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riods incorporated into the Jewish religion by the princes of that nation, the prophets and all the seers protested against this apostacy, and they were persecuted for so doing. Shemaiah preached to Rehoboam, the princes. and all the people, at Jerusalem, Chron. xii. 5. Azariah and Hananij preached to Asa and his army, 2 Chron. xv. 1. &c. xvi. 7. Micaiati to Ahab. Some of them opened schools, or houses I of instruction, and there to their disci- j pies they taught the pure religion of Moses. At. Naioth, in the suburbs of Kamah, there was one, where Samuel dwelt; there was another at Jericho, and a third at Bethel, to which Elijah and Elisha often resorted. Thither the people went on Sabbath days and at new moons, and received public lessons of piety and morality, 1 bam. xix. 18. 2 Kings, ii. 3, 5. 2 Kings, iv. 2, 3. Through all this period there was a dismal confusion of the useful ordinance of public preaching. Sometimes tbey had no open vision, and the word of the Lord was precious or scarce : the people heard it only now and then. At other times they were left 'without a teaching priest, and without law. And, at other seasons again, itinerants, both princes, priests, and Levites, were sent through all the country to carry the book of the law, and to teach in the cities In a word, preaching flourished when pure religion grew; and when the last decayed, the first was sup pressed- Moses had not appropriated preaching to any order yt men: persons, places, times, and manners, were all left open and discretional. Many of the discourses were preached in camps and courts, in streets, schools, cities, and villages, sometimes with great com posure and coolness, at other times with vehement action and rapturous energy; sometimes in a plain blunt style, at other times in all tbe magnificent pomp of Eastern allegory. On some occasions, the preachers appeared in public with visible signs, with implements of war, yokes of slavery, or something adapted to their sr.bject. They gave lectures on these, held them up to view, girded them on, broke them in pieces, rent their garments, rolled in the dust, and endeavoured, by all the methods they cou'd devise agreeably to the customs of their country, to impress the minds r.f their auditors with the nature and importance of their doctrines. These men were highly esteemed by the pious part of the nation ; and princes thought proper to keep seers and others, who were scribes, who read and expounded

the law, 2 Chron. xxxiv. 29, 30. xxxv' ! 15. Hence false prophets, bad men 1 who found it worth white to affect to be {good, crowded the courts of princes, i Jezebel, an idolatress, had four hundred S prophets of Baal; and Ahab, a pretend! ed worshipper of Jehovah, had as many pretended prophets of his own profession, '2 Chron. xviii. 5.

When the Jews were carried captive into Babylon, the prophets who were with them inculcated the principles of religion, and endeavoured to possess their minds with an aversion to idolatry; and to the success of preaching we may attribute the re-conversion of the Jews to the belief and worship of one God ; a conversion that remains to this day. The Jews have since fallen into horrid crimes ; but they have never since this period lapsed into idolatry. Hoses. 2d and 3d chap Ezckiel, 2d, 3d. and 34th chap. There were not wanting, however.multitudes of false prophets among them, whose characters are strikingly delineated by the true prophets, and which the reader may see in the 13th chapter of Ezekiel, 56th Isaiah, 23d Jeremiah. When the seventy years of the captivity were expired, the good prophets and preachers, Zerubbabel, Joshua, Haggai, and others, having confidence in the word of God, and aspiring after their natural, civil, and religious rights, endeavoured by all means to extricate themselves and their countrymen from that mortifying state into which the crimes of thtir ancestors had brought them. The/ wept, fasted, prayed, preached, prophesied, and at length prevailed. The chief instroI ments were Nehemiah and Ezra: the first was governor, and reformed their civil state; the last was a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, and addressed himself to ecclesiastical matters, in which he rendered the noblest service to his country, and to all posterity. He collected and collated manuscripts of the sacred writings, and arranged and publ-shed the holy canon in its present I form. I'd this he added a second work as necessary as the former: he revived and new-modelled public preaching, 'and exemplihVd his plan in his own I person. The Jews had almost lest in i the seventy years' captivity their origi| nal language: that was now become i dead ; and they spoke a jargon made op I of their own language and that of the Chaldeans and ether nations with whom they had been confounded. Formerly | preachers had only explained subjects; now they were obliged to explain words; 'words which, fn the sacred code, were become obsolete, equivocal, or dead. Houses were now opened, not for ceremonial worship, as sacrificing, for this was confined to the temple; but fur moral obedience, as praying, preaching, reading the law, divine worship, and social duties. These houses were called synagogues ; the people repaired thither morning and evening for prayer: and on sabbaths and festivals the law was read and expounded to them. We have a short but beautiful description of the manner of Ezra's first preaching, Nehernial), viii. Upwards of fifty thousand people assembled in a street, or large square, near the Watergate. It was early in the morning of a sabbath day. A pulpit of wood, in the fashion of a small tower, was placed there on purpose for the preacher; and this turret was supported by a scaffold, or temporary gallery, where, in a Winp on the right hand of the pulpit, sat six of the principal preachers; and in another, on the left, seven. Thirteen other principal teachers, and many Levites, were present also on scaffolds erected for the purpose, alternately to officiate. When Ezra ascended the pulpit, he produced and opened the book of the law, and the whole congregation instantly rose up from their seats, and stood. Then he offered up prayer and praise to God, the people bowing their heads, and worshipping the Lord with their faces tn the ground; and, at the close of the prayer, with uplifted hands,they solemnly pronounced. Amen, Amen. Then, all standing, Ezra, assisted at times by the Levites, read the law distinctly, gave the sense, and caused them to un derstand the reading. The sermons de livered so affected the hearers, that they wept excessively ; and about noon the sorrow became so exuberant and im measurable, that it was thought neces sary by the governor, the preacher, and the Levites, to restrain it. Go your way, said they; eat the fat, drink the sweet, send portions untothem for whom nothing is prepared. The wise and benevolent sentiments of these noble souls were imbibed by the whole congrega tion, and fifty thousand troubled hearts were calmed in a moment Home they returned, to eat, to drink, to send portions and to make mirth, because they had understood the words that were de clarcd unto them. Plato was alive at this time, teaching dull philosophy to cold academics; hut what was he, and what was Xenophon or Demosthenes, or any of the Pagan orators, in compa rison with these men f From this period to that of tire appearance of Jesus Christ,

public preaching was universal: synagogues were multiplied, vast numbers attended, and elders and rulers were appointed for the purpose of order and instruction.

The most celebrated preacher that arose before the appearance of Jesus Christ was John the Baptist. He was commissioned from heaven to be the harbinger of the Messiah. He took Elijah tor his model; and as the times were very much like these in which that prophet lived, he chose a doctrine and a method very much resembling those of that venerable man. His subjects were few, plain, and important. His style was vehement, images bold, his deportment solemn, his actions eager, and his morals strict; but this bright morning-star gave way to the illustrious Sun of Righteousness, who now arose on a benighted world. Jesus Christ certainly was the princtof preachers. Who can but admire the simplicity and majesty of his style, the beauty of his images, the alternate softness and severity of his address, the choice of his subjects, the gracefulness of his deportment, and the imltfatigableness of his zeal f Let the readercharm and solace himself in the study and contemplation of the character, excellency, and dignity of this best of preachers, as he will find them delineated by the evangelists.

The apostles exactly copied their devine Master. They formed multitudes of religious societies, and were abundantly successful in their labours. They confined their attention to religion, and left the school to dispute, and politicians to intrigue. The doctrines they preached, they supported entirely by evidence; and neither had nor required such assistance as human laws or worldly policy, the eloquence of the schools or the terror of arms, the charm of money or the tricks of tradesmen, could afford them.

The apostles being dead, every thing came to pass as they had foretold. The whole Christian system underwent a miserable change; preaching shared the fate of other institutions, and this glory of the primitive church was now generally degenerated. Those writers whom we call the Fathers, however, held up to view by some as models of imitation, do not deserve that indiscriminate praise ascribed to them. Christianity, it is true, is found in their writings; but how sadly incorporated with Pagan philosophy aud Jewish allegory! It must, indeed, be allowed, that, in general, the simplicity of Christianity was maintained, though under gradual decay, during the three first centuries. The next five centuries produced many pious and excellent preachers both in the Latin and Greek churches, though the doctrine continued to degenerate. The Greek pulpit was adorned with some eloquent orators. Basil, bishop of Czsarea, John Chrysostom, preacher at Antioch, and afterwards patriarch (as he was called) of Constantinople, and Gregory Nazianzen, who all flourished in the fourth century, seem to have led the fashion of preaching in the Greek church: Jerom and Augustin did the same in the Latin church. For some time, preaching was common to bishops, elders, deacons, and private brethren in the primitive church: in process, it was restrained to the bishop, and to such as he should appoint. They called th« appointment ordination; and at last attached I know not what ideas of mystery and influence to the word, and of dominion to the bishop who pronounced it. When a bishop or preacher travelled, he claimed no authority to exercise the duties of his (unction, unless he were invited by the churches where he attended public worship. The first preachers differed much in pulpit action; the greater part used very moderate and sober gesture. They delivered their sernjons all extempore, while there were notaries who took down what they said. Sermons in those days were all in the vulgar tongue. The Greeks preached in Greek, the Latins in Latin. They did not preach by the clock (so to speak,) but were short or long as they saw occasion, though an hour was about the usual time. Sermons were generally both preached and heard standing; but sometime both speaker and auditors sat, especially the aged and the infirm. The fathers were fond of allegory; for Origen, that everlasting allegorizer, had het them the example. Before preaching, the preacher usually went into a vestry to pray, and aiterwards to speak to such as came to salute bim. He prayed with his eves shut in the pulpit. The first word the preacher uttered to the people, when he ascended the pulpit, was " Peace be with you," or "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with you all;" to which the assembly at first added, "Amen:" and, Ib alter times, they answered, •' And with thy spirit." Degenerate, however, as these days were in comparison with those of the apostles, yet they were goldV-'n ages in comparison with the times

that followed, when metaphysical reasonings, mystical divinity, yea, Aristotelian categories, and reading the lives of saints, were substituted in the place of Sermons. The pulpit became a stage, where ludicrous priests obtained the vulgar laugh by the lowest kind of wit, especially at the festivals of Christmas and Easter.

But the glorious reformation was the offspring of preaching, by which mankind were informed: there was a standard, and the religion of the times was put to trial by it. The avidity of the common people to read Scripture, and to hear it expounded, was wonderful; and the Papists were so fully convinced of the benefit of frequent public instruction, that they who were justlycallediojfrreaching prelates, and whose pulpits, to use an expression of Latimer, had been Sells without clappers for many a long year, were obliged for shame to set up regular preaching again.

The church of Rome has produced some great preachers since the reformation, but not equal to the reformed preachers; and a question naturally arises here, which it would be unpardonable to pass over in silence, concerning the singular effect of the preaching of the reformed, which was general, national, universal reformation.

In the darkest times of popery there had arisen now and then some famous popular preachers, who had zealously inveighed against the vices of their times, and whose sermons h id produced sudden and amazing eff cts on dieir auditors, but all these effects had died away with the preachers who produced them, and all things had gone back into the old state. Law, learning, commerce, society at large, had not been improved. —Here a new scene opens; preachers arise less popular, perhaps less indefatigable and exemplary; their sermons produce less striking immediate effects; and yet their auditors go away, and agree by whole nations to reform.

Jerome Savonarola, Jerome Narni, Capistran, Connecte, and many others, had produced by their sermons, great immediate effects. When Counecte preached, the ladies lowered their headdresses, and committed quilled caps by hundreds to the flames. When Narni taught the populace in Lent, from the pulpits of Rome, half the city went from his sermons, crying along the streets. Lord have mercy upon us ; Christ have mercy ufion us; so that in only one passion week, two thousand crowns worth of ropes were sold to make scourges with ; and when he preached before the pope to cardinals and bishops, and painted the crime of non-residence in its own colours, he frightened thirty or forty bishops who heard him, instantly home to their dioceses. In the pulpit of the university of Salamanca he induced eight hundred students to quit all worldly prospects ot hononr, riches, and pleasures, and to become peuittnts in divers monasteries. Some of this class were marty rs too. We know the fate of Savonarola, and more might be added: but all lamented the momentary duration of the effects produced by their labours. Narni himself was so disgusted with his office,that he renouncedpreaching, and shut himself up in his cell to mourn over his irreclaimable contemporaries ; for bishops went back to court, and rope-makers lay idle again.

Our reformers taught all the good doctrines which had been taught by these men, aud they added two or three more, by which thty laid the axe to the root of apostasy, and produced general information. Instead of appealing to popes, and canons, and founders, and fathers, they only quoted them, and referred their auditors to the Holy Scriptures for law. Pope Leo X. did not know this when he told Prierio, who complained of Luther's heresy, Friar Martin had a fine genius.' T. hey also taught the people what little they knew of Christian liberty; and so led them into a belief that they might follow their own ideas in religion, without the consent of a confessor, a diocesan, a pope, or a council. Ttiey went farther, and laid the stress of all religion on justifying faith. This obliged the people to get acquainted with Christ, the object of their faith; and thus they were led into the knowledge of a character altogether different from what they saw in their old guides; a character which it is impossible to know, aud not to admire and imitate. The old papal popular sermons had gone off like a charge of gun-powder, producing only a fright, a bustle, and a black face; but those of the neive learninge, as the monks called them, were small hearty seeds, which, being sown in the honest hearts of the multitude, and watered with the dew of heaven, softly vegetated, and imperceptibly unfolded blossoms and fruits of inestimable value.

These eminent servants of Christ excelled in various talents, both in the pulpit and in private. Knox came down like a thunder-storm; Calvin resembled a whole day's set rain; Beza was a shower of the softest dew. Old Latimer, in a coarse frieze gown, trudged afoot,

his Testament hanging at one end of his leathern girdle, and his spectacles at the other, and without ceremony instructed the people in rustic style from a hollow tree; while the courtly Ridley in satin and for taught the same principles in the cathedral of the metropolis. Cranmer, though a timorous man. Tentured to give king Henry the Eighth a New Testament, with the label, Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge; while Knox, who said, there v>aa nothing in the fiteasantface of a lady to affray him, assured the queen of Scots, that, "If there were any spark of the Spirit of God, yea, of honesty and wisdom in her, she would not be offended with his affirming in his sermons, that the diversions of her court were diabolical crimes,—evidences of impiety or insanity." These men were not all accomplished scholars; but they all gave proof enough that they were honest, hearty, and disinterested in the cause of religion.

All Europe produced great and excellent preachers, and some of the more studious and sedate reduced their art of public preaching to a system, and taught rules of a good sermon. Bishop Wilkins enumerated, in 1646, upwards of sixty who had written on the subject. Several of these are valuable treatises, full of edifying instructions; but all are on a scale too large, and, by affecting to treat of the whole office of a minister, leave that capital branch, public preaching, unfinished and vague.

One of the most important articles of pulpit science, that which gives life and energy to all the rest, and without which all the rest are nothing but a vain parade, either neglected or exploded in all these treatises It is essential to the ministration of the divine word by public preaching, that preachers be allowed to form principles of their own, and that their sermons contain their real sentiments, the fruits of their own intense thought and meditation. Preaching cannot be in a good state in those communities, where the shameful traffic of buying and selling manuscript sermons is carried on. Moreover, all the animating encouragements that arise from a free unbiassed choice of the people, and from their uncontaminated, disinterested applause, should be left open to stimulate a generous youth to excel. Command a man to utter what he has no inclination to propagate, and what he does not even believe : threaten him, at the same time, with all the miseries of life, if he dare to follow his own ideas, and to promulgate his own sentiments, and you pass a sentence of death on all he says. He does declaim ; but all is languid and cold, and he lays his system out as an undertaker does the dead.

Since the reformers, we have had multitudes who have entered into their views with disinterestedness and success; and, in the present times, both in the church and among dissenters, names could be mentioned which would do honour to any nation; for though there are too many who do not fill up that important station with proportionate piety and talents, yet we have men who are conspicuous for their extent of knowledge, depth of experience, originality of thought, fervency of zeal, consistency of deportment, and great usefulness in the Christian church. May their numbers still be increased, and their exertions in the cause of truth be eminently crowned with the divine bless ing! See Robinson's Claude, vol. ii. preface; and books recommended undt r article Minister.

Preadamite. a denomination given to the inhabitants of the earth, conceived by some people to have lived before Adam.

Isaac de la Pereyra, in 1655, publ.shed a book to evince the reality of Preadamites, by which he gained a considerable number of proselytes to the opinion: but the answer of Demarets, professor of theology at Groningen, published the year following, put a stop to its progress, though Pereyra made a reply.

His system was this. The Jews he calls Adamites, and supposes them to have issued from Adam; and gives the title Preadamites to the Gentiles, whom he supposes to have been a long time before Adam. But this being expressly contrary to the first words of Genesis, Pereyra had recourse to the fabulous antiquities of the Egyptians and Chaldeans, and to some idle rabbins, who imagined there had been another world before that described by Moses. He was apprehended by the inquisition in Flanders, and very rcughly used, though in the service of the dauphin. But he appealed from their sentence to Home, whither he went in the time of Alexander VII., and where he printed a retraction of his book of l'readamites.

The arguments against the Preadamites are these. The sacred history of Moses assures us that Adam and Eve were the first persons that were created on the earth. Gen. i. 26. Gen. ii. 7. Our Saviour confirmed this when he said, '• From the beginning of the creation God made them, male and female,"

Mark, x. 6. It is undeniable that he speaks this of Adam and Eve, because in the next verse hensesthe same words as those in Gen. ii. 24. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife." It is also clear from Gen. iii. 20, where it is said, that "Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mothtr of all living;" that is, she was the source and root of all men and women in the world ; which plainly intimates that there was no other woman that was such a mother. Finally, Adam is expressly called twice, by the apostle Paul, the Jirst man, I Cor. xv. 45. 47.

PRECEPT, a rule given by a superior: a direction or command. The precefits of religion, says Saurin, are as essential as the doctrines t and religion, will as certainly sink if the morality be subverted as if the theology be undermined. The doctrines are only proposed to us as the ground of our duty. See Doctrine.

PREDKST1NARIANS, those who believe in predestination. See PreDestination.

PREDESTINATION is the decree of God, whereby he hath for his own glory fire-ordained whatever comes to pass. The verb predestinate is of Latin original (firadestmo.) and signifies in that tongue to deliberate before-hand with one's self how one shall act, and, in consequence of such deliberation, to constitute, fore-ordain, and predetermine, where, when, how, and by whom any thing shall be done, and to what end it shall be done. So the Greek word ■xfKfitp, which exactly answers to the English word predestinate, and is rendered by it, signifies to resolve beforehand with one's self what shall be done, and before the thing resolved on is actually effected; to appoint it to some certain use, and direct it to some determinate end. This doctrine has been the occasion of considerable disputes and controversies among divines. On the one side it has been observed, that it is impossible to reconcile it with our ideas of the justice and goodness of God. that it makes God to be the author of sin, destroys moral distinction, and renders all our efforts useless. Predestinarians deny these consequences, and endeavour to prove this doctrine from the consideration of the perfections of the divine nature, and from Scripture testimony. If his knowledge, say they, be infinite and unchangeable, he must have known every thing from eternity. If we allow, the attribute of prescience, the idea of a decree must certainly be be

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