Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

iian, Clemens Alcxandrinu*, Origen, and St. Efiifthaniua; particularly the first of these writers, who relates their sentiments at large, and confutes them. Indeed he dwells more on the Valentinians than any other sect of Gnostics; but he shows the general principles whereon all their mistaken opinions were founded, and the method they followed in explaining Scripture. He accuses them of introducing into religion certain vain and ridiculous genealogies, i. e. a kind of divine processions or emanations, which had no other foundation but in their own wild imagination. The Gnostics confessed, that these xons, or emanations, were no where expressly delivered in the sacred writings; but insisted that Jesus Christ had intimated them in parables to such as could understand them. They built their theology not only on the Gospels and the epistles of St. Haul, but also on the law of Moses and the prophets. These last were peculiarly serviceable to them, on account of the allegories and allusions with which they abound, which are capable of different interpretations; thougli their doctrine concerning the creation of the world by one or more inferior beings of an evil or imperfect nature, led them to deny the divine authority of the books of the Old Testament, which contradicted this idle fiction, and filled them with an abhorrence of Moses and the religion he taught; alleging, that he was actuated by the malignant author of this world, who consulted his own glory and authority, and not the real advantage of men. Their persuasion that evil resided in matter, as its centre and source, made them treat the body with contempt, discourage marriage, and reject the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, and its re-union with the immortal spirit. Their notion, that malevolent genii presided in nature, and occasioned diseases and calamities, wars and desolations, induced them to apply themselves to the study of magic, in order to weaken the powers, or suspend I the influence of these malignant agents. I The Gnostics considered Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and inferior to the Father, who came into the world for the rescue and happiness of miserable I mortals, oppressed by matter and evil beings; but they rejected our Lord's humanity, on the principle that every I thing corporeal is essentially and intrinsically evil; and therefore the greatest part of them denied the reality of his sufferings. They set a great value on the beginning of the Go-pel of St. John, where they fancied they saw a great

deal of their xons, or emanations, under the terms the word, the life, the tight, &c. They divided all nature into three kinds of beings, viz. hylic, or material; psychic, or animal; and pneumatic, or spiritual. On the like principle they also distinguished three sorts of men; material, animal, and spiritual. The first, who were material, and incapable of knowledge, inevitably perished, both soul and body; the third, such as the Gnostics themselves pretended to be, were all certainly saved; the psychic, or animal, whu were the middle between the other two, were capable either of being saved or damned, according to their good or evil actions. With regard to their moral doctrines and conduct, they were much divided. The greatest pat t ot this sect adopted very austere rules of life, recommended rigorous abstinence, and prescribed severe bodily mortifications, with a view of purifying and exalting the mind. However, some maintained that there was no moral difference in human actions; and thus confounding right with wrong, they gave a loose rein to all the pa-sions, and asserted the innocence of following blindly all their motions, and of living by their tumultuous dictates. They supported their opinions and practice by various authorities: some referred to fictitious and apocryphal writings of Adam, Abraham, Zoroaster, Christ, and his apostles; others boasted that they had deduced their -entiments from secret doctrines of Christ, concealed from the vulgar; others affirmed that they arrived at superior degress of wisdom by an innate vigour of mind; and others asserted that they were instructed in these mysterious parts of theological science by Theudos, a disciple of St. Paul, and by Matthias, one of the friends of our Lord. The tenets of the ancient Gnostics were revived in Sp:iin, in the fourth century, by a sect called the Priscillianists. At length the name Gnostic, which originally was glorious, became infamous, by the idle opinions and dissolute lives oi the persons who bore it.

GOD, the self-existent, infinitely perfect, and infinitely good Being, who created and preserves all things that have existence. As the Divine Being possesses a nature far beyond the comprehension of any of his creatures, of course that nature is inexplicable. " All our knowledge of invisible objects is obtained by analogy; that is, by the resemblance which they bear to visible objects; but as there is in nature no ex act resemblance of the nature of God, an attempt to explain the divine naturr is absurd and impracticable. All similitudes, therefore, which are used in attempting to explain it must be rejected" Yet, though we cannot fully understand his nature, there is something of him we may know, lie ha'h been pleased to discover his perfections, in a measure, by the works of creation and the Scriptures of truth; these, therefore, we ought to study, in order that we may obtain the most becoming thoughts of him. For an account of the various attributes or perfections of God, the Deader is referred to those articles in this work.


There are various names given to the Almighty in the Scriptures, though properly speaking,he can hare no name; fur as he is incomprehensible, he is not nominable; and being but one, he has »o need of a name to distinguish him; nevertheless, as names arc given him in the Scriptures, to assist our ideas of his greatness and perfection, they are worthy of our consideration. These names are, El. which denotes him the strong and powerful God, CJen. xvii. 1. Eloah, •which represents him as the only proper object of worship, Psal. xlv. 6,7. Shaddai, which denotes him to be all-sufficient and all-mighty, Exod. vi. 3. Hheeljon, which represents his incomparable excellency, absolute supremacy over all and his peculiar residence in the highest heavens, Psalm 1.11. Moni, which makes him the great connector, supporter, lord, and judge, of all creatures, Psal. ex. 1. Jah, which may denote his self-existence, and giving of being to his creatures, or his infinite comeliness, and answerableness to himself, and to the happiness of his creatures, Exod. xv. 2. Ehjeh, I am, or I will be, denotes his self-existence, absolute independency, immutable eternity, and all sufficiency, to his people, Exod. iii. 14. Jehovah, which denotes his selfexistence, absolute independence, unsuccessi ve eternity, and his effectual and marvellous giving of being to his creatures, and fulfilling his promises. Gen. ii. 4, &c.

In the New Testament, God is called Kurios, or Lord, which denotes his self-existence, and his establishment of, and authority over all things; and Theos, which represents him as the maker, pervader, and governing observer of the universe.

GODFATHERS AND GODMOTHERS, persons who, at the baptism of infants, answer for their future conduct, and solemnly promise that they will denounce the devil and all his works, and follow a life of pjety and

[virtue; and by these means lay themselves under an indispensable obligation to instruct them, and watch over their conduct.

GODLINESS, strictly taken, is right worship or devotion: but in general it imports the whole of practical religion, 1 Tim. iv. 8.2 Pet. i. 6. It is ditficuit, as Saurin observes, to include an adequate idea of it in what is called a definition. "It supposes knowledge, veneration, affection, dependence, submission, gratitude, and obedience; or it may be reduced to these four ideas; knowledge in the mind, by which it is distinguished from the \isions of the superstitious; rectitude in the conscience, that distinguishes it from hypocrisy; sacrifice in the life, or renunciation of the world, by which it is distinguished from the unmeaning obedience of him who goes as a happy constitution leads him; and, lastly, zeal in the heart, which differs from the languishing emotions of the lukewarm." The advantages of this disposition, are honour, peace, safety, usefulness, support in death, and prospect of glory; or, as the apostle sums up all in a few words, "Ii is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come," 1 Tim.iv. 8. Saurin's Serm., vol. v. ser. 3. Eng. trans.; Barrow's Works, vol. i. p. 9.; Scott's Christian Life: Scougall's Life of God in the Soul of Man.

GOOD, in general, is whatever increases pleasure, or diminishes pain in us; or, which amounts to the same, whatever is able to procure or preserve to us the possession of agreeable sensations, and remove those of an opposite nature. Moral Good denotes the right conduct of the several senses and passions, or their just proportion and accommodation to their respective objects and relations.

Physical good is that which has either generally, or for any particular end, such qualities as are expected or desired.

GOOD FRIDAY, a fast of the Christian church, in memory of the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ. It is observed on the Friday in Passion Week, and it is called, by way of eminence, good; because of the goodeffects of outSaviour's sufferings. Among the Saxons it was called Long Friday; but for what reason does not appear, except on account of the long fasting and long offices then used. See Holy Days.

GOODNESS, the fitness of a thing to produce any particular end. Perfection, kindness, benevolence.

GOODNESS OF GOD, relates to the absolute perfection of his own nature, and his kindness manifested to his creatures. Goodness, says Dr. Gill, is essential to God, without which he would not be God, Exod. xxxiii. 19. xxxiv. 6, 7. Goodness belongs only to God, he is solely good. Matt. xix. 17; and all the goodness found in creatures are only emanations of the divine goodness. He is the chief good; the sum and substance of all felicity, Ps. cxliv. 12, 15. lxxiii. 25. iv. 6, 7. There is nothing but goodness in God, and nothing but goodness comes from him, 1 John i. 5. James i. 13, 14. He is infinitely good; finite minds cannot comprehend his goodness, Rom. xi. 35, 36. He is immutably and unchangeably good, Zeph. iii. 17. The goodness of God is communicative and diffusive, Ps. cxix. 68. xxxiii. 5. With respect to the objects of it, it may be considered as general and special. His general goodness is seen in all his creatures; yea in the inanimate creation, the sun, the earth, and all his works; and in the government, support, and protection of the world at large, Ps. xxxvi. 6. cxlv. His special goodness relates to angels and saints. To angels, in creating, confirming, and making them what they are. To saints, in election, calling, justification, adoption, sanctification, perseverance, and eternal glorification. Gill's Body of Div. v. i. p. 133.8voed.; C/tarnock's Works, v. i. p. 574; Foley's JYat. T/ieol., ch. 26; South'* admirable Sermon, on this Subject, vol. viii. ser. 3.; Tillotson's Serm., ser. 143—146; Abernethy's Scrm., vol. i. No. 2.

GOSPEL, the revelation of the grace of God to fallen man through a mediator. It is taken also for the history of the life, actions, death, resurrection, ascension, and doctrine of Jesus Christ. The word is Saxon, and of the same import with the Latin evangelium, which signifies glad tidings or good news. It is called the Gospel of his Grace, because it flows from his free love, Acts xx. 24. The Gosfiel of the kingdom, as it treats of the kingdoms of grace and glory. The Gospel of Christ, because he is the author and subject of it, Rom. i. 16. The Gosfiel of peace and salvation, as it promotes our present comfort, and leads to eternal glory, Eph. i. 13. vi. 15. The glorious Gospel, as in it the glorious perfections of Jehovah are displayed, 2 Cor. iv. 4. The everlasting Gospel, as it was designed from eternity, is permanent in time, and the effects of it eternal, Rev. xiv. 6. There are about thirty or forty apocryphal Gospels; as the Gospel of bt. Pe

ter, of St. Andrew, of St. Barnabas, the eternal Gospel, &c. &c. 8cc.: but they were never received by the Christian church, being evidently fabulous and trifling. See Christianity.

GOSPEL CALL. See Calling.

GOSPEL A LAW. It has been disputed whether the Gospel consists merely of promises, or whether it can in any sense be called a law. The answer plainly depends upon adjusting the meaning of the words Gospel and law: if the Gospel be taken for the declaration God has made to men by Christ, concerning the manner In which, he will treat them, and the conduct he expects from them, it is plain that this includes commands, and even threatenings, as well as promises; but to define the Gospel so, as only to express the favourable part of that declaration, is indeed taking the ques;ion for granted, and confining the word to a sense much less extensive than it often lias in Scripture: compare Rom. ii. 16. 2 Thess. i. 8. 1 Tim. i. 10, 11.; and it is certain, that, if the Gospel be put for all the parts of the dispensation taken in connection one with another, it may well be called, on the whole, a good message. In like manner the question, whether the Gospel be a law or not, is | to be determined by the definition of the law and of the Gospel, as above. If law signifies, as it generally does, the discovery of the will of a superior, teaching'what he requires of those under his government, with the intimation of his intention of dispensing rewards and punishments, as this rule of their conduct is observed or neglected; in this latitude of. expression, it is plain, from the proposition, that the Gospel, taken for the declaration made to men by Christ, is a law, as in Scripture it is sometimes called, James i. 25. Rom. iv. 15. Rom. viii. 2. But if law be taken, in the greatest rigour of the expression, for such a discovery of the will of God, and our duty, as to contain in it no intimation of our obtaining the Divine favour otherwise than by a perfect and universal conformity to it, in that sense the Gospel is not a law. See NeonoMians. Wirsius on Cov. vol. iii. ch. 1.; Doddridge's Lect. lect. 172.; Walts'* Orthodoxy and Charity, essav 2.

GOVERNMENT OF GOD, is the disposal of his creatures, and all events relative to them, according to his infinite justice, power, and wisdom. His moral government is his rendering to every man according to his actions, considered as good or evil. See Dominion and Sovereignty. C c


GRACE. There are various senses in which this word is used in Scripture; but the general idea of it, as it relates to God, is his free favour and love. As it respects men, it implies the happy state of reconciliation and favour with God wherein they stand, and the holy endowments, qualities, or habits of faith, hope, love, &c, which they possess. Divines have distinguished grace into common or general, special or flar~ ficular. Common grace, if it may be so called, is what all men have; as the light of nature and reason, convictions of conscience, &c.,Rom.ii. 4. ITim. iv. 10. Sftecial grace is that which is peculiar to some people only; such as electing, redeeming, justifying, pardoning, adopting, establishing, and sanctifying grace, Rom. viii. 30. This special grace is by some distinguished into imputed and inherent: imfiuted grace consists in the holiness, obedience, and righteousness of Christ, imputed to us for our justification; inherent grace is what is wrought in the heart by the Spirit of God in regeneration. Grace is alsosaidtobeirresis/iA/e, efficacious,axidi victorious; not but that there are in human nature, in the first moments of conviction, some struggles, opposition, or Conflict; but by these terms we are to understand, that, in the end, victory declares for the grace of the Gospel. There have been many other distinctions of grace; but as they are of too frivolous a nature, and are now obsolete, they need not a place here. Growth in grace is the progress we make in the divine life. It discovers itself by an increase of spiritual light and knowledge; by our renouncing self, anddepending more upon Christ; by growing more spiritual in duties; by being more humble, submissive, and thankful; by rising superior to the corruptions of our nature, and finding the power of sin more weakened in us; by being less attached to the world, and possessing more of a heavenly disposition. M'Laurin's Essays, essay 3.; Gill's Body of Div. vol. i. p. 118.-, Doddridge's Led., part viii. prop. 139.; Pike and Hayivard's Cases of Conscience; Saurm on 1 Cor. ix. 26, '27, vol. iv.; Booth's Reign of Grace.

GR ACE AT MEALS, a short prayer, imploring the divine blessing on our food, and expressive of gratitude to God for supplying our necessities. The propriety of this act is evident from the divine command, 1 Thcss.v. 18. 1 Cor. X. 3t. 1 Tim. iv. 5. From the conduct of Christ, Mark viii. 6, 7. From reason itself; not to mention that it is a custom practised by most nations, and

even not neglected by heathens themselves. The English, however, seem to be very deficient in this duty.

As to the manner in which it ought to be performed, as Dr. Watts observes, we ought to have a due regard to the occasion, and the persons present; the neglect of which hath been attended with indecencies and indiscretions. Some have used themselves to mutter a few words with so low a voice, as though by some secret charm they were to consecrate the food alone, and there was no need of the rest to join with them in the petitions. Others have broke out into so violent a sound, as though they were bound to make a thousand people hear them. Some perform this part of worship with so slight and familiar an air, as though they had no sense of the great God to whom they speak: others have put on an unnatural solemnity, and changed their natural voice into so different and awkward a tone, not without some distortions of countenance, that have tempted strangers to ridicule.

It is the custom of some to hurry over a single sentence or two, and they have done, before half the company are prepared to lift up a thought to heaven. And some have been just heard to bespeak a blessing on the church and the king, but seem to have forgot they were asking God to bless their food, or giving thanks for the food they have received. Others, again, make a long prayer, and, among a multitude of other petitions, do not utter one that relates to the table before them.

The general rules of prudence, together with a due observation of the custom of the place where we live, would correct all these disorders, and teach us that a few sentences suited to the occasion spoken with an audible and proper voice, are sufficient for this purpose, especially if any strangers are present. Watts's Works, oct. edit. vol. iv. p. 160. Lam's Serious Call, p. 60. Seed's Post. Ser. p. 174

GRATITUDE, is that pleasant affection of the mind which arises from a sense of favours received, and by which the possessor is excited to make all the returns of love and service in his power. "Gratitude," says Mr. Cogan (in his Treatise on the Passions,) "is the powerful re-action of a well-disposed mind, upon whom benevolence has conferred some important good. It is mostly connected with an impressive sense of the amiable disposition ef the person by whom the benefit is conferred, and it immediately produces a personal affection towards him. We shall not wonder ■*t the peculiar strength and energy of this affection, when we consider that it is compounded of love placed upon the

food communicated, affection forthe onor, and joy at the reception. Thus it has goodness for its object, and the most pleasing, perhapsunexflected,excrtions of goodness for its immediate cause. Thankfulness refers to verbal expressions of gratitude." See ThankFulness.

GRAVITY, is that seriousness of mind, united with dignity of behaviour, that commands veneration and respect. See Dr. Walls's admirable Sermon on Gravity, ser. 23. vol. i.

GREATNESS OF GOD. is the infinite glory and excellency of all his perfections. His greatness appears by the attributes he possesses, Deut. xxxii. 3, 4. the works he hath made, Ps. xix. 1. by the awful and benign providences he displays, Ps. xcvii. 1,2. the great effects he produces by his word. Gen. i. the constant energy he manifests in the existence and support of all his creatures, Ps. cxlv. and the everlasting provision of glory made for his people, 1 Thcss. iv. 17. This greatness is of himself, and not derived, Ps. xxi. 13. it is infinite, Ps. cxlv. 3. not diminished by exertion, but will always remain the same, Mai. iii. 6. The considerations of his greatness should excite veneration, Ps. lxxxix. 7. admiration, Jer. ix. 6, 7. humility, Job xlii. 5, 6. dependence, Is xxvi. 4. submission, Job i. 22. obedience, Deut. iv. 39,40. See Attributes, and books under that article.

GREEK CHURCH.comprehendsin its bosom a considerable part of Greece, the Grecian Isles, Wallachia, Moldavia, Egypt, Abyssinia, Nubia, Libya, Arabia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Cilicia, and Palestine, which are all under the jurisdiction of the patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. If to these we add the whole of the Russian empire in Europe, great part of Siberia in Asia, Astracan, Casan, and Georgia, it will be evident that the Greek church has a wider extent of territory than the Latin, with all the branches which have sprung from it; and that it is with great impropriety that the church of Rome is called by her members the catholic or universal church. That in these widely distant countries the professors of Christianity are agreed in every minute article of belief, it would be rash to assert; but there is certainly such an agreement among them, with respect both to faith and to discipline, that they mutually hold communion with each other, and

are, in fact, but one church. It iscalled the Greek church, in contradistinction to the Latin or Romish church; as also the Eastern, in distinction from the Western church. We shall here present the reader with a view of its rise, tenets, and discipline.

I. Greek church, rise and sc/iaration of. The Greek church is considered as a separation from the Latin. In the middle of the ninth century, the controversy relating to the procession of the Holy Ghost (which had been started in the sixth century) became a point ot great importance, on account of the jea lousy and ambition which at that time were blended with it. Photius, the patriarch of Jerusalem, having been advanced to that see in the room of Ignatius, whom he procured to be deposed, was solemnly excommunicated bv pope Nicholas, in a council held at Rome, and his ordination declared null and void. The Greek Emperor resented this conduct of the pope, who defended himself with great spirit and resolution Photius, in his turn, convened what he called an oecumenical council, in which lie pronounced sentence of excommuui cation and deposition against the pope and got it subscribed by twenty-one bishops and others, amounting in num ber to a thousand. This occasioned a wide breach between the sees of Rome and Constantinople. However, the death of the emperor Michael, and the deposition of Photius, subsequent thereupon, seem to have restored peace; for the emperor Basil held a council at Constantinople in the year 869, in which entire satisfaction was given to Pope Adrian; but the schism was only smothered and suppressed a while. The Greek church had several complaints against the Latin; particularly it was thought a great hardship for the Greeks to subscribe to the definition of a council according to the Roman form, pre scribed by the pope, since it made the church of Constantinople dependent on that of Rome, and set the pope above an aecumeuical council; but, above all, the pride and haughtiness of the Roman court gave the Greeks a great distaste: and as their deportment seemed to in suit his imperial majesty, it entirely alienated the affections of the emperoi Basil. Towards the middle of the ele venth century, Michael Cerularius, pa triarch of Constantinople, opposed the Latins, with respect to their making use of unleavened bread in the eucharist. their observation of the sabbath, anil fastingon Saturday, charging them with living in communion with the Jews. Tr>

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »