, was esteemed the most perfect model of this government, and Knox, who during his residence in that city had studied and ad­mired it, warmly recommended it to the imitation of his countrymen.

Among the Scotch nobles some hated the persons, others coveted the wealth of the dignified clergy, [Page 43]and, by abolishing that order of men, the former in­dulged their resentment, and the latter hoped to gra­tify their avarice. The people, inflamed with the most violent aversion to Popery, and approving every scheme that departed farthest from the practice of the Romish church, were delighted with a system so admirably suited to their predominant passion; while the friends of civil liberty beheld, with pleasure, the Protestant clergy putting down-with their own hands, that fabric of ecclesiastical power, which their predecessors had reared with so much art and industry, and flattered themselves, that, by lending their aid to strip church­men of their dignity and wealth, they might entirely deliver the nation from their exorbitant and oppressive jurisdiction. The new mode of government easily made its way among men thus prepared by their various interests and passions for its reception.

But, on the first introduction of his system, Knox did not deem it expedient to depart altogether from the ancient form *; instead of Bishops, he proposed to establish ten or twelve superintendants in different parts of the kingdom: these, as the name implies, were impowered to inspect the life and doctrine of the other clergy, as before observed; they presided in the inferior judicatories of the church, and performed several other parts of the episcopal functions: their jurisdic­tions however extended to sacred things only, they claimed no feat in parliament, and pretended no rights to the dignity or revenues of the former Bishops.

The number of inferior clergy, to whom the care of parochial duty could be committed, was still extremely small. They had embraced the principles of the re­formation at different times, and from various mo­tives: during the public commotions, they were scat­tered, merely by chance, over the different provinces of the kingdom, and in a few places only were formed [Page 44]into regular classes or societies. The first general as­sembly of the church which was held, December 20, 1560, bears all the marks of an infant, unformed church or society; the members were but few in num­ber, and of no considerable rank; no uniform or con­sistent rule seems to have been observed in electing them. From a great part of the kingdom no represen­tatives appeared; in the name of some counties only one person was present, while other single towns de­puted several. A convention so feeble and irregular could possess no great authority; and, conscious of their weakness the members put an end to their de­bates, without venturing upon any decision of much importance *.

Knox, as already observed, with the assistance of his brethren, in order to give greater strength and con­sistency to the Presbyterian plan, composed the first book of discipline, which contains the model or plat­form of the intended policy. They presented it to a convention of the estates in 1561; and whatever re­gulations were proposed with regard to ecclesiastic dis­cipline and jurisdiction, would have easily obtained the sanction of that assembly; but a design to recover the patrimony of the church, which was therein insinuated, met with a very different reception .

In vain did the clergy display the advantages which would accrue to the public by a proper application of ecclesiastical revenues; in vain did they propose, by an impartial distribution of this fund, to promote true religion, to encourage learning, and to support the poor; in vain did they even intermingle threat­nings of the divine displeasure, against the unjust de­tainers of what was appropriated to a sacred use. The nobles treated this as a project altogether visio­nary, and, so far attached to their intended reforma­tion, they would admit of no pleas to retard it.

[Page 45]But to return to the thread of our history: Mary, Queen of Scots, returned to Scotland in August 1561, and might have had a safe-conduct through England, if she had consented to ratify the treaty of Aug 1560; but rather than comply, she chose to r [...]n all risks, and, to her great mortification, found her people in general, with very few exceptions, converted to Protestantism. She herself was, by the assembly in 1565, confined to have mass only in her private chapel, and unaccom­panied with that pomp and ostentation which perhaps alone rendered it the favourite service of the votaries of the church of Rome. The Queen, bred up in a reverence for that church, would certainly have me­rited a gentler treatment than she received; but the reformed did not, in her case, consider the prejudices of education: the general assembly petitioned her to ratify the acts of parliament for abolishing the mass, and for obliging all her subjects to frequent the re­formed worship. She replied, that she saw no impiety in the mass, and was determined not to quit the reli­gion in which she was bred, being satisfied it was founded in the word of God, and that her change would also be prejudicial to her temporal interest. Without any stretch of Christian charity, these were certainly her sentiments; and the return of the gene­ral assembly was very coarse, and very little to the purpose, viz. "That Turcism stood upon as good ground as Popery." What followed, in their replica­tion, was more worthy of the venerable assembly, when they required her, "in the name of the eternal God, to inform herself better, by frequenting sermons, and conferring with learned men." However, the Queen was not to be moved, and continued, with a blind zeal, to persist in the errors she had embraced.

In 1567, the Pope's authority in matters ecclesi­astical was again abolished in the parliament and as­sembly at Edinburgh; and the act of 1560, for re­nouncing the jurisdiction of the court of Rome, was [Page 46]confirmed, and all acts passed in former reigns, for the support of Popish idolatry, were annulled; the new confession of faith was ratified, and the Protestant ministers, and those of their communion, declared to be the true and only church within the realm. The examination and admission of ministers was declared to be only in the power and disposition of the church, with a saving clause for lay patrons. By another act, the future Kings, at their coronation, were to take an oath to maintain the reformed religion, as then pro­fessed; and by a third act, none but those who pro­fessed the reformed religion, as then established, were to be capable of being judges or proctors, or of prac­tising in any of the courts of justice, excepting the right of offices hereditary, or for life.

The general assembly declared their approbation of the discipline of the reformed churches of Geneva and Switzerland, and of a parity among ministers, in op­position to the superior claim of Bishops. However, as these acts of assembly were not confirmed by parlia­ment, episcopal government could not be said to be legally abolished, though it was tacitly suspended till the King came of age, and all church-affairs managed by presbyteries and general assemblies. But the gene­ral assembly asserted their power of the keys at this pe­riod, by deposing the Bishop of Orkney, for marrying the Queen to the Earl of Bothwell, and by making the Countess of Argyle do penance for assisting at the marriage.

Ecclesiastical affairs, after this, lay dormant for a considerable time, while the civil government under­went many extraordinary revolutions; though the church was under many uneasy apprehensions from the consequences that might result from them, in regard to the peace and happiness of the ecclesiastical body. Two things chiefly ingrossed the attention of the cler­gy. The one was, the forming a system of discipline or ecclesiastical polity, which, with much difficulty, [Page 47]was in some measure effected; the other was, the abo­lition of the episcopal order. This was in the year 1581. And in the year 1582. another general assem­bly of the presbytery met at Glasgow, wherein, with much warmth, the dignities, honours, emolum [...]nts, and the very function of Bishops, were attacked. The nobles viewed their power with jealousy; the common people considered their lives as profane, and wished their downfal with equal ardour; and at length an act was passed, declaring the office of Bishop, as it was then exercised within the realm, to have neither foundation nor warrant in the word of God; and re­quired, under pain of excommunication, all who now possessed that office, instantly to resign it, and to ab­stain from preaching or administering the sacrament, till they should receive permission from the assembly. Some of the proceedings of the assembly were laid be­fore the court, and the decree which followed there­upon; but the court did not acquiesce therein: and very warm representations ensued, both from the Epis­copalian and Presbyterian parties *.

However, an attention to civil affairs prevented any thing considerable to be done; insomuch that many of the nobles, and many others of the people, who pro­fessed to be actuated by a religious zeal, and provoked by the injuries offered to the church, determined to protect the Protestant religion by force of arms: they therefore conjured the King not to disappoint their hopes and wishes, nor to refuse the suffering church that aid which she so much needed: but so little suc­cess attended their measures, that the King called a convention of estates on June 5, 1597, who humbled the power of the church, and abridged the privileges of the city of Edinburgh. The city was declared to have forfeited its privileges as a corporation; the ca­pital of the kingdom was deprived of magistrates, at [Page 48]least not allowed to elect their own magistrates, nor their own ministers; many new burdens were imposed on them, and a great sum of money was exacted by way of peace-offering.

King James having thus far succeeded in his mea­sures, he was now very assiduous in forming and exe­cuting other schemes to complete his design: and in order, if possible, to gain the clergy, whom he had in vain attempted to subdue, popular agents were set to work all over the kingdom; promises, flattery, and threats were employed; the usurpations of the bre­thren, near the capital, were aggravated; the jealousy of their power, which was growing in the distant pro­vinces, was augmented, and two different general as­sembles were held, in both which, notwithstanding the zeal and boldness wherewith a few leading clergymen defended the privileges of the church, a majority de­clared in favour of those measures which were agree­able to the King. Many practices, which had con­tinued since the reformation, were condemned; many points of discipline, which had hitherto been reckoned sacred and uncontroverted, were given up: the licence with which ministers discoursed of political things was restrained, the freedom with which they inveighed against particular persons censured, the convoking a general assembly without the King's permission pro­hibited, and the right of nominating ministers in the principal towns vested in the crown. Thus, the clergy themselves surrendered privileges which it would have been dangerous to invade by force, and subjected themselves and successors to an intolerable yoke, which lessened the popular topic of the encroachments of the King, and turned the general out-cry of the people on the corruptions of their own order *.

[Page 49]The King however found it no easy matter to carry his point, though he was so intent upon new-mo­delling the church as to neglect other objects of go­vernment. Towards the end of the year 1598, a parliament was held in order to confer certain privi­leges and honours upon the Bishops; and an act was passed, by which those ministers on whom the King should confer the vacant bishoprics, should be intitled to vote in parliament; and that the clergy might con­ceive no jealousy of any encroachments on their privi­leges, it was remitted to the general assembly to de­termine what spiritual jurisdiction or authority in the government of the church, these persons should pos­sess: but though the clergy perceived it would be an accession of honour to be admitted into the supreme council of the nation, their abhorrence of episcopacy was extreme; and to this they sacrificed every conside­ration of interest or ambition. All the King's profes­sions of regard for the present constitution of the church did not convince them of his sincerity; their own experience had taught them with what insinuating progress the hierarchy advances, and though admitted at first with moderate authority, and under specious pretences, how rapidly it extends its dominion. "Var­nish over this scheme," said one of the clergymen, "with what colours you please; deck the intruder with the utmost art; under all this disguise, I see the horns of his mitre." The same sentiments prevailed among many of his brethren, and induced them to re­ject power and honours, with as much zeal as ever those of their order courted them. Many, however, were allured by hopes of preferment. The King him­self and his ministers employed the same arts which they had tried so successfully last year; and after long debates and much opposition the general assembly de­clared, that it was lawful for ministers to accept of a seat in parliament; that it would be highly beneficial to the church to have its representatives in that supreme [Page 50]court; and that fifty-one persons, a number nearly equal to that of the ecclesiastics who were antiently called to parliament, should be chosen from among the clergy for that purpose; but the manner of their election, together with the power with which they should be invested, were left undecided for the present, and furnished matter for future deliberation *.

The questions with regard to the election and power of the representatives of the church were finally deter­mined in the year 1600, by the general assembly, which met at Montrose; and it was there agreed, that the general assembly should recommend six persons to every vacant benefice, which gave a title to a seat in parliament, out of whom the King should nominate one: that the person so elected should neither pro­pose nor consent to any thing there, that may affect the interest of the church, without special instructions for that purpose: that he shall submit to its censure without appeal: that he shall discharge the duty of a pastor in a particular congregation: that he shall not usurp any ecclesiastical jurisdiction superior to that of his other brethren: that he should annually resign his commission to the general assembly, which may be re­stored to him or not, as the assembly, with the King's approbation, shall judge most expedient for the good of the church .

In the year 1617, James (who ascended the English throne on the twenty-third of March 1603, and soon after went to reside in England) to advance the epis­copal cause, made a progress into Scotland, and his chapel at Edinburgh was adorned with statues and pictures. Two acts were passed, one relative to the choice of Archbishops and Bishops, and the second for the restitution of chapters; and the ministers pro­testing against them, many of them were suspended, and some banished.

[Page 51]In 1618, in a convention held at Perth, the court and Bishops, with some difficulty, made a shift to carry five articles, importing, that the holy sacrament should be received kneeling; that ministers should be enabled to administer the sacrament in private houses to the sick; that they should baptize children privately at home, if requested so to do; that they should con­firm such children as can say their catechism, and re­peat the Lord's prayer, creed, and ten command­ments; and that the festivals of Christmas, Easter, Whitsuntide, and ascension of our Saviour, should for the future be commemorated in the kirk of Scotland. These articles were ordered to be published at the market-crosses, and to be read by the ministers in the pulpits; but the greatest number of them refused, as there was no penalty incurred by the omission, save the King's displeasure. Notwithstanding the opposi­tion of the ministers, the court got these articles ratified by the parliament in 1621, contrary to the sense of the kirk and nation. This raised so much ill blood, that a new persecution was carried on throughout the kingdom; numbers of the Presbyterian ministers were fined, imprisoned, and banished by the high com­mission; and this they suffered, though from their in­terest with the people they could have turned their oppressors out of the kingdom.

Things remained much in the same state till the reign of King Charles the First. That unhappy Monarch, pressed on by Laud, made a progress into Scotland, in the year 1633, with a view to advance the episcopacy; for notwithstanding Bishops had existed in Scotland for some years, they had little more than the name, being subject to an assembly that was purely Presbyterian. To advance their jurisdiction, he had renewed the high commission, and forbid all general assemblies of the kirk. He was crowned at Edinburgh, June 18, and on the 20th the parliament met, and very complaisantly gave him a large sum of money; but in the matter of [Page 52]the acts concerning his royal prerogative, and the apparel of kirkmen, and for the ratification of former acts touching religion, he behaved to his parliament with such arbi­trary, overbearing haughtiness, and carried them through with such barefaced craft, that he disgusted all ranks and orders of people; which, together with the contempt he poured upon the Scots clergy, and the high hand with which he attempted to introduce the ceremonies of the church of England, alienated the affections of the generality of his Scotch subjects: nor did Laud's behaviour there do him the least credit, or redound at all to his master's interest. The mouths of the Scots clergy were opened; and they inveighed bitterly against the hierarchy of England. To widen the breach, in 1635, a book of canons for Scotland was drawn up by the new Bishops of that kingdom, and revised by Laud, Juxon and Wren, which was confirmed by the King under his great seal, May 23, though subversive of the whole constitution of Scotland, in kirk and state. The Scots Presbytery declared peremptorily against it.

In the year 1637, a new liturgy, in substance the same with the English, was sent into Scotland, ac­companied with a royal proclamation, dated Dec 12, 1636, commanding all the King's loving subjects of that kingdom to receive it with reverence, as the only form his Majesty thinks fit to be used in that kirk, with­out so much as laying it before a synod, convocation, general assembly, or parliament of that nation; so precipitant and imprudent was this head-strong ill-ad­vised Prince, in all the measures he pursued relative to that kingdom, the genius of whose inhabitants he seemed totally unacquainted with. The reading it in the pulpits was opposed by the people in a most vio­lent and tumultuous manner; and notwithstanding the representation of the consequences likely to ensue, from the Lords of the privy-council to the court, they were peremptorily ordered to go on with their work. [Page 53]The opposers published their reasons; two petitions were presented against it to the Lord Chancellor and Council, one from all the men, women, children and servants of Edinburgh, another in the names of the noblemen, barons, gentry, ministers and burgesses, which were transmitted to the King, who, instead of re­turning a soft answer, issued a proclamation against the late tumults, forbidding all assemblies or convocations of people to frame or sign petitions, upon pain of high treason, and ordering the term or session to be moved from Linlithgow to Stirling, twenty-four miles from Edinburgh, with a strict injunction that no stranger should resort thither without special licence. Upon the publication of this proclamation, sundry noble­men, ministers and others, signed a protest; four TABLES, as they were called, were erected at Edin­burgh, one of the nobility, another of the gentry, a third of the burroughs, and a fourth of the ministers. These prepared matters for the general Table, formed of commissioners from the other sour, where the last and binding resolutions were taken. One of the first things transacted by these tables, was the renewing their confession of faith and solemn league and covenant, which had been subscribed by King James, March 2, 1580-1, and by the whole Scots nation in the year 1590. To this covenant was now added, a narrative of sundry acts of parliament, by which the religion of the reformed had been ratified since that time, with an admonition, wherein the late innovations were re­nounced, and a band of defence for adhering to each other in the present cause. This solemn league and covenant, in support of their religious and civil liber­ties, and in opposition to Popery, tyranny and oppres­sion, was sworn to and subscribed with great seriousness and devotion, first at Edinburgh, in Feb. 1637-8, and afterwards in all places of the kingdom, where it was received by the common people as a sacred oracle, [Page 54]and subscribed by all who had any zeal for the Pro­testant religion and their country.

Hereupon the King sent the Marquis of Hamilton as his high commissioner into Scotland, one part of his commission being to induce them to give up the covenant, upon which he was to consent to the calling a general assembly or parliament; but the covenanters declared they would sooner renounce their baptism than their covenant. Finding them full of this resolution, and nothing to be done but by force of arms, he re­turned to England: but was soon sent back again, and instructed, if necessity required, to revoke the liturgy, canons, the high commission, and the five ar­ticles of Perth. He might call a general assembly and parliament within a competent time, but was to endeavour to exclude the laity from the assembly.

On Nov. 21, 1638, the Marquis published a pro­clamation for a general assembly, to meet at Glasgow. The covenanters carried their elections every where, a silenced minister, Mr. Henderson, was chosen mo­derator; and though the Bishops presented a Declinator, declaring the assembly to be unlawful, &c. &c. and the Marquis, finding them not of a proper temper for the court, dissolved them, after having presided seven days, forbidding them to continue their sessions upon pain of high treason, the assembly continued sitting, and next day published a justification of their proceed­ings. They sat for some weeks, till they had passed several acts, viz. An act for disannulling six late assem­blies, viz. those of 1606, 8, 10, 16, 17, 18, with the reasons: An act for abjuring and abolishing episcopacy: An act for condemning the five articles of Perth: An act for condemning the service book, book of canons, book of ordination, and the high commission: An act for condemn­ing Archdeacons, Chapters, and preaching Deacons: An act for restoring Presbyteries, provincial and national assem­blies, to their constitution of ministers and elders, and to their power and jurisdiction contained in the book of policy; [Page 55]with many others of like nature. They afterwards pro­nounced sentence of deposition against the Bishops; eight of whom were excommunicated, four excluded from the ministerial function, and two only allowed to officiate as pastors or presbyters. At the close of the session the assembly drew up a letter to the King, complaining of the Marquis of Hamilton, who had proclaimed them traitors, and forbid the people to pay any regard to their acts; and praying him still to look upon them as good and faithful subjects. They pub­lished also an address to the good people of England, in their own vindication, which the King suppressed, and issued a proclamation against the covenanters.

Thus matters between the King and his Scottish sub­jects were brought to such a crisis as could not but end in a war. Charles fitted out a fleet of sixteen ships, and raised an army of 21,000 horse and foot. On the other hand, the covenanters secured the castles of Edin­burgh. Dumbritton and Frith, raised an army, and sent for their old General Lesley, from Germany, who brought with him many experienced officers. On the the 27th of March 1639, the King marched north­wards, and was met, upon the borders by the Scots army; but after facing each other, for some time, the King perceiving his English Protestant nobility and soldiers not hearty in the cause, came to a pacification with the covenanters, June 17, by which all points of difference were referred to a general assembly, to be held at Edinburgh, August 12 ensuing, and to a par­liament which was to meet a fortnight after. Both armies, in the interim, were to be disbanded; the tables broke up, and no meetings held, but such as were warranted by act of parliament. The King ac­cordingly dismissed his army, scarcely affording thanks to them for their affection and loyalty. The Scots delivered up the King's castles and forts, and disbanded their troops; but cautiously kept their officers in pay.

[Page 56]The general assembly met according to the treaty, at Edinburgh; but being constituted as the last, the King having given up the point of the lay-elders, the Bishops, who presented another Declinator, were ex­cused attendance by the King. The assembly then, without any opposition, confirmed the proceedings of that of Glasgow, appointed the covenant to be taken throughout the kingdom, voted away the new service­book, &c. &c. and, nemine contradicente, determined that diocesan episcopacy was unlawful, and not to be al­lowed in their kirk.

The parliament met Aug 31, and confirmed all the acts of the general assembly; but having mentioned episcopacy as unlawful, the King forbid the Earl of Traquair, his commissioner, to consent to the word, lest it should be interpreted absolutely; whereupon he first prorogued the parliament for fourteen days, and then, by the King's express command, for nine months, without ratifying any of their acts.

The pacification between the King and the Scots was not of long duration; for, pushed on by Laud and Strafford, he resolved to humble his northern subjects, who had dared to dispute his prerogative. The Scots dreading the impending storm, were, many of them, for seeking succour from France; and accordingly wrote a letter to the King of France, which however was not sent. The majority of the Scots nation cast their eye towards the English parliament, which was called together to aid in their destruction, and met April 13, 1640, and, upon application to their friends at London, were assured, by a letter written by Lord Saville, "That the hearts of the people of England were with them; that they were convinced the liberties of both nations were at stake, and there­fore they might depend upon their assistance, as soon as a fair opportunity offered." Upon this assurance the Scots resolved to raise another army, and to march into England. Mean time Charles, not meeting [Page 57]with a behaviour he expected, dissolved the parlia­ment, and, to carry on the war against the Scots, set every engine of arbitrary power at work, such as loans, benevolences, ship-money, &c. &c. by which he got an army together composed of Papists and pressed men, who had no affection for the service. However, with this army the King met the Scots upon the borders; but soon found that the English nobility were not for conquering them. After a small skirmish the Scots army passed the Tweed, Aug. 21, and on the 30th took possession of Newcastle, whilst the King retreated before them as far as York, leaving them masters of Northumberland, Cumberland, and Durham, from which counties they subsisted their army, and levied what contributions they pleased. When they entered Newcastle, they sent an express to assure the city of Lon­don, that they would not interrupt the trade between it and that town, but would cultivate all manner of friend­ship and brotherly correspondence. They also dis­patched messengers to the King, petitioning his Majesty "to confirm their late acts of parliament, restore their ships and merchandise, recal his proclamation which stiles them rebels, and call an English parliament, to settle the peace between both kingdoms." This petition was backed by others from several of the English no­bility and the city of London. The King finding he must come to terms, appointed commissioners to treat with the Scots at Rippon, who agreed to a cessation of arms for three months, from Oct. 26; the Scots to have 850l. per diem, for the maintenance of the army, and the treaty to be adjourned to London, where a free parliament was to be immediately called. This famous long parliament was opened Nov. 3, in which the late commissioners exhibited articles against Archbishop Laud, and, by co-operating with them in their opposition to the King's measures and ministers, contributed greatly to their future success against mo­narchy and episcopacy.

[Page 58]In the year 1641, when King Charles was greatly distressed by the vigorous proceedings of the parlia­ment of England against the Bishops, and other grie­vances, knowing they were greatly encouraged therein by their confederacy with the Scots, whose army in the north was entirely in their interest, it was resolved in council, if possible, to disunite that nation from the parliament, and bring them over to the King, by granting them all their desires; and for that purpose he resolved upon a progress into Scotland. Aug. 10 the King set out post, and arrived there in three or four days; but the English parliament, aware of his design, appointed one lord and two commoners to follow his Majesty, in order to keep up a good correspondence with the parliament of that nation. Aug. 19, he opened the parliament there with a very conciliating speech, and agreeable thereto he allowed of their late opposition to the liturgy, and their erecting Tables; he confirmed the acts of the assembly at Glasgow; he followed their manner of worship, conferred titles upon many of their gentry; and, when he left the kingdom, all parties seemed contented. But, from all accounts, the King soon repented of his com­pliances, and as to the Scots, they still thought them­selves obliged to cultivate a good understanding: with the English parliament.

The Scots, now easy at home, and in full posses­sion of their religious and civil rights, yet did not look with indifference upon affairs in England, and dread­ed the ruin of the English parliament, as well through gratitude for the favours they had received from them, as for their future safety; and therefore the Scots commissioners at London offered their mediation be­tween the King and the two houses, telling his Majesty, in their petition, "That the liberties of England and Scotland must stand and fall together," and beseeching him "to have recourse to the faithful advices of both houses of parliament, which will not only quiet the minds of his English subjects, but remove the jealou­sies [Page 59]and fears that may possess the hearts of his subjects in his other kingdoms." In their address to the Eng­lish parliament they acknowledge their obligations to them, and beseech the two houses "to consider of the fairest and most likely methods to compose the diffe­rences in church and state." Bishop Burnet says, their design was to get Episcopacy brought down, and Presbytery set up; to the "first of which most of the members were willing to consent, but few were cordial for the latter."

The King was much displeased with the Scots medi­ation, and commanded them not to transact between him and his parliament, without first communicating their propositions to him, in private; and in Scotland he used methods to keep that kingdom neutral. On the other hand, the parliament threw themselves into the arms of the Scots, they thanked the commissioners for their kind and seasonable interposing, and prayed them to continue their endeavours to remove the pre­sent distractions, and to preserve the union between the two kingdoms. They writ to Scotland also to the same purpose. In May 1642, they again renewed their offers of a mediation, which the King rejected as be­fore; but the parliament accepted of it, and seemed to come heartily into their scheme of church-government, so that a perfect union took place between the two king­doms. The King alarmed hereat, sent a warm re­monstrance to the council of Scotland, August 26, wherein he very justly observes, that "the parliament no more believed the divine institution of Presbytery, than the others did of diocesan Prelacy; for though they were content, in order to secure the assistance of the Scots nation, to vote away the hierarchy of Arch­bishops and Bishops, yet when they had conquered the King, and had nothing to fear from their neighbours, they could not be prevailed with to establish the Scots Presbytery, without a reserve of the power of the keys to themselves."

[Page 60]It is foreign to my purpose to enter too deeply into the civil and military history of this unfortunate reign, further than to elucidate the history of the kirk of Scotland; and therefore I shall next take notice, that, in the year 1643, the general assembly of Scotland agreed to assist the English for the recovery of their civil and religious liberties, and appointed delegates to the assem­bly of divines at Westminster. On Sept. 25, the Eng­lish house of Commons and the assembly of divines, to secure the assistance of the Scots, took the solemn league and covenant, after many debates in relation to the renunciation of Episcopacy, and some other points, by subscribing their names thereto, the house of Com­mons in one parchment-roll, and the assembly in an­other, in St. Margaret's church, Westminster. On the Sunday following it was tendered to all persons within the bills of mortality, after being read in the several churches. October 15, it was likewise taken by the house of Lords. In Scotland it was inforced, all over the kingdom, under the severest penalties. February 1644, it was ordered to be taken through­out the kingdom of England, by all persons above the age of eighteen years, an exhortation from the West­minster assembly of divines being drawn up and pub­lished for that purpose. The greatest number were zealous for the covenant on a religious account, and others in obedience to the parliament, being con­vinced of the distressed circumstances of their affairs, and that the assistance of the Scots was to be obtained upon no other terms. The imposing it as a test, however, was far from being justifiable, for several evident reasons. The King published a declaration against it in England, and sent one, to the same pur­pose, into Scotland, which had no other effect than to produce the reasons for their conduct, and advice to his Majesty to take the covenant himself.

January 19, 1643-4 [...] the Scots army entered England, under the command of General Leven: the [Page 61]two houses sent a committee to meet them, which be­ing joined by another of that nation, was called the Committee of both kingdoms, and this committee directed the army's motions. Soon after it was joined by an English army, under Lord Fairfax, the Earl of Man­chester, and Cromwell; and the combined a [...]y laid siege to York, which brought on the battle of Marston­moor, wherein the royal army, under Prince Rupert, was defeated, with great loss. Afterwards the com­bined army reduced all the northern garrisons, which concluded the war in those parts.

The King's affairs becoming desperate, on the 27th of April 1646, he escaped from Oxford, and threw himself into the hands of the Scots army, then lying before Newark. Little or nothing occurred relative to the kirk during the nine months the King continued with the Scots, but altercations between them and the English parliament and assembly, relative to the esta­blishment of Presbytery and toleration of Separatists in England, which the Presbyterians now as much in­veighed against, as ever the Papists, or church of Eng­land had done in Queen Elizabeth's days. "We are persuaded, says the parliament of Scotland, that the piety and wisdom of the honourable houses will never admit toleration of any sects or schisms, contrary to our solemn league and covenant."

The King, determining not to abolish Episcopacy, and withstanding the solicitations and prayers of his friends, nay even the advice of his Queen, all attempts at an accommodation with his parliament proved abor­tive; therefore, as the clergy of Scotland would not suffer him to come into that kingdom, unless he took the solemn league and covenant, and did all they de­sired, and their parliament resolved the kingdom should be secured without him, and that they should leave the King in England to his two houses of parliament, upon their agreeing to pay the Scots army their arrears, and 200,000l. one moiety thereof on the delivering up the King into the hands of the English parliament's com­missioners, [Page 62]he was delivered up, and conducted to Holmby house, in Northamptonshire.

The further transactions of this reign have very little relation to the affairs of the kirk of Scotland, who were entirely averse to the secret treaty with the King, in pursuance of which Duke Hamilton marched into England with an army, and was defeated at Preston by Cromwell, after which he marched triumphantly to Edinburgh, August 17, 1648. They indeed, by their commissioners, declared and protested against putting the King to death, as absolutely inconsistent with their solemn league and covenant.

In June 1650, the Commonwealth of England having departed from the solemn league and covenant, the Scots, who at the King's death proclaimed the Prince of Wales, entered into a treaty with the exiled King at Breda, subjecting him thereby to the following very mortifying conditions: That all persons excom­municated by the kirk, should be forbid the court: that the King, by his solemn oath, and under his hand and seal, declare his allowance of the covenant: that he confirm those acts of parliament which enjoin the covenant: that he establish the Presbyterian worship and discipline, and swear never to oppose or endeavour to alter them: that all civil matters be determined by parliament; and all ecclesiastical affairs by the kirk: that his Majesty ratify all that has been done in the parliament of Scotland, in some late sessions, and sign the covenant upon his arrival in that kingdom, if the kirk desired it. He arrived June 16, but was obliged to sign both the covenants before he set his feet on shore. The Covenanters raised an army of 16,000 foot and 6000 horse for his service; whereupon the English parliament sent General Cromwell against them, who entered Scotland, at the latter end of July, with an army of 11,000 foot and 5000 horse. After various marches and counter-marches, and some alter­cations between the English assembly and Cromwell, [Page 63]he was obliged, not being able to bring the Scots to action, to retire to Dunbar, for want of provisions, with a weak and sickly army, and an enemy hovering over them 27,000 strong; but, however, he totally routed this great host, in the battle of Dunbar, fought September 13, killing 4000 in the battle and pursuit, and taking 10,000 prisoners, with great quantities of arms, ammunition, &c. &c. and with the loss to the English of scarce 300 men . Cromwell, immedi­ately after the battle, took possession of Edinburgh and Leith, and sent to the ministers, who had fled to the castle, to resume their functions in the churches; but this they refused to do, whereupon Cromwell ap­pointed English ministers to officiate in their places.

The Scots committees of the kirk and estates having fled to Stirling, and being joined by those who had esca­ped from Dunbar, endeavoured to assemble another body of forces; but they were so divided amongst them­selves that little was done to the purpose. The ruling party was for the King and kirk; the Resolutioners were so called from their adhering to the resolution of the kirk and states, "that those who had been too back­ward, ought to be admitted to make profession of their repentance, and afterwards, in the present extremity, might be admitted to defend and serve their country:" The Protesters protested against this resolution: the Remonstrators, in the western counties, formed an as­sociation apart, as well against the King and the defec­tion in the kirk party, as against the army of sectaries. Whilst these debated and wrangled, Cromwell reduced Darlington house, Roslan castle, and obtained a victory over the Remonstrators, at Hamilton. Soon after he reduced the maiden castle of Edinburgh.

January 1, 1650-1, the Covenanters crowned the King at Scoone, who set up his standard at Aberdeen, whilst the English reduced Hume and Tantallon castles. [Page 64]The King having got together an army of 20,000 men, encamped at Torwood near Stirling, and afterwards at Kelsyth, from which situations all Cromwell's generalship could not draw him to an engagement; hereupon he reduced Calendar house in sight of their army, and af­terwards a detachment of his army crossing to Fife, de­feated a strong body of Scots with great slaughter. This overthrow threw the Scots army into much con­sternation, which decamped and marched into Stirling park, whilst detachments from the English army made themselves masters of Bruntisland and St. Johnstown, by which it hindered any supply of men and provisions being sent from the Highlands to the King's army. The King thus distressed, a resolution was taken to make an irruption into England, and, on the last of July 1651, he began his march from Stirling for that purpose, and on the 6th of August entered this kingdom by the way of Carlisle, which caused great consternation to the powers at Westminster. The in­defatigable Cromwell was soon, however, at his heels, and finally defeated him, at Worcester, on September 3, with the loss of almost all the Scots army killed or taken prisoners.

Major-General Monk, whom Cromwell had left to command in Scotland, soon finished the reduction of that kingdom, after which, for eight years, it enjoyed a state of calm, under the usurpation; a strong Eng­lish army was kept there under good pay and good discipline, a sort of union of the three kingdoms took place, in one parliament, to which the Scots sent their representatives, and those eight years were reckon­ed a time of peace and prosperity to Scotland, as Bishop Burnet observes. As to the power of the kirk, it was reduced into a narrow compass *; "for though they had the liberty to excommunicate offenders, or debar them the communion, they might not seize their [Page 65]estates, or deprive them of their civil rights and pri­vileges. No oaths or covenants were to be imposed but by direction from Westminster; and as all fitting encouragement was to be given to the ministers of the established kirk, so others, not satisfied with their form of church-government, had liberty to serve God after their own manner; and those who would live peaceably, and yield obedience to the commonwealth, were protected in their several persuasions. This oc­casioned a great commotion among the clergy, who complained "of the loss of their covenant and church­discipline, and exclaimed against the toleration, as opening a door to all kinds of error and heresy." The parliament of England sending Independent commis­sioners to visit the Scots universities, and to settle li­berty of conscience, the assembly at Edinburgh pub­lished a Testimony against the present incroachments of the civil power upon the ecclesiastical jurisdiction. When the general assembly met again at Edinburgh, and were just entering upon business, Colonel Cotterel told them, that no ecclesiastical judicatories were to sit there but by authority of the parliament of England; and without giving them leave to reply, he commanded them to retire, conducted them out of the west-gate of the city, with a troop of horse, and a company of foot, and having taken away the commissions from the seve­ral classes, injoined them not to assemble any more above three in a company.

In 1654, Oliver Cromwell Protector, the kingdom of Scotland was, by his ordinance, incorporated with England into one-commonwealth, and provision made, that in every parliament thirty members should be call­ed from thence to serve for Scotland.

Upon the restoration of Charles II. a parliament be­ing chosen according to the mind of the court, all went against the Covenanters; Episcopacy was restored, and Deacons, Priests, and Bishops, ordained and consecrated, according to the rites of the church of England. All [Page 66]this was performed by the sole virtue of the King's pre­rogative (for it was not till the next year that a parlia­ment decided the matter) in breach of the solemn league and covenant, which he had, indeed, been forced to take. Several of the Scots ministers preach­ed boldly against these measures; for which Mr. James Guthrie, minister of Stirling, was convicted of sedition and treason, and executed June 14, 1661, dying with all the holy confidence of a Christian, and the fortitude of a martyr. A young officer who suffered with him, in the same cause, made use of these expressions: "I bear witness with my blood, to the persecuted govern­ment of this church, by synods and presbyteries; I bear witness to the solemn league and covenant, and seal it with my blood. I likewise testify against all Popery, Prelacy, Idolatry, Superstition, and the Service Book, which is no better than a relick of Popish idolatry." Soon afterwards the rights of patronages were restored, and all the Presbyterian ministers silenced, though the court had not a supply of men of any sort to fill the vacancies occasioned thereby. The silenced clergy had been most exemplary in their lives and conversations, constant preachers, and expounders, indefatigable in the discharge of their functions, and almost adored by the people, though they kept up a very severe disci­pline in the church: but their successors the Bishops and clergy were of a quite different stamp; most of them very mean divines, vicious in their morals, idle and negligent of their cures; so that they became ob­noxious to the whole nation, and could hardly, even with the assistance of the civil power, support their au­thority. The people, generally of the Presbyterian persuasion, stood firm by one another, forsook the churches, and many of them were thrown into prison, and ill used, some were fined, and the younger sort whipped about the streets; so that great numbers trans­ported themselves to Ulster in Ireland, where they [Page 67]were well received, and where their posterity flourish to this day.

In 1666, Sir James Turner being sent into the West, to levy fines at discretion, the people rose in arms, and took him and all his soldiers prisoners; but were soon dispersed by the King's forces, forty of them killed, and 130 taken prisoners, many of whom were hanged before their own doors. Their minister was put to the torture, and died with great firmness, crying out, "Farewel sun, moon, and stars; farewel kindred and friends, world and time, and this weak and frail body; and welcome eternity, welcome angels and saints, welcome Saviour of the world, and God the judge of all!" Conventicles abounded in all parts; the Pres­byterian ministers preached in their own houses to the people, who stood without doors to hear them; and when dispersed by the magistrates, they went out into the fields, to hear the word, carrying arms with them for their defence. A severe act was published against house and field conventicles; but the people still met together in defiance of the law: and many, who were called Cameronians, from Cameron their preacher, were outlawed, and therefore left their habitations, and travelled about the country: at length, collecting themselves into a body, they were routed by the Duke of Monmouth, at Bothwell-bridge, 400 of them killed, and 1200 taken prisoners. Two of their ministers were hanged, and 200 banished to the plantations, who were all lost at sea. In short, a persecution spread thro' the island, during the greatest part of this reign, almost as cruelly and oppressively carried on as the Romish inquisition.

The parliament that met at Edinburgh, upon the ac­cession of James II. in 1685, very compliantly de­clared their abhorrence of all principles derogatory of the King's absolute power, and offered their lives and fortunes to support it, against all opposers. They de­clared it high treason to give or take the national cove­nant, [Page 68]or even to write in defence of it; and passed an act, whereby it was made death to resort to any field or house conventicles. They likewise obliged the subjects of Scotland to take an oath, when so re­quired to do, to maintain the King's absolute power, on pain of banishment. Popery began now to lift up its head in that kingdom, and several persons of distinction changed to that religion, and accommodated them­selves to the times for the sake of private interest. The populace, on the other hand, were very tumultuous; they broke into the Earl of Perth's private chapel for mass, and defaced and destroyed all they could lay their hands on, for which one of them was taken and hanged. When the King dispensed with the penal laws and tests, the Scots parliament agreed to a sus­pension of them for the King's life; but James insist­ing upon an entire repeal, which they had firmness to oppose, he dissolved them, with tokens of resentment. The Episcopal clergy, who were obsequious slaves to the court, were sunk into such miserable sloth and ig­norance, as to render their hearers, particularly the common people, quite indifferent to the affairs of re­ligion: but the Presbyterians, on the other hand, seemed to have gained new strength from persecution, and though, by the King's dispensing power, freed, in 1687, from the severities under which they had for so many years suffered, it did not cool their zeal against Popery; their aversion to that corrupt church was more and more apparent: their opposition, at length, roused the whole nation from the lethargy into which it was apparently sunk. Their behaviour at this critical time, when it was natural to suppose, after they had fared so ill, that they would with joy and without reserve have fallen in with the measures of the King, which gave them present relief from their burdens, will ever redound to the honour of the church of Scotland, and evince that the principles of religion, firmly fixed and rooted in the heart, are essentially dif­ferent [Page 69]from mere professions, which generally change with the times, and give no stability or firmness to those who embrace them. The Scots perceived, that the King's view in taking off the penal laws and tests was only to serve the Papists; and therefore, when pressed by him to concur in that measure, they very wisely answered in cold and general terms.

At length, the persecuted, the suffering church of Scotland, was redeemed from its perils by the Revolu­tion, which had restored liberty and religion in its sister kingdom. On the 11th of April 1689 a convention, like that in England, for settling the government, was called in Scotland, which passed judgment of forfeiture on King James, and voted King William and Queen Mary, King and Queen of Scotland. One article of the claim of rights they drew up, was, that "the refor­mation in Scotland having been begun by a parity a­mong the clergy, prelacy in the church was a great and insupportable grievance to the kingdom." As the Bishops and Episcopalians left the convention, because not summoned by the abdicated King, and continued to adhere to him, the Presbyterians carried all before them. The malecontents sent for King James to come into Scotland, and the Earl of Dundee got together a considerable army of Highlanders; but was routed by General Mackay, at Killicrankey, and the Earl himself slain. Thus, with King James, Episcopacy was banished from Scotland, and the kirk-discipline and worship restored; without a toleration, however, to Dissenters from that church.

By the act of union, for uniting the two kingdoms into one, anno 1707, the filth year of Queen Anne, by the name of Great Britain, it was enacted, that the Presbyterian church-government is to remain establish­ed in Scotland; but by the 10th of Anne, cap. 7, that it shall be lawful for those of the Episcopal communion in Scotland, to assemble for divine worship, to be per­formed by pastors ordained by Protestant Bishops, [Page 70]without disturbance, except in parish-churches: such pastors of the episcopal persuasion to exhibit their orders at the quarter-sessions of the peace, and the same to be registered, paying one shilling One hundred pounds penalty to be levied on any disturber of their congre­gations: their pastors to baptize and marry, provided the christenings be registered, and banns three times published in the Episcopal congregation. No pain or forfeiture to be incurred by any person, on any excom­munication by the church-judicatories in Scotland. Ministers are to pray for the royal family. By cap. 12. patrons of churches, &c. are restored to their right of presentation. By act 5 Geo. I. cap. 29, provision was made for rendering more effectual the laws ap­pointing the oaths for the security of the government to be taken by ministers and preachers in churches and meeting houses in Scotland: and by act 9 Geo. I. cap. 24, Papists and Nonjurors are obliged to register their estates. These are the principal provisions made since the union, relative to religious affairs in Scotland, where, under the mild and auspicious sway of the illu­strious house of Hanover, the church has long enjoy­ed that repose it in vain sought and struggled for un­der many of their predecessors, and all persecution for conscience sake is laid aside. With religious and civil liberty, learning, arts, and sciences flourish, politeness and civility every where reign, and her clergy and u­niversities have abounded with elegant and fine writers, in every branch of literature, who have done credit to humanity, and spread the reputation of their country to the remotest parts of the world.

It must be observed, that some internal differences and divisions have happened in the church of Scotland, from the established judicatories of which a Secession has taken place; the history of which, and the schisms in that secession, I shall now give (before I enter upon my account of the doctrine and discipline of that church) excellently drawn up by a reverend divine of [Page 71]Haddington, who has therein preserved a Christian temper, and a laudable moderation.

The Secession from the established judicatories of the church of Scotland took place, in consequence of a continued course of offences to the strict party therein. These, like their ancestors, zealously adhered to the Westminster confession of faith, catechism and form of Presbyterian church-government; they maintaining the binding obligation of the Scots covenant, and of the solemn league and covenant of the three nations; they allowed the civil magistrate a sovereignty over all church-members in all civil causes, but refused that he had any spiritual headship over her doctrine, worship, discipline or government; hence they conceived no small disgust at their clergy for so tamely yielding to the dissolution or prorogation of their general assembly by King William and Queen Anne; they were exceedingly grieved with the Scots parliament for consenting that the perpetual establishment of prelacy in England should be an essential condition of the union between the two kingdoms, and afterwards with the British for restoring the power of patrons in the settlement of ministers; the former accounted a most sinful burying of the solemn league, whereby the Scots not only swore against prelacy themselves, but also to endeavour the reformation of England from it; the latter they detested, as annexing the spiritual privileges of the church to civil rights, as if Christ's kingdom were of this world; as tending to place the management of the church in the hands of Christ's enemies; as open­ing a door for simoniacal pactions between the patron and presentee, and for filling the church with an in­dolent, naughty and erroneous ministry: but as the Presbyterian clergy remonstrated against this procedure of the parliament, together with their act for tolera­tion of all sorts of opinions except popery and blas­phemy, the people could not take offence at them on these accounts. It was otherwise in the affair of the act [Page 72]imposing the abjuration oath upon the clergy: the strict Presbyterians, whether ministers or people, heartily detested Popery and the Pretender for its sake; but observing that this oath was extended to Presbyterian ministers by Jacobitish influence, that it was originally calculated for the maintenance of the English church as well as state; that it referred to two English acts of parliament, requiring the sovereign to be of the epis­copal communion; that it implied an approbation of the union settlement, and consequently of the above­mentioned sinful term thereof; that some of its ex­pressions were ambiguous and hard to be understood; that though it was suspected few ministers would have taken it but for fear of the penalty, yet they were obliged therein to swear they took it heartily and will­ingly. For these and the like reasons, many truly loyal, sensible, and godly ministers declined taking it; and not a few as loyal people declined hearing those who took it especially where they had access to hear such as did not. Scarce was this woful re [...]ding of the church commenced, when Mr. John Simson, Professor of Divinty at Glasgow, being by Mr. James Webster, minister at Edinburgh, processed for error before the general assembly, did in his defence and other papers maintain, that Heathens have an implicit discovery of redemption through Christ; that if they or others do with natural seriousness use the means of happiness God hath given them, they shall certainly obtain saving grace and lasting felicity; that all infants are formed as holy and free of sin as Adam was, and dying in non­age shall probably be saved; that no proper covenant of works was made with Adam as the representative of his posterity; that our own happiness ought to be our chief end and motive in glorifying God; that there is no immediate divine pre-course with the actions of ra­tional creatures; and that there will be no sinning in hell after the last judgment.

[Page 73]After tedious altercations at that and some former meetings, the assembly of 1717 found these notions no more than opinions not necessary to be taught in divi­nity, opinions not evidently founded upon scripture, and some of them tending to attribute too much to natural reason and the power of corrupt nature; and prohi­bited him and all others to use such expressions, or teach such positions for the future. But the very same day they declared the following position, viz "It is unsound to teach that we must forsake our sin in order to come to Christ, and instating us in covenant with God," most unsound and detestable; and thus indirectly declared, that we ought and are able to forsake and save ourselves from the reign and practice of our sin, before we come to Jesus, the alone Saviour from it. To stop the cur­rent of this and other legal doctrines, a new edition of that truly valuable English book, intitled, The marrow of modern divinity, was published, with a recommen­datory preface, by Mr. James Hog, one of the holiest ministers in the kingdom. This book, after it had passed for about eighty years with considerable reputation and esteem among most of the truly serious persons who read it, was attacked with great warmth by the general assembly of 1720; and though it is shrewdly suspected the greater part of the members had never perused it, an act was made, charging all ministers in connection with them to warn their people against reading it.— In their attack upon this book, the assembly plainly condemned the offering of Christ as a Saviour to sin­ners as such, and the asserting that believers are wholly delivered from the law as a covenant of works: they maintained that holiness is a federal or conditional means of obtaining eternal happiness; and that slavish fear of endless misery, and legal hope of future felicity, ought to influence the saints in their study of gospel holiness: these almost entirely scriptural expressions, "That believers are not under the law, do not com­mit sin; that the Lord can see no sin in them, nor be [Page 74]angry with them for sin," they declared Antinomian paradoxes; and condemned, the distinguishing between the law as a covenant of works, and as a binding rule of obedience in the hand of a Mediator, in order to explain them: Mess. Thomas Boston, Ebenezer and Ralph Erskines, with nine others, remonstrated against this conduct: these twelve representers had their own share of trouble from the judicatories; the commission posed them with twelve questions relative to the affair in dispute, in the answers to which they set several gospel truths in a very clear light. The assembly of 1722 took the matter into further consideration, and made an act explaining and confirming the acts of 1720: this the representers protested against as still injurious to the truths of the gospel, though it must be owned it was not near so gross as those of the assem­bly of 1720. To avoid even the most distant approaches towards favouring the condemned sentiments or ex­pressions of the marrow, many of the Scots clergy seemed now to become more legal in their doctrine than ever, which tempted multitudes of serious Chris­tians to crowd to hear the representers, who, notwith­standing distinguished holiness in practice, and a zealous warmth in recommending it to their hearers, were exceedingly reproached as Antinomian encoura­gers of a licentious life.—It is probable these twelve ministers harrassment and reproach had been more lasting, had not a rumour spread, in the end of 1725, that Mr. John Simson above-mentioned had not only continued to teach his former errors contrary to the prohibition of the assembly, but had taught that Jesus Christ is not necessarily existent; that the persons of the Godhead are not the very same in substance; that necessary existence, supreme deity and being the only true God, may be taken for the personal property of the Father, and so not belonging to the Son and Holy Ghost. The teaching of his former errors was fully proved, but nothing was done to him upon that account: his teaching the above Arian tenets was also sufficiently [Page 75]manifested; but he, giving in declarations of his senti­ments on these heads in orthodox language, and after much tergiversation, professing sorrow for some of the offensive expressions proved against him; the assembly of 1728 suspended him from the exercise of all ecclesiastic power and function till another general assembly should think fit to take off this sentence. The assembly of 1729 further declared that it was not fit to intrust him any more with training up of young men for the holy ministry: multitudes were offended he was so slightly censured. During this process pastors began to be violently obtruded upon reclaiming congregations; and the assembly of 1730 enacted, that no protests nor dissents should be recorded in their minutes; against which, and other corruptions, about forty ministers, and four­teen hundred elders and private Christians, gave in a warm remonstrance, and craved the assembly would assert the truth, in direct opposition to Mr. Simson's errors. The assembly of 1732 refused to hear these re­presentations, and, contrary to instructions from the far greater part of the Presbyteries who sent any, enacted, that Protestant heritors, whether prelatic Jacobites or not, and elders, should be the only voters in the elec­tion of gospel ministers: the assembly of 1733 dis­charged the Presbytery of Dunfermline, under pain of the highest censure, to administer sealing ordi­nances to those whose consciences could not submit to the ministry of pastors violently imposed upon them. Mean while Mr. Ebenezer Erskine above­mentioned, having, in his sermon before the synod at Perth, October 1732, testified against the act of the last assembly relative to the choice of ministers, and having decried patronage and some other prevalent corruptions, the synod, after three days dispute, appointed him to be rebuked at their bar, for the matter and manner of his conduct: twelve ministers and two elders dissented: himself appealed to the assembly in 1733, but received no redress: that supreme judica­tory ordered him to be rebuked at the bar. Conceiving [Page 76]that the truths of God he had in his sermon supported, were hereby injured, he protested that he could not, without violating his conscience, submit to this sen­tence. Mess. William Wilson, Alexander Moncrief, and James Fisher, for the exoneration of their con­sciences, protested against the prevailing course of defection. Without allowing these four brethren to attempt a defence of their conduct, the assembly ap­pointed their commission to proceed against them by suspension, and higher censure, if they should not re­tract their protest, and profess their sorrow for taking it. When the commission met in August, the pro­testing brethren were hardly allowed to declare their mind; and because they continued adhering to their protest, they were suspended from the exercise of their ministry. The next meeting of the commission, in No­vember, by their Moderator's casting vote, suspended them also from their ministration in their respective congregations. Hereupon these brethren declared a secession, not from the constitution of the Scots church, but from the prevailing party in her judica­tories; and, that they might regularly adhere to their principles, and afford relief to those people that were oppressed with intrusion of pastors, they constituted themselves into an ecclesiastic court, which they called the Associate Presbytery. Their minutes shew, that, quickly after their erection, Mess. Wilson and Mon­crief drew up a paper, intitled, "A testimony to the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government of the church of Scotland" This paper was judicially con­sidered and approved in their meetings at Colfargy and Dunfermline, and in it they exhibit their reasons of se­cession from the prevailing party in the judicatories of the established church, viz. 1. That that party were breaking down the Presbyterian constitution of church­government, by their trampling upon and making decisions quite contrary to the barrier acts and rules which had been enacted by the Scots church in her [Page 77]purest times, for ascertaining due deliberation in the framing of standing laws and general rules; by their exercising a lordly tyranny over men's consciences, in impowering heritors and elders to impose upon Chris­tians what spiritual guides they pleased; by their pro­moting violent intrusion of ministers as opportunity permitted; by their censuring and ejecting ministers from their congregations, merely for protesting against a sinful act of assembly; by threatening the highest cen­sures to such as should administer baptism or the Lord's supper to those who could not in conscience submit to the ministry of intruders, and allowing the commission to take the Presbytery's power in settlement of ministers, if these Presbyteries refused to promote the violent im­position of ministers upon reclaiming congregations. 2. That they were pursuing such methods as tended to corrupt the doctrine contained in their confession of faith, in so easily dismissing Professor Simson's process, and refusing to assert the truth, in opposition to his various errors: in caressing Mr. Campbell, Professor of Church History at St. Andrew's, notwithstanding his ridiculing practical goodness as enthusiasm, and his declaring that self-love is the chief motive and standard of all virtuous and religious actions; that the being of God and immortality of the soul cannot be known by the mere light of nature; and yet the laws of na­ture are a certain and sufficient rule to direct rational minds to happiness, and our observing them the great means of our real and lasting felicity: and finally, in their permitting or encouraging preachers to entertain their hearers with dry harangues of almost mere Heathen morality, instead of the gospel of Christ. 3. That they were imposing upon ministers, as a term of com­munion, the sinful breaking of their ordination-vows, by neglecting all proper opposition to the prevailing course of apostacy from the doctrine, worship, govern­ment and discipline of the Scots church. 4. That they [Page 78]were continuing obstinate in their evil ways, notwith­standing of all ordinary means used to recal them.

Moreover, in this testimony, these four brethren de­clared their adherence to their ordination-vows, and to the standards of the mother church; and that they intended to hold ecclesiastic communion with all such of her ministers and members as opposed the above­mentioned course of backsliding, as they should have opportunity.

The strict party of the Scots church having vigo­rously exerted themselves in the choice of members, the assembly of 1734 was very different from several of the preceding: sundry corrupt courses were checked; the seceding brethren were appointed to be reponed to their charges; but as the act of assembly represented this as done without condemning the act of assembly of 1733, or the conduct of their commission, these bre­thren reckoned the truths that suffered along with them not duly vindicated, and therefore declined joining the established judicatories on that footing, and published the reasons of their conduct: however, they waited about two years and a half, looking and wishing for an opportunity of returning to the judicatories, during which time they kept their meetings of Presbytery for almost nothing but prayer and conference: at length, observing the established judicatories fast returning to, or proceeding in their fore-mentioned corruptions, in­trusions promoted, Professor Campbell dismissed with­out censure, and his error concerning self-love inad­vertently approved by the general assembly: her own excellent act against violent settlements, and another for orthodox preaching, generally disregarded, they began to preach to those oppressed Christians who peti­tioned for it, and appointed Mr. Wilson, one of their number, to train up students for the holy ministry.

Mean while, in the beginning of 1737, Mess. Ralph Erskine and Thomas Mair joined them, declaring, that they joined them not as different from, but as a [Page 79]part of the church of Scotland, witnessing against the corruption of the prevailing party in her established judicatories; that they intended no withdrawment from such godly ministers as were groaning under and wrest­ling against the then course of backsliding; and that they proposed to return to the established judicatories whenever they should return to their duty.

About the same time the Associate Presbytery publish­ed a second testimony, calculated not to enumerate the causes of Secession, but to represent the grounds of the Lord's anger against the generation; to approve former reformations, to condemn the steps of defection from it, and the most prevalent errors of the times, and as­sert the truth in opposition thereto. In this paper they particularly rehearsed and condemned the principal de­fections of church and state between 1650 and 1737: they expressly condemned the errors of Mess. Simson and Campbell, and shewed them to be contrary to the word of God, and to the Westminster confession of faith and catechisms: they solemnly asserted, that the Old and New Testament are not only a sufficient and principal, but the ONLY rule to direct us how to glorify and enjoy God: that Jesus Christ is the supreme, only true, and necessarily existent God, of the same sub­stance with his eternal Father: that God from eternity decreed all things merely according to the counsel of his will, and elected his people to everlasting life, without any regard to their good works as the motive or con­dition of his choice: that God entered into a covenant of works with Adam as the representative of all his na­tural seed: that, in consequence of the breach of this covenant, all men are conceived and born in sin, are by nature children of wrath, and can do nothing spiritually good: that tho' there be no necessary connexion between natural seriousness and our obtaining of saving grace; yet it is the duty of all unregenerate persons seriously to attend gospel ordinances, whether public, private or secret, as the means whereby God conveys his con­verting [Page 80]influence: that the light of nature is not suffi­cient to guide fallen men to true or lasting happiness: that Christ assumed our nature, is very God and very man in two distinct natures, and one person for ever: that he, as our surety, undertook for all the elect, and gave to the law and justice of God whatever obedience and satisfaction they could require of us: that his righteousness imputed to us; is the ONLY foundation of our pardon, acceptance with God, and title to eter­nal life, and not any thing wrought in or done by us: that want of conformity to God's law, in heart or life, is truly and properly sin: that sinning and suffering will be the misery of the damned in hell thro' eternity: that all believers in Christ are fully delivered from the moral law as a covenant of works, so as to be thereby neither justified nor condemned, but are for ever under it as a binding rule of obedience given by Jehovah the Creator and Redeemer of men: that God needs no­thing from, nor can be profited by any creature, and therefore rewards their good actions entirely of his own free will and absolutely gracious bounty: that not self-interest or pleasure, but the holy law of God, is the supreme and only standard of all religious and virtu­ous actions: that not self-love, but a view of the glo­rious excellencies of God, as revealed in Christ, and a regard to his authority, is the leading motive of our love and obedience to him: that no believer can ever totally fall from a state of grace, nor did Christ's dis­ciples, while he lay in the grave, look upon him as a downright impostor: that Christ alone is King and [...]ead of his church; to him alone it belongs to give her laws, ordinances, and officers; to him alone her offi­cers are subject in their spiritual administrations: that he hath warranted them to hold general assemblies, and other church judicatories, as often as necessary: that he hath appointed the Presbyterian form of go­vernment, and no other, to continue in his church till the end of time: that Christ having in his word pre­scribed [Page 81]a government in his church, distinct from, and not subordinate to the civil magistrate, he hath in­trusted it not to all church-members, but only to her office-bearers, whose power is entirely subordinate to the laws declared in his word: that these officers ought to be set over congregations by the call and consent of the majority of such therein as are admitted to full communion with the church in all her sealing ordi­nances, no person's vote being preferred upon any se­cular account. Along with these assertory declarations of their belief, they condemned and professed their de­testation of the contrary errors; and finally declared their hearty adherence to the Westminster confession of faith, catechisms, directory for worship, and form of church-government, and to the national covenant of Scotland, as explained to abjure Prelacy and the arti­cles of Perth, and to the solemn league and covenant of the three kingdoms, and to all acts of assem­bly, or other testimonies, tending to promote or sup­port their ancestors covenanted work of reformation; and particularly to their own representations to the commission of the general assembly in 1733, their first testimony, and their reasons of not acceding to the judicatories of the established church.

Though this testimony was not intended for a new standard, but as an open appearance in favour of those that had been long acknowledged by the nation; yet persons at their accession to, or joining with the Sece­ding ministers, did commonly profess their approba­tion of it, as far as they understood it: but that the presbytery did not tyrannically require such as joined them to believe the certainty of the various narratives of fact contained therein, is fully evident; Mr. Wil­son, the principal defender of the Seceding cause, boldly avers, that Mr. Currie his antagonist, in charging it with twenty-four mistakes respecting historical facts, did not affect its proper substance, but merely wran­gled about circumstances; and that the plain meaning [Page 82]of acceders approving this testimony, was their signi­fying their conjunction with the Associate Presbytery, in the same confession of the truths of God held forth from his word in our received standards of doctrine, worship, discipline, and government.

Now nothing can be more certain, that neither the word of God, nor standards of the Scots church, but acts of parliament, acts of assembly, and other like fallible vouchers, hold forth the historical assertions of that paper.

Not long had this testimony been published, when multitudes of private Christians, a good number of elders, and two more ministers, being offended with the growth of apostacy above-mentioned, and anew grieved with a great part of the established clergy, for publickly rea [...]ing on the Sabbath, and thus solemnly acquiescing in an act relative to the murderers of Cap­tain Porteous, in which the parliament claimed a spiri­tual headship over the church, const [...]uting themselves judges of ministers fitness to sit in her courts, and threatening ecclesiastic penalties for disobedience to their civil authority, did join the Associate Presbytery upon the footing of it. Now many from different corners of the land petitioned this presbytery for ser­mons; their requests were deliberately granted: the Seceding ministers preached, and especially held fasts, in most corners of the south part of the country.

The plainness of this second testimony, and the crowding of the common people after the authors of it, mightily provoked the managers in the established judicatories: the Seceding ministers were libelled, and cited before the assembly of 1739. When they ap­peared, the assembly declared their willingness to drop the libel, overlook every thing foregoing, and receive them with open arms into all manner of church-fel­lowship: but these associate brethren, considering that the assembly consisted chiefly of intruders, and others deeply guilty of the growing defection, declined her [Page 83]authority, as a not rightly constituted court of Christ. This daring attack, added to the former provocation, mightily chagrined the managers; wherefore the assem­bly, in 1740, without pretending to find these ministers guilty of error in doctrine, or immorality in practice, deposed them from being ministers of the church of Scotland. This sentence occasioned a mighty run of the common people after the Seceding brethren; but as their followers increased, so did their trials. Sundry, if not most of these ministers, had ere now believed, that a magistrate has only power to appoint fasts and thanksgivings, with the diets and causes thereof, in extraordinary cases, and where he has not access to consult with a church that he judges rightly consti­tuted: but some of their people, who had acceded to them, now prompted them to determine, Whether it was lawful for them to observe a fast on the day ap­pointed by the King for that effect? In a pro re nata meeting of presbytery, designed for other business, and while 14 out of 22 members were absent, this question was irregularly hawled in by Mess. Alexander Moncrief, Thomas Nairn, and Thomas Mair; and because they judged the established church had practically given up their power of appointing fasts and thanksgivings into the hand of the Sovereign, they carried it by, I think, one vote, that the Seceders observing fasts on these oc­casions, was a sinful connivance at the King's exercising a spiritual headship over the church. The deep silence, concerning this matter, in their after confession of sins, prefixed to their covenant-bond, indeed plainly demon­strates, that this decision was never generally approved by the Seceding clergy: but their people being once, many of them, tinctured with the above notion, they seldom found it for edification to observe fasts or thanksgivings on the days appointed for that end by the civil magistrate: nevertheless, on these occasions, they used to recommend private fasting, or to forbear giving offence with public labour; so that except a few [Page 84]forward and less judicious persons, it may be justly averred, that the Seceders gave as little open offence to the government on that head as most in the nation, who pretended to be zealous observers of the Sove­reign's fasts.

By Mr. Whitfield's missives to Mr Ralph Erskine, and other like circumstances, several of the Seceding brethren had conceived a very favourable opinion of him; but finding, upon converse with him, that he decried all particular forms of church government as a mere human device, and being exceedingly offended with his printed enthusiastic account of God's dealing with his soul, they turned their favour into warm op­position. In 1742, and some following years, a sur­prising commotion in the souls and bodies of men, while they attended sermon, happened at Cambuslang, near Glasgow, and other places: this Mr. Whitfield's admirers extolled as a wonderful work of the Spirit of God; but the Seceders, tho' they could not deny that the lives of many were, for the present, thereby re­formed, and that some divine influence might attend the truths there delivered; yet, because of the bodily con­vulsions, disorderly noise, imaginary views of Christ, aversion at a covenanted work of reformation, nauseous boasting, and other irregularities attending it, they decried it as in a great measure delusive. In the warm contention upon so critical a topic, no doubt both parties sometimes run into extremes, and became stumbling blocks to one another: however, the return of multitudes of the subjects of the surprising influence to their wonted courses, mightily confirmed the Sece­ders in their sentiment.

Mean while the Seceding body had another trial from among themselves: it was their earnest desire and prayer to God, to make our Sovereign King George, and every subordinate magistrate, zealous friends to a covenanted work of reformation; but they were firmly persuaded, that difference in religion deprives [Page 85]no civil ruler of his just power and authority; they openly testified against Mr. M'Milian's party, and others that thought otherwise: not a few of them bore arms against the Pretender; not one of them can be charged with appearing on his side: their ministers often debarred from the Lord's table such as denied the lawful authority of our present government, in all things civil; and they formally excommunicated some few of their followers that presumed to do so.

In 1742, Mr. Thomas Nairn, a person too volatile for a witnessing minister, took it into his head to main­tain, that none but a Presbyterian and covenanted per­son could be rightful Sovereign of this realm: his as­sociated brethren quickly opposed him with great vigour; proceeded to censure him; published a judi­cial declaration, wherein they shewed, from the word of God, our standards and covenants, that it is the duty of the whole nation to obey the present civil go­vernment, in all things lawful, for conscience sake

After about seven years deliberation, the Associate Presbytery agreed upon the form of a bond of public covenanting with God; and, in December 1743, themselves began to enter into it. Next year their act on this head was published, together with another, vindicating the doctrine of God's free grace from the injury done it by the general assemblies of 1720 and 1722 above-mentioned. The form of the Seceders co­venant had been short, and mostly plain, had it not reduplicated upon a long confession of sins, that it is to be feared few of their people could fully know the import and certainty of: not a few, therefore, con­demned the presbytery's act, declaring, that the swear­ing of this bond should be the term of ministerial and Christian communion with them. It was thought very unreasonable, that a person of an eminently holy life, and zealously attached to all the truths of God, to the Scots standards and covenants, should be excluded from the seals of God's covenant, merely because he could [Page 86]not understand the meaning or certainty of some things in this bond, and the acknowledgment of sins prefixed to it; or would not swear to what he understood not. Many of the Seceding clergy were afterwards sensible that this act was sinful; nor do I know that ever the most zealous acted up to the tenor of it, with respect to their people.

About the beginning of the year 1745, the Associate Presbytery was so far increased, that they divided themselves into three presbyteries, under one synod. Soon after which, the Lord, to punish their manage­ment of his cause, gave them up to angry contentions, and an unprecedented breach. Tho' in many of their public papers they had solemnly declared their adherence to the ordination-vows used, and consequently to the religion professed in the established church; tho' in their principles concerning magistracy, published in the year 1743, p. 50, they had judicially declared their thank­fulness to God that their own religion had such secu­rity by the present civil government, as no nation on earth enjoyed the like: yet at the very first meeting of their Associate Synod, they began warmly to debate, whether it was lawful for Seceders to swear that clause in some Scots burgess-oaths, viz. I profess and allow with my heart the true religion presently professed within this realm, and authorised by the laws thereof; I shall abide at and defend the same to my life's end, renouncing the Roman re­ligion called Papistry. Mess. Ebenezer and Ralph Er­skines, James Fisher, and others, maintained, that since it was the true, the divine religion itself, professed and settled in Scotland, and not the human and faulty man­ner of professing or settling it, that was sworn to in these oaths: that since, in their secession, they had ne­ver pretended to set up a new religion, but to cleave more closely to that whereinto they had been baptised: that since in their testimonies they had espoused the very same standards with the established church, had frequently and solemnly declared their adherence to the [Page 87]ordination-vows, sundry of them had taken therein, and whereby they were engaged to the religion, doc­trine, worship, discipline and government professed and settled in the land: that since, tho' in their public pa­pers they had quarrelled with the manner in which the true religion is presently professed and settled in the realm, and testified against the various corruptions of church and state; yet they had been so far from quar­relling with the true religion professed and settled, that no more than two years before they had judicially de­clared the religion secured by the present civil govern­ment to be their own; and therefore could not, with­out the most glaring self contradiction, prohibit the swear­ing of the above clause, as in itself sinful, for those of their way. Mess. Alexander M [...]ncrief, Thomas Mair, Adam Gib, and others, comended, that Seceders swearing of this clause was exceeding sinful, and a giv­ing up the whole of their testimony; because, said they, swearing to the true religion presently professed and authorised in this realm, imports a swearing to it as presently professed and settled, and so an approving by oath of all the corrupt acts of church and state. After much hot contention, those who defended the burgess-oath, and who now began to be called Burgh­ers, offered, for the sake of peace, to agree to an act forbidding Seceders to swear the said clause, as inex­pedient in the present circumstances. This peaceful pro­posal the Antiburghers refused, as altogether insuffi­cient; and, in a pretty thin meeting of syned, Apr. 9, 1746, pushed and carried a vote, condemning the pre­sent swearing of the above religious clause by Seceders, as sinful, and inconsistent with their testimony and bond for renewing the covenants. Part of the Burgher ministers and elders protested against this sentence; but the Antiburghers answers to their reasons of protest, not being ready, as they ought, against next meeting of synod, and some of the more zealous having in the mean time publickly debarred the defenders of the bur­gess-oath [Page 88]from the Lord's table, a new question was introduced, Whether the above sentence relative to the religious clause of some burgess-oaths should be a term of ministerial and Christian communion? After much warm altercation at two meetings, and a dissent and protestation of the Antiburghers against putting this question, it was voted, and carried, that the said sentence should not be a term of ministerial or Christian com­munion, at least till the affair should be deliberately considered in presbyteries and sessions, their mind ob­tained, and further means used, by prayer and confe­rence, for seeing eye to eye in the truth. No sooner was this sentence carried, than Mr. Thomas Mair, a zealous Antiburgher, declared and protested, that thereby his opposers had forfeited all synodical power, and that the lawful authority of the Associate Synod was devolved upon a constituted meeting of his party, and of such as should cleave to them; all whom he called to meet next day in Mr. Gib's house for that effect; and then, with twenty-two others, and with­out either moderator or clerk, withdrew from thirty-two or thirty-three of their brethren, constituted in Christ's name, and with their moderator and clerk attending them. The day following, the Burghers assembled and constituted synod in the ordinary place: but the Anti­burghers constituted themselves into another synod in Mr. Gib's house, and asserted themselves sole judges of their own answers, dissents and protests; enacted, that the Burgher ministers had forfeited all power per­taining to their office; and that no Seceding presbytery or session, not constituted in subordination to their pre­sent meeting, could be a lawful court of Christ. This act was the basis of their next meetings of presbytery; hence the Antiburghers of the presbytery of Edin­burgh deserted their appointed place of next meeting, and took another [...] those of the presbytery of Perth re­fused their brethren a seat with them, and they univer­sally refused to sit in session with those elders that would [Page 89]not submit to their above constitution of synod. Mourn­ful was the stumbling and alienation of affection that ensued among the people; multitudes were perplexed how to side themselves; and no doubt many did it en­tirely by guess. To remedy this awful confusion, the Burgher clergy wrote twice to their brethren that de­serted them, earnestly begging a meeting for prayer and conference, in order to their uniting in the Lord's cause. The Antiburghers, whether from unwilling­ness to convince the Burghers of the sins they laid to their charge, or from consciousness that they had not sufficient arguments for that end, or from some diffe­rent view; returned no other answer, than that they could not, consistently with their testimony, comply with any such proposal; and that their brethren's only way for peace was to present themselves penitent pan­nels at their bar. The Burghers could not in conscience submit to their brethren's constitution of synod. None of them therefore appeared at their bar, except Mr. Hutton, who did it for no other purpose than to read a formidable attack upon the constitution of their court, which to this moment has received no proper refutation. The Burghers continued exercising their ministry, and holding their judicatories as formerly: they even made an act, declaring the Antiburgher con­stitution in Mr. Gib's house void and null, eversive of presbytery, and contrary to scripture and reason: For these, and other above-mentioned instances of opposi­tion, the Antiburghers deposed, excommunicated, and delivered them over to Satan. These sentences had no effect: the Mess. Erskines, and other Burghers, lived as holily, preached as edifyingly, and died as com­fortably, as any of their opposers. The Antiburghers having proceeded two years in thus censuring their brethren, were obliged to confess, that all along them­selves had been lying under scandal with respect to partaking with their brethren in their sin; and, at a meeting of synod, purged one another from it by ju­dicial [Page 90]rebukes and adm [...]ons. [...]ow scandalous per­sons were fit to censure others, or to purge one ano­ther, was not understood by m [...]ny. However, this was scarce well finished, when M [...]. Patrick Mathew, an Antiburgher, deserted to the B [...]rghers, and was censured as they had been.—Not long after Mr. Tho­mas Mair, the founder of the constitution in Mr. Gib's house, for maintaining that Christ in some sense died for all mankind, was prosecuted, a [...]d censured by his brethren as guilty of Arminian error. Nothing trans­acted since, on either side, deserves a place in a general history of religion: it remains briefly to represent the present agreement and difference of the two parties. Since their rupture in 1747, both have retained their respective synod, presbyteries and sessions: both have supplied the male [...]ontents in their opposers congrega­tions with preaching: the congregations belonging to both amount to about [...], in sundry whereof are some thousand examinable persons; but the greater part much below that number. Which party have the greatest number of followers, I know not; but the Antiburghers having the teacher of philosophy and professor of divinity on their side at the breach, then carried off almost all the students, and to this day have the greatest number of ministers; tho' even here the Burghers seem to gain ground. Both parties agree in public profession of acherence to the scriptures, as the only rule of saith and practice; and to the confession of faith, catechisms, form of church-government, and public covenants, of their Presbyterian ancestors. Both, I hope, preach the gospel of Christ in purity, and en­deavour to commit the ministry to faithful men. I heir form of worship is much the same with that of their mother-church: with both, ministers endeavour pub­lickly to catechise, and privately to visit, their congre­gations once a-year, without respect of persons; both detest and avoid private b [...]ptism; both use to admini­ster the Lord's supper in their congregation once a-year, [Page 91]and sundry of the Burghers do it twice. Neither party allow themselves to admit to the sacraments any but such as have some visible appearance of saintship: Gross ignorance of the Christian saith, neglect of the worship of God in secret or in families, drunkenness, swearing in ordinary conversation, even tho' it be in a passion, idleness, or unnecessary travelling or labouring on the Sabbath, playing at cards and dice, smuggling of goods, lying, reviling, apparent hatred of others, dishonesty, obscene language, fornication, and the like, are with both reckoned scandalous, and sufficient reason for suspending a person from the sacraments. With respect to difference, none can be admitted to the sacraments by the Antiburghers, except he at least in­directly declare his persuasion that it is very sinful for Seceders to swear the above-mentioned clause of some burgess-oaths: they contend, that the constitution of the Scots revolution church is Erastian, and could ne­ver be lawfully joined with: they aver that their reli­gion is different from that of the established church, but have not hitherto declared what divine truth they hold that is not comprehended in her public standards: they seem to equal, if not sometimes prefer, the second testimony above-mentioned, to the confession of faith, and other standards of their mother church, and mean­while renounce the ordination-vows, together with such parts of the first testimony and representations adhered to in it, as approve of the religion at present professed in the realm. Tho', in their present form of ordina­tion-vows, they plainly approve of that declaration of principles concerning the civil magistrate, in which it is declared that their own religion has unmatched secu­rity by the present civil government; yet they sepa­rated from their brethren, because they would not al­low that every one should be excluded from ministe­rial and Christian communion with them, who believed it lawful to swear to profess and abide in the religion at present authorised by the civil government: they sepa­rated [Page 92]without pretending to make any schism; and tho', at the breach, no more than about two-fifths of the synod, they met in a different place, and assumed the whole power of it; and tho' confessedly under scan­dal themselves, proceeded as above to censure their brethren, who never once acknowledged their autho­rity; and frequently they fast and pray, that God may bless the censures they have passed upon them: they reckon public covenanting a very distinguishing ar­ticle of their religion, and hence push their people into it; but, it is shrewdly alledged, with [...]ut due pains to instruct them in the knowledge of the bond, and con­fession of sins, to which they swear, or due care to re­strain such as do not understand that oath; in conse­quence whereof, it is hard to find many whose practice is a whit bettered by their covenanting work. — On the other hand, the Burghers, though they generally conceive the religious clause of the burgess-oath to be lawful, require none either directly or indirectly to be of their mind in that matter: with them, one that thinks it sinful may be as readily admitted to the sacra­ment, or even to the ministry, as if he thought it lawful; their maxim being, "Him that is weak in the faith, re­ceive ye, but not to doubtful disputations:" they con­tend, that though the glory of the revolution-church is indeed inferior to that between 1638 and 1650, her constitution is nevertheless scriptural, and was lawfully joined with; and declare their intention to join with the established judicatories, whenever they shall earnestly reform from the various defections introduced since the revolution: they maintain, that though the human appearances for religion, the manner of professing and settling it, be different, yet the religion of the revolu­tion-church is the very same with that professed be­tween 1638 and 1650; and generally contend, that what themselves profess is the very same religion pro­fessed in the established church, since their standards of doctrine, worship, discipline and government are [Page 93]the same; though their method of professing and adhering to them be more strict: they esteem the se­cond testimony as no standard, but as an appearance in favour of their standards: they acknowledge that in the historical parts of it there are a few mistakes, or ill-guarded expressions; but cleave to the substantial part of it without exception: when their brethren separated from them, they pursued after peace and union, even while it fled from them; being the majority at the breach, they kept possession of their seat in judicato­ries. Though they declared the Antiburghers constitu­tion in Mr. Gib's house null and void, and maintained their brethren's above-mentioned censuring of them, and their frequent fasting and prayer for God's ratifi­cation thereof, an almost unmatched profanation of the name of Christ; yet they could not see it warrant­able from scripture to proceed to censure their brethren, while there was no appearance of its tending to the general edification. They heartily approve of publickly covenanting, when seasonable, and done in truth, judg­ment and righteousness: they constantly maintain the continued obligation of their ancestors covenants; and at ordinations, and on other occasions, solemnly declare their adherence to them: but finding from scripture that public covenanting is not a standing but occasional duty; that it neither took place in the reign of David nor Solomon, those religious Kings, who together reigned eighty years over Israel, nor appears to have been ever recommended by the Apostles as a present duty for their hearers; that it is only to be done with knowledge and understanding; and that it is better not to vow, than to vow and not pay by a tender and holy practice; and fearing that the present broken state of the church, when the godly are so divided, may not be altogether proper for it; finding that, be­sides some inadvertent mistakes, the confession of sins, published in 1744, and now used by the Antiburghers, is such as they could not hope to make the twentieth [Page 94]part of their hearers to understand; and being deter­mined never to allow persons to swear it ignorantly; and finally, being exceedingly stumbled at the rash, ig­norant, proud, party-like and fruitless covenanting, they think they observe among their brethren Antiburghers, they have never yet proceeded to such work; and on that account are represented by the Antiburghers as most wicked and wilful apostates from the cause of Christ.

The Government, Worship and Discipline of the Church of SCOTLAND.

THere are in Scotland about 1000 parishes, each of which is divided, in proportion to its extent, into particular districts, and every district has its own ruling elders and deacons; the ruling elders are men of the best quality and interest in their parishes, and the deacons are persons of a good character, for manners and understanding. A consistory of minis­ters *, elders * and deacons *, is called a kirk-session, which is the lowest ecclesiastical judicatory, and con­venes once a week, to conduct the affairs of the pa­rish *. The minister is always Moderator, but wit [...] ­out a negative; appeals lie from thence to their own presbyteries, which are the next higher judicatories.

Scotland is divided into sixty-nine presbyteries, each consisting of from twelve to twenty-four contiguous parishes: the ministers of these parishes, with one ruling elder, chosen half-yearly at every kirk-session, compose a presbytery. They meet in the principal town, from which they are denominated, and chuse their Moderator, who must be a minister, half-yearly: from these presbyteries appeals lye to provincial synods, which are composed of several adjacent presbyteries, two, three, four, or eight. There are fifteen provincial synods in all: the members are, a minister and a ruling elder out of every parish. These synods meet twice [Page 95]a year, at the principal town of its bounds. They chuse a Moderator, who is their Prolocutor. The acts of the synods are subject to the review of the general assembly, which is the last resort of the kirk of Scotland.

The general assembly consists of commissioners from presbyteries, royal burghs, and universi [...]ies. A pres­bytery of twelve ministers, sends two ministers and one ruling elder; a presbytery of between twelve and eighteen, send [...] three ministers and one ruling elder; of between eighteen and twenty-four, four ministers and two ruling elders; a presbytery of twenty-four, sends five ministers and two ruling elders; every royal burgh sends one elder, and Edinburgh two; every university sends one commissioner, who is generally a minister.

The general assembly meets once a year, in the month of May, and is opened and adjourned by the King's Royal Commissioner, appointed for that pur­pose *, who, however has no vote.

Upon the day appointed for the meeting of the ge­neral assembly, the preceding Moderator makes a ser­mon before the King's Commissioner and the mem­bers. After sermon they go to the assembly house, where the Commissioner being upon the throne, they proceed to chuse a Moderator. The election is thus managed: The last Moderator nominates two or three ministers, to whom the assembly adds whom they see fit; the nominees are said to be upon the list. Every man upon the list gives his vote and withdraws▪ then the assembly votes, and he that has the majority is chosen, and takes the chair at the fo [...]t of the throne.

The Moderator being chosen, the High Commis­sioner produces his commission, impowering him to sit there, with his Majesty's letter to the assembly; both [Page 96]which are read by the clerk, all the members stand­ing. The Commissioner then makes a speech, which is answered by the Moderator, and then committees are appointed. Next day is set apart for prayers, the Commissioner certainly attending. The Moderator no­minates eight or nine to pray successively; after which the assembly adjourns.

Next day they fall to business. The Moderator has no negative; he only sums up the debates, and puts the question. The first business is always to answer the King's letter, which is done by a committee, whose draught is read and examined, and altered if need be, and then finally approved by the house. Then the Moderator signs it in their presence, and delivers it to the Commissioner, who dispatches it to the King. Though the business is usually transacted by commit­tees, yet any member may propose what he pleases in the assembly. When a motion is made, or any busi­ness is brought in by a committee, the Moderator names two or three of the most eminent members to speak to it; after whom any member may speak that is so inclined. When the debate is over, it is put to the vote, and carried, agreed, or disagreed, by the ma­jority.

Matters of great weight, that bind the whole church, are first brought in by way of overtures, and then de­bated in the house; after which, if approved, they are transmitted to every presbytery in Scotland, who return their answers by their commissioners to the next assembly, who, according as they find them approved by the presbyteries, pass them into acts of assembly, or reject them.

During every assembly, a diet is appointed to inspect the acts of the provincial synods, as they had before inspected the proceedings of the presbyteries. Before they rise, they nominate a standing commission of mi­nisters and ruling elders, chosen out of every synod, to attend the affairs of the church, till the next assembly [Page 97]meets. Of these twenty-one is a quorum, of whom fif­teen must be ministers. The Moderator of the assem­bly moderates in the commission, if present. They were obliged to sit the first week in every quarter, all parliament-time, before the union, and as often else as they thought fit. They have the power of the assem­bly in all matters referred to them from it: regularly they can act in nothing but what is recommended from the assembly; but then that recommendation often in­cludes a general clause, impowering them to act in every thing that may be for the good of the church. They are accountable to the next general assembly, and therefore keep a register of their proceedings.

When the assembly are to rise, the Moderator tells them that it is time to dissolve themselves, and appoint another assembly in the name of their master, the Lord Jesus Christ: then he speaks to the Commissioner, in the name of the assembly, who returns an answer, and then dissolves them in the King's name, and fixes the time and place for the new assembly, which is always to be within a year and a day after the dissolution of the old one. The Moderator then prays, and the assembly sing a psalm; after which the Moderator blesses them, and they separate.

The deacon, whose office is for life, is chosen by the kirk-session in every parish, approved by the con­gregation, and solemnly set apart by the minister, af­ter a sermon and prayer for the occasion. He collects the offerings for the poor, inquires into their necessi­ties, and distributes to them as the kirk-session ap­points; he assists at the communion, and attends the ministers and elders in their visitations and examina­tions. He has no vote in the kirk-sessions, but may give his opinion, if asked; nor has he any stipend from the parish.

The ruling elders are chosen out of the parish by the kirk-session, and ordained before the congrega­tion, after sermon and prayer; their office is also for [Page 98]life, in case of no misdemeanor. They assist the mi­nisters in overseeing and correcting the manners of the people, attend them in visiting and catechising their districts in the parishes, in praying with the sick, in private admonitions, and at the communion-table. In all matters of government and discipline they have an equal vote with the ministers.

Ministers, or preaching presbyters, only can preach and administer the sacraments, catechise, pronounce church-censures, ordain deacons and ruling elders, assist at the imposition of hands upon other ministers, and moderate, or preside, in all ecclesiastical judicatories. Severe scrutinies are made into their qualifications, re­specting life and manners; they must be competently skilled in the scriptures, the learned languages, and all sorts of divinity. They are always tried by the presby­tery, before they are licensed to preach, in order to have calls to be ministers of any parish. Indeed, in Scotland, all their ministers have an university-educa­tion, and at least have commenced Master of Arts. They are not ordained till they have obtained a call to a particular flock, and when that is obtained, they can­not desert it, without the authority of a presbytery, or some superior judicatory. To be guilty of non-resi­dence merits deprivation. If the call is agreed to by the congregation, the minister present attests it by his subscription, in their presence, and then reports it to the presbytery, who acquaint the person concerned, as soon as possible. If on trial he satisfies the presbytery, they then issue out an edict, that all who can object any thing against this nominee, should appear before the presbytery, there to make good their allegations. If the objections are of weight, or even doubtful, the or­dination is suspended, till a more perfect trial, other­wise they proceed to ordination. On the ordination-day, a fast is strictly kept to implore God's blessing upon the work they are about; the Moderator preaches upon the nature and dignity of the ministerial office, the per­son [Page 99]to be ordained is examined of his faith and assent to the doctrine and discipline of the kirk, the motive of his coming into the ministry, and whether by any indirect means he has obtained his presentation or call, of his resolution to do his duty faithfully, &c. &c. &c. If he answers to the Moderator's satisfaction, the parishioners ratify their choice by lifting up their hands. The Moderator and ministers present, then lay their hands upon his head, and so ordain him minister of the gospel, and pastor of that congregation. The ordina­tion being over, the elders, heritors, and chief parish­ioners, take their minister by the hand. If the nominee had been ordained before, he is only recommended to the people, with a suitable sermon and prayers, by the Moderator, and the people take him by the hand. The patron, for at present every parish has a patron, is bound to nominate, or present, in six months after a vacancy, otherwise the presbytery fills the place, jure devoluto; but that privilege does not hold in royal burghs. Patronages were restored by 10 Anne.

The stipends of ministers should, at the very lowest, be 50 l. sterling per annum. Some are 150l. per ann. out of which they pay a proportionable tax for the support of the widows and orphans of ministers.

Such as are found guilty of assaulting the lives of ministers, or robbing their houses, or actually attempt­ing the same, shall be punished by death, and escheat of moveables. Five hundred merks is allowed to the discoverer, and three hundred merks to the apprehender of the criminals, to be paid out of the King's treasury. For their better accommodation, they are provided with convenient parsonage houses (manses), and where they are not fitting, the heritors of the parish shall build complete ones for them, not exceeding 1000 l. nor under 500 merks value.

The kirk-session can judge in matters of lesser scan­dal; they can suspend from the Lord's supper for a time: their consent in the call of a minister and pre­centor [Page 100](parish-clerk) is necessary. They provide all necessaries for the communion, regulate all particulars relative to public worship, and give notice of all ca­techisings and parochial visitations. They have a trea­surer, who is chosen out of the deacons, to keep and distribute the poor's money: they keep two registers, one of births and marriages, the other of their own proceedings, which they must lay before the presby­tery. Appeals lie from them, in all cases, to their own presbytery, whom they must not contradict.

Presbyteries have no jurisdiction beyond their own bounds. They determine all appeals from kirk-sessions; but can try nothing at the first instance, which is cog­nizable before a kirk-session. They compose all diffe­rences between ministers and people, for which they hold presbyterial visitations in every parish, where they examine the registers of kirk-sessions, and censure or commend as they find cause. They inquire into re­pairs of churches, and see that glebes and manses suf­fer no dilapidation. They appoint schools, and see that the funds settled by act of parliament for that purpose be not misemployed; and the schoolmasters are subject to their censure and examination. They only can inflict the greater excommunication, i. e. ab­solute prohibition of the communion. They licence probationers, interpose in all calls and ordinations of ministers, suspend and depose them, and, in fine, de­termine ecclesiastical matters of all kinds within their bounds; but so as not to contradict any act of parlia­ment. There lies an appeal, in all cases, from the presbyteries to the provincial synods. Before they in­flict private censures, they observe a fast. In these private censures every minister withdraws by turns, and the Moderator inquires of the rest concerning his conduct, and, according to the report, they are called in, and commended or censured. All ecclesiastical ju­dicatories, it may be here observed, begin, adjourn, and dissolve themselves by prayer.

[Page 101]Presbyteries are subject to the privy censures of the synods, as ministers are to those of the presbyteries. At every ordinary session of the provincial synods, a diet is appointed, i. e. one certain time, in which these privy censures are performed.

Before every communion, the minister visits and ex­amines every family in his parish, once at least; of which visits notice is given the preceding Lord's day, that every district may know when he intends to visit them. To live six weeks in a parish makes a man a parishioner; after which, if he leaves it, he must get a certificate of his good behaviour, signed by the mi­nister or kirk-session clerk, in the name, and with con­sent, of the kirk-session. If the new comer only re­moves from another family in the parish, his name is transferred in the register (or examination-book) to its proper place. The minister, on his visit, marks and enters the children in his examination-book, if they are of a fit age. He then exhorts every one to a strict observance of their respective duties, and particularly to family-prayer, reading the scriptures, and singing of psalms. To omit family-prayer is esteemed very scandalous; and the omission is often punished by ex­communication. At parting, the minister usually prays with every family. Visitation being over, the minister gives notice when he will examine the persons marked in his book. Every district comes to church by themselves, at the time appointed; and the minister, accompanied by the elder and deacon of that district, examines them, in order as they stand in the examina­tion-book. He examines them out of the shorter Catechism; and if the person answers, he catechises up­on those questions, and instructs them in what is dif­ficult. He marks at every one's name how they answer. Grown persons, who have been often exa­mined, are not catechised, when they are found to be sufficiently knowing; this exercise being chiefly in­tended for children and ignorant persons.

[Page 102]Every Lord's day there is public worship twice in every parish-church in Scotland *. First a psalm is sung, which is read, and then tuned by the minister, or parish-clerk; after which the minister prays, and then reads a chapter or two out of the Bible, which he expounds for about half an hour; this they call lecturing: then another psalm is sung, then another prayer offered up; after which sermon begins, and that ended, there is another prayer, and another psalm, and then all is concluded with the minister's blessing. In the afternoon there is no lecturing.

Baptism, in the church of Scotland, is administered by none but the minister, who does it by sprinkling; and whether it is performed at church or at home, there is always a sermon before it. The father, or, in his absence, some reputable neighbour, presents the infant to the minister, who asks the parent, if he desires the child shall be received into the visible church, and re­ceive the signs and seals of the covenant of grace, by baptism? Upon his answering yea, the minister dis­courses on the nature of baptism, &c. &c. and then sprinkles a little water in the child's face, in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Some time before the Lord's supper is administered, the congregation is to have notice thereof from the pulpit. The week before, the kirk-session meets, and draws up a list of all the communicants in the parish, according to the minister's examination-book, and the restimony of the elders and deacons. According to this list, tickets are delivered to each communicant, if desired, and the ministers and elders also give tickets to strangers who bring sufficient testimonials. None are allowed to communicate without such tickets, which are produced at the table. Those who never received are instructed by the minister, severally, and by them­selves, in the nature of the sacraments, and taught [Page 103]what is the proper preparation thereunto. The com­munion is always celebrated upon the Lord's day. The Wednesday or Thursday before there is a solemn fast, and on the Saturday there are two preparatory sermons. On Sunday morning, after singing and prayer as usual, the minister of the parish preaches a suitable sermon; and, when the ordinary worship is ended, he, in the name of Jesus Christ, forbids the unworthy to approach, and invites the penitent to come and receive the sacrament. Then he goes into the body of the church, where one or two tables, accord­ing to its width, are placed, reaching from one end to the other, covered with a white linen cloth, and seats on both sides, for the communicants. The mi­nister places himself at the end or middle of the table, on which the elements are placed. After a short dis­course, he reads the institution, and blesses the elements; then he breaks the bread, and distributes it and the wine to those that are next him, who transmit them to their neighbours; the elders and deacons attending to serve, and to see that the whole is performed with decency and order. Whilst these communicate, the minister discourses concerning the nature of the sacra­ment. When the first company has received, they withdraw, and others take their places; and whilst this is performing, a psalm is sung, and so they continue till all have communicated. The minister then returns to the pulpit, and discourses concerning the particular cases of communicants; and, with thanksgiving and singing of psalms, the morning service is concluded. Then the congregation is dismissed for an hour, and so meet again, when they have the usual afternoon worship; and on Monday, about nine o'clock in the morning, there is public worship and two sermons, which close the whole.

On these occasions, the parish-minister is assisted by two or three of his neighbours, and seldom preaches [Page 104]oftener than the morning of the sacrament-day. No private communions are allowed in Scotland.

No holy-days are observed in Scotland, besides the Lord's-day, which is observed with great exactness. They likewise observe fasts and thanksgivings; in ap­pointing which, tho' they attribute a power to the church, yet they have the sanction of the Privy Coun­cil, as thereby they may be more strictly kept.

Marriage is solemnized by the minister, and none can marry that are nearer than cousin germans; pro­hibited degrees in blood hold also in affinity. Banns are asked, on three several Lord's days, in churches where both parties live, before marriage can be con­tracted. The minister first prays, then discourses upon the institution, rise, and ends of matrimony, and the duties the parties owe to each other. The rest of the ceremony, save the use of the ring, as well as the form of words used, are nearly the same as those in the church of England. The whole is concluded with a prayer.

The discipline of the church of Scotland is regulated by two acts of assembly, one dated April 4, 1705, the other April 18, 1717, which declare that nothing shall be accounted scandalous, but what is accounted so by the word of God, or by some act or universal custom of the church of Scotland agreeable thereto. If a scandal be not notified in five years, it shall not be revived so as to form a process thereanent, unless it becomes again flagrant; but in such cases, the con­sciences of the offenders ought to be dealt with in pri­vate, to bring them to a sense of their sin and duty. All church-judicatories have power to convene, exa­mine, and censure every person within their own bounds, in all ecclesiastical causes cognizable before every such judicatory. Persons living without the bounds of any judicatory, shall not, for order sake, be cited by them; but they shall desire the judicatory, under whom such persons live, to cause him to appear before the ju­dicatory, before whom the cause is to be examined. [Page 105]Ministers are not subject to their own kirk-sessions, but to the superior judicatories of the church. In scan­dals, private admonition is to be first used. Where persons or parties are concerned, the court must give them, first, a legal and timely citation, setting forth the causes thereof: if the person resides in the parish, forty-eight hours notice is sufficient, and the officer must certify his having properly executed the summons, by calling the party at his door. No man is to be de­clared contumacious till he has been three times cited, either personally or at his dwelling house, if the cause be tried at the first instance; but if it be in the case of a reference or appeal, where the person had actually appeared already before an inferior court, a citation apud acta, to appear before his superior, is sufficient if it be minuted; and if instructed, infers contumacy if not obeyed. Though in these cases a man may be pro­nounced, forthwith, contumacious, upon his non-ap­pearances, and not producing any relevant (sufficient) excuse; yet the court is advised to examine and try the cause, either by witnesses upon oath, or otherwise, before they pronounce the person cited contumacious. If the party appears, the Moderator is to acquaint him with the cause, and to give him, if desired, a note of the cause, and the witnesses that are to be made use of. Where there is no formal complaint, there is no need of accusers or informers, but the party cited is peremp­torily to answer the questions put to him by the court: but then, if he be acquitted, the court, whether he requires it or not, should censure the informers for ca­lumny or impudence. The defender should have a list of the names of the witnesses, some time before, or at his appearance. These ought also to have timely notice, that they may appear and give their evidence. If they do not appear after the third summons, they may be proceeded against as contumacious, and ap­plication may be made to the civil magistrate to oblige them to appear. What the party can object in his own [Page 106]vindication, is to be discussed, before the witnesses can be judicially examined: if the court thinks his objec­tions just, the witnesses are to be cast. An informer may be a witness, where he does not formally com­plain for his own interest, or where there are no pre­sumptions of malice in the accusation. Witnesses, even where there is no relevant objection, must purge themselves of malice, bribes, good deed done, or to be done, and partial counsel. Witnesses are to be sworn and examined before the Moderator and the person accused; and, if he appears, the accused may desire to have the witnesses cross-examined, when they have given in all their evidence. Before the proof is made, the accused may offer grounds of exculpation, i. e. bring witnesses to prove his innocence, which if he insists upon, it must be allowed. If the exculpa­tion be fully proved, e. g. if he can prove an alibi, he must be acquitted. But there is no room for exculpa­tion, after depositions are once taken. Witnesses must subscribe all their depositions if they can write; or, if they cannot, the Moderator must subscribe it for them. Depositions being taken, the parties withdraw, and the matter is calmly debated by the presbytery. Fugitives, whilst process is depending, must first be cited to ap­pear, from the pulpits of their respective parishes; then from the pulpit of every parish in the presbytery. If they do not at last appear, they are to be declared fugi­tives from church-discipline, and that declaration must be intimated in all the bounds of the presbytery; and pro­cess is to be stopped, till notice can begot of those persons. In case of drunkenness, disobedience to parents, Sab­bath-breaking, swearing, cursing, scolding, fighting, lying, cheating, or stealing, the persons guilty are or­dinarily admonished in private only for the first offence; for the second offence, rebuked by the session, and, on promise of amendment, there they are to stop. If no amendment follows, the kirk-session should pro­ceed to the sentence of lesser excommunication, un­der [Page 107]which the person is to lie, till amendment appears. If the guilty person neglects to take the sentence off, and relapses into the vices for which he is censured, it may be construed into such a degree of contumacy, as may merit the greater excommunication, which may be inflicted or not, as shall be judged convenient. Other crimes that come before the ecclesiastical judicatories, are cases of uncleanness, where there is no child—of a married woman's being with child whose husband has been absent longer than the usual time of her going with child—of an unmarried woman being with child, who should be pronounced contumacious if she will not discover the father—of the delated father of the child —of incest—adultery—relapse in fornication—murder —atheism—idolatry—witchcraft—maiming—he­resy—error publickly vented—schism, &c. &c. These acts above-mentioned settle the manner of ap­peal to the presbytery, &c. the manner of treating complaints against ministers, &c. &c. which some of my readers would think tedious, and for which the more curious had better consult the acts themselves *.

In ordinary cases the lesser excommunication only is inslicted, which is done after much deliberation and tenderness to the criminal, and with great solemnity; the people are exhorted not to hold unnecessary-com­munion with him. The greater excommunication the church only inflicts upon the most obstinate offenders. It is the expulsion of the offender from the communion of the faithful, a debarring him from all the privileges of church-membership, and, in the words of the apostle, a delivery of him over to Satan. However, ex­communication dissolves no civil or natural rights, nor does it exempt from the duties belonging to them.

[Page 108]If when all this is done, it be found ineffectual for the purposes intended, the civil magistrate should be desired to use his coercive power to suppress all such offences, and to vindicate the discipline of the church from contempt.

The end of church-censure being the repentance of the sinner, if he shews real signs of godly sorrow, and if, upon application to the presbytery first made, they give a warrant for his absolution, he is to be brought before the congregation, and there confess his sin, and express his sorrow for it. This is to be repeated as often as the presbytery and kirk-session shall judge con­venient. When the congregation is thus satisfied of his repentance, the minister is, in a prayer with the congregation, to desire our Lord Jesus Christ, who has instituted the ordinance of excommunication, i. e. of binding and loosing the sins of men upon earth, with a promise of ratifying above, the rightful sen­tence that shall be passed here below, to accept of this man's repentance, to forgive his former disobedience, and to assist him with his spirit, that he may never a­gain relapse into the like offences. And then, prayer being ended, he pronounces the sentence of absolution, by which he wholly takes off the former sentence, and receives him into the communion of the church, and the free use of all the ordinances of Christ. Sentence being passed, the minister exhorts him, as a brother, to perseverance in his godly resolution; the elders embrace him, and the congregation, thence forward, communicate with him as a member of their own body; and wherever the sentence of excommunication hath been published, the sentence of absolution is also expressly intimated.

In all matters of church-discipline, there never is one penny of fee or reward required or taken *: citations, examinations, censures, and absolutions, are never [Page 109]expensive in the least, to the delinquent: nor have any members of any ecclesiastical judicatory in Scotland any gain thereby: nor is there any civil penalty in­curred, by being censured by the church, all the se­vere laws against excommunicated persons, formerly in force, having been repealed since the happy revo­lution.

At burials of the dead the church of Scotland uses neither funeral sermons or any public prayers; they are performed without any ceremony of words, only the bodies are decently attended to the graves, by all that please to go; of which they have notice (at Edin­bugh particularly) by ringing of a hand-bell thro' the street, by the cryer, who says, "All brethren and sisters, I let you to wot that there is a brother— or sister—departed at the pleasure of Almighty God, &c." and then gives notice when he or she is to be interred. When the corpse is silently laid in the grave, the funeral rites are ended, and every one re­tires to their several habitations.

For the advancement of religion in Scotland, the society for propagating Christian knowledge, was erected by letters-patent from Queen Anne, "granting them full power to receive subscriptions, mortifica­tions, donations, legacies, sums of money, lands, goods and gear, and therewith to erect and maintain schools to teach to read, especially the holy scriptures, and other good and pious books; and also to teach writing and arithmetic, and such like degrees of knowledge, in the highlands, islands, and remote corners of Scotland," appointing their meetings, &c. &c. These letters­patent bear date May 25, 1709, which year the general assembly passed an act to encourage the design of erecting charity-schools. Both these institutions have met with deserved success: in every parish there is a charity-school, whose master has a salary from the public, and the scholars allow them some small matter quarterly. In country-schools they teach writing, arith­metic, [Page 110]and reading English, and in some Latin. In the royal burghs they teach Latin and Greek, and have tolerable salaries; besides that each scholar gives 2 s. or 2 s. 6 d. a quarter; and in these schools they teach nothing else, having English and writing schools besides, in all places where they have grammar schools. In country-parishes, the schoolmaster is usually pre­centor and kirk-session clerk, which brings him in some advantage; for he receives 1 s. and sometimes 1 s. and 8 d. for asking banns of marriage; 8 d. for registering a child that is christened; and 3d. for a certificate for any person that removes out of the parish. The schoolmasters are obliged to take the oath of allegiance, to subscribe the confession of faith, and must submit to a trial from the presbytery of the bounds.

For a continual supply of ministers in the church of Scotland, it was ordained by the general assembly, in 1645, that a number of pious youths, of good ex­pectations and approved ability, should be chosen and sent bursars or exhibitioners, to the universities, by the several presbyteries of Scotland. These bursars are to be allowed for their maintenance 100 l. Scots, per an­num at least, to be taken out of the kirk-penalties, and to be collected by the Moderator of each presby­tery, by equal divided portions; the one half to be brought in at the winter-synod, and given to the bursars, and the other half at the summer-synod, to be sent to them. The bursar not to continue at the university above four years, and when any are removed by death, or called to a particular charge, others are to succeed in their room. All bursars of theology are obliged to bring sufficient testimonies from the universities, where they are bred, of their proficiency and good behaviour, and be also ready to give proof of their labours, at the several synods, if it shall be required: and if they are found deficient, their exhibitions are taken away, and given to others.

[Page 111]Besides bursars from the presbyteries, there are others maintained by noblemen and gentlemen, ministers and others, who have left great sums of money for that end; the interest whereof is applied to maintain poor students: and by a gift of King William III. divers students have considerable allowances to study beyond seas; which gift is charged upon the revenues of the late Bishops.

In the year 1578, the city of Edinburgh founded their high school, by warrant and encouragement from King James VI. whence it took the name of the King's school; it has a master, four ushers, a writing master, and a janitor; all which have fixed, competent salaries, except the writing master, whose benefit is casual. It hath a public library erected by the town-council in 1658, principally consisting of the Latin and Greek classics.

The universities of Scotland are four, St. Andrew's, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh, besides the Ma­rischal college at Aberdeen.

Faith and Doctrines of the Church of SCOTLAND.

AS I have already said so much of Calvin and his principles of religion *, and so many particulars of the faith and doctrines of the church of Scotland have occurred in the foregoing pages, it will be sufficient to give a summary of the doctrines of that church, in as few words as possibly can be employed to that pur­pose.—They believe, that the Old and New Testa­ment is the only rule of faith and practice.—That the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, three persons, are one God; the same in substance, equal in power and glory.—That God hath fore-ordained all that shall come to pass.—The doctrine of original sin, or that all mankind, by the fall of their first parents, lost [Page 112]communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all the miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell for ever *.—The doctrine of election; that God, out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a redeemer.—That the only redeemer of God's elect is Jesus Christ, who being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, and continueth to be God and man, in two distinct natures and one person.—That effectual calling is the work of God's spirit.—That we are justified by God's free grace, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.—That the souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory, and their bodies still being united to Christ, do rest in their graves till the resurrection.—That every sin deserveth God's wrath and curse, both in this life and that which is to come; to escape which wrath and curse, due to us for sin, God requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, which faith is a saving grace, whereby we receive, and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.—That repentance is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth with grief and hatred of his sin turn from it unto God, with full pur­pose of, and endeavour after a new obedience.—That the outward and ordinary means, whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption, are his ordinances, especially the word, sacraments and prayer, all which are made effectual to the elect, for salvation.—That the Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching of the word, an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of [Page 113]building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation.—That the word must be attended unto with diligence, preparation and prayer; received with faith and love, laid up in our hearts, and practised in our lives, to make it effectual to salvation.—That the sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them, or in him that doth ad­minister them, but only by the blessing of Christ, and the working of the spirit in them that by faith receive them.—That the sacrament is an holy ordinance, in­stituted by Christ, wherein by sensible signs, Christ and the benefits of the new covenant are represented, sealed, and applied to believers.—That the sacraments of the New Testament are baptism and the Lord's supper.—That baptism is a sacrament wherein the washing with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, doth signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the bene­fits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord's.—That baptism is to be administered to such only as profess their faith in Christ and obedience to him; but the infants of such as are members of the visible church are to be baptised.—That the Lord's supper is a sacrament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to Christ's appointment, his death is shewed forth, and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace.—That it is required of them that would wor­thily partake of the Lord's supper, that they examine themselves of their knowledge to discern the Lord's body, of their faith to feed upon him, of their re­pentance, love, and new obedience, lest coming un­worthily, they eat and drink judgment to themselves. That prayer is an offering up of our desires to God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledg­ment [Page 114]of his mercy.—That the special rule of direction for prayer, is the Lord's prayer.

I have purposely gathered these heads of belief and doctrine from the assembly's shorter catechism, as since revised by a minister of the gospel, knowing it to be most agreeable to the sentiments of the moderate members of the church of Scotland. Two catechisms were formed out of the Westminster confession of Faith; one larger, for the service of a public exposition in the pulpit, according to the custom of foreign churches; the other smaller, in both which the articles relating to church-discipline are omitted. The smaller is a very accurate summary of the confession of faith, which contains the established doctrine of the kirk.—To those who would see the sentiments of the more rigid kirkmen, if the foregoing histories are not sufficient, I would recommend a perusal of the confession of 1580, or the above-mentioned confession, with the national covenant of 1638, the solemn league and covenant, and the solemn acknowledgment of public sins and breaches of the covenant, the republication of which would not be consistent with the necessary brevity of my design.

The History of the PRESBYTERIANS.

THIS denomination of Protestant Dissenters have been called by different names at different pe­riods of time. In their first attempts for a further refor­mation of the church, they were, by way of reproach, termed Puritans, a name derived from the Cathari or Puritani of the third century after Christ. The ungenerous and cruel persecutions they suffered for conscience sake, in the reigns of Elizabeth, James I. and Charles I. will ever reflect disgrace upon the memory of those Princes.

I might say that Wickliffe, the first English re­former, maintained many of those points, by which the Puritans were afterwards distinguished, or trace them from the reign of Edward VI. when many ex­cellent [Page 115]divines were endeavouring a further reforma­tion from the ceremonies and fopperies of the church of Rome, particularly with regard to the Popish vest­ments. But I shall observe that the reformed exiles, who were driven to Franckfort, to avoid the cruelties of Mary I. (and who being outed from thence by those reformers, who stickled for King Edward's liturgy in 1556, which the others scrupled the use of) and who afterwards set up congregations at Basil and Geneva, and there followed the Geneva discipline, were first called Puritans, as their opponents obtained the name of Conformists. The history of the church of England, foregoing, has particularly recited their various suffer­ings, for their opposition to the habits *, and their scruples in regard to the act of uniformity, with their separation from the church thereon. But they had other objections against the hierarchy, besides those for which they were deprived, which they laboured incessantly throughout the reign of Elizabeth to re­move; they complained of the Bishops affecting to be thought a superior order to Presbyters, and claiming the sole right of ordination, and the use of the keys. They disliked the temporal dignities and lordships an­nexed to their offices, and their engaging in secular employments, and trusts, &c. as tending to exalt them too much above their brethren, and not so agreeable to their characters, as ministers of Christ, nor con­sistent with the due discharge of their spiritual func­tion.—They excepted to the titles and offices of Arch­deacons, Deans, Chapters, and other officials belonging to cathedrals, as having no foundation in scripture, or primitive antiquity, but intrenching upon the privileges of the presbyters of the several dioceses. They com­plained of the exorbitant power and jurisdiction of the Bishops and their Chancellors in their spiritual courts, as derived from the canon law of the Pope, and not [Page 116]from the word of God, or the statute law of the land: of their fining, imprisoning, depriving, and putting men to excessive charges for small offences; and that the highest censures, such as excommunication and ab­solution, were in the hands of laymen, and not in the spiritual officers of the church.—They lamented the want of a godly discipline, and were uneasy at the promiscuous and general access of all persons to the Lord's table. The church being described in her ar­ticles as a congregation of faithful persons, they thought it necessary that a power should be lodged somewhere, to inquire into the qualifications of such as desired to be of her communion.—Though they did not dispute the lawfulness of set forms of prayer, provided a due liberty was allowed for prayers of their own com­posure, before and after sermon; yet they disliked some things in the public liturgy, established by law; as the frequent repetition of the Lord's prayer, the re­sponses, some passages in the offices of marriage, burial, &c. such as, with my body I thee worship; i [...] sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life, to be pronounced over the worst of men, if not excom­municated, &c.—They disliked the reading of the apo­cryphal books in the churches, whilst some parts of the canonical books were omitted; dumb ministers, plura­lists, and non-residents, and that presentations to bene­fices were in the hands of the Queen, Bishops, or some lay patron, which ought to arise from the election of the people.—They disapproved of the approbation of sundry of the church festivals, or holidays, as having no foundation in scripture, or primitive antiquity; such as saints days, fasting on Friday, &c. in Lent, &c.— They disallowed of the cathedral mode of worship; of singing their prayers, and of the Antiphone, o [...] chanting of the psalms, by turns, trumpets, organs, &c. which were not in use in the church, for above 1200 years after Christ.—They scrupled confor­mity to certain rites and ceremonies, which were in­joined [Page 117]by the rubrick, or the Queen's injunctions; viz. To the sign of the cross in baptism; baptism by mid­wives; the manner of churching women; the use of god­fathers and godmothers, to the exclusion of the parents from being sureties for the education of their own child­ren, &c. &c. the custom of confirming children, as soon as they could repeat the Lord's prayer and catechism, by which they had a right to come to the sacrament without any other qualification; this might be done by children of five or six years old; kneeling at the sacrament of the Lord's supper; bowing to the name of Jesus; the ring in marriage; to the wearing of the surplice and other vestments to be used in divine service. There was no difference in points of doctrine; so that one article more, and my readers have the chief heads of controversy between the church of England and the Protestant Dissenters at this time, viz. "The natural right that every man has to judge for himself, and make profession of that religion he apprehends most agreeable to truth, as far as it does not affect the peace and safety of the government he lives under, without being de­termined by the prejudices of education, the laws of the civil magistrate, or the decrees of councils, churches or synods."

In the maintenance of their conscientious separa­tion, they seemed inspired with all the courage and fortitude of the primitive confessors and martyrs; in point of argument they had much the better of their adversaries; but had no protection against the pains, penalties, imprisonments and fines imposed by the governing powers; under which however they in general behaved with Christian meekness and unex­ampled patience.

The first Presbyterian church in England was erected at Wandsworth, a village near London, and, on the 20th of November 1572, eleven elders were chosen, and their offices described, in a register, in­titled the order of Wandsworth. Other churches, notwith­standing [Page 118]proclamations for uniformity, &c. were soon erected in other counties, though with the utmost pri­vacy and secresy. Under James the First's persecution, numbers of Puritan ministers and others left the king­dom, and retired to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague, Leyden, Utrecht, &c. &c. and erected churches in those places after the Presbyterian model; those churches were maintained by the states, according to treaty with Queen Elizabeth, as the French and Dutch churches were in England.

The Puritans were far from finding any relaxation, of the severities exercised against them, in the reign of the unfortunate Charles I. who following the violent advice of Archbishop Laud, reduced them to the necessity of quitting the kingdom in still greater numbers, by his espousing Arminianism, and opposing the old Calvinistical doctrines. Arminianism and Popery may be said to have been prevalent in his court; but were warmly opposed by the Calvinists. Laud introduced Popish ornaments into the churches, turned the communion-tables into altars, punishing those that opposed him with the utmost severity, and with a total disregard to the laws of the land. The opposers to these and other innovations were stiled doc­trinal Puritans, and the patronisers doctrinal Papists. Indeed it seemed to be Laud's favourite scheme to bring about a union of the churches of England and Rome, to which he sacrificed the interests of the king­dom, of his master, and finally his own life. By his own arbitrary will he made many alterations in the book of Common Prayer, by which he rendered it still more exceptionable to the Puritans; numbers of worthy clergymen were deprived, and suffered the ut­most rigours for not reading and inforcing the decla­ration for the allowance of revels, may-games, &c. &c. on the Sabbath-day; and, in short, the Puritan divines and others, on these accounts, underwent as cruel a persecution as could be carried on by an inqui­sition. [Page 119]If some of these conscientious people were too strict and precise in their opposition, they could not be much blamed, as there seemed such a visible design to defeat the blessed effects of the reformation, by coun­tenancing and adopting all the ceremonies and fopperies of the Romish church. These persecutions occasioned the settlement of the colonies of New England, where many learned and pious ministers, eminent merchants, and some thousands of families, transported themselves to avoid the rage of their enemies. Heylin observes, "the severe pressing of the ceremonies made the people in many trading towns tremble at a visitation; but when they found their striving in vain, and that they had lost the comfort of their lecturers *, who were turned out for not reading the second service at the communion-table in their hoods and surplices, and for using other prayers besides that of the fifty-fifth canon, it was no hard matter for those ministers to persuade them to transport themselves into foreign parts. The sun (said they) shines as comfortably in other places, and the sun of righteousness much brighter; 'tis better to go and dwell in Goshen, find it where we can, than tarry in the midst of such Egyptian bondage as is among us; the sinful corruptions of the church are now grown so gene­ral, that there is no place free from the contagion; there­fore go out of her, my people, and be not partaker of her sins.


[Page 120]The body of the Puritans were, however, not now Presbyterians; in the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. they were for the most part of that opinion, though even then there were many Episcopalians among them; but from the time that Arminianism prevailed in the church, and the whole body of Calvinists were to be distinguished by the name of Doctrinal Puritans, both parties seemed to unite in a moderate Episcopacy; for there was little or no mention of the old book of dis­cipline, for twenty years before the beginning of the civil war, all the controversy being upon points of Cal­vinism; upon a reduction of the exorbitant power of the Bishops, and upon innovations (as they were called) and ceremonies; there were few, either among the clergy or laity, that had a zeal for Presbytery, or desired any more than to be rid of their oppressions.

Many of the ceremonies and innovations complain­ed of by the Puritans were removed, by the long par­liament, in 1641, and lectures again established. They voted away the hierarchy of the church of England; but still, at the beginning of the civil war, no other discipline was erected in its room; nor, as Mr. Neale observes, was the name, stile, and dignity of Arch­bishops and Bishops taken away by ordinance of parli­ament, till September 5, 1646, i. e. till the war was over, and the King their prisoner. In this interval there was properly no established form of church-go­vernment, the clergy being permitted to read more or less of the liturgy as they pleased, and to govern their parishes according to their discretion. The vestments were left indifferent, some wearing them, and others, in imitation of the foreign Protestants, making use of a cloak. In the place of that profaneness and con­tempt of religion visible before the civil war, all orders of men in the city, army, and country, became devout and pious. "The generality of those people *, through­out [Page 121]out England, who went by the name of Puritans, Pre­cisians, Presbyterians, who followed sermons, prayed in their families, read books of devotion, and were strict observers of the Sabbath, being avowed enemies to swearing, drunkenness, and all kinds of profaneness, adhered to the parliament."—"Of the clergy, those who were of the sentiments of Calvin, who were con­stant preachers of the word of God themselves, and en­couragers of it in others, who were zealous against Po­pery, and wished for a reformation of the discipline of the church, were on the parliament's side. Among those were some of the elder clergy, who were pre­ferred before the rise of Archbishop Laud; all the de­prived and silenced ministers, with the whole body of lecturers and warm popular preachers, both in town and country; these drew after them great numbers of the more serious and devout people, who were not ca­pable of judging between the King and parliament, but followed their spiritual guides, from a veneration they had for their integrity and piety." No wonder with such instruments the parliament did such great things; for even the sober men who were against the parliament, used to say, "The King had the better cause, but the parliament had the better men."

On June 12, 1643, both houses of parliament joint­ly published an ordinance for the calling an assembly of divines, for settling the government and liturgy of the church of England, to meet July 1, in Henry VII.'s chapel in Westminster abbey, hence called the West­minster assembly. This famous assembly drew up the well known confession of faith, a larger and shorter catechism, and a form of church-government after the Presbyterian mode, being principally urged thereto by the low state of the parliament, and the indispensible ne­cessity there was for the assistance of the Scots, whose commissioners were sent to join with them (as observed p. 60, before going) they admitted of the solemn [Page 122]league and covenant. Our commissioners, as Burnet observes, pressed for a civil league, but the Scots would have a religious one; to which the English were obliged to yield, but took care, at the same time, to leave a door open for the latitude of interpretation. "The English in foreign parts were not exempted from this test. December 20, 1643, it was ordered by the Lords and Commons, that no person should be ca­pable of being elected a common council-man of the city of London, or so much as have a voice in such elections, who has not taken the covenant. January 29, 1644, it was ordered by the Commons, that the solemn league and covenant be, upon every day of fasting and public humiliation, publickly read in eve­ry church and congregation within the kingdom; and every congregation is obliged to have one, fairly print­ed in a large letter, in a table fitted to be hung up in a public place of the church or congregation, to be read by the people. All young ministers were required to take the covenant at their ordination; none of the laity were continued in any office of trust, civil or mili­tary, who refused it. Thus the very persons who had opposed tests and subscriptions under Episcopacy, now were forward to impose them, in the severest manner, upon their fellow subjects and fellow Christians. In­deed the assembly, though composed in general of men of learning and excellent divines, yet had a persecuting zeal, and hurt themselves by running into heats upon the divine right of Presbyterian government, which lost them, together with their enmity to toleration, the hearts and support of the parliament and their best friends. The Episcopal party had no concern in the government of the church from the time of the taking the covenant to the restoration, though the hierarchy was not yet set aside by an ordinance of parliament. There were no more ecclesiastical courts, no wearing the habits, no regard paid to the canons or ceremonies, [Page 123]nor even to the common prayer itself. Whilst the assembly of divines sat, all church-business went thro' their hands; the parishes chose their ministers, the assembly examined and approved, and the parliament confirmed them in their benefices, without any regard to the Archbishop or his Vicar. In the distant counties the ministers were put in by the parliament Generals, as appears by an ordinance of February 27, 1643, giving authority to Lord Fairfax to supply the churches in the North, the preamble to which recites, that "the houses being credibly informed that many mi­nisters, in the county of York, were not only of a scandalous life, but having left their churches and cures, had withdrawn themselves wilfully from the same, and joined such forces as had been raised against the parliament, and assisted them with men, money, horses and arms; therefore it is ordained, that Lord Fairfax be authorised to fill up their places with such learned and godly divines as he shall think fit, with advice of the assembly." In 1644 the universities were purged, and many of the officers deprived, with above 200 graduates and scholars, whose places were supplied by the assembly of divines, principally with Calvinist mi­nisters, &c. &c. and the livings from which the hier­archical clergy were ejected, were also supplied by Presbyterian divines; so that presbytery was now the reigning religion; and it must be confessed, the Presby­terians were as determined against toleration as ever the church of England had lately been. But it must be said they brought religion to be the reigning fashion, the Lord's day was strictly observed, all profaneness and immorality were discouraged, and the care and pains of the new governors of the church was abundantly visible in the lives and behaviour of all ranks of peo­ple throughout the kingdom.

After many and long debates in the Westminster assembly and the parliament, on the divine right of [Page 124]presbytery, the power of the keys, &c. the Pres­byterian form of church-government became the national establishment, in 1645, by way of proba­tion, as far as an ordinance of parliament could make it; for the preamble sets forth, "That if upon trial it was not found acceptable, it should be reversed or amended: that the two houses found it very diffi­cult to make the new settlement agree with the laws and government of the kingdom: that therefore it could not be expected that a present rule, in every particular, should be settled at once; but that there will be need of supplements and additions, and per­haps alterations, as experience shall bring to light the necessity thereof."—"The parliament apprehended * they had now established the fundamentals of the Pres­byterian discipline, tho' it proved not to the satisfac­tion of any one party of Christians; so hard it is to make a good settlement when men dig up old founda­tions all at once. The Presbyterian government was as narrow as the prelatical; and as it did not allow a liberty of conscience, but claimed a civil, as well as ecclesiastical authority, over men's persons and proper­ties, was equally, if not more, insufferable."—"The settling presbytery was supported by the fear and love of the Scots army; and when these were gone home, it was better managed by the English army, who were for Independency, and a better principle of toleration; but as things stood, no-body was pleased; the Episcopalians and Independants were excluded; and because the parliament would not give the several presbyteries an absolute power over their communi­cants, but reserved the last appeal to themselves, nei­ther the Scots nor English Presbyterians would accept of the ordinance."

The assembly petitioned the houses of parliament, asserting the divine right of the Presbyterian govern­ment, [Page 125]and complaining of a clause in the late ordi­nance, which established an appeal from the censures of the church to a committee of parliament. Here­upon they voted the assembly guilty of a praemunire; and whereas they insisted so peremptorily on the jus divinum of the Presbyterian government, the commit­tee of parliament drew up certain queries, which they sent to the assembly by three of their members, and desired they would resolve to their satisfaction. The three members also set before them their rash and im­prudent conduct, and shewed wherein they had ex­ceeded their province, which was "to advise the houses in such points as they should lay before them, but not to dictate to those to whom they owed their being an assembly." The assembly, terrified at what they heard, appointed a solemn fast; and the next year, 1646, the Independants having left them, and the Erastians dividing them in the committee appointed to consider the questions, and entering their dissent, when the answer was laid before them, it was not called the answer of the committee, but of some brethren of the committee; and when the question was put, the Erasti­ans withdrew from the assembly, and left the high Pres­byterians to themselves, who agreed with but one dis­senting voice, that "Jesus Christ, as King of the church, hath himself appointed a church-government distinct from the civil magistrate." After more squab­blings with the parliament, the Presbyterian ministers complied to put the Presbyterial government in prac­tice, according to the present establishment, with a re­serve of certain considerations and cautions, which they drew up.

Hereupon the kingdom, instead of so many dioceses, was divided into a certain number of provinces, made up of representatives from the several classes within their boundaries. Every parish had a congregational or parochial presbytery for the affairs of the parish; [Page 126]the parochial presbyteries were combined into classes: these chose representatives for the provincial assemblies, as the provincial did for the national. "Thus the Presbyterian church-government began to rise and ap­pear in its proper form; but new obstructions being raised by the ministers to the choice of representatives, the provincial assembly of London did not meet till the year 1647, nor did it ever obtain but in London and Lancashire. The parliament never came heartily into it; however, the Presbyterian ministers had their vo­luntary associations for church-affairs in most counties, tho' without any authoritative jurisdiction."

It should have been observed, that the Presbyterians had refused to come to a toleration of their brethren the Independants, in 1645, after much altercation and many papers had passed relative thereto, in a committee of accommodation, as it was stiled, consisting of a com­mittee of Lords and Commons appointed to treat with the Scots commissioners and the committee of divines, to endeavour a union, if possible, or to find out "how far tender consciences, who cannot in all things submit to the same rule, may be borne with, according to the word of God, and consistent with the public peace. "Little did the Presbyterian divines think, says Neale, that in less than twenty years all their artillery would be turned against themselves; that they should be ex­cluded the establishment by an act of prelatical unifor­mity; that they should be reduced to the necessity of pleading for that indulgence, which they now denied their brethren; and think it their duty to gather churches for separate worship, out of others which they allowed to be true ones. If the leading Presbyterians in the assembly and city had come to a temper with the Independants, on the foot of a limited toleration, they had, in all likelihood, prevented the disputes between the army and parliament, which were the ruin of both; they might then have saved the constitution, and made [Page 127]their own terms with the King, who was now their prisoner; but they were enchanted with the beauties of covenant uniformity, and the divine right of their pres­bytery, which after all the parliament would not ad­mit in its full extent."

From the year 1647 to the death of Charles I. matters with regard to the Presbyterians continued much upon the same footing; yet tho' they filled most of the livings, and had the city and great part of the parliament at their devotion, they met with many mortifications from the Independants and army, who were mostly of that sect; but principally for their rigid and intolerant spirit, which disgusted all the other sects: they had done all they could while the army was marched against the Scots, in 1648, to bring about a peace with the King; but the unhappy Prince obsti­nately refused to comply with their terms, nor would the Presbyterians relax in them, so that the army had an opportunity given them to break all their measures.

It is my opinion, after carefully consulting every ac­count pro and con, that the Presbyterians are cleared from any share in the guilt of putting the King to death; nay, the London ministers published a serious and faithful representation, against doing any violence to the person of the King, addressed to the general and his council of officers, Jan. 18, 1648. To wipe away the calumnies thrown out against them on that account, they published a paper also, intitled, a vindication of the London ministers from the unjust aspersions cast upon their former actings for the par­liament, as if they had promoted the bringing the King to capital punishment. In this vindication, after de­claring over again their dislike of the proceedings against the King, they conclude in words to this effect: "Therefore, according to our covenant, we do, in the name of the great God, warn and exhort all that belong to our respective charges, or to whom we have administered the said covenant, to abide by their vow, and not to suffer themselves to be persuaded [Page 128]to subscribe the * agreement of the people, which is subversive of the present constitution, and makes way for the toleration of all heresies and blasphemies, and will effectually divide the two kingdoms of England and Scotland. We earnestly beseech them to mourn for the sins of the parliament and city, and for the miscarriages of the King himself, in his government, which have cast him down from his excellency, into an horrid pit of misery almost beyond example; and to pray, that God would give him effectual repentance, and to sanctify the bitter cup of divine displeasure, which divine providence has put into his hands; and that God would restrain the violence of men, that they may not dare to draw upon themselves and the kingdom the blood of their sovereign." In short, they shewed themselves, in the second civil war, almost unanimous for accommodating matters with the King; but, as before observed, the stiffness of both parties rendered their designs abortive, and brought on a ca­tastrophe to which they were utterly averse, and used every means in their power to prevent.

That the reader may see the principles of the Presby­terians of those days, I shall first make an extract from a testimony of the truth of Jesus Christ, and to our solemn league and covenant; as also against the errors, here­sies, and blasphemies of these times, and the toleration of them; to which is added a catalogue of the said errors, &c. published by the London clergy, and dated from Sion college, Dec. 14, 1647. It was subscribed by 58 of the most eminent pastors in London, 17 of whom were of the assembly of divines, to which 64 of the ministers of Gloucestershire, 84 of Lancashire, 83 of Devon­shire, and 71 of Somersetshire, subscribed their con­currence. [Page 129]Touching errors and heresies, they declare their detestation and abhorrence of the following, inter alia: "1. That the holy scriptures are not of divine authority, and the only rule of faith. 2. That God hath a bodily shape; that God is the name of a person; and, that God is the author of sin, having a greater hand in it than men themselves. 3. That there is not a Trinity of persons in the Godhead; that the Son is not co-equal with the Father; and, that the Holy Ghost is only a ministering Spirit. 4. That God has not elected some to salvation, from eternity; and re­jected or reprobated others; and, that no man shall perish in hell for Adam's sin. 5. That Christ died for the sins of all mankind; that the benefits of his death were intended for all; and that natural men may do such things as whereunto God has by way of promise annexed grace and acceptation. 6. That man hath a free-will and power in himself to repent, to be­lieve, to obey the gospel, and to do every thing that God requires to salvation. 7. That faith is not a supernatural grace, and that faithful actions are the only things by which a man is justified. 8. That the moral law is not the rule of life; that believers are as clean from sin as Christ himself; that such have no occasion to pray for pardon for sin; that God sees no sin in his people, nor does he ever chastise them for it. 9. That there is no church nor sacraments, nor Sab­bath; the opinion of the Seekers (now called Quakers). 10. That the children of believers ought not to be baptized, nor baptism continued amongst Christians; that the meaning of the third commandment is, Thou shalt not forswear thyself. 11. That persons of the next kindred may marry; and that indisposition, unfitness, or contrariety of mind, arising from natural causes, are a just reason of divorce. 12. That the soul of man is mortal; that it sleeps with the body; and that there is neither heaven or hell till the day of judgment." They also witnessed against the error of toleration, pa­tronizing [Page 130]and promoting all other errors, heresies, and blasphemies whatsoever, under the grossly abused notion of liberty of conscience. Herein they complain, as a very great grievance, "that men should not have liberty to worship God, in the way and manner as shall appear to them most agreeable to the word of God, and no man be punished or discountenanced by autho­rity for the same; and that an inforced uniformity of religion throughout a nation or state confounds the civil and religious, and denies the very principles of Christianity and civility." They then bear their testi­mony to the covenant, and to the divine right of Presby­tery. They lament the imperfect settlement of their discipline by the parliament, and lay the foundation of all their calamities in the countenancing a public and general toleration: and conclude, "Upon all these considerations, we, the ministers of Jesus Christ, do hereby testify to our flocks, to all the kingdom, and to the reformed world, our great dislike of Prelacy, Erastianism, Brownism, and Independency; and our ut­ter abhorrence of Anti-scripturism, Popery, Ariamsm, Socinianism, Arminianism, Antinomianism, Anabaptism, Libertinism, and Familism; and that we detest the fore­mentioned toleration, so much pursued and endeavour­ed in this kingdom, accounting it unlawful and perni­cious."

Secondly, An extract from the ordinance against blasphemy and heresy, by the parliament; to which, when the army marched from London towards Scot­land, the deprived Presbyterian members had returned, and, having the superiority, took occasion to discover their principles and spirit. It will hardly be credited, that persons who had themselves experienced all the horrors of persecution and penal statutes, should dis­play so persecuting, so unchristian a disposition. The ordinance was dated May 2, 1648, and ordains, "That all persons who shall willingly maintain, publish, or defend, by preaching or writing, the following heresies [Page 131]with obstinacy, shall, upon complaint or proof, by the oaths of two witnesses, before two justices of the peace, or confession of the party, be committed to prison, without bail or mainprize, till the next goal-delivery; and in case the indictment shall then be found, and the party upon his trial shall not abjure the said error, and his defence and maintenance of the same, he shall suffer the pains of death, as in case of felony, without benefit of clergy; and if he recant or abjure, he shall remain in prison till he find sureties that he will not maintain the said heresies or errors any more; but if he relapse, and is convicted a second time, he shall suffer death as before." The heresies are as follow: "1. That there is no God. 2. That God is not omnipresent, omniscient, almighty, eter­nal, and perfectly holy. 3. That the Father is not God, that the Son is not God, that the Holy Ghost is not God, or that these three are not one eternal God; or, that Christ is not God equal with the Father. 4. The denial of the manhood of Christ, or that the god­head or manhood are distinct natures; or that the humanity of Christ is pure and unspotted of all sin. 5. The maintaining that Christ did not die, nor rise again, nor ascend into heaven bodily. 6. The denying that the death of Christ is meritorious on the behalf of believers; or that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 7. The deny­ing that the holy scriptures of the Old and New Tes­tament are the word of God. 8. The denying of the resurrection of the dead, and a future judgment." Some other errors of less demerit are then mentioned, as, "1. That all men shall be saved. 2. That man, by nature, hath free-will to turn to God. 3. That God may be worshipped in or by pictures or images. 4. That the soul dies with the body, or, after death, goes neither to heaven or hell, but to purgatory. 5. That the soul of man sleeps, when the body is dead. 6. That the revelations or workings of the Spirit are a rule of faith and Christian life, tho' diverse [Page 132]from, or contrary to the written word of God. 7. That man is bound to believe no more than by his reason he can comprehend. 8. That the moral law contained in the Ten Commandments, is no rule of Christian life. 9. That a believer need not repent, or pray for pardon of sin. 10. That the two sacra­ments of baptism and the Lord's supper are not or­dinances commanded by the word of God. 11. That the baptism of infants is unlawful and void; and that such persons ought to be baptised again. 12. That the observation of the Lord's day, as injoined by the ordinances and laws of the realm, is not according, or is contrary to the word of God. 13. That it is not lawful to join in public or family prayer, or to teach children to pray. 14. That the churches (Presbyterian) of England are no true churches, nor their ministers and ordinances true ministers and ordinances; or, that the church-government by Presbyters is antichristian or unlawful. 15. That magistracy, or the power of the civil magistrate, by law established in England, is unlawful. 16. That all use of arms, though for the public defence, and be the cause never so just, is un­lawful." These heresies and errors were taken from the speeches and writings of the Papists, Arminians, Antinomians, Arians, Papists, Quakers, &c. of those times. "Whosoever shall maintain or defend these last errors, shall, upon application, &c. and conviction, by the oath of two witnesses, or by his own confession, &c. be ordered to renounce his said error or errors in the public congregation of the parish from whence the complaint comes, or where the offence was committed; and, in case of refusal, he shall be committed to prison till he find sureties, that he shall not publish or main­tain the said errors any more."

How different the principles of the Presbyterians of the present times, the reader will presently see. The Presbyterians, under the various usurpations, till the restoration of Charles II. acted in concert with the [Page 133]Scots, for restoring the King upon the foot of the co­venant; several of their ministers carried on a corres­pondence privately with the chiefs of that nation; and instead of taking the engagement to the present powers, called them usurpers, and declined praying for them in their churches; they also declared against a general to­leration, which the army and parliament contended for; and, to widen the breach, the latter took away all the penal statutes for religion, Sept. 20, 1650, by an or­dinance.

While the Scots were raising forces for the King's service, a private correspondence was carried on be­tween the Presbyterians in England and the Scots: large sums of money were collected privately to for­ward an expedition into England; but the common­wealth soon defeated their designs, several ministers and others were taken into custody, and Mr. Love, one of them, and Mr. Gibbons, were tried and executed.

Under Oliver Cromwell's usurpation, though their discipline was disarmed of its co-ercive power, he still left them all that was sufficient for religious purposes; they had their monthly or quarterly classical presbyte­ries in every county, for the ordination of ministers, by imposition of hands, according to the directory. In the distant counties they entered into friendly asso­ciations for brotherly counsel and advice, and were still retained in the public ministry; but as the Protec­tor was for the liberty of conscience, their church-cen­sures were now of no force, and the churches were indiscriminately bestowed on ministers of the Inde­pendants and other persuasions.

Upon Richard Cromwell's resigning the protecto­rate, the Presbyterians seeing no probability of re­storing the covenant, or coming into power by the rump parliament, which was principally made up of enthusiasts and declared enemies to monarchy, they entered into a sort of confederacy with the royalists to restore the King and the old constitution; and se­veral [Page 134]of their ministers appeared in the insurrection of Sir George Booth, a Presbyterian, in Cheshire, whose party however was defeated by General Lambert.

General Monk having restored the secluded mem­bers of 1648, to their seats in the house, who were of the Presbyterian party, they then carried all before them, and the city-ministers petitioned the parliament to take a more effectual course against Papists; to prohibit the Quakers opening their shops on the Sabbath-day, and that the public ministers may not be disturbed in their public services. They also besought them to establish the assembly's confession, directory and catechisms, &c. &c. All or most of these things the house complied with, and they ordered the solemn league and cove­vant to be reprinted, and set up in every church in England, and read publickly by the minister, once every year: the presbytery was restored to all its powers, and the ministers of that persuasion were put in full possession of all the livings in England. By their credulity, and the artifices of General Monk, they were made to believe that presbytery was to be the established government of the church of England, also, under King Charles II. in whose restoration they heartily concurred, and in fact brought it about, which they were capable of doing, as they were at that time in possession of the whole power of England; the council of state, the chief officers of the army and navy, and the governors of the chief forts and garri­sons, were theirs; and their clergy were in possession not only of the livings, but of both universities. In short, they brought in the King without any stipulation or concession on his part. Strange infatuation, which they soon after had reason to repent! For they might be sure that the old constitution must return with the King; that diocesan Episcopacy was the only legal establishment; and that all that had been done in fa­vour of presbytery, not having had the royal assent, was void in law: therefore they and their friends who had [Page 135]not Episcopal ordination and induction into their livings, must be looked upon as intruders, and not legal mi­nisters of the church of England. The King, to carry on the farce, as it was really on his side, when the ministers waited upon him in Holland, gave them such encouraging promises as raised in some of them high expectations. When he came to Whitehall, he made ten of them his chaplains *, at the instance of the Earl of Manchester; but before the expiration of the year 1660, many of the parochial clergy were prosecuted for not using the book of Common Prayer; the jus­tices and others insisting, that the laws returned with the King, and that they ought not to be dispensed with in the neglect of them. The sequestered clergy came out of their hiding places, and took possession of their former livings, by which some hundreds of the presbyterian clergy were at once dispossessed. The two universities were restored to their old discipline and government, and the heads of colleges, &c. &c. ejected in 1648, were put in again. New creations were made in both universities, in favour of any, almost, who would declare their aversion to Pres­bytery, and hearty affection of Episcopal government. Deans and Chapters were also again restored, and Bi­shops were promoted to the vacant sees; and thus the church of England was restored to its former power, except only the peerage of the Bishops .

[Page 136]The King and the Duke of York were for a general toleration, in order to include the Papists; and the Bishops, and Lord Clarendon at their head, were a­gainst any comprehension for, or concessions to the Pre­sbyterians. The reasons of the Bishops angry beha­viour were, "their high notions of the Episcopal form of government, as essentially necessary to the very es­sence of a Christian church: The resentments that re­mained in their breasts against all who had engaged with the long parliament, and had been the cause of their sufferings: The Presbyterians being legally possessed of most of the benefices in church and state, it was thought necessary to dispossess them; and, if there must be a schism, rather to have it out of the church than within it." For it had been observed, that the [Page 137]half-conformity of the Puritans before the war, had in most cities and corporations occasioned a faction be­tween the main body and the lecturers, which latter had endeavoured to make themselves popular at the expence of the hierarchy of the church. Besides, the Presbyterians had too much credit in the elections of parliament-men: therefore they resolved (says Burnet) to seek the most effectual means to cast them out of the church.

The well meaning Presbyterians were, therefore, striving against the stream, and making interest with a set of men, who were now laughing in their sleeves at the abject condition to which the folly of their adver­saries had reduced them. "They offered Archbishop Usher's model of primitive Episcopacy, as a plan of accommodation; that the surplice, the cross in baptism, and kneeling at the communion, should be left indifferent; they were content to set aside the assembly's confession, and let the articles of the church of England take place, with some amendments." His Majesty desired a number of their ministers, who were introduced to him by the Earl of Manchester, to crave his interpo­sition for reconciling the differences of the church, to draw up such proposals as they thought meet, for an agreement about church-government, and to set down the most they could yield. Accordingly the city-mini­sters, with some of their country brethren, met at Si­on college, and after two or three weeks deliberation agreed upon a paper, which, together with Archbishop Usher's reduction of Episcopacy, they offered to the King with a proper address. To this paper the Bishops published a reply; upon which the Presbyterians sent a warm remonstrance to the Bishops, and a defence of their proposals; which concludes thus, "We perceive your counsels against peace are not likely to be frustrated. Your desires concerning us are likely to be accom­plished. You are like to be gratified with our silence and ejection; and yet we will believe, that blessed are [Page 138]the peace-makers; and though we are prevented by you in our pursuits of peace, and are never like, thus publickly, to seek it more, yet are we resolved, as much as possible, to live peaceably with all men."

Their eyes now began to open, and they perceived, with regret, their credulity in expecting an agreement with the Bishops, who appeared to be exasperated, and determined to bind them over to the old establishment. The former severities were already revived, and the laws to be put in execution against such as did not make use of the old liturgy. Many were suspended and turned out of their livings on this account. Upon application for redress to the King, he told them he would put what he thought fit to grant them into the form of a declaration, which they should peruse before it was made public. A copy was accordingly delivered to them, with liberty to make exceptions: they peti­tioned for some further amendments and alterations; upon which the King appointed a day to hear what could be said on both sides, and came to Chancellor Hyde's house, October 22, 1660, attended by the Dukes of Albemarle and Ormond, the Earls of Man­chester and Anglesea, and Lord Hollis, for that pur­pose *. As the Chancellor read over the declaration, each party were to make their exceptions, and the King to determine. The chief debates were on the high powers of the Bishops, and the necessity of re-ordination. Upon hearing the whole, the King told them what he thought proper should stand in the declaration; and appointed Bishops Morley and Henchman, Dr. Rey­nolds, and Mr. Calamy, to determine upon proper words, and, if they disagreed, the Earl of Anglesea and Lord [Page 139]Hollis were to decide. If this declaration did not please all the ministers, the greatest number in London and the country were content; but as it went upon the plan of diocesan Episcopacy, which they had cove­nanted against, others were not satisfied. Some of them ventured upon a second address to the King, re­newing their requests for Archbishop Usher's plan, &c. However, the Presbyterians about London were so much pleased, that they drew up a warm address of thanks to the King, which was presented November 16 *.

When the parliament read the King's declaration, they agreed to wait upon him in a body, and return him thanks; notwithstanding which, the bill, to pass into a law, was rejected by the House of Commons after the first reading .

The doctrines of passive obedience and non-resistance were now revived, men obnoxious and inveterate to the Presbyterians were preferred to bishoprics, and were compensated for their late sufferings, by the large sums [Page 140]they raised by renewing leases, which were almost all expired .

From this time persecution against the Presbyterians commenced. One Mr. Zach. Crofton was imprisoned and turned out of his living, for writing in favour of the covenant, tho' he had a wife and seven children, and had been remarkably zealous for the restoration. Another (Mr. Parsons, rector of Wem, in Shropshire) was taken from his wife by soldiers, for seditious preaching and non-conformity to the ceremonies, and fined two hundred pounds, with imprisonment till paid. "Spies (says Mr. Neale) were sent into all the congre­gations of Presbyterians throughout England, to ob­serve and report their behaviour to the bishops; and if a minister lamented the degeneracy of the times, or expressed his concern for the ark of God; if he preach­ed against perfidiousness, or glanced at the vices of the court, he was marked for an enemy of the King and government. Many eminent and loyal Presbyterians were sent to prison upon such informations, and when they came to their trials, the court was guarded with soldiers, and their friends not suffered to attend them. Many were sequestered from their livings, and cited into the ecclesiastical courts, for not using the surplice and other ceremonies, whilst the discipline of the church was under a kind of suspension. So eager were the spiritual courts to revive the exercise of their power; and so strongly did the tide run against the unhappy Presbyterians!" By the act for restoring the old se­questered clergy, some hundreds of the non-conformist [Page 141]ministers were dispossesed of their livings, before the act of uniformity was formed. "Here was no dis­tinction between good and bad; but if the person had been episcopally ordained, and in possession, he must be restored, tho' he had been ejected upon the strong­est evidence of immorality or scandal." The minis­try soon after did every thing in their power to throw the odium of plots and conspiracies upon the Presby­terians, for which many were taken into custody, but released afterwards, without prosecution; by these de­vices they facilitated the passing the penal statutes that were coming upon the carpet. They could not, consistent with the declaration from Breda, or with de­cency, attack the Presbyterians purely upon account of their religion; they were therefore to be accused, right or wrong, of raising disturbances in the state. By the act for the well-governing and regulating corpora­tions, all non-conformists were turned out of every branch of magistracy at once, and could not serve their country, even in the meanest offices of a common­council man, or a burgess or bailiff of a corporation. Commissioners appointed hereupon were sent to visit the several corporations, who executed their commission so rigorously, that every member of them was turned out who was not entirely devoted to the King and church.

The Savoy conference ended without any good ef­fect, and the act of uniformity received the royal as­sent, May 19, 1662, by which the terms of confor­mity were higher than before the civil wars, and the common-prayer book rendered more exceptionable. By inforcing this act *, the calamities of the ejected mi­nisters were very terrible. "Many hundreds of them (says Baxter) with their wives and children, had neither house nor bread; the people thus left were not able to relieve them, nor durst they if they had been able, be­cause [Page 142]it would have been called maintenance of schism and faction. Many of the ministers being afraid to lay down their ministry after they had been ordained to it, preached to such as would hear them, in fields and private houses, till they were apprehended and cast into gaols, where many of them perished.—The people were no less divided, some conformed, and others were driven to a greater distance from the church, and resolved to abide by their faithful pastors at all events. They murmured at the government, and called the Bishops and conforming clergy, cruel per­secutors; for which, and frequenting of the private assemblies of their ministers, they were fined and im­prisoned, till many families left their native country, and settled in the plantations."—"The Presbyterian ministers, tho' men of gravity (says Neale) and far ad­vanced in years, were rallied in the pulpits under the opprobrious names of schismatics and fanatics; they were exposed in the play-house, and insulted by the mob, insomuch that they were obliged to lay aside their habits, and walk in disguise ."

[Page 143]Various were the hardships and persecutions of the Presbyterians before the fire of London, the parlia­ment and ministry discovering on every occasion an un­relenting animosity to them; and if the King shewed any compassion, it was purely owing to his desire of easing the Papists from their difficulties, by a general toleration. Even that awful visitation the great plague gave them no respite; but regardless of the displea­sure of Heaven, the ministry and bishops pursued them with the more malignant barbarity. After the fire of London they were somewhat connived at, they built wooden tabernacles to preach in, and their places of worship were crowded with penitent and devout au­ditors. The disgrace of their bitter enemy the Earl of Clarendon was likewise favourable to them; but after a short respite, and several attempts for a tolera­tion and comprehension had failed, the persecution was revived in the year 1668, and their private meetings were broken up again, Mr. Baxter and other learned and pious preachers imprisoned, and they were abused in many hot writings, particularly by Dr. Patrick and Dr. Parker, (afterwards Bishops) but the latter was wit­tily and farcastically answered by the famous Andrew Marvel. In 1670, the conventicle-act was revived, which the court forwarded with a view of reducing the Presbyterians to the necessity of petitioning for a ge­neral toleration, by which a door would be opened for the introduction of popery *. The act was so severely executed, that there was soon not a conventicle to be heard of all over England. Great numbers were pro­secuted on it, and many industrious families reduced to poverty. Many ministers were confined in goals and [Page 144]close prisons; and warrants were issued out against them and their hearers, and distraints made, to the amount of a great sum of money. Informers were every where at work, and having crept into religious assemblies, in disguise, levied great sums upon mini­sters and people. Soldiers broke into the houses of ho­nest farmers, under pretence of searching for conven­ticles, and where ready money was wanting, they plundered their goods, drove away their cattle, and sold them for half price; even the sick had their beds taken from under them, and themselves laid upon the floor. During the time that Charles's declaration of indulgence * continued in force, the Presbyterians and Independants set up the merchants lecture at Pinners hall, to shew their agreement among themselves, as well as to support the doctrines of the reformation a­gainst the prevailing errors of Popery, &c. supported by the contributions of the principal merchants and tradesmen of their persuasions in the city. They con­tinued united till 1695, when the Presbyterians removed to Salters hall, and the Independants continued their lec­ture at Pinners hall, both which have continued ever since. The test-act of 1673 was the last penal statute against the non-conformists in this reign ; and as the Dissenters in general had, with great generosity, supported that measure against the court, through their dread of the increase of Popery, the court next year let loose again all their engines of cruelty upon them, and the fines, imprisonments and other severities exercised were excessive. Thence to the year 1681, various at­tempts were made, by the successive parliaments, for a toleration of Dissenters, and putting the laws in exe­cution against Popish recusants, and many books and pamphlets were published in their defence, which un­answerably vindicated their principles. But in that year, and to the end of this reign, sham plots were [Page 145]contrived, to render them odious, and set on by the court and the Papists, they felt all the rage of the high church-party, who displayed their hatred by encouraging infamous informers, and inflicting exorbitant fines and cruel imprisonments, under which many pious and learned divines found a refuge in death from all their troubles.

I have now gone as comprehensively as I could thro' this gloomy reign, in which so many thousands of pious and good persons were ruined for conscience sake; but it must be remembered, that the public liberty was ruined with them, and that the whole constitution, at the time of Charles's death, was in a manner brought to its dissolution. Yet, when the nation was groaning under every oppression, when every vice stalked abroad in open day light, and corruption of manners, and prostitution of heart and tongue, were even fashion­able, remember, readers, and blush for your country, there were wretches abandoned enough to address this voluptuous Monarch, in strains that were impious, and could with propriety be only ascribed to God himself.

James II. at the beginning of his short reign, re­vived the persecution against the Protestant Dissenters, the majority of whom were Presbyterians; which was carried on with the most barbarous rigour, and even exceeded those in his brother's reign; but the favou­rite scheme, which had proved abortive under that Prince, was sedulously pursued by James, of making the Presbyterians and other Dissenters tools to obtain a general toleration, by which the Papists were to be re­lieved from the penal laws and tests. As he imagined it impracticable to obtain his desire legally, he deter­mined to attempt it by his dispensing power, and began to caress the Non-conformists, and to show them great favour; their ministers were encouraged to set up their conventicles, which had been discontinued or held very secretly for some years; and the King had it in­timated [Page 146]timated every where, that he would not have their meetings disturbed. But the Dissenters seeing the King's drift, now joined with their persecutors of the Church of England, generously giving up their pri­vate resentments, however just, to their fears of Po­pery and slavery, which were making large strides to­wards the destruction of religious and civil liberty, of which the dispensing power, and the declaration for liber­ty of conscience, were to be the principal engines *. This wise conduct of the Dissenters certainly saved the church and state.

Thus, however, an end was put to the prosecution of the Protestant Dissenters by the penal laws, though the laws themselves were not legally repealed or suspend­ed till after the revolution .

Tho' in pursuance of the declarations for liberty of conscience, &c. the Dissenters were not only at their liberty to worship in their several ways, and were ad­mitted to serve in all offices of profit and trust, they could not be brought to acknowledge dispensing power; tho' many to them addressed the King with thanks for the freedom they now enjoyed from persecution; a measure, however, that was not approved by their elders and more cautious ministers. In short, they were now courted both by King and church; by the [Page 147]latter of which they were promised, in case they now stood firm to the common interest, they would in better time come into a comprehension of such as could be brought into a conjunction with the church, and to a toleration of the rest.

The Presbyterians concurred heartily in the Revo­lution; and when the Prince of Orange came to St. James's, December 18, 1688, several of their ministers attended him, with the Bishop of London, and many of the clergy, to congratulate him upon his success. January 2, about ninety of the Non-conformist mini­sters waited upon the Prince with a separate address, to which they received a most cordial answer. When King William and Queen Mary were settled on the throne, the Dissenting ministers waited on their Ma­jesties with addresses of congratulation, which were delivered by Dr. Bates: and though many generous attempts made by the King for a comprehension were rendered abortive by the opposition of the Jacobites and Tories; yet the memorable bill for toleration of Protestant Dissenters, which is the basis of their present liberty, was passed in their favour *. Every body re­members the gratitude of their new friends, in the reign of Queen Anne .

Little else has occurred since that happy aera, of the revolution, but fruitless attempts for a repeal of the corporation and test acts, which have been constantly opposed by the church of England: but it is to be hoped some future time will restore the Dissenters to that entire liberty which is the birth-right of every Eng­lishman, and that they may have the privilege of ser­ving their country indiscriminately with their fellow­subjects of the established church, which they can ne­ver, upon their present principles, wish overturned; though they may desire that the stumbling blocks to their union therewith were removed.

[Page 148]I now come to give some account of the religious principles of the Presbyterians, who continue to be the most numerous sect of Protestant Dissenters in Eng­land, and have almost entirely forsaken the rigid and severe maxims of their fore-fathers.

Presbyterians are so called, from their assertion, that the government of the church, as appointed in the New Testament, is by presbyters, i. e. ministers and ruling elders, associated for government and discipline; they maintain that there is no order in the church su­perior to that of presbyter; that all ministers being ambassadors of Christ, are equal by commission; and that elder, presbyter, and bishop, tho' different in name, are the same in office.

The Presbyterians acknowledge Jesus Christ alone supreme head in his church; and that in matters pure­ly spiritual, they are under no human authority and jurisdiction *. For this reason they dissent from the 20th article, viz. That the church hath power to de­cree rites and ceremonies, and authority, in matters of faith : and, for the same reason, in subscribing to articles which are appointed, or required of them to qualify them for the ministry, this, among others, is left out. And with respect to the 8th article (the au­thority of the three creeds) one of those to which a subscription was required, the Dissenters were first ad­mitted to give their sense of them, and excluded such part as they could not conscientiously subscribe. Ac­cordingly Dr. Calamy says, "The Dissenting ministers about the the city, in a body, gave in their sense of the articles when they subscribed them, and among the rest, of this 8th article, in the gloss upon which the damnatory clauses of the Athanasian creed are express­ly excluded the subscription. They say none in the [Page 149]Christian church have a right to make new articles of faith: none have a right to impose their particular sense of, or authoritatively, explain those articles of faith: that none have any lawful power to adjudge or con­demn those who do not submit to their interpreta­tion *.

The principal articles of Faith professed by the Pres­byterians in England, in which their agreement with the Presbytery of Scotland, and their real sentiments in former and latter times, are generally repre­sented.


According to the original constitution of the Presby­terian church or congregation, they acknowledge the unity and equality of three persons in the Godhead .

That there is but one living and true God; yet three persons in the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and these three are one God —three persons to which the personal terms, I, thou, and he, are ap­plied, and yet the one true Godhead is ascribed to each of them §.

But the greater part of the Presbyterians at present do not profess to believe in the three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as coequal; but "that God the Father is supreme, a spirit, infinite, eternal, unchange­able in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth; the maker and preserver of all things visible and invisible : that God is one, self­existing, and independent, the one living and true God, and the alone object of prayer and inter­cession [Page 150] *.—to us Christians there is but one God su­preme , and one Lord Jesus Christ, and we are saved by him ;—that there is but one necessary, self-ex­isting being, immense, incomprehensible, supreme, eternal, unchangeable, divine, all-powerful, good and happy, whom we acknowledge absolute in eternity, and all perfections.


That the Son of God, very and eternal God, in the fulness of time took man's nature, with all the essen­tial properties and infirmities thereof; yet without sin, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin; very God and very man, who, by the perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, which he, thro' the eternal Spirit, once offered unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of his Father, and purchased not only reconciliation with him, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given him §.

Jesus Christ the Son of God, being constituted me­diator between God and man, in the fulness of time God sent him into the world, to execute the purposes of his grace in the salvation of mankind, as their Pro­phet, Priest, and King; who having, in obedience to the divine will, offered himself a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, God, in testimony of his accep­tance, raised him again from the dead: —that he then ascended into Heaven, and there ever lives to make in­tercession for all that came to God by him—by whom also God will judge the world **: —that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, signifies that God was his Father in [Page 151]so peculiar and extraordinary a manner, as he never was of any creature whatsoever, and that his body was immediately formed by the power of God, without the ordinary laws of human generation *—commission­ed and qualified by God for the execution of the im­portant offices of Prophet, Priest, and King—evidenced by the excellency of his doctrine, the accomplishment of prophecies, and the performance of miracles: who, tho' he was innocent, thro' the wickedness and malice of his enemies, was put to death; and, because he con­sented to die, as the propitiation for the sins of the world, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, he was raised by the power of the Father, and exalted to the highest state, both of dignity and power, next to God his Father:—that the supreme, incom­prehensible God, in some moment of his eternity, com­municated, produced, or begot, by his eternal power and will, a being endued with all possible communica­ble perfection, in the highest degree, that a dependent being is capable of, called the Son of God, the Divine Logos, not unbegotten like God, nor yet made like his creatures:—that the Father of all things hath ap­pointed this divine word, as a mediator between him­self and man, to act the part of a ruler to his subjects, and erect his kingdom of grace in the world:—that sub­ordinate creative power, and universal dominion, is given to this divine person: he is therefore called God, the Great Archangel, the Prince of Peace, in whom God eminently resides, Creator of angels and men:— that in the fulness of time, that he might execute all his important offices, according to the councils and will of his Father, and by his own voluntary obedi­ence, he assumed human nature, in which he taught the mind of God, lived a life of holiness, died on the cross, a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, rose again and ascended into heaven, sitteth on the [Page 152]right hand of God, and is constituted the dispenser of grace and favour to all his sincere disciples and vota­ries *.

We believe in Jesus Christ, the one mediator, who condescended to come into our world, assume our na­tures, and unite with our infirmities, on purpose to bestow divine blessings upon us: he tabernacled in our flesh, that he might assume the most friendly charac­ters and offices, instruct us in the ways of truth and righteousness, set before us the charms of a virtuous and heavenly conversation, suffer and die a propitia­tion for sin, and by that expedient interpose a consider­ation for the promises of pardon, acceptance, and justification, to eternal life, on the terms of the gospel; for God, in wisdom, thought fit to communicate the mercy he designed us, in such a way, as should be no diminution to the purity of his nature, or to the autho­rity of his government, and to treat with simple crea­tures consistently with his supremacy and dignity thro' a mediator .

Of the HOLY GHOST, or HOLY SPIRIT, its offices, &c.

By the Holy Spirit of God we are made partakers of the deliverance from sin and misery, by the powerful conveying of the benefits of this redemption to us.— The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, working faith in us (a trust in Christ) uniting us to Christ (as the head and members are one) in our effectual calling—convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and, by renewing our wills, he doth persuade and en­able us to embrace Jesus Christ freely offered to us in the gospel .—I believe that divine person who is called the Holy Ghost, to be the Spirit of God, by whom he [Page 153]inspired and taught the ancient prophets, and that he was sent by Christ on his apostles, and many of the primitive Christians, in very extraordinary and mira­culous gifts, for the final confirmation of Christianity, and that by his influences sinners are converted, the minds of good Christians are filled with joy and peace in believing, and their lives adorned with all those virtues which are, by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God the Father *.

Of the HOLY SCRIPTURES, their authority and suffici­ency to salvation.

The scriptures alone are the form of sound words, and the only standard of Christian faith, worship, and practice .

The more we look into the admirable contents of the sacred scriptures, the more we shall be convinced they powerfully inforce the practice of religion, and lead to happiness by a course of virtue .

Of the Nature and Consequences of the FALL of MAN, ORIGINAL SIN, &c.

Question, What is sin?

Answer, Any want of conformity to, or transgres­sion of the law of God.

Ques. Did all mankind fall in Adam's first trans­gression?

Ans. The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself but all his posterity, all mankind de­scending from him, by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him.

Ques. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?

[Page 154] Ans. Into a state of sin and misery, because he fell from his obedience, and from the favour of God.

Ques. Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate?

Ans. In the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature, evil inclinations, with all actual transgressions which proceed from it.

Ques. What is the misery of that state?

Ans. Mankind lost communion with God, are un­der his wrath, liable to the miseries of this life, death itself, and all the pains of hell for ever *. But more moderate persons among the Presbyterians entertain different notions, e. g.

All corruption and depravity is contracted, or natu­ral contracted corruption is the result of repeated ac­tions, and consequently a person is no otherwise the author of this corruption, than as he is the author of the actions from which it flows: but he is not the im­mediate author, according to the doctrine of original sin, which fin is considered as predetermined.—Now supposing the action of eating the forbidden fruit to have been as much the action of any other individual, as it was Adam's; it will not therefore follow that it was his, because rightly considered it will appear not to have been Adam's.—Adam, on that scheme, could not act without being predetermined, any more than his posterity: their will, at least, to that which is bad, must have as much power as his; and why was Adam predetermined? No recourse can be had here to an antecedent corruption. Adam, therefore, was not guilty of the first sin; and if Adam was not, much less are we; and not being guilty of the first sin, we are not accountable for the corruption which is brought in­to human nature, nor the cause of God's predetermin­ing us to actions on account of this corruption. The issue this drives us upon is, that God is the only cause of all disconformity between human actions and his [Page 155]own law. The law is from God as its author, so like­wise is the action, and both the terms proceeding from him, the contrariety between them must be his too. Predetermination therefore, in spite of this evasion, makes God the author of sin; a worse thing than which, I defy any man to say of the devil himself *.

Of the Restoration and Recovery of Man by JESUS CHRIST.

Quest. Did God leave all mankind to perish in that estate of sin and misery to which Adam's sin subjected them?—Answ. God having, out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace to deliver them out of that estate of sin and misery, and bring them into an estate of salvation, by the only Redeemer of God's elect.—Quest. What are the offices Christ exe­cutes as our Redeemer?—Ans. As a Prophet, reveal­ing the will of God. As a Priest, offering himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and reconcile us to God, and in making continual intercession for us.— And, as a King, in subduing us to himself, by ruling in us, and defending us from all his and our enemies, and as an example of holiness.—Quest. How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased for us by Christ?—Ans. By the effectual application of it by his holy spirit .


The doctrine of the atonement of Christ for sin seems to me to be an essential part of Christianity, be­cause so many of the peculiar privileges, and chief [Page 156]duties of it, are so deeply interested therein, and are founded upon it *.

Justification is an act of God's free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righte­ous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, i. e. reckoned to our account and ad­vantage, and received by faith.


We believe, says Mr. Pearce, baptism is a pledge and token both of the benefits which God is graciously pleased to bestow upon us, and of our acceptance of them; and the promise whereby we oblige ourselves to him, and that therefore no other sign hereof should be used .

Baptism, Dr. Watts says, is an ordinance which ini­tiates us into Christianity .—It is a sacrament, wherein the washing with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, doth signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ; our partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engage­ments to be the Lord's, i. e. entirely given up to the service of Christ.—And pag. 314. he defines bap­tism to be a washing with water in token of regene­ration and remission of sins.

The sacrament of baptism, is that wherein by being washed with water, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; the baptized person solemnly gives up himself to God, through his Son, to be governed by the gospel he taught, in expectation of the aids of that Spirit, whose miraculous gifts proved the truth of the gospel; and whereby he obliges himself to forsake all his former impurities, which he thus acknowledges, while, [Page 157]at the same time, by this rite, he is encouraged to hope for God's pardoning mercy, through Christ, and the cleansing influences of the Spirit: it is certainly a suitable and reasonable institution.—The baptizing the children, of Christian parents, in their infancy, is an action in itself reasonable, and it is fit that parents should dedicate their children to God, the former of their bodies, and the father of their spirits, in acknow­ledgement they have received them from him, and solemnly oblige themselves to endeavour the training them up in a religious and virtuous life; and it is a great encouragement to them that God will accept the dedication, and, by the influences of his Spirit, bless and succeed their endeavours; all which is justly ex­pressed by this external rite *.


Dr. Watts tells us plainly, it is eating bread and drinking wine in the church, in remembrance of the death of Christ .

Of Church Discipline and Government, Church Autho­rity, &c.

It is not only the right, but the indispensible duty of Christians, to separate from the fellowship of those who are called brethren, and walk disorderly, that is, as the apostle describes them, fornicators, idolators, drunkards, extortioners, &c. or who, in any other like instances, notoriously transgress the plain and essential precepts of the gospel; and the apostle exhorts the Corinthians to put away the incestuous person from among them, and asserts their right, which is so far [Page 158]the right of all Christian churches, viz. to judge them that are within *.

Touching ecclesiastical authority, this can by no means bind the conscience; for, in all such cases, the only foundation upon which a man can act conscienti­ously, is his private persuasion; it limits and circum­scribes the extent of human authority and is not li­mited and circumscribed by it; if a decision of men binds any person, it is in matters wherein he thinks they have power; when they carry their pretensions farther, and determine things wherein his judgment does not allow their authority, their decrees must be re­garded by him as void; and, consequently, if any one's conscience dissallows human authority, in the lowest instances wherein it is exercised, its acts can produce no obligation upon him; else the rights of private judgment might be invaded in all cases, and conscience given up to the will of men; for it is as really injured if a man be forced to act against its light, in a circumstance or matter of ceremony, as an article of faith; for whatsoever is not of faith, is sin; from whence it is plain, that ecclesiastical authority has no power over conscience; indeed none at all but what conscience gives it, and therefore must yield to its su­perior where their voices differ.

The direction given to the Corinthians, "Let all things be done decently and in order," is alledged by many to be a sufficient foundation for the churches power, in points of external order; but what those points are, even Protestants are not agreed; some ex­tend them to ceremonies and modes of worship, which are neither expressly commanded nor forbidden by the word of God; others limit them to the natural cir­cumstances of actions: upon their different opinions, different schemes of ecclesiastical constitutions are erect­ed; [Page 159]but it will appear that no proper authority can be binding without the authority of conscience. Since the magistrate is not capable of knowing how the sub­ject's conscience is grieved by such impositions, when the plea of conscience is real or only pretended, and whether, if it be an error, how it was led into it, and whether its errors be culpable; he must run the hazard of punishing the innocent, which ought never to be done when it can be avoided without danger to the state *. Grove.


1. Physical predetermination, says Mr. Grove, does not consist with the nature of man, as a rational agent. —2. Is needless, contrary to what is affirmed of its being absolutely necessary to action.—3. Will not con­sist with human liberty.—4. It makes God the author of sin; for, taking away human freedom, a man ceases to be accountable for any thing he does, and his actions ought not to be imputed to him, but to the Being that lays him under a necessity so to act. An inspired writer hath told us, that "God is not tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:" but, if this hypothesis was true, he would more than tempt men; he would compel them .


With respect to the authority of the magistrate in matters of mere conscience and religion, to make our worship and obedience acceptable to God, it must proceed from an inward conviction that it is agreeable to his will; and to practise any thing as religion, out of obedience to human authority, is a regarding men [Page 160]more than God; consequently no magistrate can have a right to compel persons to profess or practise that which he does not inwardly approve.—Absolute tole­ration, therefore, and a general liberty of conscience, where persons violate not the rights of others, and pro­pagate no doctrines destructive of society, are the un­alienable right of all.—And, perhaps, such a power may with reason be granted, when no more than a just proportion of the public revenue is taken, and when this is applied not to the spreading doctrines and prac­tices of a doubtful nature, and of no immediate good influence on the virtue and happiness of a nation; but to recommend the great and plain principles and rules of natural and revealed religion *, and as Christianity is the only scheme of religion which contains a pure, complete, and well-connected system of those princi­ples and duties, a government, upon the sole principle of public utility, may be justified in establishing it.

An abstract of a profession of Faith made at a public ordination at the Old Jewry, in 1750, which is agreeable to many others I have procured.

Art. I. The first and great article of my belief (from natural and revealed religion) is the existence of one God, whose power is uncontroulable, whose knowledge is infinite, whose presence is immensity, whose being is eternity, whose beneficence is boundless mercy, whose name is love, a Spirit immutable in his nature, and unchangeable in all his perfections; the Creator of all worlds, and of all beings that exist.—I believe that his providence is universal, and that his supreme go­vernment is over all his works; exercised with the most persect wisdom, and invariable goodness, most con­ducive to his own glory and the happiness of his crea­tures.—I believe that this all-wife and good God [Page 161]ought to be worshipped in spirit and truth, free from corrupt affections, and with the most pious and de­vout dispositions.

Art. II. I believe that God, the parent of all nature, directed by the essential beneficence of his own perfect mind, formed man for the purposes of wisdom, virtue, and happiness, and furnished him with all abilities suit­able to answer these important ends: but that our first parent, by violating the express law of his Maker, fell from his innocence, his dignity and happiness, and when sin entered into the world, death entered by sin. —I believe that in pity to the unhappy state of man­kind, and in condescension to the weakness and imbe­cility of human nature, God, at sundry times and in diverse manners, afforded such revelation of himself, as was most agreeable to the state and circumstances of his creatures: that as reasonable beings, capable of a law, they had life and death set before them, had liberty of choice consequently, and were accountable to God for their conduct.

Art. III. I believe also, that, in the most suitable and fitting time, God sent his only Son into the world, that the world thro' him might be saved:—that the gospel of Jesus Christ reveals the most noble sentiments of the Deity, and of that duty we owe to him:—that it contains the most sublime precepts of morality, with all the evidences of reason, and all the dignity of di­vine authority.—From hence I am led to believe what is therein farther taught, the forgiveness of sins and everlasting life, on the conditions of our repentance, faith in Jesus Christ as the one mediator, and obedience to his gospel. These doctrines of the gospel I believe to be the wisest and best system of religion, and this method of salvation most consistent with the perfections of God, with the state and circumstances of mankind, and most conducive to their highest perfection and hap­piness.

[Page 162] Art. IV. I believe that Jesus Christ instituted two positive ordinances, baptism and the Lord's supper; by the first of these we are initiated into the Christian religion, and by the latter we are to commemorate our Lord's death till he come.

Art. V. I believe that Jesus Christ, by his holy and unblameable life, hath left us a perfect example; that, by his death, he perfected his obedience, and made a proper oblation to God for us; that he arose again from the dead, to procure and ascertain our resurrection to immortality; that he ascended to his God and our God, and ever liveth as our advocate with the Father, and that through him our sincere, tho' imperfect, obe­dience will be accepted.

Art. VI. I believe that God hath promised the di­rection and assistance of his Spirit to all those who sin­cerely and humbly implore it; and that the aid of the divine Spirit, in conjunction with our own endeavours, is sufficient to the duty required of us; that the Holy Spirit was given to the Apostles of our Lord in an ex­traordinary manner, for the propagation and confirma­tion of the gospel, and is still continued and em­ployed in a general way, to promote the happiness and salvation of mankind.

Finally, I believe that whatsoever circumstances may confound the distinctions betwixt men in this world, there will be a future state, a state of impartial and righteous retribution, when every one will receive according to his deeds done in the body, whether they were good, or whether they were evil.

These are the articles of my belief, all that I esteem essential to a Christian; and whatever controversies may have arisen in matters of less consequence, as they are not clearly revealed, cannot be necessary to salva­tion, and, therefore, suspend my conclusions concern­ing them, till that decisive day when all difficulties shall be removed, and the secrets of all hearts will be manifest.

[Page 163]After this general confession of faith, the following questions were proposed to the minister by the senior of officiating presbyter.

Question I. As the work in which you are now en­gaging is certainly very important and difficult, and the credit and promotion of religion much depends on the due discharge of it, please to let us know what are the governing motives to your undertaking therein?

Answer. Whatever reflections Christian ministers have been exposed to, I shall always disclaim being in­fluenced by any other than the noblest motives; the glory of God, the happiness of my own soul, and that of others. I profess myself devoted to no master but Christ, and I embrace this profession with no other views, than of preaching the important truths and doc­trines of the gospel, in their genuine nature; inculca­ting the precepts and duties of the Christian religion, and inforcing them by rational and gospel motives.

Ques. II. As we have been long employed in this im­portant work, and find the necessity of frequent appli­cation to the means of improvement, will you diligent­ly attend to reading, meditation, and prayer, for these ends?

Ans. Conscious of my own weakness and insufficien­cy, I shall frequently and seriously apply myself to study, and all those exercises which may enable me more honourably and more successfully to discharge that office in which I have engaged, in obedience to the command of my great Master, and in duty to that society over which I am placed.

Ques. III. Will you endeavour to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour by a holy and upright conversa­tion?

Ans. As I profess to make the promotion of reli­gion the invariable purport of my actions, I shall esteem a good example the noblest proof I can give of my sin­cerity, [Page 164]as a Christian minister, and the most promising means of its success.

Ques. IV. Ministers are set for the defence of the gos­pel; will you endeavour to maintain the truths of the gospel, pure and unmixed, free from all Popish cor­ruption and human tradition and inventions, and al­low to others the same right of judging for themselves which you claim?

Ans. Popery I look upon as a gross corruption of the sacred scriptures, as the most palpable insult upon the common understanding of mankind, an invasion of the natural rights and privileges of conscience, and even of civil liberty. I believe that the ignorance, super­stition, and cruelty of the church of Rome, are evident marks of her apostacy. I esteem the reformation as a singular instance of the providence of God, from the greatness of the advantages attending it, and I shall al­ways think it my duty, as a faithful minister, to main­tain and defend that liberty which as a man I esteem sacred, and to support and vindicate the genuine prin­ciples of Christianity and of Protestantism. What may befal me in my life, I cannot tell; but it is my pre­sent resolution never to abandon this worthy cause, but, with invariable sincerity and diligence, to perse­vere therein unto my life's end, in the remembrance of God's omniscience, and in hopes of obtaining his fa­vour, which I shall always esteem the completion of my everlasting happiness.

Ques V. (sometimes omitted), viz. For what rea­sons do you profess yourself a Protestant Dissenter, and desire to have your ordination by Presbyters?

Ans. When I declare myself a Protestant Dissenter, I can sincerely say I am not led to it by any prejudices of education, by any fondness of singularity, or by any views of worldly advantages; but from a regard to the rights of conscience, the purity of the Christian doctrines, and the simplicity of their worship, go­v [...]ment &c.—Ordination in this manner I esteem [Page 165]valid, and of primitive apostolic authority;—that seve­ral passages in scripture speak of elders or presbyters and Bishops, as the same; and that the Bishop's duty extended no farther than that Christian church by whose suffragan he was appointed. But though I pre­fer Presbytery to Episcopacy, &c. I profess my esteem of every faithful minister of every denomination▪ and it shall be always my endeavour to cultivate that friend­ship that ought to subsist betwixt the ministers of the gospel of the grace of God.

Then the minister standing or kneeling, the presby­tery present lay each of them a hand on his head, and the eldest presbyter or other minister appointed to offi­ciate, prays.

QUESTIONS proposed to the Rev. Mr. Thomas Wright, at his Ordination, May 31, 1759, with the ANSWERS returned.

Ques. I. We, your brethren in Christ, are at your request here assembled in the presence of God, and of this congregation, to acknowledge, receive, and ap­prove you, in the full exercise of that Christian mini­stry, for which you have been prepared by a regular and learned education; and we do it with the greater pleasure, as during several years you have given satis­factory proof of your abilities, and qualifications for it, as an assistant minister in this church.

We pretend to no dominion over your faith, or au­thority to invest you with any new powers or rights, by the imposition of our hands; which we retain only as an ancient rite or ceremony whereby we bear our pub­lic and solemn testimony, that we esteem you worthy of that sacred ministry which you have chosen to devote yourself to, and of discharging all the pastoral duties without exception, which Christ has appointed to be performed in his church, recommending you to God [Page 166]by prayer, and to the church of Christ by our unani­mous suffrages.

We presume not to offer to you any articles of faith or religion in the words of men, or canons of human contrivance, for your assent and subscription. But as there is a propriety in the thing itself, and as it is the religion of Christ only, in its native and uncorrupted simplicity, of which we would be understood to ap­prove and declare you a minister, will you give us, on this occasion, your own ideas of the general plan of that excellent and divine religion of Jesus Christ, which has been, and is from henceforth, by this solemn dedi­cation of yourself to it, to be the chief and important subject of the labours of your life?

Ans. In the view, Sir, that you are pleased to repre­sent it, I readily consent to lay before you, and this assembly, a general account of the religious principles which I profess, and apprehend I have drawn from the pure fountains of religious knowledge.

By the exercise of my rational powers upon myself and other objects, I am led into the firm belief of the existence of an eternal, independent, immense Being, which we call God, possessed of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, with all conceivable, all possible perfec­tion of nature, character, and state; the original cause of all other beings, the source of all the excel­lence, perfection, and happiness that obtain in the uni­verse; the preserver of the whole world, the righte­ous governor and judge of moral agents, amongst whom is the race of mankind.

But the character and moral government of this glorious Being, especially his dispensations towards the human race, with their duty, are more particularly and clearly represented in the scriptures, which are of divine original, and contain a just account of all ne­cessary truth relating to religion.

From them I learn, that the supreme governor of the world, to shew his displeasure against sin, banished our [Page 167]first parents from paradise in which he had placed them, for disobedience to a positive prohibition; and inflicted upon them the penalty threatened to their transgression, though not without giving them the promise of a deli­verer from the evils to which they had subjected them­selves and their posterity.

In the succeeding ages of the world this promise was repeated for the encouragement of well-disposed persons; and various means were made use of by the wise and and merciful God, to preserve or restore true religion amongst men; particularly it was renewed to Abraham, one branch of whose family he chose and distinguished from the rest of the world by peculiar laws and rites of worship, to convey to posterity the knowledge of this promise with several important doctrines and duties of religion.

At the time appointed by infinite wisdom, as most proper for it, he sent the long-expected person into the world, to save men from perdition, and bring them to everlasting life.

The well-beloved Son of God, in obedience to his Father, and from compassion to mankind, took flesh, and was born of a Virgin, lived in a mean condition, conversed familiarly with men, taught the great doc­trines and duties of true religion, then very much un­known and neglected, corrupted by traditions, and human inventions; illustrated by his own temper and conduct the pure doctrines and rules of duty which he taught; setting an example of strict purity, of warm benevolence, of sublime piety, of universal holiness; and proved also his divine commission and character, as the Messiah, by miraculous works.

Thus did this divine teacher proceed for a consider­able time, gloriously displaying the excellency of the divine perfections and government, and his own good will to mankind, till he was seized by wicked men, who unjustly condemned and crucified him. But the violent opposition which they made to his cause, and [Page 168]the evils they inflicted on his person, were so far from frustrating the great design on which he came into the world, from putting a stop to the exercise of his piety to God, and his beneficence to men, that they afforded him an opportunity of promoting it in the most effec­tual manner; for as by these last sufferings he set us an example of a steady adherence to the cause of righteous­ness, under the greatest natural and temporal evils that can befal us, so in death he gave himself for us an of­fering and a sacrifice to God of a sweet smelling savour.

Nor did he long remain under the dominion of death, for on the third day he was raised again by the mighty power of God; appeared to, and conversed with many of his disciples, especially the Apostles, who were particularly appointed to be witnesses of this great event, by which he was declared in the most convincing manner, to be the Son of God and Saviour of the world. And after conversing with them several times for the space of forty days, and instructing them in the things relating to the kingdom of God, com­manding them to proselyte all nations, baptising them into the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe whatever he had commanded them; he was taken up into heaven from among them, and seated at the right-hand of the Majesty on high, as a Prince and a Saviour to give re­pentance and remission of sins unto all people.

Vested with all power both in heaven and earth, soon after his ascension, he conferred the gifts of the Holy Ghost upon them, which qualified them in the best manner for propagating his religion in the world.

This religion, as published by Christ and his Apo­stles, and contained in the scriptures, is a most excel­lent and perfect institution, admirably adapted to the state and circumstances of mankind. It contains the laws of nature, with various additional directions, as­sistances, promises, and motives suited to our unhappy circumstances of ignorance, weakness, and guilt, and [Page 169]directly tending to promote our purity, comfort, and eternal felicity. For as it has provided a remedy for the [...]ears and sorrows of humble persons, sensible of their guilt and infirmities, by off [...]ring a free pardon to them who believe and repent; effectual assistance to all who are desirous of holiness, and exert themselves in the way appointed for obtaining it, and eternal life to them who persevere in well doing; so, on the other hand, it has taken away all ground of hope from im­penitent and careless men, by assuring them, that, without holiness, none shall ever see the Lord, but that all who obey not the gospel, shall be punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power.

For preserving the knowledge of this excellent reli­gion, and accomplishing its ends in the world it is agreeable to the will of Christ that societies be form­ed, in which the doctrines and duties of his gospel are taught and inculcated, and the Father worshipped through him, the only Mediator between God and men. And he appointed two peculiar services of re­ligion, viz. Baptism and the Lord's supper; the for­mer to be observed only once, as a token of admission into his church, and of a right to the blessings of his kingdom; the latter to be celebrated often, in com­memoration of his dying for us, and as an acknow­ledgment of our Christian obligations.

Though the apostolic office ceased with the lives of those who were first ordained to it by Christ himself, yet it is suitable to his directions, that pastors and teachers be continued throughout all ages, for preach­ing his religion, offering up prayers, and administer­ing his ordinances.

And notwithstanding the gifts which were conferred on the first ministers of the gospel are not continued, I apprehend that faithful diligent men, who give them­selves to reading, meditation, and prayer, that they may understand the will of God, enter into the true [Page 170]spirit of the gospel, and qualify themselves for dis­charging the duties of the Christian ministry, have encouragement to hope for a blessing on their studies and labours from the Head of the church. For ex­cellently as this kingdom is constituted, and well as it is furnished with means for its preservation and prospe­rity, it is not left to the mere natural operation of those means, but our Lord constantly presides in it, directing its affairs, and by his influence promoting the improvement and happiness of his disciples.

Thus does our Lord exercise his power and grace towards mankind at present; but they will be more sensibly and gloriously displayed hereafter, when, de­scending from heaven in his own and his Father's glory, he shall raise the dead, convene all men before his tri­bunal, with unerring judgment separate the good from the bad; and assigning the wicked to misery propor­tioned to their guilt, shall reward the righteous with everlasting life and happiness, rising according to the perfection of their obedience and holiness, though in­finitely above their deserts. Then cometh the end, when he shall deliver up the kingdom unto the Father, that God may be all in all.

This I sincerely deliver as a general idea of that reli­gion which I firmly believe; and according to which I hope, by divine assistance, to form both my public and private conduct, that I may save myself and others.

Ques. II. As we have in common with all the re­formed churches, both at home and abroad, renoun­ced the authority of the church of Rome, notwith­standing her arrogant pretensions to be the only true Catholic church; and her anathemas denounced against all that have departed from her communion as heretics and schismatics, divided from the body of Christ; give us leave to ask you, what are your sentiments concern­ing the Reformation, and the reason and foundation of the Protestant profession?

[Page 171] Ans. The church of Rome appears to me to be dif­ferent not only in her ceremonies, and many of her doctrines, but in her very spirit and constitution from the church of Christ; particularly, as she claims do­minion over the faith and religious practice of men, and inforceth her injunctions by the terrors of this world, without which her anathemas are objects of contempt: and I avow it as a fundamental principle of Christianity, "That every man hath a right, and is required by Christ, to judge for himself in matters of religion, and to act agreeably to his own judgment, formed by the holy scriptures, which is the only rule of faith and practice to Christians.

I cannot therefore but look upon the Reformation as a necessary, and, as far as it hath proceeded, an ex­cellent work; and heartily pray that all who have re­jected the authority of the church of Rome, may re­nounce her imposing spirit, with all her corruptions of the Christian religion.

Ques. III. As there remain some differences still in the constitution and worship of the Protestant church­es themselves, though professedly agreed in one com­mon fundamental principle of the sufficiency and au­thority of the sacred scriptures alone, as the rule and standard of Christian faith, worship, and practice, will you please to let us hear why you think it more eligi­ble to exercise your Christian ministry among the Pro­testant Dissenters, under the toleration, than in the church established by law?

Ans. The great principle of true religion, "That it is the right and duty of every one to search the scrip­tures, and act agreeably to his own judgment in reli­gious matters," obligeth me to dissent from the church established by law; since she assumes power "to de­cree rites and ceremonies, and authority in controver­sies of faith." The acknowledging this authority would be in an high degree improper, as I do not find that Christ hath delegated such power to any man, or [Page 172]body of men, on earth, and seems to me to be directly inconsistent with allegiance to him who is the sole head and lawgiver of the Christian church .

In her service also there are some things that appear to me inconsistent with the simplicity and purity of the gospel, which requires us to worship the FATHER in the name of CHRIST .

For these, and such like reasons, which are not founded upon scruples relating to ceremonies, considered in themselves, but upon a regard to what I apprehend the important principles of truth and Christian liberty, I think it my duty, considered either as a minister, or a private Christian, to dissent from the church esta­blished by law §.

By exercising my ministry among the Protestant Dissenters (which I desire to do peaceably, and in brotherly love to those of the establishment, and all other denominations) I appear publickly in behalf of the natural rights of men and Christians; keep my mind more open to conviction from reason and the word of God, endeavour to promote the pure wor­ship of the gospel, and can better use those means which I judge conducive to the great ends of reli­gion.

Ques. IV. As an higher object of inquiry still, and as I doubt not but you can assign the most laudable motives and ends, will you acquaint us with those that have the principal influence upon your mind, in in­clining you to engage and proceed in the Christian mi­nistry, rather than in any of the most necessary, law­ful, and profitable secular employments, for which your abilities might equally qualify you?

Ans. Though I judge many other employments lawful and honourable, yet the sacred ministry appears to me above all, to afford advantages for promoting [Page 173]the scheme of God's righteous and beneficent govern­ment, and answereng most compleatly the principal ends for which we are all sent into the world, viz. to improve our own natures in holiness, and assist others in improving theirs. The consideration of which, I trust, has had the principal influence in determining me to engage, and chearfully to proceed, in the work of the Christian ministry, rather than the most profi­table secular employment, in which I might, per­haps, with equal application have succeeded.

Ques. V. Will you consider yourself, in what you are doing, as coming under a solemn obligation of at­tending, with a conscientious diligence and sincerity, to all the great duties and purposes of the Christian ministry, in the various occasions and circumstances wherein divine Providence may direct you; of pre­serving an exemplary behaviour in your life, of living in harmony with your brethren, as far as in you lies, in inoffensiveness and peace with your fellow Christi­ans of other denominations, and in Christian charity and benevolence towards all men, utterly disclaiming all persecuting principles and practices in every degree and kind? And as difficulties and discouragements may arise, some of which may be foreseen, and others not, may we not hope, that you have considered this, and that you stand prepared and determined in your own mind, in humble dependence upon the divine as­sistance, to acquit yourself with integrity in the service of your and our great Lord and judge, that you may be approved by him at his appearing, and, as a good and faithful servant, enter into your Master's joy?

Ans. I consider myself as a disciple and minister of Jesus Christ; and would be looked upon as publickly acknowledging myself under the most sacred obligations to obey his laws, to profess his religion, and, to the utmost of my ability, promote the interest of his king­dom, which is a kingdom of purity, peace, and love, to the end of my life.

[Page 174]Though gratitude obligeth me to acknowledge, that through my situation in this society, and the counte­nance and friendship of those with whom I have been, and am principally connected, I have experienced few difficulties, and may hope for further peace and com­fort from the same means; yet I am not insensible that difficulties generally attend a faithful discharge of the ministerial office, and that various discouragements may arise in the course of Providence. But I trust that by attending with prudence to the duties of my station, and paying a due regard to the advice of my worthy brethren in the ministry, and other Christian friends, especially by humbly imploring the assistance of God, I shall be furnished with wisdom and fortitude sufficient for every exigency; enabled to maintain my fidelity, discharge my duty with diligence and success, and finish my course with the joyful expectation of a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge will give unto all his faithful servants, at the great day of retribution.

With a view to which important ends, I desire the further prayers and instructions of you my fathers in the ministry.

The History of the INDEPENDANTS.

THE original of the Independants may be dedu­ced from a set of religious and conscientious people, called Brownists, so stiled from Mr. Robert Brown, a Puritan preacher in the diocese of Norwich *, [Page 175]whose followers were so prejudiced by the severities ex­ercised upon the Puritans, that, about the year 1580, they totally separated from the church of England, and would not allow her to be a true church, nor her ministers true ministers, renouncing all communion with her, not only in ceremonies, but in hearing the word, and in the sacraments *.

The Brownists held the same articles of faith with the church of England; but were very rigid in mat­ters of discipline, and maintained that of the church of England to be Popish and antichristian. They ap­prehended every church ought to be confined within the limits of a single congregation, and that the go­vernment should be democratical .

[Page 176]These people suffered much, with the rest of the Puritans, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and many of them died with remarkable constancy for the principles they professed; and in 1592 they were be­come so numerous, that Sir Walter Raleigh declared in the parliament-house, that they were not less than 20,000, divided into several congregations, in Nor­folk, Essex, and the parts about London: many learn­ed men were then at their head, as Mess. Smith, Ja­cob, the learned Mr. Ainsworth, &c. &c. In that year they laid their case before the Lords of the Coun­cil, wherein they set forth their very grievous suffer­ings; but the council did not chuse to move [...]n the af­fair, as it lay before the high commission. Hereupon they petitioned the Lord Treasurer, setting forth their hardships; which petition was signed by fifty-nine of them, then prisoners in the Gatehouse, Fleet, New­gate, Bridewell, Clink, White Lion, and the Comp­ters. But this and other of their petitions were reject­ed; and "thus," as Mr. Neale observes, "these pious and conscientious persons, after a long and ille­gal imprisonment, were abandoned to the severity of [Page 177]an unrighteous law (the statute against recusants); some of them being publickly executed as felons, and others proscribed and sent into banishment." These persecutions obliged many of them to fly into Hol­land *, where their chiefs, Mess. Johnson, Smith, Ains­worth, Robinson, Jacob, &c. were before gone, and were setting up churches at Amsterdam, Arnheim, Middleburgh, Leyden, &c. &c. That at Amsterdam flourished for more than one hundred years. In the reign of James I. still greater numbers were compelled to leave their native country; and though there hap­pened many differences and schisms in their churches in Holland, they continued to increase every year by the accession of more of their persecuted brethren. Mr. Henry Jacob , one of the former exiles, having con­ferred with Mr. Robinson , pastor of the church at Leyden, embraced his sentiments of church-discipline, now known by the name of Independancy. About the year 1610, he returned to his native country; and having called several of his friends together, and ob­tained their consent to unite in church-fellowship, for the enjoying the ordinances of Christ in the purest manner, he laid the foundation of the first Indepen­dant or congregational church in England , in the [Page 178]year 1616. Mr. Jacob was succeeded in his pastoral charge by Mr. Lathorp; but the little society being discovered by the Bishop's pursuivant, April 29, 1632, at a house in Blackfriars, forty-two of them were ap­prehended, only eighteen escaping. Some of those that were made prisoners were confined in the Clink, others in New Prison and the Gatehouse, and conti­nued there two years or more, and were then suffered to be bailed out. But no favour could be obtained for their pastor; upon which he petitioned the King for liberty to depart the kingdom, which was granted; and, in 1634, he, with about thirty of his followers, went and settled in New England. Mr. Canne *, who was chosen in his room, for a year or two preached to them in private houses, and then was driven, by the rage of persecution, into Holland, where he became pastor of the Brownist congregation at Amsterdam. Mr. Samuel Howe was their next pastor, who was thrown into prison, where he died. Mr. Stephen More, a layman, succeeded him; and now, 1640-41, the times being more favourable, after shifting about from place to place for so many years, they ventured to meet in public, in Deadman's place, Southwark, on the 18th of January. They were soon, however, on a [Page 179]Lord's day, surprised by the marshal of the King's Be [...]ch, and committed to prison. Next day they were carried before the house of Lords, and accused of de­nying the King's supremacy in ecclesiastical matters, and with preaching, contrary to the statute of Eliz. 35. * The house, however, so much the times were changed, instead of referring them to the ecclesiastical courts, dismissed them with a gentle reprimand; and the next Lord's-day, some of the members came out of curio­sity to their assembly, to hear their preaching, and to see their administration of the sacrament, and were so much pleased as to contribute to their collection for the poor.

Many of their ministers, now returned from exile, sat in the famous Westminster assembly of divines, and made a bold stand against the proceedings of the high Presbyterians; they had increased prodigiously by this time; and presented an apologetical narration to the house of Commons, to remove all the censures and ill-natured suggestions against them . Of the Com­mittee to bring about a comprehension of the Inde­pendants within the establishment of presbytery, the [Page 180]reader has seen the issue ; but it should be remarked, that as the presbyterial form of church-government was established, the Independants mildly moved only for an indulgence or toleration, which was refused them. They seemed, in fact, not only concerned for themselves, but for tender consciences of all per­suasions. At this time the Independants were courted by the King; but, though they were enemies to the Presbyterian discipline, they dared not trust a Mo­narch whose professions seemed directed by nothing but his own interest.

When the Presbyterians, in 1646, petitioned the house against the toleration of sectaries, which was se­conded by the Scots; the Independants procured a counter petition from the city, with a great number of hands, "applauding the labours and successes of the parliament in the cause of liberty, and praying them to go on with managing the affairs of the king­dom, according to their wisdoms, and not suffer the free-born people of England to be inslaved on any pretence whatsoever; nor to suffer any set of people to prescribe to them in matters of government or conscience, and the petitioners will stand by them with their lives and fortunes." The Presbyterians were hereupon pres­sed, by the wise parliament, who only wanted to gain time, to answer, in the assembly, their questions re­lating to the jus divinum of presbytery. Accordingly the assembly went to work for that purpose; but the [Page 181]Independants took the opportunity to leave them, re­fusing absolutely to be concerned in the affair. The King, who was in the Scots army, when the treaty with the parliament was broken off, attempted to bring the Scots nation over to his interest by playing the Independants against them, but to little purpose, though he told them the best way to destroy the secta­rians was to join with the Episcopalians, and admit of the establishment of both religions; "that they could not imagine there was any hopes of silencing the Independant party, which undoubtedly will get a toleration in religion from the parliament of England, unless you join with me, in that way that I have pro­posed for the establishing of my crown."

The army, at this time, was composed of Indepen­dants, with a mixture of Anabaptists and other secta­ries, who, when they found the Presbyterians, even in their treaty with the King, of 1648, insisting upon Presbyterian uniformity, without making the least provision for that liberty of conscience they had been contending for, grew outrageous, and at length buried King, Parliament, and Presbytery, in the ruins of the constitution *. However, they are not so chargeable with the death of Charles I. as their adversaries gene­rally imagine; for though it was not possible for the few Independant ministers in London to join the Pres­byterians in their addresses against that measure , be­cause they were not possessed of parochial livings, nor members of the provinicial assembly of London, nor admitted to their weekly consultations at Sion college, but were a sort of Dissenters from the public establish­ment, and for other reasons as conclusive, yet none of their ministers but Hugh Peters and John Goodwin declared their approbation of the proceedings of the council of officers in the trial of the King: nay, some of the Independant ministers in the country joined the [Page 182]Presbyterians in protesting against it. There were, no doubt, among them, as well as amongst other par­ties, men of Republican principles, who had a large share in the guilt of the fatal day, that, for so many years, deprived the nation of Monarchy.

As Oliver Cromwell was averse to church-power, and a friend to universal toleration, they were one of his chief supports during his protectorship. They petitioned him for liberty to hold a synod, in order to publish to the world a uniform confession of their faith; for they were become a considerable body, their churches were increased both in city and country, and many rich and substantial persons had joined them; but they were not agreed upon any standard of faith or discipline; tho' their brethren in New England had done it ten years before *. The Protector yielded to their importunity, but did not live to see the fruits of it. It met at the Savoy, Oct. 12, 1658, and con­sisted of ministers and messengers from above 100 con­gregational churches; of which the majority were lay­men, the rest pastors of churches. They opened their synod with a day of fasting and prayer, and appointed a committee to draw up a new confession, which was soon after published, in quarto, under the title of A declaration of the faith and order owned and practised in the congregational churches in England, agreed upon and consented unto by their elders and messengers in their meeting at the Savoy, Oct. 12, 1658. It consists of thirty-three chapters, in which are almost two hundred dis­tinct [Page 183]articles of faith and discipline; though the whole time of the synod's sessions was not above eleven or twelve days. "In most places this confession runs in the very words of the assembly's confession; and the difference (says Neale) between the two confessions, in points of doctrine, are so very small, that the modern Independants have, in a manner, laid aside the use of it in their families, and agreed with the Presbyterians in the use of the assembly's catechism." At the end of the confession there is a chapter of discipline, in which they assert, "that every particular society of visible professors agreeing to walk together in the saith and order of the gospel is a complete church, and has full power within itself to elect and ordain all church-officers, to exclude all offenders, and to do all other acts relating to the edification and well-being of the church. That the way of ordaining officers, that is, pastors, teachers, or elders, is, after their election, by the suffrage of the church, to set them apart with fasting and prayer, and imposition of the hands of the eldership of the church, tho' if there be no imposition of hands, they are nevertheless rightly constituted mi­nisters of Christ; but they do not allow that ordinati­on to the work of the ministry, tho' it be by persons rightly ordained, does convey any office-power, with­out a previous election of the church. That no per­sons may administer the sacrament but such as are or­dained and appointed thereunto. Nor are the pastors of one church obliged to administer the sacraments to any other, than to the members of that church to whom they stand related in that capacity. Nor may any person be added to the church, as a private mem­ber, but by the consent of the church, after a confes­sion of his faith, declared by himself, or otherwise manifested. They disallow the power of all stated sy­nods, presbyteries, convocations, and assemblies of di­vines, over particular churches; but admit that in cases of difficulty, or difference relating to doctrine or [Page 184]order, churches may meet together by their messengers in synods or councils, to consider and give advice, but without exercising any jurisdiction. Lastly, They agree that churches consisting of persons sound in the faith, and of good conversation, ought not to refuse com­munion with each other, tho' they walk not in all things according to the same rule of church order; and if they judge other churches to be true churches, tho' less pure, they may receive to occasional communi­on such members of those churches as are credibly tes­tified to be godly, and to live without offence. These opinions, they add, "may appear new to a great many people, because they have not been openly and publickly professed in the English nation; but we are able to trace the footsteps of an Independant congre­gational way in the ancientest practice of the church, and in the writings of the soundest protestant divines. That their principles do not, in the least, interfere with the authority of the civil magistrate, nor do they con­cern themselves upon any occasions with him, any further than to implore his protection, for the preser­vation of the peace and liberty of their churches." They glory in this, that ever since they appeared in the world, they have distinguished themselves in the cause of Christian liberty. "We have always maintained (say they) this principle, That among all Christian states and churches there ought to be a forbearance and mu­tual indulgence to Christians of all persuasions, that keep to, and hold fast, the necessary foundations of faith. This principle we have maintained for the sake of others, when we ourselves had no need of it." They conclude with thankfulness to their present governors, for per­mitting those who could not comply with the Presby­terian establishment, to enjoy the liberty of their con­sciences, and equal encouragement and protection with others; and that this liberty is established by a law, as long as they disturb not the public peace. "This should engage us (they conclude) to promote the honour and [Page 185]prosperity of such a government; to be peaceably dis­posed one towards another, and to love as brethren, forasmuch as the differences between Presbyterians and Independants, are differences between fellow-ser­vants, and that neither of them have authority from God or man, to impose their opinions upon one ano­ther." The reader will join with me in thinking this a most rational and Christian conclusion, and that it does great credit to the synod.

When General Monk closed with the Presbyterians, tho' before he had inclined to the Independants, and kept an Independant chaplain about him; when every thing went in their way, and the parliament lay at their mercy, the Independants offered to stand by their friends in the house, to raise four new regiments from among themselves, to force Monk back into Scotland, and to raise 100,000l. for the use of the army, pro­vided they would protect them in their religious liber­ties, which they apprehended Monk and the Presbyte­rians designed to subvert; but it was too late for such proposals to be accepted; the old regiments were dis­lodged, and Monk in possession of the city. And thus ended the power of the army and the Independants.

When the King and the hierarchy were restored, the Independants and Anabaptists petitioned for a tolera­tion, but during the whole reign of Charles II. they were subject to the same persecutions and severities with the rest of the Dissenters, and suffered very severely on many occasions. Upon the mad attempt of Ven­ner and his followers in 1660 , which gave the court a handle to renew their severities against the Dissenters, the Independants thought fit publickly to disown and re­nounce that insurrection. They in their declaration dis­owned the principles of a fifth monarchy, or, the personal reign of King Jesus on earth, as dishonourable to him and prejudicial to his church; and abhor the propagating this, [Page 186]or any other opinion, by force or blood, &c. &c. &c. §.

When James the Second published his declaration for liberty of conscience, the Independants, at least some of them, addressed the King for the indulgence therein shewn them, tho' they were far from approv­ing the dispensing power which produced it. With the other denominations of Dissenters (for from this time the history of one includes all) they sincerely join­ed in the revolution with great zeal, and were finally blessed with peace and rest from all their sufferings by the equitable and wise act of toleration.

The Independants, though characterised and distin­guished by the forementioned constitution of their churches, are, in these days, like some other denomi­nations of Christians, greatly divided in their senti­ments. The far greatest part of them are what is called orthodox, with respect to the equality of the three persons in the Trinity, and of strict Calvinistical principles in the points of predestination, final perse­verance, justification by faith, &c. and are extremely solicitious to preserve and propagate these sentiments, as tho' they were fundamental and essential to salva­tion; nay, the greatest part of them will not scruple to assert it, of which many of their writings are my vouchers .

The Independants, of this denomination, have a fund for the support of an academy, for the training up and educating persons for the ministry; tho' they do not assert such an education is essentially necessary for that office, yet they deem it a proper expedient. The students admitted, are first taught the rudiments of Grammar, Latin, and Greek, and are then initiated [Page 187]by the more immediate instruction of the master or principal tutor of the academy, who must be approved of by the committee of the said fund, for that purpose. The pupils are not only recommended, but carefully examined upon their admission, touching their firm belief and resolution to be stedfast in maintaining (what they call, the orthodox saith; and at frequent opportunities, their sentiments are scrutinized, and espe­cially upon any suspicion of their deviating from it. Towards the expiration of the time of their continuance of the more common preparatory exercises, and when any are deemed properly qualified, to give public spe­cimens or their abilities for the ministry, a subject is pitched upon by the master, or principal tutor, on which they are publickly to exhibit an oration, some­times before some persons selected by the committee; and if, from the ambiguity of their expressions, or any particular explanation of texts of scripture, they are suspected of entertaining any heterodox opinions, it is usual for a person appointed, to lay before them a set of articles, a creed, or summary of the Christian faith, concerning which they are interrogated, touch­ing their belief; to which, if they answer in the affir­mative, and satisfactorily, they are permitted to con­tinue in the academy, and receive the consequent bene­fits of it, as long as may be thought necessary: but if it so happens, as is sometimes the case, that, from their impartial inquiry, they indulge a more free way of thinking, and will not, cannot, bona fide, declare their belief of those articles, and are found privately to call them in question, let their mental qualifications, and their moral characters, be ever so valuable and recom­mendatory to esteem, they are discarded the academy, deprived of any farther benefit from the fund, lest not only unprovided for, and treated as aliens from the faith, but scarcely with Christian charity. This was the case of some not long ago, who are now ministers in other societies of Christians, whose distinguishing [Page 188]abilities, and amiable lives, are an honour to their character and office.

But there are other Independant societies, who dis­claim any pretensions to dictate to their ministers, or to impose on them particular creeds and articles of faith, or making such the boundaries of communion. They have not learned to place religion in unintelligible mysteries, nor in the Calvinistical tenets of predestina­tion, justification by faith, effectual calling, final perseverance, &c. They admit and encourage a much greater latitude of thinking, and seem to center Chris­tianity in this grand article of the Christian religion, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that moral virtue is the great cement of Christian societies.

One of the ministers of a respectable body of this de­nomination at Pinner's hall was, some years ago, the Rev. Dr. JAMES FOSTER, who, tho' a General Baptist, embraced and defended catholic communion, and like­wise accepted, at the same time, an invitation to preach an evening-lecture at the Old Jewry, where his mini­sterial capacity was so much discovered, and evidenced by the universal applause of the vast numbers who at­tended his lectures.

Nor can I forget a laudable example in another mi­nister of that society, who succeeded Dr. Foster, I mean the Rev. Mr. Caleb Fleming. When he was called to accept the pastoral care of this congregation, at the time of his ordination, in opposition to orthodox creeds, of mere human invention, taking the Greek Testament in his hand, he said, This I believe to be the word of God, the rule of faith and practice to Christians: as such, I shall endeavour to understand the true sense of it, to inculcate the genuine truths and duties of it, and to live according to it. This declaration, as to the substance of it, has been the only profession of faith made, also, by some of the Presbyterian and General Baptist ministers since, at the time of their ordination. [Page 189]However, I have thought proper to give the substance of a ‘CONFESSION of FAITH, at the public Ordination of Mr. Thomas Bradbury, London, July 10, 1707, which perhaps is most agreeable to the principles of the majo­rity of the Independants.’

FORASMUCH as, upon these occasions, many have taken in hand to set forth, in order, a declaration of those things which are most surely believed amongst us: I desire to make the same good profession before many witnesses, and according to my measure of the gift of Christ, give a reason of the hope that is in me, with meekness and fear, and especially at this time, when, by fasting and prayer, and laying on of hands, I am to be separated for the work whereunto the Lord hath called me; tho' I be less than the least of all saints, and not worthy of this grace, to preach the unsearch­able riches of Christ.

Article I. I therefore declare my belief, that the books of the Old and New Testament, which are com­monly received amongst us, came not by the will of man, but the holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and are profitable for doc­trine, for reproof, for correction, and instruction in righteousness.

Art. II. This, thro' grace, I will always adhere to, as the great rule of my faith and ministry—to this law and testimony I profess to bring every opinion—this I promise, in a dependance upon him who has the residue of the spirit—I apply to these scriptures as the best dis­covery God hath made of himself in this life—I here learn what God is, and what he doth. This includes both his nature and glorious perfections: it includes both his eternal unity and a trinity of persons.

Art. III. I believe that the Lord our God is one Lord, there is none besides him.

[Page 190] Art. IV. I believe there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and that these three are one. This I would avow as a truth, and humbly adore as a mystery.

Art. V. I believe that this one God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is a spirit. The King eternal, im­mortal, invisible, from everlasting to everlasting— merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, but who will take vengeance on his adversaries, and not at all acq [...]it the wicked.

Art. VI. I believe that he created all thin [...]s, and for his pleasure they are, and were created—that his go­vernment reaches over the whole creation, that his pro­vidence extends to all creatures and their actions, and that the foreknowledge of God over rules the corrup­tions of men.

Art. VII. I believe that God made a covenant with our first parents, as the common root of all their poste­rity, and gave them a righteous law, with this esta­blishment, that he that does these things shall live by them; but in the day that he offended he should surely die.

Art. VIII. I believe that by one man's disobedience our natures are not only guilty but impure, and that we lie dead in trespasses and sins.

Art. IX. I believe that God resolved to glorify him­self by redeeming some of the lost race:—that he did, from all eternity, predestinate some to the adoption of children, whose names are written in heaven:—that this election was free, and it will have a certain issue: —that the remnant are saved, according to the election of grace, not for the works which they should afterwards do; but according to his own purpose and grace before the world began.

Art. X. I believe that this design will be effectual to the happiness of all those.

Art. XI. I believe that the only method of obtain­ing this happiness was by appointing one mediator be­tween God and man; the man Christ Jesus; giving a certain number to him, and setting him forth to be a [Page 191]propitiation, thro' faith in his blood, for the remission of sins, that God might be just, and yet the elect be saved.

Art. XII. I believe the divinity of our great Lord Redeemer; that he is over all, God blessed for ever­more; that he thought it no robbery to be equal with God, but receives a divine homage.—I believe this word was made flesh, and dwelt among us:—this is the mystery of godliness, great without controversy, that God was manifest in the flesh.—I believe him to be a teacher come from God:—that he was made a priest for ever:—that he is the King of saints, of whose kingdom there shall be no end.—In all these capa­cities he is head of the church, and the Saviour of the body—appointed to be the heir of all things; but more especially lord over them who are given to him.

Art. XIII. I believe he went about doing good, delighting to do the will of him that sent him, by the which will we are sanctified:—that he was made a curse for us, suffering in both the parts of his human nature: that he was the Messiah, who should be cut off to fi­nish transgression, and make an end of sin: that there is no other name given under heaven whereby men can be saved.

Art. XIV. I believe when he had by himself purg­ed our sins, he was buried, and lay part of three days and three nights in the belly of the earth.

Art. XV. I believe that God raised him to heaven, loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible he should be holden of it. I believe he ascended up on high, is seated on the right hand of God, as the advo­cate of his people and the judge of the world.

Art. XVI. I believe that whom he predestinated, them the also called, and whom he has called, them he also justifies freely by his grace. The blessedness of this consists in God's imputing righteousness without works.—I believe that we lay hold on this mercy by faith, and that not of ourselves, but of the gift of God: —that the people of God receive the adoption of [Page 192]sons, and there is a change in the disposition of those who are heirs of the grace of life, owing to free love and to almighty power.—I believe that the ransomed of the Lord grow in grace, and that he who has be­gun a good work in them, will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ. No man shall be able to pluck them out of his hands.

Art. XVII. I believe he is to be worshipped with reverence and godly fear.—I believe that we are to own this Lord in societies, and that there is a commu­nion with all that in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, both theirs and ours, and that Jesus Christ will be with them to the end of the world.

Art. XVIII. I believe he hath given us several com­mands and institutions, which we, as Christians, are obliged to perform; one of which is baptism in water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost—taught us all things whatsoever he has commanded—admonishing one another in Psalms, Hymns, and spiritual Songs.—And by eating bread and drinking wine, in remembrance of him, we are to continue stedfast in doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayer.

Art. XIX. I believe, that in all these parts of wor­ship, one is our Master, even Christ; no man having dominion over our faith and liberty.

Art. XX. I believe that the Christian, at his death, enters upon two blessings, a complete purity and satis­fying enjoyment, that the spirits of just men are made perfect—see Christ and know him, as themselves are known; that more perfect felicity which will follow the resurrection and universal judgment. For,

Art. XXI. I believe there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust:—that Christ hath authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man: that the angels, who sinned, are deliver­ed into chains of darkness; both they and the wicked, [Page 193]who know not God, nor obey the gospel of his dear Son, shall go into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal.

The History of the BAPTISTS, commonly called ANA­BAPTISTS.

THE BAPTISTS (or Anabaptists) were so stiled from their practice of baptising believers, think­ing them the only proper subjects of that institution, and that the mode of baptism should be performed by immersion, the method made use of by the primitive Christians for the three first centuries after the promul­gation of the gospel *: thus they claim an immediate descent from the Apostles, and assert that the consti­tuion of their churches is from the authority of Jesus Christ himself, and his immediate successors.

Some Historians, indeed, deduce their origin, as a sect, from much later times, and affirm they first sprang up in Germany, and separated themselves from the Lutherans, because the doctrine of these reformers was imperfect, or not brought to the primitive standard; as the proper mode and subject of baptism was not al­lowed by them to be necessary in the performance of the rite . Therefore they re-baptised their followers, condemning infant-baptism as unscriptural and of no effect, whence they acquired the reproachful name Anabaptists. They insisted on strict morality, morti­fication, fasting, and simplicity of dress. They not only exclaimed against the authority and tyranny of the church of Rome, but against every authority that op­posed the rights of conscience.


[Page 194]The antiquity of baptism by immersion is fixed, however, upon too firm a basis to be removed, as may be shewn from the consent and testimony of the most approved antient * and modern writers, and even some of their greatest opposers acknowledge the rise of the Baptists, as a sect, to be at least five hundred years before the confusions at Munster. In Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France, &c. their opinions had multi­tudes of abettors, numbers of whom were martyred for their adherence thereto, in the the 15th and 16th cen­turies, by those who had the civil and religious go­vernment in their hands. The martyrology of the foreign Anabaptists is a large book in folio; and the account it gives of the number of their martyrs and confessors, as well as of the cruelties that were used to­wards them, very much exceeds any thing that has been done in England. However, according to their num­ber in this land, and the degree to which persecution has at any time arisen, they have always had their full share of it.

It is pretty clear, from the consent of many learned authors, that Wickliffe, the first English reformer, denied infant-baptism to be lawful; for one of his tenets was, "That those are fools and presumptuous, which affirm such infants not to be saved, which die without baptism; and he denied, that all sins are abo­lished in baptism §." As it was the opinion that bap­tism washed away original sin, and by a secret virtue regenerated the person, and that the infant dying without it, was in danger of damnation, that opinion began, and established the practice of infant-baptism; therefore, this foundation being removed, that practice [Page 195]falls of course *. Some of his followers maintained, "That the children of believers are not to be sacra­mentally baptised; and that it was unprofitable to give children ecclesiastical baptism, saying, they were sufficiently clean and holy, because they were born of holy and Christian parents ." But to commence my history:

Though several Anabaptists were put to death, and banished, for their opinions, in the reign of Henry VIII. yet I shall begin their history with the words of Bishop Burnet , and which I look upon to be proper for my purpose. "At this time, 1547, there were many Anabaptists in several parts of England; they were generally Germans, whom the revolutions there had forced to change their seats. Upon Luther's first preaching in Germany, there arose many, who, build­ing on some of his principles, carried things much fur­ther than he did. The chief foundation he laid down was, that the scripture was to be the only rule of Christians. Upon this many argued, that the myste­ries of the Trinity, and Christ's incarnation and suffer­rings, of the fall of man, and the aids of grace, were indeed philosophical subtilities, and only pretended to be deduced from scripture, as almost all opinions of re­ligion were, and therefore they rejected them. A­mongst these the baptism of infants was one. They held that to be no baptism, and so were rebaptised. But from this, which was most taken notice of, as be­ing a visible thing, they carried all the general name of Anabaptists. On the 12th of April there was a com­plaint brought to the council, that with the strangers that were come into England, some of that persuasion had come over, and were disseminating their errors, and making proselytes: so a commission was ordered [Page 196]for the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops of Ely, Worcester, Westminster, Chichester, Lincoln, and Rochester, Sir William Petre, Sir Thomas Smith, Dr. Cox, Dr. May, and some others, three of them being a quorum, to examine and search after all Ana­baptists, heretics, or contemners of the Common-prayer. They were to endeavour to reclaim them, to enjoin them penance, and give them absolution, or, if they were obstinate, to excommunicate and imprison them, and to deliver them over to the secular power, to be further proceeded against. Some tradesmen in London were brought before these commissioners in May, and were persuaded to abjure their former opinions, one of which was, that the baptism of infants was not profitable. One of those, who thus abjured, was commanded to carry a faggot, next Sunday, at St. Paul's, where there should be a sermon, setting forth his heresy. But there was another of these extreme obstinate, Joan Bocher, commonly called Joan of Kent. She denied that Christ was truly incarnate of the Virgin, whose flesh being sin­ful, he could take none of it; but the word, by the consent of the inward man in the Virgin, took flesh of her; these were her words. They took much pains about her, and had many conferences with her; but she was so extravagantly conceited of her own notions, that she rejected all they said with scorn. Whereupon she was adjudged an obstinate heretic, and so left to the secular power *." In 1550, the Anabaptists were excepted out of a general pardon. These Anabaptists were cer­tainly of an untractable and obstinate temper; "but (says Burnet) for the other sort of the Anabaptists, who only denied infant-baptism , I find no severities used to them, but several books were written against them, to which they wrote some answers. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth the Baptists greatly increased, and [Page 197]were subjected to imprisonment and banishment *. Some few indeed recanted their errors, as Fuller observes; but two were burnt in Smithfield. In the reign of James I. among the persecuted exiles that fled to Hol­land were several Anabaptists, who set up a church un­der the pastorship of Mr. John Smith, who had been a minister of the established church; but they were vio­lently opposed by the other Puritan exiles, from whom they received much abuse in books written against their opinions. In this reign Edward Wightman, a Bap­tist, of Burton upon Trent, was burnt at Litchfield. He was the last martyr that suffered by this cruel kind of death in England; and it may be remarked, that William Sawtre, the first that suffered in that manner, for his religious opinions, was supposed to have denied infant-baptism: so that this sect had the honour both of leading the way, and bringing up the rear of all the martyrs, who were burnt alive in England, as well as that a great number of those who suffered this death for their religion, in the 200 years between, were of this denomination. In 1620, several Anabaptists transported themselves into New England, where for a time they met with but hard measure from their con­gregational brethren, who, tho' they had fled from per­secution themselves, yet could give no great latitude to the tender consciences of the Baptists and Quakers. Dr. Mather, in his ecclesiastical history, has indeed acknowledged many of the Baptists to be worthy and honest men; and that Mr. Williams, one of their preach­ers, being banished from Salem, settled at a place called Providence, where he gathered a church together, and was very instrumental in obtaining a charter for the government of Rhode Island, of which he was some­times chosen governor, and that he did all in his power to convert the Indians in his neighbourhood; of the man­ners, [Page 198]language and tempers of whom, he published a relation. When they were restored to a peaceable state, the Baptists spread greatly in the colonies of New England, increased much in Pensilvania, where they had, in 1714, nine churches, and there are now Bap­tist churches in many other colonies in the British A­merica. But to return home:

In 1616, the more moderate Baptists published a small treatise, wherein they endeavoured to justify their separation from the church of England, and to prove that every man has a right to judge for himself in mat­ters of religion; and that to persecute any on that ac­count, is illegal and antichristian, contrary to the laws of God, as well as to several declarations of the King's Majesty. They also assert their opinion concerning baptism, and shew the invalidity of the baptism which was administered, either in the established church, or among the other Dissenters; and clear themselves of several errors unjustly cast upon them. It appears to be written, or approved of, by the whole body of Bap­tists who then remained in England. They subscribe themselves Christ's unworthy ministers, and his Ma­jesty's faithful subjects, commonly called Anabap­tists.

I shall, from this treatise, inform my readers what were, in general, the opinions of this denomination at this period. They acknowledge magistracy to be God's ordinance; and that Kings, and such as are in autho­rity, ought to be obeyed in all civil matters, not only for fear, but also for conscience sake. They allow the ta­king of an oath to be lawful; and declare that all their profession were willing, in faithfulness and truth, to subscribe the oath of allegiance. They protest against the doctrine of the Papists, that princes excommuni­cated by the Pope may be deposed or murdered by their subjects: calling it a damnable and accursed doctrine, which their souls abhor; and also against the errors of the Familists, who, to avoid persecution, can comply with [Page 199]any external form of religion. They confess that Christ took his flesh of the virgin Mary; and, for their or­thodoxy in these and other points, refer the reader to their confession of faith, published in 1611. They ac­knowledged that many called Anabaptists held several strange opinions contrary to them; but lament it, and clear themselves from deserving any censure upon that account, by shewing that it was so in the primitive church, and yet Christ did not condemn all for the er­rors of some. But that which they chiefly inveigh a­gainst, is the pride, luxury, and oppression of the Lords Bishops, or pretended spiritual power, whereby they were exposed to great hardships and cruel persecutions. Having in their preface mentioned that text, The Kings of the earth shall give their power unto the beast; "If it be granted (say they) that the Kings of this nation formerly have given their power to the Romish beast, it shall evidently appear that our Lord the King, and all magistrates under him, do give their power unto the same beast, tho' the beast be in another shape."—"Our most humble desire of our Lord the King is, that he would not give his power to force his faithful-subjects to dissemble, to believe as he believes, in the least measure of persecution; tho' it is no small persecution to lie many years in filthy prisons, in hunger, cold, idleness, divided from wise, family, calling, left in continual miseries and temptations, so as death would be to many less persecution." Again, shewing how near the pre­latical power and usurpation came to the bloody spiri­tual power of the Roman Catholics, they say, "How many, only for seeking reformation, have been put to death by your power, in the days of Queen Eliza­beth? and how many, both then and since, have been consumed to death, in prisons? Yea, since that spi­ritual power hath been set up, hath not hanging, burn­ing, exile, imprisonments, and all manner of contempts, been used, and all for religion, altho' some, for grie­vous errors, and yet you see not this to be a bloody [Page 200]rellgion!" — "Let (they say in another place) Mr. Fox, or any others who have described the spiritual power of Rome, let but their description thereof be compared with the spiritual power, in all their laws, courts, titles, pomp, pride, and cruelty, and you shall see them very little differ, except in their cruelties, which, glory be to God, the King's Majesty, who thirsteth not after blood, hath somewhat restrained. Altho' it is most grievous cruelty to lie divers years in most noisome and filthy prisons, and continual tempta­tions of want, their estates overthrown, and never co­ming out, many of them, till death; let it be well weighed, and it is little inferior to the cruel sudden death in times of the Romish power in this nation." After all, they conclude with an hearty prayer for their enemies, "That the Lord would give them repentance; that their sins may not be laid to their charge, even for Christ's sake."

Notwithstanding this declaration, their sufferings were rather increased than lessened. They were not on­ly harrassed in the spiritual courts, but the temporal sword was used against them; their goods seized, their persons confined, for many years, in stinking goals, where they were deprived of their wives, children and friends, till God was pleased to release numbers of them by death.

Many other attempts they made in the reign of James, to obtain a toleration, but without effect; yet they daily gained ground. In that of Charles the First, they suffered with the rest of the Puritans still great­er persecutions; and in the year 1633, the Baptists be­gan to separate themselves from the Puritans, and to form societies distinct and apart of those of their own persuasion. In 1642, was a dispute between the fa­mous Dr. Featley and four Anabaptists, in Southwark; an account of which the Doctor published, tho' a very doubtful and partial one; in the dedication to which he says, that "he could hardly dip his pen in any thing [Page 201]but gall;" a sure proof of his unrighteous spirit. It was published with the following title, "The dippers dipped, or the Anabaptists dipped and plunged over head and ears, in a disputation lately held in Southwark, &c. &c."

What greatly contributed to the increase of Antipoe­dobaptism in these times was, that some of the great­est writers for reformation spoke favourably of that opinion, and the reasonableness of granting liberty to those who held it; such were Robert Lord Brooke, Mr. Daniel Rogers, Bishop Taylor, and Dr. Ham­mond. In 1043, the Baptists published their confes­sion of faith, of which several editions were printed in 1644 and 1646, one of which was licensed by autho­rity, and dedicated to the parliament. Their very ad­versaries were obliged to own this confession was, in general, orthodox, and could object very little against it, except the denial of infant-baptism, and making immersion necessary to the right administration of that ordinance. However, they were now persecuted by the intolerant Presbyterians, as they had before been by the rigid Episcopalians: but, in March 1647, a declaration of the Lords and Commons was published in their favour, induced thereto by the great numbers of them then in the army, and in most corporations of England. It had the following words:

"The name of Anabaptism hath, indeed, con­tracted much odium, by reason of the extravagant principles and practices of some of that name in Ger­many, tending to the disturbance of the government and peace of all states; which opinions and practices we abhor and detest: but for their opinion against the baptism of infants, it is only a difference about a cir­cumstance of time in the administration of an ordi­nance, wherein, in former ages, as well as this, learn­ed men have differed both in opinion and practice. And though we could wish that all men would satisfy themselves, and join with us in our judgment and prac­tice [Page 202]in this point; yet herein we hold it fit that men should be convinced by the word of God, with great gentleness and reason, and not beaten out of it with force and violence, &c." It should seem, however, this Christian temper in the parliament was but of short duration; for, in 1648, they published a cruel ordi­nance for the punishing of blasphemies and heresies, by which every sect but the rigid Presbyterians were con­demned: and upon this ordinance several Baptists were prosecuted for denying the validity of infant-baptism.

The short rest they enjoyed towards the close of the usurped government had a period by the restoration of King Charles II. in which they concurred with since­rity, from whom (or rather his ministers and clergy) they soon experienced equal hardships with other Dis­senters, and were persecuted in all parts of the king­dom, with imprisonment, loss of goods, &c. &c. Upon Venner's insurrection, they published two apo­logies, wherein they protested against the principles and practices of him and his adherents; and it is cer­tain there were no Baptists amongst them. Neverthe­less, the persecution of them was not ceased, and, if possible, they still met with harder measure than be­sore, so that, in about eighteen weeks only, many, up­on account of that insurrection, were kept close pri­soners. Above four hundred were crowded into New­gate, besides what were in other prisons; but at the coronation an act of indemnity being granted to all of­fenders, save murderers, they were all set at liberty. Yet in vain were all their petitions and remonstrances, in vain the many sensible vindications they published of their principles and practices: they were every where, in this reign, loaded with fines, hardships, re­proach, and abuse. About the year 1676, the Bap­tists had several disputes with the Quakers, which ended to their advantage. In 1677, they published "A confession of their faith, put forth by the elders and brethren of many congregations of Christians bap­tised [Page 203]upon profession of their faith, in London and the country."

To survey the sufferings of the pious and worthy persons who encountered all perils for the sake of a good conscience, amongst the Baptists, though it would draw tears from the sympathetic eye, yet must, at the same time, inspire the reader with the same holy confidence and resolution they in general exerted, un­der their persecutions and bonds; and I must think their fortitude proceeded from the secret influence of a superior and unseen power, which strengthened them in the day of trial.

The Baptists suffered severely in the reign of James II. till his declaration for liberty of conscience relieved them and their persecuted brethren of the other deno­minations of Dissenters. At length the glorious Re­volution, and the consequent toleration of Protestant Dissenters, restored them to the public profession of their principles. "The face of things being thus changed, it presently appeared how ineffectual those cruel and barbarous methods, fines, imprisonments, &c. were to stop the growth and increase of the Eng­lish Baptists: for, soon after, it appeared by the nar­rative of the proceedings of a general assembly, there were more than one hundred congregations of them assembled together, to consult of proper ways and means to advance the glory of God, and the well being of their churches. A general fast was ordered by this assembly to be kept by all the congregations, and the causes and reasons thereof sent to all the churches." "At this general assembly, which was every day o­pened and concluded with solemn prayer, were present upwards of one hundred and fifty persons; and so united were their hearts in the spirit of love and sweet concord, that, in their debates, consultations, and re­solves, they say, scarcely one brother dissented from the assembly in the sentiments of his mind, in any one thing pro­posed to their serious consideration. This general assem­bly, [Page 204]Sept. 5. considered and concluded that a public fund or stock was necessary towards maintaining and supporting a regular ministry, and came to a resolu­tion how to raise it; and unanimously concluded that it should be raised by a free-will offering; that every person should communicate according to his ability, and as the Lord shall make him willing, and enlarge his heart; and that the churches severally among them­selves do order the collection of it with all convenient speed, that the ends proposed may be put into present practice.

The uses to which this fund was to be applied were, 1. To communicate thereof to those churches that are not able to maintain their own ministry; and that their ministers may be encouraged wholly to devote them­selves to the great work of preaching the gospel. 2. To send ministers that are ordained, or at least solemnly called, to preach both in city and country, where the gospel hath or hath not been preached, and to visit the churches; and these to be chosen out of the churches in London, or the country; which ministers are to be approved of, and sent forth by two churches at the least; but more, if it may be. 3. To assist those members that shall be found in any of the aforesaid churches that are disposed for study, have an inviting gift, and are sound in fundamentals, in attaining to the knowledge and understanding of the languages, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew."

The Baptists history from this happy aera of the act of toleration is not such as to come within the compass of my proposed plan. I have brought them to the safe enjoyment of their religious liberties: since that was afforded to them, by the wisdom of the legislature, their history, to the present day, can consist of little but acts of internal discipline, the meetings and acts of their assemblies, and a few controversies which have agitated them relating to the doctrine of the Trinity, psalm­singing, &c. &c. They have dutifully, with the other [Page 205]denominations, addressed the throne upon all interest­ing public occasions, and have been concerned with them in the several applications for the repeal of the corporation and test acts.

As the Baptists are divided into two bodies, called general and particular, before I lay before my readers their sentiments in point of doctrine, I shall give an ac­count of their method of performing the rite of bap­tism, in which they are all agreed, with very little va­riation; particularly as it is that peculiar practice by which they are distinguished.

It will be proper to premise, that the person to be baptised is previously instructed in the principles of the Christian religion, of the nature of baptism, the de­sign, pre-requisite qualifications, the manner in which it ought to be administered, and the advantages re­sulting from it; that from a persuasion of its being then his duty, he may voluntarily offer and desire to be baptised. The minister then, with some of that society, converse with him or her; after which, at the time and place appointed, which is usually the next Sabbath-day, sometimes after the morning-service, at other times after the afternoon-service, and at other times on some other day of the week, the rite is per­formed, when there is usually a sermon suitable to that occasion; and the minister uses a short address to the person to be baptised, to the following purpose.

In presenting yourself before God, and these witnesses and members of his church, to be baptised, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and into the profession of the Christian religion, we presume, in charity, and have good rea­son to believe you are determined by the clear and strong sense of your duty, and with such dispositions as your own conscience approves, such as are acceptable to God, and, thro' his blessing upon your faithful en­deavours, will terminate in the improvement and hap­piness of your soul, &c.

[Page 206]Then the minister enlarges on the grounds and au­thority of Christ's instituting the ordinance of baptism: unless a sermon is preached on the subject.

The minister proceeds to explain what is properly to be understood by being baptised into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost —He likewise enlarges on the moral use and influence of baptism,—on the qualifications demanded in scripture, of all persons to whom Christian baptism is to be administered, as that which can justify a minister therein, and in vindication of this mode of baptism.

Then the minister, addressing himself to the person, asks him these questions:

Minister. Will you declare in the church and presence of God, who cannot be deceived, and will not be mocked, that you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?

Answer. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Minis. Is it your affectionate reverence for the autho­rity and institution of Jesus Christ, that induces you at this time to offer yourself to be baptised into the profes­sion of his holy name and religion?

Ans. Yes.

Minis. Are you resolved to renounce every known and presumptuous sin, to obey the precepts, and follow the example of your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and in an humble dependance upon God, to adorn the pro­fession of Christianity you this day put on, by main­taining to the end of your life a conversation becoming the gospel?

Ans. Yes.

Then, in some congregations, they sing a psalm or hymn adapted to the occasion, and then pray; at others they proceed to prayer without singing; the matter and form of which, as recommended in Harrison's Of­fice of Baptism, printed in 1759, and given as a spe­cimen, [Page 207]appears to be well adapted; but I must refer the curious to the book itself.

The minister then withdraws to dress himself for the administration, as do the persons to be baptised; for they have proper dresses for men and women, and dif­ferent apartments, with proper attendants on each. In the time of intermission another minister or deacon ge­nerally reads Ps. xxvi. cxviii. 1 Peter iii. Acts viii. Romans vi. or some other parts of scripture.

Upon the minister's, &c. return to the baptistry (which at Barbican * is admirably commodious), the minister addressing himself to the person to be baptised, says, "In consequence of your voluntary, public, and solemn profession of your Christian faith, penitence, and holy resolutions, it becomes my duty to baptise you:" then, taking the person by the hand, they go down together into the water, using these or such like phrases: They went down into the water, Philip with the eunuch, and he baptised him.—Who shall forbid wa­ter that these should not be baptised, who have made a good profession before many witnesses?

Sometimes, where the former address to the person has been omitted, the minister says, immediately before the baptism, "As thou hast professed thy faith in Je­sus Christ, and desirest to be baptised, I baptise thee in his name." At other times only the scripture form is used, I baptise thee, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. At coming up out of the water, some significant phrase is usually made use of, as—We are buried with him by baptism.—Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness, &c.

Then the minister and the baptised retire, and some other minister generally concludes with singing a psalm or hymn, and then prayer. The person thus baptised is deemed a member of the society, and consequently has a right to partake of the Lord's supper, in that church, or any other of the same denomination.

[Page 208]But here, in many congregations, it must be ac­knowledged, they practise laying on of hands of the minister on the party baptised, with prayer, before their admission to communion. This is sometimes considered as a primitive practice, which was always at least generally performed soon after baptism, and mentioned Heb. vi. &c.—Others assert, that the im­position of hands by the Apostles and first ministers of the Christian church was generally attended with ex­traordinary effects, as evidences of their mission. But as no mention is made of this in the history of our Sa­viour's life, and these effects ceased with the Apostles, it is thought by many, who submit to baptism, of no standing obligation in the Christian church, and is consequently dispensed with by ministers of several con­gregations, where there is not a persuasion of its law­fulness and expedience.

The two parties of Baptists in England, which have subsisted ever since their first appearance as a sect, are, the particular Baptists, viz. those that have followed the doctrines of Calvin, and from the princi­pal point thereof, personal election, are so called *; the general Baptists, who profess the Arminian or remon­strant tenets, and have, from the chief of those doc­trines, universal redemption , been so denominated. These last have also their general assembly annually held at London, in the Whitsun-week.

The chief heads of belief and doctrine of the parti­cular Baptists I must draw from the various confessions of their faith which have appeared in the world, from time to time, which vary little from each other, no­ting afterwards in what some of the present particular Baptists differ. This I shall be obliged to do as brief­ly as possible.

They believe in one God, whose subsistence is in himself, whose essence cannot be comprehended by any [Page 209]but himself; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light, which no man can approach unto; who is in himself most holy, every way infinite, in greatness, power, wisdom, love; merciful and gracious, long­suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; who giveth being, moving, and preservation to all crea­tures: that in God there is the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; yet one God: that God hath decreed concerning all things, before the world was created, whether necessary, accidental, or voluntary; yet with­out being the author of sin: that he hath pre-ordained some men to eternal life, through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of his grace; leaving the rest in their sin, to their just condemnation, to the praise of his justice: that God made all things good; but, by A­dam's transgression, death came upon all his posterity, who now are conceived in sin, and by nature the chil­dren of wrath, the subject of death, and every misery in this world, and for ever, unless Christ set them free: that neither good or evil befal any by chance, or with­out God's Providence; and that whatsoever befals the elect is by his appointment, for his glory and their good: that all the elect are redeemed, not by them­selves, nor their own works, but only by the free grace and mercy of God, through Jesus Christ: that the scriptures are the only rule for holiness and obedience: that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, by whom he made and upholdeth the world; that he was begat by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, was tempted as we are, yet without sin: that Jesus Christ is the Mediator, and Prophet, Priest, and King of the church of God, for ever: that he was appointed by God unto this office from everlasting; and in respect of his man­hood, from the womb called, separated, and anoint­ed, most fully and abundantly with all gifts necessary, God having without measure poured out his spirit up­on him: that he is, by the special promise of God, ordained to the office of Mediator; which promise is, [Page 210]that Christ should be made a sacrifice for sin, &c. all of mere free and absolute grace towards God's elect, and without any condition foreseen in them to procure it: that the office of Mediator, that is, to be Pro­phet, Priest, and King of the church of God, cannot be transferred from Christ to any other: that he might be a prophet every way complete, it was necessary he should be God, and also that he should be man; for unless he had been God, he never could perfectly have understood the will of God; and unless he had been man, he could not suitably have unfolded it in his own person to men: that, by the sacrifice of Christ for sin, he hath finally finished and suffered all things required for the salvation of God's elect, &c. that Jesus Christ, by his death, did purchase salvation to the elect that God gave unto him: that these only have interest in him, and fellowship with him, for whom he makes intercession with his father in their behalf, and to them alone doth God, by his spirit, apply this redemption; as also the free gift of eternal life is given to them, and none else: that faith is the gift of God, wrought in the hearts of the elect by the Spirit of God: that all those who have that precious faith wrought in them by the Spirit can never finally nor totally fall away; see­ing the gifts of God are without repentance, and the names of the elect have been written in the book of life from all eternity: that faith is ordinarily begotten by the preaching of the gospel or word of Christ, without any power or agency in the creature; but it being wholly passive, and dead in trespasses and sins, doth believe and is converted by no less power than that which raised Christ from the dead: that all believers are by Christ united to God; that they are the sons of God, and joint heirs with Christ, to whom belong all the promises of this life, and that which is to come: that they are justified from all their sins by the blood of Christ: that sanctification is a spiritual grace: that all believers, in the time of this life, are [Page 211]in a continual warfare and combat against sin, self, the world, and the devil, being predestinated and appoint­ed thereunto; and whatsoever the saints enjoy or pos­sess of God spiritually, is by faith; and outward and temporal things are lawfully enjoyed, by a civil right, by them who have no faith: that Jesus Christ hath here on earth a spiritual kingdom, which is his church, whom he hath purchased and redeemed to himself as a peculiar inheritance; which church is a company of visible saints, called and separated from the world, by the word and Spirit of God, to the visible profession of the faith of the gospel, being baptised into that faith, and joined to the Lord, and each to other, by mutual agreement, in the practical enjoyment of the ordinances commanded by Christ, their Head and King: that to this church he hath made his promises, and giveth the signs of his covenant, presence, accep­tation, love, blessing, and protection: that being thus joined, every church hath power given them from Christ, for their well-being, to chuse among them­selves meet persons for elders and deacons: that the ministers lawfully called, as aforesaid, ought carefully to feed the flock of Christ committed to them, not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind: that the ministers of Christ ought to have whatsoever they shall need, supplied freely by the church, that, according to Christ's ordinance, they that preach the gospel should live of the gospel, by the law of Christ: that baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, given by Christ to be dispensed upon persons professing faith, or that are made disciples; who, upon profession of faith, ought to be baptised, and after to partake of the Lord's supper: that the way and manner of dispensing this ordinance is dipping or plunging the body under wa­ter, that it being a sign, must answer the things signi­fied, which is, that interest the saints have in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ; and that as certainly as the body is buried under water, and risen again, so [Page 212]certainly shall the bodies of the faints be raised by the power of Christ, in the day of the resu [...]rection, to reign with him: that the person designed by Christ to dis­pense baptism, the scripture declares should be a disci­ple; it being no where tied to a particular church-of­ficer, or person extraordinarily sent, the commission enjoining the administration, being given to them as considered disciples, being men able to preach the gos­pel: that Christ hath given power to his church to re­ceive in and cast out any member that deserves it; and this power is given to every congregation, and not to one particular person, either member or officer, but in relation to the whole body, in reference to their faith and fellowship: that every member of each church is subject to this censure and judgment; and that the church ought not, without great care and tender­ness, and due advice, but by the rule of faith, to pro­ceed against her members: that, for the keeping of this church in holy and orderly communion, he placeth some special men over the church, who by their office are to govern, oversee, visit, watch; so likewise for the better keeping thereof, in all places by the members, he hath given authority, and laid duty upon all to watch over one another: that such to whom God hath given gifts in the church, may and ought to prophesy, ac­cording to the proportion of faith, and so to teach publickly the word of God, for the edification, exhor­tation, and comfort of the church: that this being rightly gathered, and continuing in obedience to the gospel of Christ, none are to separate faults and cor­ruptions (for as long as the church consists of men sub­ject to failings, there will be no difference in the true constituted church) until they have in due order and tenderness sought redress thereof: that although the particular congregations be distinct, and several bo­dies, yet are they all to walk by one rule of truth; are to have the counsel, and help one another, if necessity require it, as members of one body, in the common [Page 213]faith, under Christ their head: that all due subjection be yielded to the civil magistrate, and supplication and prayers be made for Kings, and all that are in autho­rity, that under them we may live a quiet and peace­able life, in all godliness and honesty: that we are to witness to the truth of the scriptures unto death, if re­quired, in the midst of all trials and afflictions, as his saints of old have done; not accounting our goods, lands, wives, children, &c. &c. yea and our own lives, dear unto us, so we may finish our course with joy; remembering always, that we ought to obey God, rather than men, who will, when we have finish­ed our course, and kept the faith, give us a crown of righteousness; to whom we must give an account of all our actions, and no man being able to discharge us thereof: that it is lawful for a Christian to be a magi­strate or civil officer, to take an oath for confirmation of truth: that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust, and every one shall give an account of himself to God, that every one may re­ceive the things done in his body, according to what he has done, whether it be good or bad.

Some of the particular Baptists differ from the ma­jority in the following particulars, viz. 1. They deny that the second person in God is either begotten or set up; applying all those scriptures that speak of Christ's being brought forth, set up, &c. to the human na­ture; so maintaining a perfect equality among the per­sons in the Godhead *. 2. They deny an absolute predestination of whatsoever should come to pass; be­lieving only that God predestinated a certain number of men to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself: in subserviency whereunto all other things in heaven and earth were created (2 Cor. iv. 15.), and are govern­ed . Of consequence they believe, that God could [Page 214]accomplish this without obliging man to be a sinner *. And then naturally, 3. They deny that God is the au­thor of sin, as some have asserted .

They also differ from the others concerning what faith is, and concerning redemption; for an account of which see Evangelical Truths, &c. chap. 2. and The Election of God undisguised, p. 23—36.

A Brief CONFESSION of FAITH of the General Baptists, printed first in 1660, and afterwards reprinted, with the addition of more subscribers, in 1691.

I. WE believe, and are very confident, that there is but one God the Father, of whom are all things, from everlasting to everlasting, glorious and unwordable in all his attributes. 1 Cor. viii. 6. Isa. xl. 28.

II. That God in the beginning made man upright, and put him into a state and condition of glory, with­out the least mixture of misery; from which he, by transgression, fell, and so came into a miserable and mortal estate, subject unto the first death. Gen. i. 31. Eccles. vii. 29. Gen. ii. 17. and iii. 17, 18, 19.

III. That there is one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, who is the only begotten Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary; yet as truly David's lord, and David's root, as David's son and David's off-spring; whom God freely sent into the world, because of his great love unto the world; who as freely gave himself a ransom for all; tasting death for every man; a propiti­ation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. Luke xx. 24. Rev. xxii. 16. 1 Tim. ii. 5, 6. 1 John ii. 2. Heb. ii. 9.

IV. That God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, 2 Pet. iii. 9. and the [Page 215]knowledge of the truth, that they might be saved, 1 Tim. ii. 4. For which end Christ hath commanded that the gospel (to wit, the glad tidings of remission of sins) should be preached to every creature, Mark xvi. 15. So that no man shall eternally suffer in hell (that is, the second death) for want of a Christ that died for them; but, as the scripture saith, for denying the Lord that bought them, 2 Pet. ii. 1. or because they believe not in the name of the only begotten Son of God, John iii. 18. Unbelief therefore being the cause why the just and righteous God will condemn the children of men; it follows, against all contradiction, that all men, at one time or other, are put into such capacity, as that (thro' the grace of God) they may be eternally saved. John i. 7. Acts xvii. 30. Mark vi. 6. Heb. iii. 10, 18, 19. 1 John v. 10. John iii. 17.

V. That such who first orderly come into, and are brought up in the school of Christ's church, and wait­ing there, come to degrees of Christianity, rightly qualified, and considerably gifted by God's Spirit, ought to exercise their gifts, not only in the church, but also (as occasion serves) to preach to the world (they being approved of by the church so to do) Acts xi. 22, 23, 24. ch. xi. 19, 20. and that among such some are to be chosen by the church, and ordained by fasting, prayer, and laying on of hands, for the work of the ministry. Acts xiii. 2, 3. and i. 23. Such so or­dained (and abiding faithful in their works) we own as ministers of the gospel; but all such who come not first to repent of their sins, believe on the Lord Jesus, and so are baptised in his name for the remission of sins, but are only brought up in the schools of human learning, to the attaining human arts, and variety of languages, with many vain curiosities of speech, 1 Cor. i. 19, 21. 2 Cor. ii. 1, 4, 5, seeking rather the gain of large re­venues, than the gain of souls to God: Such (we say) we utterly deny, being such as have need rather to be [Page 216]taught themselves, than fit to teach others. Rom. ii. 21.

VI. That the way set forth by God for men to be just fied in, is by faith in Christ, Rom. v. 1. That is to say, when men shall assent to the truth of the gospel, believing, with all their hearts, that there is remission of sins, and eternal life to be had in Christ. And that Christ therefore is most worthy their constant affec­tions, and subjection to all his commandments; and therefore resolve, with purpose of heart, so to subject unto him in all things, and no longer unto themselves. 2 Cor. v. 15. And so shall (with all godly sorrow for the sins past) commit themselves to his grace, consi­dently depending upon him, for that which they be­lieve is to be had in him: Such so believing are justi­fied from all their sins, their faith shall be accounted unto them for righteousness. Rom. iv. 22, 23, 24. and iii. 25, 26.

VII. That there is one only holy Spirit, the preci­ous gift of God, sreely given to such as obey him, Eph. iv. 4. Acts v. 32. that thereby they may be thorough­ly sanctified, and made able (without which they are altogether unable) to abide stedfast in the faith, and to honour the Father, and his Son Christ, the author and finisher of their faith. 1 Cor. vi. 11. There are three that bear record in heaven; the Father, the Word, the Holy Spirit, and these three are one, 1 John v. 7. which spirit of promise such have not yet received (though they speak much of him) that are so far out of love, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, and temperance (the fruits of the Spirit, Gal. v. 22, 23.) as that they breathe out much cruelty, and great envy against the liberties, and peaceable living of such as are not of their judgment, though holy as to their con­versations.

VIII. That God hath, even before the foundation of the world, chosen (or elected) to eternal life, such as be­lieve, and so are in Christ, John iii. 16. Eph. i. 4. [Page 217]2 Thess. ii. 13. yet confident we are, that the purpose of God, according to election, was not in the least arising from foreseen faith in, or works of righteous­ness done by the creature, but only from the mercy, goodness, and compassion dwelling in God, and so it is of him that calleth, Rom. ix. 11. whose purity and un­wordable holiness cannot admit of any unclean person (or thing) to be in his presence; therefore his decree of mercy reaches only the godly man, whom (saith David) God hath set apart for himself, Psal. iv. 3.

IX. That men not considered simply as men, but ungodly men, were of old ordained to condemnation, con­sidered as such, who turn the grace of God into wan­tonness, and deny the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, Jude 4. God indeed sends a strong delu­lion to men, that they might be damned, but we ob­serve that they are such (as saith the Apostle) that re­ceived not the love of the truth, that they might be saved, 2 Thess. ii. 10, 11, 12, and so the indignation and wrath of God, is upon every soul of man, that doth evil, living and dying therein, for there is no respect of persons with God, Rom. ii. 9, 10, 11.

X. That all children dying in infancy, having not actually transgressed against the law of God in their own persons, are only subject to the first death, which comes upon them by the sin of the first Adam, from whence they shall be all raised by the second Adam; and not that any one of them (dying in that estate) shall suffer for Adam's sin, eternal punishment in hell (which is the second death) for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven, 1 Cor. xv. 22. Matt. xix. 14. not daring to conclude with that uncharitable opinion of others, who though they plead much for the bringing of children into the visible church here on earth by baptism; yet nevertheless, by their doctrine, that Christ died but for some, shut a great part of them out of the king­dom of heaven for ever.

[Page 218]XI. That the right and only way of gathering churches (according to Christ's appointment, Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.) is first to teach, or preach the gospel, Mark xvi. 16. to the sons and daughters of men; and then to baptise (that is, in English, to dip) in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, such only of them as profess repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts ii. 38. ch. viii. 12. ch. xviii. 8. And as for all such who preach not this doctrine, but instead thereof, that scriptureless thing of sprinkling of infants (falsely called baptism) whereby the pure word of God is made of no effect, and the New Testament way of bring­ing in members into the church by regeneration, cast out; when as the bond woman and her son, that is to say, the Old Testament way of bringing in children into the church by generation is cast out, as saith the scripture, Gal. iv. 22, 23, 24, 30. Matt. iii. 8, 9. All such we utterly deny; forasmuch as we are command­ed to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of dark­ness, but rather to reprove them, Eph. v. 11.

XII. That it is the duty of all such who are be­lievers baptised, to draw nigh unto God in submission to that principle of Christ's doctrine, to wit, prayer, and laying on of hands, that they may receive the pro­mise of the Holy Spirit, Heb. vi. 1, 2. Acts viii. 12, 15, 17. ch. xix. 6. 2 Tim. i. 6. Whereby they may mortify the deeds of the body, Rom. viii. 13. and live in all things answerable to their professed intentions and desires, even to the honour of him, who hath called them out of darkness into his marvellous light.

XIII. That it is the duty of such, who are consti­tuted as aforesaid, to continue stedfastly in Christ's and the Apostle's doctrine, and assembling together, in fellowship, in breaking of bread and prayers, Acts ii. 42.

XIV. That although we thus declare for the primi­tive way and order of constituting churches; yet we [Page 219]verily believe, and also declare, that unless men so professing and practising the form and order of Christ's doctrine, shall also beautify the same with a holy and wise conversation, in all godliness and honesty; the profession of the visible form will be rendered to them of no effect; for without holiness no man shall see the Lord, Heb. xii. 14. Isa. i. 11, 12, 15, 16.

XV. That the elders or pastors which God hath ap­pointed to oversee, and feed his church (constituted as aforesaid) are such, who first being of the number of disciples, shall, in time, appear to be vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach, &c. not greedy of filthy lucre (as too many national ministers are) but patient, not a brawler, not covetous, &c. and as such chose, and ordained to office (according to the order of scripture, Acts xiv. 23.) who are to feed the flock with meat in due season, and in much love to rule over them with all care, seeking after such as go astray: but as for all such who labour to feed themselves with the fat, more than to feed the flock, Ezek. xxxiv. 2, 3. seeking more after theirs than them, expressly contrary to the practice of the ministers of old, who said, we seek not yours but you, 2 Cor. xii. 14. All such we utterly deny, and hereby bear our continued testimony against them, as such whom the prophets of old bore testimony against. Ezek. xxxiv.

XVI. That the ministers of Christ that have freely received from God, ought freely to minister to others, 1 Cor. ix. 17. and that such who have spiritual things freely ministered to them, ought freely to communi­cate necessary things to the ministers (upon the account of their charge) 1 Cor. ix. 11. Gal. vi. 6. and as for tithes, or any forced maintenance, we utterly deny to be the maintenance of gospel ministers.

XVII. That the true church of Christ ought, after the first and second admonition, to reject all heretics, Tit. iii. 10, 11. and in the name of the Lord to with­draw from all such as profess the way of the Lord, but [Page 220]walks disorderly in their conversations, 2 Thess. iii. 6. or any ways causes divisions or offences, contrary to the doctrine (of Christ) which they have learned, Rom. xvi. 17.

XVIII. That such who are true believers, even branches in Christ the Vine (and that in his account, whom he exhorts to abide in him, John xv. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.) or such who have charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned, 1 Tim. i. 5. may nevertheless, for want of watchfulness, swerve and turn aside from the same, ver. 6, 7. and became as withered branches, cast into the fire and burned, John xv. 6 But such who add unto their faith virtue, and un­to virtue knowledge, and unto knowledge temperance, &c. 2 Pet. i. 5, 6, 7. such shall never fall, ver. 8, 9, 10. it is impossible for all the false christs and false prophets that are, and are to come, to deceive such; for they are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation. 1 Pet. i. 5.

XIX. That the poor saints belonging to the church of Christ, are to be sufficiently provided for by the churches, that they neither want food or raiment; and this by a free and voluntary contribution, and not of necessity, or by the constraint or power of the magistrate, 2 Cor. ix. 7. 1 Cor. viii. 11, 12. and this through the free and voluntary help of the deacons (called overseers of the poor) being faithful men; chosen by the church, and ordained by prayer and laying on of hands to that work, Acts vi. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. So that there is no need in the church of Christ of a magisterial com­pulsion in this case, as there is among others, who be­ing constituted in a fleshly and generational way, are necessitated to make use of a carnal sword, to compel even a small, mean, and short maintenance for their poor; when as many other members of their churches can and do part with great large sums of money to maintain their vain fashions, gold, pearls, and costly array; [Page 221]which is expressly contrary to the word of God, 1 Tim. ii. 9, 10. 1 Pet. iii. 3. Alas! What will such do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what will they an­swer him? Job xxxi. 14.

XX. That there shall be (through Christ, who was dead, but is alive again from the dead) a resurrection of all men from the graves of the earth, Isa. xxvi 19. both the just and unjust, Acts xxiv. 15. that is, the fleshly bodies of men, sown into the graves of the earth, corruptible, dishonourable, weak, natural (which so considered, cannot inherit the kingdom of God) shall be raised again, incorruptible, in glory, in power, spiritual; and so considered, the bodies of the saints (united again to their spirits) which here suffer for Christ, shall inherit the kingdom, reigning together with Christ. 1 Cor. xv. 21, 22, 42, 43, 44, 49.

XXI. That there shall be after the resurrection from the graves of the earth, an eternal judgment, at the ap­pearing of Christ and his kingdom, 2 Tim. iv. 1. Heb. ix. 27. at which time of judgment, which is unaltera­ble and irrevocable, every man shall receive according to the things done in his body, 2 Cor. v. 10.

XXII. That the same Lord Jesus who shewed him­self alive after his passion, by many infallible proofs, Acts i. 3. which was taken up from the disciples, and carried up into heaven, Luke xxiv. 51. shall so come in like manner as he was seen go into heaven, Acts i. 9, 10, 11. And when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, we shall also appear with him in glory, Col. iii. 4. For then shall he be King of kings, and Lord of lords, Rev. xix. 16. For the kingdom is his, and he is the governor among the nations, Psal. xxii. 28. and king over all the earth, Zech. xiv. and we shall reign with him on the earth, Rev. v. 10. The kingdoms of this world (which men so migh­tily strive after here to enjoy) shall become the king­doms of our Lord, and his Christ, Rev. xi. 15. For all is yours (O ye that overcome this world) for ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's, 1 Cor. iii. 22, 23. For [Page 222]unto the saints shall be given the kingdom, and the great­ness of the kingdom under (mark that) the whole heaven, Dan. vii. 27. Though (alas) now many men be scarce content that the saints should have so much as a being among them; but when Christ shall appear, then shall be their day, then shall be given unto them power over the nations, to rule them with a rod of iron, Rev. ii. 26, 27. Then shall they receive a crown of life, which no man shall take from them, nor they by any means turned, or overturned from it; for the oppressor shall be broken in pieces, Psal. lxxii. 4. and their now vain rejoicings turned into mourning and bitter lamentations; as it is written, Job xx. 5, 6, 7. The triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a mo­ment: though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds, yet shall he perish for ever, like his own dung; they which have seen him shall say, Where is he?

XXIII. That the holy scripture is the rule whereby saints, both in matters of faith and conversation, are to be regulated; they being able to make men wise unto salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus; profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works, 2 Tim. iii. 15, 16, 17. John xx. 31. Isa. viii. 20.

XXIV. That it is the will and mind of God (in these gospel times) that all men should have the free liberty of their own consciences in matters of religion or worship, without the least oppression or persecution, as simply upon that account; and that for any in autho­rity otherwise to act, we confidently believe is expressly contrary to the mind of Christ; who requires, that whatsoever men would that others should do unto them, they should even so do unto others, Matt. vii. 12. and that the tares and the wheat should grow together in the field (which is the world) until the harvest (which is the end of the world) Matt. xiii. 29, 30, 38, 39.

[Page 223]XXV. We believe, That there ought to be civil magistrates in all nations, for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well, 1 Pet. ii. 14. and that all wicked lewdness and fleshly filthiness, contrary to just and wholsome (civil) laws, ought to be punish­ed according to the nature of the offences; and this without respect of any persons, religion, or profession whatsoever; and that we, and all men are obliged by gospel rules, to be subject to the higher powers, to obey magistrates, Tit. iii. 1. and to submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, as saith Pet. ii. 13. But in case the civil power do, or shall at any time impose things about matters of religion, which we, through conscience to God, cannot actually obey; then we, with Peter also, do say, That we ought in such cases to obey God rather than men, Acts v. 29. and according­ly do hereby declare our whole and holy intent and purpose, That through the help of grace we will not yield, nor in such case in the least actually obey them; yet humbly purposing, in the Lord's strength, patient­ly to suffer whatsoever shall be inflicted upon us for our conscionable forbearance.

These things, O ye sons and daughters of men, we verily believe to be the Lord's will and mind, and there­fore cannot but speak! And if herein we differ from many, yea, from multitudes, from the learned, the wise and prudent of this world, we, with Peter and John, do herein make our solemn and serious appeal; namely, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto men (of a contrary persuasion) more than unto God. O let the judicious judge righteous judgment, Acts iv. 19, 20. And in the belief and practice of these things, it being the good old apostolical way, our souls have found that rest and soul-peace which the world knows not, and which they cannot take from us. Of whom then shall we be afraid? God is become our strength, our light, our salvation; therefore are we resolved, through [Page 224]grace, to seal the truth of these things, in a way of suf­fering persecution; not only to the loss of our goods, freedoms, or liberties, but with our lives also, if called thereunto.

Moreover, we do utterly, and from our very hearts, in the Lord's fear, declare against all those wicked and devilish reports and reproaches, falsely cast upon us, as though some of us (in and about the city of London) had lately gotten knives, hooked knives, and the like, and great store of arms besides what was given forth by order of parliament, intending to cut the throats of such as were contrary-minded to us in matters of reli­gion; and that many such knives and arms, for the carrying on some secret design, hath been found in some of our houses by search: we say, from truth of heart, in the Lord's fear, that we do utterly abhor and abominate the thoughts thereof, and much more the actions; and do hereby challenge both city and country (in our innocency herein) as being not able to prove the things whereof they accuse us; and do for evermore declare the inventors of such reports, to be liars, and wicked devisers of mischief, and corrupt de­signs. God that is above all will justify our innocency herein, who well knows our integrity in what we here declare, the Lord lay it not to their charge. In the time of building the decayed house of God, Sanballat and Tobiah (wicked counsellors) hired Shemaiah to make good Nehemiah afraid; and laboured against him, that they might have matter for an evil report; that they might reproach him, and hinder the building of the house of God, Neh. vi. 12. For I have heard, saith the prophet, the defaming of many; Report, say they, and we will report it, Jer. xx. 10.

Subscribed by certain elders, deacons and brethren, met at London, in the first month called March, 1660, in the behalf of themselves, and many others unto whom [Page 225]they belong in London, and in several counties of this nation who are of the same faith with us,

  • Joseph Wright,
  • William Jeffery,
  • Thomas Monk,
  • John Hartnol,
  • Benjamin Morley,
  • Francis Stanley,
  • George Hammon,
  • William Smart,
  • John Reeve,
  • Thomas Parrot,
  • John Wood,
  • Francis Smith,
  • Edward Jones,
  • Humphry Jones,
  • Matthew Caffen,
  • Samuel Loveday,
  • John Parsons, sen.
  • Thomas Stacey,
  • Edward Stanley,
  • Jonathan Jennings,
  • John Hammersly,
  • William Russell,
  • Joseph Keech,
  • Nicholas Newbery,
  • Samuel Lover,
  • George Wright,
  • John Parsons, jun.
  • Thomas Grantham,
  • John Claton,
  • Thomas Steele,
  • Michael Whitticar,
  • Giles Brown,
  • John Wells,
  • Stephen Torie,
  • Thomas Lathwel,
  • William Chadwel,
  • William Raph,
  • Henry Browne,
  • William Paine,
  • Richard Bowin,
  • Thomas Smith.

Owned and approved by more than twenty thousand.

Many of the Baptists believe the Millennium, or the saints living and reigning with Christ upon earth 1000 years, for which there have not been wanting many judicious advocates; others, that it is a duty to ab­stain from blood, and things strangled, Acts xv. 19. that there is an intermediate state, or hades. Several congregations are Sabbatarians, or observers of the Saturday, or seventh-day Sabbath; others practise praying over the sick, and anointing them with the ho­ly oil, of the blessings on which practice proofs are not wanting. Others think the imposition or laying on of [Page 226]hands (confirmation) not necessary. But if the reader desires to see the reasons for these opinions, he is ad­vised to consult Mr. Grantham Killingworth's judicious account of the principles and practices of the General Baptists, in his letter to the Rev. Mr. William Whis­ton, before quoted; the Appendix to his fifth edition of the Supplement to the sermons preached against Popery at Salter's hall, 1735, with his other tracts.

Method of ordaining Pastors and Deacons amongst the Baptists, exemplified in the ordination of the Rev. Mr. Joseph Burroughs, Pastor, and Mess. Matthew Shelswell and George Reynolds, Deacons, of the church at Barbican, in London, May 1, 1717 *.

The church sent messengers to those ministers whom they particularly desired to act in this affair, and gave a general invitation to all the rest to honour them with their presence on this occasion.

The assembly being come together, at the meeting­house in Barbican, on the day appointed, Mr. Fox­well went first up into the pulpit, and read the third and fourth chapters of the first epistle to Timothy; after which he prayed for that church, for the persons called to offices in it, for the presence of God, and the assistance of his grace in the duties to be that day per­formed. Next Mr. Benj. Stinton went up, and preach­ed a sermon from Phil. i. 1. from whence, according to the province assigned him, he endeavoured to ex­plain the office and duties both of an elder and dea­cons. Then followed Mr. Nathaniel Hodges, who chose for his text, Tit. i. 5. from whence he took oc­casion, among other things, to explain and vindicate the form of ordination. After this, the ministers, and those who were to be ordained, being together in the middle of the meeting-place, where the communion­table [Page 227]used to stand, Mr. Stinton, according to ap­pointment, stood up and said, "It is desired that all those who are members of the church which usually meets in this place, would draw together in the mid­dle of the meeting-house, and that the rest of the as­sembly would separate themselves, either by going in­to the galleries, or the remote parts of the place." Then, directing his speech particularly to the church, he said, "We have been informed by messengers from you, that you have chosen our honoured and beloved brother, Mr. Joseph Burroughs *, to be your elder or overseer, in the Lord, and have accordingly desired him to take that office upon him; it will, however, be proper, that you should now, in a more public manner, and before this assembly, declare and confirm your said choice. All you, therefore, who do approve of, and confirm the choice you have made of Mr. Jo­seph Burroughs to be your pastor, and desire that he should now be ordained to that office, be pleased to signify it by the lifting up of your hands." When they had so done, the negative was put, but no hand lifted up against it. Then he turned to Mr. Joseph Burroughs, and said, "Brother Joseph Burroughs, as this church has unanimously chosen and called you to be their pastor, and do earnestly desire that you would take upon you that honourable, though diffi­cult office; so we desire you to signify unto us, whe­ther you do accept of their call, and are willing, for the sake of Christ, and the good of this community, to be put into this office?" Hereupon Mr. Burroughs signified, that it had been his desire, for many years past, to be useful to the souls of men in the work of the ministry; and that this continued to be the free choice of his mind, in preference to any other employ­ment; [Page 228]that, in pursuance of this desire, he had ap­plied himself to the study of the holy scriptures, and to other exercises that might prepare him for public usefulness; that he wished he had made better im­provement of his time, and was deeply sensible of his insufficiency for discharging the work to which he was called, suitably to its great importance; but was will­ing to use his best endeavours, and placed his hope in the goodness of God, who, he was assured, was able to make him successful; that the unanimity which this church had shewn, in chusing him for their pastor, gave him an encouraging prospect of doing good a­mongst them: and therefore he declared, that he took the oversight of this flock, not by constraint, but wil­lingly, and should reckon himself obliged, by his ac­ceptance of this people's call to be their pastor, and by being solemnly set apart for the office, to be their re­membrancer in the doctrines and precepts of the Chris­tian religion, and to watch for their souls, as one that must hereafter give an account; and that he was de­termined, in every part of his proceeding, to make the holy scripture his only rule and standard. Then, after a short prayer suitable to the occasion, the mini­sters present laid their right hands upon his head, and Mr. Stinton, in the name of the whole, pronounced the words of ordination, as followeth:

"Brother Joseph Burroughs, we do, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the consent of this church, ordain thee to be an elder, bishop, or over­seer of this church of Jesus Christ." And their hands continuing on his head, Mr. Stinton put up a short prayer to God for him and the congregation *.

[Page 229]After the ordination of Mr. Burroughs, they pro­ceeded to the ordination of two deacons, which was af­ter this manner: Mr. Stinton stood up and said, "We must now address ourselves again to you, the members of the congregation, that statedly worship God in this place. We were informed by your messengers afore­said, that you have chosen two persons from amongst yourselves unto the office of deacons, in this church of Christ, viz. brother Matthew Shelswell, and brother George Reynolds: it will therefore be necessary that you should in this, as you have in the other case, de­clare and confirm your election. All you, therefore, that do approve and confirm your former choice of brother Matthew Shelswell to be a deacon in this church, and desire that he may now be ordained to that service, be pleased to signify it by the lifting up of your hands." And then the negative was put. After this the same question was put, both in the affirmative and negative, with respect unto the other; and it ap­peared they were both unanimously chosen: and up­on being asked; whether they accepted the church's call to this work, and were willing to take this office upon them? they answered, they were. Then the deacons elect kneeled down, and the ministers, laying their right hands upon their heads, ordained them, Mr. Mulliner putting up a prayer to God, suitable to this part of the solemnity; and then he went up into the pulpit, and preached from 1 Thess. v. 12, 13. in which, according to the province assigned him, he treated of the duties of the members of a Christian church to their officers, both elders and deacons; af­ter [Page 230]which he prayed, then a psalm of thanksgiving was sung, at the conclusion of which the assembly was dis­missed with one of the apostolical benedictions.

The History of the QUAKERS.

THE history of this sect or brotherhood should be drawn with a very impartial pen: they have, from their differing not only in the fundamentals, but in dress and form of speech, from other Christians (if I may be permitted to call them so), been subject to the most low and illiberal abuse. The writers of o­ther sentiments have stored up so many calumnies and falsehoods, when they have had occasion to mention them, that it is a difficult task to separate fiction from fact. Therefore, as my intent is to afford impartial justice to my subject, I think I cannot better do so than by recurring to their own writers, not only for their history, but for an account of their doctrine and dis­cipline.

The appellative QUAKERS was bestowed upon them as a name of reproach and contempt, taken from the strugglings and agitations visible in their speakers or preachers, when under those influences they esteemed divine. They modestly acquiesce in making use of this term when they address the throne, and in their common transactions with the world: but the name they use amongst themselves is that of friends *, which they borrow from primitive example, viz. The friends salute thee.—Greet the friends, &c. &c. John iii. Eph. xiv. Acts xxvii. 3, &c.

However agreeable to the gospel the sentiments of these people may be found (for from different senses [Page 231]and interpretations of scripture most of the sects a­mongst us derive themselves), it is certain the first lead­er of this sect, as a separate body, was George Fox, born in Leicestershire, about the year 1624 *. He was descended of honest and sufficient parents, who brought him up in the national religion : but from a child he appeared religious, still, solid, and observing, beyond his years, and uncommonly knowing in di­vine things. He was brought up to husbandry, and other country-business, and was particularly inclined to the solitary occupation of a shepherd; "an employ­ment," says my author, "that very well suited his mind in several respects, both for its innocency and so­litude; and was a just emblem of his after ministry and service." In the year 1646, he entirely forsook the national church, in whose tenets he had been brought up, as before observed; and in 1647 he tra­velled into Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, without any set purpose of visiting particular places, but in a solitary manner he walked through several towns and villages, which way soever his mind turned. "He fasted much," says Sewell, "and walked often in re­tired places, with no other companion but his Bible." "He visited the most retired and religious people in those parts," says Penn; "and some there were, short of few, if any, in this nation, who waited for the con­solation of Israel night and day; as Zacharias, Anna, and Simeon, did of old time. To these he was sent, and these he sought out in the neighbouring counties, and among them he sojourned till his more ample mi­nistry came upon him. At this time he taught, and was an example of silence, endeavouring to bring them from self-performances; testifying of, and turning them to the light of Christ within them, and encoura­ging them to wait in patience, and to feel the power of [Page 232]it to stir in their hearts, that their knowledge and worship of God might stand in the power of an endless life, which was to be found in the Light, as it was obeyed in the manifestation of it in man: for in the word was life, and that life is the light of men. Life in the word, light in men; and life in men too, as the light is obeyed; the children of the light living by the life of the word, by which the word begets them again to God, which is the regeneration and new birth, with­out which there is no coming into the kingdom of God, and to which whoever comes is greater than John; that is, than John's dispensation, which was not that of the kingdom, but the consummation of the legal, and fore running of the gospel-times, the time of the kingdom. Accordingly several meetings were gather­ed in those parts; and thus his time was employed for some years."

In the year 1652, "he had a visitation of the great work of God in the earth, and of the way that he was to go forth, in a public ministry, to begin it." He directed his course northward, "and in every place where he came, if not before he came to it, he had his particular exercise and service shewn to him, so that the Lord was his leader indeed." He made great num­bers of converts to his opinions, and many pious and good men joined him in his ministry *. These were drawn forth especially to visit the public assemblies, to reprove, reform, and exhort them; sometimes in markets, fairs, streets, and by the highway-side, "calling people to repentance, and to return to the Lord, with their hearts as well as their mouths; di­recting them to the light of Christ within them, to see, examine, and consider their ways by, and to eschew the evil, and do the good and acceptable will of God."

[Page 233]They were not without opposition in the work they imagined themselves called to, being often set in the stocks, stoned, beaten, whipped and imprisoned, tho', as my author observes, honest men, of good report, that had left wives, children, houses and lands, to vi­sit them with a living call to repentance. But these co­ercive methods rather forwarded than abated their zeal, and in those parts they brought over many proselytes, and amongst them several magistrates, and others of the better sort. They apprehended the Lord had for­bid them to pull off their hats to any one, high or low, and required them to speak to the people, with­out distinction, in the language of thou and thee. They scrupled bidding people good-morrow, or good-night; nor might they bend the knee to any one, even in su­preme authority. Both men and women went in a plain and simple dress, different from the fashion of the times. They neither gave nor accepted any titles of respect or honour, nor would they call any man master, on earth. Several texts of scripture they quo­ted in defence of these singularities; such as, Swear not at all.—How can ye believe who receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour which comes from God only? &c. &c. They placed the basis of religion in an inward light, and an extraordinary impulse of the Holy Spirit.

In 1654, their first separate meeting in London was held in the house of Robert Dring, in Watling street, (for by that time they had spread themselves into all parts of the kingdom, and had in many places set up meetings or assemblies, particularly in Lancashire and the adjacent parts) but they were still exposed to great persecutions and trials of every kind. One of them, in a letter to the Protector, Oliver Cromwell, represents, "That tho' there are no penal laws in force obliging men to comply with the established religion, yet the Quakers are exposed upon other accounts; they are fined and imprisoned for refusing to take an oath; for [Page 234]not paying their tithes; for disturbing the public assem­blies, and meeting in the streets, and places of public resort; some of them have been whipped for vaga­bonds, and for their plain speeches to the magistrate."

Under favour of the then toleration they opened their meeting at the Bull and Mouth inn, in Aldersgate street, where women as well as men were moved to speak. Their zeal transported them to some extra­vagances, which laid them still more open to the lash of their enemies, who exercised various severities upon them throughout the next reign. Upon the sup­pression of Venner's mad insurrection *, the govern­ment having published a proclamation, forbidding the Anabaptists, Quakers, and Fifth-monarchy men, "to assemble or meet together under pretence of worship­ping God, except it be in some parochial church, cha­pel, or in private houses, by the persons there inhabi­ting," all meetings in other places being declared to be unlawful and riotous, &c. &c. &c. the Quakers thought it expedient to address the King thereon, which they did in the following words:


Our desire is, that thou mayest live for ever in the fear of God and thy council. We beseech thee, and thy council, to read these following lines, in tender bowels, and compassion for our souls, and for your good.

And this consider, we are about four hundred im­prisoned, in and about this city, of men and women from their families, besides, in the county goals, about ten hundred, we desire that our meetings may not be broken up, but that all may come to a fair trial, that our innocency may be cleared up —.

London, 16th day, eleventh month, 1660.

[Page 235]On the 28th of the same month they published the declaration referred to in their address, intitled, A de­claration from the harmless and innocent people of God call­ed Quakers, against all sedition, plotters and fighters in the world, for removing the ground of jealousy and suspicion, from both magistrates and people in the kingdom, concerning wars and fightings. It was presented to the King the 21st day of the eleventh month, 1660, and he pro­mised them upon his royal word, that they should not suffer for their opinions, as long as they lived peacea­bly; but his promises were very little regarded after­wards.

In 1661, they assumed courage to petition the house of Lords for a toleration of their religion, and for a dispensation from taking the oaths, which they held unlawful, not from any disaffection to the govern­ment, or a belief that they were less obliged by an af­firmation, but from a persuasion that all oaths were un­lawful; and that swearing upon the most solemn occa­sions was forbidden in the New Testament. Their petition was rejected, and instead of granting them relief, an act was passed against them, the preamble to which set forth, "That whereas several persons have taken up an opinion, that an oath, even before a magistrate, is un­lawful, and contrary to the word of God; and where­as, under pretence of religious worship, the said persons do assemble in great numbers in several parts of the kingdom, separating themselves from the rest of his Majesty's subjects, and the public congregations and usual places of divine worship:" be it therefore en­acted, That if any such persons, after the 24th of March 1661-2, shall refuse to take an oath when law­fully tendered, or persuade others to do it, or main­tain in writing, or otherwise, the unlawfulness of taking an oath; or if they shall assemble for religious worship to the number of five or more, of the age of fifteen, they shall for the first offence forfeit five pounds; for the second, ten pounds; and for the third shall abjure [Page 236]the realm, or be transported to the plantations: and the justices of peace at their open sessions may hear and finally determine in the affair."

This act had a most dreadful effect upon the Qua­kers, tho' it was well known and notorious these con­scientious persons were far from sedition or disaffection to the government. George Fox, in his address to the King, acquaints him, that three thousand and sixty­eight of their friends had been imprisoned since his Majesty's restoration; that their meetings were daily broken up by men with clubs and arms, and their friends thrown into the water, and trampled under foot, till the blood gushed out, which gave rise to their meeting in the open streets. A relation was printed, signed by twelve witnesses, which says, that more than four thousand two hundred Quakers were imprisoned; and of them five hundred were in and about London, and the suburbs; several of whom were dead in the goals.

However, they even gloried in their sufferings, which increased every day; so that in 1665, and the inter­mediate years, they were harrassed without example. As they persisted resolutely to assemble, openly, at the Bull and Mouth, before-mentioned, the soldiers, and other officers, dragged them from thence to prison, till Newgate was filled with them, and multitudes died of close confinement, in that and other goals.

Six hundred of them, says an account published at this time, were in prison, merely for religion-sake, of whom several were banished to the plantations. "In short (says Mr. Neale) the Quakers gave such full em­ployment to the informers, that they had less leisure to attend the meetings of other Dissenters."

Yet, under all these calamities, they behaved with patience and modesty towards the government, and upon occasion of the Rye-house plot * in 1682, thought [Page 237]proper to declare their innocence of that sham plot, in an address to the King, wherein, appealing to the searcher of all hearts, they say, " * Their principles do not allow them to take up defensive arms, much less to avenge themselves for the injuries they receive from others: that they continually pray for the King's safety and preservation; and therefore take this occa­sion humbly to beseech his Majesty to compassionate their suffering friends, with whom the goals are so fill­ed, that they want air, to the apparent hazard of their lives, and to the endangering an infection in divers places. Besides, many houses, shops, barns, and fields, are ransacked, and the goods, corn, and cat­tle, swept away, to the discouraging of trade and hus­bandry, and impoverishing great numbers of quiet and industrious people; and this for no other cause, but for the exercise of a tender conscience in the worship of Almighty God, who is sovereign Lord and King in men's consciences —."

On the accession of James II. they addressed that monarch honestly and plainly, telling him, " We are come to testify our sorrow for the death of our good friend Charles, and our joy for thy being made our governor. We are told thou art not of the per­suasion of the church of England, no more than we; therefore we hope thou wilt grant us the same liberty which thou allowest thyself; which doing, we wish thee all manner of happiness."

When James, by his dispensing power, granted li­berty to the Dissenters, they began to enjoy some rest from their troubles; and indeed it was high time, for they were swelled to an enormous amount. They, the year before this (to them glad release), in a peti­tion to James for a cessation of their sufferings, set [Page 239]forth, " * That of late above one thousand five hun­dred of their friends, both men and women, were in prison, and that now there remain one thousand three hundred and eighty-three; of which two hun­dred are women, many under sentence of praemunire; and more than three hundred near it, for refusing the oath of allegiance, because they could not swear. Three hundred and fifty have died in prison since the year 1680; in London, the goal of Newgate has been crowded, within this two years, sometimes with near twenty in a room, whereby several have been suffoca­ted, and others, who have been taken out sick, have died of malignant fevers within a few days. Great violences, outrageous distresses, and woeful havock and spoil, have been made upon people's goods and estates, by a company of idle, extravagant, and merciless in­formers, by persecutions on the conventicle-act, and others ; also on qui tam writs, and on other pro­cesses, for twenty pounds a-month, and two thirds of their estates seized for the King. Some had not a bed left to rest on; others had no cattle to till the ground, nor corn for seed or bread, nor tools to work with; the said informers and bailiffs in some places breaking into houses, and making great waste and spoil, under pretence of serving the King and the church. Our religious assemblies have been charged [Page 238]at common law with being riotous routs and distur­bances of the peace, whereby great numbers have been confined in prisons, without regard to age or sex, and many in holes and dungeons. The seizures for twen­ty pounds a-month have amounted to several thousand pounds; sometimes they have seized for eleven months at once, and made sale of all goods and chattles, both within doors and without, for payment. Several, who have employed some hundreds of poor families in ma­nufacture, are by those writs and seizures disabled, as well as by long imprisonment; one, in particular, who employed two hundred people in the woollen manu­facture. Many informers, especially imprudent wo­men, whose husbands are in prison, swear for their share of the profits of the seizures. The fines upon one justice's warrant have amounted to many hundred pounds; frequently ten pounds a warrant, and five warrants together for fifty pounds to one man; and for non-payment, all his goods carried away by cart­loads. They spare neither widow nor fatherless, nor poor families, nor leave them so much as a bed to lie upon. Thus the informers are both witnesses and par­ties, to the ruin of great numbers of sober families; and justices of peace have been threatened with the for­feiture of one hundred pounds, if they do not issue out warrants upon their informations." With this peti­tion they presented a list of their friends in prison in the several counties, amounting to 1460.

Upon the declaration of King James for liberty of conscience (and as before the King had sent an order to the Lord Mayor of London to dispense with the Quakers not swearing, or, at least, not to fine them if they refused to serve) they addressed the King thus▪

May it please the KING,

Tho' we are not the first in this * way, yet we are not the least sensible of the great favours we are [Page 240]come to present the King our humble, open, and hearty thanks for. We rejoice to see the day that a King of England should, from his royal seat, so universally as­sert this royal principle, that conscience ought not to be restrained, nor people forced for matters of reli­gion, &c. &c.

Of addressing.

They partook, with the other Dissenters from the le­gal establishment of religion, of that invaluable bles­sing, liberty of conscience, at the revolution; and the reader is already acquainted with the fate of their pe­tition to have these words, "in the presence of Al­mighty God," omitted in their solemn affirmation *. And, since that, they have made an attempt to get them­selves eased of the burden of tithes, which they could not conscientiously pay, and for refusal of which they have so greatly suffered; but it did not succeed.

The settlement of Pensilvania, where the Quakers, the first settlers, are the majority of the inhabitants, and the history of that colony, the most flourishing of North America, do not come within the compass of my plan; and as to the affairs of their several assem­blies since the revolution, what is necessary to men­tion thereof, will properly occur under the head of their discipline, &c. &c.

They are in the present days a very praise-worthy and inoffensive set of people, and, by their wise regula­tions, do honour to themselves, and are of infinite ser­vice in the community.

Of the religious Principles of the QUAKERS.

Their principal distinguishing tenet is, the doctrine of an inward light, wherewith Christ enlighteneth every man, and to which they profess to take heed. But I shall, for the information of my readers, be more particular in pointing out what may be called the articles of their [Page 241]faith; and this I shall do by an impartial abstract of their belief, published in 1693, and signed by the principal persons of that denomination.


WE sincerely profess faith in God, by his only be­gotten Son Jesus Christ, as being our light and life, and our only way to the Father, and also our only mediator and advocate with the Father:—We believe that God created all things; he made the world by his Son Je­sus Christ, and that the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, are one in divine being, inseparable, one true living and eternal God, blessed for ever:—yet that this Word or Son of God, in the fulness of time, took flesh, became perfect man according to the flesh, was miraculously conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary; and also farther declared to be the Son of God, according to the spirit of sanctification, by the resurrection from the dead: that in this Word was life, and the same life was the light of men; the life and light within us: and that men are to believe in this light, Christ Jesus: that as man he died for our sins, rose again, and was received up into glory, he having, by that one great universal offering, be­came a sacrifice for peace, atonement, and reconci­liation between God and man:—that Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty, in the heavens, is our King, High Priest, and Prophet in his church, and by his spirit also maketh intercession in our hearts:—that the gospel of the grace of God should be preached in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, being one in power, wisdom, and goodness, and indivisible in the great work of man's salvation; and that divine worship is to be paid to the Son, from his union or oneness of the Father and Son, and that our prayers are accepted thro' him:— [Page 242]that Christ's body that was crucified, was not the God­head; yet, by the power of God, was raised from the dead, changed into a more glorious condition, and ascended into heaven and glory. True and living faith in Christ Jesus the Son of the living God, respects his being and fulness, and also his making himself known in the soul in every degree of his light, life, spirit, grace and truth, the immediate cause, author, object, and strength of our living faith, &c. Which light and life of the Son of God, within, truly obeyed and followed, will bring us to the adoption of sons. It is true, we are not to undervalue the holy scriptures, nor slight the preaching of the word, as being outward helps and in­struments in the hand of God for the conversion of sin­ners: nor do we set them in opposition to the light or spirit of God or Christ within; for his faithful messen­gers are ministers thereof, to turn people to the same light and spirit in them.

It is certain that great is the mystery of godliness in itself: that God should be manifested in the flesh, &c. —and it is a great and precious mystery of godliness and Christianity, that Christ should be spiritually and effectually manifested in mens hearts:—Christ is re­vealed in every true believer, freeing them from the bondage of sin, as their wisdom, righteousness, sancti­fication, and redemption. This mystery of godliness in its own being and glory (in many hid, and in some revealed) hath been, and must be testified, preached, and believed, where God is pleased to give commission, and prepare peoples hearts for the same.

As touching the resurrection of the dead, we believe, as the scripture testifies, that if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable: that the soul or spirit of every man and woman shall be reserved in its own distinct and proper being (so as there shall be as many souls in the world to come as in this) and every seed (yea every soul: shall have its proper body, as God is pleased to give it. A natural body is sown, a [Page 243]spiritual body is raised; and, tho' this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality, the change shall be such, as flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; so we expect our spiritual bodies, in the resurrection, shall far excel what our bodies now are; but how the dead are raised, or with what body they come, we submit to the wisdom and pleasure of Al­mighty God, for we cannot presume to determine.

As to the doctrine of the eternal judgment, we be­live that God hath committed all judgment unto the Son, Jesus Christ, and he is both judge of quick and dead, and of the states and ends of all mankind. That this Son of man, who hath so deeply suffered, and en­dured so great indignities, shall, in the last and great day, manifestly appear in glory, attended with all his glorious heavenly host and retinue, to the terror and amazement of those who have denied him; but to the glory and triumph of the righteous, the faithful fol­lowers and friends of Christ. It is a righteous thing with God, that they who suffer with him should ap­pear with him in glory and dignity, when he shall ap­pear at last judge of the world and prince thereof:— whilst those who now evade and reject the inward con­victions and judgment of the light, and shut up the records or books thereof in their own conscience, they shall be at last opened, and every one judged of these things recorded therein, according to their works.

Signed in behalf of our Christian profession and people,

  • George Whitehead,
  • Ambrose Rigg,
  • William Fallowfield,
  • James Parke,
  • Charles Marshall,
  • John Bowater,
  • John Vaughton,
  • William Bingley.

Besides these several articles, which were in general received and approved, there were four articles drawn up and presented to parliament by George Whitehead, occasioned by a charge of Socinianism, at that time, which are as follow:[Page 244]Be it known to all, that we sincerely believe and profess,

I. That Jesus of Nazareth, who was born of the Virgin Mary, is the true Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God, to whom all the Prophets gave witness, and that we do highly value his death, sufferings, works, offices, and merits, for the redemption of mankind, together with his laws, doctrine, and ministry.

II. That this very Christ of God, who is the Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, was slain, was dead, and is alive for ever in his divine eternal glory, dominion and power, with the Father.

III. That the holy scriptures are of divine autho­rity, as being given by inspiration of God.

IV. And that magistracy or civil government is God's ordinance, the good ends thereof being for the punishment of evil doers, and the praise of them that do well.

Some other points of faith or opinion, or wherein they are distinguished from the established church and other denominations of Christians, viz.

Of the SACRAMENTS.—Of the LORD'S SUPPER they say,

As for the word Sacrament, we do not read of it in the scripture; but as for the body and blood of Christ, I own, and that there is no remission without blood: we do believe, according as it is written, that Christ, at his last supper, took bread and brake it, and gave it to his disciples, and also took the cup and blessed it, and said unto them, and as often as ye do this, you shew forth the Lord's death till he come; and this we believe they did, and did eat their bread in singleness of heart: but when Christ came again to them, according to his promise, they said, we being many are one bread, for we are all partakers of this one bread; for there is a difference between that bread which he brake at his last [Page 245]supper, wherein they were to shew forth his death as in a sign, and this whereof they spake, they being many are one bread, for herein they were come more into the sub­stance, and, to speak more mystically, as they knew it in the Spirit. R. HUBBERTHORN.

Baptism, any more than the Lord's supper, is not prac­tised by this people. As to the former they say, "It is not outward washing with water that maketh the heart clean, by which men are fitted for heaven." Mr. Bar­clay * endeavours to prove this proposition, viz. "As there is one Lord and one faith, so there is one baptism, which is not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience before God, by the re­surrection of Jesus Christ. And this baptism is a pure and spiritual thing, to wit, the baptism of the spirit and fire, by which we are buried with him, that being washed and purged from our sins, we may walk in new­ness of life: of which the baptism of John was a figure, which was commanded for a time, and not to continue for ever. As to the baptism of infants, it is a mere human tradition, for which neither precept nor practice is to be found in all the scripture." Concerning the Lord's supper, he advances in his 13th proposition, "that the communion of the body and blood of Christ is inward and spiritual, which is the participation of his flesh and blood, by which the infant man is daily nourished in the hearts of those in whom Christ dwells; of which things the breaking of bread by Christ with his disciples was a figure, which they even used in the church for a time, who had received the substance, for the cause of the weak; even as abstaining from things strangled, and from blood; the washing one another's feet, and the anoint­ing of the sick with oil; all which are commanded with no less authority and solemnity than the former; yet seeing they are but the shadows of better things, they cease in such as have obtained the substance." It is not [Page 246]within my province to declare my sentiments of the suc­cess with which this famous Apologist has endeavoured to demonstrate these propositions; but I can declare with truth, that many pieces in answer thereto, which I have read, do little honour to the cause they espouse, and betray a very rigid and persecuting spirit.


"IN the year 1667, I was moved (says George Fox *) to recommend the setting up of monthly meet­ings throughout the nation, friends hitherto having only had their general quarterly meetings ; and the Lord opened unto me, and let me see what I must do, and how mens and womens monthly and quarterly meetings should be ordered and established in England and other nations; and that I should write to them, where I came not, to do the same. Accordingly, having recommended the setting up of five monthly meetings in the city of London, to take care of God's glory, and to admonish and exhort such as walked dis­orderly, and not according to truth; then I passed forth into the counties again, and advised that month­ly meetings should be settled there also, for the same purposes, which was done according to the gospel­order, in and by the power of God, the authority of our meetings being the power of God; and in the year 1668, I writ to Ireland and to Scotland, Holland, Barbadoes, and other parts of America, advising friends to settle their monthly meetings in those coun­tries [Page 247]also, which was accordingly done *; and, in­deed, the good effects of the settlement of those meet­ings soon appeared."—"They did make a great refor­mation amongst people, insomuch that the very justices took notice of the usefulness and service thereof; and several who had run out were brought to condemn what they had done amiss, and through repentance came in again; and many have blessed the Lord God that ever he did send me forth in this service, now all coming to have a concern and care for God's honour and glory, that his name be not blasphemed, which they do profess, and to see that all who profess the truth do walk in the truth, and in righteousness and holiness."

Thus were monthly meetings for men and women formed: for their authority in the latter case see Exod. xxxv. 25, 26. Rom. xvi. 1, 2, 3. Phil. iv. 3. Titus ii. 3, 4, 5. 1 Cor. xi. George Fox has thus given us the use of them, "That the faithful women who were called to the belief of the truth, being made par­takers of the same precious faith, and heirs of the same everlasting gospel of life and salvation, might in like manner come into the possession and practice of the gospel-order, and be therein meet-helps to the men in the restoration, in the service of the truth, in the affairs of the church, as they are outwardly in civil or tem­poral things, that so the family of God, women as well as men, might know, possess, perform and dis­charge their offices and services in the house of God, whereby the poor might be the better taken care of, the younger sort instructed and informed in the way of God, the loose and disorderly reproved and admo­nished in the fear of the Lord, the clearness of persons propounding marriage more closely and strictly en­quired into, in the wisdom of God; and all the mem­bers [Page 248]of the spiritual body, the church, might watch over and be helpful to one another in love."

" * The monthly meetings so set up were more or fewer, as the case required, in every respective county, four or six meetings of worship usually making one meeting of business, and these monthly meetings in each county made up one quarterly meeting, where the most zealous and eminent friends of the county assembled to communicate, advise, and help one another, especi­ally when any business seemed difficult, or a monthly meeting was tender of determining a matter; and these several quarterly meetings digested the reports of their monthly meetings, and prepared one for each respec­tive county against the yearly meeting, in which all quarterly meetings resolve, which is held in London, where the churches in this nation, and other nations and provinces meet, by chosen members of their re­spective counties, both mutually to communicate their church-affairs, and to advise and be advised in any de­pending case to edification. The minutes of the year­ly meeting upon the several matters that have been un­der consideration therein, are drawn up (to the end that the respective quarterly and monthly meetings may be informed of all proceedings) together with a gene­ral exhortation to holiness, purity and charity. These meetings are opened and usually concluded in their so­lemn waiting upon God; and it is further to be noted, in these solemn assemblies for the church's service, there is no one presides among them, after the manner of the assemblies of other people; Christ only being their president, as he is pleased to appear in life and wisdom in any one or more of them, to whom, whatever be their capacity and degree, the rest adhere with a firm unity; not of authority, but conviction, which is the divine authority, and way of Christ's power and spirit in his people, making good his blessed promise, that [Page 249]he would be in the midst of his, where and whenever they were met together in his name, even to the end of the world."

"Such, says Dr. Rutty, was the constitution of the several meetings for discipline, and the orderly subordination of monthly to quarterly, and of these to the yearly meeting, this last being the representative of the whole body of the people. Thus, if any brother apprehend himself injured by the determination of a monthly meeting, he hath liberty of appeal from thence to the quarterly, and from this last, if ne [...]d be, to the yearly or national meeting. And monthly meet­ings are so far subordinate to the quarterly, that at the yearly meeting 1715 it was agreed, that no monthly meeting shall divide itself into two sepa­rate monthly meetings, either by reason of the de­crease of love, or any other difference among them in that meeting; nor without the consent or con­currence of the quarterly meeting. Before I close my account of the meetings for discipline, it is necessary to observe that there is also another meeting which con­venes for the benefit of the whole body, in the inter­vals of the yearly meeting, being a deputation or com­mittee of the yearly meeting, commonly called The meeting for sufferings, which holds correspondence with the several counties, and even with other nations, in order to solicit for ease from the government in any case of suffering for conscience sake, or to be other­wise helpful to any of the inferior meetings on any emergency *.

The power and authority exercised by these meet­ings, "is such as Christ has given to his own people to the end of the world, in the persons of his disciples, viz. to oversee, exhort, reprove, and, after long suffer­ing and waiting upon the disobedient and refractory, to [Page 250] disown them as any more of their communion, or that they will any longer stand charged in the sight and judgment of God or men, with their conversation or be­haviour, or any of them, until they repent. The subject­matter about which this authority, in any of the fore­going branches of it, is exercised, is, first, in relation to common and general practice; and, secondly, about those things that more strictly refer to their own cha­racter and profession, and which distinguish them from all other professors of Christianity; avoiding two ex­tremes upon which many split, viz. persecution and li­bertinism, that is, a coercive power to whip people into the temple; that such as will not conform, though a­gainst faith and conscience, shall be punished in their persons or estates; or leaving all loose and at large, as to practice, and so unaccountable to all but God and the magistrate: to which hurtful extreme nothing more has contributed than the abuse of church-power, by such as suffer their passion and private interests to prevail with them to carry it to outward force and cor­poral punishment; a practice they have been taught to dislike, by their extreme sufferings, as well as their known principle for an universal liberty of conscience. On the other hand, they equally dislike an independency in society; an unaccountableness in practice and conver­sation to the rules and terms of their own communion, and to those that are the members of it. They distin­guish between imposing any practice that immediately regards faith or worship (which is never to be done or suffered, or submitted unto), and requiring Christian compliance with those methods that only respect church­business in its more civil part and concern, and that re­gard the discreet and orderly maintenance of the charac­ter of the society as a sober and religious community. In short, what is for the promotion of holiness and chari­ty, that men may practise what they profess, live up to their own principles, and not be at liberty to give the lye to their own profession without rebuke, is their use [Page 251]and limit of church-power. They compel none to them, but oblige those that are of them to walk suit­able, or they are denied by them: that is all the mark they set upon them, and the power they exercise, or judge a Christian society can exercise, upon those that are members of it.

The way of their proceeding against such as have lapsed or transgressed is this. He is visited by some of them, and the matter of fact laid home to him, be it any evil practice against known and general virtue, or any branch of their particular testimony, which he, in common, professeth with them. They labour with him in much love and zeal, for the good of his soul, the honour of God, and reputation of their profession, to own his fault and condemn it, in as ample a man­ner as the evil or scandal was given by him; which for the most part is performed by some written testi­mony under the parties hand: and if it so happen, that the party prove refractory, and is not willing to clear the truth, they profess, from the reproach of his or her evil doing or unfaithfulness, they, after repeated intreaties and due waiting for a token of repentance, give forth a paper to disown such a fact, and the party offending; recording the same as a testimony of their care for the honour of the truth they profess. And if he or she shall clear their profession and themselves, by sincere acknowledgment of their fault, and godly sor­row for so doing, they are received and looked upon a­gain as members of their communion: for as God, so his true people, upbraid no man after repentance."

"As those meetings became established, and friends grew in the exercise of Christian discipline, it was, in divers places, judged expedient to chuse out of them persons of approved integrity, to visit the families of friends, whose business in general seems to have been well described, in those terms which the nature of the thing rendered familiar among the brethren, of watch­ing over one another in love. This branch of Christian [Page 252]discipline still remains to be exercised in this nation *, as well as divers parts of Great Britain and America, though let drop in some places where it was formerly in practice."

"These visitors being appointed by the monthly meet­ings, whereof they were members, commonly per­formed their visit to the several families within the li­mits of their respective meetings once a-year, or often­er, as occasion might require, and returned an ac­count of their labours to the meeting which constituted them; and when they had performed their visit, a new nomination of persons was made for this service. The qualifications required in these men are thus de­scribed, in general terms, in the records of the nation­al meeting at the first institution of them, viz. "That they should be just in dealings among men, free from worldly incumbrances, and all coming up in their pla­ces to answer their high and honourable calling, accor­ding to their capacities and abilities." And the general tenor of their commission is thus described, "That friends might be cautioned against running into any excess or extreme in trading or farming; that they might be kept out of airiness in deportment, and mul­tiplicity of words in bargaining, buying, or selling; and superfluity in apparel, furniture, or household­stuff." They were not, however, restricted to these particulars only; but, in the course of their exercise in this weighty service, were led to many other neces­sary subjects of counsel and admonition; and indeed the zeal and vigilance of the brethren in Ireland, in this branch of discipline, was truly memorable; of which I think it well worth while to give a short spe­cimen from the writings of an experienced elder , and other records, viz. First of all, they that were chosen for visitors met together, and after waiting for a time [Page 253]in silence upon the Lord, any one, as he found it up­on his mind, spoke what appeared to him suitable to the occasion, and every one, in a tender, brotherly manner, submitted himself to the examination of his brethren, viz. how far each one stood clear himself with respect to those things concerning which he was about to advise others. Such examination being pre­mised, they thus proceeded in their visits. When they came to a family, they sat down with them, and first waited a while upon the Lord, and then, as it arose upon the minds of any, advice was given them suitable to their respective states and conditions; sometimes to all the family together, and sometimes to particular persons apart, as they saw occasion, particularly and principally directing them to the witness of God, and gift of his Holy Spirit in themselves, as that by which alone they could grow in truth, and witness their hearts cleansed, which would work an effectual regulation in their outward demeanour; and then they proceeded to the mention of some instances of this, as occasion offered, and recommended to their observation the particular minutes or advices which had been given forth from meetings. But, more particularly, in these family-visits, friends were exhorted to diligence in the worship of Almighty God, and a zealous attendance on the meetings appointed for that purpose, both on the first days and on other days of the week; and not on­ly so, but to a fervent exercise of spirit in those meet­ings; and parents, masters, and mistresses of families, were advised to encourage their children and servants in this religious exercise. They were also severally ad­vised to answer the high and holy calling of the Lord, in coming up in their services in the church, according to the understanding received, and ability of body and substance.

Next, as to trading and dealing,—That none might involve themselves in the cares and incumbrances of the world, so as to be hindered from serving the Lord [Page 254]with that freedom of spirit which becomes a people call­ed by his name; also, that none professing truth and righteousness might run into debts, or contract great trades beyond the bounds of moderation, or their ca­pacities to manage;—that they should be punctual in keeping their words and promises;—that they should be circumspect in their lives and conversations at all times;—avoid unnecessary frequenting of alehouses and taverns, and fashioning themselves according to the vain, unsettled customs of the world, whether in ap­parel or house-furniture. Lastly, the good education of youth was strongly recommended to parents, parti­cularly in plainness of habit and speech, honest labour, and suitable trades and employments; and that they should restrain them as much as in their power from all unfit liberties in recreations, and those hurtful plea­sures that youth is inclined unto."

The crimes and irregularities which render the Qua­kers liable either to be admonished or disowned as bre­thren, are, a neglect of the meetings appointed for the worship of God, injustice and frauds of all kinds, defamation, breach of the marriage-covenant, whore­dom, drunkenness, gaming, and swearing. But be­sides the above enumerated evils condemned by them, in common with other professors of Christianity, there were also certain practices, which seemed to be either lesser degrees of those evils, or to have a tendency to promote them, or, in the view of this people, to be hurtful to the souls of men and their spiritual prosperi­ty, and inconsistent with that Christian testimony God had called them to bear against the corruptions of the world, which became the subjects of the church's care to preserve her members from, e. g. the unnecessary frequenting of alehouses or taverns, drinking of healths, superfluities of provisions at marriages or burials, the abuse of our precious time in divers exercises called re­creations; as cock-fighting, horse-races, and attend­ing play-houses and music-meetings; also extravagance [Page 255]and superfluity in habit, furniture, speech, and even in trading and farming; all these were and are deemed proper subjects of reproof and admonition. There are yet some other instances of unfaithfulness peculiarly cognizable by the church among this people, viz. 1. One brother going to law with another. 2. Fight­ing, whether private or public. 3. The payment of tithes or church-rates, so called, by any of this profes­sion, was always censured among this people, as a de­viation from the known sense and judgment of the brethren, with regard to the support of a Christian mi­nistry, and a trampling upon that testimony which they believed God had called them to bear against this antichristian yoke of oppression, and was faithfully maintained by divers of the ancient brethren, by suf­fering imprisonment, even unto death, upon this ac­count. A mean submission to this yoke, for fear of suffering, was further condemnable, because of its tendency to increase the sufferings of the faithful, and strengthen the hands of their adversaries. This hath been always deemed so essential a point, that, from the first publication of the epistles from the yearly meeting of London to this present time, accounts are transmit­ted from thence of the sufferings of friends in that be­half; and not only so, but exhortations to faithfulness, in this respect, are rarely omitted.

Their method of procedure in regard to disorderly persons has been given above, in general terms; be­sides which, there are certain particularities of con­duct, suited to particular cases.

Their care to supply the necessities of their poor, and that their offspring shall be properly educated, is a well-known branch of their discipline, a query to this purpose being constantly to be answered from the par­ticular to the general meetings: nor is their charity confined to their own poor, but extended to all others.

Their ministers *, although, according to the [Page 256]Apostle's advice, 1 Tim. v. 17. they are esteemed wor­thy of double honour, yet do not, as among some o­thers, exercise a lordship over their brethren, nor deem themselves to be of a class or order so far above other men, as not to need the assistance of their brethren, or to be unaccountable to them for their conduct; but do willingly own themselves also to be proper objects of the church's care, and as such responsible to them in the following important particulars, whereof an account is required to be returned to the quarterly meetings, viz. 1. How are ministering friends in love and unity one with another, and with faithful brethren in their own meeting? 2. Do none of them travel a­broad, in the work of the ministry, without a certifi­cate from their own monthly meeting? 3. Do they give way to each other, and to strangers, in the exer­cise of their gifts? 4. Do none overcharge themselves with business, to the hindrance of their service? 5. Are they found in their ministry? 6. Do any of them burthen their hearers with words without life? 7. Do they adorn their doctrine by a suitable conduct and conversation, as good examples in all respects?

Their discipline, in relation to marriage, merits the attention of other professors of Christianity: *The man and woman present themselves to the men and womens monthly meetings for church-affairs where they reside, and there declare their intentions of taking each other as man and wife, if the said meeting have no material objection against it.’

The principal conditions of their acceptance are these:

1. It is an established rule, that no man propose marriage to a woman without the previous consent of his own and her parents or guardians; and if the un­bridled affections of any should have precipitated him into a breach of this rule, he is required, pursuant to [Page 257]the advice of the yearly meeting of London 1707, to remove the offence, and give satisfaction to such parents and guardians, and to the meeting to which they do belong, by a due and open acknowledgment of the offence, and condemnation of himself for it, and to get the consent of such parents or guardians before he shall be permitted to proceed to accomplish his in­tended marriage.

2. That the parties be of the same faith and judg­ment in matters of religion, and professed members of this society.

3. That none shall marry within such degrees of consanguinity or affinity as are forbidden by the law of God.

4. Whereas the admission of any marriage to be ce­lebrated, according to the rules of this society, is an acknowledgment of the persons thus admitted as bre­thren and sisters of the community; if either of these should formerly have been guilty of any misdemeanour, whereby scandal had been brought on the society, it hath, in such case, been the constant practice in this nation, that, upon this solemn occasion, such should condemn their fault, which, for the most part, is done in writing.

Where no obstacles on any of these accounts appear, or having appeared, are removed, the meeting passes the proposals of marriage, takes a minute thereof, and appoints proper persons to enquire into the clearness of the parties from all others, and to hold correspondence with other monthly meetings to the same purpose, if the parties have resided in different places. It also or­ders the intentions of marriage to be published at least in two sundry public meetings where the man and wo­man reside, or have resided, before the marriage be solemnized, in order that convenient time may be al­lowed [Page 258]for satisfaction concerning their clearness from all scandal, pre-contracts, &c.

The parties are required to give their attendance a second time at the monthly meeting, which is usually the next ensuing, or the next after, where the persons appointed to make the enquiry above mentioned re­turn an account of the result, which if it prove satis­factory to the meeting, the parties are at liberty to pro­ceed to the accomplishment of their marriage, for which purpose it was the ancient practice to appoint a parti­cular meeting, whereat twelve faithful witnesses, at least, were required to be present; but of later years marriages in this nation have been commonly solem­nized in the ordinary public meetings for worship, which hath had this good effect, to make public and strongly recommend this decent and comely order to all sober and impartial observers. Here the man and wo­man take each other as husband and wife, and promise each other, with God's assistance, to be loving and faithful in that relation till death separate them. Of all these proceedings a narrative is kept in the way of certificate, to which the said parties first set their hands, thereby making it their own act and deed, and then divers of the relations, spectators, and auditors, set their names, as witnesses of what they have said and signed; and this certificate is afterwards registered in the record belonging to the meeting where the mar­riage is solemnized.

There is yet another thing that always, in this nation, becomes the subject of the care of the same monthly meeting, viz. to appoint two persons as over­seers, to take care that the marriage be solemnized with modesty and gravity, and to discourage super­fluities of eating, drinking, apparel, wanton beha­viour, &c. upon this occasion.

As to second marriages, these two things chiefly fall under their care and cognizance:

[Page 259]1. If the man be a widower, or the woman a wi­dow, and have children by a former wife or husband, that provision be previously made for such children where it can conveniently be done.

2. Friends should not proceed in second marriages until a year is elapsed from the death of the former wife or husband; and the practice accordingly hath been such, and more early procedure condemned and forbidden as indecent.

To their yearly meeting held in London every Whit­suntide, which sometimes lasteth four, five, or more days, are admitted such as are sent from all churches of that society in the world, to give an account of the state of their particular churches, which from some places is done only by writing; and from this meeting is sent a general epistle to all the churches, which com­monly is printed, and sometimes particular epistles are sent to churches respectively, by which it is known in what condition their churches are every year; and in the said epistle there is always recommended a godly life and conversation, and due care about the education of children. If it happens that the poor any where are in want, then that is supplied by others that have in store, or sometimes by an extraordinary collection. I have subjoined one of those epistles for my readers satisfaction.

An EPISTLE from the annual meeting in London, held by adjournment from the 10th day of the fourth month, to the 14th of the same inclusive, 1717, to the quarterly and monthly meeting of friends in Great Britain and elsewhere.

OUR salutation in the love of Christ Jesus our blessed Lord is freely extended to you, whose tender care over, and favour to this our annual assembly, we do humbly and thankfully acknowledge, in the love, amity, ten­der condescension, and peaceable procedure thereof, [Page 260]with regard to the divine power and goodness of the Lord our God, and the service of his church and peo­ple, sincerely desiring the prosperity of his whole heri­tage, even in all the churches of Christ among us, in his dear love, unity, and peace, to his eternal glory, and our universal comfort and perpetual joy in the kingdom of the dear Son of God.

We are truly comforted in that we understand there is such a general concurrence and union among friends, which was our former earnest desires and counsel for true and universal love, unity, peace, and good order to be earnestly endeavoured and maintained amongst us, as a peculiar people chosen of the Lord out of this world, to bear a faithful testimony to his holy name and truth in all respects; and that all that is contrary be watched against and avoided, as strife, discord, con­tentions, and disputes tending to divisions, may be ut­terly suppressed and la [...]d aside, as the light and righte­ous judgment of truth require.

Oh! that all the churches and congregations of the faithful would be excited by the Spirit of the dear Son of God, fervently to pray for the prosperity of his church and people throughout the world, that Sion may more and more shine in the beauty of holiness, to the glory and praise of the King of Glory.

The friends and brethren, come up from the several quarterly meetings in this nation, have given a good account, to this meeting, of truth's prosperity, and that friends are generally at love and unity with one another; and by several epistles from North Carolina, Jersey, Pensylvania. Maryland, Barbadoes, Holland, Scot­land, Ireland, and Wales, which have been read in this meeting, as also by verbal accounts given by se­veral friends that have lately travelled in divers parts of America and elsewhere, we have received comfort­able a counts of the state of truth and friends in those parts, by which we are encouraged to hope truth pre­vails in many places, and a concern grows upon friends [Page 261]for the prosperity thereof, and that there is an incli­nation in people to hear the truth declared.

By the accounts brought up this year we find, that friends suffering in England and Wales amount to 4290l. chiefly for tithes, priests wages, and steeple­house rates; and that notwithstanding four friends were discharged last year, there yet remain twenty friends prisoners on these accounts.

We advise that a tender care remain upon friends, in all places, to be faithful in keeping up our Christian testimony against tithes, as being justly persuaded it is that whereunto God hath called his people in this our day, we seeing by daily experience that such as are not faithful therein, do thereby add to the sufferings of other friends, and hinder their own growth and prosperity in the most blessed truth.

As touching the education of friends children, for which this meeting hath always a tender concern, we think it necessary to recommend to you the necessity there is of a care of preserving of them in a plainness of speech and habit suitable to our holy profession; and also that no opportunity be omitted, nor any endea­vours wanting, to instruct them in the principles of truth which we profess, that thereby they being sensi­ble of the operation thereof in themselves, may find not only their spirits softened and rendered fit to re­ceive the impressions of the divine image, but may al­so from thence find themselves under a necessity to ap­pear clear in the several branches of our Christian testi­mony: and as this will be most beneficial to them, being the fruits of conviction, so it is the most effec­tual way of propagating the same throughout the churches of Christ: and there being times and seasons wherein their spirits are more than at others disposed to have these things impressed upon them, so we de­sire that all parents, and others concerned in the over­sight of youth, might wait in the fear of God to know themselves divinely qualified for that service, that in [Page 262]his wisdom they may make use of every such opportu­nity which the Lord shall put into their hands. And we do hereby warn and advise friends in all places to flee every appearance of evil, and to avoid pride, and following the vain fashions and customs of this world, as recommended in our epistle 1715.

And as we always found it our concern to recom­mend love, unity, and concord in the churches of Christ every where, so, as a means to effect the same, we earnestly desire that friends, but more especially such who are concerned in meetings of business, do la­bour to know their own spirits, to be subjected by the spirit of truth, that thereby, being baptised into one body, they may be truly one in the foundation of their love and unity, and that therein they may all labour to find a nearness to each other in spirit, this being the true way to a thorough reconciliation, where-ever there is or may have been any difference of apprehension; thereby friends will be preserved in that sweetness of spirit that is and will be the bond of true peace through­out all the churches of Christ.

And, dear friends, the friends of this meeting, to whom the inspection of the accounts was referred, made report, that having perused the same, they found the stock nearly expended; whereupon this meeting thinks it necessary to recommend unto you, that a ge­neral and free contribution be made in every county, and that what shall be thereupon collected be sent up to the respective correspondents.

Finally, dear friends and brethren, be careful to walk unblameable in love and peace among yourselves, and towards all men in Christian charity; and be hum­bly thankful to the Lord, our most gracious God, for the favour he hath given us in the eyes of the King and civil government, in the peaceable enjoyment of our religious and Christian liberty under them; and the God of peace, we trust, will be with you to the end.

[Page 263]The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirits.

Signed in and on the behalf, and by the order of their meeting, by BENJ. BEALING.

NOTE, In 1696, an act was passed, that the solemn affirmation of the people called Quakers shall be deem­ed of the same force and validity in law as an oath. This act was renewed and confirmed, anno 1702, and again renewed and made perpetual, to extend to Scot­land and the plantations, by act Geo. I. 1715. By act 8 Geo. I. cap. 6. they were further indulged to have the name of GOD struck out of their solemn affirm­ation and declaration.

Account of the NON-JURORS.

THE NON-JURORS differ in little or nothing from the established church of England in their ec­clesiastical doctrine or discipline *. Their rise and se­paration from her was at the Revolution, and they were so denominated on account of their refusing to take the oaths to King William and Queen Mary, as they have refused to do to the succeeding monarchs of this kingdom, de facto.

They maintain, that the doctrines of passive obedience and non-resistance, and of the hereditary indefeasible right of Sovereigns, were the distinguishing principles of [Page 264]the church of England, in her political character; and that these doctrines were confirmed by every sanction derived from the laws of God and man. By the second canon of the church of England *, they af­firm, the King therein mentioned is to be understood of that person who is possessed of the throne, according to the civil institution of the hereditary English monar­chy; and that whoever disowns his authority, &c. in­curs the sentence of excommunication ipso facto, ac­cording to that canon. They insist, that if King James II. had a right, the compliers with the Revolu­tion were by this canon excommunicated; as in de­priving their rightful Sovereign, they disavowed his authority, &c. King James had a right, they say, which he continued to claim till the day of his death; and that his son (whose right as a son they declare to be as unquestionable as his father's) has always kept up and asserted his claim. So much for their political creed.

With regard to their ecclesiastical tenets, they main­tain the necessity of an uninterrupted succession, from the Apostles, of those who administer Christ's ordinan­ces: that the deprivation of Bishops by lay-authority is invalid of itself, and should not be acknowledged: that the interposition of lay-power has interrupted the succession, as to all who submit to, or own their inter­position: that the authority of the church of England, and of consequence the church of England itself, was resident in the deprived Bishops and clergy, and re­mains in the Non-Jurors, their successors, who have immutably adhered to her true constitutions and prin­ciples: [Page 265]and that all who depart from them are at least in a state of schism. To support these tenets, they advance, that the canonical metropolitan Arch­bishop Sancroft was not only displaced, but Dr. Tillotson, a subject presbyter of his, placed in his room; and when God had removed him, another, Dr. Tennison, was set up in his place as head of the schism: that under the Bishops, who actually did this, or those who approve of such doings, by joining in communion with them, in opposition to the true canonical Bishops, have all the parochial clergy acted, and joined with them against the canonical deprived Prelates, and their successors; and being thus joined with them, they be­come schismatics; and that those, tho' canonically or­dained and placed over a flock, yet by closing with schismatics, have forfeited all the privileges of their function, and cannot dispense the ordinances of reli­gion, with any benefit.

The Non-Jurors of Scotland maintain the same prin­ciples with those of England; they both make use of the book of Common Prayer in their worship; tho' the Scots generally officiate by the communion service in the prayer-book, composed for their country in the reign of King Charles I.

Dr. Hicks, Dr. Kettlewell, the Rev. Mr. John Lind­say, and others their champions, have written learned treatises, in defence of their principles; and the Non-Jurors aver that the above, with Dr. Charles Leslie *, have published more in their behalf, than all their ad­versaries (and even the late Dr. Benjamin Hoadley , the learned Bishop of Winchester) have been able to refute. [See more, to make this history complete, pages 2 and 5 of this volume, and note p. 24.]

[Page 266]The Non-Jurors are dwindling away insensibly; the zeal which actuated the first adherents to their principles, does not seem to operate so forcibly upon their children and descendants, and, perhaps, in half a century, there may be none such in being. As conscientious persons they certainly merit the indulgence of the government, whilst they behave with that respect and inoffensiveness it has a right to expect from them, and which are cul­tivated by the sensible persons of their persuasion.

The History of the LUTHERANS.

SO much has been already necessarily said of Luther, the progress and establishment of his opinions, and the doctrines of the Lutheran church, in vol. ii. of this work, p. 115—122, and p. 128—130, as to ren­der any thing further on that head superfluous, and therefore I content myself with referring my readers to that volume.

The History of the METHODISTS.

COntrary to my usual method, I think proper to be­gin with the principles of this popular sect, be­fore I give an account of their rise and progress; and, first, I shall lay before my readers the character of a Me­thodist, as drawn by the Rev. Mr. John Wesley, who, tho' he may differ in a few points from the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield, the founder of Methodism, yet speaks, in most things, the sense of the whole body .

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1. The distinguishing marks of a Methodist are not his opinions of any sort. His assenting to this or that scheme of religion, his embracing any particular set of notions, his espousing the judgment of one man or of another, are all quite wide of the point. Who­soever therefore imagines, that a Methodist is, a man of such or such an opinion, is grosly ignorant of the whole affair: he mistakes the truth totally. We be­lieve indeed, that all scripture is given by inspiration of God; and herein we are distinguished from Jews, Turks, and Infidels. We believe the written word of God to be the only and sufficient rule, both of Christian faith and practice; and herein we are fundamentally distinguished from those of the Romish church. We believe Christ to be the eternal supreme God; and herein are we distinguished from the Socinians and Arians. But as to all opinions which do not strike at the root of Christianity, we think and let think. So that whatsoever they are, whether right or wrong, they are no distinguishing marks of a Methodist.

2. Neither are words or phrases of any sort. We do not place our religion, or any part of it, in being attached to any peculiar mode of speaking, any quaint or uncommon set of expressions. The most obvious, easy, common words, wherein our meaning can be conveyed, we prefer before others, both on ordinary occasions, and when we speak of the things of God. We never therefore willingly or designedly deviate from the most usual way of speaking; unless when we express scripture truths in scripture words (which we presume no Christian will condemn.) Neither do we affect to use any particular expressions of scripture, more fre­quently than others, unless they are such as are more frequently used by the inspired writers themselves. So that it is as gross an error, to place the marks of a Methodist in his words, as in opinions of any sort.

3. Nor do we desire to be distinguished by actions, customs, or usages, of an indifferent nature. Our re­ligion [Page 268]does not lie in doing what God hath not enjoined, or abstaining from what he hath not forbidden. It does not lie in the form of our apparel, in the posture of our body, or the covering of our heads; nor yet in ab­staining from marriage, nor from meats and drinks, which are all good if received with thanksgiving. Therefore neither will any man who knows whereof he affirms, fix the mark of a Methodist here; in any ac­tions or customs purely indifferent, undertermined by the word of God.

4. Nor, lastly, is he to be distinguished by laying the whole stress of religion on any single part of it. If you say, "Yes, he is; for he thinks we are saved by faith alone:" I answer, you do not understand the terms. By salvation he means, holiness of heart and life. And this he affirms to spring from true faith alone. Can even a nominal Christian deny it? Is this placing a part of religion for the whole? Do we then make void the law thro' faith? God forbid! Yea we establish the law. We do not place the whole of religion (as too many do, God knoweth) either in doing no harm, or in doing good, or in using the ordinances of God: No, nor in all of them together; wherein we know, by experience, a man may labour many years, and at the end have no true religion at all, no more than he had at the beginning. Much less in any one of these; or, it may be in a scrap of one of them: like her who fancies herself a virtuous woman, only because she is not a prostitute; or him who dreams he is an honest man, merely because he does not rob or steal. May the Lord God of my fathers preserve me from such a poor, starved religion as this! Were this the mark of a Methodist, I would sooner chuse to be a sincere Jew, Turk, or Pagan.

5. What then is the mark? Who is a Methodist according to your own account? I answer: A Me­thodist is one, who has the love of God shed abroad in his heart, by the Holy Ghost given unto him: one [Page 269]who loves the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his mind, and with all his strength. God is the joy of his heart, and the de­sire of his soul; which is constantly crying out, "Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee! My God and my all! thou art the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever!"

6. He is therefore happy in God, yea always happy, as having in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life, and overflowing his soul with peace and joy. Perfect love having now cast out fear, he rejoices evermore. He rejoices in the Lord always, even in God his Saviour: and in the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom he hath now received the atone­ment. Having found redemption thro' his blood, the forgivenness of his sins, he cannot but rejoice, when­ever he looks back on the horrible pit out of which he is delivered, when he sees all his transgressions blotted out as a cloud, and his iniquities as a thick cloud. He cannot but rejoice, whenever he looks on the state wherein he now is, being justified freely, and having peace with God, thro' our Lord Jesus Christ. For he that believeth hath the witness of this in himself: being now the Son of God by faith; because he is a Son, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into his heart, crying out, Abba, Father! And the Spirit itself bear­eth witness with his spirit, that he is a child of God. He rejoiceth also, whenever he looks forward in hope of the glory that shall be revealed: yea, this his joy is full, and all his bones cry out, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy hath begotten me again to a living hope—of an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for me.

7. And he who hath this hope thus full of immorta­lity, in every thing giveth thanks; as knowing that this (whatsoever it is) is the will of God in Christ Jesus [Page 270]concerning him. From him therefore he chearfully re­ceives all, saying, Good is the will of the Lord; and whether the Lord giveth or taketh away, equally bles­sing the name of the Lord. For he hath learned in whatsoever stare he is, therewith to be content. He knoweth both how to be abased, and how to abound. Every where and in all things he is instructed, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Whether in ease or pain, whether in sickness or health, whether in life or death, he giveth thanks from the ground of the heart to him who orders it for good: knowing that as every good gift cometh from above, so none but good can come from the Father of Light, into whose hands he has wholly committed his body and soul, as into the hands of a faithful Creator. He is therefore careful (anxiously or uneasily careful) for no­thing; as having cast all his care on him that careth for him, and in all things resting on him, after making his request known to him with thanksgiving.

8. For indeed he prays without ceasing. It is given him always to pray and not to faint. Not that he is always in the house of prayer; tho' he neglects no op­portunity of being there. Neither is he always on his knees, altho' he often is, or on his face, before the Lord his God. Nor yet is he always crying aloud to God, or calling upon him in words. For many times the Spirit maketh intercession for him with groans that cannot be uttered: but at all times the language of his heart is this, "Thou brightness of the eternal glory, unto thee is my mouth, tho' without a voice, and my silence speaketh unto thee." And this is true prayer, —the lifting up the heart to God. This is the essence of prayer, and this alone. But his heart is ever lifted up to God, at all times and in all places. In this he is never hindered, much less interrupted by any person or thing. In retirement, or company, in leisure, business or conversation, his heart is ever with the Lord. Whe­ther he lie down or rise up, God is in all his thoughts; [Page 271]he walks with God continually, having the loving eye of his mind still fixed upon him, and every where see­ing him that is invisible.

9. And while he thus always exercises his love to God, by praying without ceasing, rejoicing evermore, and in every thing giving thanks, this commandment is writ­ten in his heart, that he who loveth God, loves his brother also. And he accordingly loves his neighbour as himself; he loves every man as his own soul. His heart is full of love to all mankind, to every child of the Father of the spirits of all flesh. That a man is not personally known to him, is no bar to his love: no, nor that he is known to be such as he approves not, that he repays hatred for his good-will; for he loves his enemies, yea and the enemies of God, the evil and the unthankful: and if it be not in his power to do good to them that hate him, yet he ceases not to pray for them, though they continue to spurn his love, and still despitefully use him and persecute him.

10. For he is pure in heart. The love of God has purified his heart from all revengeful passions, from en­vy, malice, and wrath, from every unkind temper or malign affection. It hath cleansed him from pride and haughtiness of spirit, whereof alone cometh contention; and he hath now put on bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering: so that he forbears and forgives, if he had a quarrel against any, even as God in Christ hath forgiven him. And indeed all possible ground for contention, on his part, is utterly cut off; for none can take from him what he desires, seeing he loves not the world, nor any of the things of the world, being now crucified to the world, and the world crucified to him; being dead to all that is in the world, both to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life; for all his desire is unto God, and to the remembrance of his name.

11. Agreeable to this his one desire, is the one desire of his life, namely, not to do his own will, but the [Page 272]will of him that sent him. His one intention at all times, and in all things, is, not to please himself, but him whom his soul loveth. He has a single eye; and because his eye is single, his whole body is full of light. Indeed, where the loving eye of the soul is continually fixed upon God, there can be no darkness at all, but the whole is light, as when the bright shining of a can­dle doth enlighten the house▪ God then reigns alone. All that is in the soul is holiness to the Lord. There is not a motion in his heart but is according to his will. Every thought that arises points to him, and is in obe­dience to the law of Christ.

12. And the tree is known by its fruits; for as he loves God, so he keeps his commandments; not only some, or most of them, but all, from the least to the greatest. He is not content to keep the whole law, and offend in one point, but has in all points a con­science void of offence towards God and towards man. Whatever God has forbidden, he avoids; whatever God hath enjoined, he doth; and that whether it be little or great, hard or easy, joyous or grievous to the flesh. He runs the ways of God's commandments, now he hath set his heart at liberty. It is his glory so to do; it is his daily crown of rejoicing, to do the will of God on earth, as it is done in heaven; knowing it is the highest privilege of the angels of God, of those that excel in strength, to fulfil his commandments, and hearken to the voice of his word.

13. All the commandments of God he accordingly keeps, and that with all his might; for his obedience is in proportion to his love, the source from whence it flows; and therefore, loving God with all his heart, he serves him with all his strength. He continually presents his soul and body a living sacrifice, holy, ac­ceptable to God; entirely and without reserve devoting himself, all he has, and all he is, to his glory. All the talents he has received he constantly employs, ac­cording to his Master's will; every power and faculty [Page 273]of his soul, every member of his body. Once he yield­ed them unto sin and the devil, as instruments of un­righteousness: but now, being alive from the dead, he yields them all, as instruments of righteousness, unto God.

14. By consequence, whatsoever he doth, it is all to the glory of God. In all his employments of every kind, he not only aims at this (which is implied in having a single eye) but actually attains it. His bu­siness and refreshments, as well as his prayers, all serve to this great end. Whether he sit in his house or walk by the way, whether he lie down or rise up, he is pro­moting in all he speaks or does, the one business of his life: whether he put on his apparel, or labour, or eat and drink, or divert himself from too wasting labour, it all tends to advance the glory of God, by peace and good-will among men. His one invariable rule is this, Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

15. Nor do the customs of the world at all hinder his running the race that is set before him. He knows that vice does not lose its nature, though it becomes ever so fashionable; and remembers, that every man is to give an account of himself to God. He cannot, therefore, even follow a multitude to do evil. He can­not fare sumptuously every day, or make provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof. He cannot lay up treasures upon earth, no more than he can take fire in­to his bosom. He cannot adorn himself (on any pre­tence) with gold or costly apparel; he cannot join in, or countenance any diversion which has the least ten­dency to vice of any kind. He cannot speak evil of his neighbour, no more than he can lie, either for God or man. He cannot utter an unkind word of any one; for love-keeps the door of his lips. He cannot speak idle words: no corrupt communication ever comes out of his mouth, as is all that which is not good, to the [Page 274]use of edifying, not fit to minister grace to the hearers. But whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are justly of good report, he thinks, and speaks, and acts, adorning the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ in all things.

16. Lastly, as he has time, he does good unto all men; unto neighbours and strangers, friends and ene­mies; and that in every possible kind; not only to their bodies, by feeding the hungry, cloathing the naked, visiting those that are sick or in prison; but much more does he labour to do good to their souls, as of the ability which God giveth: to awaken those that sleep in death; to bring those who are awakened to the atoning blood, that, being justified by faith, they may have peace with God, and to provoke those who have peace with God to abound more in love and in good works; and he is willing to spend and be spent herein, even to be offered up on the sacrifice and ser­vice of their faith, so they may all come unto the mea­sure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.

17. These are the principles and practices of our sect, these are the marks of a true Methodist. By these alone do those who are in derision so called, de­sire to be distinguished from other men. If any man say, "Why these are only the common, fundamental principles of Christianity!" Thou hast said: so I mean; this is the very truth; I know they are no other; and I would to God both thou and all men knew, that I, and all who follow my judgment, do vehemently re­fuse to be distinguished from other men, by any but the common principles of Christianity. The plain, old Christianity that I teach, renouncing and detesting all other m [...]rks of distinction; and whosoever is what I preach (let him be called what he will, for names change not the nature of things) he is a Christian, not in name only, but in heart and in life. He is inward­ly and outwardly conformed to the will of God, as re­vealed in the written word. He thinks, speaks, and [Page 275]lives according to the method laid down in the Reve­lation of Jesus Christ. His soul is renewed after the image of God, in righteousness and in all true holiness; and having the mind that was in Christ, he so walks as Christ also walked.

18. By these marks, by these fruits of a living faith do we labour to distinguish ourselves from the unbe­lieving world, from all those whose minds or lives are not according to the gospel of Christ. But from real Christians, of whatsoever denomination they be, we earnestly desire not to be distinguished at all; not from any who sincerely follow after what they know they have not yet attained. No: whosoever doth the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my bro­ther, and sister, and mother: and I beseech you, bre­thren, by the mercies of God, that we be in no wise divided among ourselves. Is thy heart right, as my hart is with thine? I ask no farther question. If it be, give me thy hand. For opinions, or terms, let us not destroy the work of God. Dost thou love and serve God? it is enough. I give thee the right-hand of fellowship. If there be any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, let us strive together for the faith of the gospel, walking worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called, with all lowliness and meek­ness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love, endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit, in the bond of peace; remembering there is one body and one spirit, even as we are called with one hope of our calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all!

The PRINCIPLES of a METHODIST, by the same Author. Of Justification by Faith.

I believe justification by faith alone; for I am firmly persuaded, that every man of the offspring of [Page 276]Adam is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil: that this corrup­tion of our nature, in every person born into the world, deserves God's wrath and damnation: that therefore, if ever we receive the remission of our sins, and are ac­counted righteous before God, it must be only for the merits of Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings of any kind. Nay, I am persuaded, that all works done before justification have in them the nature of sin; and that consequently, till he is justified, a man has no power to do any work which is pleasing and acceptable to God.

I believe three things must go together in our justi­fication; upon God's part, his great mercy and grace; upon Christ's part, the satisfaction of God's justice, by the offering his body, and shedding his blood, and fulfilling the law of God perfectly; and upon our part, true and living faith in the merits of Jesus Christ: so that in our justification there is not only God's mercy and grace, but his justice also: and so the grace of God does not shut out the righteousness of God in our justification, but only shuts out the righteousness of man, that is, the righteousness of our works; and therefore St. Paul requires nothing on the part of man, but only a true and living faith. Yet this faith does not shut out repentance, hope, and love, which are joined with faith in every man that is justified; but it shuts them out from the office of justifying; so that al­though they are all present together in him that is justi­fied, yet they justify not all together. Neither does faith shut out good works, necessarily to be done after­wards; but we may not do them to this intent, to be justified by doing them. Our justification comes free­ly, of the mere mercy of God: for whereas all the world was not able to pay any part towards their ran­som, it pleased him, without any of our deserving, to prepare for us Christ's body and blood, whereby our ransom might be paid, his law fulfilled, and his justice [Page 277]satisfied. Christ therefore is now the righteousness of all them that truly believe in him. He for them paid the ransom by his death. He for them fulfilled the law in his life. So that now in him, and by him, eve­ry believer may be called a fulfiller of the law.

But let it be observed, the true sense of those words, "we are justified by faith in Christ only," is not, that this our own act, to believe in Christ, or this our faith which is within us, justifies us (for that were to ac­count ourselves to be justified by some act or virtue that is within us): but that altho' we have faith, hope, and love within us, and do never so many good works, yet we must renounce the merit of all, of faith, hope, love, and all other virtues and good works, which we either have done, shall do, or can do, as far too weak to deserve our justification: for which therefore we must trust only in God's mercy, and the merits of Christ. For it is he alone that taketh away our sins. To him alone are we to go for this; sorsaking all our virtues, good words, thoughts, and works, and put­ting our trust in Christ only. In strictness therefore, neither our faith nor our works justify us, i. e. deserve the remission of our sins: but God himself justifies us, of his own mercy, through the merits of his Son only. Nevertheless, because by faith we embrace the promise of God's mercy, and of the remission of our sins, there­fore the scripture says, that faith does justify, yea, faith without works. And as it is all one to say, faith without works, and faith alone justifies us, therefore the antient fathers from time to time speak thus; Faith alone justifies us. And because we receive faith thro' the only merits of Christ, and not thro' the merit of any virtue we have, or work we do; therefore in that respect we renounce, as it were, again, faith, works, and all other virtues. For our corruption thro' original sin is so great, that all our faith, charity, words, and works, cannot merit or deserve any part of our justi­fication for us: and therefore we thus speak, humbling [Page 278]ourselves before God, and giving Christ all the glory of our justification. But it should also be observed, what that faith is, whereby we are justified. Now that faith which brings not forth good works, is not a living faith, but a dead and devilish one. For even the devils believe, "That Christ was born of a virgin, that he wrought all kind of miracles, declaring him­self to be very God; that for our sakes he died and rose again, and ascended into heaven, and at the end of the world shall come again, to judge the quick and the dead." This the devils believe, and so they be­lieve all that is written in the Old and New Testament; and yet still, for all this faith, they are but devils. They remain still in their damnable estate, lacking the true Christian faith. The true Christian faith is, not only to believe the holy scriptures and articles of our faith are true, but also to have a sure trust and confi­dence to be saved from everlasting damnation by Christ, whereof doth follow a loving heart, to obey his com­mandments. And this faith neither any devil hath, nor any wicked man. No ungodly man hath or can have this sure trust and confidence in God, that by the merits of Christ his sins are forgiven, and be reconciled to the favour of God.


Perhaps the general prejudice against Christian perfection may chiefly arise from a misapprehension of the nature of it. We willingly allow, and continually declare, there is no such perfection, in this life, as im­plies a dispensation from doing good, and attending all the ordinances of God; or a freedom from ignorance, mistake, temptation, and a thousand infirmities neces­sarily connected with flesh and blood. First, we not only allow, but earnestly contend (as for the faith once delivered to the saints) that there is no such perfection in this life, as implies any dispensation from attending [Page 279]all the ordinances of God, or from doing good unto all men while we have time, tho' especially unto the houshold of faith. And whosoever they are who have taught otherwise, we are convinced are not taught of God. We dare not receive them, neither bid them God speed, lest we be partakers of their evil deeds. We believe that not only the babes in Christ, who have newly found redemption in his blood, but those also, who are grown up unto perfect men, unto the mea­sure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, are indis­pensibly obliged (and that they are obliged thereto is their glory and crown of rejoicing) as oft as they have opportunity to eat bread and drink wine, in remem­brance of him; to search the scriptures; by fasting (as well as temperance) to keep their bodies under, and bring them into subjection; and above all, to pour out their souls in prayer, both secretly, and in the great congregation. We secondly believe, and therefore speak, and that unto all men, and with much assu­rance, that there is no such perfection in this life, as implies an entire deliverance, either from ignorance or mistake in things not essential to salvation, or from manifold temptations, or from numberless infirmities, wherewith the corruptible body, more or less, presses down the soul. This is the same thing which we have spoken from the beginning; if any teach otherwise, they are not of us. We cannot find any ground in scripture to suppose, that any inhabitant of an house of clay is wholly exempt either from bodily infirmities, or from ignorance of many things; or to imagine any mere man is incapable of mistake, or of falling into divers temptations: No; the disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his Lord. It is enough that every one who is perfect shall be as his master. But what then, it may be asked, do you mean by one that is perfect, or one that is as his master? We mean, one in whom is the mind which was in Christ, and who so walketh as he also walked; a man that hath [Page 280]clean hands and a pure heart; or that is cleansed from all filthiness of flesh and spirit: one in whom there is no occasion of stumbling, and who accordingly doth not commit sin. To declare this a little more parti­cularly, we understand by that scriptural expression a perfect man, one in whom God hath fulfilled his faith­ful word, "From all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you.—I will also save you from all your uncleannesses." We understand hereby, one whom God hath sanctified throughout, even in body, soul, and spirit: one who walketh in the light, as he is in the light, in whom is no darkness at all; the blood of Je­sus Christ his Son having cleansed him from all sin. This man can now testify to all mankind, I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. He is holy, as God who hath called him is holy, both in heart and in all manner of conversation. He loveth the Lord his God with all his heart, and serveth him with all his strength. He loveth his neighbour (every man) as himself; yea, as Christ loved us: them in particular that despitefully use him and persecute him, because they know not the Son, neither the Father. Indeed his soul is all love, filled with bowels of mercies, kindness, meekness, gen­tleness, long suffering. And his life agreeth thereto, full of the work of faith, the patience of hope, the la­bour of love: and whatsoever he doth either in word or deed, he doth it all in the name, in the love and power of the Lord Jesus. In a word, he doth the will of God on earth, as it is done in heaven. This it is to be a perfect man, to be sanctified throughout, created anew in Christ Jesus: even to have a heart so all-flaming with the love of God (to use Archbishop Usher's words) as continually to offer up every thought, word, and work, as a spiritual sacrifice, acceptable unto God thro' Christ. In every thought of our hearts, in every word of our tongues, in every work of our hands, to shew forth his praise, who hath called us out of dark­ness, [Page 281]into his marvellous light! O that both we, and all who seek the Lord Jesus in sincerity, may thus be made perfect in one!

If there be any-thing unscriptural in these words, any-thing wild or extravagant, any-thing contrary to the analogy of faith, or the experience of adult Chris­tians, let them smite me friendly and reprove me; let them impart to me of the clearer light God has given them. How knowest thou, O man, but thou mayest gain thy brother? but he may at length come to the knowledge of the truth? and thy labour of love, shewn forth with meekness of wisdom, may not be in vain?


I believe that conversion (meaning thereby justi­fication) is an instantaneous work; and the moment a man has living faith in Christ, he is converted or justi­fied: which faith [...]e cannot have, without knowing that he has it.

I believe the moment a man is justified he has peace with God: which he cannot have, without knowing that he has it.

The first sense of forgiveness is often mixed with doubt or fear: but the full assurance of faith excludes all doubt and fear, as the very term implies.

I believe to be justified is the same as to be born of God; and he that is born of God sinneth not. Which deliverance from sin he cannot have, without knowing that he has it.


I believe every man is penitent before he is justi­fied; he repents, before he believes the gospel. But it is never before, and generally long after he is justi­fied, [Page 282]that Christ is formed in him; and that this peni­tence and contrition is the work of the Holy Ghost.

Yet I believe that all this is nothing towards, and has no influence on our justification.

Again, I believe that in order to obtain justification I must go strait to Christ, with all my ungodliness, and plead nothing else.

Yet I believe we should not insist upon any-thing we do or feel, as if it were necessarily previous to justifica­tion. No, not on any-thing else.


I believe a man may have a strong assurance he is justified, and not be able to affirm he is a child of God.

A man may be fully assured that his sins are for­given, yet may not be able to tell the day when he re­ceived this full assurance; because it grew up in him by degrees.

A man may have a weak faith, at the same time that he has peace with God, and no unholy desires.

A man may be justified, who has not a clean heart, neither the indwelling of the spirit.

To sum up the whole, Mr. Wesley desires not a more consistent account of his principles than the following words:

Our spiritual state should be considered, and distinctly, under each of these views.

1. Before justification; in which state we may be said to be unable to do any-thing acceptable to God: because then we can do nothing but come to Christ; which ought not to be considered as doing any-thing, but as supplicating (or waiting) to receive a power of doing for the time to come. For the preventing grace of God, which is common to all, is sufficient to bring us to Christ, though it is not sufficient to carry us any farther, till we are justified.

[Page 283]2. After justification. The moment a man comes to Christ (by faith) he is justified, and born again; that is, he is born again in the imperfect sense (for there are two [if not more] degrees of regeneration); and he has power over all the stirrings and motions of sin, but not a total freedom from them. He has Christ with him, but not Christ in him. Therefore he hath not yet, in the full and proper sense, a new and clean heart, or the indwelling of the spirit. But be­ing exposed to various temptations, he may, and will fall again from this condition, if he doth not attain to a more excellent gift.

3. Sanctification; the last and highest state of per­fection in this life. For then are the faithful born again in the full and perfect sense. Then have they the in­dwelling of the spirit. Then is there given unto them a new and clean heart, and the struggle between the old and new man is over.

Mr. Wesley, in An earnest Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion, thus further expresses himself in regard to the principles of the Methodists:

Although it is with us a very small thing to be judged of you or of man's judgment, seeing we know God will make our innocency as clear as the light, and our just dealing as the noon-day; yet are we ready to give any that are willing to hear, a plain account both of our principles and actions; as having renounced the hidden things of shame, and desiring nothing more, than by manifestation of the truth to commend our­selves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

We see (and who does not) the numberless follies and miseries of our fellow-creatures. We see on every side, either men of no religion at all, or men of a life­less, formal religion. We are grieved at the sight, and should greatly rejoice, if by any means we might con­vince some, that there is a better religion to be attained, a religion worthy of God that gave it. And this we [Page 284]conceive to be no other than love; the love of God and of all mankind; the loving God with all our heart, and soul, and strength, as having first loved us, as the fountain of all the good we have received, and of all we ever hope to enjoy; and the loving every soul which God hath made, every man on earth, as our own soul.

This love we believe to be the medicine of life, the never-failing remedy, for all the evils of a disor­dered world, for all the miseries and vices of men. Wherever this is, there are virtue and happiness, go­ing hand-in-hand. There is humbleness of mind, gen­tleness, long-suffering, the whole image of God, and at the same time a peace that passeth all understanding, and joy unspeakable and full of glory.

This religion we long to see established in the world, a religion of love and joy and peace, having its seat in the heart, in the inmost soul, but ever shewing itself, by its fruits, continually springing forth not only in all innocence (for love worketh no ill to his neighbour) but likewise in every kind of beneficence, spreading virtue and happiness all around it.

This religion have we been following after for many years, as many know if they would testify: but all this time, seeking wisdom we found it not; we were spend­ing our strength in vain. And being now under full conviction of this, we declare it to all mankind: for we desire not that others should wander out of the way, as we have done before them; but rather that they may profit by our loss, that they may go (tho' we did not, having then no man to guide us) the streight way to the religion of love, even by faith.

Now faith, supposing the scripture to be of God, is the demonstrative evidence of things unseen, the super­natural evidence of things invisible, not perceivable by eyes of flesh, or by any of our natural senses or facul­ties. Faith is that divine evidence, whereby the spiri­tual man discerneth God and the things of God. It is with regard to the spiritual world, what sense is with [Page 285]regard to the natural. It is the spiritual sensation of every soul that is born of God.

Perhaps you have not considered it in this view; I will then explain it a little further.

Faith, according to the scriptural account, is the eye of the new born soul. Hereby every true believer in God seeth him who is invisible. Hereby (in a more particular manner since life and immortality have been brought to light by the gospel) he seeth the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; and, behold­eth what manner of love it is, which the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we (who are born of the Spi­rit) should be called the sons of God.

It is the ear of the soul, whereby a sinner hears the voice of the Son of God and lives; even that voice which alone wakes the dead, Son, thy sins are forgiven thee.

It is (if I may be allowed the expression) the palate of the soul: for hereby a believer tastes the good word, and the powers of the world to come; and hereby he both tastes and sees that God is gracious, yea, and merciful to him a sinner.

It is the feeling of the soul, whereby a believer per­ceives, thro' the power of the Highest overshadowing him, both the existence and the presence of him, in whom he lives, moves, and has his being; and indeed the whole invisible world, the entire system of things eternal. And hereby, in particular, he feels the love of God shed abroad in his heart.

By this faith we are saved from all uneasiness of mind, from the anguish of a wounded spirit, from discontent, from fear, and sorrow of heart, and from that inex­pressible listlessness and weariness, both of the world and of ourselves, which we had so helplesly laboured under for many years; especially when we were out of the hurry of the world, and sunk into calm reflection. In this we find that love of God, and of all mankind, which we had elsewhere sought in vain. This we know [Page 286]and feel, and therefore cannot but declare saves every one that partakes of it, both from sin and misery, from every unhappy and every unholy temper.

If you ask, "Why then have not all men this faith? all at least who conceive it to be so happy a thing? why do they not believe immediately?"

We answer (on the scripture-hypothesis) It is the gift of God. No man is able to work it in himself. It is a work of Omnipotence. It requires no less power thus to quicken a dead soul, than to raise a body that lies in the grave. It is a new creation; and none can create a soul anew but he who at first created the heavens and the earth.

May not your own experience teach you this? Can you give yourself this faith? Is it now in your power to see, or hear, or taste, or feel God? Have you al­ready, or can you raise in yourself, any perception of God, or of an invisible world? I suppose you do not deny that there is an invisible world: you will not charge it in poor old Hesiod, to Christian prejudice of education, when he says, in those well-known words,

Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
Unseen, whether we wake, or if we sleep.

Now, is there any power in your soul, whereby you discern either these, or him that created them? Or, can all your wisdom and strength open an intercourse between yourself and the world of spirits? Is it in your power to burst the veil that is on your heart, and let in the light of eternity? You know it is not. You not only do not, but cannot (by your own strength) thus believe. The more you labour so to do, the more you will be convinced, it is the gift of God.

It is the free gift of God, which he bestows not on those who are worthy of his favour, not on such as are previously holy, and so fit to be crowned with all the blessings of his goodness; but on the ungodly and un­holy; on those who, till that hour, were fit only for everlasting destruction; those in whom was no good [Page 287]thing, and whose only plea was, God be merciful to me a sinner. No merit, no goodness in man, pre­cedes the forgiving love of God. His pardoning mer­cy supposes nothing in us but a sense of mere sin and misery: and to all who see, and feel, and own their wants, and their utter inability to remove them, God freely gives faith, for the sake of him in whom he is always well pleased.

This is a short rude sketch of the doctrine we teach. These are our fundamental principles; and we spend our lives in confirming others herein, and in a beha­viour suitable to them.

After a great deal of shrewd and pertinent reasoning, he goes on to vindicate these doctrines in a manner pe­culiar to himself.

Perhaps the first thing that now occurs to your mind relates to the doctrine which we teach. You have heard that we say, "Men may live without sin;" and have you not heard, that the scripture says the same (we mean, without committing sin)? Does not St. Paul say plainly, that those who believe do not continue in?—that they cannot live any longer there­in? Rom. vi. 1, 2. Does not St. Peter say, He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin?—that he no longer should live—to the desires of men, but to the will of God? 1 Pet. iv. 1, 2. And does not St. John say most expressly, He that committeth sin is of the devil?—For this purpose the Son of God was manifest, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot com­mit sin, because he is born of God, 1 John iii. 8, &c. And again, We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not, ch. v. 18.

You see, then, it is not we that say this, but the Lord. These are not our words, but his. And who is he that replieth against God? Who is able to make God a liar? Surely he will be justified in his saying, [Page 288]and cleared when he is judged! Can you deny it? Have you not often felt a secret check, when you was con­tradicting this great truth? And how often have you wished what you was taught to deny? Nay, can you help wishing for it at this moment? Do you not now earnestly desire to cease from sin? to commit it no more? Does not your soul pant after this glorious li­berty of the sons of God? And what strong reason have you to expect it? Have you not had a foretaste of it already? Do you not remember the time when God first lifted up the light of his countenance upon you? Can it ever be forgotten? the day when the can­dle of the Lord first shone upon your head? You then had power not to commit sin. You found the Apostle's words strictly true, He that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. But those whom you took to be experienced Christians, telling you, "this was the only time of your espousals; this could not last always; you must come down the mount," and the like, shook your faith. You looked at men more than God, and so became weak, and like another man; whereas, had you then had any to guide you according to the truth of God, had you then heard the doctrine which now you blame, you had never fallen from your stedfastness; but had found, that in this sense also the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

Have you not another objection nearly allied to this, namely, that we preach perfection? True; but what perfection? The term you cannot object to, because it is scriptural. All the difficulty is, to fix the meaning of it, according to the word of God: and this we have done again and again, declaring to all the world, that Christian perfection does not imply an exemption from ignorance or mistake, or infirmities, or temptations; but that it does imply, the being so crucified with Christ, as to be able to testify, I live not, but Christ liveth in me (Gal. ii. 23.), and hath purified my heart [Page 289]by faith (Acts xv. 9.). It does imply the casting down every high thing that exalteth itself against the know­ledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. It does imply the being holy, as he that hath called us is holy in all manner of conversation (2 Cor. x. 5. 1 Pet. i. 15.); and, in a word, the loving the Lord our God with all our heart, and serving him with all our strength.

Now, is it possible for any one who believes the scripture to deny one tittle of this? You cannot; you dare not; you would not for the world; you know it is the pure word of God: and this is the whole of what we preach; this is the height and depth of what we (with St. Paul) call perfection; a state of soul de­voutly to be wished, by all who have tasted of the love of God. O pray for it without ceasing; it is the one thing you want. Come with boldness to the throne of grace, and be assured, that when you ask this of God, you shall have the petition you ask of him. We know indeed, that to man, to the natural man, this is im­possible; but we know also, that as no work is impos­sible with God, so all things are possible to him that believeth.

For we are saved by faith. But have you not heard this urged as another objection against us, That we preach salvation by faith alone? And does not St. Paul do the same thing? By grace, saith he, ye are saved through faith. Can any words be more express? And elsewhere, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, Acts xvi. 31.

What we mean by this (if it has not been sufficiently explained already) is, that we are saved from our sins, only by a confidence in the love of God. As soon as we behold what manner of love it is which the Father has bestowed upon us, we love him (as the Apostle ob­serves) because he first loved us; and then is that com­mandment written in our heart, that he who loveth God love his brother also; from which love of God [Page 290]and man, meekness, humbleness of mind, and all ho­ly tempers, spring. Now these are the very essence of salvation, of Christian salvation, salvation from sin; and from these outward salvation flows, that is, ho­liness of life and conversation. Well, and are not these things so? If you know in whom you have be­lieved, you need no further witnesses.

But perhaps you doubt, whether that faith whereby we are thus saved, implies such a trust and confidence in God as we describe. "You cannot think faith im­plies assurance; an assurance of the love of God to our souls, of his being now reconciled to us, and having forgiven all our sins." And this we freely confess, that if number of voices is to decide the question, we must give it up at once; for you have on your side, not only some who desire to be Christians in deed, but all nominal Christians in every place, and the Romish church, one and all. Nay, these last are so vehement in your defence, that, in the famed council of Trent, they have decreed, "If any man hold (fiduciam) trust, confidence, or assurance of pardon, to be essential to faith, let him be accursed."

Thus does that council anathematise the church of England; for she is convict hereof, by her own con­fession. The very words in the homily on salvation are, "Even the devils believe, that Christ was born of a virgin; that he wrought all kind of miracles, declaring himself very God; that for our sakes he suf­fered a most painful death, to redeem us from death everlasting. These articles of our faith the devils be­lieve; and so they believe all that was written in the Old and New Testament; and yet, for all this faith, they be but devils. They remain still in their dam­nable estate, lacking the very true Christian faith."

The right and true Christian faith is, not only to believe the holy scriptures and the articles of our faith are true, but also to have a sure trust and confidence to be saved from everlasting damnation through Christ; [Page 291]or (as it is expressed a little after) "a sure trust and confidence which a man hath in God, that by the merits of Christ his sins are forgiven, and he reconciled to the favour of God."

Indeed the Bishop of Rome saith, "If any man hold this, let him be an Anathema Maran-atha." But it is to be hoped Papal anathemas do not move you. You are a member of the church of England. Are you? Then the controversy is at an end. Then hear the church. Faith is a sure trust which a man hath in God, that his sins are forgiven. Or if you are not, whether you hear our church or no, at least, hear the scriptures. Hear believing Job declaring his faith, I know that my Redeemer liveth. Hear Thomas (when having seen he believed) crying out, My Lord and my God. Hear St. Paul clearly describing the nature of his faith, The life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Hear (to mention no more) all the believers who were with Paul when he wrote to the Colossians, bearing witness, We give thanks unto the Father, who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son; in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, c. i. v. 12, 13, 14.

But what need have we of distant witnesses? You have a witness in your own breast. For am I not speaking to one that loves God? How came you then to love him at first? Was it not, because you knew that he loved you? Did you, could you love God at all, till you tasted and saw that he was gracious? that he was merciful to you a sinner? What avails then controversy or strife of words? out of thy own mouth! You own you had no love to God, till you was sensi­ble of his love to you. And whatever expressions any sinner who loves God uses, to denote God's love to him, you will always, upon examination, find, that they directly or indirectly imply forgiveness. Pardon­ing [Page 292]love is still at the root of all. He who was of­fended is now reconciled. The new song which God puts in every mouth, is always to that effect, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away. Behold, God is my sal­vation. I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song: he is also be­come my salvation, Isa. xii. 1, 2.

A confidence then in a pardoning God is essential to true faith. The forgiveness of sins is one of the first of those unseen things, whereof faith is the evidence. And if you are sensible of this, will you quarrel with us concerning an indifferent circumstance of it? Will you think it an important objection that we assert, that this faith is usually given in a moment? First, let me intreat you to read over that authentic account of God's dealings with men, the Acts of the Apostles. In this treatise you will find, how he wrought from the be­ginning on those who received remission of sins by faith. And can you find one of these (except perhaps St. Paul) who did not receive it in a moment? But abun­dance you find of those who did, besides Cornelius and the three thousand. And to this also agrees the expe­rience of those who now receive the heavenly gift. Three or four exceptions only have I found in the course of several years. (Perhaps you yourself may be added to that number, and one or two more whom you have known). But all the rest of those, who from time to time among us have believed in the Lord Jesus, were in a moment brought from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.

And why should it seem a thing incredible to you, who have known the power of God unto salvation (whether he hath wrought this in your soul or no, for there are diversities of operations by the same spirit), that the dead should hear the voice of the Son of God, and in that moment live? Thus he useth to act, to shew, that when he willeth, to do is present with him. [Page 293]Let there be light, said God, and there was light. He spake the word, and it was done. Thus the heavens and the earth were created, and all the hosts of them. And this manner of acting in the present case, highly suits both his power and love. There is therefore no hindrance on God's part; since, as his majesty is, so is his mercy: and whatever hindrance there is on the part of man, when God speaketh, it is not. Only ask then, O sinner, and it shall be given thee, even the faith that brings salvation; and that without any me­rit or good work of thine; for it is not of works, lest any man should boast. No; it is of grace, of grace alone: for unto him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted to him for righteousness.

"But by talking thus you encourage sinners." I do encourage them — to repent; and do not you? Do not you know, how many heap sin upon sin, pure­ly for want of such encouragement? Because they think "they can never be forgiven; there is no place for repentance lest?" Does not your heart also bleed for them? What would you think too dear to part with? What would you not do, what would you not suffer, to bring one such sinner to repentance? Could not your love endure all things for them? Yes — if you be­lieved it would do them good, if you had any hope they would ever be better." Why do you not believe it would do them good? Why have you not a hope that they will be better? Plainly, because you do not love them enough; because you have not that charity, which not only endureth, but at the same time believ­eth and hopeth all things.

You still think we are secretly undermining, if not openly destroying the church. What do you mean by the church? A visible church (as our article defines it) is, a company of faithful (or believing) people: coetus credentium. This is the essence of a church; and the properties thereof are (as they are described in the [Page 294]words that follow) that the pure word of God be preach­ed therein, and the sacraments duly administered. Now then (according to this authentic account) what is the church of England? What is it indeed, but the faith­ful people, the true believers of England? It is true, if these are scattered abroad, they come under another consideration. But when they are visibly joined, by assembling together to hear the pure word of God preached, and to eat of one bread, and drink of one cup, they are then properly the visible church of Eng­land.

It were well if this were a little more considered by those who so vehemently cry out, The church! the church! (as those of old, The temple of the Lord! the temple of the Lord!) not knowing what they speak, nor whereof they affirm. A provincial or national church, according to our article, is, the true believers of that province or nation. If these are dispersed up and down, they are only a part of the invisible church of Christ: but if they are visibly joined by assembling together to hear of his word and partake of his supper, they are then a visible church, such as the church of England, France, or any other.

This being premised, I ask, how do we undermine or destroy the church? the provincial, visible church of England? The article mentions three things as es­sential to a visible church: 1st, Living faith, without which indeed there can be no church at all, neither visible nor invisible; 2dly, Preaching (and consequent­ly hearing) the pure word of God, else that faith would languish and die; and, 3dly, A due administration of the sacraments, the ordinary means whereby God in­creaseth faith. Now come close to the question: in which of these points do we undermine or destroy the church?

Do we shut the door of faith? do we lessen the num­ber of believing people in England? Only remember what faith is, according to our homilies (viz. "a sure [Page 295]trust and confidence in God, that through the merits of Christ my sins are forgiven, and I reconciled to the favour of God,") and we appeal to all mankind, do we destroy this faith, which is the life and soul of the church? Is there, in fact, less of this faith in England than there was before we went forth? I think this is an assertion which the father of lies himself will scarce dare to utter or maintain.

With regard then to this first point, it is undeniable, we neither undermine nor destroy the church. The second thing is, the preaching and hearing the pure word of God. And do we hinder this? Do we hin­der any minister from preaching the pure word of God? If any preach not at all, or not the pure word of God, is the hindrance in us or in themselves? Or, do we lessen the number of those that hear the pure word of God? Are then the hearers thereof (whether read or preached) fewer than they were in times past? Are the usual places of public worship less frequented by means of our preaching? Wheresoever our lot has been cast for any time, are the churches emptier than they were before? Surely none that has any regard left either for truth or modesty, will say, that in this point we are enemies to, or destroyers of, the church.

The third thing requisite (if not to the being, at least) to the well-being of a church, is the due administra­tion of the sacraments, particularly that of the Lord's supper. And are we, in this respect, underminers or destroyers of the church? Do we either by our exam­ple or advice draw men away from the Lord's table? Where we have laboured most, are there the fewest communicants? How does the fact stand in London, Bristol, Newcastle? O that you would no longer shut your eyes against the broad light, which encompasses you on every side!

I believe you are sensible by this time, not only how weak this objection is, but likewise how easy it would be, terribly to retort every branch of it upon most of [Page 296]those that make it; whether we speak of true living faith, of preaching the pure word of God, or of the due administration of the sacraments, both of baptism and the Lord's supper. But I spare you. It sufficeth that our God knoweth, and will make manifest in that day, whether it be by reason of us or you that men ab­hor the offering of the Lord.

Others object, "That we do not observe the laws of the church, and thereby undermine it." What laws? The rubrics or canons? In every parish where I have been curate yet, I have observed the rubrics with a scrupulous exactness, not for wrath, but for consci­ence sake: and this, so far as belongs to an unbene­ficed minister, or to a private member of the church, I do now. I will just mention a few of them, and leave you to consider which of us has observed or does observe them most.

1. Days of fasting or abstinence to be observed:

  • The forty days of Lent,
  • The Ember-days at the four seasons,
  • The three rogation-days,
  • All Fridays in the year, except Christmas day.

2. So many as intend to be partakers of the holy communion, shall signify their names to the curate, at least some time the day before:

And if any of these be an open and notorious evil liver,—the curate shall advertise him, that in any wise he presume not to come to the Lord's table until he hath openly declared himself to have truly repented.

3. Then (after the Nicene creed) the curate shall declare unto the people what holydays or fasting-days are in the week following to be observed.

4. The minister shall first receive the communion in both kinds himself, and then proceed to deliver the same to the bishops, priests, and deacons, in like man­ner, if any be present, and after that, to the people.

5. In cathedral and collegiate churches, and col­leges, where there are many priests and deacons, they [Page 297]shall always receive the communion with the priest, every Sunday at the least.

6. The children to be baptised must be ready at the font, immediately after the last lesson.

7. The curates of every parish shall warn the people, that, without great necessity, they procure not their children to be baptised at home is their houses.

8. The curate of every parish shall diligently, upon Sundays and holydays, after the second lesson at even­ing prayer, openly in the church, instruct and examine so many children as he shall think convenient in some part of the Catechism.

9. Whensoever the Bishop shall give notice for children to be brought unto him for their confirmation, the curate of every parish shall either bring or send in writing, with his hand subscribed thereunto, the names of all such persons within his parish as he shall think fit to be presented to the Bishop.

Now the question is not, Whether these rubrics ought to be observed (you take this for granted in making the objection) but whether in fact they have been observed, by you or me, most? Many can wit­ness, I have observed them punctually, yea, sometimes at the hazard of my life: and as many, I fear, that you have not observed them at all, and that several of them you never pretended to observe. And is it you that are accusing me, for not observing the rubrics of the church? What grimace is this! "O tell it not in Gath! publish it not in the streets of Askelon!"

With regard to the canons, I would in the first place desire you to consider two or three plain questions.

1st, Have you ever read them over?

2dly, How can these be called "the canons of the church of England?" seeing they were never legally established by the church? never regularly confirmed in full convocation?

3dly, By what right am I required to observe such canons as were never legally established?

[Page 298]And then I will join issue with you in one question more, viz. Whether you or I have observed them most?

To instance only a few.

Can. 29. No person shall be admitted godfather or godmother to any child—before the said person hath received the holy communion.

Can. 59. Every parson, vicar, or curate, upon every Sunday and holyday, before evening prayer, shall, for half an hour, or more, examine and instruct the youth, and ignorant persons of his parish.

Can. 64. Every parson, vicar, or curate, shall de­clare to the people every Sunday, whether there be any holydays or fasting-days the week following.

Can. 68. No minister shall refuse or delay to christen any child that is brought to the church to him upon Sundays or holydays to be christened, or to bury any corps that is brought to the church or church-yard.

(N. B. Inability to pay fees does not alter the case).

Can. 75. No ecclesiastical persons shall spend their time idly, by day or by night, playing at dice, cards, or tables.

Now let the clergyman who has observed only these five canons for one year last past, and who has read over all the canons in his congregation; (as the King's ratification straitly enjoins him to do once every year) let him, I say, cast the first stone at us, for not ob­serving the canons (so called) of the church of England.

However we cannot be (it is said) friends to the church, because we do not obey the governors of it, and submit ourselves (as at our ordination we promised to do) to all their godly admonitions and injunctions. I answer, in every individual point of an indifferent nature. We do and will (by the grace of God) obey the governors of the church: but the testifying the gospel of the grace of God, is not a point of an indif­ferent nature. The ministry which we have received of the Lord Jesus, we are at all hazards to fulfil. It is the burthen of the Lord which is laid upon us here; and we are to obey God rather than man. Nor yet do [Page 299]we in any ways violate the promise which each of us made, when it was said unto him, "Take thou au­thority to preach the word of God, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." We then promised to submit (mark the words) to the godly admonitions and injunctions of our ordinary. But we did not, could not promise to obey such injunctions, as we know are contrary to the word of God.

But why then, say some, do ye leave the church? Leave the church! what can you mean? do we leave so much as the church-walls? your own eyes tell you, we do not. Do we leave the ordinances of the church? you daily see and know the contrary. Do we leave the fundamental doctrine of the church, namely, salva­tion by faith? It is our constant theme, in public, in private, in writing, in conversation. Do we leave the practice of the church, the standard whereof are the ten commandments? which are so essentially inwrought in her constitution (as little as you may apprehend it) that whosoever breaks one of the least of these, is no member of the church of England. I believe you do not care to put the cause on this issue. Neither do you mean this, by leaving the church. In truth, I cannot conceive what you mean. I doubt you cannot conceive yourself. You have retailed a sentence from some­body else, which you no more understand than he.

Mr. Wesley then takes a retrospective view of the state of religion before the Methodist doctrines were preached, and the happy change produced thereby, in the follow­ing words:

Before I conclude, I cannot but intreat you who know God, to review the whole matter from the foun­dation. Call to mind what the state of religion was, in our nation, a few years since. In whom did you find the holy tempers that were in Christ? Bowels of mercies, lowliness, meekness, gentleness, contempt of the world, patience, temperance, long-suffering? A burning love to God, rejoicing evermore, and in every [Page 300]thing giving thanks; and a tender love to all mankind, covering, believing, hoping, enduring all things? Per­haps you did not know one such man in the world. But how many, that had all unholy tempers? What vanity and pride, what stubbornness and self will, what anger, fretfulness, discontent, what suspicion and re­sentment, what inordinate affections, what irregular passions, what foolish and hurtful desires might you find in those who were called the best of men? in those who made the strictest profession of religion? and how few did you know who went so far as the profes­sion of religion, who had even the form of godliness? Did you not frequently bewail, wherever your lot was cast, the general want of even outward religion? how few were seen at the public worship of God? how much fewer at the Lord's table? and was even this little flock zealous of good works, careful, as they had time, to do good to all men? On the other hand, did you not with grief observe, outward irreligion in every place? Where could you be for one week, without be­ing an eye or an ear witness, of cursing, swearing, or prophaneness, of sabbath-breaking or drunkenness, of quarrelling or brawling, of revenge or obscenity? Were these things done in a corner? did not gross iniquity of all kinds overspread our land as a flood? yea, and daily increase, in spite of all the opposition which the children of God did or could make against it?

If you had been then told, that the jealous God would soon arise and maintain his own cause; that he would pour down his spirit from on high, and renew the face of the earth; that he would shed abroad his love in the hearts of the outcasts of men, producing all holy and heavenly tempers, expelling anger, and pride, and evil desire, and all unholy and earthly tempers; causing outward religion, the work of faith, the pa­tience of hope, the labour of love, to flourish and abound; and wherever it spread, abolishing outward irreligion, destroying all the works of the devil: if [Page 301]you had been told, that this living knowledge of the Lord would in a short space overspread our land; yea, and daily increase, in spite of all the opposition which the devil and his children did or could make against it: would you not vehemently have desired to see that day, that you might bless God and rejoice therein?

Behold the day of the Lord is come. He is again visiting and redeeming his people. Having eyes, see ye not? having ears, do ye not hear? neither under­stand with your hearts? At this hour the Lord is roll­ing away our reproach. Already his standard is set up. His spirit is poured forth on the outcasts of men, and his love shed abroad in their hearts. Love of all mankind, meekness, gentleness, humbleness of mind, holy and heavenly affections, do take place of hate, anger, pride, revenge, and vile or vain affections. Hence wherever the power of the Lord spreads, springs outward religion in all its forms. The houses of God are filled; the table of the Lord is thronged on every side: and those who thus shew their love of God, shew they love their neighbour also, by being careful to maintain good works, by doing all manner of good (as they have time) to all men. They are likewise careful to abstain from all evil. Cursing, sabbath-breaking, drunkenness, with all other (however fashi­onable) works of the devil, are not once named among them. All this is plain, demonstrable fact. For this also is not done in a corner. Now, do you acknow­ledge the day of your visitation? do you bless God and rejoice therein?

What hinders? Is it this, that men say all manner of evil of those whom God is pleased to use as instru­ments in his works? O ye fools, did ye suppose the devil was dead? or that he would not fight for his kingdom? and what weapons shall he fight with if not with lies? Is he not a liar, and the father of it? Suffer ye then thus far. Let the devil and his children say all manner of evil of us; and let them go on deceiving [Page 302]each other, and being deceived: but ye need not be deceived also. Or if you are, if you will believe all they say: be it so, that we are weak, silly, wicked men; without sense, without learning, without even a desire or design of doing good: yet I insist upon the fact. Christ is preached, and sinners are converted to God. This none but a madman can deny. We are ready to prove it by a cloud of witnesses. Neither therefore can the inference be denied, that God is now visiting his people. O that all men may know in this their day, the things that make for their peace!

Mr. Wesley, in his Farther Appeal, thus answers the charge of enthusiasm brought against the Me­thodists:

I assert, that till a man receives the Holy Ghost, he is without God in the world; that he cannot know the things of God, unless God reveal them unto him by his Spirit: no, nor have even one holy or heavenly temper, without the inspiration of the Holy One." Now should one who is conscious to himself, that he has experienced none of these things, attempt to con­fute these propositions, either from scripture or anti­quity, it might prove a difficult task. What then shall he do? Why, cry out, "Enthusiasm! Enthu­siasm!" and the work is done.

But what does he mean by enthusiasm? Perhaps no­thing at all: few have any distinct idea of its mean­ing. Perhaps, "something very bad," or, "some­thing I never experienced and do not understand." Shall I tell you then, what that "terrible something" is? I believe, thinking men mean by enthusiasm, a sort of religious madness; a false imagination of being inspired by God; and by an Enthusiast, one that fan­cies himself under the influence of the Holy Ghost, when in fact he is not.

Let him prove me guilty of this, who can. I will tell you once more the whole of my belief on these heads: [Page 303]and if any man will shew me (by arguments, not hard names) what is wrong, I will thank God and him.

Every good gift is from God, and is given to man by the Holy Ghost. By nature there is in us no good thing; and there can be none, but so far as it is wrought in us by that good spirit. Have we any true knowledge of what is good? This is not the result of our natural understanding. The natural man discerneth not the things of the spirit of God: so that we never can discern them, until God reveals them unto us by his spirit: reveals, that is, unveils, uncovers; gives us to know what we did not know before. Have we love? It is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. He inspires, breathes, in­fuses into our soul, what of ourselves we could not have. Does our spirit rejoice in God our Saviour? It is joy in (or by) the Holy Ghost. Have we true in­ward peace? It is the peace of God, wrought in us by the same spirit. Faith, peace, joy, love, are all his fruits: and, as we are figuratively said to see the light of faith, so by a like figure of speech we are said to feel this peace and joy and love: that is, we have an inward experience of them, which we cannot find any fitter word to express.

The reasons why in speaking of these things I use those terms (inspiration particularly) are, 1. Because they are scriptural. 2. Because they are used by our church. 3. Because I know none better. The word "Influence of the Holy Ghost," which I suppose you use, is both a far stronger and a less natural term than inspiration. It is far stronger, even as far as "flow­ing into the soul" is a stronger expression than "breath­ing upon it:" and less natural; as breathing bears a near relation to spirit; to which flowing in has only a dis­tant relation.

"But you thought I had meant immediate inspira­tion." So I do, or I mean nothing at all. Nor in­deed such inspiration as is sine mediis. But all inspira­tion, [Page 304]tho' by means, is immediate. Suppose, for in­stance, you are employed in private prayer, and God pours his love into your heart. God then acts imme­diately on your soul: and the love of him which you then experience, is as immediately breathed into you by the Holy Ghost, as if you had lived 1700 years ago. Change the term. Say, God then assists you to love him?" Well, and is not this immediate assistance? Say, "His spirit concurs with yours." You gain no ground. It is immediate concurrence or none at all. God a spirit acts upon your spirit. Make it out any otherwise if you can.

I cannot conceive how that harmless word imme­diate came to be such a bugbear in the world: "Why, I thought you meant such inspiration as the Apostles had: and such a receiving the Holy Ghost as that was at the day of Pentecost." I do, in part: indeed I do not mean, that Christians now receive the Holy Ghost in order to work miracles; but they do doubtless now receive, yea, are filled with the Holy Ghost, in order to be filled with the fruits of that blessed spirit. And he inspires into all true believers now, a degree of the same peace and joy and love, which the Apostles felt in themselves on that day, when they were first filled with the Holy Ghost.

I have now considered the most material objections I know, which have been lately made against the great doctrines I teach. I have produced, so far as in me lay, the strength of those objections, and then answered them, I hope, in the spirit of meekness. And now I trust it appears, that these doctrines are no other than the doctrines of Jesus Christ: that they are all evident­ly contained in the word of God, by which alone I de­sire to stand or fall; and that they are fundamentally the same with the doctrines of the church of England, of which I do, and ever did profess myself a member.

By these extracts my readers will see the principles of these honest (if mistaken) people, and will come to [Page 305]such conclusion as his reason and understanding will afford him. It will not be expected of me to give my opinion; it is the business of an historian to relate facts, and not to comment upon them, particularly in cases where religion is the concern, and in which, I think, every man has a natural right to follow the determina­tions of his own judgment: but before I give a brief history of their rise, &c. after this recapitulation of their principles and doctrines, I shall set before my readers what they say in answer to one or two of the most popular objections or calumnies raised against them; the first of which is, "That they create divi­sions in private families." Their able Apologist * thus refutes it. "Accidentally, we do. For instance, suppose an entire family to have the form but not the power of godliness, or to have neither the form nor the power; in either case, they may in some sort agree together. But suppose, when these hear the plain word of God, one or two of them are convinced, "This is the truth; and I have been all this time in the broad way that leadeth to destruction:" these then will begin to mourn after God, while the rest remain as they were. Will they not therefore of consequence divide, and form themselves into separate parties? Must it not be so, in the very nature of things? and how exactly does this agree with the words of our Lord? "Suppose ye that I came to send peace upon earth? I tell you nay: but rather division. For from henceforth there shall be five divided in one house, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father: the mother against her daughter, and the daughter against the mother: the mother-in-law against the daughter­in-law, and the daughter-in-law against the mother-in­law. (Luke xii. 51, 52, 53.) And the foes of a man, shall be they of his own houshold. (Matt. x. 36.)

[Page 306]Thus it was from the very beginning. For is it to be supposed, that a Heathen parent would long endure a Christian child? or that a Heathen husband would agree with a Christian wife? unless either the believing wife could gain her husband; or the unbelieving hus­band prevailed on the wife to renounce her way of wor­shipping God: at least, unless she would obey him in going no more to those societies or conventicles, as they termed the Christian assemblies.

Do you think now, I have an eye to your case? Doubtless I have; for I do not fight as one that beateth the air. Why have not I a right to hinder my own wife or child from going to a conventicle? and is it not the duty of wives to obey their husbands? and of children to obey their parents?" Only set the case se­venteen hundred years back, and your own conscience gives you the answer. What would St. Paul have said to one whose husband forbad her, to follow this way any more? What direction would our Saviour have given to him, whose father enjoined him, not to hear the gospel? His words are extant still, "He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me. And he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me." Matt. x. 37, 38. Nay more, "If any man cometh to me, and hateth not (in comparison of me) his father and mother, and wife and children, yea and his own life, he cannot be my dis­ciple." Luke xiv. 26.

O, but this is not a parallel case; for they were Heathens; but I am a Christian." A Christian! Are you so? Do you understand the word? Do you know what a Christian is? If you are a Christian, you have the mind that was in Christ; and you so walk as he also walked. You are holy, as he is holy both in heart and in all manner of conversation. Have you then the mind that was in Christ? and do you walk as Christ walked? are you inwardly and outwardly holy? I sear, not even outwardly. No; you live in known [Page 307]sin. Alas! how then are you a Christian? What a railer, a Christian? a common swearer, a Christian? a sabbath-breaker, a Christian? a drunkard or whore­monger, a Christian? Thou art a Heathen barefaced? the wrath of God is on thy head, and the curse of God upon thy back. Thy damnation slumbereth not. By reason of such Christians it is that the holy name of Christ is blasphemed. Such as thou they are, that cause the very savages in the Indian woods to cry out, "Christian much drunk, Christian beat men, Christian tell lies, Devil-Christian! me no Christian."

It may be observed above, that the Methodists do not separate from the church, nor * dispute about the externals or circumstantials of religion; they approve of and adhere to them, all that they learned when they were children, in their Catechism and Common Prayer book. They were born and bred up in the church of England, and desire to die therein. They always were, and now are (they say) zealous for the church; only not with a blind zeal. They do not, indeed, lay the main stress of their religion, on any opinions, right or wrong; neither do they ever begin, or willingly join, in any dispute concerning them. The weight of all religion, they apprehend, rests on holiness of heart and life; and, consequently, wherever they come, they press this with all their might. How wide then is their case from that of the Protestant Dissenters in general? They avowedly separated from the church: the Me­thodists utterly disavow any such design. They severely, and almost continually, inveighed against the doctrine and discipline of the church they left: these approve both the doctrines and discipline of our church, and inveigh only against ungodliness and unrighteousness. They spent great part of their time and strength in con­tending about externals and circumstantials: the Me­thodists agree with the church of England in both; so [Page 308]that having no time to spend in such vain contention, they have their desire in spending and being spent, in promoting plain practical religion. "I am sick, says Mr. Wesley, of opinions: I am weary to bear them: my soul loaths this frothy food. Give me solid and substantial religion: give me an humble, gentle lover of God and man: a man full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy: a man, lay­ing himself out in the work of faith, the patience of hope, the labour of love. Let my soul be with these Christians, wheresoever they are, and whatsoever opi­nion they are of. Whosoever thus doth the will of my Father which is heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."

With regard to the charges of making men idle, and thereby beggaring their families, and of driving men out of their senses, Mr. Wesley thus answers: "This objection having been continually urged for some years, I will trace it from the foundation. Two or three years after my return from America, one Captain Robert Williams of Bristol made affidavit be­fore the (then) Mayor of the city, that "it was a com­mon report in Georgia, Mr. Wesley took people off from their work, and made them idle, by preaching so much."

The fact stood thus: At my first coming to Savan­nah, the generality of the people rose at seven or eight in the morning; and that part of them who were accustomed to work, usually worked till six in the evening. A few of them sometimes worked till seven; which is the time of sun-set there at Mid-summer.

I immediately began reading prayers and expound­ing the second lesson, both in the morning and even­ing. The morning service began at five, and ended at, or before six: the evening-service began at seven. Now supposing all the grown persons in the town had been present every morning and evening, would this have [Page 309]made them idle? Would they hereby have had less, or considerably more time for working? The same rule I follow now, both at London, Bristol, and Newcastle­upon-Tyne: concluding the service at every place, winter and summer, before six in the morning, and not ordinarily beginning to preach till near seven in the evening. Now do you, who make this objection, work longer, throughout the year, than from six to six? Do you desire that the generality of people should? Or, can you count them idle, that work so long? Some few are indeed accustomed to work longer. These I advise not to come on week-days: and it is apparent that they take this advice, unless on some rare and extraordinary occasion. But I hope, none of you who turn them out of their employment, have the confidence to talk of my making them idle! Do you (as the homely phrase is) cry Wh— first? I admire your cunning, but not your modesty. So far am I from either causing or encouraging idleness, that an idle person, known to be such, is not suffered to re­main in any of our societies; we drive him out, as we would a thief or a murderer. "To shew all possible diligence," (as well as frugality) is one of our standing rules: and one, concerning the observance of which, we continually make the strictest inquiry.

"But you drive them out of their senses. You make them run mad." Nay, then they are idle with a vengeance. This objection therefore being of the ut­most importance, deserves our deepest consideration.

And, first, I grant, it is my earnest desire to drive all the world into what you probably call madness: (I mean inward religion) to make them just as mad as Paul was when he was so accounted by Festus. I grant, secondly, it is my endeavour to drive all I can into what you may term another species of madness, which is usually preparatory to this, and which I term repentance or conviction.

[Page 310]Now, what if your wife, or daughter, or acquain­taince, after hearing one of these field-preachers, should come and tell you, that they saw damnation before them, and beheld with the eye of their mind the horror of hell? What if they should tremble and quake, and be so taken up, partly with sorrow and heaviness, partly with an earnest desire to be delivered from this danger of hell and damnation, as to weep, to lament, to mourn, and both with words and behaviour to shew themselves weary of life? Would you scruple to say, that they were stark mad? that these fellows had driven them out of their senses? and that whatever writer it was, that talked at this rate, he was fitter for Bed­lam than any other place?

You have overshot yourself now to some purpose. These are the very words of our own church. You may read them, if you are so inclined, in the first part of the homily on fasting. And, consequently, what you have peremptorily determined to be mere lunacy and distraction, is that repentance unto life, which, in the judgment both of the church and of St. Paul, is never to be repented of.

I grant, thirdly, that extraordinary circumstances have attended this conviction in some instances. A particular account of these I have frequently given. While the word of God was preached, some persons have dropped down as dead; some have been, as it were, in strong convulsions; some roared aloud, tho' not with an articulate voice; and others spoke the anguish of their souls.

This, I suppose, you believe to be perfect madness: but it is easily accounted for, either on principles of reason or scripture.

First, on principles of reason. For how easy is it to suppose, that a strong, lively, and sudden apprehension of the heinousness of sin, the wrath of God, and the bitter pains of eternal death, should affect the body as well as the soul, during the present laws of vital union; [Page 311]should interrupt or disturb the ordinary circulations, and put nature out of its course? Yea, we may questi­on, whether while this union subsists, it be possible for the mind to be affected, in so violent a degree, with­out some or other of those bodily symptoms following?

It is likewise easy to account for these things, on principles of scripture. For when we take a view of them in this light, we are to add to the consideration of natural causes, the agency of those spirits who still excel in natural strength, and as far as they have leave from God, will not fail to torment whom they cannot destroy; to tear those that are coming to Christ. It is also remarkable, that there is plain scripture-prece­dent of every symptom which has lately appeared. So that we cannot allow even the conviction attended with these to be madness, without giving up both reason and scripture.

I grant, fourthly, that touches of extravagance, bor­dering on madness, may sometimes attend severe con­viction. And this also is easy to be accounted for, by the present laws of the animal oeconomy. For we know, fear or grief, from a temporary cause, may oc­casion a fever, and thereby a delirium.

It is not strange then that some, while under strong impressions of grief or fear, from a sense of the wrath of God, should for a season forget almost all things else, and scarce be able to answer a common question: that some should fancy they see the flames of hell, or the devil and his angels around them: or that others, for a space, should be afraid, like Cain, whosoever meeteth me will slay me. All these, and whatever less common effects may sometimes accompany this convic­tion, are easily known from the natural distemper of madness, were it only by this one circumstance, that whenever the person convinced tastes the pardoning love of God, they all vanish away in a moment.

Lastly, I have seen one instance (I pray God I may see no more such!) of real lasting madness.

[Page 312]Two or three years since, I took one with me to Bristol, who was under deep convictions, but of as sound an understanding in all respects as ever he had been in his life. I went a short journey, and when I came to Bristol again, found him really distracted. I inquired particularly, at what time and place, and in what manner this disorder began? And I believe there are at least threescore witnesses alive, and ready to testi­fy what follows. When I went from Bristol, he con­tracted an acquaintance with some persons, who were not of the same judgment with me. He was soon pre­judiced against me. Quickly after, when our society were met together in Kingswood-House, he began a vehement invective both against my person and doc­trines. In the midst of this, he was struck raving mad; and so he continued till his friends put him into Bedlam, and, probably, laid his madness too to my charge.

I fear there may also be some instances of real mad­ness, proceeding from a different cause.

Suppose, for instance, a person hearing me is strong­ly convinced, that a liar cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven: he comes home, and relates this to his pa­rents or friends, and appears to be very uneasy. These good Christians are disturbed at this, and afraid he is running mad too. They are resolved he shall never hear any of those fellows more, and keep to it in spite of all his intreaties. They will not suffer him, when at home, to be alone, for fear he should read or pray; and perhaps in a while they will constrain him, at least by repeated importunities, to do again the very thing for which he was convinced the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience.

What is the event of this? Sometimes the spirit of God is quenched, and departs from him. Now you have carried the point. The man is as easy as ever, and sins on without any remorse. But in other instan­ces, where those convictions sink deep, and the arrows [Page 313]of the Almighty stick fast in the soul, you will drive that person into real settled madness, before you can quench the spirit of God. I am afraid there have been several instances of this. You have forced the man's conscience, till he is stark-mad: but then, pray do not impute that madness to me. Had you left him to my direction, or rather to the direction of the Spirit of God, he would have been filled with love and a found mind: but you have taken the matter out of God's hand. And now you have brought it to a fair conclusion!

How frequent this case may be, I know not. But doubtless most of those who make this objection, of our driving men mad, have never met with such an instance in their lives. The common cry is occasion­ed, either by those who are convinced of sin, or those who are inwardly converted to God; mere madness both (as was observed before) to those who are with­out God in the world. Yet I do not deny but you may have seen one in Bedlam who said he had follow­ed me. But observe, a madman's saying this is no proof of the fact; nay, and if he really had, it should be farther considered, that his being in Bedlam is no sure proof of his being mad. Witness the well-known case of Mr. Periam; and I doubt more such are to be found. Yea, it is well if some have not been sent thi­ther, for no other reason but because they followed me; their kind relations either concluding, that they must be distracted before they could do this, or perhaps ho­ping, that Bedlam would make them mad, if it did not find them so.

And it must be owned, a confinement of such a sort is as fit to cause as to cure distraction; for what scene of distress is to be compared to it? To be separated at once from all who are near and dear to you; to be cut off from all reasonable conversation, to be secluded from all business, from all reading, from every innocent en­tertainment of the mind, which is left to prey wholly upon itself, and day and night to pore over your mis­fortunes; [Page 314]fortunes; to be shut up day by day in a gloomy cell, with only the walls to employ your heavy eyes, in the midst either of melancholy silence, or horrid cries, groans, and laughter intermixed; to be forced by the main strength of those "who laugh at human nature and compassion;" to take drenches of nauseous, per­haps torturing medicines, which you know you have no need of now, but know not how soon you may, possibly by the operation of these very drugs on a weak or tender constitution. Here is distress! It is an asto­nishing thing, a signal proof of the power of God, if any creature who has his senses when that confinement begins, does not lose them before it is at an end!

How must it heighten the distress, if such a poor wretch, being deeply convinced of sin, and growing worse and worse (as he probably will, seeing there is no medicine here for his sickness, no such physician as his case requires), be soon placed among the incura­bles! Can imagination itself paint such a hell upon earth? where even "hope never comes, that comes to all!"—For what remedy? If a man of sense and huma­nity should happen to visit that house of woe, would he give the hearing to a madman's tale? or if he did, would he credit it? "Do we not know, might he say, how well any of these will talk in their lucid intervals?" So that a thousand to one he would concern himself no more about it, but leave the weary to wait for rest in the grave!"

The first public appearance of the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield, of Pembroke college, Oxford, who was an ordained clergyman of the church of England, about London, was in the year 1739, when he and his as­sociates preached up and down in the fields to vast mul­titudes of people, with an energy that struck every one, particularly in Moorfields, on Kennington Com­mon, Blackheath, &c. and for some time they were admitted also into the churches to declare their pecu­liar opinions, till the indolent clergy were roused by [Page 315]their extraordinary popularity; and the church-wardens fearing damages to their pews, &c. &c. they were ge­nerally refused the use of the public pulpits. The un­common fervour they expressed, a simple yet persua­sive eloquence, and the mortified and laborious life they led, procured them not only most numerous au­ditors, but their doctrines such a multitude of follow­ers, as astonished the guardians of our church: but whilst they themselves indolently persisted in their old rout of stated preaching, Mr. Whitefield, particularly, with a rapid progress, took from them thousands of their hearers, particularly of the lower sort, and brought many more to a sense and abhorrence of their vices, and to attend his preaching, who, perhaps, had ne­ver been at any kind of worship before. Whilst the clergy raved both in the pulpit and in print against this novel doctrine, as they stiled it (and with what justice may be seen above) this itinerant preacher, despising all danger and fatigue, not only formed socie­ties in England of his followers, but traversing, time after time, immense tracks of land and water, prose­lyted multitudes in all parts of North America, and extended his cares even to the inhabitants of the infant colony of Georgia, where that wise and excellent go­vernor, Mr. Oglethorpe, well knowing that an attach­ment to religious principles, and a life of virtue and self denial, were spurs to industry and oeconomy, re­ceived him with open arms, and gave him all manner of assistance. Here he at length erected an Orphan­house for poor and deserted children; an institution that bid fair to be of extraordinary benefit in that country; the most authentic account of which establishment, by an impartial eye-witness, and published in justice to the Methodists, may be seen in the London Magazine for the year 1745, page 603. In these Christian labours, perilous voyages, and painful journies through the wil­derness of America, he was followed by Mess. John and Charles Wesley, his faithful and able co-adjutors, [Page 316]who with a zeal and constancy second only to those which actuated the primitive Apostles and disciples of our Saviour, thought no hardships insurmountable, no dangers too terrifying in prosecuting the work they sup­posed themselves appointed to *. In London, parti­cularly, [Page 317]a great change was soon perceived in the ma­jority of the common people; an unusual seriousness [Page 318]appeared in their countenances, they refrained from prophane cursing and swearing, and the alehouses were deprived of their usual inebriated guests. Meantime the more abandoned of the canaille, whom no precepts could reach, no future denunciations of punishment de­ter from wickedness, spared not reproaches, and even frequently proceeded to open insults and abuses of the preachers, who were as warmly defended by their par­tisans, so as often to occasion tumults and riots, that were mutually charged by the Methodists and their op­posers on each other, and kept the public for some years in perpetual dispute and agitation. But, at length, now increased to a prodigious number, they [Page 319]began to form societies apart, for worship in their own way, and to appoint stewards and other officers for the better regulation and government of those societies; the principal of which, in London, are the Tabernacle and Foundery near Moorfields, the Tabernacle in Tot­tenham Court road, with many others, in the city and suburbs. Their founders have increased their num­bers in Scotland and Ireland also, where they pursued their mission with the utmost success; and in many places in England, where religion was seldom heard of, they have produced order, humanity, civility, and a serious regard to divine things, particularly amongst the colliers of Kingswood, and the fells about New­castle. If the reader desires to enter into particulars with regard to their history, he would do well to per­use the several Journals of Mess. Whitefield and Wes­ley, as I only propose here a general view of their rise, &c. Indeed it is a peculiar circumstance, that no sect, in so few years, ever became so numerous, though they have met with mild treatment from the govern­ment, and have endured no persecution for their opi­nions, which has generally helped to increase, rather than to deter the followers of a new system of doc­trines. With regard to the common people, or the mob, which is ever of the national religion, so far as drinking, swearing, and rioting for it extends, the ap­pearance of the founders of Methodism, in the usual vestments of clergymen, captivated them, and prevent­ed many disorders that would have arisen, had persons not distinguished by that reverend garb endeavoured to exhort and instruct them; and yet, according to Mr. Wesley's account *, he himself was, once particularly, in great danger of losing his life; and the Methodists suffered by the spoils and ravages of desperate and wic­ked mobs, in Staffordshire, in the year 1743, to the amount of 504l. 17s. at the lowest computation, owing [Page 320]to a shameful connivance, perhaps under-hand encou­ragement, of those who should have restrained or pu­nished them for their diabolical excesses. In fact, too many of their opposers merit the character Mr. Wesley has given them. " * I have heard some affirm (says he) that the most bitter enemies to the present work of God were Pharisees. They meant men who had the form of godliness, but denied the power of it. But I cannot say so. The sharpest adversaries thereof (unless we might except a few honourable men, whom I may be excused from naming) were the scum of Corn­wall, the rabble of Bilston and Darleston, the wild beasts of Walsal, and the turnkeys of Newgate."

In fine, the very enemies of these people will scarce deny that they have greatly contributed to reform and establish order and civility amongst the common peo­ple; that they are (I mean the real Methodists; for Presbyterians, Quakers, and every other sect, have been personated as well as they, for interested or vil­lainous purposes) are a peaceable, upright, and praise­worthy set of people; that they cannot upon their prin­ciples distress; but must add strength to the hands of government, and that their rise and amazing progress has roused the established clergy from that lethargy into which they had fallen, and invigorated them to be more attendant on the charge to which they were so so­lemnly appointed. Their favourite doctrines have found their way also into the pulpits of our churches, and many excellent preachers, who do not leave the church on that account, inforce them at this day from their pulpits. The great spread of Methodism has cer­tainly contributed to set people in general upon think­ing of matters of the greatest moment to them; and I will venture to assert, from my own observation, that there has been such an appearance of seriousness, and such a concern for religion, visible in all ranks of peo­ple, [Page 321]since it has so much prevailed, as cannot be re­membered in any such period of time since the re­storation.

I shall conclude this head with a brief account of their manner of worship, church-discipline, &c.

With regard to their manner of worship, it is like that of the church of England, save that they allow themselves to continue long in extempore prayer, and that they sing such hymns as are approved by the so­ciety. Indeed they allow of lay-preachers, or suffer un­learned men to preach or exhort, in their places of wor­ship. "I am bold to affirm (says Mr. Wesley) that these unlettered men have help from God for that great work, the saving souls from death; seeing he hath enabled, and doth enable them still, to turn many to righteous­ness. Thus hath he destroyed the wisdom of the wise, and brought to nought the understanding of the pru­dent. When they imagined they had effectually shut the door, and blocked up every passage, whereby any help could come to two or three preachers, weak in body as well as soul; who they might reasonably believe would, humanly speaking, wear themselves out in a short time: when they had gained their point, by secu­ring (as they supposed) all the men of learning in the nation, He that sitteth in heaven laughed them to scorn, and came upon them by a way they thought not of. Out of the stones he raised up those who should beget children to Abraham. We had no more foresight of this than you. Nay, we had the deepest prejudices against it, until we could not but own, that God gave wisdom from above to these unlearned and ignorant men; so that the work of the Lord prospered in their hand, and sinners were daily converted to God.

Indeed in the one thing which they profess to know, they are not ignorant men. I trust there is not one of them who is not able to go thro' such an examination, in substantial, practical, experimental divinity, as few of our candidates for holy orders, even in the univer­sity [Page 322](I speak it with sorrow and shame, and in tender love) are able to do."

There have been some differences amongst the lead­ers of this people, particularly between Mr. Whitefield and Mr. Wesley, relative to the doctrine of reproba­tion; but they agree in fundamentals: in smaller points, each thinks and lets think, and Mr. Wesley says he reverences Mr. Whitefield, both as a child of God, and a true minister of Jesus Christ. I could wish all religious disputes had been managed with e­qual candour.

As to the discipline of the Methodists, I cannot give a better account of it, than is contained in a small tract, intitled, The Nature, Design, and general Rules, of the united Societies in London, Bristol, Kingswood, and Newcastle upon Tyne, 7th edit. 1762, which I shall therefore lay before my readers.

"1. In the latter end of the year 1739, eight or ten persons came to me in London, who appeared to be deeply convinced of sin, and earnestly groaning for redemption. They desired (as did two or three more the next day) that I would spend some time with them in prayer, and advise them how to flee from the wrath to come, which they saw continually hanging over their heads. That we might have more time for this great work, I appointed a day when they might all come together, which from thenceforward they did every week, namely, on Thursday, in the evening. To these, and as many more as desired to join with them (for their number increased daily) I gave those advices from time to time which I judged most need­ful for them; and we always concluded our meeting with prayer suited to their several necessities.

2. This was the rise of the UNITED SOCIETY, first in London, and then in other places. Such a society is no other than "a company of men having the form and seeking the power of godliness, united in order to pray together, to receive the word of exhortation, and [Page 323]to watch over one another in love, that they may help each other to work out their salvation."

3. That it may the more easily be discerned, whe­ther they are indeed working out their salvation, each society is divided into smaller companies, called classes, according to their respective places of abode. There are about twelve persons in every class, one of whom is stiled the leader. It is his business, 1. To see each person in his class, once a-week at the least, in order to inquire how their souls prosper; to advise, reprove, comfort, or exhort, as occasion may require; to re­ceive what they are willing to give toward the relief of the poor. 2. To meet the minister and the stewards of the society once a-week, in order to inform the mi­nister of any that are sick, or of any that walk disor­derly, and will not be reproved; to pay to the stewards what they have received of their several classes in the week preceding, and to shew their account of what each person has contributed.

4. There is one only condition previously required in those who desire admittance into these societies, "a desire to flee from the wrath to come, to be saved from their sins." But wherever this is really fixed in the soul, it will be shewn by its fruits. It is therefore ex­pected of all who continue therein, that they should continue to evidence their desire of salvation.

First, By doing no harm, by avoiding evil in every kind, especially that which is most generally practised: such is, the taking the name of God in vain; the pro­faning the day of the Lord, either by doing ordinary work thereon, or by buying or selling; drunkenness, buying or selling spirituous liquors, or drinking them (unless in cases of extreme necessity); fighting, quar­relling, brawling; brother going to law with brother; returning evil for evil, or railing for railing; the using many words in buying or selling; the buying or selling uncustomed goods; the giving or taking things on usury, i. e. unlawful interest; uncharitable or unpro­fitable [Page 322] [...] [Page 323] [...] [Page 324]conversation, particularly speaking evil of ma­gistrates or of ministers; doing to others as we would not they should do unto us; doing what we know is not for the glory of God, as the putting on of gold and costly apparel; the taking such diversions as can­not be used in the name of the Lord Jesus; the sing­ing those songs, or reading those books, which do not tend to the knowledge or love of God; foftness, and needless self-indulgence; laying up treasures upon earth; borrowing without a probability of paying, or taking up goods without a probability of paying for them.

5. It is expected of all who continue in these socie­ties, that they should continue to evidence their desire of salvation,

Secondly, By doing good, by being in every kind mer­ciful after their power; as they have opportunity, do­ing good of every possible sort, and as far as is possible, to all men: to their bodies, of the ability which God giveth, by giving food to the hungry, by cloathing the naked, by visiting or helping them that are sick, or in prison: to their souls, by instructing, reproving, or exhorting all we have any intercourse with; tram­pling under foot that enthusiastic doctrine of devils, that "we are not to do good, unless our heart be free to it:" by doing good especially to them that are of the household of faith, or groaning so to be; employ­ing them preferably to others, buying one of another, helping each other in business; and so much the more, because the world will love its own, and them only: by all possible diligence and frugality, that the gospel be not blamed: by running with patience the race that is set before them, denying themselves, and taking up their cross daily; submitting to bear the reproach of Christ, to be as the filth and off-scouring of the world; and looking that men should say all manner of evil of them falsely, for their Lord's sake.

[Page 325]6. It is expected of all who desire to continue in these societies, that they should continue to evidence their desire of salvation,

Thirdly, By attending upon all the ordinances of God: such are, the public worship of God; the ministry of the word, either read or expounded; the supper of the Lord; family and private prayer; searching the scriptures, and fasting or abstinence.

7. These are the general rules of our societies; all which we are taught of God to observe, even in his written word, the only rule, and the sufficient rule both of our faith and practice; and all these we know his Spirit writes on every truly awakened heart. If there be any among us who observe them not, who habitually break any one of them, let it be made known unto them who watch over that soul, as they that must give an account. We will admonish him of the error of his ways; we will bear with him for a season: but then if he repent not, he hath no more place among us. We have delivered our own souls.


The Methodists have in some places, as in Totten­ham-Court road, built alms-houses for their more destitute poor; they have also, at times, raised consi­derable sums for the relief of foreign Protestants, and their works of love during the late war will ever be remembered to their honour. I need not remind my reader, that Mr. Whitefield has lately received the thanks of the legislature at Boston in New England, for the bountiful collection made by him towards the relief of the sufferers by the late fire in that city.

I shall now conclude my history of the Methodists with another quotation from Mr. Wesley, in answer to the current report of his receiving great emoluments from his present situation, as director of the Metho­dists.

[Page 326]"But perhaps you have heard, that "we in truth regard no church at all; that gain is the true spring of all our actions; that I, in particular, am well paid for my work, having thirteen hundred pounds a year (as a Reverend author accurately computes it) at the Foundery alone, over and above what I receive from Bristol, Kingswood, Newcastle, and other places; and that whoever survives me will see I have made a good use of my time, for I shall not die a beggar."

I freely own this is one of the best devised objections which has ever yet been made; because it not only puts us upon proving a negative (which is seldom an easy task) but also one of such a kind as scarce admits of any demonstrative proof at all. But for such proof as the nature of the thing allows, I appeal to my man­ner of life which hath been from the beginning. Ye who have seen it (and not with a friendly eye) for these twelve or fourteen years last past, or for any part of that time, have ye ever seen any thing like the love of gain therein? Did I not continually remember the words of the Lord Jesus, "It is more blessed to give than to receive?" Ye of Oxford, do ye not know these things are so? What gain did I seek among you? Of whom did I take any thing? From whom did I co­vet silver, or gold, or apparel? To whom did I deny any thing which I had, even to the hour that I depart­ed from you? Ye of Epworth and Wroote, among whom I ministered for (nearly) the space of three years, what gain did I seek among you? or of whom did I take or cover any thing? Ye of Savannah and Fre­derica, among whom God afterwards proved me, and shewed me what was in my heart, what gain did I seek among you? Of whom did I take any thing? or whose food or apparel did I covet (for silver or gold had ye none, no more than I myself for many months) even when I was in hunger and nakedness? Ye your­selves, and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, know that I lie not.

[Page 327]"But (it is said) things are fairly altered now. Now I cannot complain of wanting any thing; having the yearly income of a Bishop of London, over and above what I gain at other places." At what other places, my friend? inform yourself a little better, and you will find, that both at Newcastle, Bristol, and Kings­wood (the only places, beside London, where any col­lection at all is made) the money collected is both re­ceived and expended by the stewards of those several societies, and never comes into my hands at all, neither first nor last. And you, or any who desire it, shall read over the accounts kept by any of these stewards, and see with your own eyes, that by all these societies I gain just as much as you do.

The case in London stands thus. In November 1739, two Gentlemen, then unknown to me (Mr. Ball and Mr. Watkins) came and desired me once and again, to preach in a place called the Foundery near Moorfields. With much reluctance I at length complied. I was soon after pressed to take that place into my own hands. Those who were most earnest therein, lent me the pur­chase-money, which was 115l. Mr. Watkins and Mr. Ball then delivered me the names of several subscri­bers, who offered to pay, some four, or six, some ten shillings a year towards the re-payment of the purchase­money, and the putting the buildings into repair. This amounted one year to near 200l. the second to a­bout 140, and so the last.

The united society begun a little after, whose weekly contribution (chiefly for the poor) is received and expended by the stewards, and comes not into my hands at all. But there is also a quarterly subscription of many of the society, which is nearly equal to that above-mentioned.

The uses to which these subscriptions have been hitherto applied, are, 1st, The payment of that 115l. 2dly, The repairing (I might almost say rebuilding) [Page 328]that vast, uncouth heap of ruins at the Foundery; 3dly, The building galleries both for men and women; 4thly, The enlarging the society-room to near thrice its first bigness. All taxes and occasional expences are likewise defrayed out of this fund. And it has been hitherto so far from yielding any overplus, that it has never sufficed for these purposes yet. So far from it, that I am still in debt, on these accounts, near 300l. so much have I hitherto gained by preaching the gos­pel! besides a debt of 150l. still remaining on account of the schools built at Bristol; and another of above 200l. on account of that now building at Newcastle. I desire any reasonable man would now sit down and lay these things together, and let him see, whether, al­lowing me a grain of common sense (if not of com­mon honesty) he can possibly conceive, that a view of gain would induce me to act in this manner.

You can never reconcile it with any degree of com­mon sense, that a man who wants nothing, who has already all the necessaries, all the conveniencies, nay, and many of the superfluities of life, and these not only independent on any one, but less liable to contingen­cies than even a gentleman's freehold estate, that such an one should calmly and deliberately throw up his case, most of his friends, his reputation, and that way of life which of all others is most agreeable both to his natural temper and education: that he should toil day and night, spend all his time and strength, know­ingly destroy a firm constitution, and hasten into weak­ness, pain, diseases, death—to gain a debt of six or seven hundred pounds!

But supposing the balance on the other side, let me ask you one plain question, "For what gain (setting conscience aside) will you be obliged to act thus? to live exactly as I do? For what price will you preach (and that with all your might, not in an easy indolent, fashionable way) eighteen or nineteen times every [Page 329]week? and this throughout the year? What shall I give you, to travel seven or eight hundred miles, in all weathers, every two or three months? For what salary will you abstain from all other diversions, than the doing good, and the praising God?" I am mistaken, if you would not prefer strangling to such a life, even with thousands of gold and silver."

The History of the ANTINOMIANS.

THIS sect is so named from Antinomy, a word formed of the Greek [...], contra, and [...], lex; signifying a contradiction between two laws, and between two articles of the same law.

They have never been a very numerous body at any time; but in the late civil war they were most so, as great numbers of them were in the parliament army. At present, by what I can learn, they are but a few, meeting at two or three places of worship in London. They took their origin from John Agricola, who lived about the year 1335, and who taught "That the law is no way necessary under the gospel: that good works do not promote our salvation, nor ill ones hinder it: that repentance is not to be preached from the deca­logue, but only from the gospel *."

They met with hard measure, not only from the government, but from the other sects, in the several reigns of the Stuarts, and under the usurpation. They were written against by Luther, Rutherford, Sedgwick, Gataker, and Bull; and their opinions were as warmly [Page 330]defended by Crisp *, Richardson, Eaton, Saltmarsh , and Williams, from which defenders writings the committee of the Westminster general assembly of divines (appointed to peruse their writings) drew out some of the most dangerous positions, which when re­ported to the assembly in 1643, they were not only condemned, but confuted in their public writings and sermons.

[Page 331]This is as much as is necessary to premise of the bistory of a sect that, as such, has made no great noise in the world; and now I shall give some account of their principles, just informing my readers, that the learned Wigandus published a comparison between ancient and modern Antinomianism.

They believe that the whole work of man's salva­tion was accomplished by Jesus Christ, on the cross. —That Christ's blood and our sins went away toge­ther:—That then all our sins were taken away by Christ, and blotted out for ever:—That nothing else beside faith is required in order to justification and salvation: —That there is but one duty, which is that of be­lieving; one must do nothing, but quietly attend the voice of the Lord. The gates of heaven are shut upon workers and open to believers. If we do nothing for heaven, we do as much as God requires. To believe certainly that Christ suffered death for us, is enough; we want no more. We are justified by our submitting in our judgments to the truth of God's grace in Christ Jesus. It is not necessary that a man do any works that he may be justified and saved. God doth not re­quire thee to do any thing that thou mayest be saved or justified. The law sets thee to work; but the gospel binds thee to do nothing at all. Nay, the works are not only not required, but forbidden. God forbids us to work for justification: and when the Apostle Paul presseth men to believe, it is as much as if he had bid them not to work.—That the moral law is nothing to man. From any demand of the law, no man is obliged to go one step, to give away one farthing, to eat, or omit one morsel. For what did our Lord do with the law? He abolished it *.—That a spiritual man beholdeth justifying grace in believing, without his obedience to commands for external worship and good works, Col. [Page 332]ii. 20.—That outward things do nothing avail to sal­vation. If love to God, and love to our neighbour, and relieving the poor, be altogether unprofitable and unavoidable, either to justification or salvation; then these outward works, in submitting to outward ordinances (viz. the ordinances of Christ) are much less available. —Those persons bring in the most dangerous kind of Popery, and pervert the gospel of Christ, who persuade men, that if they do not submit to the ordinances of the Lord Jesus, he will not confess them before his Fa­ther. It is better not to practise outward ordinances at all, than to practise them on these gospel-destroying principles, to the ruining of our souls.—A believer has no inherent righteousness: God will save us to the ut­most without any righteousness or holiness of our own. To look for inherent righteousness is to deny the spirit, and trample under foot the blood of the covenant. But believers have not any inherent righteousness in them. Our righteousness is nothing but the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. A believer has no holi­ness in himself, but in Christ only. The trials of the spirit (commonly called sanctification) such as love, gentleness, long-suffering, goodness, meekness, tem­perance, neither make us holy before God, nor in our own consciences, i. e. we are not made good or holy by any inward qualities or dispositions; but being made pure and holy in our consciences, by believing in Christ, we bear forth inwardly and outwardly the fruits of holiness. A believer does not increase in holiness as he increases in the love of God and man. The very moment he is justified, he is wholly sanctified, and he is neither more nor less holy from that hour to the day of his death. Entire justification, and entire sanctifica­tion, are in the same instant, and neither of them is, thenceforth, capable of increase or decrease. We are to grow in grace, but not in holiness. The moment we are justified, we are as pure in heart as ever we shall [Page 333]be. A new born babe is as pure in heart as a father in Christ; there is no difference.

In addition to this collective detail of the principles of the Antinomians, I shall give my readers the sub­stance of a letter received from one of them, which, perhaps, is a more perfect view of the principles of the sect, and of many popular preachers, who yet do not separate from the church, or the sects with which they are united, on that account.

This I have had occasion to observe, that no sooner does a person believe and profess salvation alone by Christ, without works of righteousness, as done by him, but immediately upon his embracing such a pro­fession, he shall be branded with the name of an Anti­nomian, though he should be at the same time, not­withstanding his change of profession, as to his beha­viour and deportment in life, as unblameable as the strictest legalist whatever; from whence it is pret­ty evident, that the name of an Antinomian is given to many by way of reproach or ridicule, and that there are many so accounted, to whom the charge does not justly belong; because they disown all their own works in point of merit or acceptance with God: yet that is no proof, but what they may be found in the practice of all such good works as are necessary for good govern­ment and oeconomy in society. They own the reason­ableness and necessity of these, but that they do not make up or constitute any part of that kingdom which is spiritual, and is not of this world. As I am far from thinking that the religion of Jesus consists merely in externals, neither do I think that an intricate system of doctrines (such as are superior to a common understanding) is in the least necessary, but rather pre­judicial to those who would be edified by what they profess. There seems to me to be two very essential points absolutely necessary, namely, the knowledge of ourselves, of the true state of human nature, and the knowledge of salvation; in and through the promised [Page 334]Messiah or Redeemer; or, in other words, that Jesus is the Son of God, that he died for our sins and rose again for our justification, agreeable to the scripture testimony; that man is a sinner, reason and revelation afford us the most ample proof: from whence it is likewise evident, that he stands convicted in his best doings and performances by the law of his Maker, which spiritual and divine commandment entails con­demnation on all who hope for mercy and acceptance by a partial and imperfect obedience. As opposites tend to illustrate, so does an acquaintance with our­selves, with the frailty and infirmity of our nature, serve to illustrate the beauty and extent of divine grace, as manifest in the person of Christ our Saviour. To speak with candour and impartiality for myself, with­out reference to any person or party whatever. As a Christian, I acknowledge Christ as the only foundation of my hope towards God, my acceptance with him, and rejoicing in him: I rest all my concerns for time and eternity with him, as my wisdom to guide me thro' all the mazes of life: I see mercy consistent with justice, and a plenitude of grace extending to the guilty, and all in harmony with every attribute of Deity, in and through the one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus: the harmony and consistency of the sacred pages I likewise see in him, of whom Moses and the prophets spake, every precept fulfilled by him, every threatening endured by him, and every promised blessing I lay claim unto, as my lawful inheritance, in and through him, my glorious and exalted head. In consequence of this relation between Christ, as the head, and the church, his members, unspeakable great and extensive are the privileges which they have a claim unto, and yet with reverence they acknow­ledge the pre-eminence of their head in all things. The name of Jesus, a Saviour, is to me a sound more striking, more excellent, more harmonious, than the most me­lodious notes from the best tuned instrument. The [Page 335]whole creation, in its vast extent and variety, is to me as so many striking figures of that consummate beauty and perfection, which dwells in his adorable person; every amiable character by which he stands distinguish­ed, is to me full fraught with instruction, admiration, and consolation: he is precious and honourable in my esteem, and the language of the Apostle is with me very familiar; i. e. "I count all things but loss for the ex­cellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, &c." While I hear of various sounds from the various secta­ries, as having learned to distinguish the voice of the true shepherd, I know that never varies. I see no danger of running into error, while I have recourse to, and gather all my supplies from him, as the fountain of truth itself. Thus I go on in dependance upon and intercourse with my Lord and Saviour, as, having a glimpse of his glory, I sometimes contemplate the plea­sures that must necessarily result from a happy and im­mortal existence. Till that period shall commence, my prevailing prayer and supplication is, that he would teach me in all things by his influence and Spirit, that, under a sense of my own insufficiency, I may rely up­on his fulness; that, with a becoming gratitude of soul, I may acknowledge every instance of his good­ness in all the dispensations of his providence and grace; that I may have a continued sense of his presence, which contains the fulness of joy; the views of his re­conciled countenance, which makes life pleasant, and gives a true relish for every rational enjoyment, in forming a just estimation of persons and things; im­ploring in all submission to the divine will, so as to be able to justify him in the whole of his dealings towards the children of men. But perhaps you will say, what is all this, without the external or practical part? I answer, As the lesser must of consequence be subser­vient to the greater; so, where the religion of Jesus has its proper influence on the mind, every thing that [Page 336]is commendable and praise-worthy, every thing be­coming a reasonable man, becoming a Christian, will be the natural product, as much as good fruit is the natural product from a good tree.

Perhaps persons acquainted with the principles of the modern Antinomians will be surprised at some things in this letter, and the vein of Christian charity that is visible in it. In short, the writer seems not to be willing to be called by that name.

One quotation more, and I conclude my account of the Antinomians.

A remarkable DIALOGUE, published in the London Gazetteer of July 17, 1761 (introduced by a serious and affecting letter to the minister and members of the society, meeting for what they call the worship of God, in Coachmakers Hall, Noble-street) be­tween J. N. of Broadstreet, and one of the cham­pions of the Antinomian faith.

Ques. 1. Did our Lord Jesus Christ die for all, or only a part of mankind?

Ans. He died for all.

Ques. 2. If for all, why then are not all saved?

Ans. All are and will be saved: he being an offering for sin, none of Adam's race can perish or be lost; for could that be the case, then Christ died in vain.

Ques. 3. Is faith necessary to salvation?

Ans. Nor faith, nor works in man, can avail any thing; man of himself can do nothing; but faith is the sum and substance of faith imputed to us as ours.

Ques. 4. Then (contrary to scripture) without holi­ness men may see the Lord?

Ans. The Lord is our holiness; therefore holiness is not required in man, nor can avail, otherwise than as the holiness of Christ imputed to him.

Ques. 5. Is prayer for the pardon of sin necessary?

[Page 337] Ans. If man prays to eternity, it will avail nothing, because the prayers of Christ have reached heaven for all the race of Adam.

Ques. 6. Is repentance for sin necessary?

Ans. No, not in man, because Christ hath repented for us, and his obedience is sufficient.

Ques. 7. Did Christ come to reform the world, or to save the world unreformed?

Ans. The reformation of man can avail nothing, Christ having reformed the world in himself.

Ques. 8. Suppose then a man continues in notorious sins through the whole of life, unrepented of, can any faith in Christ save him, whose works from first to last denied him?

Ans. Yes; because Christ being his holiness, he lived for him, believed for him, and was obedient for him; therefore God wanted nothing of fallen man.

Ques. 9. How then can it be said, with any proprie­ty, that man will be judged hereafter, according to the deeds done in the body?

Ans. There will be no judgment after this life; for judgment is already past; Christ having justified us be­fore God, hath made us a free people.

Ques. 10. If no judgment to come, will there be any resurrection of the dead?

Ans. This body of flesh will rise no more; but our spirits will exist in Christ; we being the members of his body, shall live in him as our all in all.

Ques. 11. Will there be any future punishment of any kind?

Ans. No; Christ having overcome him that had the power of death and hell, hath brought in everlasting righteousness.

Ques. 12. If no place of punishment, the devil being overcome by the death of Christ, is he annihilated, or restored to mercy?

Ans. The latter; by the sacrifice of Christ, who by his spirit went to preach to them that were in prison.

The History of the MORAVIANS.

IN giving my readers the history of this brother­hood, I am under some difficulty. They them­selves have published little to the purpose, and are a set of people not very communicative. What can be done in this case? All that can be done is to take it, as well as the account of their principles, &c. from those who have wrote professedly against them, and who having been initiated into their mysteries, afterwards forsook their society; in which I am also justified, by the Mo­ravians having never returned any proper answer to these writers, so that their veracity remains at present un­impeached. I should have been better pleased to have received the proper intelligence from themselves and their writings; but after much patience exercised upon the occasion, found myself disappointed. The charac­ter of Mr. Henry Rimius is so well established for ho­nour and veracity, that I shall venture to give their history and discipline in his own words.

* "Nicholas Lewis, Count of Zinzendorf, is the author of Herrnhutism, and it is to him that the progress this sect has hitherto made, is to be ascribed. According to the account he gives of himself, he formed from the tenth year of his age a design to gather together a little society of believers, amongst whom he might live, and who should entirely employ themselves in exer­cises of devotion, under his direction. When he became of age, which was in the year 1721, his thoughts were wholly bent on executing his project, and being joined by some persons, that were of his way of thinking, he settled at Bertholsdorf in Upper Lusatia, an estate which he had purchased, giving the curacy of that [Page 339]village, then vacant, to a student, in whom he had perceived sentiments analogous to his own.

Bertholsdorf soon came to be known for this sort of piety. News thereof was brought to Moravi [...] by a carpenter, named Christian David, who, according to Le Long, had been before in that country, and there instilled into the minds of several people a distaste to the superstition of the Romish church, and an inclination to the Protestant religion. Having engaged two or three of these proselytes to leave that country with their families, Count Zinzendorf received them with gladness at Bertholsdorf. They were directed to build an house in a wood, about half a league from that village, which soon was finished, so that on St. Martin's day, 1722, these people held their first meeting there. It is said, that they foresaw that God would kindle a light in this place that should enlighten all the country. Christian David was so sure of the future growth of this settlement, that he already divided the spot of ground round it into quarters, and marked out in what direc­tions the streets were to run. The event has not con­tradicted this prognostication. A good many people from Moravia and elsewhere, to shelter themselves un­der the protection of Count Zinzendorf, flocked to this new settlement, and built houses; and the Count him­self fixed his residence there. In a few years it became a considerable village, having an orphan-house and o­ther public buildings. Thirty-four houses were already built there in 1728; and in 1732 the number of in­habitants amounted to six hundred. An adjacent hill called the Huth-Berg, gave occasion to these colonists to call their dwelling-place Huth des Herrn, and af­terwards Herrnhuth; which may be interpreted the guard or protection of the Lord; and from this the whole sect has taken its name.

The Herrnhuters soon established among themselves a sort of discipline, which closely unites them to one another, divides them into different classes, puts them [Page 340]under an entire dependance on their superiors, and con­fines them to certain exercises of devotion, and to the observing of different little rules. One may call it a monastic institution.

The difference of age, sex, and the situation their members are in with respect to matrimony, constitute these different classes. There are classes of married men, married women, widowers, widows, maids, ba­chelors, children. Each has its director, chosen by its members. The same employments the men have a­mong themselves, are among the women, which are exercised by persons of their own sex. Every member is daily visited by one of his class, who gives him ex­hortations, and takes notice of the actual state of his soul, whereof he makes a report to the elders. Fre­quent particular assemblies are held in each class, and general ones by the whole society. The overseers or leaders have also their private meetings to instruct one another in matters concerning the guidance of souls. The members of each class are subdivided into people that are dead, awaked, ignorant, willing disciples, disciples that have made a progress. Proper assistance is given to each of these subdivisions; but above all, great care is taken of those that are spiritually dead.

They pay an uncommon attention to the instruction of youth. Besides those that have the care of or­phans, there are others that are intrusted with that of all the other children. Count Zinzendorf's zeal has sometimes carried him so far, as to take children to his own home to instruct them, to the number of twenty, whereof nine or ten slept in his bed-chamber. There are assemblies held of little children that are not yet in a condition to walk. They are carried thither. Hymns are sung in these meetings, and prayers made; even sermons are preached to them suitable to the capa­city of these infant-hearers.

The elder, co-elder, the vice-elder, superintend all the classes. There are likewise informers by office, some of them known, some kept secret, besides a great [Page 341]many other employments and titles, the detail of which would be too long and too tedious here.

A great part of their worship consists in singing. They pretend that children in particular are instructed in their religion by hymns. Count Zinzendorf relates a very extraordinary thing in his Natural Reflexions, viz. "that the chanters of the society must have re­ceived a particular and almost inimitable gift of God: for when they are obliged to sing at the head of the congregation, their songs are always a connected re­petition of those matters that had been preached just be­fore."

At all hours, whether day or night, some persons, of both sexes, are appointed by rotation to pray for the society. And what is most remarkable, these people, without call, clock or watch, are acquainted, by an in­ward feeling, when their hour comes in which they are to perform their duty.

When the brethren perceive that the zeal of the so­ciety is declining, their devotion is revived, by cele­brating Agapes or love-feasts.

The casting of lots is much practised among them. They make use of it to learn the will of the Lord.

The elders have the sole right of making matches. No promise of marriage is of any validity without their consent. The maids devote themselves to the Saviour, not that their intent is never to marry, but to marry only such a person, with respect to whom God shall have made known to them with certainty, that he is regenerated, instructed in the importance of the con­jugal state, and appointed by the divine director to en­ter into that state.

All is extraordinary at Herrnhut. The most stub­born diseases vanish there without help: very rarely one dies there of a violent fever. But it is common to die there of a cold, defluxion, or such like other slight indisposition. These are at least things Count Zinzen­dorf affirms in a writing, dated January 24, 1732, [Page 342]and presented to the ministry of the court of Dres­den.

I do not find that the Herrnhuters to the year 1729, pretended to be any thing more than members of the Lutheran church at Bertholsdorf. Indeed, they were all of them either born among Lutherans, or converted from Popery to the faith of the Augsburg confession; and if some amongst them entertained ideas of Calvin­ism, Count Zinzendorf took care to cure them of it. But from this time the Herrnhuters, undoubtedly with a view to set their society off to better advantage, would pass for a sprig of those Bohemian and Moravian brethren, who, a long time before Luther, lived se­parated from the Romish church, and who in the time of the reformation entered into brotherly corre­spondence with the two great Protestant societies, but without uniting with either of them. And Count Zinzendorf has since that time ever talked in this strain. He pretends that these brethren originally were of the Greek church, and in process of time had united with the Waldenses, who derived their original from the Latin Church. He bestows the greatest encomiums on this Moravian church, so much renowned in for­mer times, eclipsed and forgot afterwards, and at length, if credit may be given him, revived under his auspices at Herrnhut. He gives her the most pompous titles; as, the church of the Cross,—the church of the Lamb,—the church of the Blood and Wounds,—the Theo­cracy, —a people whereunto never was seen the like,— they are the hundred forty four thousand servants of God marked on their foreheads—whereof St. John makes mention in his Revelation.

This descent would, without doubt, do honour to Herrnhutism, but there is a necessity of proving it first. Let us examine whether it ever has yet been proved? So far from it, that even setting aside the doctrine of the Herrnhuters, which openly contradicts this vain­glorious pretension, it has been acknowledged and proved by one of their own Bishops, that the ancient [Page 343]Moravian brethren mixed with the reformed in Poland, and that not one of those that professed their doctrine remained in Bohemia and Moravia, where it has been entirely extirpated ever since the year 1620. The Mo­ravians, who retired to Herrnhut, and who are the most inconsiderable part of the inhabitants of that vil­lage, have nothing common with the ancient Bohemi­an and Moravian brethren. They are Roman Catho­licks converted to the Protestant religion, as the Herrn­huters themselves acknowledge.

As the Herrnhut society was begun upon the estate of Count Zinzendorf, under his protection, by his care and benefactions, and according to his ideas and views; it was but natural he should have a very great authority over it. And so it happens; he has always been the soul, the oracle, and the primum mobile of it. He tells us himself that he has always been at the head of his sect, both in temporals and spirituals, and his disciples say the same. Though titles could add no­thing to his authority, yet he has not disdained them. He has even made alterations in them at different times. From the year 1726, he was called the trustee or guardian of the brethren, which happened in a singular manner, as he tells us himself. Christian David, the carpenter, of whom mention has been made, being once in the Count's apartment to talk with him, all on a sudden gave him this title; which afterwards was confirmed by the unanimous consent of the society. In the month of March 1730, he resigned this dignity. In September 1732, the society pressed him to take it upon him, delivering to him an appointment or call for that purpose, in form of an act, signed by the bre­thren and sisters that were of the privy council of the society. At that time he refused to comply, but grant­ed their request some months after, upon a new appoint­ment, dated January 26, 1733. In 1737 Count Zinzendorf, who, from the age of seventeen, had believed he had a call from Providence to an ecclesiasti­cal [Page 344]state or condition of life, and who had already publickly preached in some of the Lutheran churches, got himself consecrated Bishop of his sect. From that time, according to the custom of Bishops, he made use of his Christian name, and of that of his see, viz. Ludovicus Moraviensis. The Prelate of this new­fashioned creation, nevertheless did not suffer himself to be dazzled by the lustre of his mitre. He tells us him­self, that he had very little forwardness to make a fi­gure as a Bishop; and in the third general synod of Herrnhutism, held at Gotha in 1740, he laid down his episcopal dignity; which however had made no change with respect to his office of trustee or guardian of the brethren. It appears at least, that he was still vested with it in 1743, because at that time the brethren dis­charged him from it. But this was only done with a view to give him a much more honourable title, viz. that of minister plenipotentiary and oeconomist, with power to nominate a successor, and an express clause, that nothing of importance should be done or conclud­ed without his consent. He did not accept this new promotion till towards the close of the following year. Lately we see him stile himself Lord Advocate of the Unitas Fratrum.

Count Zinzendorf has very early been about extend­ing his sect. He has sent his fellow-labourers through­out the world. He himself has been over all Europe, and at least twice in America. From the year 1733, a new Herrnhut has been set up in Groenland; and before the end of the preceding year the missionaries of Herrnhutism had already passed the line. The society possesses Bethlehem in Pensylvania: it has a settlement amongst the Hottentots. China is entered into its plan. But it has no where made better conquests than in the British European dominions, in the United Pro­vinces, and in Wetteravia; in the last province, how­ever, where their views were discovered, they have a­gain lost ground. They have also been turned out of [Page 345]the Danish dominions, where they had made a settle­ment.

A discipline so much overburdened as that of Herrn­hutism, could not very well take place but in a small society; and we find, that in proportion as this sect came to spread abroad, it was thought necessary to forego, in some measure, the rigour of its rule, in order to accommodate the institution to the taste, hu­mour, and ideas of the new proselytes. This gave rise to the modifications, forms, and different usages now in being among these sectaries. Count Zinzendorf calls them Tropes, Types, and at this very time there are three of them, viz. the Moravian Trope or Type, which is the most ancient; the Lutheran, which ap­pears to him to be the most salutary to the children of God; and the Reformed or Calvinist Trope, for which he also has a great regard, and whereof Mr. de Wat­teville, his son-in-law, was elected Bishop in 1743. I cannot exactly say wherein the above three modifica­tions differ from each other: these are secrets proba­bly known by the adepts alone. Thus much they have thought fit to acquaint the public with, that the Bohemian confession is received by the first trope, the confession of Augsburg by the second, and that of the reformed churches in the United Provinces by the third. Indeed, from the year 1748, Count Zinzen­dorf has made all the tropes receive the Augsburg confession; however, it is pretended, that this has made no confusion among these several modifications.

Condescension being what has given rise to these tropes, Count Zinzendorf, from the same motive, shews a general inclination to all Christian commu­nions. He would have wrote to the Pope, had he known what title to give him. He has even been persecuted for having maintained, that the Pope was not the Antichrist. He has sent a deputation to the Patriarch of Constantinople, which has been very well received. He shews a great attachment to Lutheran­ism, [Page 346]whereof he constantly pretends himself to be a member. He boasts of being a minister of that church, and affirms, in spite of all that can be said to the con­trary, that he and his brethren have no other doctrine than what is taught by that communion▪ He is of late become more favourable to Calvinism, than he was in the beginning▪ It was in his power, says he, to have rooted it out from among the brethren; he however declined it. Although, according to him, the taking of oaths is not prohibited; yet the society, wherever it settles, is known to be averse to them, and that pro­bably out of complaisance to the Mennonists or Ana­baptists. He declares in general, that whoever em­braces Herrnhutism need not change his religion. Such advances as these cannot but infinitely facilitate the propagation of the sect, which already boasts of decimating all nations, and pretends it has a right to all the children of God of whatever persuasion they be.

Though Count Zinzendorf tells us, that he has some­times met with resistance from the brethren, and that they have contradicted him; yet it appears in general, that they have shewed great docility both for him and those he has been pleased to make partakers of his au­thority. Submission to the will of the superiors of the society, is a very essential article of his system. He teaches, in his sermons to the synod of Zeist, that God obeys the voice of his servants (that is to say, of the brethren); but that it is required, that first of all they agree with their friend, that they act in concert with their chief. The tractableness which he prescribes them must go so far as to suffer themselves to be led step for step, like little children, by men whom he calls ministers of the Holy Ghost, and of the church, re­presenting them as being so many living images of our blessed Saviour. The irksomeness of thus obeying with­out reserve is great, it must be owned; but then it is much alleviated by the notion that is instilled into them, that their superiors receive from Christ himself [Page 347]the orders that are given. This the Count inculcates among his flock with equal care and assiduity. Every thing is done by the Saviour's injunction; "Jesus will have it so, the Lamb commands it:" this is the stile of the ministers of the society. According to them, the Saviour gives his orders on the very moment they are to be executed. He will not suffer that those who are to obey them have time to consider. "Thus bu­siness is done quickly, all at once; and, as it were, in post-haste." These are the Count's own expressions, who looks upon this method of the Saviour, as a con­descension he has for his children, with whose weak­ness he is not unacquainted. He knows, adds he, for instance, how it is with a maid, when she is apprised she is to marry: therefore he doth not willingly let persons know their destination much beforehand.

The sending of missionaries, according to this sect, is a business in which the Saviour is particularly con­cerned. Count Zinzendorf informs us minutely what the Saviour prescribes in this matter. For instance, some of the society earnestly desiring, that those of their brethren, who had been pitched upon to be sent away, should be dispatched a day sooner than the Saviour had appointed: the Count opposed this motion with so much steadiness, that it was dropped. It was to no purpose they objected, that the Captains, who were to take them on board at Rotterdam, would pay no re­gard to the day appointed by the Saviour: he resolute­ly answered, "They will do it; or if not, our missi­onaries will come, in another manner, to the place for which they are destined." This example of the Count's faith will appear less astonishing, when we attend to what he tells us further, viz. that he has found by expe­rience, that the brethren, when the Saviour directed them in their travels, have performed amazing things, things which no art, no human precaution ever could attain to. He himself has once, without human assistance, made a voyage in eleven weeks, which an­other [Page 348]Herrnhuter could not compass in less than sixty-six, because he was in the hands of men. "The Sa­viour (continues this great apostle, in a prophetical strain, in his 33d sermon, preached at Zeist) pro­tects his people in a quite wonderful manner. My wishes and desires are, that I could bri [...]g it to pass, that we could have a couple of ships, no matter of what bulk, that belonged solely to the society, and which the maritime powers might not suspect of carrying on a trade, or being employed in smuggling; which may be possible to obtain, and depends only on a favoura­ble moment: then we should see wonders. For, at present, our affairs are too much blended with the bu­siness of men, with their interest and views; this makes a great alteration, and cannot but have, some way or other, an influence over the brethren. But were it once to become the Saviour's business alone, then he would let us see wonders on the sea. He would not only cause us to make voyages with great swiftness, but to land where never any body landed. A tempest would be sufficient to bring us to the intended place. In case leave was denied us to enter a port, we should be conveyed into some inaccessible bay, at some miles distance from the port, where we might land, and no body could find fault with it, because it would ap­pear, that we were arrived there by stress of weather. This would cost nothing to the Saviour, it would be a play to his angels."

Count Zinzendorf tells us himself, that the com­mission of the society was never calculated for a gene­ral conversion of the Heathen; that the time of this great event is not as yet come; but that the society being an [...] (an election, a chosen people), it must have an [...] (the firstlings or first-fruits) here and there among the Heathen. The little number the brethren have hitherto converted to the Christian faith, is but a comfort, which the Saviour has granted them to make them amends for their labours, and they be­lieve [Page 349]themselves well rewarded for their toil, if in two hundred voyages they make but one hundred converts. He also tells us, that the Herrnhuters, in order to ac­quire the firstlings of Paganism, chuse to look out for them amongst those Heathen, that have had the least or no communication at all with the pretenders to Christianity, rather than among the last.

As the brethren have always a great number of la­bourers on the roads, oftentimes among these their chief himself with his family and retinue; and as, be­sides, their undertakings, and the acquisitions they make, require considerable expence, it is necessary they should have what is called the sinew of all great schemes, money. Thus we find they have betimes established a fund called by them the Lamb's or the Saviour's chest, which is become very considerable by the con­tributions and donations of the proselytes of Herrnhu­tism and its favourers. From the beginning, two brethren were trusted with it; of whom, one kept the chest, and the other the key; but Count Zinzendorf has always had the principal direction over it. This addi­tion of temporal concerns must infallibly have crushed him under its weight, he being already so much taken up with the spiritual ones of the society, had he not found in the Countess, his spouse, a proper assistant to share his fatigues with him. In a manuscript history of the society, whereof the Count gives us some ab­stracts in the appendix of his Natural Reflections, it is said, that this Lady, during a time of twenty-six years, has so well husbanded the scanty funds of the society, that nothing was ever wanting, either in his family, or amongst the brotherhood, though there had been a necessity of furnishing from thence above one million of crowns for sundry undertakings. Upon the whole, it is well known, that whoever desires to be received as a brother, is not welcome among them, unless he con­tributes to the chest. The Count says himself, "That the oeconomists of the society may say to a young rich [Page 350]man, Either give us all thou hast, or get thee gone; give us all thou hast, or thou canst not be with us."

I have already hinted at the rapid progress made by Herrnhutism. Here follows another curious detail, which Count Zinzendorf himself gives us in his Natu­ral Reflections, &c. wrote in the years 1748 and 1749. This will shew (if credit may be given to what he says) what situation the sect was in at that time. The society, says he, had almost a thousand labourers dis­persed all over the world. This number, however, was not yet sufficient; for, in proportion as they work­ed, the harvest increased. Twenty-four nations had been awakened from their spiritual drowsiness, by the care of these apostles. "We preach, says he, to an innumerable number of souls in fourteen languages, amongst whom, without reckoning those that do not belong to the Protestant religion, nor the Jews and Heathens, there are at least twenty thousand people that were not born Lutherans, whom we nevertheless bring to the Augsburg confession, and indeed we can­not recommend to them a better constitution, than the church of the brethren. We have, adds he, ninety-eight establishments, amongst which are castles that have 20, 50, or 90 apartments." The missionaries of the Herrnhuters do not go and preach in every place, where their ministry is required. On the 28th of Fe­bruary 1748, they had received above one hundred and seventy invitations, only from Easter of the fore­going year, with regard to which they had not as yet taken any resolution. In the mean while they are not idle; in the year 1740, they had already made two hundred voyages by sea. As to the progress the sect has made abroad for these three years past, I shall not venture to speak of, as I have not sufficient mate­rials for the purpose; but as for the success they have met with in these kingdoms, and are daily making, every body is an eye-witness of. It is to be supposed, [Page 351]that their success from the year 1749 must surpass that of the two years above-mentioned."

Since the publication of the above account, the Moravians have not, perhaps, increased, as the writ­ings of Mr. Ri [...]ius, and the narrative of Andrew Frey, have done them great disservice with the sober part of mankind. They were established here, in England, by an act passed many years since *, and are in considerable numbers in this kingdom and its plantations, as well as in Ireland and Scotland. The publick has yet felt no inconveniency from their admission and toleration, nor are likely to feel any, as they are, in general, an industrious set of people.

I come now to the tenets of Herrnhutism. As long as Herrnhut belonged to the church at Berthols­dorf, the society was held in great esteem, and not at all suspected to differ from the confession of Augsburg. This was the reason, for which the theological faculty at Tubingen, did not scruple to grant them those tes­timonials, to which Count Zinzendorf has since that time always referred himself, to prove the soundness of his doctrine . I do not know, nor is it material to inquire, whether Count Zinzendorf began to broach his new doctrine, immediately upon the beginning of the first establishment of the society at Herrnhut; it seems more likely, that as he enlarged his plan, he enlarged his notions also. Thus much is certain, that it is no easy matter to come at the tenets of this sect, on account of the great obscurity affected by their teachers. They make it their study, to speak and write, that they may not be understood. It is a rule among them, to speak to those, that are not initiated [Page 352]into the mysteries of the theology of blood and wounds, that is to say, their own theology, in a manner, that they may not be able to tell again any thing of what they have heard. They act, says Count Zinzendorf himself, in the same manner as one would do, who, to catch people that are too curious, writes in a charac­ter they are not able to decypher. They succeed wonderfully in this kind of stile. Sometimes they are quite unintelligible. At other times they begin to express themselves clearly, but on a sudden become too obscure to be understood. They are seldom en­tirely clear, and nevertheless shew often too great a clearness *. For, indeed, those things that escape them, and are easy to be understood, do no honour either to their judgment or understanding. The rea­der will be convinced of it by the specimens I am go­ing to lay before him. I shall take a great number of them from Count Zinzendorf's theological opinion, and his sermons preached in America, and at Zeist in the province of Utrecht. These last, to the number of fifty-six, were delivered to the synod of the bre­thren, held at the last mentioned place in 1746, and are printed and published by the society in one vo­lume. The Count has not put his name to it; for, according to a letter, inserted in Siegfried's beschei­dene Beleuchtung, directed by him to all Kings, Elec­tors, Princes, &c. he has left off long ago, to put his name to his writings. But it is impossible to read these sermons, without perceiving him to be the au­thor; besides this, he declares himself very clearly in the preface, where he says, that the business of the author of these sermons, is to exercise the office of Syndic of the synods, to superintend the records, to administer the liturgy, to prepare matters and propose them. I the more willingly make use of these ser­mons, as they have been preached for the instruction [Page 353]of several fellow-labourers, English and Dutch, late­ly received among the sect, and since the preacher proposes there to himself, to put into a better light certain central ideas, by which one ought to regulate one's actions, words and thoughts. If it be possible, to meet any where with the tenets of Herrnhutism, it must be in them.

I begin with the idea this sect has of the scripture. Though Count Zinzendorf doth not, as yet, think proper to disown the scripture; yet the indifferent manner, in which he gives his opinion of it, shews what he aims at. He says in a sermon preached at Philadelphia, that the stile of the scripture is some­times like that of a carpenter, sometimes like that of a fisherman, or of a toll-gatherer. Christ himself had spoke very meanly, and used many a phrase becoming a peasant, which is now looked upon to imply some­thing of quite a different nature, since we are unac­quainted with the manner of speaking used by the journeymen at Nazareth. He prescribes a method to his missionaries, how to deal with the comptrollers of the scripture (by whom he means those that desire proofs of every doctrine out of the scripture) viz. that they ought to prove all such things by the defects or imperfections of these writings, which those comptrol­lers pretend to make good by the perfection and infal­libility of the scripture. The reading of the scripture appears to him to be more dangerous than useful to the society.

According to Count Zinzendorf, the doctrine that God the Father is our Creator, the Son our Redeem­er, and the Holy Ghost our Sanctifier, is a false doc­trine, and one of the capital errors that reign in Christendom. Creation and sanctification ought not to be ascribed to the Father and Holy Ghost. To avoid idolatry, people ought to be taken from the Father and Holy Ghost, and conducted to Christ, with whom alone we have to do. The ancients never [Page 354]dreamt of a Trinity; whoever adores the Father and the Holy Ghost, differs not from a servant of Jupiter, Mercury, Apollo, or of any great hero to whom the ancients gave the title of God. Our great Doctor ap­pears so positive of the orthodoxy of his new opinion, that he calls the theology received among Christians, a dry one, and good for nothing else than to amuse dogs and swine, unbelievers and Atheists, invented by the Devil, and that such as teach it are Satan's pro­fessors. Satan has thought within himself, says he, Men shall not come to see the Father, that is, the true Father, who is the Saviour, according to Count Zin­zendorf: "I'll conduct them round about the Savi­our, I'll represent to them a phantom of a Father, and they shall think, as the Jews formerly did, that this is their God; thus the Saviour shall not get them. By this means, I'll keep them in my power, whilst they think within themselves they are very wise. The mistake among Christians, adds he, arises from their not comprehending, that it is honour enough for the Father, to be the Father of God the Creator of all things, and to be his own and only Father.

The Holy Ghost is called by the Herr [...]huters, the eternal wife of God, the mother of Christ, the mother of the faithful, the mother of the church. Count Zin­zendorf, in the sixth part of his Natural Reflections, gives a long detail to justify this change he makes in the common theology. He looks upon it as important and necessary; complaining much, that, since the re­formation, people are in gross ignorance concerning the person of the Holy Ghost, and that the divines in this article commit a very palpable omission. He adds, that such as cannot comprehend the mystery of the Trinity in the manner he explains it, want undoubred­ly uprightness of heart more than understanding.

Thus it appears, that the Son is chiefly the object of the Herrnhuters worship. Though Count Zinzendorf in plain words calls him the Carpenter Jesus, having [Page 355]taken along with him, into his glory, the poor figure he made in this world, yet the most tender names are given him. He is called their Lamb, their little Lamb, their little Jesus. They make this name of the femi­nine gender, calling him their mother, their Mamma Jesua. The creation, redemption, and sanctification is the work of Christ, but the Father and Holy Ghost minister to him in all of them, which is the identical word they use in expressing themselves on this head. "Whoever believes in Christ, tho' he knows nothing more of the Godhead, will be saved. The Apostles, to avoid idolatry, had not baptised in the name of the Fa­ther, the Son and Holy Ghost, but in Christ's name on­ly. God had darted his Son as a flash of lightning, and the Son by his incarnation had made a parenthesis in the Godhead. What in common life is called a grandfather, a father-in-law, such was the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Son had taken it as a favour, that he was allowed to become man and go out of the Godhead. Christ had not conquered as God, but as a man, with the same strength we conquer. God had assisted him, and he assists us also. Christ had not had the least power more than we have. He had laid aside his Godhead, and wrought miracles as men are able to do."

They have a great devotion for the five red wounds of the crucifixion, but that which Christ received in his side is extolled above all the rest. This is "their favourite wound, the very dear little holy opening, the precious and thousand times pretty little side." They kiss this wound, they kiss the spear that made it, and would kiss the soldier whose hand conducted the spear; they thank him for it. It is in this opening that the faithful reposes himself; there he breathes, there he sports, there he lays down, sometimes length-wise, sometimes cross-wise: there is his country, his house, his hall, his little bed, his little table: there he eats, there he drinks, there he lives, there he praises the dear little Lamb.

[Page 356]The Herrnhuters have this distinguishing character of fanaticism, that they reject reason, reasoning and philosophy. The children of God do not instruct them­selves out of books. To demonstrate religion, to make it as evident as four times four are sixteen, is an useless and superfluous labour. Faith does not require the least demonstration. It is brought forth in the heart by the Holy Ghost. The children of God be­lieve, because they find pleasure in believing. Ne­vertheless this faith, produced without reasoning, serves them instead of all other things. No other command­ment should be preached to men, than that of belie­ving. This is Count Zinzendorf's doctrine.

Regeneration comes of itself, without our being re­quired to do any thing towards it. It is a capital truth, says our Moravian Bishop, that such as have not received grace, that are not yet children of God, that have not yet a feeling of their reconciliation, that do not know yet upon what terms they are with their Creator and Saviour, ought not to be engaged to pre­pare themselves for it by any action, good works, good resolutions *. They must be told, that all that has been believed hitherto to be a preparation for coming to God, is rather an hindrance to their salvation. Re­generation is brought about suddenly, all at once. One moment is sufficient to make us free to receive grace, to be transformed to the image of the little Lamb.

A person regenerated enjoys great liberty. He doth what the Saviour gives him an inclination to do, and what he has no in [...]ination for, he is not obliged to do. He doth what the Saviour makes him do, for he is the master, in whose power it is to make laws and to repeal them; who at all times can change the oeconomy of salvation; make criminal what was virtuous, and vir­tuous what was criminal.

It is wrong to say, that a regenerated person doth [Page 357]any thing: properly speaking they do nothing. It is the Saviour that acts for them. He is with respect to the Saviour as a child, whose hand one guides, yet who believes it is himself that writes, and rejoices at it.

On the great day of judgment, the Herrnhuters will not be placed on the Saviour's left-hand among those that are goats; this is to be understood of course. Nor will they be amongst those called the sheep on the right­hand of the judgment seat, a place of honour they look upon too mean to be assigned them. Count Zin­zendorf tells us, that the words, Holy angels, coming with the Saviour in his glory, denote the saints coming along with him, and that the Herrnhuters will be those saints that accompany him. He adds, that such as do not die Herrnhuters, will have mercy on that day, provided they think favourably upon their dying bed of those belonging to that sect.

The circumcision of the Saviour has, according to them, served to shew of what sex he was. It has like­wise restored to honour that part of the human body, which, as a consequence of Adam's fall, was become a disgrace to it; insomuch, that it is at present the most noble, and the most respectable part of a man's body. The sisters are exhorted never to think of it, but with sentiments of the most profound veneration. They are even thought to make a scruple of respecting men for any other reason. The organ of generation of the other sex is no less honourable. It has been sanctified by the birth of the Saviour. I abate of the strength of my author's expressions whilst I abridge him, for fear of offending the modesty of my readers.

All the souls are of the feminine sex. There are only animae, and no animi, says the Moravian Bishop with great elegance. To think that there are male-souls would be, according to this profound divine, the greatest folly, a chimera, which ought not to enter the thoughts of a Christian, were he even in the midst [Page 358]of an high fever. All that is of the male quality, and was adapted to our body, is detached from it as soon as it is interred. It belongs not to its natural and pri­mitive state: it is an addition made to it afterwards: it is the seal of the office, which the male sex is in­trusted with. For, our sex is an employment, an office. Jesus is the spouse of all the sisters, and the husbands, in the most proper sense, are his procurators, his agents, in every respect like those ambassadors in ancient times, who, on marrying a Princess in the name of their master, put a booted leg in the wedding-bed. A hus­band is also properly no more than a chamberlain of his wife; his office is but for a time, and ad interim. However, the titles which the Count gives him are not less glorious: he is Vice-Christ, Vice-God. The sisters are conducted to Jesus by the ministry of their husbands, who thus are their saviours in this world. When therefore a marriage is made, what is the rea­son of it? Because there was a sister, who should be brought to the true spouse by the mediation of such a procurator. Count Zinzendorf, in a conference on this subject, held at Oly with the Seventh-day men, made use of the following expressions, which, to avoid scandal as much as possible, I chuse to give in Latin, viz. In ipso actu conjugali moriturus, possem dice [...]e Salva­tori: veni de isto actu, h. e. quem nomine tuo peregi.

From what has been said, two consequences natu­rally result, which have not escaped the Count. The one is, that whoever knows himself to be a man, ought to acknowledge the dignity that is in him, and honour the choice that has been made of his person. The other, that marriage is the most precious deposi­tum the Saviour has intrusted with his church; that is to say, without doubt, to the society of Herrnhuters, and the most important mystery to which he has given them the key. Considering this, we cannot at all be surprised at being told, that they look upon all that are married out of their society to live in fornication and adultery.

[Page 359]The male sex consists of married men, unmarried ones, and widowers. According to the primitive plan of the Saviour, all that had passed the twentieth or twenty-first year should be married. After these years, the state of unmarried people is a brutish state, a state of madness, where one doth not know one's self. Be­sides this division of men into three classes, there is another more general one, by which they are distin­guished into two choirs. One includes the married people of both sexes, and the other the unmarried ones. Count Zinzendorf is not entirely pleased with either of the choirs, and much less with the first than the se­cond. He rebukes the husbands, and upbraids them with I do not know what abstraction or remissness. In another sermon he observes, that when the children of God will not experience physically certain things suit­able to a certain age, it is casting off human nature, they become unhappy; they forge to themselves chi­meras; they say, I don't feel the same thing as other people. This appears a little obscure, but could per­haps be explained by what the sublime Doctor else­where relates of a I do not know what mortification, caused by I do not know what non-use.

I would here recommend to my readers a perusal of the dispassionate and well-written Expostulatory Letter, addressed to Nicholas Lewis, Count Zinzendorf, and Lord Advocate of the Unitas Fratrum, by George Whitefield, A. B. &c. published in 1753, which will still more elu­cidate what has been said above, relative to the disci­pline and tenets of this society.

The following account of their belief is somewhat more methodical.

They believe and teach *, that Christ has done all which was necessary for the salvation of all mankind; that, consequently, we are to do nothing, as necessary to salvation, but simply to believe in him; that there is but one duty now, but one command, viz. to be­lieve [Page 360]in Christ; that Christ has taken away all other commands and duties, having wholly abolished the law; that a believer is therefore free from the law, is not obliged thereby to do or omit any thing; it being inconsistent with his liberty to do any thing as com­manded; that there is no such thing as degrees in faith, or weak faith, since he has no faith who has any doubt or fear; that we are sanctified wholly the moment we are justified, and are neither more nor less holy to the day of our death; entire sanctification, and entire jus­tification, being in one and the same instant: that a believer is never sanctified or holy in himself, but in Christ only; he has no holiness in himself at all, all his holiness being imputed, not inherent: that a man may feel peace which passeth all understanding, may rejoice with joy full of glory, and have the love of God and of all mankind, with dominion over all sin; and yet all this may be only nature, animal spirits, or the force of imagination: that if a man regards prayer or searching the scriptures, or communicating, as mat­ter of duty; if he judges himself obliged to do these things, or is troubled when he does them not, he is in bondage, he has no faith at all, but is seeking salva­tion by the works of the law: that therefore, till we believe, we ought to be still, i. e. not to pray, search the scriptures, or communicate.

Thus I have given the best account I can collect of the principles of this very mysterious sect, for whom (in the words of Mrs. Le Fevre) I pity and pray.

I have been acquainted with some of them, and have found them modest and inoffensive in their beha­viour, and much resigned to the ways of Providence. But it is plain they make an idol of Jesus Christ, and transfer the love and worship due to the supreme God and Father of all, to the Son, as fully appears from the preceding account. In short, I may say with Mr. Oswald Edwards, when speaking of another sect, I hate their notions, but love the men.

A DICTIONARY OF Sects, of lesser Note, not mentioned in the foregoing Work; of the principal religious Orders, Offices, Days, Rites, Customs, Habits, Characters, &c. &c. and an Explanation of some obscure Words and Phrases.

  • ABBA, a Syriac word which signifies Father.
  • Abberance, a deviation from the right way; an error.
  • Abbey, a monastery of religious persons, male or female.
  • Abelians, Abelonians, or Abeloites, a sect of heretics in Africa, not far from Hippo, whose distinguishing tenet and practice, was to marry, and yet live with their wives in profound abstinence, without carnal knowledge of them. Authors are divided about the foundation of their practice; some say on 1 Cor. vii. 29.
  • Ablution, the act of washing. The cup given without consecration to the laity, in the Romish churches.
  • Abrahamites, a sect of heretics who renewed the error of the Pauli­cians; which vide.
  • Absolute, the Papists maintain the priests can forgive sins, absolutely, in opposition to the Protestants, who say he can only forgive them declaratively and ministerially.
  • Absolution, the Romanists make absolution a part of the sacrament of penance; in that church, the form of absolution is absolute; in the Greek church, deprecatory; and in the church of the Re­formed, declarative.
  • Abyssinians, a sect, or heresy, established in Abyssinia, who are a branch of the Copts or Jacobites, admitting only one nature in Christ, and rejecting the council of Chalcedon. They are also called Monophysites and Eutychians.
  • Acephali, Acephalitae, the denomination of divers sects, viz. 1st, Of [Page]those who in the council of Ephesus refused to follow either St. Cyril, or John of Antioch. 2dly, Of certain heretics of the fifth century, who at first followed Peter Mongus, but afterwards de­serted him, and stuck to the errors of Euryches. 3dly, Of the ad­herents of Severus of Antioch; and of all, in general, who re­fused to admit the council of Chalcedon.
  • Acoematoe, or Acoemeti, a name given to certain Monks in the an­tient church, who flourished particularly in the East; so called because they had divine service continually, and without inter­ruption, performed in their churches; being divided into three bodies which relieved each other.
  • Acoluthi, applied in the primitive times to those young persons who aspired to the ministry, and for this purpose continually attended the bishops. At Rome there are three kinds of Acoluthi or Aco­lythi, viz. Palatini, who wait on the Pope; Stationarii, who serve in churches; and Regionarii, who with the deacons of­ficiate in other parts of the city.
  • Act of Faith. See Auto-dee-fé.
  • Adamites, sometimes called Originists, a sect which sprung up in the second century, and who asserted, that since the death of Christ they were as innocent as Adam before his fall, and consequently went naked in their assemblies.
  • Adessenarians, a sect that believe the presence of Christ's body in the eucharist.
  • Adiaphorists, a name given, in the sixteenth century, to the mode­rate Lutherans, who adhered to the sentiments of Melanchton.
  • Adoptians, a sect in the eighth century, who held that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, not by nature but by adoption.
  • Adrianists, a sect in the first century; they consisted of two sorts; the first were a branch of the disciples and followers of Simon Magus. Theodoret is the only one who hath preserved their names and memories. The second were followers of Adrian Hempstead the Anabaptist.
  • Advent, the name of one of the holy seasons, signifying, the coming, i. e. the coming of our Saviour, which is made the sub­ject of our devotion, the four weeks before Christmas.
  • Aerians, a sect in the reign of Constantine the Great, about the year 342, who held that there is no distinction founded in scrip­ture, betwixt a Presbyter and a Bishop. (Thus Aerius is said to be the rise of the Presbyterians, so considerable in England.)
  • Aeternales, who maintained the eternity of the world a parte postie, and that after the resurrection, it should continue the same as it now is; but whence this sect arose is not certainly known.
  • Aetians (of Aetius of Antioch) a sect or branch of the Arians; they held that God could be perfectly comprehended by us mor­tals; denied the Son to be like the Father in power, substance, or will; that the Holy Ghost was created by the Son; that Christ assumed human flesh, but not an human soul. They also affirm­ed, [Page]that faith without works was sufficient to salvation, and that no sin, however grievous, would be imputed to the faithful.
  • Agapes, or Agapae, a religious festival celebrated in the ancient church, to keep up a harmony and concord amongst its members. On account of the disorders practised in them, they were con­demned in the council of Carthage, Anno 397.
  • Agapetae, a name given to certain virgins and widows associated with, and attending on ecclesiastics, out of a motive of piety and charity.
  • Aginians, a sect about the end of the seventh century, who disal­lowed the use of certain meats, and condemned marriage; they had but few followers, and were soon suppressed.
  • Agnoites, a sect who sprung up about the year 372, who denied the omniscience of God, and affirmed that he knew things past by memory only, and things future by an uncertain prescience: they revived again about the year 535, and held that Christ knew not the day of his coming.
  • Agnus Dei, in the Romish church, denotes a cake of wax, stamped with the figure of a lamb, supporting the banner of the cross, consecrated in due form by the Popes, to be distributed amongst the people, and supposed to have great virtues annexed to it.
  • Agonisiici, a name given by Donatus to those of his sect whom he sent into the neighbouring places, fairs, markets, &c. to preach his doctrine.
  • Agonoclites, a sect in the seventh century, who never kneeled at their prayers, but offered them standing.
  • Alb, a very ancient priestly vestment, worn by ministers in the ad­ministration of the eucharist. According to the description given of it by Durandus, it seems to have been a kind of linen gar­ment, made sit and close to the body, like a cassock, tied round the middle with a girdle or fash, the sleeves being either plain like those of a cassock, or else gathered close at the hands like the sleeves of a shirt. The Albs were formerly embroidered with various colours, and adorned with fringes. The surplice, among us, answers to the Alb; for the first rubrick of the common prayer enjoins, that whensoever the Bishop shall celebrate the holy com­munion in the church, or execute any other public ministration, he shall put upon him, beside his rochette, a surplice, or Alb.
  • Albali, a Christian sect in 1399, who distinguished themselves by wearing white linen, and bewailing the evils and errors of the age: they usually carried a crucifix in their hand; but as they visited many parts of Italy, it alarmed the Pope, who sent soldi­ers to apprehend and put their priest to death, and disperse the rest.
  • Albanenses, a sect commenced about the year 796; they believed two principles, the one good, the other evil, denied the divinity of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the body, and affirmed that the general judgment was past. They denied that there was any vir­tue [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page]or efficacy in baptism, and they believed that hell torments were no other than the evils we feel here. They did not admit of original sin, nor administer baptism to infants; they denied free-will, held the eternity of the world, disallowed of marriage, and held it unlawful to take an oath.
  • Albigenses, alias Waldenses, a sect of Reformers about Tholouse and the Albigois, in Languedoc, who, in the twelfth century, be­came remarkable for their opposition to the discipline and cere­monies of the church of Rome. Peter Valdo was one of their principal leaders, who sold his goods, and distributed to the poor, then recommended voluntary poverty, great abstemiousness of manners, baptised only the adult, and other things, in opposition to the church. The Inquisition court was first established against them, in 1204; but that proving insufficient to suppress them, a holy league or croisade was agreed upon, and the Pope set up his standard against them. At length a peace was concluded, but up­on terms of great restriction.
  • All Saints, a feast of the Romish church, particularly, celebrated Nov. 1, in honour of all the saints and martyrs.
  • Almirists, a sect that appeared in 1209, and held that every one is to be saved by the internal operation of the spirit, without any external acts of religion.
  • Alogians, a sect of erroneous Christians in the first century, who de­nied that Jesus Christ was the logos or word. The name in the original signifying without logos or word.
  • Altar at Athens, inscribed to the unknown God. St. Jerom in­forms us that it was not inscribed exactly as St. Paul relates, but that the words were these: To the gods of Asia, Europe and Af­rica, to the unknown and strange gods; and that the apostle purposely changed the plural into the singular, because it was necessary to answer his design, to demonstrate only to the Athe­nians that they adored an unknown God.
  • Altar, under the law, a place or pile whereon to offer sacrifices. A­mong Christians the table where the communion is administred.
  • Altars, in the Romish church, are built of stone, to represent Christ, the foundation-stone, of that spiritual building the church. To it there are three steps, covered with a carpet, and adorned with many costly ornaments, according to the season of the year.
  • Altar, bowing towards it at our first entrance into the church, no evident proof of it in the ancient writers of the Christian church; but some probability that it was at first taken up from the Jewish custom of bowing themselves towards the mercy-seat: but that this custom prevailed pretty early, may be gathered from the li­turgies of St. Basil and St. Chrysostom, but not founded on any known decree or canon of a council.
  • Ambo, or Ambon, a kind of pulpit or desk, in the ancient churches, [Page]where the priests and deacons stood to read or sing part of the service, or to preach.
  • Amictus, the uppermost of the six garments worn by the priests; it was tied round the neck, and covered the breast and heart.
  • Amsdorsians, from Amsdorf, in the sixteenth century, who were rigid confessionists, and maintained that good works were unprofitable.
  • Anathema, a curse pronounced by ecclesiastical authority.
  • Angelics, an order of Italian nuns. Their foundress was Louisa Torelli, Countess of Guastalla; who, in the year 1534, obtaining a brief of Pope Paul III. for the establishing a congregation of nuns under the rule of St. Augustin, for this purpose built a very large monastery and church at Milan; and the nuns of her insti­tute took the name of Angelics, that, by often hearing this name pronounced, they might be excited to imitate the purity of Angels. This name was confirmed to them by the Pope, who exempted them from the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Milan, and put them under the direction of the regular clerks of St. Paul. The Angelics wear the habit of the Dominicans; they carry on their breasts a wooden cross, and on their finger a gold ring, on which, instead of a precious stone, is the figure of a heart, and a cruci­fix engraven on it. On solemn days they wear on their heads crowns of thorns. Their constitutions were drawn up by the fa­mous St. Charles Barromeo, and confirmed by Pope Urban VIII.
  • Angelites held, that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are not the same, that none exists of himself, but that each is God by a par­ticipation of Deity. They believe the worlds were created by angels, and therefore worship them.
  • Annates, a year's income, due anciently to the Popes, upon the death of any Bishop, Abbot, parish-priest, &c. to be paid by his successor.
  • Annunciation, a Christian festival, celebrated on the 25th of March, in memory of the annunciation or tidings brought by the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary of the incarnation of Christ. On this festival the Pope performs the ceremony of marrying or cloystering; it began in the 7th century.
  • Anomoeans, such as denied any similitude between the essence of the Father and the Son.
  • Anthropomorphites. They, thro' great simplicity, took the scriptures every where in a literal sense, that as God made man in his own image, so they imagine man in the same form.
  • Antidicomareamites, held that Mary did not preserve her virginity, but had several children by Joseph.
  • Antiphony, the answer made by one choir to another, when the psalm or anthem is sung between two.
  • Antitactae, a kind of Gnostics, which vide.
  • Antitrinitarians, heretics, who deny the Holy Trinity.
  • Aphtharpodocites, imagined the body of Jesus Christ was impassible, [Page]and not capable of death or corruption; they were a branch of the Eutychians, and appeared about the year 535.
  • Apostles, from the Greek Apostolos, which signifies an envoy. The Hebrews had their Apostles, who were sent every year to collect a certain kind of tribute which the Jews paid him, called Aurum Corunarium. Some assert, that before Jesus Christ they had ano­ther sort of Apostle, whose business was to collect the half skekel which was to be paid by every Israelite to the Tabernacle or Tem­ple of the Lord: but it more properly belonged to the High-Priest or heads of the people, who were sent to carry their orders to the cities and provinces, when any affairs relating to religion were to be transacted. In the New Testament it is appropriated to the persons delegated or sent, as the twelve Disciples of our Lord, to propagate the gospel in all parts of the world.
  • Apostolical, an appellation given to such churches or doctrines as were established more immediately by the Apostles.
  • Apostolical Canons, rules or laws for the government of the Christian church, supposed by some to have been drawn up by the Apostles; but on much better authority to be a collection of rules and laws by some ancient council preceding the council of Nice.
  • Apostolics, an early sect of Christians, who professed to renounce the world, sold their possessions, embraced a voluntary poverty, and pretended to live more after the examples of the Apostles than other Christians.
  • Apotactinae, a sect who renounced all worldly possessions.
  • Appotinarians denied that Jesus Christ assumed true flesh, or a rati­onal human soul.
  • Aquarians consecrated water in the eucharist instead of wine; they were extremely abstemious, and eat no flesh: but another branch of them did approve of wine at the sacrament when received in the evening; they likewise mixed water with the wine.
  • Arabici, erroneous Christians, who sprung up in the third century, whose distinguishing tenet was, that the soul and body died toge­gether, and rose again. Eusebius relates, that a council was called to stop the progress of it, when Origen assisted at it, and convinced this sect so fully of their error, that they abjured it.
  • Arians, from Arius, who denied that the Son was God, consubstan­tial and coequal with the Father; and asserted him to be a crea­ture made out of nothing and in time. This doctrine was con­demned in the Nicene council, A. C. 325: but it was established in the council of Rimini, A. C. 365. Arius, the principal broacher of this doctrine, died in 336.
  • Arianism, the doctrine of Arius, who asserted that the Son is not un­begotten, nor in any manner a part of the unbegotten God, nor from any part of the material world; but that by the will and council of the Father, he existed before all time and ages, perfect God, the only begotten and unchangeable; and that therefore [Page]before he was begotten or formed he was not; but that there never was a time when he was not.
  • Armenians; there are two kinds, one are Catholics, and subject to the Pope, and have a Patriarch in Persia, another in Poland. The other are a peculiar sect in Natolia, and have two Pacriarchs. They believe the divine and human nature united in the Son; that the Holy Ghost proceeded only from the Father; celebrate the sacrament with unleavened bread, and deny the body and blood of Christ to be really in the elements. They receive infants pre­sently after baptism to the eucharist; deny the virtue of conferring grace to belong to the sacrament: they reject purgatory and pray­ing for the dead; they admit of married priests; they rebaptise those who come to their communion from the Latin church; they fast in Lent; they fast at Christmas, December 25, and feast at our Saviour's baptism: abstain from eating blood, &c.
  • Arminians, sometimes called Remonstrants, arose in Holland by a separation from the Calvinists, about the year 1600. Adherents to Arminius, a celebrated professor of divinity at Leyden. They looked upon the doctrine of the Trinity as a point not necessary to salvation; acknowledged the supremacy of God. They be­lieved that the assistance of the Holy Spirit of God for promoting faith and holiness is promised, and afforded on our sincere asking it; but that the scripture does not require us to pray to, nor pay adoration to the Holy Ghost. They also believe that Jesus Christ offered himself an acceptable sacrifice or oblation to God, but not as an adequate satisfaction. They speak very ambiguously of the prescience of God, at least Episcopius and some of them; for Arminius taught that God elected the faithful according to his fore-knowledge. They maintain, that there is an universal grace given to all men; that every man is a moral agent, at liber­ty to reject or embrace this grace: they disclaim all human au­thority over the faith and consciences of others; and inculcate charity and unity with Christians of different denominations.
  • Arnoldists, a kind of sectaries in the 12th century, so called from their chief, Arnold of Bresse, a great declaimer against the wealth and vices of the clergy. He is also charged with preaching against baptism and the eucharist, &c. He was burnt at Rome in 1155, and his ashes cast into the Tiber.
  • Artotyrites, a sect of Christians, a branch of the Montanists, who used to eat bread and cheese at the sacrament.
  • Ascension Day, Whitsunday, observed in commemoration of that miraculous elevation of our Saviour, when he ascended to heaven in the sight of the Apostles.
  • Ascetics, an antient appellation given to those who devoted them­selves to piety and virtue in a retired life, prayer, abstinence, &c.
  • Asclepiodotaeans, the first sect who held that Christ was a mere man, A. D. 221.
  • [Page] Ascordrutes, in the second century, rejected the use of all symbols and sacraments, on this principle, that incorporeal things cannot be communicated by things corporeal, nor divine mysteries by any thing visible.
  • Ash-Wednesday, the first day of Lent. It arose from a custom of the church, of sprinkling ashes on the heads of such as were then ad­mitted to penance. The ashes must be made from branches of the olive tree; then they are laid upon the altar, and blessed by the officiating priest, afterwards signed with the sign of the cross; then they are strewed on the heads of the priests, and then of the laity. When this ceremony took its rise, we cannot precisely de­termine. The use of ashes, and the ceremonies, were forbidden in England, by order of council, in the reign of Edward VI. 1548. This omission is at present supplied by reading publickly, on Ash-Wednesday, the curses denounced in the holy scriptures against several kinds of sins, the people repeating after such curse; Amen.
  • Assuritans, a sect of Christians, in the reign of Constantius, A. D. 358. They were a branch of the Donatists. They held that the Son was inferior to the Father, and the Holy Ghost to the Son: they re-baptised those who embraced their doctrines, and asserted that good men only were within the pale of the church.
  • Athanasian Creed. See Creed. Athanasius died in 371, before the creed said to be his was compiled.
  • Atheist, one who denies the existence and being of a God and Pro­vidence; one who owns no being superior to nature. Some de­nominate these speculative Atheists; and others, whose wicked lives lead them to believe or wish there was no God, are stiled practical Atheists.
  • Augustins, an order of religious, who observe the rule of St. Augus­tin. They are popularly called Austin friars, and were origi­nally hermits, congregated into one body by Pope Alexander IV. under their general Lanfranc, 1256.
  • Aulic Council, so called from the Latin, a hall, it being in the hall of the university that this council is generally held; a superior court or council which has an universal jurisdiction, and without appeal, over all the subjects of the Empire in all processes enter­ed therein. The name is likewise applied to the officers who preside or assist in it; it is composed of a president who is a Ca­tholic, a vice-chancellor, eighteen assessors, viz. nine Catholics and nine Protestants.
  • Auricular Confession, is that made in the ear privately, enjoined by Pope Innocent III. passed into an article of faith in the Lateran council, 1215.
  • Autocephali, Bishops. This denomination was given to such bishops in the primitive church as were exempted from the jurisdiction of others. Before the setting up of patriarchs, all metropolitans were accountable to no superior but a synod, and even after the advancement of patriarchs, several metropolitans continued thus [Page]independent; this was likewise a privilege of the ancient British church; insomuch that Dinothus told Austin, in the name of all the Britannic churches, that they owed no other obedience to the Pope than they did to every godly Christian. Besides these there were another sort subject to no metropolitan; but at what time this sort of independent bishoprics took place, is uncertain.
  • Auto-de fé, or act of faith, is a solemn day held by the inquisition for the punishment of heretics, and the absolution of the innocent accused. They usually contrive the Auto to fall on some great festival, that the execution may pass with the more awe and re­gard, at least it is always on a Sunday. The criminals are first led to church, where their sentence is read to them, either of con­demnation or absolution. Those condemned to death are here delivered up to the secular power, with an earnest intreaty that no blood may be shed. But if they persist in their supposed errors, they are burnt alive. Those who suffer on this account, meet with much less compassion and humanity than those who are put to death for capital crimes.
  • Azymites, Christians who administer the eucharist, or holy commu­nion, with unleavened bread. Authors are not agreed as to this being an occasion of a rupture between the Romish and Greek church; but Bingham mentions it as his opinion, that the use of wafers and unleavened bread was not known in the church till the 11th or 12th century, and he tells the following story in con­firmation of it: As Gregory the Great was administering the bread to a certain woman in the usual form, the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, &c. she fell a laughing, and, being asked the rea­son of it, said, because he called that the body of Jesus Christ, which she knew to be bread that she had made with her own hands. Besides, the ancients say their bread was common bread, and not objected to till 1051. But this is much more contro­verted by F. Sirmond, in a dissertation, wherein he shews, that the Latins had constantly communicated in leavened bread, till the 10th century; and Thomas Aquinas maintains, that, during the first ages of the church, none but unleavened bread was used in the church; that the primitive church did it in imitation of our Saviour, who celebrated the last supper with unleavened bread. Upon the whole, in the council of Florence it was decreed, that the point lay at the discretion of the church, and that either lea­vened or unleavened bread might be used. The Western church has preferred the latter.
  • BAgnolenses, a sect of heretics in the 8th century, who were mostly Manichees; rejected the Old Testament and part of the New, held the world to be eternal, and that God did not create the soul, when he infused it into the body.
  • [Page] Baptistery, the place in which the ceremony of baptism is perform­ed: in the ancient church it was generally a building separate and distinct from the church; it consisted of an ante-room, where the persons to be baptised made their confession of faith, and an in­ner-room, where the ceremony of baptism was performed. Thus it continued to the 6th century, at which time the baptistries be­gan to be taken into the church.
  • Barallots, a sect of heretics at Bologna, in Italy, who had all things, even their wives and children, in common.
  • Barbes, the name which the Vaudois, or Waldenses, a Protestant sect in Provence, Languedoc, &c. gave to their pastors. The term signifies, in the Venetian language, an Elder: the reason why their ministers were called by this name, was, that they might thereby conceal their function in remote parts, and times of persecution. The Barbes made the education of youth, and the superintendency of the public schools, an important branch of their employment. Out of these scholars they selected such as had the best capacities for the ministry; and, in order to form and fit them for that office, retained them for a time in their own houses. However the exercise of the ministry was no man­ner of obstruction to their practice of some manual occupation, or some other science, particularly physic, or surgery, in which many of them were very great proficients: they held a synod every year, at which time the students in divinity were examined, ordained, and appointed, either to go abroad, or to preach in some of their churches. Their young pupils were accustomed to an unlimited obedience; some of the Barbes were married men, though the majority of them observed celibacy, that they might discharge their functions with the less obstruction or incumbrance.
  • Bardesanists, a sect of ancient heretics, so denominated from their leader Bardesanes, a Syrian, of Edessa, in Mesopotamia. They believed that the actions of men depended altogether on fate, and that God himself is subject to necessity. They denied the resur­rection of the body, and the incarnation and death of our Savi­our.
  • Barnabas, one of the fathers, flourished A. C. 34. His works were printed at Oxford, 1685.
  • St. Barnabas's Day, a Christian festival, celebrated on the 11th of June. St. Barnabas was born at Cyprus, and descended of the tribe of Levi, whose Jewish ancestors are thought to have retired thither, to secure themselves from violence during the trouble­some times in Judea. His proper name was Joses; to which, af­ter his conversion to Christianity, the Apostles added that of Bar­nabas, signifying either the son of prophecy, or the son of conso­lation; the first respecting his emment prophetic gifts, the other his great charity in selling his estate for the comfort and relief of the poor Christians. He was educated at Jerusalem, under the great Jewish doctor Gamaliel, which might probably lay the [Page]foundation of that intimate friendship which was afterwards con­tracted between this Apostle and St. Paul. The time of his con­version is uncertain; but he is generally esteemed one of the seven­ty disciples chosen by our Saviour himself.
  • Barnabites, an order of religious, thus called from the church of St. Barnabas at Milan, where they were first established; and not, as some have imagined, because St. Barnabas was their pa­tron; in reality St. Paul is the patron of the Barnabites. The Barnabites are regular priests of the congregation of St. Paul. Their habit is black, and the same with that they wore when first established, in 1533, by the express bulls of Pope Cle­ment VII. Their office is to instruct, catechise, and serve in missions.
  • St. Bartholomew's Day, a festival of the Christian church, celebrated on the 24th of August. St. Bartholomew was one of the twelve Apostles, and is esteemed to be the same as Nathaniel, one of the first disciples that came to Christ. The reason of this opinion is, because, as St. John never mentions Bartholomew in the num­ber of the Apostles, so the other Evangelists never mention Na­thaniel; and as, in St. John, Philip and Nathaniel are joined to­gether in their coming to Christ, so, in the rest of the Evange­lists, Philip and Bartholomew are constantly put together. What renders this still more probable, is, that Nathaniel is particularly mentioned among the Apostles, to whom our Lord appeared at the sea of Tiberias, after his resurrection, where were present Simon Peter, Thomas, and Nathaniel of Cana in Galli [...]ee, and the two sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples, who were probably Andrew and Philip.
  • Bartholomites, a religious order, founded at Genoa in the year 1307. In 1296, the Sultan of Egypt coming into Armenia, committed great cruelties in that country, and particularly persecuted the monks of St. Basil, settled at Monte Negro, many of whom suf­fered martyrdom, and others escaped it by flight. Some of the latter flying into Europe, came to Genoa, under the conduct of one Father Martin. They were well received, and offered a set­tlement in that city.
  • Basil, St. order of, the most ancient of all the religious orders, ta­king its name from St. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea, about the mid­dle of the fourth century.
  • Basilidians, a sect so called from Basilides, in the second century, and cotemporary with Saturninus, who flourished at Antioch, Basilides in Alexandria. The peculiar tenets he held were, that the supreme God, whom he stiled Abraxas, begot the thais or understanding; from the thais was the Logos cerived, from the Logos phrenesis, or (as Tertullian translates it) Providence, from phrenesis sophia, and dynamis, i. e. wisdom and power; from so­phia and dynamis sprung powers, principalities, and angels, whom he calls the first, by which angels were the first heaven [Page]created; and then from them other angels, by way of derivation, arose, who made and possessed another heaven; and the head of all these angels was the God of the Jews, the Creator of our world; that Jesus Christ was his first begotten, but that he did not be­come incarnate, only appeared in human form, &c. &c.
  • Beatification, in the Romish church, the act whereby the Pope de­clares the person happy after death. It differs from canoniza­tion; in the former, the Pope does not act as a judge in deter­mining the state of the beatified, but only grants a privilege to certain persons to honour him by a particular religious worship, without incurring the penalty of superstitious worshippers; but in canonization, the Pope speaks as a judge, and determines ex ca­thedra upon the state of the canonized. It was introduced, when it was thought proper to delay the canonization of saints, for the greater assurance of the truth, and manifestation of the rigo­rous steps taken in the procedure.
  • Beghardi, Beguardi, or Begghardi, the name of an heretical sect in Germany, which sprung up towards the end of the 13th century. Their head was one Dulcinus. Their principal tenets were, that man, in this life, might be impeccable, and that he might rise to a degree of perfection not to be exceeded; that this state is as happy as heaven, which, when once obtained, men are no long­er obliged to observe the fasts of the church, nor obey their supe­riors; that every intellectual creature is self-happy; they disre­garded good works, as of no avail to salvation, and took great pains to spread abroad their impious doctrines. These fanatics, who wore the habit of monks, without paying regard to any other rule, or observing celibacy, were condemned under Pope Clement V. at the council of Vienna, in 1311.
  • Beguins, devout societies of young women, established in several parts of Flanders, Picardy, and Lorrain, who maintain them­selves by the work of their own hands, leading a middle kind of life, between the secular and religious, but make no vows.
  • Benedictius, or Benedictin order, is an order of monks, who profess to follow the uses of St. Benedict. The Benedictins are those properly called Monachi, monks; the other orders may properly be denominates friars. In the canon law, the Benedictins are call­ed black m [...]aks, being distinguished from the other orders by the colour of their habit, and not by the firname of their patri­arch, St. Benedict. Among us they wear formerly denominated black friars. The Benedictins wore a loose black gown, with large wide sleeves, and a capuche on their heads, ending in a point behind.
  • Benedictions: The Hebrews under this name understand the presents which friends make to one another, in all probability because they are generally attended with blessings and compliments, both from those who give and those who receive them.
  • Benefice, benefitium, in an ecclesiastical sense, a church endowed [Page]with a revenue for the performance of divine service, or the reve­nue itself, assigned to an ecclesiastical person for life, in return for his performing the service of the church.
  • Berengarians, a religious sect in the eleventh century, which adher­ed to the opinions of Berengarius, archdeacon of Angers, who, in the year 1035, began to propagate his doctrine concern­ing the eucharist, in a manner agreeable to the tenets, not only of Bertram and Scotus, but of the whole primitive church; as­serting, that the bread and wine in the Lord's supper is not really and essentially, but only figuratively, changed into the body and blood of Christ. Several of the monks strenuously opposed Be­rengarius: at length, in the year 1050, he was condemned in a synod held at Rome by Pope Leo IX. and excommunicated: as he was also the same year in a synod held at Verceil in Piedmont, and in another held at Tours in Franc [...], at which Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, assisted. In the year 1059. Berenga­rius maintained his opinion in a synod held at Rome before Pope Nicholas II. His followers were divided on the head of the eu­charist, but they all agreed that the bread and wine were not essen­tially changed, some allowing that the body and blood of Christ were contained in them, tho' concealed under an impanation; others denying any change at all.
  • Bernardins, or Bernardites, a Christian fect, extended over a great part of Europe, being an improvement on the order of St. Be­nedict, first made by Robert, abbot de Moleme, and further re­formed by St. Bernard, abbot de Clervaux, whence they take their name.—Their usual habit is a white gown, with a black scapula­ry; but when they officiate, they put on a large white cowl with great sleeves, and a hood of the same colour.—They differ very little from the Cistercians: they had their origin toward the beginning of the twelfth century.
  • Bethlchemites, a Christian sect, called star-bearers, because they were distinguished by a red star, having five rays, which they wore on their breast, in memory of the star which appeared to the wife men, and conducted them to Bethlehem. Several au­thors have mentioned this order, but none have told us their ori­gin, nor where their convents were situated, if we except Mat­thew Paris, who says, that in the year 1257 they obtained a settlement in England, which was at Cambridge, in Trumping­ton-street.
  • Bible. This word comes from the Greek Biblos, which signifies a book: we give this name to the collections of the sacred writ­ings, and call it Bible or book, by way of eminence and dis­tinction; the Hebrews call it Mikra which signifies lesson, lec­ture or scripture.—The books of the Old Testament were writ­ten chiefly in Hebrew; there are some parts of Daniel written in Chaldee, but for the book of Wisdom it was never written in any other than in Greek.

    [Page]The books of the New Testament were all written in Greek, except St. Matthew, which was written in Hebrew, that is to say in Syriac, which was the language spoken at that time in Judea; but it is disputed whether St. Mark wrote in Greek or Latin, and whether the epistle to the Hebrews was not at first written in He­brew; but it appears most certain that they were originally com­posed in Greek.

    For an account of the different translations of the books of the Old and New Testament, see Calmet.

  • Bidellians, from John Biddle, a school-master at Gloucester, who was principal in the Socinian scheme, except that with the Pneu­matomachi of old, he admitted the personality of the Holy Ghost, and, denying only its divinity, asserted it to be no more than chief among the holy angels. He met with great opposition and persecution. This name was in good measure lost in the more common appellation of Socinians, or, which they rather chose for themselves, that of Unitarians; their first rise was in 1644.
  • Bogomili, or Bogarmitae, a sect of heretics sprung from the Ma­nichees, or Massalians, towards the close of the eleventh century; whose chief, Basil, was burnt alive by order of the Emperor Alex­ander Comnenus. They denied the Trinity, maintaining their God had a human form, that the world was created by evil an­gels, &c. &c. &c.
  • Bons Fieux, in English, good sons, a congregation of religious, of the third order of St. Francis, so called; it was founded at Armantieres, a little town of Flanders upon the Lis, in the year 1615, by five pious artisans, the oldest of whom was named Hen­ry Pringuel, a native of that town; they lived in common, and formed a little community in a house belonging to Pringuel; their habit was black, and not distinguished from that of seculars; three of them spent their time in making linen cloth, one taught youth, and the fifth made lace: thus they lived till the year 1626, when they embraced the third rule of St. Francis, their order in­creased, and, in 1670, it consisted of two congregations, that of Armantieres, and that of Lisle, in the diocese of Tournay: in 1679, they made a third settlement at St. Venant, in the diocese of St. Omer. Lewis XIV. gave them the direction of all his hospitals at Dunkirk, Burgues, and Ypres; their congregation is at present composed of seven houses and hospitals, or rather seven families, according to their manner of speaking.
  • Breviary, the Roman Catholic common prayer book, generally in Latin. There are some in England, Latin and English.—The Roman Breviary is general, and may be used in every place; but on the model of this have been built various others peculiarily appropriated to each diocese and to each order of religion. It consists of the services of mattins, lauds, prime, thirds, sixths, nones, vespers, and the complines or post communion.
  • [Page] Briefs (apostolical) denote letters which the Pope dispatches to prin­ces and other magistrates touching any public affair. They are thus called, as being very concise, written on paper without preface or preamble, by which they are distinguished from bulls, which are more ample, and always wrote on parchment, and sealed with lead or green wax, and with the seal of the fisherman, or St. Peter in a boat, a seal never applied but in the Pope's pre­sence.
  • Brothers, Lay Brothers, among the Romanists, are those pious, but illiterate persons, who devote themselves in some convent to the service of the religious,—A lay brother wears a different habit from that of the religious; he never enters into the choir, nor is present at the chapters; he is not in any orders, nor makes any vow, except of constancy and obedience, he is employed in the temporal concerns of the convent, and has the care of the kit­chen, gate, &c. The institution of lay brothers began in the eleventh century; the persons on whom this title and office were conferred, were too ignorant to become clerks, and therefore ap­plied themselves wholly to bodily work, in which they expressed that zeal for religion, which could not exert itself in spiritual ex­ercises.—In the nunneries, there are also lay sisters, who are re­tained in the convent for the service of the nuns, in like manner as the lay brothers are for the monks.
  • Budnaeans, or Budneists, a sectary in Poland, 1584, who disclaimed the worship of Christ, like those in Transylvania, met with much opposition, yet propagated their opinions at Cracow, in the reign of Sigismund. They and their opposers ran into many wild hy­potheses, construing many natural effects into supernatural phaeno­mena in favour of each other.
  • Bull, a written letter, dispatched, by order of the Pope, from the Roman chancery, and sealed with lead. It is a kind of apostoli­cal rescript, or edict, and is chiefly in use in matters of justice and grace. If the former be the intention of the bull, the lead is hung by a hempen cord; if the latter, by a silken thread. It is this pendent lead, or seal, which is, properly speaking, the bull, and which is impressed on the one side with the head of St. Peter and St. Paul, and on the other with the name of the Pope, and the year of his pontificate. The bull is written in an old round Gothic let­ter, and is divided into five parts, the narrative of the fact, the conception, the clause, the date, and the salutation, in which the Pope stiles himself Servus Serverum, the servant of servants.— These instruments, besides the lead hanging to them, have a cross, with some texts of scripture, or religious motto about it. Thus in those of Pope Licius III. the device was, Adjuva nos Deus sa­lutaris noster, that of Urban III. Ad te Domine levavi animam me­am, and that of Alexander III. Vias tuas, Domine, demonstrata mihi.—Bulls are granted for the consecration of Bishops, the pro­motion of benefices, the celebration of jubilies, &c. Those [Page]brought into-France are limited by the law and customs of the land, nor are they admitted, till they have been examined, and found to contain nothing contrary to the liberties of the Galli­can church.
  • Calixtins, a party or sect of Christians, in Bohemia and Meravia, in the 15th century. The principal point in which they differ­ed from the church, was, the use of the chalice (calix) or com­municating in both kinds. They were a branch of the Hussites, or followers of John Huss.
  • Caloyers, a general name given to the monks of the Greek church. These religious consider St. Basil as their father and founder, and look upon it as a crime to follow any other rule than his. There are three degrees among them, the novices, who are called Archari; the ordinary professed, called Microchemi; and the more perfect, called Magalochemi. They are likewise divided into Coenobites, Anchorets, and Recluse. In the monasteries, the religious rise at midnight, and repeat a particular office, called from thence Mesonycticon, which takes up the space of two hours; after which they retire to their cells, till five o'clock in the morn­ing, when they return to the church to say mattins. At nine o'clock, they repeat the terce, sexte, and mass; after which they repair to the refectory, where is a lecture read till dinner. At four o'clock in the afternoon they say vespers; and at six go to supper. After supper they say an office, from thence called Apodipho, and, at eight, each monk retires to his chamber and bed, till midnight. Every day, after mattins, they confess their faults, on their knees, to their superior. They have four Lents; the first and greatest is that of the resurrection of our Lord: they call it the Grand Quarantain, and it lasts eight weeks. During this Lent, the religious drink no wine, and their abstinence is so great, that, if they are obliged in speaking to name milk, butter, or cheese, they always add this aparenthesis, "Timitis a gias sarocostis;" i. e. save the respect due to holy Lent. The second Lent is that of the holy Apostles, which begins eight days after Whitsuntide; its duration is not fixed, it continuing sometimes three weeks, and at other times longer. During this Lent, they are allowed to drink wine. The third Lent is that of the Assump­tion of our Lady, it lasts fourteen days: during which they abstain from fish, excepting on Sundays, and the day of the transfigu­ration of our Lord. The fourth Lent is that of Advent, which they observe after the same manner as that of the Apostles. The Caloyers, besides the usual habit of the monastic life, wear over their shoulders a square piece of stuff, on which are represented the cross, and the other marks of the passion of our Saviour, with these letters, JC. XC. NC. i. e. Jesus Christus vincit.
  • [Page] Calvinism, the doctrine and sentiments of Calvin and his followers, with regard to matters of religion. Calvinism subsists in its great­est purity in the city of Geneva, whence it was propagated over France, the United Provinces, and England. In France it was abolished by the revocation of the edict of Nantz in 1685. It has been the prevailing religion in the United Provinces ever since the year 1572. In England it has dwindled since the time of Queen Elizabeth, and is now chiefly confined among the Dis­senters; though it still subsists, a little allayed, in the articles of the established church, and in its rigour in Scotland. Of the thirteen Swiss Cantons there are six who profess Calvinism, which likewise obtains in the Palatinate; except that of late, Popery is there become the reigning religion. The distinguishing tenets of Calvinism are, 1st, That predestination and reprobation are prior to the prescience of good or evil works. 2dly, That predestination and reprobation depend on the mere will of God, without any re­gard to the merits or demerits of mankind. 3dly, That God gives to those, whom he has predestinated, a faith which they can­not lose: a necesstating grace, which takes away the freedom of the will; and that he imputes no sin to them. 4thly, That the righteous cannot do any good work, by reason of original sin, which cleaves to them. 5thly, That men are justified by faith only. The modern Calvinists reject or palliate some of these arti­cles. In France the Calvinists are distinguished by the name of Huguenots; and, among the common people, by that of Parpail­lots. In Germany they are confounded with the Lutherans, un­der the general title Protestants; only sometimes distinguished by the name Reformed.
  • Camaldolites, or Camaldules, a religious order founded by St. Romuald, a native of Ravenna, and descended from the illustrious house of its Dukes. Romuald had tasted all the pleasures, and passed through all the vices, incident to youth; but continual re­morse of conscience determined him at last to renounce the world, and dedicate himself wholly to God and religion: for which pur­pose he retired to Mount Cassin, where the conversation of a re­ligious, whom he met with there, confirmed him in his resolution, and induced him to take the habit in that monastery. The man­ner of life, which he enjoined his disciples to observe, was this: they dwelt in separate cells, and met together only at the times of prayer; some of them during the two Lents of the year, observed an inviolable silence, and others for the space of an hundred days. On Sundays and Thursdays they fed on herbs, and the rest of the week only on bread and water.
  • Cameronites, a party of Presbyterians, which sprung up in Scotland, in the reign of King Charles II. They took their name from one Archibald Cameron, a field-preacher, who was the first that sepa­rated in communion from the other Presbyterians, who differed from him in opinion concerning the minister [...], who had accepted [Page]of an indulgence from the King. He affirmed, that it was counte­nancing the supremacy in church-affairs; whilst they alledged, that it was only making use of the liberty to exercise the pastoral function, from which they had been unduly restrained. The Cameronians, in the fury of their zeal, separated from the kirk. They affirmed, that the King had forfeited his right to the crown by breaking the solemn league and covenant, which were the terms on which he received it. They pretended both to dethrone and excommunicate him, and broke out into an open rebellion, which was suppressed by the Duke of Monmouth, at Bothwell­bridge. Upon the Revolution they were reconciled to the kirk, and the preachers of their party submitted to the general assembly of the church of Scotland, in 1690. (See the history of that church).
  • Canon. This term signifies rule, according to the import of the Greek. It is particularly used in the language of the church, to signify such rules as are prescribed by councils concerning faith, discipline, and manners. It is made use of likewise to denote those books of scripture which are received as inspired and cano­nical, and to distinguish them from either profane, apocryphal, or disputed books. There have been various collections of the canons of the Eastern councils; but there are four principal ones, each ampler than the preceding ones; the first, according to U­sher, A. D. 380, containing only those of the first oecumenical council, and the five principal ones; they were but 164 in num­ber: To these Dionysius Exiguus, in the year 520, added the fifty canons of the Apostles, and those of other general councils. The Greek canons in this sacred collection, and with those of the council of Chalcedon; to which are subjoined those of the council of Sardica, and the African councils. The fourth and last collection comes down as low as the second council of Nice; and it is on that Balsamon and Zonaras have commented. Canon is also used (as before observed) for the authorised catalogue of the holy writings. The ancient canon, or catalogue of the books of the Old Testament, was made by the Jews, and is ordinarily attributed to Esdras. This is the canon allowed to have been fol­lowed by the primitive church till the council of Carthage, and according to St. Jerom consisted of no more than twenty-two books. But that council enlarged the canon very considerably, taking into it the books which we call the Apocrypha; which the council of Trent have farther inforced, injoining all these to be received as books of holy scripture, upon pain of anathema, and being attainted of heresy.
  • Canonization, a declaration of the Pope, whereby, after a great deal of solemnity, they enter into the list of the saints some person who has lived an exemplary live, and wrought miracles. The word ca­nonization seems to be of later origin than the thing; there being [Page]no instance of the use of the word before the 12th century: where­as St. Uldaricus was canonized in the tenth. The name is from canon, in regard the primitive canonizations were only orders of the Popes or Bishops, whereby persons eminent for piety, &c. were inferred in the canon of the mass, that they might be commemo­rated in the service, for that in those days the use of martyrolo­gies was unknown in the church. Mabillon distinguishes two kinds of canonization, a general and particular: the first made by a general council, or a Pope; the second by a Bishop, a particular church, or a provincial council. There are instances likewise of canonization, at least something very like them, by Abbots. At first only martyrs were canonized; by degrees they came to con­fessors. It is disputed whether the martyrdom does not supply the want of miracles. Canonization anciently consisted in inserting the saint's name in the sacred Diptychs, or canon of saints; in ap­pointing a proper office for invoking him, and erecting churches under his invocation, with altars for mass to be celebrated on; taking up the body from the first place of its burial, and the like ceremonies. By degrees, other formalities were added; pro­cessions made with the saint's image in triumph, the day of his death is declared a feast; and, to render the thing still more solemn, Honorius III. in 1225, added several days indulgence to a canonization.
  • Canons, a particular order of religious, distinct from monks. Their original can be carried no higher than the fourth century, and is unanimously ascribed to the famous St. Augustin, Bishop of Hippo, in Africa, who first prescribed a way of living to clerks, who would voluntarily live in common, and possess nothing, after the example of the monks.
  • Capuchins, religious of the order of St. Francis, in its strictest ob­servance. The Capuchins are thus called, from capuce or capu­chon, a stuff cap or cowl, wherewith they cover their heads. They are cloathed with brown or grey, always bare-footed, are never to go in a coach, nor ever shave their beard. The Capu­chins are a reform made from the Minors, commonly called Cor­deliers, set on foot in the sixteenth century by Matthew Baschi, a religious observant of the monastery of Montefiascone, who, being a Roman, was advertised several times from heaven to prac­tise the rule of St. Francis to the latter. Upon this he made ap­plication to Pope Clement, in 1525, who gave him permission to retire into a solitude, and not only him, but as many others as would embrace the strict observance, which some did accordingly. In 1528, they obtained the Pope's bull; in 1529, the order was brought into complete form. Matthew was elected General, and the chapter made constitutions. In 1543, the right of preaching was taken from the Capuchins by the Pope; but, in 1545, it was restored to them again with honour. In 1578, there were al­ready seventeen general chapters in the order of Capuchins.
  • [Page] Cardinal, is more particularly used for an ecclesiastic Prince, one who has a voice both active and passive in the Roman conclave, at the election of a Pope. Some say the Cardinals were so called from the Latin, incardinatio, which signifies the adoption any church made of a priest of a foreign church, driven thence by misfortune; and add, that the use of the word commenced at Rome and Ravenna; the revenues of the churches of which cities being very great, they became the common refuge of the unhap­py priests of all other churches. The Cardinals compose the Pope's council or senate in the Vatican; are a constitution of Pope John, which regulates the rights and titles of Cardinals; in which he declares, that as the Pope represents Moses, so the Cardinals re­present the seventy disciples, who, under the Pontifical authori­ty, decide private and particular differences. Cardinals, in their first institution, were only the principal priests, or incumbents of the parishes of Rome. In the primitive church, the chief priest of a parish, who immediately followed the Bishop, was called presbyter cardinalis, to distinguish him from the other petty priests, who had no church nor preferment. The term was first applied to them in the year 150; others say, under Pope Silvester, in the year 300. These Cardinals alone were allowed to baptise, and administer the eucharist. When the Cardinal priests became Bishops, their cardinalate became vacant, they being then sup­posed to be raised to a higher dignity. Under Pope Gregory, Cardinal priests and Cardinal deacons were only such priests or deacons as had a church or chapel under their care; and this was the original use of the word. Leo IV. in the council of Rome held in 853, calls them presbyteros sui cardinalis, and their church is parochios cardinales. The Cardinals continued on this footing till the eleventh century; but as the grandeur of his state and Holiness became exceedingly augmented, he would have his coun­cil of Cardinals make a better figure than the ancient priests had done. It is true, they still preserved their ancient title; but the thing expressed by it was no more. It was a good while, how­ever, ere they had the precedence over Bishops, or got the elec­tion of the Pope into their hands; but when they were once pos­sessed of those privileges, they soon had the red hat and purple, and, growing still in authority, became at length superior to the Bishops, by the sole quality of being Cardinals.
  • Carmelites, an order of religious, making one of the four tribes of Mendicants or begging friars, and taking both its name and ori­ginal from Carmel, a mountain of Syria, formerly inhabited by the prophets Elias and Elisha, and by the children of the prophets, from whom this order pretends to descend in an uninterrupted suc­cession. The manner in which they make out their antiquity has something too ridiculous to be rehearsed. Some among them pretend they are descendants from Jesus Christ; others go far­ther; [Page]and makes Pythagoras a Carmelite, and the ancient Druids regular branches of their order.
  • Carpocratians, a branch of the ancient Gnostics, so called from Car­pocrates, who, in the second century, revived and improved upon the errors of Simon Magus, Menander, Saturninus, and other Gnostics. He owned with them one sole Principal and Father of all things, whose name, as well as nature, was unknown. The world, he taught, was created by angels, vastly inferior to the first principle. He opposed the divinity of Jesus Christ, making him a mere man, begotten carnally on the body of Mary by Jo­seph, though possessed of uncommon gifts, which set him above other creatures. He inculcated a community of women, and taught, that the soul could not be purified till it had committed all kinds of abominations, making that a necessary condition of per­fection.
  • Carthusians, an order of religious, instituted by S. Bruno about the year 1086, remarkable for the austerity of their rule, which obliges them to a perpetual solitude, a total abstinence from flesh, even at the peril of their lives, and absolute silence, except at cer­tain stated times. Their houses were usually built in deserts, their fare coarse, and discipline severe. It is observed, that the monastical piety is better preserved in this than in any of the others. M. l'Abbe de la Trappe, however, endeavours to shew, that the Carthusians do not live up to the austerity enjoined by the ancient statutes of Guigues, their fifth general. M. Masson, at present general of the order, answers that abbot, and shews, that what he calls the statutes or constitutions of Guigues, are in rea­lity only customs compiled by Father Guigues, and that they did not become laws till long after.
  • Catechism, catechise, are Greek terms, which signify instruction, to instruct.
  • Catechist, he who instructs.
  • Catechumen, the person to be instructed, in order to his being ad­mitted a member of the Christian church.
  • Cathedral, a church wherein a Bishop has a see or seat. The deno­mination cathedral seems to have taken its rise from the manner of sitting in the ancient churches, or assemblies of primitive Chris­tians. In these, the council, i. e. the elders and priests, was called presbyterium. At their head was the Bishop, who held the place of chairman, cathedralis, or cathedraticus; and the Presby­ters, who sat on either side, were also called by the ancient fa­thers assessores Episcoporum. The Episcopal authority did not re­side in the Bishop alone, but in all the Presbyters, whereof the Bishop was President. A cathedral therefore originalty was dif­ferent from what it is now, the Christians, [...]il the time of Con­stantine, having no lib [...]rty to build any temple. By their church­es they only meant their assemblies, and by cathedrals nothing more than consistories. Whence appears the vanity of some au­thors, [Page]especially the Spaniards, who pretend their cathedrals to have been built in the time of the Apostles.
  • Catholic. This term is originally Greek; it signifies universal or general. Thus the church of Jesus Christ is called catholic, be­cause it extends throughout the world, and is not limited to time or place. In the strict sense of the word, there is no Catholic church in being, that is, no universal communion; and there­fore, when, in rehearsing the Apostles creed, we profeis to be­lieve the holy Catholic, we must mean (as Mr. Chillingworth ex­presses it) the right that the church of Christ, or rather (to speak properly) the gospel of Christ, hath to be universally believed; and therefore the article may be true, though there were no Chris­tian church in the world.
  • Cerdonians, a sect of erroneous Christians in the first century, who espoused most of the opinions of Simon Magus and the Maniche­ans. He asserted two principles, a good and a bad; the first he called the Father of Jesus Christ; the latter the Creator of the world. He denied the incarnation of Jesus Christ, rejected the books of the Old Testament. He likewise denied the resurrection. His disciple, Marcion, espoused and propagated the same senti­ments.
  • Cerinthians, ancient heretics, who denied the deity of Jesus Christ. They took their name from Cerinthus, one of the first heretics in the church, he being co-temporary with St. John. Cerinthus was a zealous defender of the circumcision, as well as the Naza­renes and Ebionites. St. Epiphanius says, he was the head of a faction which rose at Jerusalem against St. Peter, on account of some circumcised persons, with whom that Apostle had eat. He believed that Jesus Christ was a mere man, born of Joseph and Mary, but, in his baptism, a celestial virtue descended on him in form of a dove, by means whereof he was consecrated by the Holy Spirit, and made Christ. It was by this celestial virtue, therefore, that he wrought so many miracles, which, as he re­ceived it from heaven, quitted him after his passion, and returned to the place where it came; so that Jesus, whom he called a pure man, really died and rose again; but that Christ, who was dis­tinguished from Jesus, did not suffer at all.
  • Cesarins, or Caesarians. A religious order, being a reform of that of St. Francis, who began to erect one with such magnificence, (for which he exacted large contributions of the order) as was neither suitable to the humility which that saint had made pro­fession of, nor to the poverty which he had enjoined his followers.
  • Cestertian Monks. A religious order founded in the 9th century, by St. Robert, a benedictin, and abbot of Moleme. Certain an­chorets of a neighbouring forest, having heard of St. Robert (then abbot of St. Michael de la Tonne [...]e) intreated him to take upon him the direction of them; but the prior of his monastery, and some of the ancient monks, obstructed his complying with [Page]their request. Those monks of Tonnere lived under so great a relaxation of discipline, that the abbot lost all hopes of reforming them, and therefore left them, and retired to the Abbey of Mon­tier-la-celle, in which he had formerly been a monk. Soon after he was chosen prior of the monastery of St. Augulphus, which was dependent on that Abbey; then it was, that the afore-named anchorets applied themselves to the Pope, who granted them a brief which directed the abbot of Montier-la-celle to deliver Ro­bert to them, they having made choice of him to govern them. Robert was well pleased with the Pope's order, and accordingly joined those anchorets, whom he led into the forest of Moleme, where they built themselves little cells made of the boughs of trees, and a little oratory, in honour of the Holy Trinity; but these hermits falling into relaxation, and Robert not being able to reclaim them, he left them, and retired to a desert, called Haur, where there were religious men who lived in much unity and simplicity of heart, and who chose him for their abbot; but those of Moleme made use of the authority of the Pope, to oblige him to return, and govern them as he had done before.
  • Chalice, the cup or vessel, used to administer the wine in, in the eucharist, and, by the Romanists, in the mass. Bede affirms, that the chalice, used by Jesus Christ at the supper, had two handles, and held just half a pint, which the ancients imitated; but, in the modern times, they are generally made of silver or gold.
  • Chapter, Capitulum, a community of ecclesiastics belonging to a ca­thedral or collegiate church. The chief or head of the chapter is the dean; the body consists of canons or prebendaries. The chapter has now no longer share in the administration of the dic­cese, during the life of the Bishop; but succeeds to the whole Episcopal jurisdiction during the vacancy of the see. The ori­gin of the chapters is derived from hence; that anciently the Bishops had their clergy residing with them in their cathedrals, to assist in performance of sacred offices, and in the government of the church; and even after parochical settlements were made, there were still a body of clerks who continued with the Bishops, and were indeed his family, maintained out of his income.
  • Charity of our Lady (Religious Hospitallers, called the Order of) This order was founded about the end of the 13th century. Guy, Lord of Toinville, in France, having built, on his own lands, in a place called Boucheraumont, in the diocese of Chalons, an hospital for the necessity of the sick and the poor, gave the care of it to some secular persons, who formed a community among themselves, and took the Holy Virgin for their patroness; and, as charity was the principal motive of their union, the hospital was named the Charity of our Lady. Soon after their Founder procured them a new settlement at P [...]ris, and, in the year 1300. Pope Boniface VIII. confirmed this order, and honoured it with the protection of the holy see. The religious of this order ob­served [Page]the third rule of St. Francis. Philip the Fair, in 1299, gave them a house adjoining to their church. They had seve­ral convents in different parts of the kingdom; but in length of time these religious growing disorderly and irregular, their order dwindled, and at last became extinct. In 1631, their convent at Paris was given to the Carmelites, which was confirmed by let­ters-patent of King Lewis XIII.
  • Charity of St. Hippolytus (Religious Hospitallers of that order) A­bout the year 1585, in the pontificate of Gregory XIII. one Ber­nardin Alvarez, a Mexican, founded an hospital at a little dis­tance from the city of Mexico, with the permission of the Arch­bishop, and dedicated it to the honour of St. Hippolytus the Martyr, Patron of the city of Mexico. Bernardin drew up con­stitutions for the government of those who joined themselves with him in the pious design of serving the poor, and got them ap­proved by Pope Gregory XIII. Afterwards some other hospitals were built in imitation of this, the number of which increasing, they united, and formed a congregation, under the name of, The Charity of St. Hippolytus; which still subsists.
  • Chazinzarians, a sect of heretics which arose in Armenia, in the seventh century. They are so called from the Armenian word chazus, which signifies a cross, because they are charged with adoring the cross; whence, in Greek, they are likewise called staurolatrae.
  • Childermas Day, called also Innecents Day, an anniversary feast of the church, held on the 28th of December, in memory of the children of Bethlehem, massacred by order of Herod.
  • Chorepiscopi. In the ancient church, when the dioceses became en­larged by the conversion of Pagans in the country, and villages at a great distance from the city-church, the Bishops appointed themselves certain assistants, whom they called Chorepiscopi, be­cause by their office they were Bishops of the country. There have been great disputes among the learned concerning the na­ture of this order. Among the schoolmen and canonists, it is a received opinion, that they were mere Presbyters. Others think there were two sorts of Chorepiscopi; some that had Episcopal ordination, and others that were mere Presbyters. But a third, and the most probable opinion, is, that they were all Bishops. This is the sentiment of Bishop Barlow, Dr. H [...]mmond, Dr. Beveridge, and Dr. Cave. See Christian.
  • Chrism, oil cons [...]crated by the Bishop, and used in the Romish and Greek churches, in the administration of baptism, confirmation, ordination, and extreme unction. The chrism is prepared on Holy Thursday with a world of ceremony. In Spain it was an­ciently the custom for the Bishop to take one-third of a sol for the chrism distributed to each church on account of the balsam that entered its composition. Du Cange observes, there are two kinds of chrism; the one prepared of oil and balsam, used in baptism, [Page]confirmation, and ordination; the other of oil alone, consecrated by the Bishop, used anciently for the catechumens, and still in extreme unction. The Maronites, before their reconcilement with Rome, besides oil and balsam, used musk, saffron, cinnamon, roses, white frankincense, and several other drugs mentioned by Rynaldus, in 1541, with the doses of each. The Jesuit Dandini, who went to Mount Libanus in quality of the Pope's Nuncio, or­dained, in a synod held there in 1596, that chrism for the future should be made only of two ingredients, oil and balsam; the one representing the human nature of Jesus Christ, the other his di­vine nature. The action of imposing the chrism is called chris­mation. This the generality of the Romish divines hold to be the next matter of the sacrament of confirmation. The chrismation in baptism is performed by the priest; that in confirmation by the Bishop; that in ordination, &c. is more usually stiled unction.
  • Christ, an appellation usually added to Jesus, and, together there­with, denominates the Messiah, or Saviour of the world. The word in the original Greek signifies anointed. Sometimes the word Christ is used singly, by way of antonomasis, to denote a person sent from God, an anointed prophet, or priest.
  • Christian, one who professes the Christian religion, or one who be­lieves in Jesus Christ, and is baptised in his name.
  • Christians, a name first given at Antioch to the followers of Christ. They were sometimes called brethren, faithful, saints, believers, friends, &c. The names of Nazarenes and Gallileans were like­wise given them by the Gentiles. It is the opinion of some, that Christian was derived originally from the Greek word christos, good, useful, &c. and applied to their Kings, as denoting au­thority or sacred. Hence the King of France bears the title or sirname of The Most Christian King, Rex Christianissimus. The French antiquaries trace the original of the appellation up to Gre­gory the Great; who writing a letter to Charles Martel, occa­sionally gave him that title, which his successors have since re­tained. The Christians were sometimes stiled Gnostics, i. e. men of understanding and knowledge; a name which was aped and abused by a perverse sort of heretics, who are commonly dis­tinguished by the name of Gnostics, because of their pretences to knowledge and science, falsely so called. Another name, which frequently occurs in the writings of the ancients, is that of The­ophori, which signifies temples of God, and is as old as Ignatius. We sometimes also meet with the name Christophori, used in the same sense; yet it is very observable, that in all the names they chose there were some peculiar relation to Christ or God; for party-names, and human appellations, they ever professed to ab­hor. Eusebius records a story of one Sactus, a deacon of the church of Vienna, who suffered in the persecution under Anto­ninus. Being put to the rack, and examined by the magistrate con­cerning [Page]his name, his country, his city, and his quality, his an­swer to all these questions was, "I am a Christian." This, he said, was to him both name, and city, and kindred; nor could his persecutors extort any other answer from him. The first Christians distinguished themselves in the most remarkable manner by their conduct and their virtues. The faithful, whom the preaching of St. Peter had converted, hearkened attentively to the exhortations of the Apostles, who sailed not carefully to instruct them, as persons who were entering upon an entirely new life: they went every day to the temple with one heart and one mind, and continued in prayers, doing nothing different from the other Jews, because it was not yet time to separate them. But they made a still greater progress in virtue; for they sold all that they possessed, and distributed their goods in proportion to the wants of their brethren. They eat their meat with gladness and single­ness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the peo­ple. St. Chrysostom, examining from what source the eminent virtue of the first Christians slowed, ascribes it principally to their divesting themselves of their possessions: for (says that Father) persons from whom all that they have is taken away, are not sub­ject unto sin; whereas, whoever has large possessions, wants not a devil or a tempter to draw him into hell a thousand ways.
  • Christians of St. John, a very ancient, but corrupt set of Christians, very numerous in Bassora, and the neighbouring towns. They inhabited along the river Jordan, where St. John baptised, and from him they had their name. They hold an anniversary feast five days, during which they all go to their Bishop, and are baptised. They have no canonical books, and deny the third person in the Trinity.
  • Christians of St. Thomas, or San Thoma, a sect of ancient Chris­tians, found in the East Indies, when the Europeans touched at the port of Callicut, who pretend to be descended from those St. Tho­mas converted in the Indies; whence the name: the natives call them, by way of contempt, Nazarenes; their more honourable appellation is Mappuleymer.
  • Christmas (g. d. Christi missa, i. e. the mass of Christ) a festival celebrated on the 25th day of December, in commemoration of the birth of Christ, by the particular service of the church.
  • Church, is a religious assembly, or the large fair building where they meet; sometimes means a synod of Bishops or Presbyters, and in some places the Pope and a general council. Bellarmine, and the Romish divines, to this definition add, under the same Pope, sovereign Pontiff, and Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth; in which circumstance it is that the Romish and reformed notion of church differ. Amelotte and others make a visible head, or chief, es­sential to a church. Accordingly, among the Catholics the Pope, in England the King, are respectively allowed heads of the church. Bishop Hoadley sets aside the notion of a visible head: [Page]Christ alone, according to him, is head of the church; which position he has maintained with great address, in a celebrated ser­mon before King George I. on these words, My kingdom is not of this world; and in the several vindications thereof. Sometimes we consider church in a more extensive sense, and divide it into seve­ral branches. The church militant is the assembly of the faithful on earth; church triumphant, that of the faithful already in glo­ry; to which the Catholics add the church patient, that of the faithful in Purgatory. Ecclesia, [...], synonymous with our church, is used in the Greek and Latin prophane authors for any kind of public assembly; and even for the place where the assem­bly is held. The sacred and ecclesiastical writers sometimes also use it in the same sense; but ordinarily restrain the term to the Chris­tians; as the term synagogue, which originally signifies the same thing, is in like manner restrained to the Jews. Thus, in the New Testament, the Greek [...] signifies almost always ei­ther the place destined for prayer, as 1 Cor. xiv. 34, or the as­sembly of the faithful diffused over the whole earth, as Ephes. v. 24. or the faithful of a particular city or province, as 2 Cor. viii. 1, 2. or even of a single family, as Rom. xvi. 1. or the pastors or ministers of a church, as Matt. xvii. 17.
  • Collect, in the liturgy of the church of England, and the mass of the Romanists, denotes a prayer accommodated for any particular day, occasion, or the like. In general, all the prayers in each office are called collects; either because the priest speaks in the name of the whole assembly, whose sentiments and desires he sums up by the word oremus, let us pray, as is observed by Pope Innocent III. or because those prayers are offered when the peo­ple are assembled together; which is the opinion of Pamelius on Tertullian. The congregation itself is in some ancient authors called collect: the Popes Gelasius and Gregory are said to have been the first who established collects.
  • Colluthians, a Christian sect, who rose about the beginning of the fourth century, on occasion of the indulgence shewn to Arius by Alexander, patriarch of Alexandria. Several people being scan­dalized at so much condescension, and, among the rest, Collu­thus, a priest of the same city, he hence took a pretence for holding separate assemblies, and by degrees proceeded to the or­dinaton of priests, as if he had been a Bishop, pretending a ne­cessity for this authority, in order to oppose Arius. To this schism he added heresy, teaching that God did not create the wicked, and that he was not author of the evils that befal men. He was condemned in a council held at Alexandria by Osius, in the year 335.
  • Collyridians, Arabian heretics in the fourth century, so denominated from idolizing the Virgin Mary, worshipping her as a goddess, and offering to her cakes. St. Epiphanius wrote against this extrava­gant superstition, and shewed them how to distinguish between [Page]the honour which ought to be paid to the virgin, and that wor­ship which is due only to God.
  • Collobium, a garment worn by Bishops and Presbyters in the primi­tive ages. It was a short coat with short sleeves. It was an usual garment among the Romans; and therefore a Bishop, or Presbyter, wearing a collobium, is no proof that the clergy in those early times were distinguished by their habit from the laity, as some have thought, but is rather a proof of the contrary.
  • Commendam, in the canon or ecclesiastical law, is the charge, trust, or administration of a benefice, given either to a layman to hold by way of depositum, for six months, in order for repairs, &c. or to another ecclesiastic, or beneficed person, to perform the pastoral duties thereof, till such time as the benefice is provided of a re­gular incumbent. Anciently commendams were a very laudable institution; for when an elective benefice became vacant, for which the ordinary could not for some reason immediately provide, the care of it was recommended to some man of merit, who took upon him the direction of it till the vacancy was filled up, but who enjoyed none of the profits. Commendam, in the church of Rome, is likewise a real title of a regular benefice, such as an abbey or priory given by the Pope to a secular clerk, or even to a layman, with power to dispose of the fruits thereof during life: and, by the Pope's bulls, the commendatory abbot has the full authority of the regular abbot, to whom he is substituted, except ing only in spiritualibus, the direction of which is left to the clau­stral prior. Benefices in commendam are vested in the crown by a statute of Henry VIII. This right was contested in the reign of King James I. who designing to give in commendam a vacant church, it was disputed in the court of Common Pleas, not only whether the King might grant a commendam to a Bishop, either before or after his consecration; but also whether commendams were to be granted without necessity. The point was solemnly argued by the judges, who were severely reprimanded at the council-board by the King, for daring to attack the prerogative royal.
  • Communion, the being united in doctrine and discipline. In this sense of the word different churches are said to hold communion with each other; and in the primitive Christian church every Bishop was obliged, after his ordination, to send circular letters to foreign or remote churches, who professed the same faith, to signify that he was in communion with them. To maintain this unity of the faith entire, every church was ready to assist all others in commu­nion with her, by opposing all fundamental errors and heresies; and this gave occasion to most of the provincial and national synods we read of, in which novel, and what they thought erroneous doctrines, were condemned by a council of Bishops. This unity was also further maintained by the readiness of each church, and every member of it, to join with all other churches in the perfor­mance [Page]of doctrine, worship, and all holy offices, as occasion re­quired, by a mutual consent in ratifying all legal acts of discipline regularly exercised in any church whatsoever, by unanimously re­ceiving the customs of the church of Rome, and adhering to the decrees of councils, both general and national. All the Christian churches were originally in communion with each other, having one common faith and discipline; in process of time a diversity of opinions prevailed, and occasioned some churches to separate from the rest, and to form the distinct communions into which the Christian church is at present divided. The three grand commu­nions are that of the church of Rome, that of the Greek church, and that of the Protestant churches.
  • Conception, immaculate, the subject of dispute between the Dominicans and Franciscans, 1387, and denied by the former. The council of Basil approved and recommended it to be embraced by all Catho­lics. The council of Trent declined passing judgment on this matter. Paul V. urged the belief of it, 1617; also Gregory XV. and Alexander VII.
  • Conclave, the place in which the Cardinals of the Romish church meet, and are shut up, in order to the election of a Pope. The eccle­siastical constitutions allow the Cardinals to chuse the place of the conclave: notwithstanding which, it is always held in the Vatican, on account of the spaciousness of the building, the convenience of its open square, and its galleries, which will hold a number of servants. The conclave is a range of small cells, ten feet square, made of wainscot; they are numbered, and drawn for by lot; they stand in a line along the galleries, and half the Vatican, with a small space between each. Such Cardinals as were created by the late Pope hang their cells with violet-coloured stuff, and the rest with green serge: each cell has the arms of the respective Cardinal. Strong guard is kept at the door of the Vatican, and round the conclave, and many precautions, with much ceremony, made use of, to prevent any intelligence being conveyed, or in­terest, or bribery, &c. but, notwithstanding that, great artifice is made use of to effect an election, and it is generally obtained by corruption.
  • Conferences, ecclesiastical, by order or with the consent of public autho­rity, were, 1st, That of the dissenting brethren for destroying greater harmony of sentiments and unity or friendship amongst differing societies or members at Marpuge, particularly on the eucharist, 1526. 2dly, At Spire, where the name of Protestants was first used, in 1529. 3dly, At Smalcalde, a city in Franconia, in Ger­many, where were present 15 Princes, besides the deputies of 30 cities which had embraced the Augsburg confession, and renewed for ten years the league which the other Protestants had made for their own defence, at which the ambassadors from England and France gave attendance, and pursuant to instructions confirmed that league in 1535. This was held by adjourment in the year 1537, [Page]by the Protestant Princes and deputies of the Lutheran cities, who agreed vigorously to support themselves against any infringement of their Christian liberty, and eventually, after several sessions, obtained an establishment of the Protestant religion in Germany, the progressive steps to which are largely set forth by Hoffman, 1540. 4thly, Held at the same place, when the Emperor Charles V. endeavoured to obtrude some articles of farther concilia­tion with the Protestants, which they rejected, 1548. 5thly, At Altensburg, among the Lutherans, on the point of justifica­tion, 1569; and at a second session, held by the same members at Quintenburgh, on the ubiquity of God, 1573. 6thly, At Torgo, concerning divers articles of faith, 1576. Another session held at Bipent, and another at Hetzburg, for compiling a book of Concord, 1578.
  • Confirmation, or imposition of hands, is a rite of the Christian re­ligion, which in the primitive church used to be administered, or made use of immediately after baptism, if the Bishop was present at the solemnity. It was made a sacrament of the church of Rome in the Mel [...]ensian council. This rite was reserved to Bishops, by Theodoris, 526. By the church of Rome the sacrament of confir­mation is that which makes us perfect Christians, and impresses an indelible character upon us after baptism, and imparts to us the spirit of fortitude, whereby we are enabled to confess Christianity even at the hazard of our lives. Not so the Protestants, for confir­mation with them is no sacrament, no federal rites are declared to belong to it; it is no new stipulation, but rather a ratification of our baptismal engagements.
  • Congregation, an assembly of several ecclesiastics, united so as to con­stitute a body. The term is principally used for assemblies of Cardinals, appointed by the Pope, and distributed into several chambers, for the discharge of certain functions and jurisdictions, after the manner of our offices and courts.—The first is the con­gregation of the holy office, or the inquisition; the second, that of jurisdiction over Bishops and regulars; the third, that of councils with power to interpret the council of Trent; the fourth, that of customs, ceremonies, precedencies, canonizations, called the congregation of rites; the fifth, that of St. Peter's fabric, which takes cognizance of all causes relating to piety and charity, part whereof is due to the church of St. Peter; the sixth, that of waters, rivers, roads; the seventh, that of fountains and streets; the eighth, that of the index, which examines the books to be printed or corrected; the ninth, that of the government of the whole state of the church; the tenth, De bono regimine, of which the Cardinal's nephew is chief; the eleventh, that of money; the twelfth, that of Bishops, wherein those who are to be promoted to bishoprics in Italy are examined, this is held before the Pope; the thirteenth, that of consistorial matters, the chief whereof is Cardinal Dean. [Page]There is also a congregation of alms, which takes care of what relates to the subsistence of Rome and the state of the church.
  • Consistory, or Roman Consistory, denotes the college of Cardinals, or the Pope's senate and council, before whom judiciary causes are pleaded. Du Cange derives the word from consistorium, i. e. locus ubi consistitur; used chiefly for a vestible, gallery, or ante­chamber, where the courtiers wait for admission, and called a consistente multitudine. The consistory is the first court or tribunal of Rome; it never meets but when the Pope pleases to convoke it, and the Pope presides in it in person, mounted on a magnificent throne, and habited in his pontificalia: on the right are Cardinal bishops and priests, and on the left Cardinal deacons. The place where it is held, is a large hall, in the apostolical palace, where Princes and ambassadors of Kings are received. The other pre­lates, prothonatories, auditors of rota, and other officers, are seated on the steps of the throne; the courtiers sit on the ground, am­bassadors on the right, and consistorial and fiscal advocates be­hind the Cardinals. Besides the public consistory, there is also a private one held in a retired chamber, called the chamber of Pa­pegay, the Pope's throne here being only raised two steps high. No body is here admitted, but the Cardinals, whose opinions are collected, and called sentences. Here are first proposed and passed all bulls for bishoprics, abbeys, &c. Hence bishoprics and abbeys are said to be consistorial benefices, in regard they must be pro­posed to their consistory, the annates be paid to the Pope, and his bulls taken. Anciently they were elective, but by the con­cordat, which abolishes elections, they are appointed to be col­lated by the Pope alone, on the nomination of the Prince. Con­sistory was always the name of a court under Constantine, where he sat in person, and heard causes. The members of this court were called Consites. Consistory is also used among the reformed, for a council or assembly of ministers or elders, to regulate their affairs, discipline, &c.
  • Constitution, an establishment, ordinance, decision, regulation, or law, made by authority of a Prince, or other superior, ecclesiastical or civil. The constitutions of the Roman Emperors make a part of the civil law; the constitutions of the church make a part of the canon law. Some of the papal constitutions are in form of bulls, others of briefs. Apostolical constitutions denote a collection of regula­tions, attributed to the Apostles, and supposed to have been col­lected by St. Clement, whose name they likewise bear. They are divided into eight books, consisting of a great number of rules and precepts relating to the duties of Christians, and particularly to the ceremonies and discipline of the church. Authors are di­vided about their genuineness: the generality hold them spurious, and endeavour to prove them posterior to the apostolical age, main­taining they were unknown till the fourth century; which, if so, shews St. Clement had no hand in them.
  • [Page] Convocation, a general assembly of the clergy of a province, summon­ed by the King's writ, to consult of the more weighty affairs of the church, as oft as a parliament is convoked to consult those of the state. The King's writ is directed to the Archbishop of each pro­vince, requiring him to summon all Bishops, Deans, Archdeacons, of cathedral, collegiate churches, &c. The place where the convo­cation of the province of Canterbury have been usually held, is St. Paul's church, whence of late they have been prorogued to St. Peter's in Westminster, in the chapel of Henry VII. or the Jeru­salem chamber, where there is an upper and lower house. The power of the convocation is limited by a statute of King Henry VIII. They are not to make any canons, or ecclesiastical laws, without the King's licence; nor, when permitted to make any, can they put them in execution, but under these restrictions. 1. Such canons must not be contrary to the King's prerogative. 2. They must not contradict any statute, or the common law. 3. Nor must they alter any known custom of the realm. They have the examining and censuring all heretical and schismatical books and persons, &c. but there lies an appeal to the King in Chancery, or to his delegates. The clergy in convocation, and their ser­vants, have the same privileges as members of parliament.
  • Cope, an ecclesiastical habit. By an act of King Edward VI. whensoever the Bishop shall celebrate the holy communion in the church, he shall have upon him, besides his rochet, a surplice or albe, and a cope, &c. It answers to the collobium or episcopal habit of the ancient church, and was at first a common habit, being a coat without sleeves; but was afterwards used as a church­vestment, only made very rich by embroidery, and the like. The Greeks pretend it was first used in memory of the mock robe put upon our Saviour.
  • Copiotae, a particular order of men, in the primitive Christian church, whose business it was to inter the dead. They were so called, either from the pains they took, or else because they committed the bodies of the dead to the grave, a place of ease and rest. They were instituted in the time of Constantine, or his son Constantius, in two of whose laws they are expressly mentioned. Their particular office was to prepare the graves, wrap up the bodies of the dead, and then bury them; and because this was ever accounted a work of piety and religion, therefore the Copiotae, though not in holy orders, were considered as bearing a relation to the clergy, and vested with the same immunities. Their number was very great: Constan­tine is said to have appointed no less than eleven hundred; but, by a law of Honorius and Theodosius, they were reduced to nine hundred and fifty, though Anastasius afterwards brought them back to the first number.
  • Corporal, in the Christian church. It is a fair linen cloth thrown over the consecrated elements, at the celebration of the eucharist. It was so called by the Latins, from being spread over the body of our Lord Jesus Christ; and, according to Isidore Pelusiola, was [Page]designed to represent the body of our Saviour, being wrapt in fine linen by Joseph of Arimathea. The institution of it is ascribed to Eusebius, Bishop of Rome, about the year 300.
  • Covenant. The first covenant between God and man was that which he made with Adam at his creation, when he required him to forbear the use of the forbidden fruit. The second covenant is that which God made with man after his fall, by promising him not only forgiveness, provided he repented, but also the coming of the Messiah, who should redeem him, and all the human race, from death. A third covenant is that which God made with Noah, when he directed him to build an ark. A fourth covenant is that which God made with Abraham, the mark and seal of which was circumcision. But the greatest, most solemn, most excellent, and most perfect, which God ever made with man, is that which he enter­ed into with us through the mediation of Jesus Christ, that eternal covenant, which must subsist to the end of ages: the priesthood, sacrifice, and laws, are infinitely more exalted than those of the Old Testament.
  • Coul, or Cowl, a sort of monkish habit worn by the Barnardines and Benedictines. There are two kinds of couls, the one white, very large, wore in ceremony, and when they assist at the office: the other black, wore on ordinary occasions, in the streets, &c. F. Mabillon maintains the coul to be the same thing in its origin with the sca­pular. The author of the apology of the Emperor Henry IV. distinguishes two forms of couls; the one a gown, reaching to the feet, having sleeves and a capuchon, used in ceremonies; the other a kind of hood to work in, called also scapular, because it only covers the head and shoulders.
  • Council, primitive and ecclesiastical, is a free, public, ecclesiastical meeting, especially of Bishops, and also of other Doctors lawfully deputed by divers churches, for the examining of ecclesiastical causes, according to the scriptures, and those according to the power given by common suffrage, without favour of parties, to be determined, in matters of faith, by canons. In cases of practice, by precedents in discipline, by decrees and constitutions. These are not called for deciding political controversies; this properly belonging to diets, parliaments, &c. Neither is it an office or prerogative of the Pope to join them, unless he be specially elected thereto by the assembly to sit as president. Neither may others, unless Bishops, or some otherwise deputed, pass a determinate sentence. No sentence or decree is to be admitted as necessary to salvation, unless it is founded on the word of God. But all de­crees made are obligatory, and not to be rejected by private per­sons, till an authority dispense with it, equal to that which did at first bind them. In brief, it is a synod or assembly of Prelates and Doctors met for the regulating of matters relating to the doctrine or discipline of the church.
  • Councils (that called) the first of the apostles, was held at Jerusalem A. C. 52. for the substituting Matthias in the room of Judas, [Page]Acts i. 26.—The second was when the twelve apostles called the multitude of the disciples, and directed them to look out among themselves seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, for deacons, Acts vi. 2, 3.—The third was also held at Jerusalem, wherein they dispensed with an observation of the ceremonial law, seeing that the Christian dispensation was suffici­ent to the salvation of its votaries, Acts xv. 11. A. C. 53.—The fourth was for the toleration of some legal observations for a time, that by such condescension the weaker part both of Jews and Gentiles might be gained to the belief and profession of Chris­tianity, Acts xxi. 18. A. C. 60.

    The first general council that we find mentioned by tradition, was held under the pontificate of Pope Victor, A. C. 192, to ad­just the celebrated controversy about keeping Easter, and to sup­press the growing faction of the Montanists, mentioned by Eu­sebius, Book v. Cap. xv.

  • Councils, OEcumenical or General, are assemblies of all the prelates in Christendom, in the strict sense of it. But to constitute a ge­neral assembly, it was never deemed necessary for all the prelates to be actually present; it is sufficient that the council be regular­ly appointed, and that they are called to be there: A proxy might represent them, or if they chuse to absent themselves, it will nevertheless be esteemed oecumenical. General councils are sometimes called by ecclesiastical authors plenary councils. The Romanists reckon eighteen, whereof only the four first are admitted by the reformed. The eighteen are thus numbered, viz. two of Nice, four of Constantinople, one of Ephesus, one of Chalcedon, five of the Lateran, two of Lyons, one of Ve­nice, one of Florence, and the last of Trent, which last ordained provincial councils to be held every three years, yet the last held was at Bourdeaux in France, more than 100 years ago.—The ca­nons and decrees of councils have been often collected, viz. by Dr. Merlin of Paris, 1524. Another at Venice, in 1585. Ano­ther at Rome, in 1608. One of Binius, canon of Cologne, 1606, in 10 vols. Another at Louvre in 1664, in 37 vols.

    The first oecumenical or General Council, as well as the first of Nice, so called because it was established at Nice in Bythinia, by the authority of Constantine the Great, in the time of Julius I. and Sylvester, began in May, A. D. 325, and ended August 25, the same year; it consisted of 318 bishops. They condemned the Arian, the Melitian, and Novatian doctrines, and censured the dissensions betwixt the eastern and western bishops about the ce­lebration of the passover.—The seventh general council, and se­cond of Nice, began September 24, 789, and ended about the 15th of October, occasioned by the contest about the worship of images.—The second general council, and the first of Constantino­ple, began in May 381, and ended in July, under Gratian, Theo­dosius the Great, and Damasus, and consisted of 157 bishops.—The [Page]fifth general council, and the second of Constantinople, began May 4, A. D. 553, and ended in July following; it was occasioned by the followers of Nestorius endeavouring to revive and pro­pagate his opinions in opposition to the asserters of a trinity of persons, coeternal and coequal, and more expressly containing the Emperor Justinian's confession of faith, against the three chap­ters, and addressed to the assembly of the Catholic and Apostolic church: at the conclusion it was decreed, that there was in Jesus only one substance, one person, and one operation, and anathematises those who had wrote against it, as Theodoret, &c.— The sixth general council, and third of Constantinople, begun in Trullo, under the Emperor Progenatus (solicited by Pope Aga­tho) Nov. 7, A. D. 680, and continued till September 16. In this were convened 150 bishops, who condemned the Menothe­lites, Sergius, Cyrus, Pyrrhus, Peter, Paul, Theodorus, toge­ther with Pope Honorius, who favoured the doctrine of one will in Christ. This council was reassumed, and called the Quini-Sextum council, and fourth of Constantinople, and was held in 192 at Trullo, in the tower of the Emperor's palace. The four Pa­triarchs of the East were present at it, and it is acknowledged by the Greeks to be a general council; there were 108 bishops pre­sent, and the design of their assembling was to supply the omis­sion of their former councils with respect to discipline. They made 102 canons, many of them trifling in their nature, others very severe and oppressive to such as differed in point of faith or discipline. The most remarkable is the 52d canon, ordering that the mass of the pre-sanctified shall be celebrated every day in Lent, except Saturday and Sunday, and Lady-Day.—The third general council was held at Ephesus, June 22, 431, to the end of July; it was called under Theodosius the Younger, promoted by Celestine I. It consisted of 200 bishops, who condemned Nestorius of Constantinople, who denied the unity of two natures in Christ. Anathematised the Massilianites or Euchites, and confirmed the in­tegrity of the Nicene creed.—The fourth general council was held at Chalcedon, and began October 8, 431, and ended Nov. 1, A. D. 455. It consisted of 630 bishops, who condemned the super­stitious acts of the council of Ephesus: they affirmed one only na­ture to be in Christ, after his incarnation, viz. his divine nature; and decreed 29 canons, many of which are not approved by the Papists, viz. in one of the canons, that all bishops are equal with respect to power or privileges.—The eighth general coun­cil was held at Constantinople in 869, began on the 5th of Oc­tober, and ended the last day of February the next year, a­gainst Photius and his adherents.—The ninth general council, and the first of Lateran, was held in March, A. D. 1123, com­posed of about 300 prelates, who made 22 canons; amongst others it confirmed the former canons against simonical priests; grant­ed remission of sins to such as go a pilgrimage to the Holy [Page]Land, in aid to the Catholic Christians against Insidels, and ex­comunicates such as have been crossed for that purpose, who re­linquish their pilgrimage.—The tenth general council, and so­cond of Lateran, was hold under Pope Innocent II. 11 [...]9, in which the favourers of Peter of Leon were solemnly condemned, and all ordinations made by this Pope declared [...]ull and vold.—The eleventh general council, and the third of Lateran, was convened by Pope Alexander III. in 1179, and held at Rome to reform a great number of abuses that had crept into the church, and to make constitutions about matters of discipline—to condemn the Albig [...]s and other reputed heretics, and to maintain the immuni­ties of the church. It consisted of 300 bishops. The last session was held at Lateran 1180, and was reckoned the [...] of the lawn re­lating to the impropriation of tithes.—The twelsth general coun­cil, and the fourth Lateran council, was convoked by Innocent III, on April 20, 1215. The acts of this assembly contain seven­ty canons.—The primacy was determined in favour of the pa­triarch of Constantinople; but Innocent III. thought it beneath his dignity to wear a cross.—Dupin says, the Pope, in his letters of interdiction, represents this council to be necessary for the recover­ing of the Holy Land, and the reformation of the Catholic church; for correcting irregularities, and reforming the manners of the church, both in the priesthood and people; and for condemn­ing herefies, putting a stop to divisions, and establishing peace.— The thirteenth general council, and the first of Lyons, was con­vened by Pope Innocent IV. in 1245, as well for civil as ecclesi­actical affairs. The Pope proposed three principal points, viz. The relieving the empire of Constantinople against the Greeks, the empire of Germany against the Tartars, and the Holy Land a­gainst the Saracens: to regulate the affair of the non-residence of the clergy, in what circumstances, and for what part of their be [...]ces it should be permitted; and appointed for the relief of the Holy Land, the 20th part of all revenues of benefices, and the tenth of the revenues of the people and cardinals; but ex­empted the croisade priests from all manner of contributions.—In this council the Pope likewise excommunicated the Emperor, Fre­deric, from the communion of the church, and dispossessed him of his empire, from a suspicion of his having been dilatory in the supply of the Papal chair; which being now elected to himself, he was mirded to shew his authority and resentment. This im­placable proceeding did not however much affect the Emperor; b [...] [...] greatly injurious to the German empire.—The four­teenth general council, and second of Lyons, was appointed by Po [...]e Gregory X. according to his bull of indiction, 1274. 1. For the [...] of the Greek church. 2. For the relief of the Holy Land. 3. For reforming the church-discipline and lives of the clergy. In purf [...]ce of these designs, the Pope sat himself as [Page]president in five several sessions, and made a variety of [...] and d [...]er [...]. The prelates of the Greek church came to Lyon [...] the 24th of June, when they presented their letters to the Pope, and word graciously received; and on the sixth of July, the fourth session convened together with the prelates of the Greek church, and overtures were then made for an accommodation and general union, with respect to points of saith, discipline, &c. but most of them of an indeterminate nature, that particularly relating to the Trinity and the Catholic saith; it is therein declar­ed, that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son, as from one single principle, and by one single spiration, and they are condemned who deny that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son as from two principles.—The fifteenth gene­ral council was held at Vienne, and opened on the 16th of Oc­tober 1311, for condemning the Templars, and the extinction of their order.—The sixteenth general council was held at Con­stance, and began on the 16th of November 1414, in which the error [...] of John Hus [...] and Wickl [...]sse were condemned, and in which Huss was sentenced to be burnt, and Jerom of Prague was the next sessions condemned to be burnt.—The seventeenth general council was held at Basil, on the 23d of July 1431, in which Eugenius was driven from Rome.—Eugenius afterwards transfer­red the council to Ferrara. The neutrality was established, and the pragmatic sanction drawn up in France.—The last and eigh­teenth general council was convened at Trent, December 15, 1545, and ended December 4, 1563.

  • Councils, Provincial or Occasional, At Aix la C [...]appelie, A. D. [...]16, for regulating the ca [...]ons of cathedral churches.—Of Savoa­nieries, in 859, the first which gave title of most Christian King to the King of France; but it did not become the peculiar appella­tion of that sovereign till 1469.—Of Troye, in 377, to decide the disputes about the Imperial dignity.—The second coun [...]l of Troyes, in 1107, restrains the clergy from marrying.—The [...] ­cil of Clermont in 1095. The first crusede was determined in this council. The bishops had yet the precedency of cardi [...]als. In this assembly the name of Pope was for the first time given to the head of the church exclusively of the bishops, who [...] to assume that title.—Here also Hugh, Archbishop of Lyons, ob [...]ed of the Pope a confirmation of the primacy of his see over [...] of Sens.—The council of Rheims. summoned by [...] 1148, called an assembly of Cisastrian G [...]ul, in which [...] or patrons of churches are prohibited taking more than [...] sees, upon pain of deprivation and ecclesia [...]ical buri [...].— [...], deacons, subdeacons, monks, and nuns, are [...] from [...] ­rying.—In this council the doctrine of the Tr [...]ity was [...]; but upon their separation the Pope c [...]l [...]ed a [...] which the cardinals pretended they had no [...] trinal points, that this was the rivilege [...] to [...].— [Page]The council of Sutrium, in 1046, wherein three Popes who had assumed the chair were deposed.—The council of Clarendon in England, against Becket, held in 1164.—The council of Lombez, in the country of Albigeois, in 1200, occasioned by some disturban­ces on account of the Albigenses; a crusade was formed on this ac­count, and an army sent to extirpate them. Innocent III. spi­rited up this barbarous war, Dominic was the apostle, the count of Toulouse the victim, and Simon Count of Montfort the con­ductor or chief.—The council of Paris, in 1210, in which Ari­stotle's metaphysics were condemned to the flames, lest the refine­ments of that philosopher should have a bad tendency on mens minds, by applying those subjects to religion.—The council of Pisa, begun March 2, 1409, in which Benedict XIII. and Gre­gory XII. were deposed.—Another council, sometimes called ge­neral, held at Pisa in 1505.—Lewis XII. of France, assembled a national council at Tours (being highly disgusted with the Pope) 1510, where was present the Cardinal de Gurce, deputed by the Emperor, and it was then agreed to convene a general council at Pisa.
  • Council, general, in England, in the year A. D. 973, by St. Dunstan, in which he ordained, that all the priests, deacons, and subdea­cons, who would not lead a sober life, should be expelled their churches, and caused a decree to be made to oblige them to em­brace a regular and monastic course of life, or to retire; and ac­cordingly Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops of Worcester and Westminster, turned the old clergymen out of most part of the churches, and put monks in their place. The Arch­bishop likewise sharply reproved King Edgar, and imposed on him a penance for seven years.
  • Croisade, Cruzade, or Cruzado, a holy war, or an expedition a­gainst infidels and heretics, particularly against the Turks, for the recovery of Palestine. People anciently flocked on these croisades out of devotion; the Pope's bull, and the preaching of the priests of those days, making it appear a point of conscience. Hence several orders of knighthood took their rise. Those who meant to go on this errand, distinguished themselves by crosses of diffe­rent colours, wore on their cloaths, and were thence called croises: the English wore them white, the French red, the Flemish green, the Germans black, and the Italians yellow. They reckon eight croisades for the conquest of the Holy Land. The first under­taken in 1095, at the council of Clermont: the second in 1144, under Louis VII.: the third in 1188, by Henry II. of England and Philip Augustus of France: the fourth in 1195, by Pope Ce­lestin III. and the Emperor Henry VI. the fifth published in 1198, by order of Innocent III. wherein the French, Germans, and Venetians engaged: the sixth, under the same Pope, began tumultuously, in 1213, and ended in the rout of the Christians: the seventh, resolved on at the council of Lyons, in 1245, under­taken [Page]by St. Louis: the eighth, which was the second of St. Louis, and the last of all, in 1268. It is said that it was the Cistertian monks who first projected the croisades. Philip Au­gustus solicited the execution thereof with the holy see; and In­nocent III. raised the first standard of the cross. It was the coun­cil of Clermont who ordered that those embarked herein should bear the cross in their banner; and that those who entered them­selves into the service, should also wear it on their cloaths. The abbot Justiniani makes an order of knighthood of the croises, who served in the croisades. Towards the middle of the 12th century, there was also a croisade of the Saxons against the Pagans of the north; wherein the Archbishop of Magdeburgh, the Bishops of Halberstadt, Munster, Mersburgh, Brandenburg, &c. with several lay Lords, embarked: and towards the beginning of the same century, under the pontificate of Innocent, there was also a croisade undertaken against the Albigenses, who were be­come powerful in Languedoc, &c.
  • Croisier, the pastoral staff, so called from its likeness to a cross, which the Bishops formerly bore as the common ensign of their office, and by the delivery of which they were invested in their prelacies. Hence the officer, who, like our vergers, sometimes went before a Bishop, carrying his cross, had the name of Croci­ary or Cross-bearer.
  • Cross, the instrument of punishment to which Jesus Christ was fas­tened, and on which he died. This method of suffering was esteemed the greatest mark of infamy; and therefore commonly inflicted on persons of the meanest rank, and for the worst of crimes. It was a common manner of punishment among the Syrians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. The Cross to which our Saviour was nailed, was in the form of a T; that is, of the Old Samaritan Tau. The manner of crucifixion was by fastening the criminals with nails, one through each hand, and one through each foot; and sometimes the persons were scourged with whips. But the history of our Lord's crucifixon and passion are so particularly related by the Evangelists, that they need not be repeated. The respect paid by the ancient Christians to our Sa­viour's cross, was by no means such a superstitious regard as is paid by the Romanists to the representation of it in their churches and other places. The devotion of the cross makes a very con­siderable part of the religion of the Romish church. Towards the close of the 7th century, the 6th general council of Constan­tinople decreed, that Jesus Christ should be painted in a human form upon the cross; the more strongly to set before the eyes of Christians the death and passion of our Saviour. This also gave the first rise to the use of crucifixes. Among the Romanists, cros­ses are set up in churches, placed on altars, consecrated with great solemnity, carried in procession, placed in the streets at places of public resort, and homage required to be paid to them. Their [Page]Bishops wear a pectoral or breast-cross, which hangs by a gold-chain or silver-string about their necks. These modern repre­sentations of the cross are called crucifixes. Before the refor­mation it was esteemed a piece of devotion to erect crosses on hills, in church-yards, or over the tombs of great personages, &c.
  • Cross, exaltation of. A festival of the Greek and Romish churches, observed on the 14th of December. In the reign of Heraclius, Cosroes, King of Persia, sacked Jerusalem; and together with other plunder, carried off that part of the cross left there, in memory of our Saviour, by the Empress Helena, which he sent into Persia. After many battles, in which the Persians were al­ways defeated, Heraclius had the good fortune to recover the cross. This Prince carried it to Jerusalem himself, and laying aside his Imperial ornaments, marched with it on his shoulders to the top of Mount Calvary, from whence it had been taken. The memory of this action was perpetuated by the festivals of the re-establishment (or, as it is now called) the exaltation of the cross. The latter name was given to this festival, because, on this day, they exalted, or set up, the cross in the great church at Constantinople, in order to shew it to the people. This festival is distinguished among the Coptic or Egyptian Christi­ans, by the benediction of a particular cross, which is afterwards thrown into the river Nile, in order to make its waters fall away, or rather as a grateful acknowledgment of the inestimable blessings which attend its overflowing.
  • Crusade, in Spanish, La Cruciata, a society or body of men, from whom the court of inquisition, in Spain, receives no small service. Their business is to have an eye over the behaviour of all Roman Catholics, and to inform against them, in case they omit any duties of the Christian profession. This society is vastly rich, and as powerful as it is wealthy; for it consists of the bishops, archbi­shops, and most of the grandees of Spain. The Spaniards are persuaded, that, had it not been for the inquisition and crusade, their kingdom would have been over-run by the heretics, who had near possessed themselves of the other kingdoms and states of Eu­rope.
  • Cup. This word is often taken in scripture both in a proper and a figu­rative sense; in the proper sense, it signifies a common cup, which people drink out of at their meals; or a cup of ceremony, made use of at solemn and religious festivals, as at the passover, or some other hereditary bowls, made use of in friendly entertainments — In the figurative sense is it generally taken for the afflictions which God sends; to drink of the cup, signifies to endure those punish­ments which God has seen and thought fit to exercise one under.— The cup of blessing, is that which was blessed in entertainments of ceremony; thus our Saviour, in the last supper, blessed the cup, and gave it to all his apostles to drink.—The cup of salvation, men­tioned [Page]in the Psalms is a cup of thanksgiving, which, while people drank, they blessed the Lord, and were thankful for his mercies. The Jews have still at this day cups of thanksgiving, which are blessed in their marriage-ceremonies, and in entertainments made at the circumcision of their children.
  • DAlmatica, a vestment, or habit of a Bishop and deacon, so called, because it was first invented in Dalmatia. Pope Sylvester ap­pointed it to be used by the deacons. It was a royal garment, having been worn by the Emperor Pertinax, and it was called Chirodota, or Manicata, because it had sleeves, to distinguish it from the col­lobium, which had none. The Dalmatica was all of white before, but behind had two purple lines or stripes. Pope Eutychianus de­creed, that the bodies of the martyrs should be wrapped up in the dalmatica. Virgins are sometimes represented in this dress, for there is at Rome a picture of St. Caecilia, in the church of that Saint, habited in the Dalmatica. See Collobium.
  • Damianists, so called from Damianus, a Bishop, a branch of the ancient Acephalous Severites; who, with the Catholics, admitted the fourth council, but disowned any distinction of persons in the Godhead, and prefessed one single nature incapable of any diffe­rence.
  • Datary, an officer in the Pope's court. He is always a Prelate, and sometimes a Cardinal, deputed by his Holiness to receive such petitions as are presented to him, touching the provision of benefices. The Datary has power to grant, without acquainting his Holiness therewith, all such benefices as do not exceed twenty-four ducats annually; but for such as amount to more, he is obliged to get the provisions signed by the Pope, who admits him to audience every day. If there be several candidates for the same place, he has the liberty of bestowing it on which of them he thinks proper, provided he has the requisite qualifications. This officer has likewise a substitute; but he can confer no benefice at all. When a person has obtained the Pope's consent for a bene­fice, the Datary subscribes his petition, annuit sanctissimus, i. e. The most holy father consents to it. After the petition has passed the proper offices and is registered, it is carried to the Datary, who dates it, and writes these words, datum Romae apud, &c. given at Rome in the Pontifical palace, &c. Afterwards the Pope's bull, granting the benefice, is dispatched by the Datary, and passes thro' the hands of more than 1000 persons, belonging to fifteen diffe­rent offices, who have all their stated fees. The reader may guess at the revenue of the Datary, especially when the Pope's bull is procured for some large benefices.
  • Davidists, Davidici, a sect of heretics, the adherents of David George, a glazier, or, as others say, painter, of Ghent; who, in 1525, began to preach a new doctrine, publishing himself to be [Page]the true Messiah, and that he was sent thither to fill heaven which was quite empty, for want of people to deserve it. He re­jected marriage, &c. and laughed at the self-denial so much re­commended by Christ. He died in 1556; but having promised his disciples to rise again, at the end of three years, the magistrates of Basil, where he died, ordered his body to be dug up and burnt, together with his writings, by the common hangman.
  • Day, Lammas, the first of August, celebrated as a festival, in the Romish church, in memory of St. Peter's imprisonment. Eudocia, the wife of Theodosius the Emperor, having made a journey to Jerusalem, was there presented with the fetters which St. Peter was loaded with in prison. These she presented to the Pope, who afterwards laid them up in a church, built by Theodosius, in honour of St. Peter. Eudocia, in the mean time, having observed that the first of August was celebrated in memory of Augustus Caesar, who had on that day been saluted Augustus, and upon that account given occasion to the changing the name of the month, from Sextilis to August, that Princess thought it not reasonable that a holyday should be kept in memory of an Heathen Emperor, and therefore obtained a decree of Theodosius, that this day should for the future be kept holy, in remembrance of St. Peter's bonds. This festival is known, in the Roman calendar, by the name of the feast of St. Peter (in vinculis) in fetters. It was called among us Lammas Day, from a fond conceit the Popish people had, that St. Peter was patron of the lambs, because our Saviour said to him, feed my lambs; upon which account they thought the mass of this day very beneficial to make their lambs thrive.
  • Deacon, signifies minister, servant. This word is made use of in the language of the church, to denote those whose office it is to assist the Bishop, or priest, in the distribution of the eucharist, and, be­sides this, in the service of the poor, and administring what is ne­cessary for them. The number of the disciples increasing daily at Jerusalem, the Greeks, i. e. the Gentile converts, began to mur­mur against the Hebrews, and to complain that their widows were neglected in the distribution of alms, which was made every day; hereupon the Apostles called the multitude of believers together, and said, "It is not reasonable that we should leave the word of God, wherefore look you out among you seven men of honest re­port, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom ye may appoint over this business." They therefore chose seven, viz. Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas; these they presented to the Apostles, and they were ordained by prayer and imposition of hands, Acts vi. 1. 1 Tim. ii. 8—12. Those in the Romish church sometimes baptised and preached in the absence of their Bishop or priest, and prepared catechumens for baptism. (See particularly their office in the histories of the church of Scotland, the Presbyterians, &c. &c.)
  • [Page] Deaconesses were allowed in the primitive church, but now laid aside. Certain devout women who consecrated themselves to the service of the church, and rendered those offices to women which men could not decently do: as in baptism, for instance, which was conferred by immersion on women as well as men.
  • Deaconry, a name still reserved to the chapels and oratories in Rome, under the direction of the several deacons in their respec­tive regions or quarters.
  • Dean, a prime dignitary in most cathedral and collegiate churches; being usually the president of the chapter. It is a title, also, ap­plied among us to divers persons that are the chief of some peculiar churches and chapels; as the Dean of the King's chapel, of the Arches, of Battel, &c. &c.
  • Death. This word is taken in scripture not only for the death of the body, when the soul is separated from the body, but likewise for the second death, a condemnation to misery. It also signifies im­minent danger of death; for the plague and contagious diseases; for poison, and any great misfortune. By the gates of death, the grave is signified, and the state of the dead after this life. By the vessels or instruments of death, dangerous and deadly weapons are meant. By the bonds or snares of death, the snares which are laid to destroy an enemy. A son of death, a man who merits death, or is condemned to death. By the dust of death, the state to which the dead person is reduced in the grave. Love is as strong as death, says Solomon; no one can resist death or love.
  • Decalogue, the ten commandments, engraven on two tables of stone, and given to Moses.
  • Declamation, a feigned discourse, or speech made in public, in the tone and manner of an oration. Among the Greeks, declama­tion was the art of speaking indifferently on all subjects, and on all sides of a question, of making things appear just that were unjust, and triumphing over the best and soundest reasons. Such sort of declamations, M. de St. Evremond observes, were fit only to cor­rupt the mind by accustoming men to cultivate their imagination rather than to form their judgment, and to seek for verisimilitudes to impose upon, rather than solid reasons to convince the under­standing. Among us declamation is restrained to certain exercises, which scholars perform to teach them to speak in public.
  • Decree, in canon law, an ordinance which is enacted by the Pope, by and with the advice of his Cardinals, in council assembled, without being consulted by any person thereon.
  • Decree of Election and Reprobation, with some modern divines, is that council or determination of God, by which, from all eternity, he absolutely chose and set apart some, in order to become good and happy; but passed by the rest, i. e. the far greater part of mankind, forming his resolves in either case, abstractedly from all consideration of any merit or demerit of theirs; a notion [Page]which seems founded on some misconstrued passages of scripture, and in particular those referred to in 2 Pet. iii. 16. but of which we do not find the least traces in antiquity, before the close of the fourth, or beginning of the fifth century.
  • Dedication, the act of consecrating a temple, altar, statue, place, &c. to the honour of some deity. It is very ancient, both in the Heathen times, and amongst the Christians. The feast of the de­dication, or rather the feast-day of the saint and patron of a church, was celebrated not only by the inhabitants of the place, but by those of all the neighbouring villages, who usually re­forted thither. The custom is still retained in divers places, un­der the names of feasts, wakes, or vigils.
  • Definition, an enumeration of the chief simple ideas whereof a com­pound idea consists, in order to ascertain or explain its nature and character. The schoolmen give very imperfect notions of defi­nition. Some define it to be the first notion or conception that arises of a thing, whereby it is distinguished from every other, and from which all the other things that we conceive of it are de­duced: but the usual definition of it is, oratio explicans quid res est, a discourse explaining what a thing is, that is, as some fur­ther explain it, a discourse setting forth those attributes which circumscribe and determine the nature of a thing; for to explain is to propose the parts separately and expressly, which were be­fore proposed conjunctly and implicitly, so that every explication has regard to some whole. Hence, according to the divers kinds of parts in any thing, viz. physical parts, metaphysical parts, &c. arise so many different kinds of definitions of the same thing. Thus, man is either defined an animal, consisting of soul and bo­dy, or a reasonable animal, &c.
  • Deists, a sect or class of people, known under the denomi­nation of Freethinkers, whose distinguishing character it is, not to profess any particular form or system of religion, but only to acknowledge the existence of a God, without rendering him any external worship or service. The Deists hold, that, consi­dering the multiplicity of religions, the numerous pretences to re­velation, and the precarious arguments generally advanced in proof thereof, the best and surest way is, to return to the simpli­city of nature, and the belief of one God, which is the only truth agreed to by all nations. They complain, that the freedom of thinking and reasoning is oppressed under the yoke of religion, and that the minds of men are ridden and tyrannized by the ne­cessity imposed on them of believing inconceivable mysteries; and contend, that nothing should be required to be assented to, or believed, but what their reason clearly conceives. The appella­tion Deist is more particularly given to such as are not altogether without religion, but reject all revelation as an imposition, and believe no more than what natural light discovers to them; as, that there is a God, a Providence, a future state, with rewards and [Page]punishments for the good and the bad; that God must be ho­noured, and his will, so far as we can learn it, performed; but that each person is to do this after his own manner, and as his own conscience suggests. The number of Deists is said to be daily increasing in England: a great part of the men of speculation and letters are pretended to incline that way; and the like is ob­served in some of our neighbour nations, where freedom of speak­ing, writing, and thinking, are indulged.

    Dr. Clarke gives us a succinct character of several sorts of De­ists, viz. the first sort are those who profess to believe the ex­istence of an eternal, infinite, independent, and intelligent Be­ing, and that this Supreme Being made the world; but they fan­cy that God does not at all concern himself in the government of the world, nor has any regard to, or concern about what is done therein: nor is the doctrine of some philosophers much different, who ascribe every thing to matter and motion, and speak of God as an intelligentia supramundana, which is the very language of Epicurus and Lucretius.—A second sort of Deists profess to be­lieve not only the being, but also the providence of God; that is, that every natural thing that is done in the world is produced by the power, appointed by the wisdom, and directed by the govern­ment of God, though, not allowing any difference between mo­ral good and evil, they suppose that God takes no notice of the morally good or evil actions of men, these things depending, as they imagine, merely on the arbitrary constitution of human laws. —Another sort of Deists there are, who have right apprehensions concerning the natural attributes of God, and his all-governing Providence, and seem also to have some notion of his moral per­fections also: they believe him to be a being infinitely knowing, powerful, and wise, and, in some sense, a being of justice, as of goodness and truth; that he governs the world by these perfec­tions, and expects suitable obedience from all his rational crea­tures; but they are prejudiced against the immortality of human souls, and insist that men perish at death entirely, and that one generation shall perpetually succeed another, and that there will be no future restoration or renovation of things.—A fourth sort there are, who profess to believe the being and attributes of God, the obligations of natural religion, and that there will be a future state of rewards and punishments; but all this so far only as it is discoverable by the light of nature alone, without believing any divine revelation. These, he concludes, are the only true Deists. But there is now no consistent scheme of Deism in the world. The Heathen philosophers, those few of them who taught and lived up to the obligations of natural religion, had indeed a con­sistent scheme of Deism, so far as it went. Socrates and Tully appear to be wise and steady in their principles and conduct, and they were thence led to hope for a revelation, and we wish the [Page]same spirit prevailed in our modern Deists; then we might rea­dily conclude they would embrace, and not ridicule Christianity.

    To this I shall subjoin what I have farther received from an honest and consistent Deist himself.

    A Deist, or Theist, is one that believes a God, who rejects re­velation, and follows his reason only. This general definition, I imagine, will be granted by all the Deists or Theists in the world. Some of them, who believe man to be a free agent, have not much better or different notions of God than other people, believing him to be a perfect, rational, and moral being, some­where distinct from the universe, once from all eternity existing by himself, before any thing was created; but that his wisdom, power, and goodness, is infinitely extended, according as he wills to display it. Some of them believe free-will, and others not, which is the most material difference between them; and this difference arises from some mens making more strict natural in­quiries than others. The one think the doctrine of necessity of dangerous consequence; the other, believing things are as they are appointed, or must be, conceive this doctrine can no more alter the conduct of men, than the nature of things, which are unalterable and eternal, being governed and directed by the wis­dom of God; his Spirit being in all, operates in all; that in him all creatures live, and have their being; for he is their life, ex­ists in them, and they in him; and is to the universe what the soul is to the body; and all the appearances of things to us are the cloathing of Deity; for we see not things as they are in them­selves, but as they are to us, and so we judge of them; therefore we judge for ourselves, not for God; we cannot judge of them as he judges; that of all things generated, which appear and dis­appear, it may be said, as the author of the epistle to the He­brews says, "they all wax old as doth a garment, and as a ves­ture God folds them up;" but he is the same, and his years do not change; neither had the ungenerated parts of the universe a beginning, nor will ever end. There is no beginning nor end to time, motion, and the existence of things; and as God unites the whole, there is no vacuum in nature, no place void of life and existence; that vegetable, animal, and rational life, are but different degrees of the same life, different powers communicated from, or different manifestations of God, who makes and un­makes, builds and destroys, according to his will, which is the same as his wisdom and power, for these in him are one.—Those who maintain necessity have as much regard to moral virtue as others, but not to any kind of worship; therefore are more of the philosophic than of the religious class. Like the Epicureans, they think honourably of God, respecting the greatness, wonderful­ness, and dignity of his nature, but, unlike them, they ascribe nothing to chance. They conceive that the divine, unchangeable nature, it not wrought upon by the prayers of men, nor regards [Page]their praises; that the whole of our duty, whether you allow it to be religion or not, is acting in the best manner we can to­wards one another, as mens different wants are, and our different abilities are to assist them; that God is not indebted to man for any of his good deeds, though men are to one another; for no man has any good quality, from whence any good deed proceeds, that is not the gift of God; that God makes each of us what we are, and virtue carries its own reward with it, as the ancient phi­losophers maintained; the like does wisdom; so has God or­dered the affairs of this world; for if he does not things that are right in this world, how do we know he will do right in any other, who, we have reason to believe, is in all worlds the same, and governs all by universal, mathematical, mechanic, and unchange­able laws?—In the select pieces of M. de Voltaire, I find one on Theism, p. 179, where he says, that "Theism is a religion dif­fused through all other religions; it is a metal that mixes with all others, and whose veins extend under the earth to the four cor­ners of the world. This ore is most uncovered, and most wrought, in China; every where else it is concealed, and the secret is in the hands of none but the adepts. There is no country in which there are more of these adepts than in England."—Many have asked, if Theism, separately considered, and without any other religious ceremony, is in reality a religion? The answer is easy. He who acknowledges a God only as a Creator, he who consi­ders God only as an infinitely powerful Being, and who sees no­thing in his creatures but admirable machines, is no more reli­gious with respect to him, than an European who admires the King of China is on that account the subject of that Prince.— But he who thinks that God has condescended to put a connection between himself and mankind; that he has made them free, ca­pable of good and evil; and that he has given to all a moral sense, which is the instinct in man, and on which is founded the law of nature; he, without doubt, has a religion, and a religion much better than all the sects out of our church: for all these sects are false, and the law of nature is true; for a revealed reli­gion can only be this law of nature perfected. Thus Theism is good sense not yet enlightened by revelation, and other religions good sense perverted by superstition.—All sects are different, be­cause they come from men; morality is every where the same, because it comes from God.—It may be asked, that since there are five or six hundred sects, of which scarcely any are free from the guilt of spilling human blood, from whence does it happen that the Theists, who are every where so numerous, have never caused the least tumult? It is because these are philosophers. Now philosophers may reason falsely, but they can never engage in intrigues; therefore those who persecute a philosopher, under pretence that his opinions may be dangerous to the public, are guilty of as great an absurdity as a person who should be afraid [Page]lest the study of algebra should raise the price of bread: we ought, therefore, to pity a reasonable being who is in an error; but the persecutor is a fool, and an object of horror. We are all brethren: if any of my brothers, full of respect and filial piety, and animated by the most ardent fraternal love, does not salute our common father with the same ceremonies as I, ought I to cut his throat, and tear out his heart?

  • Deprecatory, or deprecative, in theology, a term applied to the manner of performing some ceremonies in the form of prayer. Among the Greeks the form of absolution is deprecatory, being conceived in these terms, may God absolve me; whereas, in the Latin, and even some of the reformed churches, it is in the de­clarative form, I absolve you.
  • Description, an imperfect or inaccurate definition of a thing, giving a sort of knowledge thereof from some accidents and circum­stances peculiar to it, which determine it enough to give an idea that may distinguish it from other things; but without explaining its nature or essence. Grammarians content themselves with de­scriptions, philosophers require definitions of things. A descrip­tion is an enumeration of divers attributes of a thing, most of which are only accidental, as when a person is described by his deeds, his sayings, his writings, his honours, &c. A descrip­tion, as to its outward appearance, resembles a definition, and is even convertible with the thing described, but does not explain it; for instead of bringing several things essential to the thing described, it only brings a number of accidents belonging thereto, e. g. Peter is the tall young man who lives on the green, wears black cloaths, frequents the college, courts N—, &c. where, it is evident, we do not give any explication of Peter, as not bringing things that are in Peter, but only circumstances, or things about him, tall, young, living, wearing, frequenting, courting, &c. A description, therefore, is no proper answer to the question, quid est, what is he? but to that, quis est, who is he? Descriptions, in effect, are principally used for singulars or individuals, for things of the same species do not differ in essence, but only as to hic and ille, which difference contains nothing very notable or distinguishable. But individuals, of the same kind, differ much in accidents, e. g. George is a King, and William a citizen, Charles is a male, and Anne a female; Hen­ry is wife, and John a blockhead, &c. Thus, a description is an accumulation of accidents, whereby things are notably distin­guished from each other, tho' they scarce differ at all in essence.
  • Div [...]ocanonical, an appellation given to certain books of the holy scripture, which were added to the canon after the rest; either by reason they were not wrote till after the compilation of the canon, or by reason of some dispute as to their canonicity. The books so called, in the modern canon, are the book of Esther, the [...]pistle to the Hebrews, that of James, that of Jude, the se­cond [Page]of St. Peter, the second and third of St. John, and the Re­velation. The deuterocanonical parts of books, are the hymn of the three children; the prayer of Azariah; the history of Su­sanna, of Bel and the dragon; the last chapter of St. Mark; the bloody sweat, and the appearance of the angel in St. Luke, chap. xxii. and the history of the adulterous woman in St. John, chap. viii.
  • Deuteronomy, the last of Moses's five books: the Greeks gave it the name of Deuteronomy, or the second law, or the repetition of the law; because Moses therein makes a kind of recapitulation of what he had ordained or done in the preceding books. The Hebrews call it Ellehaddebarim, which are the first words of this book, in the Hebrew text. Some Rabbins call it Mishnah, that is to say, the second law; others the book of Reprehensions, by reason of the reproaches wherewith Moses reproached the Is­raelites.
  • Diaconicon, Sacristy, a place adjoining to the ancient churches, where the sacred vestments, with the vessels, and other ornaments of the altar, were preserved.
  • Diet, an assembly of the states of Germany. I shall only take no­tice, in this place, of the more remarkable of those which have been held on the affairs of religion.—1. The diet of Augsburg, in the year 1530, was assembled to reunite the Princes of the empire, in relation to some religious matters; the Emperor him­self presided in this assembly with the greatest magnificence ima­ginable. The Elector of Saxony followed by several Princes, presented the confession of saith, called, The Confession of Augsburg. The Emperor ended the diet with a decree, that no alteration should be made in the doctrine and ceremonies of the Romish church, till a council should order it otherwise.— 2. The diet of Augsburg, in 1547, was held on account of the Electors being divided concerning the decisions of the council of Trent. The Emperor demanded, that the management of that affair should be referred to him; and it was resolved, that every one should conform to the decisions of the council—3. The diet of Augsburg, in 1548, was assembled to examine some memorials, relating to the Confession of Faith; but the commis­sioners not agreeing together, the Emperor named three divines, who drew the design of that famous Interim, so well known in Germany, and elsewhere.—4. The diet of Augsburg, in 1550. In this assembly the Emperor complained, that the Interim was not observed, and demanded that all should submit to the council which they were going to renew at Trent, which submission was resolsed upon by a plurality of votes.—5. The diet of Nurem­berg in 1523. Here Pope Adrian VI.'s nuncio demanded the execution of Leo X.'s bull, and Charles V.'s edict, against Lu­ther; but the assembly drew up a list of grievances, which were reduced to an hundred articles; some whereof aime, at the de­struction [Page]of the Pope's authority, and the discipline of the Ro­mish church: however, they consented that the Lutherans should be commanded not to write against the Roman Catholics.— 6. The diet of Nuremberg, in 1524. In this assembly the Lu­therans having the advantage, it was decreed, that the Pope should call a council in Germany; but that, in the mean time, an assembly should be held at Spire, to determine what was to be believed and practised. But Charles V. prohibited the holding this assembly.—7. The diet of Ratisbon, in 1541, was held for reuniting the Protestants with the Roman Catholics. The Em­peror named three Roman Catholics and three Protestant divines, to agree upon articles. The Roman Catholics were Julius Phlug, John Gropper, and John Eckius; and the Protestants were Philip Melanchton, Martin Bucer, and John Pistorius: but after a whole month's consultation, they could agree upon no more than five or six articles, which the Emperor consented the Protestants should retain, forbidding them to solicit any body to change the ancient religion.—8. The diet of Ratisbon, in 1546, decreed, that the council of Trent was to be followed, which was opposed by the Protestant deputies, and this caused a war against them.—9. The diet of Ratisbon, in 1557, demanded a conference between some famous doctors of both parties, which conference was held at Worms, in September, between twelve Roman Catholics, and twelve Lutheran divines; but was soon dissolved by the Lutherant being divided among themselves.—10. The diet of Spire, in 1526. In this assembly, wherein presided the Archduke Ferdi­nand, the Duke of Saxony and the Landgrave of Hesse demanded the free exercise of the Lutheran religion: upon which it was de­creed, that the Emperor should be desired to call a general or na­tional council in Germany within a year, and that in the mean time every one should have liberty of conscience.—11. The diet of Spire, in 1529, decreed, that in the countries, which had em­braced the new religion, it should be lawful to continue in it till the next council; but that no Roman Catholic should be allowed to turn Lutheran. Against this decree, six Lutheran Princes, viz. The Elector of Saxony, the Marquis of Brandenburg, the two Dukes of Lunenburg, the Landgrave of Hesse, and the Prince of Anhalt, with the deputies of fourteen imperial towns, pretested in writing, from which solemn protestation came the famous name of Protestants, which the Lutherans presently after took.—12. The diet of Worms, in 1521. In this assembly Luther, being charged by the Pope's Nuncio with heresy, and refusing to recant, the Emperor, by his edict of May 26, before all the Princes of Germany, publickly outlawed him.
  • Dimissory Letter, a letter given by a Bishop to a candidate for holy orders, having a title in his diocese, directed to some other Bi­shop, and giving leave for the bearer to be ordained by him. When a person produces letters of ordination, or tonsure, confer­red [Page]by any other than his own diocesan, he must, at the same time, produce the letters dimissory, given by his own Bishop, on pain of nullity. Letters dimissory cannot be given by the chap­ter sede vacante.
  • Dimoeritae, a name given to the Apolinarists, who first held that the Word only assumed a human body, without taking a reasonable soul, like ours; but being at length convinced by fo [...]mal texts of scripture, they allowed, that he did assume a soul, but without understanding; the Word supplying the want of that faculty.
  • Directory, a kind of regulation for the performance of religious worship, drawn up by the assembly of divines in England, at the instance of the parliament, in the year 1644. It was designed to supply the place of the Liturgy, or Book of Common-Prayer, the use of which they had abolished: it consisted of some general heads, which were to be managed and filled up at discretion, for it prescribed no form of prayer or circumstances of external wor­ship, nor obliged the people to any responses, excepting Amen.— To give a short abstract of the Directory: It forbids all salutati­ons, and civil ceremony, in the churches; the reading the scrip­tures in the congregation is declared to be part of the pastoral office; all the canonical books of the Old and New Testament (but not of the Apocrypha) are to be publickly read in the vulgar tongue; how large a portion is to be read at once, is left to the minister, who has likewise the liberty of expounding when he judges it necessary. It prescribes heads for the prayer before ser­mon, among which, part of the prayer for the King is, to save him from evil council: it delivers rules for managing the sermon; the introduction to the text must be short and clear, drawn from the words, or context, or some parallel place of scripture; in dividing the text, the minister is to regard the order of the matter, more than that of the words; he is not to burthen the memory of his audience with too many divisions, nor perplex their under­standings with logical phrases and terms of art; he is not to start unnecessary objections, and he is to be very sparing in citati­ons from ecclesiastical or other human writers, ancient or modern. The Directory recommends the use of the Lord's Prayer, as the most perfect model of devotion; it forbids private or lay persons to administer baptism, and enjoins it to be performed in the face of the congregation; it orders the communion table, at the Lord's supper, to be so placed, that the communicants may sit about it. The dead, according to the rules of the Directory, are to be bu­ried without any prayers, or religious ceremony.
  • Discipline (Ecclesiastical.) The Christian church being a spiritual community or society of persons professing the religion of Jesus, and, as such, governed by spiritual or ecclesiastical laws, her dis­cipline consists in putting those laws in execution, and inflicting the penalties enjoined by them against several sorts of offenders. To understand the true nature of church-discipline, we must con­sider [Page]how it stood in the ancient Christian church. And, first, The primitive church never pretended to exercise discipline upon any, but such as were within her pale, in the largest sense, by some act of their own profession, and even upon these she never pretended to exercise her discipline so far as to cancel or disannul their baptism; but the discipline of the church consisted in a power to deprive men of the benefits of external communion; such as pub­lic prayer, receiving the eucharist, and other acts of divine wor­ship. This power, before the establishment of the church by human laws, was a mere spiritual authority, or, as St. Cyprian terms it, a spiritual sword, affecting the soul, and not the body. Sometimes indeed the church craved assistance from the secular power, even when it was Heathen, but more frequently after it became Christian: but it is to be observed, that the church never encouraged the magistrate to proceed against any one, for mere error, or ecclesiastical misdemeanor, farther than to punish the delinquent by a pecuniary mulct, or bodily punishment, such as a confiscation or banishment. And St. Austin affirms, that no good men in the Catholic church were pleased, that he­retics should be prosecuted unto death; lesser punishments, they thought, might have their use, as a means sometimes to bring them to consideration and repentance; nor was it a part of the ancient discipline to deprive men of their natural or civil rights; a master did not lose his authority over his family, a parent over his children, nor a magistrate his office or charge in the state, by being cast out of the church. But the discipline of the church being a mere spiritual power, was confined to, 1. Admonition of the offender. 2. The lesser and greater excommunication.— As to the object of ecclesiastical discipline, they were all such de­linquents as fell into great and scandalous crimes after baptism, whether men or women, priests or people, rich or poor, princes or subjects. That princes and magistrates fell under the church's censures, may be proved by several instances; particularly St. Chrysostom relates, that Babylas denied communion to one of the Roman Emperors, on account of a barbarous murder committed by him. St. Ambrose likewise denied communion to Maximus, for shedding the blood of Gratian; and the same holy Bishop absolutely refused to admit the Emperor Theodosius the Great into his church, notwithstanding his humblest intreaties, because he had inhumanly put to death seven thousand men at Thessalo­nica, without distinguishing the innocent from the guilty.
  • Disciples of Christ, those who learned the doctrine of Christ, and took him for their teacher and master; a Believer, a Christian, a Scholar, a follower of Jesus Christ or his apostles, Acts vi. 1. Acts ix. 10. The name disciple is often set down for that of a­postle; but in other places they are distinguished from disciples, as they were particularly chosen by Jesus Christ, out of the num­ber [Page]of his disciples, and were appointed more immediately the propagators of his religion.
  • Dissenters, Separatists from the church of England, and the service and worship thereof. At the revolution a law was enacted, that the statutes made in the reign of Queen Elizabeth and King James I. concerning the discipline of the church, should not extend to Protestant Dissenters; but persons dissenting are to subscribe the declaration of the 30th of Charles II. cap. i. and take the oaths, or the declaration of fidelity, &c. Besides this, they are not to bold their meetings till their place of worship is certified to the Bishop, or to the Justices of the Quarter Sessions, and registered: also they are not to keep the doors of their meeting-houses locked during the time of worship: and, to secure to them the free exer­cise of their religion, whoever disturbs or molests them in the per­formance of divine worship, on conviction at the sessions, is to forfeit 20 l. by statute 1st of King William and Queen Mary.
  • Deminicans, an order of religious, called in some places Jacobins, Predicants, or Preaching Friars. They take this name from their founder Dominic de Guzman, born in 1170, at Calarvega, in Old Castile. The order was approved of in 1215 by Innocent III. and confirmed in 1216 by a bull of Honorius III. under the rule of St. Augustin, and the title of Preaching Friars. This order is diffused throughout the whole known world: it has forty-five provinces under the General, who resides at Rome; and twelve particular congregations or reforms, governed by vicars-general. They reckon three Popes of this order, above sixty Cardinals, se­veral Patriarchs, one hundred and fifty Archbishops, about eight hundred Bishops, &c. &c. There are also nuns of this order, called Preaching Sisters.
  • Donatists, ancient schismatics in Africa, so named from their leader Donetus. They arose in the year 311. Their errors were, that baptism out of their sect was null; that there was no church but in Africa: all the rest of the churches they held as prostitute and fallen. They were also accused of Arianism. They afterwards split into many parties amongst themselves.
  • Donative, in the ecclesiastical sense of the word, is a benefice given by the patron to the priest without presentation of the ordinary, and without institution and induction. As to the origin of dona­tives, it was one of these two ways. First, by royal licence. Thus Sir Edward Coke says, the King may not only found a church or free chapel donative, but may licence any subject to do the same. Secondly, Donatives may be grounded upon peculiar privilege; as, when a Lord of a manor, in a great parish, at a remote dis­tance from his parish-church, offers to build and endow a church there, provided it shall entirely belong to him and his family, to put in what incumbent they shall think fit: the Bishops, to encou­rage such a work, may have permitted them to enjoy this liberty; [Page]which, being continued time out of mind, is turned into a pre­scription.
  • Dort, synod of, consisted of the States-General of the United Pro­vinces, deputies from the Protestant states of Germany, from the Remonstrants and Contra-remonstrants, deputies from England, &c. for settling the constitution and government of the Protestant churches, and for determining such points of saith as should be deemed essential to constitute a person a true Protestant, &c. This synod commenced the 13th of November 1618, and continued their deliberations one hundred and eighty sessions, ending the 29th of May 1619. This synod favoured the doctrine of Pre­destination, and some decrees passed against the Remonstrants for denying it; which, with other transactions of this synod, perhaps no less arbitrary and severe, are related by Brandt in his history of the Reformation, vol. iii. p. 1—350.
  • Doxology, an appellation given by the Greeks to the 14th verse of the second chapter of St. Luke, "Glory be to God in the highest, &c." because beginning with the Greek word [...], Glory. This they distinguish by the name of great doxology. And, the Gloria Patri, "Glory be to the Father," they call the less doxology, as beginning with the same word.
  • EASTER, a festival of the Christian church, observed in me­mory of our Saviour's resurrection. The Latins and others call it Pascha, an Hebrew word, which signifies passage, and it is applied to the Jewish feast of the passover, to which the Christian festival of Easter corresponds. This festival is called in English Easter, from the Saxon Eastre, an ancient goddess of that people, worshipped with peculiar ceremonies in the month of April. Concerning the celebration of this festival, there were anciently very great disputes in the church. Tho' all agreed in the obser­vation of it in general, yet they differed very much as to the par­ticular time when it was to be observed; some keeping it precisely on the same stated day every year, others on the fourteenth day of the first moon in the new year, whatever day of the week it hap­pened on; and others, on the first Sunday after the first full moon. This diversity occasioned a great dispute in the 2d century, between the Asiatic churches and the rest of the world; in the course of which, Pope Victor excommunicated all those churches: but the council of Nice, in the year 324, decreed, that all churches should keep the Pascha, or festival of Easter, on one and the same day, which is always on a Sunday. This decree was afterwards confirmed by the council of Antioch, in the year 344: yet this did not put an end to all disputes concerning the observation of this festival; for it was not easy to determine on what Sunday it was to be held, because, being a moveable feast, it sometimes hap­pened [Page]that the churches of one country kept it a week or a month sooner than other churches, by reason of their different calculations: therefore the council of Nice is said to have decreed farther, that the Bishops of Alexandria should adjust a proper cycle, and inform the rest of the world on what Sunday every year Easter was to be observed; notwithstanding which the Roman and Alexandrian accounts continued to differ, and sometimes va­ried a week or a month from each other; and no effectual cure was found for this, till, in the year 525, Dionysius Exiguus brought the Alexandrian canon or cycle entirely into use in the Roman church. Mean time, the churches of France and Britain kept to the old Roman canon; and it was two or three ages af­ter before the new Roman, that is, the Alexandrian canon, not without some struggle and difficulty, was settled among them.
  • Ebionites, Christian heretics, in the first century, so called from their leader Ebion. The Ebionites, as well as the Nazarenes, had their origin from the circumcised Christians, who had retired from Jerusalem to Pella during the war between the Jews and Romans, and made their first appearance after the destruction of Jerusalem, about the time of Domitian, or a little before. Ebion, the author of the heresy of the Ebionites, was a disciple of Cerin­thus, and his successor. He improved upon the errors of his master, and added to them new opinions of his own. He began his preaching in Judea; he taught in Asia, and even at Rome; his tenets infected the isle of Cyprus. St. John opposed both Cerin­thus and Ebion in Asia; and it is thought that this Apostle wrote his gospel in the year 97, particularly against this heresy. The Ebionites held the same errors as the Nazarenes; they united the ceremonies of the law with the precepts of the gospel; they ob­served both the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Sunday; they called their place of assembling a synagogue, and not a church; they bathed every day, which was the custom of the Jews. In celebrating the eucharist, they made use of unleavened bread, but no wine. They added to the observance of the law divers su­perstitions; they adored Jerusalem as the house of God. Like the Samaritans, they would not suffer a person of another religion to touch them; they abstained from the flesh of animals, and even from milk; and lest any one should object to them that passage of the gospel where Jesus says, he desires to eat of the passover, they corrupted it. When they were sick, or bitten by a serpent, they plunged themselves into water, and invoked all sorts of things to their assistance. They disagreed among themselves in relation to Christ: some of them said he was born, like other men, of Joseph and Mary, and acquired sanctification only by his good works; others of them allowed that he was born of a virgin, but denied that he was the Word of God, or had a pre-existence before his human generation: they said he was indeed the only true prophet, but yet a mere man, who by his virtue had arrived [Page]at being called Christ, and the Son of God. They supposed that Christ and the devil were two principles, which God had oppo­sed the one to the other. Though the Ebionites observed the law, yet they differed from the Jews in many points. They acknow­ledged the sanctity of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, and Joshua; but they laughed at all those who came after them: they rejected some parts of the Pentateuch; and when they were too closely pressed by this book, they entirely abandoned it. Of the New Testament they acknowledge only the gospel of St. Mat­thew; that is, that which was written in Hebrew, and which they called the gospel according to the Hebrews; but they took from it the two first chapters, and corrupted other passages of it. They absolutely rejected St. Paul, as an apostate, and an enemy of the law, and published several calumnies against him. They had likewise false Acts of the Apostles, in which they mixed a great many fables. As to their manner of life, they imitated the Carpocratians, the most infamous of all heretics. They rejected virginity and continence; they obliged children to marry very young; they allowed married persons to separate from each o­ther, and marry again as often as they pleased. St. Justin, St. Irenaeus, and Origen, wrote against the Ebionites. Symmachus, author of one of the Greek versions of the scriptures, was an Ebionite.
  • Ecclesiastes. The Hebrew title of this book is Coheleth, which is a feminine word; the literal signification of which is, she who speaks in public, or she who convenes the assembly: but the Greeks and Latins, without having any regard to the gender, have called it Ecclesiastes, that is to say, an orator, one who speaks in public. Solomon, who is the author of this book, describes himself in the very first verse, in these words: "The words of Coheleth, the Son of David, King of Jerusalem." He speaks of his works, his riches, and his buildings, and in parti­cular of his proverbs or parables.
  • Eicetae, heretics of the 7th century, who made profession of the monastic life. Their devotion consisted in music and dancing.
  • Eithesis, a name which the Emperor Heraclius gave to a confession of faith published by him in 639. It favoured the error of the Monothelites, and established one will alone in Jesus Christ.
  • Elcesaites, ancient heretics, so denominated from their prophet El­cesai. His fundamental doctrines were, that Jesus Christ, who was born from the beginning of the world, had appeared, from time to time, under divers bodies, &c.
  • Elders, among the Jews, were persons the most considerable for age, experience, and wisdom. Of this sort were the seventy men whom Moses associated to himself in the government of his peo­ple. Such likewise, afterwards, were those who held the first rank in the synagogue, the president or head of which was stiled elder, by way of eminence. In the first assemblies of the primi­tive [Page]Christians, those who held the first place or rank had like­wise the denomination of elders. The word presbyter, which oc­curs so often in the New Testament, is of the same signification. Hence the first councils of Christians were called presbyteria, or councils of elders. Elders is a denomination still preserved in the Presbyterian discipline; they are officers, who, in conjunction with the pastors, or ministers, or deacons, compose the consis­tories or sessions of the kirk. In Scotland, the number of elders is indefinite, being generally twelve in each parish.
  • Ember-Weeks, or Days, in the Christian church. They are certain seasons of the year set apart for the imploring God's blessing, by prayer and fasting, upon the ordinations performed in the church at such times; and this in conformity to the practice of the A­postles, who, when they separated persons for the work of the ministry, prayed and fasted before they laid their hands on them. These ordination-fasts are observed four times in the year, viz. the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, after the first Sunday in Lent, after Whitsunday, after the 14th of September, and after the 13th of December; it being injoined by a canon of the church, that deacons and ministers be ordained or made only upon the Sundays immediately following these Ember-fasts. Some derive the term Ember from a German word, which signifies abstinence; others from one which signifies ashes, because it was customary with the ancients to accompany their fastings with sprinkling of ashes, or sitting upon them. Dr. Mareschal derives [...]t from a Saxon word, which signifies course or circuit; so that these fasts, being not occasional, but returning every year in certain courses, may properly be said to be Ember-days, because fasts in course. The Ember-weeks were formerly observed in different churches with some variety, but were at last settled, as they are now ob­served, by the council of Placentia, A. D. 1095. St. Auoustin, who lived in the fifth century, speaks of the Ember-faits, but mentions them only as observed in the diocese of Rome; from whence we may conclude, that the observation of them was not at that time general in the church. The council of Mentz, con­vened by Charlemagne in 813, mentions the Ember weeks as a new establishment introduced in France, in conformity to the Ro­man church.
  • Encoenia, the dedication of Christian churches. See Dedication.
  • Encratites, Christian heretics, followers of Tatian the Assyrian, who founded this sect, in the reign of Marcus Aurelius, A. D. 1 [...]2. he established the first school of the Encratites in Mesopotamia, from whence they spread to Antioch, and into Cilicia, P [...]siola, and other provinces of Asia Minor, and even as far as Rome, and into Gaul, Aquitaine, and Spain. They were called Encrati [...], or Continentes, because they gloried in abstaining from marriage, the use of wine, and animals. They acknowledged a power [...] the devil, independent of God. They made great use of the [...] [Page]of St. Andrew, St. John, and St. Thomas, and other apocryphal pieces, such as the gospel of the Egyptians. Their chastity, however, was a little suspected, because they used [...]ll sorts of means to draw women into their sect, and were always seen in company with them.
  • Energici, a name given to a religious sect of the sixteenth century, because they held the eucharist was the energy and virtue of Je­sus Christ, not his body, nor a representation thereof.
  • Enomaeans, or Eunomians, a sect who held that article which had been the capital topic of all Arians, namely, the Father's being self-existent, or unoriginate, which was urged to destroy all simi­litude of substance between him and the Son, who was begotten or derived from the Father.
  • Enthusiasm. This is the name whereby that poetical fury is distin­guished, which transports the mind, inflames the imagination, and causes it to utter things surprising and sublime. Virgil de­scribes very finely the enthusiasm of Apollo's priestess, whom Ae­neas consulted before he made his journey to hell. Virg. Aen. vi.

    Of enthusiasts, particularly in religion, such high pretenders having given up themselves to their own fancy and imagination, without any fixed principles that can bind them, and being ac­customed to feel some very warm emotions in their minds, which are always apprehended to come immediately from heaven, and which they always regard as symbols of the divine presence, en­dearing tokens of his peculiar love and favour towards them, they cannot but entertain an extravagant conceit of their own worth and excellency, as if they were the beloved, the peculiar people, to whom he hath revealed himself in so extraordinary a manner; and thus viewing themselves in high favour with the Deity, from which they believe the rest of mankind are excluded. Hence those visionaries have their minds always turned, in their gloomy manner, to contemplate God and heavenly things, and particu­larly the high station to which they vainly think they are exalted in the divine grace and favour; and with this sullen frame of de­votion, which is continually hanging about them, do they spiri­tualise and sanctify all things whatsoever, even the greatest ab­surdities and the blackest villainies, according as they happen to suit their particular temper and circumstances: for those conceit­ed beings are so far from submitting themselves to the govern­ment of reason, that they look upon this DIM LIGHT, as they are pleased to call it, and all its fixed principles, and every stated rule whatsoever, especially such as are of human authority, to be fit only for common servile souls, and much below the notice of those who have immediate access to the fountain of all light, and who distinctly perceives all the measures of their behaviour in su­pernatural revelations; and when they have a strong inclination to indulge, they do not consult and hearken to the dictates of rea­son; they go to God with it, and lay the matter before the Lord, [Page]as they are used to speak in their familiar manner, to implore his light and direction, and loudly call for an answer. Now, in their opinion, a favourable answer to prayer consists in divine joys and raptures, that seize upon the soul, and make it sensible of the immediate presence and countenance of God; so that till they find something of this nature springing up within them, and warming and agitating their breast, they fancy to have received no return from heaven; and therefore they do still insist, and with great importunity do they labour, till they wrestle themselves in­to those mechanical heats and emotions which they take for a gracious answer to their prayers. This may be farther described by an extract from a little diary annexed to some letters published in 1757, said to be wrote by Mrs. Le Fevre, and by some thought scarcely to be paralleled for piety.

    Tuesday, the latter end of October 1753, it was given me to say, Jehovah is my Lord and my God * * *

    Saturday, September 7, 1754, after spiritual desertion and wan­dering some days in the wilderness, the love of God returned to my soul, and I again rejoiced in Christ as my Saviour. Glory be to God for his free and boundless mercy to the vilest of sinners, to the most unworthy and ungrateful of all human beings! And, oh! Lord, life and light of my soul, leave me not again, I hum­bly beseech thee; let every outward comfort be withdrawn, and every outward torment be inflicted, and I will rejoice so thou leave me not. My helpless soul hangs upon thee, my Jesus, and well thou knowest what I have suffered in thy absence; how my parched soul has fainted for thy refreshing streams; how it has stretched itself out after thee, and even agonised to find thee, and then miserably sunk, and been overwhelmed under the mountain of fin. But now thou art returned! The sun of righteousness has rose with healing in his wings, and the mountains have flowed down at thy presence. Where are my sins? Washed away in the blood of the Lamb. Where is my unbelief? Suddenly vanished. I have no doubt now; Jesus is mine, and God the Father is now my reconciled Father through him, and God the Holy Ghost is my comforter and guide. Oh! unspeakable transport! unbound­ed happiness! Let this paper bear witness for one of the free mer­cies of my God * * * — Oh! sweetest and most compassionate Jesus, how do thy tender mercies follow and support my soul, and still I am ungrateful, and still I am not as thou wouldst have me to be! Oh! when wilt thou make a full end of sin, and bring in thy perfect righteousness? All things are possible to thee; and do I not know, do I not taste that thou art gracious? Oh! my sun, my shield, life of my life, look into my heart: I dare appeal to thine all-searching eye, that there is nothing so dear to it, but I would this moment part with it for thee! And why then, dearest Lord, wilt thou not form thy whole blessed image in my soul? My unworthiness, I know, is greater than that of any other crea­ture [Page]in the universe; but this unworthiness will the more magnify thy mercy. I have only my unworthiness to plead, and I have no hope but in thine atoning blood. Oh! let this blood, which has bought my peace, cleanse me also from every sin; and let that blessed Spirit, who has sealed and witnessed this peace to my soul, cleanse me from every sin, and so purify me even as— Oh! glorious prospect, heart-enlivening hopes, let me sink into the dust before thee! God of glory, God of purity, I am lost in self-abasement; but hast thou not promised, and wilt thou not fulfil thine own gracious word? Oh! give me then perfect sancti­fication of body, soul, and spirit,—and let every bitter cup which thou permittest to be given me, be joyfully received, as serving, in some degree, to conform me to thy suffering; and let me in all things, though ever so contrary to my corrupt nature, give thanks, and say continually, "Lord, not my will, but thine be done. Amen."

    The authoress likewise gives us a specimen of this peculiar turn of mind, in the following lines:

    O Love! how charming is thy ray!
    All pain before thy presence flies:
    Care, anguish, sorrow, melt away,
    Where'er thy healing streams arise.
    O, Jesu! nothing may I see,
    Nothing hear, feel, or think, but thee!

    Enthusiasts then, in the religious sense of the word, are those who pretend to extraordinary revelations and impulses from heaven. "Immediate revelation being a more easy way for men to establish their opinions, and regulate their conduct, than the tedious, and not always successful, labour of reasoning, it is no wonder that some have been very apt to pretend to revelation, and to persuade themselves, that they are under the peculiar guidance of heaven in their actions and opinions, especially in those of them which they cannot account for by the ordinary methods of knowledge and principles of reason. Hence we see, that in all ages, men, in whom melancholy has mixed with devotion, or whose conceit of themselves has raised them into an opinion of a great familiarity with God, and a nearer admittance to his fa­vour than is afforded to others, have often flattered themselves with a persuasion of an immediate intercourse with the Deity, and frequent communications from the divine Spirit. Their minds being thus prepared, whatever groundless opinion comes to settle itself strongly upon then fancies, is an illumination from the Spi­rit of God, and presently of divine authority, and whatsoever odd action they find in themselves a strong inclination to do, that im­pulse is concluded to be a call or direction from heaven, and must be obeyed; it is a commission from above, and they cannot err in executing it. This I take to be properly enthusiasm.

  • [Page] Epicureans, philosophers who placed their supreme happiness in plea­sure, not in voluptuousness, and in irregular, ignominious plea­sures, but in sensible pleasures, under proper regulations and go­vernment. They denied Providence, and the immortality of the soul. Cicero intimates the practice of this sect to be generally better than their principles.
  • Epiphany, a Christian festival, otherwise called the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles. It is observed on the 6th of January.— The Gentiles, to whom our Saviour on this day manifested him­self, were the Magi, or, as we render the word, wise men, whose visit and presents to the infant Jesus are recorded by St. Matthew. There are several questions in relation to this whole transaction; as, first, what that star was which is said to have directed the wise men in their journey? That it was not in reality a star, is cer­tain, because it went before them, and stood over where the young child was, which could not be true of any one of the heavenly bo­dies. It must therefore be a luminous appearance, or seeming star in the lower region of the air, observed by the wise men to differ from the ordinary stars of heaven, which, as a new and prodigious sight, seemed to them to presage something of great moment and consideration. Some authors have suggested, that this seeming star which appeared to the wise men in the East, might be that glorious light which shone upon the shepherds of Beth­lehem when the angels came to impart to them the tidings of our Saviour's birth, and which, at a distance, might appear like a star. Another question is, how the wise men could guess at the birth of our Saviour from the appearance of this star? The most probable answer is, that they did not collect the birth of Jesus Christ from this uncommon appearance (which only served as their guide in finding him out) but were determined to their jour­ney by the general expectation the eastern world was then in of an universal monarch. The feast of Epiphany was not originally a distinct festival, but made a part of that of the nativity of Christ, which being celebrated twelve days, the first and last of which, according to the custom of the Jews, in their feasts, were high or chief days of this solemnity; either of these might be fitly called Epiphany, as that word signifies the appearance of Christ in the world.
  • Equanimity, is an even, uniform temper of mind, amidst all the va­rieties and revolutions of time; and chance is the result of mag­nanimity, and the proof and evidence of it.
  • Erastians, a religious sect or faction, which arose in England during the time of the civil wars: so called from Thomas Erastus, their leader, whose distinguishing doctrine was, that the church had no right to discipline, i. e. no regular power to excommunicate, ex­clude, censure, absolve, decree, or the like.
  • Essenes, or Essenians, so ancient that we are not acquainted with their original. Pliny says they had been some thousand years in [Page]being without marriage, and without any conversation with per­sons of the other sex; and that they had been for some time esta­blished into a society before Hircanus was high priest of the Jews, and before Christ 106. They were the most virtuous sect of the Jews.
  • Eternity, an attribute of God. By eternity we mean infinite durati­on, or existence without beginning and without end. "The self-existent Being (says the learned Dr. Clarke) must of neces­sity be eternal. The ideas of eternity and self-existence are so closely connected, that because something of necessity must be eternal, independently, and without any outward cause of its be­ing, therefore it must necessarily be self-existent; and because it is impossible but something must be self-existent, therefore it is necessary that it must likewise be eternal. To be self-existent, is to exist by an absolute necessity in the nature of the thing itself; now this necessity being absolute, and not depending upon any thing eternal, must be always unalterably the same, nothing be­ing alterable but what is capable of being affected by some­what without itself. That Being therefore, which has no other cause of its existence, but the absolute necessity of its own nature, must of necessity have existed from everlasting without end.—As to the manner of this eternal existence, it is manifest, it herein infinitely transcends the manner of the existence of all created beings, even of such as shall exist for ever, that whereas it is not possible for their finite minds to comprehend all that is past, or to understand perfectly all the things that are present, much less to know all that is future, or to have entirely in their power any thing that is to come; but their thoughts, knowledge, and power, must of necessity have degrees and periods, and be successive and transi­ent, as the things themselves. The eternal, supreme Cause, on the contrary, must of necessity have such a perfect independent unchangeable comprehension of all things, that there can be no one point or instant of his eternal duration, wherein all things that are past, present, and to come, will not be as entirely known, and represented to him, in one single thought or view, and all things present and future be equally and entirely in his power and direction, as if there was no succession at all, but all things were actually present at once.
  • Evangelist. This word signifies one who publishes good news: they therefore who write, as well as they who preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, are called Evangelists; and, in general, all they who declare any happy tidings. In Isaiah the Lord says, that he will give to Jerusalem one that bringeth good tidings, or an Evan­gelist. In the Acts of the Apostles, Philip, one of the deacons, is called an Evangelist. They were generally ranked below the Apostles and Prophers, tho' their office and duty was honourable and sacred. In the beginning of Christianity, there were Evan­gelists and preachers, who, without being fixed to any church, went and preached wherever they might be most useful. Lastly, we commonly call Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Evange­lists, [Page]lists, who are the authors of the four gospels, which only are ac­knowledged by the church to be canonical.
  • Euchitae, a sect of ancient heretics, so called, because they prayed without ceasing; imagining that prayer alone was sufficient to save them.
  • Eudoxians, a sect of Christians in the 4th century. They were A­rians, who put themselves under the direction of Eudoxus, Bishop of Constantinople. This Heresiarch had been educated by Lucian the martyr. As he was of a subtile and penetrating genius, he thought to raise his reputation by undertaking the support of Ari­anism. The success answered his hopes: he was chosen by the Arians Bishop of Germanicia, in Syria. He opposed the divinity of the word, in the council of Antioch, in 341, and afterwards in the Arian councils of Sardica, Sirium, and Seleucia. He became the Patriarch of Constantinople, by the favour of the Emperor Constantius. He engaged the Emperor Valens, by an oath, to support the cause of Arianism. After the death of Arius, he be­came head of the Arian party, who from him took the name Eudoxians.
  • Eulogiae, so the Greek church calls the panis benedictus, or bread over which a blessing is pronounced, and which is distinguished to those who are unqualified to communicate. The name Eulo­giae was likewise anciently given to the consecrated pieces of bread which the Bishops and priests sent to each other, for the keeping up a friendly correspondence. Those presents, likewise, which were made out of respect or obligation, were called Eulogiae.
  • Eunomioeupsychians, a sect of heretics of the 4th century, being the same with those called Eutychians.
  • Eustathians, a name given to the Catholics of Antioch, in the 4th century, on occasion of their refusing to acknowledge any other Bishop besides St. Eustathius, who was deposed by the Arians. Also a sect in the 4th century, called so from their leader Eusta­thius, a monk, who excluded all married people from salvation, prohibited praying in houses, and obliged them to quit all they had, as incompatible with the hopes of salvation.
  • Eutychians, a sect of Christians, disciples of Eutyches, a monk, and abbot of Constantinople, in the 5th century. Eutyches, anima­ted by a false zeal against the errors of Nestorius, fell into the op­posite impiety, and maintained, that there was but one nature in Jesus Christ, because there was but one person. He pretended that the divine nature, by its superiority, had so entirely swallowed up the human, that the latter could not be distinguished in Jesus Christ; insomuch, that, according to Eutyches, Jesus Christ was merely God, that he had nothing of humanity but the appearance. Flavian, Patriarch of Constantinople, strongly opposed this doc­trine; and Eutyches was condemned in a council held in 448: which sentence was confirmed by the general council of Chalce­don in 451. Eutyches resisted the council of Constantinople, and [Page]would not alter his expressions against the two natures in Jesus Christ; because he would not, he said, condemn the holy fathers, pa [...]ticularly St. Cyril and St. Athanesius, who had expressed them­selves in the same manner. The partisans of Eutyches, supported by the officers of Theodosius the Younger, exercised great vio­lences against the orthodox, which gave occasion to the false coun­cil of Ephesus. Leontius, superior of the Scythian monks, re­vived the heresy of Eutyches, about the year 600, and maintained that we ought to say, one of three persons in the Trinity suffered on the cross.
  • Exarch, in the Greek church, is an officer under the Patriarch, who has the care and inspection of the patriarchal monasteries, or such as depend immediately on the Patriarch. His business is to visit them, to hear the complaints of inferiors against their superiors, to impose penance, and chastise those monks who neglect their duty, and the obedience they owe their superiors. When a supe­rior of a patriarchal monastery is dead, the exarch is to take care and send the person elected by the monks to succeed him, to the Patriarch, for imposition of hands. He is to take an exact ac­count of all the monasteries depending on the Patriarch, of their revenues, sacred vessels, and ornaments. For this purpose the exarch receives letters testimonial from the Patriarch, which he is obliged to produce and shew to the monks, that they may not doubt of his authority.
  • Excommunication, an ecclesiastical penalty, whereby they who incur the guilt of any heinous sin are separated from the communion of the church, and deprived of all spiritual advantages. There are two or three sorts of excommunication: the greater, whereby the person offending is separated from the body of the faithful; thus St. Paul excommunicated the incestuous Christian, 1 Cor. vi. 5. The lesser, whereby the sinner is forbidden to adminster or re­ceive the sacraments: and, lastly, that which deprives him only of the company of the faithful, of which there is some mention made, 2 Cor. iii. 6. and by St. Austin. Theophilact says, that even this separation was formerly esteemed a great punishment. The pri­mitive Christians very rarely excommunicated; and when they were, it was for very important reasons, with great seriousness and concern. Excommunication of Emperors, Kings, &c. by the au­thority of the Pope, began in the 9th century.
  • Extreme Unction, one of the sacraments of the Romish church, the fifth in order, administered to people dangerously sick, by anoint­ing them with holy oils, and performing several prayers over them.
  • FAITH, is a theological virtue, whereby we hold for certain that there is a God, and are persuaded to believe those truths [Page]revealed in the scriptures. This faith, accompanied with the prac­tice of good works, is the life of a righteous man: "The just shall live by faith." It may be considered either as proceeding from God, who reveals his truths; or man, who yields his assent to them: and in both these senses it is called faith. "Shall the unbelief of the Jews make the faith of God of none effect?" says St. Paul; that is to say, his sovereign and infallible truth. Faith is taken also for a firm confidence in God, whereby we are induced to address ourselves to him for favours. Faith is sometimes taken for honesty, fidelity in performing promises, truth; and in this sense it is applied both to God and man. Faith in general is the assent of the mind to the truth of any proposition.
  • Fanatic, a wild, extravagant, visionary, enthusiastical person, who pretends to revelation and inspiration, and believes himself pos­sessed of a divine spirit. See Enthusiasm.
  • Farrellists, a Christian sect, which sprung up in the 16th century, so called from their founder William Farrel, a native of Dauphiny, who, about the year 1525, taught at Geneva the doctrines of the Samaritans, particularly the efficacy of the sacraments. He per­suaded his disciples, that a man, to save life and goods, might deny, or dissemble, his faith before persecutors. By this means he gained over a great number of followers, who outwardly pro­fessed all sorts of religion, but secretly followed only their own doctrine, which consisted in believing alone, without being obliged to practise any good works. Calvin, whose influence in Geneva was very great, prevailed with the magistrates to banish Farrel, who retired to Neuf-Chatel, where he exercised the office of a minister some years, and died in 1565.
  • Fasting. This has in all ages, and among all nations, been an ex­ercise much in use in time of mourning, sorrow, and affliction; but we find no example of it, or injunction for it, before Moses. The Jews at this time are very strict in the observance of them. In their common fasts they begin the observance of them the pre­ceding evening after sun-set, and fast till the same hour the next evening; and, on the great day of atonement, they continue their fast twenty-eight hours. During this fast, they not only abstain from all sorts of food, but from bathings, perfumes, odours, cor­dials, &c. they go barefoot, are continent, and make no use of marriage. This is the idea which the eastern people have of fast­ing. It is an abstinence from every sensual gratification, as well as every kind of eating and drinking.
  • Fasts, days of religious abstinence. Such solemnities have been ob­served in all ages and nations, especially in times of mourning and affliction. We meet with no examples of fasting, properly so called, before Moses, who yet enjoins no other than the solemn day of expiation, which was generally and strictly observed. Be­sides the solemn fast of expiation, instituted by divine authority, the Jews appointed certain times of fasting and humiliation, called [Page]the fasts of the congregation. But, besides the public fasts, which the Jews were obliged by their law to observe, there were others of a private nature, which the zealous and most pious among them prescribed to themselves. The common way of fasting among the Jews is, to take no food, nor any drink, from the foregoing evening till sun-set the day following. They are allowed some particular herbs and butter, but not eggs. They must not be shaved, or powdered, or bathe themselves. They esteem fasting as a supplement to the old sacrifices, and place great merit in it. The ancient Christians had two sorts of solemn fasts, the one weekly, the other annual. Their weekly fasts, called jejunia quartae & sextae feriae, were observed on Wednesdays and Fridays; because on Wednesday our Lord was betrayed by Judas, and on Friday crucified by the Jews. These fasts lasted till the ninth hour, that is, till three o'clock in the afternoon, at which time they received the eucharist. They called these fasts stations, and the remains of them are yet observed in our church, which by her 15th canon has ordained, that tho' Wednesdays and Fridays be not holy days, yet that weekly, upon those times, the minister and people shall resort to church, at the accustomed hour of prayer. Their annual fast was that of Lent. They had likewise their oc­casional fasts, observed at extraordinary and unusual seasons, ac­cording as the variety and necessity of their circumstances required. Such were, times of great and imminent danger, either to the church or state, and times of public calamities, as plague or persecution. These occasional fasts were appointed by the Bishops of every church as they thought fit: they were called, by way of eminence, Jejunia. The Greeks have four solemn fasts: the first commences on the 15th of November, or forty days before Christmas; it is observed in commemoration of Moses's fasting forty days on Mount Sinai: the second falls in with our Lent: the third is called the fast of the holy Apostles, which they observe upon a supposition that the Apostles prepared themselves by prayer and fasting for the promulgation of the gospel. This fast com­mences the week after Whitsuntide, and continues till the festival of St. Peter and St. Paul. Their fourth fast commences the first of August, and lasts until the 15th. The Greeks are so supersti­tious and extravagant in the observation of their fasts, that they will admit of no cases of necessity sufficient to justify a dispensa­tion. The Patriarch himself cannot authorise any person to eat meat when the church has enjoined the contrary. The Romanists distinguish between fasting and abstinence, and different days are appointed for each of them in that church. On their days of fasting they are allowed but one meal in twenty-four hours; but on days of abstinence, provided they abstain from flesh, and make but a moderate meal, they are indulged in a collation at night. The times of fasting, appointed by that church, are all Lent, except Sundays, the Ember days, the vigils of the more [Page]solemn feasts, and all Fridays, except those that fall within the twelve days of Christmas, and between Easter and the Ascension. Their days of abstinence are, all the Sundays in Lent, St. Mark's day, if it does not fall in Easter week, the three Rogation days, all Saturdays throughout the year, with the Fridays before excepted, unless either happens to be Christmas-day. The church of Eng­land, tho' it appoints days of fasting and abstinence, for it makes no distinction between them, does not determine what food is proper for such seasons; and there is a statute, which declares, that whosoever, by preaching, teaching, writing, &c. affirms it to be necessary to abstain from flesh, for the saving of the soul of man, or for the service of God, is to be punished as a spreader of false news: but notwithstanding this, the church declares in one of her homilies, that fasting, by the decree of the 630 fathers, assembled at the council of Chalcedon, which was one of the first four general councils, who grounded their determinations upon the sacred scriptures, and long continued usage or practice both of the prophets and other godly persons, before the coming of Christ, and also of the Apostles, and other devout men, in the New Testa­ment, is a withholding meat, drink, and all natural food, from the body, for the determined time of fasting. The times she sets a­part, as proper for this duty, are the same with those observed in the earliest ages of the church.
  • Feasts. God, in his great wisdom, appointed several festivals among the Jews: 1. To perpetuate the memory of these great events and wonders which he had wrought in favour of his people. 2. To keep them firm to their religion. 3. To encourage them by in­tervals of rest and pleasure; for their festivals were accompanied with rejoicings, with feasts of charity, and with innocent diver­sions. 4. For instruction; for at those times there were seasons when the law of God was read and explained. 5. To renew and confirm their acquaintance and friendship with their tribes. The Hebrews had a great number of feasts, as the Sabbath, the Sab­batical year, the Passover, the feast of Pentecost, of Trumpets, of New-moons, of Expiation, of Tabernacles, and occasional, as that at the dedication of the Temple, &c.
  • Feasts or Festivals, days of religious feasting. Such solemnities have obtained in every age and nation.—Festivals among the ancient Grecians were instituted upon various accounts. First, in ho­nour of the gods, especially if they had conferred any signal sa­vours on the public, or on private persons. Secondly, in order to procure some especial favour from the gods; or to appease their anger, in times of public calamity. Thirdly, in memory of deceased friends, or of those who had done any remarkable service to, or died valiantly in defence of, their country. Fourthly, at a time of ease and rest from their labour. In the ancient Christian church, besides the festivals, which peculiarly re­lated to our Lord's [...]conomy on earth (such as the Nativity, [Page]Easter, Pentecost, &c.) there was another sort instituted by the church, in honour of the apostles and martyrs. The first ori­ginal of these festivals is not certainly known, but learned men commonly carry it as high as the second century. These they called their natalitia or birth-days, meaning not their natural birth, but a glorious crown in the kingdom of Heaven. They were celebrated at the graves or monuments of the martyrs, and were mostly confined to those particular churches where the mar­tyrs lay buried; for which reason it was customary for every church to have its particular fasti or kalendar of martyrs, in which was a distinct narrative of the acts and sufferings of each martyr, and these acts and sufferings were commonly read in the church on the anniversary, commemoration and proper festival of the martyr. To these they commonly added a panegyrical oration, or sermon, on the virtue of the martyr. They observed the virgil or eve of these festivals, with psalmody and prayer, till break of day.—Another sort of festivals, observed by the ancient Christi­ans, were annual thanksgiving days, for favours and blessings vouchsafed by God to his church. Thus the church of Alexan­dria kept an anniversary thanksgiving on the twenty-first of Ju­ly, for their deliverance from a terrible earthquake, in the reign of Julian; among these we may reckon the thanksgivings for signal victories of the Emperors, which generally lasted no long­er than the life of the Emperor on whose account they were in­stituted.—In the Romish church, there are double feasts, half double, and simple feasts. The name of double feasts was given to those whose service is fuller and more solemn than the rest; the other denominations took their rise from singular reasons, the chief difference between them being the greater or less solemnity used in them. The churches are established, and the altars a­dorned according to the rank each saint holds in his respective church; all high festivals have an octave, consisting of the feast itself, and the seven following days.—In Italy, certain festivals are celebrated which occur only in the kalendar of the lovers of that country: to understand this, you are to know, that when a lover is desirous of giving his mistress the highest testimonies of his gallantry, he immediately makes her the idol of his devotion; he has vespers, and even masses said in her honour: for this pur­pose he makes choice of some saint whose name she bears, and, tho' the saint has the name, they manage matters so, that the de­votion of the festival is plainly relative to the lover's mistress.— When, upon the reformation, the liturgy of the church of Eng­land was settled, the observation of festivals was enjoined by se­veral statutes, which were revived in the first year of Queen Eli­zabeth, and continued in the first year of King James; and when, upon the restoration, King Charles issued out a commission for re­viving the liturgy, the alterations made in it were synodically a­greed [Page]upon and confirmed by the King and parliament, as the act of uniformity testifies.
  • Feasts of God, in French, Fête de Dieu, a solemn festival in the Ro­mish church, instituted for the performing a peculiar kind of worship to our Saviour in the eucharist. It is observed the Thurs­day after the octaves of Whitsuntide; its institution is ascribed to Pope Urban IV. in the year 1264; the office for the solemnity was drawn up by the famous Thomas Aquinas, the church being at that time disturbed by the faction of the Guelss and Gibolines. Pope Urban's bull for this festival was not every where obeyed. Afterwards, at the general council of Vienne, in 1311, under Pope Clement V. the Kings of England, France, and Arragon, be­ing present, this bull was confirmed, and ordered to be every where observed. In 1316, Pope John XXII. to heighten the so­lemnity, added an octave to it, and ordered the holy sacrament to be carried in procession.
  • Fermentarii, a denomination which those of the Latin church have given to the Greeks, on account of their consecrating and using leavened or fermented bread in the eucharist.—As the Greeks call the Latins azymites, the Latins, in return, call them fermen­tarii.
  • Feuillants, a religious order in the Romish church, being a reform of the order of Cistertians. Don John de la Barriere, of the il­lustrious family of Turenne in Querc, being promoted to the abbey of Feuillans, in 1565, undertook to reform his monks, who, not relishing his great austerities, unanimously agreed to quit the monastery. But the fame of his capacity soon drew to him a great number of followers, who not only revived the an­cient fervour of the Cistertian order, but even surpassed it; they went barefooted and bareheaded, lay in their cloaths on the boards, and eat their victuals on the floor. Some of them never drank out of any thing but dead mens skulls; they lived upon no­thing but broth made of herbs, and black bread; such was the life of John de la Barriere and his disciples.
  • First Fruits. See Annates.
  • Flagellantes, a sect of heretics, who chastised and disciplined them­selves with whips, in public. It had its rise at Perusa, in 1260, its author being one Reinier, an hermit. They ran into strange notions, particularly that the blood thus spilt was mixed with that of Jesus Christ, and th [...] by a flagellation of twenty-four days they gained the pardon of all their sins.
  • Floriniani, a sect of heretics of the second century, so called from its author Florinus, a Romish priest, who made God the author of evil, &c. They were charged with holding criminal assemblies in the night-time, and giving into Judaism and Paganism.
  • Fornication, is a word used in scripture, not only for the sin of im­purity, but likewise for idolatry and infidelity; adultery and for­nication [Page]are likewise frequently implied under that simple de­nomination, which are condemned both in the Old and New Tes­tament.
  • Fortitude, a cardinal or principal virtue. "Add to your faith vir­tue," not virtue in general, but the particular virtue of Christian fortitude. Fortitude is here made to stand in front of the vir­tues, since the mind must be prepared by this virtue to acquire or maintain the rest.
  • Fossarii, a kind of officers in the Eastern church, whose business was to inter the dead.
  • Franciscans, a powerful order of religious in the Romish church, following the rule of St. Francis.
  • Fraticelli, a sect of heretics, who rose in the marquisate of Ancona, about the year 1294. They hold the Romish church to be Baby­lon, and proposed to establish a more perfect one: they maintain­ed that the rule of St. Francis, was the evangelical rule, observed by Jesus Christ and his Apostles.
  • Free-thinkers, a name given to a sectary in the Low Countries, about the year 1555.
  • Friar, i. e. brother, a name common to all the orders of monks.
  • Friars observant, a branch of the Franciscans, so called because not combined together in any cloister or convent, but only agree­ing among themselves to observe the rule of their order.
  • GAianitae, a sect of ancient heretics, sprung from the Eutychi­ans. They denied that Jesus Christ, after the hypostatical union, was subject to any of the infirmities of human nature. They had their name from Gaian, a Bishop of Alexandria, in the sixth century.
  • Galileans, a sort of Judaizing Christians, that sprung up about the latter end of the fourth or the beginning of the fifth century.
  • Galileans, a sect of the Jews, which sprung up in Judea, some years after the birth of our Saviour; tho' it is likewise a name that was given to the disciples of Jesus Christ. They sprang from one Judas, a native of Gaulam, in Upper Galilee, about the year of the world 4010, in the 10th year of Jesus Christ, upon occasion of Augus­tus's appointing the people to be mustered; which they looked upon as an instance of servitude, which all true Israelites ought to oppose with all their power. The Galileans, according to Je­sephus, agreed in every thing with the Pharisees, only a peculiar predominant love of liberty, They held that God alone is the head and prince we are to obey.—In the gospel we find them mentioned by the name of Herodians, who addressed themselves to our Lord, and asked him, if it were lawful or not to pay tri­bute to Caesar. This was the great question, and principal object, [Page]of their sect; and when Jesus Christ appeared before Pilate, his accusers would fain have rendered him suspected of this heresy, in order to prejudice Pilate against him.
  • Genesis, the first book of the sacred scriptures. It is called Genesis, or generation, because it contains the genealogy of the first patri­archs, from Adam to the sons and grandsons of Jacob. This book is called Berischith in Hebrew, because in the original language it begins with this word. It includes the history of 2363 years, from the beginning of the world to the death of the patriarch Joseph.
  • Genevieve, fathers of St. Genevieve, the name of a congregation of re­gular canons of the order of St. Augustine, established in France. It was begun by St. Charles Faure, in the year 1618. It now consists of above an hundred monastics. It takes its name from the abbey of St. Genevieve, which is the chief of the order, and whose abbot is the general thereof. The abbey itself took its name from St. Genevieve, the patroness of the city of Paris, who died in the year 512.
  • Gentiles. The Hebrews called the Gentiles by the general name of Goiim, which signifies the nations that have not received the faith or law of God; all who are not Jews and circumcised are com­prised under the word Goiim, before Jesus Christ opened the door to life and justification to the world. By the belief and profession of the Jewish religion, those who were converted, and embraced Judaism, they called proselytes; but since the preaching of the gospel, the true religion is not confined to any one nation, or peo­ple, as heretofore. God, who had promised by the prophets to call the Gentiles to the faith, has executed this promise; so that the Christian church is composed of few other than Gentile con­verts: and the Jews, who were too proud of their particular pri­vileges, for the most part have persisted in disowning Jesus Christ, their Messiah and Redeemer. St. Paul's epistles are generally comprehended under the name of Greeks. Judaeus & Graecus, signify Jew and Gentile.
  • George, religious of the order of St. George, of which there are divers orders and congregations; particularly canons regular of St. George, in Alga, at Venice, established in 1404; another in S [...] ­cily, &c.
  • Gilbertines,