Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

exercised the right of deposing and electing the bishops of Rome, then their pretensions to infallibility were called in question, and the world discovered that councils were a jurisdiction superior to that of the towering pontiffs. Then it •was that this infallibility was transferred by many divines from popes to general councils, and the opinion of the superior authority of a council above that of a pope spread vastly, especially under the profligate pontificate of Alexander VI. and the martial one of Julius II. The popes were, thought by numbers to be too unworthy possessors of so rich a jewel; at the same time it appeared to be of too great a value, and of too extensive consequence, to be parted ■with entirely. It was, therefore, by the major part of the Roman church, deposited with, or made the property of general councils, either solely or conjointly with the pope. See Smith's Errors of the Church of Rome detected; and a list of writers under article Popery.

INFANT COMMUNION, the admission of infants to the ordinance of the Lord's supper. It has been debated by some, whether or no infants should be admitted to this ordinance. One of the greatest advocates for this practice was Mr. Pierce. He pleads the use of it even unto this day among the Greeks, and in the Bohemian churches till near the time of the reformation; but especially from the custom of the ancient churches, as it appears from many passages in Photius, Augustin, and Cyprian. But Dr. Doddridge observes, that Mr. Pierce's proof from. the more ancient fathers is very defective. His arguments from Scripture chiefly depend upon this general medium; that Christians succeeding to the Jews as God's people, and being grafted upon that stock, their infants have a right to all the privileges of which they are capable, till forfeited by some immoralities: and consequently have a right to partake of this ordinance, as the Jewish children had to eat of the passover and other sacrifices; besides this, he pleads those texts which speak of the Lord's supper as received by all Christians.

The most obvious answer to all this, is that which is taken from die incapacity of infants to examine themselves, and discern the Lord's body; but he answers that this precept is only given to persons capable of understanding and complying with it. as those which requite faith in order to baptism are interpreted by the P<cdo-baptists. As for

his argument from the Jewish children eating the sacrifice, it is to be considered that this was not required as circumcision was; the males were not necessarily brought to the temple till they were twelve years old, Luke ii. 42. and the sacrifices they ate of were chiefly peace-offerings, which became the common food to all that were clean in the family, and were not looked upon as acts of devotion to such a degree as our eucharist is; though, indeed, they were a token of their acknowledging the divinity of that God to whom they had been offered, 1 Cor. x. 18. and even the passover was a commemoration of a temporal deliverance. nor is there any reason to believe that its reference to the Messiah was generally understood by the Jews.

On the whole, it is certain there would be more danger of a contempt arising to the Lord's supper from the admission of infants, and of confusion and trouble to other communicants; to that not being required in Scripture, it is much the best to omit it When children are grown up to a capacity of behaving decently, they may soon be instructed in the nature and design of the ordinance; and if they appear to understand it, and behave for some competent time of trial in a manner suitable to that profession, it would probably be advisable to admit them to communion, though very young; which, by the way, might be a good security against many of the snares to which youth are exposed.—Doddridge's Lectures, lee. 20/; Pierce's Essay on the Eucharist, p. 76, &c; Witsius on Cov. b. 4. c. 17.1 30, 32; J. Frid. Mayer Diss, de Eucharistia Infantum; 7,ornius Hist. Eucharist. Infantum, p. 18; Theol. and Bib. Mag. Jan. and April, 1806.

INFANTS, salvation of. "Various opinions," says an acute writer, " concerning the future state of infants have been adopted. Some think, all dying in infancy are annihilated; for, say they, infants, being incapable of moral good or evil, are not proper objects of reward or punishment. Others think that they share a fate similar to adults; a part saved, and a part perish. Others affirm all are saved because all are immortal and all are innocent. Others, perplexed with these diverse sentinieats, think better to leave the subject untouched. Cold comfort to parents who bury their-families in infancy' The most probable opinion seems to be, that they are all saved, through the merits of the Mediator, with an everlasting ■which is contrary to the express letter of any of the commandments.—3. Nothing will admit of a just and sufficient excuse upon the account of infirmity which a man beforehand considers and deliberates with himself, whether it be a sin or no. A sin of infirmity is, 1. Such a failing as proceeds from excusable ignorance.—2. Or unavoidable surprise.—3. Or want of courage and strength, Rom. xv. 1.


By infirmity also we understand the corruptions that are still left in the heart (notwithstanding a person may be sanctified in part,) and which sometimes break out. These may be permitted to humble us; to animate our vigilance; perhaps that newly convinced sinners might not be discouraged by a sight of such perfection they might despair of ever attaining to; to keep us prayerful and dependent; to prevent those honours which some would be ready to eive to human nature rather than to God; and, lastly, to excite in us a continual desire for heaven. Let us be cautious and watchful, however, against sin in all its forms: for it argues a deplorable state of mind when men love to practise sin, and then lay it upon constitution, the infirmity of nature, the decree of God, the influence of Satan, and thus attempt to excuse themselves by saying they could not avoid it. Clark's Serm. ser. 12. vol.ix. Masiilon's Serm. vol. ii. p. 213. Eng. trans.

INFINITY. Infinity is taken in two senses entirely different, i. e. in a positive and a negative one. Positive infinity is a quality of being perfect in itself, or capable of receiving no addition. Negative is the quality of being boundless, unlimited, or endless. That God is infinite is evident; for as Doddridge observes, 1. If he be limited, it must either be by himself, or by another; but no wise being would abridge himself, and there could be no other being to limit God.—2. Infinity follows from self-existence; for a necessity that is not universal must depend on some external cause, which a self-existent Being does not.—3. Creation is so great an act of power, that we can imagine nothing impossible to that Being who has performed it, but must therefore ascribe to him infinite power.—4. It is more honourable to the Divine Being to conceive of him as infinite, than finite.—5. The Scriptures represent all his attributes as infinite. His understanding is infinite, Psal. cxlvii. 5. His knowledge and wisdom, Rom. xi. 33. His power, Rom. i 20. Heb. xi. 3. His goodness, Psal. xvi. S. His purity, holiness, and justice, Job

iv. 17, 18. Isa. vi. 2, 3.-6. His omnipotence and eternity prove his infinity; for were he not infinite, he would be bounded by space and by time, which, he is not. Doddridge's Led., lee. 49; Watts's Ontology ch. 17; Lockeon Underst. vol. i. ch. 17; Home's Works, vol. i. p. 63, 64. 67.

INFLUENCES, DIVINE, a term made use of to denote the operations of the Divine Being upon the mind. This doctrine of divine influences has been much called in question of late ; but we may ask, 1. What doctrine can be more reasona6li' f "The operations which the power of God carries on in the natural world are no less myste'ious than those which the Spirit performs in the moral world. If men, by their councils and suggestions, can influence the minds of one another must not divine suggestion produce a much greater effect? Surely the Father of spirits, by a thousand ways, has access to the spirits he has made, so as to give them what determination, or impart to them what assistance he thinks proper, without injuring their frame or disturbing their rational powers."

We may observe, 2. Nothing can be more scrtfitural. Eminent men from the patriarchal age down to St. John, the latest writer, believed in this doctrine, and ascribed their religious feelings to this source. Our Lord strongly and repeatedly inculcated this truth; and that he did not mean miraculous, but moral influences of the Spirit, is evident, John iii. 3. Matt. vii. 33, 23. John vi. 44. 46. See also, John xii. 32, 40. Rom. viii. 9. 1 Cor. ii. 14.—3 And we may add, nothing can be more necessary, if we consider the natural depravity of the heart, and the insufficiency of all human means to render ourselves either holy or happy without a supernatural power. See Williams's Historic Defence of Experimental Keligion; Williams's Answer to Belsnam, let. 13; Hurrion'a Sermons on the Spirit; Omen on the Spirit.

1NGHAMITES; a denomination of Calvinistic dissenters, who are the followers of B. Ingham, esq. who in the last century was a character of great note in the north of England. About the year 1735, Mr. Ingham was at Queen's college with Mr. Hervey and other friends, but soon afterwards adopted the religious opinions and zeal of Wesley and Whitfield. We do not know the cause of his separation from these eminent men; but it seems in a few years afterwards he became the leader of many numerous societies, distinct from

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors]

taking what is another's, which is theft. See Grove's Mor. Phil. ch. 8. p. 2; Watts's Sermons, vol. ii. ser. 33: 77/iotson's Serm. serm. 42.

l$i}URlE&,Porgivcne8*' of. See ForGiveness.

INJUSTICE. See Injury.

INNOCENCE, acting in perfect consonance to the law, without incurring guilt or consequent punishment. See Man.

INQUISITION, in the church of Rome, a tribunal, in several Roman catholic countries, erected by the popes for the examination and punishment of heretics. This court was founded in the twelfth century, under the patronage of pope Innocent, who issued out orders to excite the Catholic princes and people to extirpate heretics, to search into their number and quality, and to transmit a faithful account thereof to Rome. Hence they were called inquisitors, and gave birth to this formidable tribunal, called the inquisition. That nothing might be wanting to render this spiritual court formidable and tremendous, the Roman pontiffs persuaded the European princes, and more especially the emperor Frederick II. and Lewis IX. king of France, not only to enact the most barbarous laws against heretics, and to commit to the flames, by the ministry of public justice, those who were pronounced such by the inquisitors, but also to maintain the inquisitors in their office, and grant them their protection in the most open and solemn manner. The edicts to this purpose issued out by Frederick II. are well known; edicts sufficient to have excited the greatest horror, and which rendered the most illustrious piety and virtue incapable of saving from the cruellest death such as had the misfortune to be disagreeable to the inquisitors. These abominable laws "were not, however, sufficient to restrain the just indignation of the people against those inhuman judges, whose barbarity ■was accompanied with superstition and arrogance, with a spirit of suspicion and perfidy; nay, even with temerity and imprudence. Accordingly, they were insulted lay the multitude in many places, ■were driven in an ignominious manner out of some cities, and were put to death in others; and Conrad, of Marpurg, the first German inquisitor who derived his commission from Gregory IX. was one of the many victims that were sacrificed on this occasion to the vengeance of the public, which his incredible barbarities had raised to a dreadful degree of vehemence and fury. This diabolical tribunal takes cogni

zance of heresy, Judaism, Mahometanism, sodomy, and polygamy; and the people stand in so much fear of it, that

Carents deliver up their children, husands their wives, and masters their servants, to its officers, without daring in the least to murmur. The prisoners are kept for a long time, till they themselves turn their own accusers, and declare the cause of their imprisonment, for which they are neither told their crime, nor confronted with witnesses. As soon as they are imprisoned, their friends go into mourning, and speak of them as dead, not daring to solicit their pardon, lest they should be brought in as accomplices. When there is no shadow of proof against the pretended criminal, he is discharged, after suffering the most cruel tortures, a tedious and dreadful imprisonment, and the loss of the greatest part of his effects. The sentence against prisoners is pronounced

fiublicly, and with extraordinary soemnity. In Portugal they erect a theatre capable of holding three thousand persons, in which they place a rich altar, and raise seats on each side, in the form of an amphitheatre. There the prisoners are placed, and over against them is a high chair, whither they are called one by one to hear their doom from one of the inquisitors. These unhappy persons know what they are to suffer by the clothes they wear that day: those who appear in their own clothes are discharged on paying a fine; those who have a santo benito, or strait yellow coat without sleeves, charged with St. Andrew's cross, have their lives, but forfeit all their effects; those who have the resemblance of flames made of red serge sewed upon their santo benito, without any cross, are pardoned, but threatened to be burnt if ever they relapse; but those who, besides those flames, have on their santo benito their own picture surrounded with devils, are condemned to expire in the flames. The inquisitors, who are ecclesiastics, do not pronounce the sentence of death, but form and read an act, in which they say, that the criminal, being convicted of such a crime, by his own confession, is with much reluctance, delivered to the secular power, to be punished according to his demerits: and this writing they give to the sevenjudges, whoattendat the right side of the altar, and immediately pass sentence. For the conclusion of this horrid scene, see Act Of Faith. We rejoice however, to hear, that in many Roman Catholic countries, the inquisition is now shut. May the God of met'

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »