Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

form habits of this kind, or choose company who are addicted to it; how cautious and circumspect should we act, that we be not found guilty of a sin ■which degrades human nature, banishes reason, insults God, and exposes us to the greatest evils! Foley's Mot. Phil. vol. ii. ch. 2. FlaveVs Works, vol. ii. p. 349; Buck's Jinecdoies, vol. i. p. 82, 5th edition; LamonCs Ser., vol. i. sex. 15 16.

DULCINISTS, the followersof Dulcinus, alaymanof NovarainLombardy, about the beginning of the fourteenth century. He taught that the law of the Father, which had continued till Moses, was a law of grace and wisdom, but that the law of the Holy Ghost, which began with himself in 1307, was a law entirely of love, which would last to the end of the world.

DUNKERS, a denomination which took Us rise in the year 1724. It was founded by a German, who, weary of the world, retired to an agreeable solitude within fifty miles of Philadelphia, for the more free exercise of religious contemplation. Cutiosity attracted followers, and his simple and engaging manners made them proselytes. They soon settled a little colony called Euphrate, in allusion to the Hebrews, who used to sing psalms on the borders of the river Euphrates. This denomination seem to nave obtained their name from their baptizing theirnew converts bv plunging. They are also called Tumblers, from the manner in which they performed baptism, which is by putting the person, while kneeling, head hrst under water, so as to resemble the motion of the bodv in the action of tumbling. They use the triune immersion, with laying on the hands and prayer, even when the person baptized is in the water.

Their habit seems to be peculiar to themselves, consisting of a long tunic, or coat, reaching down to their heels, •with a sash or girdle round the waist, and a cap, or hood, hanging from the shoulders, like the dress of the Dominican friars. The men do not shave the head or beard. The men and women have separate habitations and distinct governments. For these purposes they have erected two large wooden buildings, one of which is occupied by the brethren, the other by the sisters of the society; and in each of them there is a banqueting room, and an apartment for public worship; for the brethren and sisters do not meet together, even at their devotions. They live chiefly upon roots and other vegetables,

the rules of their society not allowing them flesh, except on particular occasions, when they hold what they call a love-feast: at which time the brethren and sisters dine together in a large apartment, and eat mutton; but no other meat. In each of their little cells they have a bench fixed, to serve the purpose of a bed, and a small block of wood for a pillow. The Dunkers allow of no intercourse between the brethren and sisters, not even by marriage. The principal tenets of the Dunkers appear to be these: that future happiness is only to be attained by penance and outward mortification in this life ; and that, as Jesus Christ by his meritorious sufferings, became the Redeemer of mankind in general, so each individual of the human race, by a life of abstinence and restraint, may work out his own salvation. Nay, they go so far as to admit of works of supererogation, and declare that a man may do much more than he is in justice or equity obliged to do, and that his superabundant works may therefore be applied to the salvation of others. This denomination deny the eternity of future punishments, and believe that the dead have the Gospel preached to them by our Saviour, and that the souls of the just are employed to preach the Gospel to those who have had no revelation in this life. They suppose the Jewish sabbath, sabbatical year, and year of jubilee, are typical of certain periods, after the general judgment, in which the souls of those who are not then admitted into happiness are purified from their corruption. Jf any within those smaller periods are so far humbled as to acknowledge the perfections of God, and to own Christ as their only Saviour, they are received to felicity; while those who continue obstinate are reserved in torments until the grand period typified by the jubilee arrives, in which all shall be made happy in the endless fruition of the.Deity. They also deny the imputation of Adam's sin to his posterity. They disclaim violence even in cases of self-defence, and suffer themselves to be defrauded or wronged rather than go to law.

Their church government and discipline are the same with the English Baptists, except that every brother is allowed to speak in the congregation; and their best speaker is usually ordained to be the minister. They have deacons and deaconesses from among their ancient widows and exhorters, who are all licensed to,use their gifts statedly.

DUTY, any action, or course of ac- f| or legal obligation. The various moral, tions, which flow from the relations we relative, and spiritual duties, are consistand in to God or man; that which a dered in their places in this work, man is bound to perform by any natural ||

[ocr errors]

EASTER, the day on which the Christian church commemorates our Saviour's resurrection. It is called by the Greeks Pasga; and by the Latins Pasc/ia, a Hebrew word signifying passage, applied to the Jewish feast at the passover. It is called Easter in English, from the Saxon goddess Eostre, whose festival was held in April. The Asiatic churches kept their Easter upon the very same day that the Jews observed their passover. and others on the first Sunday after the first full moon in the new year. This controversy was determined in the council of Nice, when it was ordained that Easter should be kept upon one and the same day, which should always be Sunday, in all Christian churches in the world.

EBIONITES, ancient heretics, who rose in the church in the very first age thereof, and formed themselves into a sect in the second century, denying the divinity of Jesus Christ. Origen takes them to have been so called from the Hebrew word ebion, which in that language signifies floor; because, says he, they were poor in sense, and wanting understanding. Eusebius, with a view to the same etymology, is of opinion they were thus called, as having poor thoughts of Jesus Christ, taking him for no more than a mere man. It is more probable the Jews gave this appellation to the Christians in general out of contempt ; because, in the first times, there were few but poor people that embraced the Christian religion. The Ebionites were little else than a branch of the Nazarenes; only that they altered and corrupted, in many things, the purity of the faith held among the first adherents to Christianity. For this reason, Origen distinguishes two kinds of Ebionites in his answer to Celsus; the one believed that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin; and the other, that he was born after the manner of other men. The first were orthodox in every thing, except that to the Christian doctrine they joined the ceremonies of the Jewish law, with the Jews, Samaritans, and Nazarenes; together with the traditions of the Pharisees. They differed

from the Nazarenes, however, in several things, chiefly as to what regards the authority of the sacred writings; for the Nazarenes received all for Scripture contained in the Jewish canon; whereas the Ebionites rejected all the prophets, and held the very names of David, Solomon, Isaiah. Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, in abhorrence. They also rejected all St. Paul's epistles, whom they treated with the utmost disrespect. They leceived nothing of the < )ld Testament but the Pentateuch. They agreed with the Nazarenes, in using the Hebrew Gospel of St. Matthew, otherwise called the Gospel of the twelve apostles; but they corrupted their copy in abundance of places; and particularly had left out the genealogy of our Saviour, which was preserved entire in that of the Nazarenes, and even in those used by the Cerinthians. Besides the Hebrew Gospel of St. Matthew, the Ebionites had adopted several other books under the titles of St. James, John, and the other apostles. they also made u-e of the travels of St. Peter, which are supposed to have been written by St. Clement; but had altered them so, that there was scarce any thing of truth left in them. They even made that saint tell a number of falsehoods, the better to authorise their own practices.

ECCLESIASTICAL, an appellation givento whatever belongs to the church; thus we say ecclesiastical polity, jurisdiction, history, &c.

ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY, a narration of the transactions, revolutions, and events, that relate to the church. As to the utility of church history, Dr. Jortin, who was an acute writer on this subject, shall here speak for us: he observes, 1. That it will show us the amazing progress of Christianity through the Roman empire, through the Last and West, although the powers of the world cruelly opposed it. 2. Connected with Jewish and Pagan history, it will show us the total destruction of Jerusalem, the overthrow of the Jewish church and state; and the continuance of that unhappy nation for 1700 years, though dispersed over the fcce of the earth, and oppressed at different times by Paeans, Christians, and Mahometans.—3. It shows us that the increase of Christianity.'produced in the countries where it was received, the overthrow and extinction of paganism, which, after a feeble resistance, perished about the sixth century,—4. It shows us how Christianity hath been continued and delivered down from the apostolical to the present age.—5. It shows us the various opinions which prevailed at different times.amongst the fathers and other Christians, and how they departed more or less from the simplicity of the Gospel.—6. It will enable us to form a true judgment of the merit of the fathers, and of the use which is to be made of them.—7. It will show us the evilof imposing unreasonable terms of communion, and requiring Christians to profess doctrines not propounded in Scriptural words, but inferred as consequences from passages of Scripture, which one may call systems of consequential divinity,—8 It will show us the origin and progress of popery; and, lastly, it will show us,—9. The origin and progress of the reformation. See JOr. Jortin's Charge on the Use and Importance of Ecclesiastical History, in Ms Works, vol. vii. ch. 2.

For ecclesiastical historians, See Euaebius's Eccl. Hist, "with Valesius's notes; Baronti Analcs Eccl.; Sfiondani Annates Sacri; Parei Universalis Hist. Ecc.; Lamfie, Dufiin, Sfianheim, and Mosheim's Eccl. Hist.; Sutler's, and Warner's Eccl. Hist, of England; Jortin's Remarks on Eccl. Hist.; Millar's Propagation of Christianity; Gillies's Historical Collections; Dr. Erskine's Sketches, and Robinson's Researches. The most recent are, Dr. Campbell's, Gregory's, Milner's, and Dr. Haweis's; all which have their excellencies. See also Bogue and Jit nnefs History (f the Distenters. For the History of the church under the Old Testament, the reader may consult Miller's History of the Church ,- Prideaux and Schuckford's Connections; Dr Walls's Scriftture History; and Fleuru's Hutory of the Israelites.

ECLECTICS, a name given to some ancient philosophers, who, without at taching themselves to any particular sect, took what they judged good and solid from each. One Polamon, of Alexandria, who lived under Augustus and Tiberius, and who, weary of doubting of all things, with the Sceptics and Pyrrhonians, was the person who formed this sect. ECLECTICS, or modern Platonics,

a sect which arose in the Christian church towards the close of the second century. They professed to make truth the only object of their enquiry, and to be ready to adopt from all the different systems and sects such tenets as they thought agreeable to it. They preferred Plato to the other philosophers, and looked upon his opinions concerning God, the human soul, and things invisible, as conformable to the spirit and genius of the Christian doctrine. One of the principal patrons of this system was Ammonius Saccas, who at this time laid the foundation of that sect, afterwards distinguished by the name of the JVew Platonics in the Alexandrian school.

ECSTACY, or Extacv, a transport of the mind, which suspends the functions of the senses by the intense contemplation of some extraordinary object.

ECTHESIS, a confession of faith.the form of an edict published in the year 639, by the emperor Heraclius, with a view to pacify the troubles occasioned by the Eutychian heresy in the eastern church. However, the same prince revoked it, on being informed that pope Severinus had condemned it, as favouring the Monotlielites; declaring, at the same time, that Sergius, patriarch of Constantinople, was the author of it. See Euttchians.

EDIFICATION; this word signifies a building up. Hence we call a build ing an edifice. Applied to spiritual things, it signifies the improving, adorning, and comforting the mind; and a Christian may be said to be edified when he is encouraged and animated in the ways and works of the Lord. The means to promote our own edification are, prayer, self-examination, reading the Scriptures, hearing the Gospel, meditation, attendance on all appointed ordinances. To edify others there should be love, spiritual conversation, forbearance, faithfulness, benevolent exertions, and uniformity of conduct.

EFFRONTES, a sect of heretics, in 1534, who scraped their forehead with a knife till it bled, and then poured oil into the wound. This ceremony served them instead of baptism. They are likewise said to have denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit.

Eicetje, a denomination in the year 680, who affirmed that, in order to make prayer acceptable to God it should be performed dancing.

EJACULATION, a short prayer, in which the mind is directed to God on any emergency. See Prayer.

ELCESAITES, ancient heretics, who



made their appearance in the reign of the emperor Trajan, and took their name from their leader, Elcesai. They kept a mean between the Jews, Chris tians, and Pagans: they worshipped but one God, observed the Jewish sabbath, circumcision, ami the other ceremonies of the law; yet they rejected the Pentateuch and the prophets: nor had they any more respect for the writings of the apostles.

ELDER (vprCwnpt,) an overseer, ruler, leader.

Elders, or seniors, in ancient Jewish polity, were persons the most considerable for age, experience, and wisdom. Of this sort were the 70 men whom Moses associated with himself in the government: such likewise afterwards were those who held the first rank in the synagogue as presidents.— Elders, in church historv, were originally those who held the first place in the assemblies of the primitive Christians. The word presbyter is often used in the New Testament in this signification; hence the first councils of Christians were called Presbyteria, or councils of elders.—Elders in the presbyterian discipline, are officers, who, in conjunction with the ministers and deacons, compose the kirk sessions, who formerly used in inspect and regulate matters of religion and discipline; but whose principal business now is to take care of the poor's funds. They are chosen from among the people, and are received publicly with some degree of ceremony. In Scotland there is an indefinite number of elders in each parish, generally about twelve. See PresbyTerians.

It has long been a matter of dispute, whether there are any such officers as lay-elders mentioned in Scripture. On the one side it is observed, that these officers are no where mentioned as being alone or single, but always as being many in every congregation. They are also mentioned separately from the brethren. Their office,more than once, is described as being distinct from thar of preaching, not only in Rom.xii. where he that ruleth is expressly distinguished from him that exhorteth or teacheth, but also in that passage, 1 Tim. v. 17. On the other side it is said, that from the above-mentioned passages, nothing can be collected with certainty to establish this opinion; neither can it be inferred from any other passage that churches should be furnished with such officers, though perhaps prudence, in some circumstances, may make them expedient. "I incline to think," says

Dr. Guise, on the passage 1 Tim. v. 17, "that the apostle intends only preaching elders, when he directs double honour to be paid to the elders that rule well, especially those who labour in the word and doctrine; and that the distinction lies not in the order of officers but in the degree of their diligence, faithfulness, and eminence in laboriously fulfilling their ministerial work; and so the emphasis is to be laid on the word labour in the word and doctrine, which has an especially annexed to it."

ELBCTK >N. This word has different meanings. 1. It signifies God's taking a whole nation, community, or body of men, into external covenant with himself, by giving them the advantage of revelation as the rule of their belief and practice, when other nations are without it, Deut. vii. 6.—2. A temporary designation of some person or persons to the filling up some particular station in the visible church, or office in civil life, John vi. 70. 1 Sam. x. 24.-3. That gracious and almighty act of the Divine Spirit, whereby God actually and visibly separates his people from the world by effectual calling, John xv. 19.—4. That eternal, sovereign, unconditional, particular, and immutable act of God, whereb\ he selected some from among all mankind, and of every nation tinder heaven, to be redeemed and everlastingly saved by Christ, Eph. i. 4. 2 Thess. ii. 13. See Decree, and PreDestination.

ELOQUENCE, Pulpit. "Thechief characteristics of the eloquence suited to the pulpit are these two.—gravity and warmth. The serious nature of the subjects belonging to the pulpit requires gravity; their importance to mankind requires warmth. It is far from being either easy or common to unite these characters of eloquence. The grave, when it is predominant, is apt to run into a dull, uniform solemnity. The warm, when it wants gravity, borders on the theatrical and light. The union of the two must be studied by all preachers, as of the utmost consequence, both in the composition of" their discourses, and in their manner of delivery. Gravity and warmth united, form that character of preaching, which the French call onction: the affecting, penetrating, interestingmanner,flowing from a strong sensibility of heart in the preacher, the importance of those truths which he delivers, and an earnest desire that they may make full impression on the hearts of his hearers." See Declamation, Sermons.

EMULATION, a generous ardour

kindled by the praise-worthy examples of others, which impels us to imitate, to rival, and, if possible, to excel them. 'l"his passion involves in it esteem of the person whose attainments or conduct •we emulate, of the qualities and actions in which we emulate him, and a desire of resemblance, together with a joy springing from the hope of success. '.The word comes originally from the Oreek au,>.n, contest, whence the Latin xmulus, and thence our emulation. Plato makes emulation the daughter of envy: if so, there is a great difference between the mother and the offspring; the one being a virtue and the other a vice. Emulation admires great actions, anil strives to imitate them; envy refuses them the praises that are their due; emulation is generous, and only thinks of equalling or surpassing a rival; envy is low, and only seeks to lessen him. It would, therefore, be more proper to suppose emulation the daughter of admiration; admiration being a principal ingredient in the composition of it.

ENCRATITES, a sect in the second century, who abstained from marriage, ■wine, and animals.

ENDOWMENT, ECCLESIASTICAL; a term used to denote the settlement of a pension upon a minister, or the building of a church, or the severing a sufficient portion of tithes for a vicar, when the benefice is appropriated.

Among the Dissenters, they are benefactions left to their place or congregation, for the support of their ministers. Where the congregation is poor or small, these have been found beneficial; but in many cases they have been detrimental. Too often has it tended to relax the exertions of the people; and when such a fund has fallen into the hands of an unsuitable minister, it has prevented his removal; when, had he derived no support from the people, necessity would have caused him to depart, and make room for one more worthy.

ENERGICI, a denomination in the sixteenth century; so called because they held that the eucharist was the energy and virtue of Jesus Christ; not his body, nor a representation thereof. ENLRGUMENS persons supposed to be possessed with the devil, concerning whom there were many regulations among the primitive Christians. They were denied baptism and the eucharist; at least this was the practice of some churches; and though they were under tbe care of exorcists, yet it was thought

a becoming act of charity to let them have the public prayers of the church, at which they were permitted to be present.

EN I'HUSIASM. To obtain just definitions of words which are promiscuously used, it must be confessed, is no small difficulty. This word, it seems, is used both in a good and a bad sense. In its best sense it signifies a di v me afflatus or inspiration. It is also taken for that noble ardour of mind which leads us to imagine any thing sublime, grand, or surpi istng. In its worst sense it signifies any impression on the fancy, or agitation of the passions, of which a man can give no rational account. It is generally applied to religious characters, and is said to be derived {am «> »fW<«c /Mutcftpm) from the wild gestures and speeches of ancient religionists, pretending to more than ordinary and more than true communications with the gods, and particularly » bun««, in the act or at the time of sacrificing. In this sense, then, it signifies that impulse of the mind which leads a man to suppose he has some remarkable intercourse with the Deity, while at the same time it is nothing more than the effects of a heated imagination, or a sanguine constitution.

That tjie Divine Being permits his people to enjoy fellowship with him, and that he can work upon the minds of his creatures when and how he pleases, cannot be denied. But, then, what is the criterion by which we are to judge, in order to distinguish it from-enthusiasm r It is necessary there should be some rule, for without it the greatest extravagancies would be committed, the most notorious impostors countenanced, and the most enormous evils ensue. Now this criterion is the word of God; from whicli wc learn, that we are to expect no new revelations, no extraordinary gifts, as in the apostle's time; that whatever opinions, feelings, views, or impressions we may have, if they are inconsistent with reason, if they do not tend to humble us, if they do not influence our temper, regulate our lives, and make us just, pious, honest, and uniform, they cannot come from God, but are evidently the effusions of an enthusiastic brain. On the other hand, if the mind be enlightened, if the will which was perverse be renovated, detached from evil, and inclined to good; if the powers be roused to exertion for the promotion of the divine glory, and tlje good of men; if the natural corruptions of the heart be suppressed; if peace and joy arise from a view of the

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »