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tude; it is not the miser who is continually amassing wealth, that can be considered as the greatest ornaments or the greatest blessings to human society :-it is rather the useful than the shining talent that is to be coveted.
Perhaps it may be said, the work is tinctured too much with my own sentiments, and that the theology is too antiquated to please a liberal, philosophising, and refined age. In answer to this, I observe, that I could do no other as an honest man, than communicate what I believed to be the truth. It is a false liberality to acquiesce with every man's opinion, to fall in with every man's scheme, to trifle with error, or imagine there is no difference between one sentiment and another; yet, notwithstanding this declaration, I trust the features of bigotry are not easily discernible in this work; and that, while I have endeavoured to carry the torch of Truth in my hand, I have not forgotten to walk in the path of Candour.
It is almost needless here to say, that I have availed myself of all the writings of the best and most eminent authors. I could obtain. Whatever has struck me as important in ecclesiastical history; whatever good and accurate in definition; whatever just views of the passions of the human mind; whatever terms used in the religious world; and whatever instructive and impressive in the systems of divinity and moral philosophy, I have endeavoured to incorporate in this work. And in order to prevent its being a dry detail of terms and of dates, I have given the substance of what has been generally advanced on each subject, and occasionally selecterl some of the most interesting and practical passages from our best and celebrated sermons. I trust, therefore, it will not only be of use to inform the mind, but impress the heart; and thus promote the real good of the reader. The critick, however, may be disposed to be severe; and it will, perhaps, be easy for him to observe imperfections. But be this as it may: I can assure him I feel myself happy in the idea that the work is not intended to serve a party, to encourage bigotry, nor strengthen prejudice, but, “ for the service of 'Truth, by one who would be glad to attend and grace her triumphs; as her soldier, if he has had the honour to serve successfully under her banner; or as a captive tied to her chariot wheels, if he has, though undesignedly, committed any offence against her.” After all, however, what a learned author said of another work I say of this :- If it have merit, it will go down to posterity; if it liaye nove, the sooner it dies and is forgot the better."
ABBA, a Syriac word, signifying Fa- | mission a priest to act for thear. They sher. It is more particularly used in the have even a kind of episcopal jurisdicSyriac, Coptic, and Ethiopic churches, tion, as well as some abbots who are as a title given to the bishops. The exempted from the visitation of their bishops themselves bestowed the title diocesan. Abbu more eminently on the bishop of ABBEY, a monastery, governed by a Alexandria, which occasioned the peo superior under the title of Abbot or ple to give him the title of Baba or || Abbess. Monasteries were at first noPapa; that is, Grandfather: a title thing more than religious houses, whiwhich he bore before the bishop of ther persons retired from the bustle of Rome. It is a Jewish title of honour the world to spend their time in solitude given to certain Rabbins called Tanaites; I and devotion : but they soon degenerated it is also used by some writers of the from their original institution, and promiddle age for the superior of a monas- cured large privileges, exemptions, and tery. Saint Mark and Saint Paul use | riches. They prevailed greatly in Brithis word in their Greek, Mark xiv. 36. tain before the reformation, particular. Rom. vii. 15. Gal. iv. 6. because it was ly in England ; and as they increased in then commonly known in the syna- || riches, so the state became poor, for gogues and the primitive assemblies of the lands which these regulars possessthe Christians. It is thought by Selden, led could never revert to the lords who Witsius, Doddridge, and others, that gave them. These places were wholly Saint Paul alluded to a law among the abolished by Henry VIII. He first apJews which forbacle servants or slaves pointed visitors to inspect into the lives to call their master Abba or Father ; ll of the monks ard nuns, which were and that the apostle meant to convey found in some places very disorderly; the idea that those who believed in upon which the abbots, perceiving their Christ were no longer slaves to sin; but dissolution unavoidable, were induced being brought into a state of holy free. to resign their houses to the king, who dom, mighi consequently address God by that means became invested with the as their Father.
abbey lands; these were afterwards ABBE. The same with ABBOT, | granted to different persons, whose dewhich see. Also the name of curious scendants enjoy them at this day : they popular characters in France; who are were. then valued at 2,853,0001. per persons which have not yet obtaiced any | annum; an immeuse sum in those days. precise or fixed settlement in church orl-Though the suppression of these state, bat most heartily wish for and houses, considered in a religious and would except of either, just as it may political light, was in great benefit to happen. In the mean while their pri- the nation, yet it must be owned, that, vileges are many: In college they are at the time they flourished, they were the instructors of youth, and in pri- not entirely useless. Abbeys were then vate families the tutors of young gentle. the repositories as weil as the semina. men.
ries of learning: many valuable books ABBESS, the superior of an abbey or and national records have been preconvent of nuns. The abbess has the served in their libraries; the only same right and authority over her nuos places wherein they could have been that the abbuts regular have over their safely lodged in those turbulent times inonk& The sex, indeed, does not allow Indeed, the historians of this country her to perform the spiritual functions are chiefly beholden to the monks for annexed to the priesthood, wherewith the knowledge they have of former nathe abbot is usually invested; but there tional events. Thus a kind Providence are instances of soine abbesses who have overruled even the institutions of supera righi, or rather privilege, to com- 'l stition for good. See MONASTERY:
ABBOT, the chief ruler of a monas- ther including the whole system of the tery or abbey. At first they were lay- Ignicold, or worshippers of fire. men, and subject to the bishop and ABILITY. See INABILITY. ordinary pastors. Their monasteries ABLUTION, a ceremony in use being remote from cities, and built in among the ancients, and still practised the farthest solitudes, they had no share in several parts of the world. It conin ecclesiastical affairs; but, there being sisted in washing the body, which was among them several persons of learning, | always done before sacrificing, or even they were called out of the deserts by entering their houses. Ablutions appear the bishops, and fixed in the suburbs of to be as old as any ceremonies, and ex: the cities; and at length in the cities ternal worship itself. Moses enjoined themselves. From that time they de. them, the heathers adopted them, and generated, and, learning to be ambitious, Mahomet and his followers have con. aspired to be independent of the bishops, | tinued them. The Egyptians, the which occasioned some severe laws to Greeks, the Romans, the Jews, all had he made against them. At length, how them. The ancient Christians had their ever, the abbots carried their point, and ablutions before communion, which the obtained the title of lord, with other Romish church still retain before their badges of the episcopate, particularly, mass, and sometimes after. The Sythe mitre. Hence arose new distinctions rians, Copts, &c, bave their solemn among them. Thuse were term mitred | washings on Good Friday ; the Turks abbots who were privileged to wear the also have their ablutions, their Ghast, mitre, and exercise episcopal authority, their Wodou, Aman, &c. within their respective precincts, being ABRAHAMITES, an order of monks exempted from the jurisdiction of the exterminated for idolatry by Theophi. bishop
Others were called crosieredlus, in the ninth century. Also the name abbots, from their bearing the crosier, of another sect of heretics who had or pastoral staff Others were styled adopted the errors of Paulus. See ecumenical or universal albots, in innta- | PAULICANS. tion of the patriarch of Constantinople ; ABSOLUTION signifirs acquittal. It while others were termed cardinal ab- is taken also from that act whereby the bots, from their superiority over all priest declares the sins of such as are other abbots. At present, in the Roman penitent remitted. The Romanists hold catholic countries, the chief distinctions absolution a part of the sacrament of are those of regular and coinenda.ory | penance : and the council of Trent and The former take the vow and wear that of Florence declare the form or the habit of their order; whereas the essence of the sacrament to lie in the latter are seculars, though they are words cf absolution. “I absolve thee obliged by their bulis to take orders " of thy sins.” According to this, no when of proper ages
one can receive absolutions without the ABELÍANS, or ABELONIANS, a secu | privity, consent, and declaration of the which arose in the diocess of Hippool priest ; cxcept, therefore, the priest be in Africa, and is supposed to have be- willing, God himself cannot pardon any gun in the reign of Arcadius, and ended man. This is a doctrine as blasphein that of Theodosius. Indeed it was mous as it is ridiculous. The chief not calculated for being of any long con passage on which they ground their tinuance. They regulated marriage af power of absolution is that in John xx. ter the example of Abel, who, they ; 23: “Whosoever sins ye remit, they pretended, was married, but lived in a are remitted unto them, and whoso. state of continence: they therefore al- ever sins ye retain, they are retained." lowed each man to marry one woman, But this is not to the purpose ; since this but enjoined them to live in the same was a special commission to the apostles state. To keep up the sect, when a themselves, and the first preachers of man and women entered into this socie- the Gospel, and most probably referred ly, they adopted a boy and girl, who to the power he gave them of discern. were to inherit their goods, and to ing spirits. By virtue of this power, marry upon the same terms of not hav.) Peter 'struck Ananias and Saphira dead, ing children, but of adopting two of dif- and Paul struck Elimas blind. But, fcrent sexes.
supposing the passage in question to ABESTA, the name of one of the sa-apply to the successors of the apostles, cred books of the Persian Magi, which and io ministers in general, it can only they ascribe to their great founder Zoro import that their office is to preach aster. The Abesta is a commentary on pardra totho penitent, assuring those two others on their religious books, cail. who believe that their sins are forgiven ed Zenil and Pocond; the three toge-"through the merits of Jesus Christ; anı! that those who remain in unbeliet are in, on all days commonly called fislı days. a stale of condemnation. Any idea of The life injunctions were renewed un. authority given to fallible, uninspired | der queen Elizabeth ; but at the same men to absolve sinners, different from time it was declared, that this was done this, is unscriptural; nor can I see much || not out of motives of religion, as if there utility in the terms ministerial or decla- were any difference in meats, but in farative absolution, as adopted by some vour of the consumption of fish, and to divines, since absolution is wholly the multiply the number of fisherman and prerogative of God; and the ierms mariners, as well as to spare the stock above mentioned, may to say the least, of sheep. See FASTING. have no good influence on the minds of ABSTINENTS, a set of heretics that the ignorant and superstitious. appeared in France and Spain about the
ABSTEMII, a name given to such end of the third century. They are suppersons as could not partake of the cupposed to have borrowed part of their of the eucharist, on account of their na opinions from the Gnostics and Mani. tural aversion to wine.
chcans, because they opposed marriage, ABSTINENCE, in a general sense, condemned the use of flesh meat, and is the act of refraining from something placed the Holy Ghost in the class of which we have a propension to or find created beings. pleasure in. It is more particularly ABYSS, in a general sense, denotes used for fasting or forbearing of neces- something profound; in its literal sense sary, food. Among the Jews, various it signities without a bottom ; in a more kinds of abstinence were ordained by particular sense it denotes a deep mass their law. Among the primitive Chris-or fund of waters. In this last sense the tians, some denied themselves the use word is used in the Septuagirt for the of such meats
as were prohibited by that water which God created at the beginlaw; others looked upon this abstinencening with the earth, which our translawith contempt : as to which Paul givestors render by deep. Thus it is that his opinion, Rom. xiv. 1. 3. The council | darkness is said to have been on the face of Jerusalem, which was held by the of the abyss, Gen. i. 2. Abyss is also apostles, enjoined the Christian converts | used for an immense cavern in the earth to abstain from meats strangled, from wherein God is supposed to have col. blood, from fornication, and from idola. || lected all those waters on the third day, try, Acts xv. Upon this passage, Dr. which in our version is rendered the Doddridge observes, " that though nei- | seas, and elsewhere the great deep. ther things sacrificed to idols, nor the Abyss is likewise used to denote the flesh of strangled animals, nor blood. || grave or common receptacle of the have or can have any moral evil in dead, Roin. x. 7: also hell, or the botthem, which should make the eating of comless pit, Luke viïi 31. Rev. ix. 1. them absolutely and universally unlaw. Rev. xi. 7. See DELUGE, ful; yet they were forbidden to the Gen. ABYSSINIAN CHURCH, that tile converts, because the Jews had such which is established in the empire of an aversion to them, that they could not Abyssinia. They are a branch of the converse freely with any who used them. Copts, with whom they agree in admitThis is plainly the reason which James ting only one nature in Jesus Christ, assigns in the very next words, the 21st and rejecting the council of Chalcedon ; verse, and it is abundantly sufficient, whence they are also called MonophyThis reason is now ceased, and the sites and Eritychians, which see. The obligation to abstain from cating these | Abyssinian church is governed by a things ceases with it. But were we in bishop styled abuna. Ühey have ca. like circumstances again, Christian cha-nons also, called monks. The emperor rity would surely require us to lay our- || has a kind of supremacy in ecclesiastical selves under the same restraint.”—The matters. The Abyssinians have at divers spiritual monarchy of the western world times expressed an inclination to be reintroduced another sort of abstinence, I conciled to the see of Rome ; but rather which may be called ritual, and consists froin interested views than any other in abstaining from particular meats at motive. They practice circumcision on certain times and seasons, the rules of females as well as males. They eat no which are called rogations. If I mis meats prohibited by the law of Moses. lake not, the impropriety of this kind | They observe both Saturday and Sun. of abstinence is clearly pointed out in 1 day sabbaths. Woman are obliged to Tim. iv. 3.-lo England, abstinence from the legal purifications. Brothers marry flesh has been enjoined by statute, even brothers' wives, &c. On the other hand, since the reformation ; particularly on they celebrate the Epiphany with pecuFridays and Saturdays, on vigils, and Il liar festivity; have four Lents; pray for
the dead; and invoke angels. Images in i principles of religion and wisdom. Je-
lents by clapping of hands, and loud acACACIANS, a sect of heretics in the clamations of praise. The usual words 4th century ; so named from Acacius, they made use of were, “Orthodox," bishop of Cæsarea, who denied the Son " Third apostle,” &c. These acclama. to be of the same substance with the tions being carried to excess, and often Father, though some of them allowed misplaced. were frequently prohibited that he was of a similar substance. Also by the ancient doctors, and at length abthe name of another sect, named after rogated. Even as late, however, as the Acacius, patriarch of Constantinople, in seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the fifth century, who favoured the opin- / we find practices that were not very deions of Eutychus. See EUTYCHIANS. corous; such as loud humming, frequent
ACADEMICS, a denomination given groaning, strange gestures of the body, to the cultivators of a species of philo- &c. See articles DANCERS, SHAKERS. sophy originally derived from Socrates, ACCOMMODATION OF SCRIP. and afterwards illustrated and enforced TURE is the application of it, not to its by Plato. The contradictory systems I literal meaning, but to something anawhich had been successively urged upon i lagous to it. Thus a prophecy is said to the world were become so numerous, be fulfilled properly when a thing forethat, from a view of the variety and un- told comes to pass; and, by way of accertainty of human opinions, many were commodation, when an event liappens led to conclude that truth lay beyond to any place or people similar to what the reach of our comprehension. The fell out some time before to another. consequence of this conclusion was ab- Thus the words of Isaiah, spoken to solute scepticism : hence the existence those of his own time, are said to be fulof God, the immortality of the soul, the filled in those who lived in our Saviour's, preferableness of virtue to vice, were “ Ye laypocrites, weil did Esaias proall held as uncertain. This sect, with phecy,” &c. which same words St. Paul that of the Epicureans, were the two afterwards accommodates to the Jews chief that were in vogue at the time of of his ume, Is. xxix. 14. Matt. xv. 8. Christ's appearance, and were em- Acts xii. 41. Great care, however, braced and supported by persons of high should be taken by preachers who are rank and wealth. A consideration of the fond of accommodating texts, that they principles of these two sects (see Epi- first clearly state the literal sense of the CUREANS] will lead us to form an idea passage, of the deplorable state of the world at ACCURSED, something that lies unthe time of Christ's birth; and the ne- der a curse or sentence of excommunicessity there was of some divine teacher cation. In the Jewish idiom, accursed to convey to the mind true and certain 'and crucified were synonymous : ammg