« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
Cain could not have kill ed Abel, if Cain liad feared God, and loved h i« brother.
Potiphar'i wife could not rejoice in it, if she continued under it.
Had that woman been a very affectionate mother, she could not have killed her own son in a time of plenty, as she did in a time of famine.
If a dutiful, affectionate son bad been waiting on Benhadad in Hazael's itead, be could not have smothered him. as Hazaei did.
These are a few instances from which we may clearly learn the distinction of natural and moral inability. It must not, however, be forgotten, that moral inability or disinclination is no excuse for our omission of duty, though want ot natural faculties or necessary means would. That God may command, though man has not a present moral ability to perform, is evident, if we consider, 1. That man once had a power to do whatsoever God would command him, he had a power to cleave to God. —2. That God did not deprive man of his ability.—3. Therefore God's right of commanding, and man's obligation of returning and cleaving to God, remains firm. See Liberty; and T/ieol. Misc vol. ii.p. 488; Edwards on the Will; Charnock's Works, vol. ii. p. 187. Watts on Liberty, p. 4.
INCARNATION, the act whereby the Son of God assumed the human nature; or the mystery by which Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word, was made man, in order to accomplish the work of our salvation. See Nativity, and Meldrum on the Incarnation.
INCEST, the crime of criminal and unnatural commerce with a person ■within the degrees forbidden oy the law. By the rules of the church, incest was formerly very absurdly extended even to the seventh degree; but it is now restricted to the third or fourth. Most nations look on incest with horror,' Persia and Egypt excepted. In the history of the ancient kings of those countries we meet with instances of brothers marrying their own sisters, because they thought it too mean to join in alliance with their own subjects, and still more so to marry into any foreign family. Vortigern, king of South Britain, equalled, or rather excelled them in wickedness, by marrying his own daughter. The queen of Portugal was married to her uncle; and the prince of Brazil, the son of that incestuous marriage, is wedded to his aunt. But they had dispensations for these unnatural marriages from his holiness. "In order," says one, "to preserve chastity in families, and between persons of different sexes brought up and living together in a state of unreserved intimacy, it is necessary, by eveiy method possible, to inculcate an abhorrence of incestuous conjunctions; which abhorrence can only be upheld by the absolute reprobation of all commerce of the sexes between near relations. Upon this principle the marriage, as well as other cohabitation of brothers and sisters of lineal kindred, and of all who usually live in the same family, may be said to be forbidden by the law of nature. Restrictions which extend to remoter degrees of kindred than what this reason makes it necessary to prohibit from intermarriage, are founded in the authority of the positive law which ordains them, and can only be justified by
their tendency to diffuse wealth, to con* uect families, or to promote some political advantage.
"The Leviiical law, which is received in this country, and from which the rule of the Roman law differs very little, prohibits marriage between relations within three degrees of kindred; computing the generations not from, but through the common ancestor, and accounting affinity the same as consanguinity. The issue, however, of such marriages are not bastardized, unless the parents be divorced during their lifetime." Foley's Mar. Phil. p. 316. vol. i.
INCEST, SPIRITUAL, an ideal crime, committed between two persons •vho have a spiritual alliance, by means of baptism or confirmation. This ridiculous fancy was made use of as an instrument of great tyranny in times when the power of the pope was unlimited, even queens being sometimes divorced upon this pretence. Incest Spiritual is also understood of a vicar, or other beneficiary, who enjoys both the mother and the daughter; that is, holds two benefices, one whereof depends upon the collation of the other. Such spiritual incest renders both the one and the other of these benefices vacant.
INCLINATION is the disposition or propensity of the mind to any particular object or action: or a kind of bias upon nature, by the force of which it is carried towards certain actions previously to the exercise «f thought and reasoning about the nature and consequences of them. Inclinations are of two kinds, natural or acquired. 1. Natural are such as we often see in children, who from their earliest years differ in their tempers and dispositions. In one you see the dawnings of a liberal diffusive soul; another gives us cause to fear he will be altogether as narrow and sordid. Of one we may say he is naturally revengeful; of another, that he is patient and forgiving.—2. Acquired inclinations are such as are superintenduced by custom, which are called habits; and these are either good or evil. See Habit.
INCOMPREHENSIBILITY OF GOD. This is a relative term, and indicates a relation between an object and a faculty; between God and a created understanding; so that the meaning of it is this, that no created understanding can comprehend God; that is, have a perfect and exact knowledge of him, such a knowledge as is adequate to the perfection of the object. Job xi. 7. Is. si. God is incomprehensible, 1. As to
on him, or do any thing that may tend to make him more happy than he is in himself, Rom. xi. 35. Job xxii. 2, 3.-2. If independency be a divine perfection, then let it not in any instance, or by any consequence, be attributed to the creature; let us conclude that all our springs are in him: and that all we enjoy and hope for is from him, who is the author and finisher of our faith, and the fountain of all our blessedness."
INDEPENDENTS, a sect of Protestants, so called from their maintaining that each congregation of Christians ■which meet in one house for public worship is a complete church; has sufficient power to act and perform every thing relating to religious government within itself; and is in no respect subject or accountable to other churches.
Though the Episcopalians contend that there is not a shadow of the independent discipline to be found either in the Bible or the primitive church, the Independents, on the contrary, believe that it is most clearly to be deduced from the practice of the apostles in planting the firstchurches. See Church Congregational, and Episcopacy. The Independents, however, were not distinguished as a body till the time of queen Elizabeth. The hierarchy established by that princes, in the churches of her dominions, the vestments worn by the clergy in the celebration of divine worship, the book of Common Prayer, and, above all, the sign of the cross used in the administration of baptism, were very offensive to many of her subjects, who, during the persecutions of the former reign, had taken refuge among the Protestants of Germany and Geneva. These men thought that the church of England resembled in too ,many particulars the anti-christian church of Rome: they therefore called perpetually for a more thorough reformation, and a fiurcr worship. From this circumstance they were stigmatized with the general name of Puritans, as the followers of Novatian had been in the ancient church. See Novatians. Elizabeth was not disposed to comply with their demands; and it is difficult to say what might have been the issue of the contest, had the Puritans been united among themselves, in sentiments, views, and measures. But the case was quite otherwise: that large body, composed of persons of different ranks, characters, opinions, and intentions, and unanimous in nothing but their antipathy to the established church, was all of a sudden divided into a variety of sects. Of these,
the most famous was that which was formed about the year 1581, by Robert Brown, a man insinuating in his manners, but unsteady and inconsistent in his views and notions of men and things. Brown was for dividing the whole body of the faithful into separate societies or congregations; and maintained that such a number of persons as coulff be contained in an ordinary place of worship ought to be considered as a church, and enjoy all the rights and privileges that are competent to an ecclesiastical community. These small societies he pronounced independent, jure divino, and entirely exempt from the jurisdiction of the bishop, in whose hands the court had placed the reins of a spiritual government; and also from that of presbyters and synods, which the Puritans regarded as the supreme visible sources of ecclesiastical authority. But as we have given an account of the general opinions and discipline of the Brownists, we need not enumerate them here, but must beg the reader to refer to that article. The zeal with which Brown and his associates maintained and propagated his notions, was, in a high degree, intemperate and extravagant. He affirmed that all communion was to be broken off with those religious societies that were founded upon a different plan from his; and treated more especially the church of England as a spurious church, whose ministers were unlawfully ordained; whose discipline was popish and anti-christian; and whose sacraments and institutions were destitute of all efficacy and virtue. His followers not being able to endure the severe treatment which they met with from an administration that was not distinguished for its mildness and indulgence, retired into the Netherlands, and founded churches at Middlebourg, Amsterdam, and Leyden. Their founder, however, returned into England, renounced his principles of separation, and took orders in the established church. The Puritan exiles, whom he thus abandoned, disagreed among themselves, were split into parties, and their affairs declined from day to day. This engaged the wiser part of them to mitigate the severity of their founder's plan, and to soften the rigour of his uncharitable decisions.
The person who had the chief merit of bringing about this reformation was one of their pastors, of the name of Robinson; a man who had much of the solemn piety of the times, and no inconsiderable portion of learning. This well-meaning reformer, perceiving the