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It is almost needless here to say, that I have availed myself of all the writings of the best and most eminent authors I could obtain. Whatever has struck me as important in ecclesiastical history; whatever good and accurate in definition; whatever just views of the passions of the human mind; whatever terms used in the religious world; and whatever instructive and impressive in the systems of divinity and moral philosophy, I have endeavoured to incorporate in this work. And in order to prevent its being a dry detail of terms and of dates, I have given the substance of what has been generally advanced on each subject, and occasionally selected some of the most interesting and practical passages from our best and celebrated sermons. I trust, therefore, It will not only be of use to inform the mind, but impress the heart; and thus promote the real good of the reader. The Critic, however, may be disposed to be severe; and it will, perhaps, be easy for him to observe imperfections. But be this as it may : I can assure him I feel myself happy in the idea that the work is not intended to serve a party, to encourage bigotry, or strengthen prejudice, but "for the service of Truth, by one who would be glad to attend and grace her triumphs; as her soldier, if he has had the honour to serve successfully under her banner; or as a captive tied to her chariot wheels, if he has, though undesignedly, committed any offence against her." After all, however, what a learned author said of another work I say of this-" If it have merit it will go down to posterity; if it have none, the sooner it dies and is forgot, the better."
ABBA, a Syriac word, signifying Father from the bustle of the world to spend their It is more particularly used in the Syriac, time in solitude and devotion: but they soon Coptic, and Ethiopic churches, as a title degenerated from their original institution, given to the bishops. The bishops them- and procured large privileges, exemptions, selves bestowed the title Abba more emi- and riches. They prevailed greatly in Brinently on the bishop of Alexandria, which tain before the reformation, particularly in occasioned the people to give him the title England; and as they increased in riches, of Baba or Papa; that is, Grandfather: a so the state became poor, for the lands title which he bore before the bishop of which these regulars possessed could never Rome. It is a Jewish title of honour given revert to the lords who gave them. These to certain Rabbins called Tanaites: it is also places were wholly abolished by Henry VIII. used by some writers of the middle age for He first appointed visitors to inspect into the superior of a monastery. Saint Mark and the lives of the monks and nuns, which Saint Paul use this word in their Greek, were found in some places very disorderly; Mark xiv. 36. Rom. viii. 15. Gal. iv. 6. be- upon which the abbots, perceiving their cause it was then commonly known in the dissolution unavoidable, were induced to synagogues and the primitive assemblies of resign their houses to the king, who by the Christians. It is thought by Selden, that means became invested with the abWitsius, Doddridge, and others, that Saint beys land; these were afterwards granted Paul alluded to a law among the Jews which to different persons, whose descendants enforbade servants or slaves to call their mas-joy them at this day: they were then valuter Abba, or Father; and that the apostle ed at 2,853,000l. per annum; an immense meant to convey the idea that those who sum in those days.-Though the suppression believed in Christ were no longer slaves to of these houses, considered in a religious sin; but being brought into a state of holy and political light, was a great benefit to freedom, might consequently address God the nation, yet it must be owned, that, at as their Father. the time they flourished, they were not entirely useless. Abbeys were then the repositories as well as the seminaries of learning many valuable books and national records have been preserved in their libraries; the only places wherein they could have been safely lodged in those turbulent times. Indeed, the historians of this country are chiefly beholden to the monks for the knowledge they have of former national events. Thus a kind Providence overruled even the institutions of superstition for good. See MONASTERY.
ABBE. The same with ABBOT, which see. Also the name of curious popular characters in France; who are persons who have not yet obtained any precise or fixed settlement in church or state, but most heartily wish for and would accept of either,|| just as it may happen. In the mean while their privileges are many. In college they are the instructors of youth, and in private families the tutors of young gentlemen.
ABBESS, the superior of an abbey or convent of nuns. The abbess has the same rights and authority over her nuns that the abbots regular have over their monks. The sex, indeed, does not allow her to perform the spiritual functions annexed to the priesthood, wherewith the abbot is usually invested; but there are instances of some abbesses who have a right, or rather a privilege, to commission a priest to act for them. They have even a kind of episcopal jurisdiction, as well as some abbots who are exempted from the visitation of their diocesan.
ABBEY, a monastery, governed by a superior under the title of Abbot or Abbess. Monasteries were at first nothing more than religious houses, whither persons retired
ABBOT, the chief ruler of a monastery or abbey. At first they were laymen, and subject to the bishop and ordinary pastors. Their monasteries being remote from cities, and built in the farthest solitudes, they had no share in ecclesiastical affairs; but, there being among them several persons of learning, they were called out of their deserts by the bishops, and fixed in the suburbs of the cities; and at length in the cities themselves. From that time they degenerated, and, learning to be ambitious, aspired to be independent of the bishops, which occasioned some severe laws to be made against them. At length, however, the abbots carried their point, and obtained the title of
lord, with other badges of the episcopate, || taken also from that act whereby the priest particularly the mitre. Hence arose new declares the sins of such as are penitent redistinctions among them. Those were term-mitted. The Romanists hold absolution a ed mitred abbots who were privileged to wear the mitre, and exercise episcopal authority within their respective precincts, being exempted from the jurisdiction of the bishop. Others were called crosiered abbots, from their bearing the crosier, or pastoral staff. Others were styled acumenical or universal abbots, in imitation of the patriarch of Constantinople; while others were termed cardinal abbots, from their superiority over all other abbots. At present, in the Roman catholic countries, the chief distinctions are those of regular and commendatory. The former take the vow and wear the habit of their order; whereas the latter are secular, though they are obliged by their bulls to take orders when of proper age.
part of the sacrament of penance; and the Council of Trent and that of Florence declare the form or essence of the sacrament to lie in the words of absolution. "I absolve "thee of thy sins." According to this, no one can receive absolution without the privity, consent, and declaration of the priest; except, therefore, the priest be willing, God himself cannot pardon any man. This is a doctrine as blasphemous as it is ridiculous. The chief passage on which they ground their power of absolution is that in John xx. 23—"Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them, and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." But this is not to the purpose; since this was a special commission to the apostles themselves, and the ABELIANS, or ABELONIANS, a sect first preachers of the Gospel, and most prowhich arose in the diocese of Hippoo in bably referred to the power he gave them Africa, and is supposed to have begun in of discerning spirits By virtue of this powthe reign of Arcadius, and ended in that of er, Peter struck Ananias and Sapphira dead, Theodosius. Indeed, it was not calculated and Paul struck Elmas blind. But supposfor being of any long continuance. They ing the passage in question to apply to the regulated marriage after the example of successors of the apostles, and to ministers Abel, who, they pr tended, was married, but || in general, it can only import that their lived in a state of continence: they there- office is to preach pardon to the penitent, fore allowed each man to marry one woman, assuring those who believe that their sins are but enjoined them to live in the same state. forgiven through the merits of Jesus Christ; To keep up the sect, when a man and and that those who remain in unbelief are in woman entered into this society, they adopt-a state of condemnation Any idea of authored a boy and a girl, who were to inherit ity given to fallible, uninspired men to abtheir goods, and to marry upon the same solve sinners, different from this, is unscripterms of not having children, but of adopt-tural; nor can I see much utility in the ing two of different sexes.
ABESTA, the name of one of the sacred books of the Persian Magi, which they ascribe to their great founder Zoroaster. The Abesta is a commentary on two others of their religious books, called Zend and Pazend; the three together including the whole system of the Ignicold, or worshippers of fire. ABILITY. See INABILITY.
ABLUTION, a ceremony in use among the ancients, and still practised in several parts of the world. It consisted in washing the body, which was always done before sacrificing, or even entering their houses. Ablutions appear to be as old as any ceremonies, and external worship itself. Moses enjoined them, the heathens adopted them, and Mahomet and his followers have continued them. The Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Jews, all had them. The ancient Christians had the r ablutions before communion, which the Romish church still retain before their mass, and sometimes after. The Syrians, Copts, &c. have_their|| solemn washings on Good Friday; the Turks also have their ablutions, their Ghast, their Wodou, Aman, &c.
ABRAHAMITES, an order of monks exterm nated for idolatry by Theophilus, in the ninth century. Also the name of another sect of heretics who had adopted the errors of Paulus. See PAULICANS.
ABSOLUTION signifies acquittal. It is
terms ministerial or declarative absolution, as adopted by some divines, since absolution is wholly the prerogative of God; and the terms above-mentioned, may, to say the least, have no good influence on the minds of the ignorant and superstitious.
ABSTEMII, a name given to such persons as could not partake of the cup of the eucharist, on account of their natural aversion to wine.
ABSTINENCE, in a general sense, is the act of refraining from something which we have a propension to or find pleasure in. It is more particularly used for fasting or forbearing of necessary food. Among the Jews, various kinds of abstinence were ordained by their law. Among the primitive Christians, some denied themselves the use of such meats as were prohibited by that law; others looked upon this abstinence with contempt; as to which Paul gives his opinion, Rom. xiv. 1. 3. The council of Jerusalem, which was held by the apostles, enjoined the Christian converts to abstain from meats strangled, from blood, from fornication, and from idolatry, Acts xv. Upon this passage, Dr. Doddridge observes, "that though neither things sacrificed to idols, nor the flesh of strangied animals, nor blood, have or can have any moral evil in them, which should make the eating of them absolutely and universally unlawful; yet they were forbidden to the Gentile converts, because the Jews
Abyssinians have at divers times expressed an inclination to be reconciled to the see of Rome; but rather from interested views than any other motive. They practice circumcision on females as well as males.
had such an aversion to them, that they | could not converse freely with any who used them. This is plainly the reason which James assigns in the very next words, the 21st verse, and it is abundantly sufficient. This reason is now ceased, and the obliga-They eat no meats prohibited by the law of tion to abstain from eating these things Moses. They observe both Saturday and ceases with it. But were we in like Sunday sabbaths. Women are obliged to circumstances again, Christian charity would the legal purifications. Brothers marry surely require us to lay ourselves under brothers' wives, &c. On the other hand, the same restraint."-The spiritual mo- they celebrate the Epiphany with peculiar narchy of the western world introduced festivity; have four Lents; pray for the another sort of abstinence, which may be dead; and invoke angels. Images in paintcalled ritual, and consists in abstaining froming they venerate; but abhor all those in particular meats at certain times and seasons, relievo, except the cross. They admit the the rules of which are called rogations. If apocryphal books and the canons of the I mistake not, the impropriety of this kind apostles, as well as the apostolical constituof abstinence is clearly pointed out in 1 Tim. tions, for genuine. They allow of divorce, iv. 3-In England, abstinence from flesh has which is easily granted among them, and by been enjoined by statute, even since the re- the civil judge; nor do their civil laws proformation; particularly on Fridays and Sa-hibit polygamy-They have, at least, as turdays, on vigils, and on all days commonly many miracles and legends of saints as the called fish days. The like injunctions were Romish church. They hold that the soul of renewed under queen Elizabeth; but at the man is not created; because, say they, God same time it was declared, that this was finished all his works on the sixth day. Thus done not out of motives of religion, as if there we see that the doctrines and ritual of this was any difference in meats, but in favour sect form a strange compound of Judaism of the consumption of fish, and to multiply and Christianity, ignorance and superstition. the number of fishermen and mariners, as Some, indeed, have been at a loss to know well as to spare the stock of sheep. See whether they are most Christians or Jews: FASTING. it is to be feared, however, that there is little beside the name of Christianity among them. Should the reader be desirous to know more of this sect, he may consult Father Lobo's Voyage to Abyssinia; Bruce's Travels; Ludolph's Hist. of Ethiopia; and Dict. of Arts and Sciences, vol. i. p. 15.
ABSTINENTS, a set of heretics that appeared in France and Spain about the end of the third century. They are supposed to have borrowed part of their opinions from the Gnostics and Manichæans, because they opposed marriage, condemned the use of flesh meat, and placed the Holy Ghost in the class of created beings.
ABYSS, in a general sense, denotes something profound; in its literal sense it signifies without a bottom; in a more particular sense, it denotes a deep mass or fund of waters. In this last sense the word is used in the Septuagint for the water which God created at the beginning with the earth, which our translators render by deep. Thus it is that darkness is said to have been on the face of the abyss, Gen. i. 2. Abyss is also used for an immense cavern in the earth, wherein God is supposed to have collected all those waters on the third day, which in our version is rendered the seas, and elsewhere the great deep. Abyss is likewise used to denote the grave or common receptacle of the dead, Rom. x. 7; also hell, or the bottomless pit, Luke viii. 31. Rev. ix. 1. Rev. xi. 7. See DELUGE.
ABYSSINIAN CHURCH, that which is established in the empire of Abyssinia. They are a branch of the Copts, with whom they agree in admitting only one nature in Jesus Christ, and rejecting the council of Chalcedon; whence they are also called Monophysites and Eutychians, which see. The Abyssinian church is governed by a bishop styled abuna. They have canons also, and monks. The emperor has a kind of supremacy in ecclesiastical matters. The
ACACIANS, a sect of heretics in the 4th century; so named from Acacius, bishop of Cæsarea, who denied the Son to be of the same substance with the Father, though some of them allowed that he was of a similar substance. Also the name of another sect, named after Acacius, patriarch of Constantinople, in the fifth century, who favoured the opinions of Eutychus. See EUTYCHIANS.
ACADEMICS, a denomination given to the cultivators of a species of philosophy originally derived from Socrates, and afterwards illustrated and enforced by Plato. The contradictory systems which had been successively urged upon the world were become so numerous. that, from a view of the variety and uncertainty of human opinions, many were led to conclude that truth lay beyond the reach of our comprehension. The consequence of this conclusion was absolute scepticism: hence the existence of God, the immortality of the soul. the preferableness of virtue to vice, were all held as uncertain. This sect, with that of the Epicureans, were the two chief that were in vogue at the time of Christ's appearance, and were embraced and supported by persons of high rank and wealth. A consideration of the principles of these two sects [see EPICUREANS] will lead us to form an idea of the deplorable state of the world at
'the time of Christ's birth; and the necessity || same sense, 2 Tim. i. 3. where it obviously there was of some divine teacher to convey signifies after the manner of. to the mind true and certain principles of ACEPHALI, such bishops as were exreligion and wisdom. Jesus Christ, there-empt from the discipline and jurisdiction of fore, is with great propriety called the Day their ordinary bishop or patriarch. It was Spring from on High, the Sun of Righteous- also the denomination of certain sects; 1, of ness, that arose upon a benighted world to those who, in the affair of the council of dispel the clouds of ignorance and error, Ephesus, refused to follow either St. Cyril or and discover to lost man the path of happi- John of Antioch; 2. of certain heretics in ness and heaven. But, as we do not mean the fifth century, who, at first, followed Peto enlarge much upon these and some other ter Mongus, but afterwards abandoned him, sects, which belong rather to philosophy upon his subscribing to the council of Chalthan theology, we shall refer the reader to cedon, they themselves adhering to the EuBuddeu's Introduction to the History of tychian heresy; and, S. of the followers of Philosophy; Stanley's Lives; Brucker's Severus of Antioch, and of all, in general, History of Philosophy; or (which is more who held out against the council of Chalcemodern) Enfield's Abridgment. don.
ACCLAMATIONS, ecclesiastical, were shouts of joy which the people expressed by way of approbation of their preachers. It hardly seems credible to us that practices of this kind should ever have found their way into the church, where all ought to be reverence and solemnity. Yet so it was in the fourth century. The people were not only permitted, but sometimes even exhorted, by the preacher himself, to approve his talents by clapping of hands, and loud acclamations of praise. The unusual words they made use of were, "Orthodox," "Third apostle," &e. These acclamations being carried to excess, and often misplaced, were frequently prohibited by the ancient doctors, and at length abrogated. Even as late, however, as the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, we find practices that were not very decorous; such as loud humming, frequent groaning, strange gestures of the body, &c. See
articles DANCERS, SHAKERS,
ACOEMETÆ, or ACOEMETI, an order of monks at Constantinople in the fifth century, whom the writers of that and the following ages called Axolueati; that is, Watchers, because they performed divine service day and night without intermission. They divided themselves into three classes, who alternately succeeded one another, so that they kept up a perpetual course of worship. This practice they founded upon that passage-" pray without ceasing," Thess. v. 17.
ACOLYTHI, or AcoLUTHI, young people who, in the primitive times, aspired to the ministry, and for that purpose continually attended the bishop. In the Romish church, Acolythi were of longer continuance ; but their functions were different from those of their first institution. Their business was to light the tapers, carry the candlesticks and the incense pot, and prepare the wine and water. At Rome there were three kinds; 1. those who waited on the pope; 2. those who served in the churches; 3. and others, who, together with the deacons, officiated in other parts of the city.
ACCOMMODATION of SCRIPTURE is the application of it, not to its literal meaning, but to something analagous to it. Thus a prophecy is said to be fulfilled properly when a thing foretold comes to pass; ACT OF FAITH (Auto da Fe,) in the and, by way of accommodation, when an Romish church, is a solemn day held by the event happens to any place or people similar Inquisition for the punishment of heretics, to what fell out some time before to another. and the absolution of the innocent accused. Thus the words of Isaiah, spoken to those They usually contrive the Auto to fall on of his own time, are said to be fulfilled in some great festival, that the execution may those who lived in our Saviour's-"Ye hy-pass with the more awe; and it is always pocrites, well did Esias prophesy, &c: which on a Sunday. The Auto da Fe may be same words St. Paul afterwards accommo-called the last act of the Inquisitorial tragedates to the Jews of his time. Is. xxix. 14. Matt. xv 8. Acts xiii. 41. Great care, however, should be taken by preachers who are fond of accommodating texts, that they first clearly state the literal sense of the passage. ACCURSED, something that lies under a curse or sentence of excommunication. In the Jewish idiom, accursed and crucified were synonymous: among them, every one was accounted accursed who died on a tree This serves to explain the difficult passage in Rom. ix. 3. where the apostle wishes himself accursed after the manner of Christ; i. e. crucified, if happily he might by such a death save his country men. The preposition here made use of is used in the
dy: it is a kind of goal-delivery, appointed as often as a competent number of prisoners in the Inquisition are convicted of heresy. either by their own voluntary or extorted confession, or on the evidence of certain witnesses. The process is this :-In the morning they are brought into a great hall; where they have certain habits put on, which they are to wear in the procession, and by which they know their doom. The procession is led up by Dominican friars, after which come the penitents, being all in black coats without sleeves, and barefooted, with a wax candle in their hands. These are followed by the penitents who have narrowly escaped being burnt, who over their black coats have