Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

state. In him we behold all light with-1 out a shade, all beauty without a spot, all the purity of the law, and the excellency of the Gospel. Here'we see piety without superstition, and morality without ostentation; humility without meanness, and fortitude without temerity; patience without apathy, and compassion without weakness; zeal without rashness, and beneficence without prodigality. The obligation we are under to imitate this example arises from duty, relationship, engagement, interest, and gratitude. See article Jksus Christ.

Those who set bad examples should consider, 1. That they are the ministers of the devil's designs to destroy souls.— 2. That they are acting in direct opposition to Christ, who came to save, and not to destroy.—3. That they are adding to the miseries and calamities which are already in the world.—4. That the effects of their example may be incalculable on society to the end of time, and perhaps in eternity; for who can tell what raav be the consequence of one sin, on a family, a nation, or posterity.'—5. They are acting contrary to the divine command, and thus exposing themselves to final ruin. Massillon's Ser. vol. ii. ser. 9. Eng. Trans. Clarke's Looking Glass, ch. 48. Tillotson's Ser. ser. 189, 190. Barrc/to's Works, vol. iii. ser. 2 and 3. Flavel's Works, vol. i. p. 29, 30. Mason's Ser. vol. ii. ser. 17.

EXARCH, an officer in the Greek church, whose business it is to visit the provinces allotted to him, in order to inform himself of the lives and manners of the clergy ; take cognizance of ecclesiastical causes; the manner of celebrating divine service; the administration of the saci aments, particularly confession; the observance of the canons; monastic discipline; affairs of marriages, divorces, occ. but above all, to take an account of the several revenues ■which the patriarch receives from several churches, and particularly as to what regards collecting the same. The exarch, after having enriched himself in his post, frequently rises to the patriarchate himself. Exarch is also used in the Eastern church antiquity, for a general or superior over several monasteries, the same that we call archimandrite; being exempted bv the patriarch of Constantinople from the jurisdiction of the bishop.

EXCISION, the cutting off a person from fellowship with the community to which he belongs, by way of punishment for some sin committed. The Jews, Selden informs us, reckon up thirty-six crimes, to which they pretend

this punishment is due. The rabbins reckon three kinds of excision; one, which destroys only the body; another, which destroys the soul only; and a third which destroys both body and soul. The first kind of excision they pretend is untimely death , the second is an utter extinction of the soul; and the third a compound of the two former: thus making the soul mortal or immortal, says Selden, according to the degree of misbehaviour and wickedness of the people. See next article.

EXCOMMUNICATION, a penalty, or censure, whereby persons who are guilty of any notorious crime or offence, are separated from the communion of the church, and deprived of all spiritual advantages.

Excommunication is founded upon a natural right which all societies have of excluding out of their body such as violate the laws thereof, and it was originally instituted for preserving the purity of the church; but ambitious ecclesiastics converted it by degrees into an engine for promoting their own power, and inflicted it on the most frivolous occasions.

In the ancient church, the power of excommunication was lodged in the hands of the clergy, who distinguished it into the greater and less. 1 he less consisted in excluding persons from the participation of the eucharist, and the prayers of the faithful; but they were not expelled the church. The greater excommunication consisted in absolute and entire seclusion from the church, and the participation of all its rights: notice of which was given by circular letters to the most eminent churches all over the world, that they might all confirm this act of discipline, by refusing to admit the delinquent to their communion. The consequences were very terrible. The person so excommunicated, was avoided in all civil commerce and outward conversation. No one was to receive him into his house, nor eat at the same table with him; and, when dead, he was denied the solemn rites of burial.

The Jews expelled from their synagogue such as had committed any grievous crime. See John ix. 32. John xii.42. John xvi. 2. and Joseph. Antiq. Jud. lib. 9 cap. 22. and lib. 16. cap. 2. Godwyn, in his Moses and Aaron distinguishes three degrees or kinds of excommunication among the Jews. The first he finds intimated in John ix. 22. the second in 1 Cor. v. 5. and the third in 1 Cor. xvi 22.

The Romish pontifical takes notice of three kinds of excommunication. 1. The minor, incurred by those who have any correspondence with an excommunicated person.—-'2. The major, which falls upon those who disobey the commands of the holy see, or refuse to submit to certain points of discipline; in consequence of which they are excluded from the church militant and triumphant, and delivered over to the devil, and his angels.—3. Anathema, which is properly that pronounced by the pope against heretical princes and countries. In former ages, these papal fulminations were most terrible things; but latterly they were formidable to none but a few petty states of Italy.

Excommunication, in the Greek church, cuts off the offender from all communion with the three hundred and eighteen fathers of the first council of N ice, and with the saints; consigns him over to the devil and the traitor Judas, and condemns his body to remain after death as hard as a flint or piece of steel, unless he humble himself, and make atonement for his sins by a sincere repentance. The form abounds with dreadful imprecations; and the Greeks assert, that, if a person dies excommunicated, the devil enters into the lifeless corpse; and, therefore, in order to prevent it, the relations of the deceased cut his body in pieces, and boil them in wine. It is a custom with the patriarch of Jerusalem annually to excommunicate the pope and the church of Rome; on which occasion, together with a great deal of idle ceremony, he drives a nail into the ground with a hammer, as a mark of malediction.

The form of excommunication in the church of England anciently ran thus: "By the authority of God the Father Almighty, the Son, and Holy Ghost, and of \1 ary the blessed mother of God, we excommunicate, anathematize, and sequester from the holy mother church, &c." The causes of excommunication in England are, contempt of the bishops' court, heresy, neglect of public worship and the sacraments, incontinency, adultery, simony, &c. It is described to be twofold; the less is an ecclesiastical censure, excluding the party from the participation of the sacrament; the greater proceeds farther, and excludes him not only from these, but from the company of all christians; but if the judge of any spiritual court excommunicates a man for a cause of which he has not the legal cognizance, the party may have an action against him at common law, and he is also liable to be indicted at the suit of the king.

Excommunication in the church of Scotland, consists only in an exclusion of openly pi of >ne and immoral persons from baptism and the Lord's supper; but is seldom publicly denounced, as, indeed, such persons generally exclude themselves from the latter ordinance at least; but it is attended with no civil incapacity whatever.

Among the Independents and Baptists, the persons who are or should be excommunicated, are such as are quarrelsome and litigious, Gal. v. 12. such as desert their privileges, withdraw themselves from the ordinances of God, and forsake his people, Jude 19; such as are irregular and immoral in their lives, railers, drunkards, extortioners, fornicators, and covetous, Eph. v. 5. 1 Cor. v. 11.

"The exclusion of a person from any Christian church does not affect his temporal estate and civil affairs; it does not subject him to fines or imprisonments -y it interferes not with the business of a civil magistrate; it makes no change in the natural and civil relations between husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and servants; neither does it deprive a man of the liberty of attending public worship; it removes him, however, from the communion of the church; and the privileges dependent on it: this is done that he may be ashamed of his sin, and be brought to repentance; that the honour of Christ may be vindicated, and that stumblingblocks may be removed out of the way.

Though the act of exclusion be not performed exactly in the same manner in every church, yet (according to the congregational plan) the power of excision lies in the church itself. The officers take the sense of the members assembled together; and after the matter has been properly investigated, and all necessary steps taken to reclaim the offender, the church proceeds to the actual exclusion of the person from among them, by signifying their judgment or opinion that the person is unworthy of a place in God's house. In the conclusion of this article, however, we must add, that too great caution cannot be observed in procedures of this kind; every thing should be done with the greatest meekness, deliberation, prayer, and a deep sense of our own unworthiness; with a compassion for the offender, and a fixed design of embracing every opportunity of doing him good, by reproving, instructing, and, if possible, restoring him to the enjoyment of the privileges he has forfeited by his conduct. See Church.

EXCUSATI, a term formerly used to denote slaves, who, flying to an> church for sanctuary, were excused and pardoned by their masters.

EXHORTATION, the act of laying such motives before a person as may excite him to the performance of any duty. It differs only from suasion in that the latter principally endeavours to convince the Mnderstanding, and the former to work on the affections. It is considered as a great branch of preaching, though not confined to that, as a man mav exhort, though he do not preach . though a man can hardly be said to preach if he do not exhort. It seems, However, that there are some, who, believing the inability of man to do any thing good, cannot reconcile the idea of exhorting men to duty, being, as they suppose, a contradiction to address men who have no power to act of themselves. But they forget, 1. That the Great; Author of our being has appoint ed this as a mean for inclining the will to himself. Is. Iv. 6, 7. Luke xiv. 17, 23. —2. That they who thus address do not suppose that there is any virtue in the exhortation itself, but that its energy depends on God alone, 1 Cor. xv. 10.— 3. That the Scripture enjoins ministers to exhort men, that is, to rouse them to duty, by proposing suitable motives, Is. Iviii. 1. 1 Tim. vi. 2. Heb. iii. 13. Rom. xii. 8.—4. That it was the constant prac tice of prophets, apostles, and Christ himself, Is. i. 17. Jer. iv. 14. Ez. xxxvii. Luke xiii. 3. Luke iii. 18. Acts xi. 23. "The express words," says a good divine, "of scriptural invitations, exhortations, and promises, prove more effectual to encourage those who are ready to give up their hopes, than all the consolatory topics that can possibly be substituted in their place. It is, therefore, much to be lamented that pious men, by adhering to a supposed systematical exactness of expression, should clog their addresses to sinners with exceptions and limitations, which the Spirit of God did not see good to insert. 'I hey will no: say that the omission was an oversight in the inspired writers; or admit the thought for a moment, that they can improve on their plan: why then cannot they be satisfied to 'speak according to the oracles of God, without affecting a more entire consistency? Great mischief has thus been done by very different descriptions of men, who undesignedly concur in giving Satan an occasion of suggesting to the trembling enquirer that perhaps he may persevere in asking, seeking, and knocking, with the greatest earnestness and

importunity, and yet finally be cast awav."

EXISTENCE OF GOD. The methods usually followed in proving the existence of God are two; the first called argumentum a firiori, which beginningwith the cause descends to the effect; the other argumentum a posteriori, which, from a consideration of the effect, ascends to the cause. The former of these hath been particularly laboured by Dr. Samuel Clarke; but after all he has said, the possibility of any one's being convinced by it hath been questioned. The most general proofs are the following: 1. "All nations. Heathens, Jews, Mahometans, and Christians, harmoniously consent that there is a God who created, preserves, and governs all things. To this it has been objected, that there have been, at different times and places, men who were atheists, and deniers of a God. But these have been sofew.andby their opinions have shown that thev rather denied the particular providence than the existence of God, that it can hardly be said to be an exception to the argument stated. And e> en if men were bold enough to assert it, it would not be an absolute proof that they really believed what they said, since it might proceed from a wish that there was no God to whom they must be accountable for their sin, rather than a belief of it, Ps. xiv. 1. It has also been objected, that whole nations have been found in Africa and America who have no notion of a Deity: but this is what has never been proved ; on the contrary, upon accurate inspect ion, even the most stupid Hottentots, Saldanians, Greenlanders, Kamtschatkans, and savage Americans, are found to have some idea of a God.

2. "It is argued from the law and light of Nature, or from the general impression of Deity on the mind of every man, i. e. an indistinct idea of a Being of infinite perfection, and a readiness to acquiesce in the truth of his existence, whenever thev understand the terms in which it is expressed. Whence could this proceed, ei en in the minds of such whose affections and carnal interests dispose them to believe the contrary, if there were no impression naturally in their hearts? It has been observed by some writers, that there are no innate ideas in the minds of men, and particularly concerning God; but this is not so easily proved, since an inspired apostle assures us that even the Gentiles, destitute of the law of Moses, have the 'work of the law written in their hearts,' Rom. ii. 15.

3. "The works of creation plainly demonstrate the existence of a God. The innumerable alterations and manifest dependence every where observable in the world, prove that the things which exist in it neither are nor could be from eternity. It is self-evident that they never could form themselves out of nothing, or in any of their respective forms; and that chance, being nothing but the want of design, never did nor could form or put into order any thing; far less such a marvellous and well connected system as our world is. Though we shouid absurdly fancy matter to be eternal, yet it could not change its own form, or produce life or reason. Moreover, when we consider the diversified and wonderful forms of creatures in the world, and how exactly those forms and stations correspond with their respective ends and uses; when we consider the marvellous and exact machinery, form, and motions of our own bodies and especially when we consider the powers of our soul, its desires after an infinite good, and its close union with, and incomprehensible operations on our bodies, we are obliged to admit a Creator of infinite wisdom, power, and goodness.

4. "It is argued from the support and government of the world. Who can consider the motions of the heavenly luminaries, exactly calculated for the greatest advantage to our earth, and its inhabitants; the exact balancing and regulating of the meteors, winds, rain, snow, hail, vapour, thunder, and the like; the regular and never-failing return of summer and winter, seed-lime and harvest, day and night; the astonishing and diversified formation of vegetables -, the propagation of herb-, almost every where, that are most effectual to heal the distempers of animal bodies in that place; the almost infinite diversification of animals and vegetables, and their pertinents, that, notwithstanding an amazing si hilarity, not any two a> e exactly alike, but every form, member, or even feather or hair of animals, and every pile of grass, stalk of corn, herb, leaf, tree, berry, or other fruit, hath something peculiar to itself: the making of animals so sagaciously to prepare their lodgings, di-tend themselves, provide for their hca th, produce and protect, and procure food for their * oung; the direction of fishes and fowls io and in u<~h marvellous and long peregrinations at such seasons, and 'osuch plsceN as bist correspond with their own pe-ervation and the benefit of mankind; the stationing of brute ani

mals by sea or land, at less or greater distances as are most suited to the safety, subsistence or comfort of mankind, and preventing the increase of prolific animals, and making the less fruitful ones, which are used, exceedingly to abound; the so diversifying the countenances, voices, and hand-writings of men, as best secures and promotes their social advantages; the holding of so equal a balance between males and females, while the number of males, whose lives are peculiarly endangered in war, navigation, &c, are generally greatest; the prolonging of men's lives, when the world needed to be peopled, and now shortening them when that necessity hath ceased to exist; the almost universal provision of food, raiment, medicine, fuel, 8cc, answerable to the nature of particular places, cold or hot, moist or dry; the management of human affairs relative to societies, government, peace, war. trade, 8cc., in a manner different from and contrary to the carnal policy of those concerned. and especially the strangely similar but diversified erection, preservation, and government of the Jewish and Christian churches: who, I say, can consider all these things, and not acknowledge the existence of a wise, merciful, and good God, who governs the world, and every thing in it Y

5. "It is proved from the miraculous events which have happened in the world; such as the overflowing of the earth by a flood; the confusion of languages; the burning of Sodom and the cities about by fire from heaven; the plagues of Egvpt; the dividing of the Red Sea; raining manna from heaven, and bringing streams of water from flinty rocks; the stopping of the course of the sun, 8cc. &c.

6. "His existence no less clearly appears from the exact fulfilment of so many and so particularly circumstantiated predictions, published long before the event took place. It is impossible that these predictions, which were so exactly fulfilled in their respective periods, and of the fulfilment of which there are at present thousands of demonstrative and sensible documents in the world, could proceed from any but an all-seeing and infinitely wise God.

7. ''The existence of God farther appears from the fearful punishments which have been inflicted upon persons, and especially upon naions, when their immoralities became excessive, and that by very unexpected means and instruments; as in the drowning of the old world; destruction of Sodom and Gomorrali; plagues of Pharaoh and his servants; overthrow of Sennacherib and his army; miseries and ruin of the Canaanites. Jews, Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans,Persians,Egyptians,Greeks, Romans, Saracens, Tartars, and others. S. "Lastly, the existence of God may be argued from the terror and dread which wound the consciences of men, when guilty of crimes which other men do not know, or are not able to punish or restrain: as in the case of Caligula, Nero, and Domitian, the Roman emperors, and this while they earnestly labour to persuade themselves or others that there is no God. Hence their being afraid of thunder, or to be left alone in the dark, &c."

As to the modus of the Divine existence, it would be presumption to attempt to explain. That he exists, is clear from the foregoing arguments; but the manner of that existence is not for us to know. Many good men have uttered great absurdities in endeavouring to explain it, and after all none of them have succeeded. The wisest of men never made the attempt. Moses began his writings by supposing the being of a God; he did not attempt to explain it. Although many of the inspired writers asserted his existence, and, to discountenance idolatry, pleaded for his perfections, yet no one of them ever pretended to explain the manner of his being. Our duty is clear. We are not commanded nor expected to understand it. All that is required is this: "He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewardcr of them that diligently seek him." Heb. xi. 6. See GUI's Body of JDiv., b. i.; Charnock's Works, vol. i.: Ridgley's Div., ques. 2; Brown's System of Div.; Pierre's Studies of Nature; Sturm's Reflections; S/iect. de la JVat.; Bonnet's Philosophical Researches; and writers enumerated under the article ATHKtSM.

EXORCISM, the expelling of devils from persons possessed, by means of conjuration and prayers. The Jews made great pretences to this power. Joscphus tells several wonderful tales of the great success of several exorcists. One Eleazer, a Jew, cured many dxmoniacs, he says, by means of a root set in a ring. This root, with the ring, was held"under the patient's nose, and the devil was forthwith evacuated. The most part of conjurors of this class were impostors, each pretending to a secret nostrum or charm which was an overmatch for the devil. Our Saviour communicated to his disciples a real power

over dxmons, or at least over the diseases said to be occasioned by daemons. See DitMONiAC.

Exorcism makes a considerable part of the superstition of the church of Rome, the ritual of which forbids the exorcising any person without the bishop's leave. The ceremony is performed at the lower end of the church, towards the door The exorcist first signs the possessed person with the sign of the cross, makes him kneel, and sprinkles him with holy water. Then follow the litanies, psalms, and prayer; after which the exorcist asks the devil his name, and adjures him by the mysteries of the Christian religion not to afflict the person any more; then, laying his right hand on the demoniac's head, he repeats the form of exorcism, which is this: "I exorcise thee, unclean spirit, in the name of Jesus Christ: tremble, O Satan, thou enemy of the faith, thou foe of mankind, who hast brought death into the world; who hast deprived men of life, and hast rebelled against justice; thou seducer of mankind, thou root of all evil, thou source of avarice, discord, and envy." The Romanists likewise exorcise houses and other places supposed to be haunted by unclean spirits; and the ceremony is much the same with that for a person possessed.

EXORDIUM. SeeSEitMON.

EXPEDIENCY, the fitness or propriety of a man to the attainment of an end. See Obligation.

EXPERIENCE, knowledge acquired by long use without a teacher. It consists in the ideas of things we have seen or read, which the judgment has reflected on, to form for itself a rule or method.

Christian experience is that religious knowledge which is acquired by any exercises, enjoyments, or sufferings, either of body or mind. Nothing is more common than to ridicule and despise what is called religious experience as mere enthusiasm. But if religion consist in feeling, we would ask, how it can possibly exist without experience? We are convinced of, and admit the propriety of the term, when applied to those branches of science which are not founded on speculation or conjecture, but on sensible trial. Why, then, should it be rejected when applied to religion? It is evident that, however beautiful religion may be in name, its excellency and energy are only truly known and displayed as experienced. A system believed, or a mind merely informed, will produce little good, except the

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »