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marginal corrections of the text in our Hebrew Bibles.
The text of the sacred books, it is to be observed, was originally written without any breaks or divisions into chapters or verses, or even into words: so that a whole book, in the ancient manner, was but one continued word: of this kind we have still several ancient manuscripts, both Greek and Latin. In regard, therefore, the sacred •writings had undergone an infinite number of alterations; whence various readings had arisen, and the original was become much mangled and disguised, the Jews had recourse to a canon, which they judged infallible, to fix and ascertain the reading of the Hebrew text; and this rule they call masora ; "tradition," from Tod, tradit, as if this critique were nothing but a tradition which they had received from their forefathers. Accordingly they say, that, when God gave the law to Moses at Mount Sinai, he taught him first the true reading of it; and, secondly, its true interpretation; and that both these were handed down by oral tradition from generation to generation, till at length they •were committed to writing. The former of these, viz. the true reading, is the subject of the masora; the latter, or true interpretation, that of the mishna and gemara.
According to Elias Levita, they were the Jews of a famous school at Tiberias, about five hundred years after Christ, who composed, or at least began, the masora; whence they are called masorites and masoretic doctors. Aben Ezra makes them the authors of the points and accents in the Hebrew text, as we now find it, and which serve for vowels.
The age of the masorites has been much disputed. Archbishop Usher places them before Jerome; Capel, at the end of the fifth century; father Morin, in the tenth century. Basnage says, that they were not a society, but a succession of men; and that the masora was the work of many grammarian1!, who, without associating and communicating their notions, composed this collection of criticisms on the Hebrew text. It is urged, that there were masorites from the time of Ezra and the men of the great synagogue, to about the year of Christ 1030: and that Ben Asher and Ben Naphtali, who were the best of the profession, and who, according to Basnage, were the inventors of the masora, flourished at this time. Each of these published a copy of the whole Hebrew text, as correct, says Dr. Prideaux, as
| they could make it. The eastern Jews | have followed that of Ben Naphtali, and ! the western that of Ben Asher: and all that has been done since is to copy after them, without making any more corI rections, or masoretical criticisms.
The Arabs have done the same thing J by their Koran that the Masorites have | done by the Bible ; nor do the Jews de! ny their having borrowed this expedient j from the Arabs, who first put it in practice in the seventh century.
There is a great and little masora printed at Venice and at Basil, with the Hebrew text in a different character. Buxtorf has written a masoretic commentary which he calls Tiberias.
MASS, Missa, in the church of Rome, the office or prayers used at the celebration of the eucharist; or, in other words, consecrating the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, and offering them, so transubstantiated, as an expiatory sacrifice for the quick and the dead.
As the mass is in general believed to be a representation of the passion of our blessed Saviour, so every action of the priest, and every particular part of the service, is supposed to allude to the particular circumstances of his passion and death.
Nicod, after Baronius, observes, that the word comes from the Hebrew missach (oblalum ;) or from the Latin missa missorum; because in the former times the catechumens and excommunicated were sent out of the church, when the deacons said, Ite, missa est, after sermon and reading of the epistle and Gospel j they not being allowed to assist at the consecration. Menage derives the word from missio, "dismissing;" others from missa, "missing, sending;" because in the mass the prayers of men on earth are sent up to heaven.
The general division of masses consist in high and low. The first is that sung by the choristers, and celebrated with the assistance of a deacon and subdeacon: low masses are those in which the prayers are barely rehearsed without singing.
There are a great number of different or occasional masses in the Romish church, many of which have nothing peculiar but the name: such are the masses of the saints, that of St. Mary of the Snow, celebrated on the fifth of August; that of St. Margaret, patroness of lying-in-women; that at the feast of St. John the Baptist, at which are said three masses; that of the Innocents, at which the gloria in excelsis and hallelujah are omitted, and, it being a day of mourning, the altar is of a violet colour. As to ordinary masses, some are said for the dead, and, as is supposed, contribute to fetch the soil out of purgatory. At these masses the altar is put in mourning, and the only decorations are a cross in the middle of six yellow wax lights; the dress of the celebrant, and the very mass-book, are black; many parts of the office are omitted, and the people are dismissed •without the benediction. If the maso be said for a person distinguished by his rank or virtues, it is followed with a funeral oration: they erect a chafielle ardente, that is, a representation of the deceased, with branches and tapers of yellow wax, either in the middle of the church, or near the deceased's tomb, where the priest pronounces a solemn absolution of the deceased. There are likewise private masses said for stolen or strayed good* or cattle, for health, for travellers, &c. which go under the name of votive masses. There is still a further distinction of masses, denominated from the countries in which they were used: thus the Gothic mass, or missa mosarabum, is that used among the Goths when they were masters of Spain, and which is still kept up at Toledo and Salamanca; the Ambrosian mass is that composed by St. Ambrose, and used only at Milan, of which city he was bishop; the Gallic mass used by the ancient Gauls; and the Roman mass, used by almost all the churches in the Romish communion.
Mass of the firesanclified ("missa firasanctiftcatorumj is a mass peculiar to the Greek church, in which there is no consecration of the elements; but, after singing some hymns, they receive the bread and wine which were before consecrated. This mass is performed all Lent, except on Saturdays, Sundays, and the Annunciation. The priest counts upon his fingers, the days of the ensuing week on which it is to be celebrated, and cuts off as many pieces of bread at the altar as he is to say masses; and after having consecrated them, steeps them in wine, and puts them in a box; out of which, upon every occasion, he takes some of it with a spoon, and, putting it on a dish, sets it on the altar.
MASSACRE, a term used to signify the sudden and promiscuous butchery of a multitude. See Persecution.
MASSALIANS, or Messalians, a sect which sprung up about the year 361, in the reign of the emperor Constantinus, who maintained that men have two souls, a celestial and a diabo
lical; and that the latter is driven out by prayer. From those words of our Lord, "Labour not for the meat that pertsheth," it is said, that they concluded they ought not to do any work to get their bread. We may suppose, says Dr. Jortin, that this sect did not last long; that these sluggards were soon tarved out of the world; or, rather, that cold and hunger sharpened their wits, and taught them to be better interpreters of Scripture.
MASTER, a person who has servants under him; a ruler, or instructor. The duties of masters relate to the civil concerns of the family. To arrange the several businesses required of servants; to give particular instructions for what is to be done, and now it is to be done; to take care thai no more is required ot servants than they are equal to; to be gentle in our deportment towards them; to reprove them when they do wrong, to commend them when they do right; to make them an adequate recompense for their services, as to protection, maintenance, wages, and character.—2. As to the morals of servants. Masters must look well to their servants' characters before they hire them; instruct them in the principles and confirm them in the habits of virtue; watch over their morals, and set them good examples.—3. As to their religious interests. They should instruct them in the knowledge of divine things, Gen. xiv. 14. Gen. xviii. 19. Fray with them and for them, Joshua xxiv. 15. Allow them time and leisure for religious services, &c. Eph. vi. 9. See Stennct on Domestic Duties, ser. 8j Paley's Moral. Phil. vol. i. 233, 235; Beattie's Elements of Moral Science, vol. i. 150, 153; Doddridge's Lee. vol. ii 266.
MATERIALISTS, a sect in the ancient church, composed of persons, who, being prepossessed with that maxim in philosophy, "ex nihilo nihil fit," out of nothing nothing can arise, had recourse to an eternal matter, on which they supposed God wrought in the creation, instead of admitting Him alone as the sole cause of the existence of all things. Tertullian vigorously opposed 'hem in his treatise against Hermogenes, who was one of their number.
Matrrialiasls are also those who maintain that the soul of man is material, or that i he principle of perception and thought is not a substance distinct from the body, but ;he re-ult of coporeal organization. There are others called by this name, who have maintained that there is nothing but matter in the universe.
The followers of the late Dr. Priestley II are considered as Materialists, or philosophical Necessarians. According to the doctor's writings, he believed,—
1. That man is no more than what we now see of him: his being commences at the time of Misconception, or perhaps at an earlier period. The corporeal and mental faculties, inhering in the same substance, grow, ripen, and decay together; and whenever the system is dissolved, it continues in a state of dissolution, till it shall please that Almighty Being who called it into existence, to restore it to life again. For if the mental principle were, in its own nature, immaterial and immortal, all its peculiar faculties would be so too; whereas we see that every faculty of the mind, without exception, is liable to be impaired, and even to become wholly extinct, before death. Since, therefore, all the faculties of the mind, separately taken, appear to be mortal, the substance, or principle, in which they exist, must be pronounced mortal too. Thus we might conclude that the body was mortal, from observing that all the separate senses and limbs were liable to decay and perish.
This system gives a real value to the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead, which is peculiar to revelation; on which alone the sacred writers build all our hope of future life: and it ex
Elains the uniform language of the criptures, which speak of one day of judgment for all mankind; and represent all the rewards of virtue, ana all the punishments of vice, as taking place at ttiat awful day, and not before. In the Scriptures, the heathens are represented as without hope, and all mankind as perishing at death, if there be no resurrection of the dead.
The apostle Paul asserts, in 1 Cor. xv. 16. that if the dead rise not, then is not Christ risen; and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins: then they also who are fallen asleefi in Chritt are fierisiied. And again, ver. 32, If the dead rise not, let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die In the whole discourse, he does not even mention the doctrine of happiness or misery without the body.
If we search the Scriptures for passages expressive of the state of man at death, we shall find such declarations as expressly exclude any trace of sense, thought, or enjoyment. See Ps. vi. 5. Job xiv, 7, &c.
2. That there is some fixed law of nature respecting the will, as well as the other powers of the mind, and
every thing else in the constitution of nature; and consequently that it is never determined without some real or apparent cause foreign to itself; i. e. without some motive of choice; or that motives influence us in some definite and invariable manner, so that every volition, or choice, is constantly regulated and determined by what precedes it: and this constant determination of mind, according to the motives presented to it, is what is meant by its necessary determination. This being admitted to be-fact, there will be a necessary connexion between all things past, present, and to come, in the way of proper cause and effect, as much in the intellectual as in the natural world; so that according to the established laws of nature, no event could have been otherwise than it has been, or is to be, and therefore all things past, present, and to come, are precisely what the Author of Nature really intended them to be, and has made provision for.
To establish this conclusion, nothing is necessary bui that throughout all nature the same consequences should invariably result from the same circumstances. For if this be admitted, it will necessarily follow, that at the commencement of any system, since the several parts of it and their respective situations were appointed by the Deity, the first change would take place according to a certain rule established by himself, the result of which would be a new situation; after which the same laws containing another change would succeed, according to the same rules, and so on for ever; every new situation invariably leading to another, and every event, from the commencement to the termination of the system, being strictly connected, so that, unless the fundamental laws of the system were changed, it would be impossible that any event should have been otherwise than it was. In all these cases, the circumstances preceding any change are called the causes of that change: and since adeterminate event, or effect, constantly follows certain circumstances, or causes, the connection between cause and effect is concluded to be invariable, and therefore necessary
It is universally acknowledged, that there can be no effect without an adequate cause. This is even the foundation on which the only proper argument for the being of a Goa rests. And the Necessarian asserts, that if, in any given state of mind, with respect both to dispositions and motives, two different determinations, or volitions, be possible, it can be on no other principle, than that one of them should come under the description of an effect without a cause; just as if the beam of a balance might incline either way, though loaded with equal weights. And if any thing whatever, even a thought in the mind of man, could arise without an adequate cause, any thing else, the mind itself, or the whole universe, might likewise exist without an adequate cause.
This scheme of philosophical necessity implies a chain of causes and effects established by infinite wisdom, and terminating in the greatest good of the whole universe; evils of all kinds, natural and moral, being admitted, as far as they contribute to that end, or are in the nature of things inseparable from it. Vice is productive not of good, but of evil to us, both here and hereafter, though good may result from it to the whole system; and, according to the iixed laws of nature, our present and future happiness necessarily depend on our cultivating good dispositions.
This scheme of philosophical necessity is distinguished from the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination in the following particulars:
1. No Necessarian supposes that any of the human race will suffer eternally: but that future punishments will answer the same purposes as temporal ones are found to do; all of which tend to good, and are evidently admitted for that purpose. Upon the doctrine of necessity, also, the most indifferent actions of men are equally necessary with the most important; since every volition, like any other effect, must have an adequate cause depending upon the previous state of the mind, and the influence to which it is exposed.
2. The Necessarian believes that his own dispositions and actions are the necessary and sole means of his present and future happiness; so that, in the most proper sense of the words, it depends entirely on himself whether he be virtuous or vicious, happy or miserable.
3. The Calvinistic system entirely excludes the popular notion of free-will, viz. the liberty or power of doing what we please, virtuous or vicious, as belonging to every person, in every situation; which is perfectly consistent with the doctrine of philosophical necessity, and indeed results from it.
4. The Necessarian believes nothing of the posterity of Adam's sinning in him, and of their being liable to the wrath ot God on that account; or the secessity of an infinite Being making
atonement for them by suffering in their stead, and thus making the Deity propitious to them. He believes nothing of all the actions of any man being necessarily sinful; but, on the contrary, thinks that the very worst of men are capable of benevolent intentions in many things that they do; and likewise that very good men are capable of falling from virtue, and consequently of sinking into final perdition. Upon the principles of the Necessarian, also, all late repentance, and especially after long and confirmed habits of vice, is altogether and necessarily ineffectual; there not being sufficient time left to produce a change of disposition and character, which can only be done by a change of conduct of proportionably long continuance.
In short, the three doctrines of Materialism, Philosophical Necessity, and Socinianism, are considered as equally parts of one system. The scheme of Necessity is the immediate result of the materiality of man; for mechanism is the undoubted consequence of materialism, and that man is wholly material, is eminently subservient to the proper or mere humanity of Christ. For if no man have a soul distinct from his body, Christ, who in all other respects appeared as a man, could not have a soul which had existed before his body: and the whole doctrine of the pre-existence of souls, of which the opinion of the preexistence of Christ is a branch, will be effectually overturned. See NecessiTy, Pre- Existence, Spinosism.soul, Unitarian, and books under those articles.
MEANS OF GRACE denote those duties we perform for the purpose of improving our minds, affecting our hearts, and of obtaining spiritual blessings; such as hearing the Gospel, reading the Scriptures, self-examination, meditation, prayer, praise, Christian conversation, 8cc. The means are to be used without any reference to merit, but solely with a dependence on the i Divine Being; nor can we ever expect happiness in ourselves, nor be good exemplars to others, while we live in the neglect of them. It is in vain to argue that the divine decree supercedes the necessity of them, since God has as certainly appointed the means as the end. Besides, he himself generally works by them, and the more means he thinks proper to use, the more he displays his glorious perfections. Jesus Christ, when on earth, used means: he prayed, he exhorted, and did good, by going from place to place. Indeed, ihe systems of nature, providence, and grace, are all
carried on by means. The Scriptures abound with exhortations to them, Matt, v. Rom. xii. and none but enthusiasts or immoral characters ever refuse to use them.
MEDIATOR, a person that intervenes between two parties at variance, in order to reconcile them. Thus Jesus Christ is the Mediator between an offended God and sinful man, 1 Tim. ii. 5. Both Jews and Gentiles have a notion of a Mediator: the Jews call the Messiah Kprot* the Mediator or Middle One. The Persians call their god Mithras, Ju»7t»c, a Mediator; and the daemons, with the heathens, seem to be, according to them, mediators between the superior gods and men. Indeed the whole religion of Paganism was a system of mediation and intercession. The idea, therefore, of salvation by a Mediator, is not so novel or restricted as some imagine; and the Scriptures of truth inform us, that it is only by this ■way human beings can arrive to eternal felicity. Acts iv. 12. John xiv. 6. Man, in his stale of innocence, was in friend ship with God; but, by sinning against him, he exposed himself to his just displeasure; his powers became enfeebled, and his heart rilled with enmity against him, Rom. viii. 6: he was driven out of his paradisaical Eden, and totally incapable of returning to God, and miking satisfaction to his justice. Jesus Christ, therefore, was the appointed Mediator to bring about reconciliation, Gen. iii. 13. Col. i. 21; and in the fulness of time he came into this world, obeyed the law, satisfied justice, and brought his people into a state of grace and favour; yea, into a more exalted state of friendship with God tlian was lost by the fall, Eph. ii. 18. Now, in order to the accomplishing of this work, it was necessary that the Mediator should be God and man in one person. It was necessary that he should be man, 1. That lie mi^ht be related to those he was a Mediator and Redeemer of.—J. That sin might be satisfied for, and reconciliation be made for it, in the same nature which sinned. —3. It was proper that the Mediator should be capable of obeying the law broken by the sin of man, as a divine person could not be subject to the law, and yield obedience to it. Gal. iv. 4. Rom. v. 19.—4. It was meet that the Mediator should be man, that he might be capable of suffering death; for, as God, he could not die, and without shedding of blood there was no remission, Heb. ii. 10, 15. \ii. 3.-5. It was fit he should be man, that he might be a faithful high priest, to sympathise with his,
people under all their trials, temptations, 8cc. Heb. ii. 17,18. Heb. iv. 15. —6. It was fit that he should be a holy and righteous man, free from all sin, original and actual, that he might offer himself without spot to God, take away the sins of men, and be an advocate for them, Heb. vii. 26. ix. 14 1 John iii. 5. But it was not enongh to be truly man, and an innocent person; he must be more than a man: it was requisite that he should be God also, for, 1. No mere man could have entered into a covenant with God to mediate between him and sinful men.—2. He must be God, to give virtue and value to his obedience and sufferings; for the sufferings of men or angels would not have been sufficient. —3. Being thus God-man, we are encouraged to hope in him. In the person of Jesus Christ the object of trust is brought nearer to ourselves; and those well-known tender affections which are only figuratively ascribed to the Deity, are in our great Mediator thoroughly realized. Farther, were he God, and not man, we should approach him with fear and dread; were he man and not God, we should be guilty of idolatry to worship and trust him at all, Jer. xvii. 5. The plan of salvation, therefore, by such a Mediator, is the most suitable to human beings that possibly could be; for here "Mercy and truth meet together, righteousness and peace kiss each other." Psal. lxxxv. 10. The proper-'^ ties of Christ as Mediator are these:' 1. He is the only Mediator, 1 Tim. ii. 4. Praying, therefore, to saints and angels is an error of the church of Rome, and has no countenance from the Scripture 2. Christ is a Mediator of men
only, not of angels: good angels need not any; and as tor evil angels, none is provided nor admitted.—3. He is the Mediator both for Jews and Gentiles, Eph. ii. 18. 1 John ii. 2.-4. He is Mediator both for Old and New Testament saints.—5. He is a suitable, constant, willing, and prevalent Mediator; his mediation always succeeds, and is infallible. GUI'* Body of Div. vol. i. oct. p. 336; IVitsii (Econ. Fad. lib. ii. c. 4 ,• Fuller's Gosficl its own Witness, ch. 4. p. 2; Hurrion's Christ Crucified, p. 103, &c. Dr. Owen on the Person of Christ; Dr. Goodwin's Works, b. iii.
MEDITATION is an act by which A we consider any thing closely, or where-J in the soul is employed in the search or consideration of any truth. In religion it is used to signify the serious exercise of the understanding, whereby our thoughts are fixed on the observation of spiritual things, in order to practice.