Skip to main content

Full text of "Sketch of the demominations of the Christian world : to which is prefixed an account of atheism, deism, theophilanthropism, Judaism, Mahometanism, and Christianity"

See other formats

I. /U II 



Froai tne Library of 
Dr. Jarnes .vicCosn 

BR 157 







Evans ' 

sketch of 


denominations of 












JAN 11 1911 -^ 

itcd at i1t£ University Prsss,yet^\jhL ^cVv^>- 



This edition of Evans' Sketch of all Denominations is 
partly a republication of the seventh of that work, print- 
ed 1802, with considerable alterations, and great addi- 

When I undertook, at the request of the present pub- 
lishers, the editing of this small volume, I intended merely 
to have made the necessary corrections and additions on 
the articles relative to the Scottish sects, in which it was 
essentially erroneous or defective; but when I began to 
examine it, I found it needed a more extensive re- 
vision. The object being to keep it as nearly as pos- 
sible about the original price, I was constrained to keep 
within a limited space; by adopting, however, a smaller 
letter, and closer, and more economical mode of print- 
ing, this object has been obtained, although about a 
half of new matter has been added. The additions have 
been chiefly made with regard to the more important de- 
nominations, those which promise to be the most perma- 
nent and stable. The ephemeral sects which attract 
notice for a da-y, and are forgot, have been in general 
passed over,althongh they might have furnished a volume; 
but beiiig interesting only to their own small circles, 


would have swelled, without increasing the value of the 

There are two material alterations in this Sketch which 
I beg to point out. In the original, Mi'. E. had thrust in 
his Socinian sentiments into almost every article. These 
I liave expunged ; and in the view of Christian doctrine, 
I have adopted that in consonance with our own Confes- 
sion of Faith, and expressed it nearly in the language of 
Scripture. The other is, entirely omitting several of his 
long tirades about liberality, and unity, and charity among 
Christians. Not that I think charity an unlovely or un- 
attainable virtue ; but his idea of a Presbyterian and a 
Roman Catholic meeting together, and a Calvinist and a 
Socinian embracing each other, is utterly impracticable, 
without a sacrifice of truth on the one side, and of in- 
tegrity upon both. 

For those articles marked in the table of contents 
with a *, for the additions which follow the short dashes 
m the diffei-ent articles, and for all the notes separated 
by a line from the text, I am accountable. The notice 
respecting the Quakers was furnished me by a member 
of the Society, not more esteemed for his exertions in 
the cause of humanity, than eminent for his literaiy 

J. A. 

Edinburgh, 183 1. 




INTRODUCTION .^.^^^^^ - — .^.-....^ 1 

Atheism ^,,^^^,^^^ ^^^<..^^.,,^^ „^^^,^^,^.,^^ ~- — ,^^^ 2 

Deists^^-^.^ — .-...<....-..-..-.. — ^.,.-..^, -^^^..^ ' — 7 

+ Theophilanthropism ^^^^.^^^^..^^^^ ^^^,^,^-^^^ — 1 1 

+ Mahometanism^^.^.,^ ,^,^^,^>^, ,^»» — ^.^^,^-,.--^--^~ "~ — •'>■' 

* Life of Mahomet . .,... --. — »''• 

t Christianity ...^.^ ^^^^^.^^^^.^^ ^ ^^^^^^^^^.^ — TC 

* ■ — Distinguishing Doctrines ^^^^ ^^,^,^^~ ~>— 7 1 

Advantages ^>.^>^,.^^^^.>,^>^»»>^>^>^>^~^^^^ 

Government of the Primitive Church ~~ 


Opinions respecting the Person of Christ^...*- ^.^^~ 1 0: 

t Trinitaiians....^-,-^.^^^ ,^.,,^,,,,><.>,vw>^>.^ ^^^^,^^ — ~ — ~— »/' 

Materialists-.^- ...^.^^ ^ ^ .,<..^^. 120 

Opinions respecting the Means and Measure of God's favour — 1 "3 

\ Cahinists ,^^^^,^^..^^^^^^,^ . 151 

* Life of Calvin-..^.^ . .-, il>. 

Sublapsarians, and Supralapsarians ^^^^ 1 'i-I 


Life of Baxter 

Antinomians , . ■ ^ ^- e 

Opinions respecting Church Government and the Administration of 

Ceremonies ^-.~— 






Dunkers and Shakers^ 

Mystics ~. 



Reflections on the Whole 
» Appendix 

AT. JB.— The articles marked with a |- have been altered in this edition ; 
those marked » are original. 



8fc. 8fc. 

The great lesson which every sect, and every individual of every sect, ought 
to learn from the history of the Church is Moderation. Want of genuine 
Moderation towards those who differ from us in religious opinions seems 
to be the most unaccountable thing in the world. 

Watson, Bishop of Landaff. 


Xhe Christian world is clinded into denominations, 
each of which is discriminated by sentiments peculiar to 
itself. To delineate the nature, point out the founda- 
tion, and appreciate the tendency of every individual 
opinion, would be an endless task. My only design is 
briefly to enumerate the leading tenets of the several 
parties which attract our notice, and to make this variety 
of religious opinions a ground for the exercise of mode- 
^ation, together with the improvement of other Chris- 
tian graces. The moderation here recommended, lies 
at an equal distance between an indifference to truth 
and the merciless spirit of uncharitableness. It is a 
virtue much talked of, little understood, and less prac- 

But before v/e delineate the tenets of the several paiv 
ties, we shall just notice the Atheist and Deist, two de- 


scriptions of persons frequently confounded together, and 
also give a general outline of Theophilanthropism and 
Paganism, of Judaism, Mahometanism, and Chistianity.*" 


The Atheist does not believe in the existence of a 
God. He attributes surrounding nature and all its asto- 
nishing phaenomena to chance, or a fortuitous concourse 
of atoms. Plato distinguishes three sorts of Atheists ; such 
as deny absolutely that there are any Gods ; others who 
allow the existence of the Gods, but deny that they con- 
cern themselves with human affairs, and so disbelieve a 
Providence; and lastly, such as believe in the Gods and 
a Providence, but think that they are very easily appeas- 
ed, and remit the greatest crimes for the smallest suppli- 
cation. The first of these, however, are the only true 
Atheists, in the strict and proper sense of the word. The 
name of Atheist is composed of two Greek terms, « and 
eto§^ signifying without God, and in this sense the appel- 
lation occurs in the New Testament, Ephes. ii. 12. 
Without God in the ivorld. It is to be hoped that direct 
Atheists are few. Some persons, indeed, question the 
reality of such a character, and others insist, that pre- 
tensions to Atheism have their origin in pride, or are 
adopted as a cloak for licentiousness. 

In the seventeenth century, Spinosa, a foreigner, was its 

• These topics will form a proper introduction to an account of the 
Stds and Denominations of the Religious World. 


noted defender ; and Lucilio Vanini, an Italian, of ec- 
centric character, was burnt, 1619, at Toulouse, for his 
Atheistical tenets. Being pressed to make public acknow- 
ledgment of his crime, and to ask pardon of his God, 
the king, and justice, he boldly replied, that he did not 
believe there was a God ; that he never offended the 
king; and as for justice, he wished it to the devil. He 
confessed that he was one of the twelve who parted in 
company from Naples, to spread their doctrines in all 
parts of Europe. The poor man, however, ought not to 
have been put to death ; confinement is the best remedy 
for insanity. Lord Bacon, in his Essays, justly remarks, 
that " A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to Athe- 
ism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about 
to religion ; for while the mind of man looketh upon 
second causes scattered, it may rest in them and go no 
farther ; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confe- 
derated and linked together, it must needs fly to Provi- 
dence and Deity." 

Archbishop Tillotson, speaking of Atheism, says, 
** For some ages before the reformation, Atheism was 
confined to Italy, and had its chief residence at Rome. 
All the mention that is of it in the history of those times, 
the Papists themselves give us, in the lives of their own 
popes and cardinals, excepting two or three small phi- 
losophers, that were retainers to that court. So that 
this Atheistical humour amongst Christians was the 
spawn of the gross superstition and corrupt manners of 
the Romish church and court.* And, indeed, nothing 

* Two Popes, it is said, were Atheists; nor is it at all incredible that the 
representatives of tliat man of sin, " who opposeth and exaltc-th above 

is moi-e natural than for extremes in religion to beget one 
another, like the vibrations of a pendidim, which the 
more violently you swing in one way, the farther it will 
return the other. But in this last age, Atheism has 
travelled over the Alps and infected France, and now of 
late it hath crossed the seas and invaded our nation, and 
hath prevailed to amazement 1" 

The sermons preached at Boyle's lecture — the discour- 
ses of Abernethy on the Divine Attributes, and the trea- 
tises of Dr Balguy, are an infallible antidote against 
Atheistical tenets. This last excellent writer thus forci- 
bly expresses himself on the subject ; — 

" Of all the false doctrines and foolish opinions which 
ever infested the mind of man, nothing can possibly equal 
that of Atheism, which is such a monstrous contradic- 
tion to all evidence, to all the powers of understanding, 
and the dictates of common sense, that it may be well 
questioned whether any man can really fall into it by a 
deliberate use of his judgment. All nature so clearly 
points out, and so loudly proclaims a Creator of infinite 
power, wisdom, and goodness, that whoever hears not 
its voice and sees not its proofs, may well be thought 
wilfully deaf and obstinately blind. If it be evident, self- 
evident, to every man of thought, that there can be no 
effect without a cause, what shall we say of that mani- 
fold combination of effects, that series of operations, that 
system of wonders, which fill the universe; which pre- 

all that is called God, or that is worshipped, sotjiat he as God sitteth in the 
temple of God, showing himself that he is God," 2 Thes. ii. 4. should have 
been entire unbelievers in the existence of a Deity, — it seems scarcely pos- 
sible they could be otherwise. These infallible Atheists were their Holi- 
uesses Jolm XXVI. and Alexander \l, Adams' Religious fForld, vol, 5. p. 48^ 

sent themselves to all our perceptions, and strike our 
minds and our senses on every side ! Every faculty, every 
object of every faculty, demonstrates a Deitj/. The mean- 
est insect we can see, the minutest and most contempti- 
ble weed we can tread upon, is really sufficient to con- 
found Atheism, and baffle all its pretensions. How much 
more that astonishing variety and multiplicity of God's 
works with which we are continually surrounded ! Let 
any man survey the face of the earth, or lift up his eyes 
to the firmament; let him consider the nature and in- 
stincts of brute animals, and afterwards look into the o- 
perations of his own mind ; will he presume to say or 
suppose that all the objects he meets with are nothing 
more than the result of unaccountable accidents and blind 
chance ? Can he possibly conceive that such wonderful 
order should spring out of confusion; or that such perfect 
beauty should be ever formed by the fortuitous operations 
of unconscious, unactive particles of matter ? As well, 
nay better, and more easily, might he suppose, that an 
earthquake might happen to build towns and cities ; or 
the materials carried down by a flood, fit themselves up 
without hands into a regular fleet. For what are towns, 
cities, or fleets, in comparison of the vast and amazing 
fabric of the universe ! In short, Atheism offers such vio- 
lence to all our faculties, that it seems scarce credible it 
should ever really find any footing in human understand- 

The arguments for the being of a God are distributed 
by the learned into two kinds: 1st, Argiunents a>noW, 
or those taken from the necessity/ of the divine existence: 
2d, Arguments a. posteriori, or those taken from the works 


of nature. Of the latter species of proof the above quo- 
tation from Dr. Balguy is a fine illustration. On the 
former see the great Dr. Clarke's Essay on the Being of 
a God, which has been deemed a master-piece on the 

Newton, Boyle, Maclaurin, Ray, Derham^ Locke, and 
other philosophers, distinguished for the profundity of 
their researches, and the extent of their erudition, are to 
be enrolled amongst the principal advocates for the ex- 
istence and superintendance of a Deity. Paley's Natural 
Theology may be added ; it is clear, elegant, accurate, and 

On this subject the celebrated Lord Chesterfield made 
the following remarkable declaration ; and no man can 
suppose his understanding to have been clouded with re- 
ligions prejudices : — " I have read some of Seed's sermons, 
and like them verj^ well. But I have neither read nor 
intend to read those which are meant to prove the ex- 
istence of God ; because it seems to me too great a dis- 
paragement of that reason which he has given us to re- 
quire any other proofs of his existence than those which 
the whole and every part of the creation afford us. If 
I believe my own existence, I must believe his -. it can- 
not be proved a priori, as some have idly attempted to 
do, and cannot be doubted of a posteriori. Cato says 
very justly — " And that he is, all nature cries aloud.*' 

The French Convention, 1793, was thft only represen- 
tative assembly of a country that ever presumed to pre- 
scribe the belief of a Deity, or attempted to enact by law 
that it was criminal to consider the idea of a supreme 
being as any thing more than a philosophical abstraction j 

and the success of their experiment is not likely to tempt 
a repetition. — If infidelity can persuade men that they 
will die like beasts, there is no doubt remaining but they 
will soon be brought to live like beasts also. There is 
but one thing worse than a speculative Atheist, and that 
is a practical Atheist ; the world could not endure long 
a nation of such monsters. 


The Deists believe in a God, but reject a written re- 
velation from him. They are extravagant in their en- 
comiums on natural religion, though they differ much 
respecting. its nature, extent, obligation, and importance. 
Dr. Clarke, in an incomparable Treatise against Deism, 
divides them into four classes, according to the less or 
greater number of articles comprised in their creed. 
" The Jirst are such as pretend to believe the existence 
of an eternal, infinite, independent, intelligent Being, and 
who, to avoid the name of Epicurean Atheists, teach also 
that this supreme Being made the world, though at the 
same time they agree with the Epicureans in this, that 
they fancy God does not at all concern himself in the 
government of the world, nor has any regard to, or care 
of, what is done therein, agreeably to the reasoning of 
Lucretius, the Epicurean poet — 

For whatsoe'r's divine must live at peace. 

In undiiturb'd and everlasting ease ; 

Nor care for us, from fears and dangers free. 

Sufficient to his own felicity. 

Nought here below, nought in our pow'r it needs, 

Ne'er smiles at goc-d, nor frowns at wicked deeds. 


' The scco)id sort of Deists are those who believe not 
only the being but also the providence of God with re- 
spect to the natural world, but who, not allowing any dif- 
ference between moral good and evil, deny that God takes 
any notice of the morally good or evil actions of men, 
these things depfending, as they imagine, on the arbitrary 
constitution of human laws. 

A third sort of Deists there are, who seeming to have 
some right apprehensions concerning the natural attri- 
butes of God and his all-governing providence, and some 
notion of his moral perfections also, yet being prejudiced 
against the idea of the immortality of the soul, believe 
that men perish entirely at death, and that one genera- 
tion shall perpetually succeed another, without any fur- 
ther restoration or renovation of things. 

A fourth and the last sort of Deists are such as be- 
lieve the existence of a Supreme Being, together with 
his providence in the government of the world, also all 
the obligations of natural religion, but so far only as these 
things are discoverable by the light of nature alone, with- 
out believing any divine revelation." These, the learn- 
ed author observes, are the only true Deists ; but as the 
principles of these men would naturally lead them to 
embrace the Christian revelation, he concludes there is 
now no consistent scheme of Deism in the world. Dr. 
Clarke then adds these pertinent observations, mingled 
with a just severity : — " The heathen philosophers, those 
few of them who taught and lived up to the obligations 
of natural religion, had indeed a consistent scheme of 
Deism, as far as it went. But the case is not so now ; the 
same scheme is not any longer consistent with its own 


principles, it does not now lead men to believe and em- 
brace revelation, as it then taught them to hope for it. 
Deists in our days, who reject revelation when offered to 
them, are not such men as Socrates and Cicero were, but 
under pretence of Deism, it is plain they are generally 
ridiculers of all that is truly excellent in natural religion 
itself. Their trivial and vain cavils, their mocking and 
ridiculing without and before examination, their direct- 
ing the whole stress of objections against particular cus- 
toms, or particular and perhaps uncertain opinions or ex- 
plications of opinions, without at all considering the main 
body of religion, their loose, vain, and frothy discourses, 
and above all theii- vicious and immoral lives, shew plain- 
ly and undeniably that they are not real Deists, but mere 
Atheists, and consequently not capable to judge of the 
truth of Christianity." But the present Deists are of 
two sorts only, those who believe, and those who disbe* 
lieve in a future state. If a Theist [from Sm God] be 
different from a Deist, it is that he has not had revela- 
tion proposed to him, and follows therefore the pure light 
of nature.* 

The term Deist comes from the Latin word Deus, a 
God ; and is applied to the rejecters of revelation, be- 
cause the existence of a God is the principal article of 
their belief. The name was first assumed by a number 

* " The pure light of nature" is a phrase frequently used, but of which 
it would be difficult to get at the meaning. There is no known state of 
society to which it can be applied. Wherever there are correct ideas of 
God or of morals, there Christianity has been heard of. Where these do 
not exist, even Deists themselves would not contend for the pure light of 
nature being present. In one or other of these predicaments, the whola 
of human kind will be found to be placed. 


of gentlemen in France and Italy, who were willing to 
cover their opposition to the Christian revelation by a 
more honourable name than that of Atheists. Viret, a 
divine of eminence among the first reformers, appears to 
have been the first author who expressly mentions them ; 
for in the Epistle Dedicatory prefixed to the second vo- 
lume of his Instruction Chretienne, published in 1563, he 
speaks of some pei'sons at that time who called them- 
selves by a new name, that of Deists. Deists are also 
often called Infidels^ (from the Latin word infidelis) on 
account of their want of faith or belief in the Christian 
religion. Some have censured the application of the 
term infidelity to unbelievers, contending that in on;- lan- 
guage it is used solely in a particular sense, implying the 
want of conjugal fidelity .* 

Lord Herbert, of Cherbury, was the first Deist who 
excited public notice in this country. Dr. Brown's re- 
cent edition of Leland's View of the Deistical Writers, 
together with many other valuable treatises, afford infor- 
mation concerning their principles, and contain a com- 
plete refutation of their objections against revealed re- 
ligion. Mr. Belsham has thus well assigned the princi- 
pal causes of modern infidelity in his reply to Mr. Wil- 
berforce. " 1. The first and chief is an unwillingness to 
submit to the restraints of religion, and the dread of a 
future life, which leads men to overlook evidence, and to 
magnify objections. 2. The palpable absurdities of creeds 
generally professed by Christians, which men of sense 

* A very curious cause of censure ! Nathaniel Bailey in his Dictionary, 
some century ago, Uius defines lufidclUtf—*' Unbelief, the state of an un- 
believer ; also unfaithfulness, dib'oyalty." 

I 11 

having confounded with the genuine doctrines of revela- 
tion, they have rejected the whole at once, and without 
inquiry. 3. Impatience and unwillingness to persevere 
in the laborious task of weighing arguments and examin- 
ing objections. 4. Fashion has biassed the minds of some 
young persons of virtuous characters and competent 
knowledge to resist revelation, in order to avoid the im- 
putation of singularity, and to escape the ridicule o*^ 
those with whom they desire to associate. 5. Pride, that 
they might at an easy rate attain the character of philo- 
sophers and superiority to vulgar prejudice. 6. Dwel- 
ling upon difficulties only from which the most rational 
system is not exempt, and by which the most candid, in- 
quisitive, and virtuous minds are sometimes entangled 
The mass of mankind, who never think at all, but who 
admit without hesitation " all that the nurse and that 
the priest have taught," can never become sceptics. Of 
course, the whole class of unbelievers consists of persons 
who have thought more or less upon the subject, and as 
persons of sense seldom discai'd at once all the principles 
in which they have been educated, it is not wonderful 
that many who begin with the highest orthodoxy pass 
through different stages of their creed, dropping an article 
or two every step of their progress, till at last, weary of 
their labour, and not knowing where to fix, they reject 
it altogether. This, to a superficial and timid observer, 
appears to be an objection to freedom of inquiry, for no 
person beginning to inquire, can or ought to say where 
he will stop. But the sincere friend to truth will not be 
discouraged. For without inquiry truth cannot be as- 
certained, and if the Christian religion shrinks from close 


examination in this' bold and inquisitive age, it must and 
it ought to fall. But of this issue I have not the small- 
est apprehension. Genuine Christianity can well bear 
the fiery trial through which it is now passing, and while 
the dross and the rubbish are consumed, the pure gold 
will remain uninjured, and will come forth from the fur- 
nace with increased lustre." 

Indeed the objections which some Deists have made 
to revelation, affect not so much the religion of Jesus 
Christ, laid down in the New Testament, as certain ab- 
surd doctrines and ridiculous practices which have been 
added to it by the weakness and wickedness of mankind. 
Reiterated accusations therefore of unfairness have been 
brought against the generality of deistical writers ; and 
with this palpable injustice Bolingbroke, Voltaire, and 
Thomas Paine stand particularly charged. Paine's Age 
of Reason has been ably answered by many writers, es- 
pecially by Richard Watson, Bishop of LandaiF, in his 
masterly peiformance, entitled, An Apology for the Bible. 

The rejecters of Revelation (before they thoughtless- 
ly calumniate it) would do well to consider what they are 
able to give us in its stead, better calculated to alleviate 
the distresses, and bind up the bleeding heart of huma- 

Dr. Beattie, in the eloquent conclusion of his Essay 
on the Immutability of Truth, speaking of Sceptics and 
Deists, very justly remarks ; — " Caressed by those who 
call themselves the great, engrossed by the formalities 
and fopperies of life, intoxicated with vanity, pampered 
with adulation, dissipated in the tumult of business, or 
amidst the vicissitudes of folly, thet/ perhaps have little 


need and little relish for the consolations of religion ,' 
but let them know, that in the solitary scenes of life there 
is many an honest and tender heait pining with incur- 
able anguish, pierced with the sharpest sting of disap- 
pointment, bereft of friends, chilled with poverty, racked 
with disease, scourged by the oppressor, whom nothing 
but trust in Providence, and the hope of a future retri- 
bution, could presei-ve from the agonies of despair. And 
do they with sacrilegious hands attempt to violate this 
last refuge of the miserable, and to rob them of the only 
comfort that had survived the ravages of misfortune, 
malice, and tyranny ! Did it ever happen that the in- 
fluence of their tenets disturbed the tranquillity of vir- 
tuous retirement, deepened the gloom of human distress* 
or aggravated the horrors of the grave ? Ye traitors to 
human kind, ye murderers of the human soul, how can 
ye answer for it to your own hearts ? Siu"ely every 
spark of your generosity is extinguished for ever, if this 
consideration do not awaken in you the keenest remorse." 
Some admirable strictures on the nature and prevalence 
of modern Deism, are contained in the late Bishop of 
London's [Louth] Charge to the Clergy for the year 

* The Gospel Its own Witness, by And. Fuller, is one of the most able 
and conclusive publications on this subject. 



Theophilanthropists, a kind of sentimental Deists, who 
arose in France during the revolution, and, for a time, 
made some noise. The name by which they stand dis- 
tinguished, is a compound term, derived from the Greek, 
and intimates that they profess to adore God and love 
their fellow-creatures. Their common principle is a be- 
lief of the existence, perfections, and providence of God, 
and in the doctrines of a future life, and whose rule of 
morals is love to God and good-will to men. Mr. John 
Walker, author of the Universal Gazetteer, published 
the manual of this sect, from which a few particulars 
shall be here extracted. 

" The Temple, the most worthy of the divinity, in the 
eyes of the Theophilanthropists ^ is the universe. Aban- 
doned sometimes under the vault of heaven to the con- 
templation of the beauties of nature, they render its au- 
thor the homage of adoration and gratitude. They 
nevertheless have temples erected by the hands of men, 
in which it is more commodious for them to assemble to 
listen to lessons concerning his wisdom. Certain moral 
inscriptions, a simple altar on which they deposit, as a 
sign of gratitude for the benefits of the Creator, such 
flowers or fruits as the seasons afford, a tribune for the 
lectures and discourses, form the whole of the ornaments 
of their temples. 

The assembly sits to hear lessons or discourses on mo- 
rality, principles of religion, of benevolence, and of uni- 
versal salvation. These lectures and discoiu'ses are 


diversified by hymns. Their assemblies are holden on 
the first day of the week, and on the decades." Mr 
Belsham, in his answer to IVIr. Wilberforce, speaking of 
this new French sect of Deists, remarks — " Its professed 
principles comprehend the essence of the Christian re- 
ligion ; but not admitting the resurrection of Christ, the 
Theophilanthropists deprive themselves of the only solid 
ground on which to build the hope of a future ex- 


Under the term Pagan ai*e comprehended those na- 
tions who worship stocks or stones, idols or false gods, in 
other words, the whole heathen world. The epithet itself 
is derived from Pagus, a village, because when Christian- 
ity became the prevalent religion under Constantine, artd 
policy and force was employed to aid the process of con- 
version, the inhabitants of the capital and the principal 
cities, easily changed their forms of worship for the forms 
of the court, while the villagers retained more tenacious- 
ly the superstition of their fathers ; and in consequence 
the ancient but now unfashionable, and of course unpro- 

* A strange assertion, as if the essence of any system of truth could re- 
main when the foundation is destroyed* 

f Paganus, a Pagan, (its primary derivation is from the Greek jrayaji. 
signifies a countryman, a vulgar fellow, one who would not be a soldier, 
and afterwards by a metalepsis came to signify one who would not fight 
under the standard of Christ, 


fitable profession, received the contemptuoas appellation 
of Pagan^ or Vulgar; which has since been extended 
by European Christians to all whom they choose, in con- 
tradistinction from themselves, to call Idolaters. The 
regions where these dwell, are especially the dark places 
of the earth, the habitations of horrid cruelty, and are in 
a particular manner debased by crimes, which the light 
of the gospel, however obscured, denied, or calumniated, 
has banished from the other quarters of the globe. 

It is doubtful whether Paganism or Idol worship ex- 
isted before the flood ; it is most likely it did not ; but 
however this may be, it began not long after. — Its origin 
among the polished nations of antiquity, is thus marked 
by the pen of inspiration : — " God left not himself at any 
time without a witness, for the invisible things of him 
from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being un- 
derstood by the things that are made, even his eternal 
power and Godhead ; so that they are without excuse. 
Because that vJien they knew God, they glorified him 
not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in 
their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 
Professing themselves to be wise they became fools; and 
changed the glory of the uncorruptible God, into an im- 
age made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and'to 
four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God 
also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of 
their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between 
themselves ; who changed the truth of God into a lie, and 
worshipped the creature more than the Creator, who is 
blessed for ever. Amen ! And even as they did not 
jike to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them 


over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are 
not convenient." And the same description will apply 
without alteration to the grossest and most stupid Pa- 
ganism of the most uncultivated nations. 

The most cursory view of Paganism, presents its strik- 
ing features as essentially the same, — a mixture of incon- 
sistency, absurdity, obscenity, and folly; fall of idle, ill- 
contrived, incredible stories, alike repugnant to common 
sense, whether presented to us in the melifluous strains 
of Greece, the melodious language of Polynesia, or the 
barbarous uncouth tongues of South Africa, or New 
Holland. Were it not authenticated beyond the pos- 
sibility of contradiction, it would be difficult to believe 
that human nature in its most degraded state could ever 
have worshipped the objects which Pagans have delight- 
ed to adore : yet among the wisest of the heathens, have 
those men been deified, who, if they had got their deserts, 
should have been executed. Parricides, murderers, adul- 
terers, and thieves ; nay even the vilest of brute beasts 
and reptiles : — Cows, cats, serpents, and crocodiles, had 
their altars ; and sacrifices were offered to personifications 
of the most malignant passions of the soul, and most re- 
pulsive distempers of the body. 

Nor were their opinions upon subjects connected with 
religion less diversified, nor less absurd, than the objects 
of their worship. Some held the soul to be material, and 
some supposed it air, or fire, or harmony, or a fifth, es- 
sence: and of the state after death, the views were 
equally contradictory, dark, and uncertain. 

To attempt any enumeration or description of the 
creeds of the Pagans would be beyond the pretensions 

B 2 


of such a work as this ; but it may not be unprofitable 
to mark a few of the leading traits in which they all 
agree, and which distinctly mark their difference from 
the worshippers of the true God. Some years ago, it 
was fashionable among the philosophers, as they cal- 
led themselves, of the new school, to extol the charac- 
ter of the Pagan, in order to depreciate that of the 
Christian ; and by contrasting the vilenesses and cruelties 
of the Roman Catholic religion, with the suppositious or 
imaginary virtues of the Heathen, to exalt the light of 
nature at the expense of the light of revelation. Dis- 
claiming, as we do, that system of idolatary, the Popish 
superstition, we are not anxious to repel the attacks the 
French infidels have made upon it ; but we do protest 
against any picture of uncivilized life which would tend 
to render Paganism amiable. The humane Hindoo, the 
polite Chinese, and the mild inhabitant of the South 
Sea Islands, lovely as they appeared in distant outline, now 
when we know their history thoroughly and intimately, 
are as debased and revolting as any of the ancient race 
of idolaters. 

Human sacrifices, then, are the first and the most 
distinguishing of the horrible atrocities of Paganism. 
There are some terrific facts, not perhaps sufficiently 
attended to, that so late as the time of Julius Caesar, 
and diu-ing the Augustan age, when philosophy had done 
her best, and unaided reason had aiTived at its highest 
pitch of cultivation, human beings continued among the 
Romans to be offered up to Demons. During the con- 
sulship of the former, two men were sacrificed in the 
Campus Martins by the priests of Mai's ; and Augustus 


himself immolated four hundred victims at the altar of 
his uncle to propitiate his manes, A. U. 713. The 
Druidical religion was not less bloody. At the time of 
their discovery, the religion of the new world rivalled 
the Paganism of the old. " Religion," says Dr. Hobert- 
son, '* was formed among the Mexicans into a regular 
system, with its complete train of priests, temples, vic- 
tims, and festivals. The ancient superstition of Mexi- 
co was gloomy and atrocious ,• its divinities were cloth- 
ed with terror, and delighted in vengeance. Of all 
offerings, human sacrifices were deemed the most accep- 
table. The manners of the people in the new world, 
who had made the greatest progress in the arts of policy, 
were the most ferocious ; and the barbarity of some of 
their customs exceeded even those of the savage state." 
Montezuma, the last emperor of Mexico, it is said, offer- 
ed twenty thousand human victims annually, chiefly 
captives taken in battle ; a number, probably exaggerated 
by the Spaniards to extenuate their own barbarities ; 
but whatever deduction may be made in this, still the 
horrid custom remains undisputed. 

In the South Sea Islands, the number of human victims 
was immense ; the chief wars carried on in Tahiti were oc- 
casioned by struggles to possess the image oftheir great God, 
Oro, with his idolatrous paripharnalia ; and numerous hu- 
man victims were offered up to procure his favour for the 
combatants. An affecting incident of this kind, which 
occurred during these struggles, is related in the " Poli/- 
nesian Researches" A fine intelligent young man on pro- 
fessing Christianity, when many endeavours both by flat- 
tery and persecution made to induce him to return to 


the superstition of his forefathers, had failed, was select- 
ed as the most acceptable sacrifice to the gods whom he 
had rejected. A Heathen ceremony was at hand ; and, 
on the evening of the day preceding that on which it 
was to take place, the young man, as his custom was, 
had retired to the brow of a hill that overlooked the 
valley where he dwelt, and there seated beneath an em- 
bowering shade, was absorbed in meditation, previous to 
offering up his evening supplications to his God. While 
thus engaged, a number of the servants of the priests and 
chiefs broke in upon his retirement, and told him the 
king had arrived, and wishing to see him, had sent them 
to invite him down. He knew of the approaching cere- 
mony, that a human sacrifice was to be offered ; and he 
no sooner saw them advancing to his retreat, than a 
sudden thought, like a flash of lightning, darted across 
his mind, that he was to be the victim. He received 
it as a premonition of his doom ; and, in reply to 
the request, told them calmly that he did not think 
the king had arrived, and that, therefore, it was un- 
necessary for him to go down. They then told him, 
that the priest, or some of his friends, wished to see him, 
and again invited him to descend. " Why," said he, *' do 
you thus seek to deceive me ? The priest or friends 
may wish to see me, but it is under very different circum- 
stances from what your message would imply. I know 
a ceremony approaches, that a human victim is then to 
be offered. Something within tells me that I am to be 
that victim, and your appearance and your message con- 
firms that conviction. Jesus Christ is my keeper ; with- 
out his permission you cannot harm me : you may be 


permitted to kill my body, but 1 am not afraid to die ! 
My soul you cannot hart ; that is safe in the hands of 
Jesus Christ, by whom it will be kept beyond your power." 
Perceiving there was but little prospect of inducing him 
by falsehood to accompany them, they rushed upon him, 
murdered him where he was, and then, in a long basket, 
framed of the leaves of the cocoa-nut-tree, bore his body 
to the temple, where, with exultation, it was offered in 
sacrifice to their god. 

Among the Bramins of India, who were once repre- 
sented as the mildest of the human race, because they 
used no animal food, and shuddered at the idea of crush- 
ing a reptile to death, human victims are secretly mur- 
dered in their temples, and poor ignorant devotees are 
encouraged openly to lie down before the wheels of Jug- 
gernaut's carriage, that they may be crushed to pieces in 
honour of the idol. 

The slaver-^ and degradation of the female sex 
is another common feature of Paganism, which is dis- 
covered in all the domestic occupations and restric- 
tions of heathen life, but chiefly in the dreadful sa- 
crifice of wives upon the death of their husbands. In 
some nations of savages, they are killed at their graves, 
in others they are buried alive. Among the amiable* 
Hindoos, they were wont to be burned upon the same fu- 
neral pile with their deceased tyrants. Christianity has, 
it is hoped, effected another glorious triumph, by banish- 
ing for ever a crime so foul from British India ; and the 
following illustration of the melancholy state of the poor 
females, it is hoped, may be numbered among the expiring 


efforts of Paganism for their destruction.* ** About mid- 
day, November 8, 1829," says Mr Mackintosh, " having 
heard of a Suttee being about to take place, and that the 
victim for immolation was the relict of a bunia or money 
changer, a kind of banker, 1 immediately walked to the 
ghaut, about two miles from my house. On my arrival 
there, I saw a vast crowd surrounding the intended hu- 
man sacrifice. Some European military gentlemen, 
and a few civilians, were in the midst of the crowd, 
formed of thousands of natives, as close as they could ad- 

Observing that the relatives and friends of the victim 
were busy in piling up the wood, and spreading bushes on 
the top of it, I took the opportunity, to endeavour, if pos- 
sible, to dissuade her from her purpose, but could not 
by any suggestions or arguments shake the purpose of her 
infiituated mind. On my telling her that, to please 
her cruel relations, and to exalt then- family name 
through delmion, she was going to plunge herself into 
hell — for her destroying herself would be murder; and 
that she would do well to consider in time, and take 
warning. She said, whither to heaven or to hell, I must 
follow my lalla, [meaning her husband.] ' Wait,' said I, 
* till God is pleased to call you out of this world.* She 
uttered one of their religious exclamations, which was 
immediately responded to by two of her male relations 
who were sitting close by her. I was told that one of 
them was every now and then whispering in her ear. I 

« It is taken from the Pciiodical Accoiuit of the Scramporc Missions. 
A most interesting work, published at Edinburgh, under the inspection 
of the lie\'. C. Anderson. 


therefore endeavoured to shame and deter them, that 
they might not be guilty of exciting her to self-murder. 
At the desire of some European gentlemen, T went a 
second time to her, intreating her not to be guily of 
self-murder, but to make God now the object of her af- 
fection, for that was all that was required to constitute 
a true suttee, [i. e. burnt-offering.] She said it was a re- 
quest of her husband that she should burn, and that he 
had laid this curse upon her, that, if she did not do so, she 
should eat the excrement from the street." She again 
said, pointing to the corpse, that to her lalla she must 
go, and follow him. The magistrate having overheard 
her, told her, " When God is pleased to call you away 
hence by his will , then will be your proper time to go 
to your lalla." Well, said I, will you not hear the 
counsels of good men, who are painfully distressed for 
your intended self-murder ? She said, " be glad, and see 
the tumash," [i. e. exhibition.] Shocked ! I turned away 
from her. 

During my talking to her, she said twice, that her lips 
were parched ; and on giving notice, some water was 
brought by one of the relatives to moisten her mouth. 
Understanding she was possessed of a few hundred rupees, 
I went up to her again at the water's edge ; having bath- 
ed herself, some of her male relations were about her, 
and a female was painting her face and toes with red ink 
as the last act. I said to them, you are doing all this to 
possess her riches. The dead body was carried up to 
the pile of wood about four feet high, quite flat on the 
top, where I perceived the ofiiciating magistrate at the 
spot, now and then taking directions from his native of 


ficers. As the widow had no children to set fire to the 
pile, she was desired to do it herself; as the guilt of self- 
murder would be on herself, and as most consistent with 
a true Suttee. She took a handful of straw, lighted it, 
and went round the pile once with astonishing boldness 
and agility, kindled the pile, and mounted it with the 
same spirit, took the head of the corpse in her lap, and 
sat with her back windward, in a stiiF erect posture, near- 
ly on the place she had just kindled. When the fire 
reached her, she threw herself prostrate, and clung to the 
corpse for a while apparently torpid. A shout, or cheer- 
ing of praise, was given by the Hindoos ; at this time I 
felt a great palpitation of heart, as some of us Christians 
had some faint hope of her escaping. We saw her in a- 
gony after a while, flinging her legs about and adjusting 
her clothes ; and on the fire becoming very severe, she 
sprung up and endeavoured to get up and escape from 
the flaming pile. At this moment, a stupid barbarous 
policeman threatened her with the sword in his hand, 
and down she fell back on the fire with fright. The hu- 
mane magistrate soon ran up to the cruel wretch, and 
shoved him from his post, where he had been placed only 
that the crowd should not come too near the pile. This 
enabled her to accomplish her wish, and she rushed 
into the river, as most natural. A charpace or cot was 
brought for her by order of the magistrate, and she was 
put on it J and an old humane gentleman seeing she was 
thinly clad and wet^ had a cloth belonging to her, which 
he perceived lying on the beach, brought, and very feel- 
ingly covered her up. She was then borne away to the 
jail hospital. The missionary afterwards saw her at the 


hospital, and concludes his account, with a pious wish^ 
" that she could be said, in a spiritual sense, to be a 
brand plucked from an infinitely greater burning, as 
she is, in a literal sense, under the blessing of God, 
through the prudent humane care of a benevolent gen- 
tleman, whose bosom must have glowed with joy on 
seeing a fellow-creature saved from the devouring fire, 
permitted to be kindled, by giving way to a monstrous 
superstitious and divelish religion." The number of wo- 
men thus sacrificed has never been ascertained ; but, 
in one province in Bengal alone, we have seen it estima- 
ted at fifteen hundred annually, and should hardly think 
it a high calculation * 

Infanticide naturally follows. Among all savage 
nations, motives of ease or convenience produce the 
murder of these helpless creatures, who require to be 
nourished with care, and supported by exertion ; but, 
in this case, the infants are generally destroyed before 
their tender looks or plaintive cries have awakened 
parental sympathies in their behalf. The exposure of 
infants among the Greeks and llomans is well attested> 

* " This practice of sacrificing living objects to the manes of the dead, 
continuing in opposition to the prohibiting orders of the Indian Govern- 
ment, the Marquis VVellesley lately instituted an inquiry as to the probable 
number of these religious murders, with a view to make it, at some fitting 
period, the ground of some restrictive law: and his inquiries have estab- 
lished the horrid fact, that upwards of thirty thousand widows are annual- 
ly burned with the bodies of their husbands ; besides which, numbers of 
women and children are every year cast into the river as offerings to the 
goddess Goaza. When a woman gives birth to twins, one of the infants 
is generally sacrificed to this goddess, in acknowledgment for her bounty." 
Adams' Relig. World. Vol. I. p. 153-4.— On the 24th of November 1829, 
burning widows in India was prohibited by an order in Council. Period. 
Account, p. 242, 



and was in some cases extended as among those they 
styled barbarians — to their infirm, sickly, or misshapen 
progeny, even when farther advanced in age. But the 
terrible idea of appeasing the anger of their gods, by 
oifering to them the fruit of their bodies for the sin of 
their souls, although occasionally practised, never seems 
to have been carried the length to which other Pagans 
extended the crime.* The Canaanites early made 
their children pass through the fire to their Idols; 
and it was one of those polutions for which, in the 
emphatic language of Scripture, their land is said to 
have " spewed them out." The Carthaginians were 
notoriously guilty ; in the number and barbarity of 
their infant sacrifices, they stand pre-eminent among 
the Pagans of antiquity ; and, as they were the most 
commercial, that principle also, which has been sup- 
posed capable of humanizing a people, appears to be 
as useless as philosophy in counteracting the horrors of 
idolatry. In modern times, the Chinese, whose science 
and morals it was once fashionable to extol, are above 
all infamous for the destruction of their offspring. At 
Pekin alone, three thousand children are said to be an- 
nually exposed.-j- The detestable customs of the South 

* On the festival Compitalia, in the early ages of the republic, boys were 
said to have been sacrificed at the cross roads, to Mania, the mother of the 

t The Chinese system of religion has been praised by some writers, as 
almost rivalling, in the sublimity of its principles and the excellence of its 
morality, the Christian ; and represented by others, more truly, as a gross 
superstition, illustrated by a thousand abominable images and idolatrous 
rites. The French writers. La Compte and Duhald, mention a very sen- 
sible custom that prevails among the sect of Fo, which is — if the sup. 
plicants who have entreated the Gods for any favour, and presented large 


Sea Islanders rendered ehild murder an every-day occur- 
rence ; and among those converted to Christianity, are 
some parents, who look back with agonizing regret upon 
the destruction of ten, and twelve, and fourteen of their 
infants by their own hands. 

The murder of the aged, when unable to support 
thesmelves.* This was so frequent, among some of the tribes 
of the American savages, that the aged, when they felt 
they were considered a burden to their relatives, are said 
to have come voluntarily, and surrendered themselves to 
their inevetable fate. In Greenland, before Christianity 
prevailed, the Moravians were witnesses to the dreadful 
fact; and in all these regions where food is scarce, the 
practice appears to have been common. But this is one 
practice which civilization alone seems to have been able 
to alleviate ; and, even in some nations where infanticide 
was allowed — as at Sparta — old age came to be consider- 
ed honourable, although probably it was only the old age 
of respectable citizens, for the lives of others were little 
accounted of. 

But the most revolting feature of the Pagan is dis- 
played in Cannibalism. Ancient authors bear testi- 
mony to the existence of men who banqueted upon 
human flesh ; and St. Jerome declares, that it was a 

and costly offerings to obtain their interposition, are disappointed in their 
expectations and receive no return, they sue them for damages; and, up- 
on proof of the fact, obtain decrees against them from the Mandarins !— 
Query, Do the priests refund the cash ? 

* During the early ages of theRomans, this cruelty seems to have been 
familiar ; for in later times, the vestal virgins, on the ides of May, used to 
throw thirty figures of men, made of rushes, from the Sublician Bridge 
with great ceremony, instead of thirty old men who used anciently to bo 
thrown from the same bridge into the Tiber. 


practice in Britain. " I have seen," says he, " the Atta- 
cotti, a British tribe, eating human flesh. Should they 
find shepherds tending their herds, they are wont to cut 
off the fleshy part of the men, and the breasts of the 
women, which are esteemed the most delicious food." 
The Northern nations drank the blood of their enemies, 
and made drinking cups of their skulls ; and the inhabi- 
tants of Gaul were similarly addicted. 

This repulsive custom exists still upon the continent of 
Africa, and in the South Sea Islands, New Zealand, and 
New Caledonia. At the former place, the whole crew of 
the British ship Boyd was devoured in the year 1809; and 
at the latter, the navigators sent out in search of La Per- 
ouse — 1793 — witnessed a like horrid repast. The Marqu. 
esans are known to be cannibals. The inhabitants of the 
Palliser,or Pearl Islands, in the immediate neighbourhood 
of Tahiti, are the same. A most affecting instance of 
their anthropohagism is related by recent visitors, who 
state, that a captive female child, pining with hunger, on 
begging a morsel of food from the cruel and conquering 
invaders of her native island, was supplied with a piece 
of her own father's body ! 

" Thus," as a late writer remarks, " is the histoi-y of 
Paganism little else than a confirmation of the truth of 
the fall, or a history of human depravity j and what a pic- 
ture does this present to us of human nature, unsubdued by 
divine grace, and of human reason unassisted by revela- 
tion ? What a deep and grateful sense ought it to im- 
press on our minds of the infinite obligations which v^e 
owe to God for the unspeakable gift of the gospel ! For 
wherever its divine light has broken forth, this tremend- 


ous demon worship has disappeard : in the Christian 
world, human sacrifices are abolished — cannibalism is 
unknown — and the land is no longer defiled with blood." 
But it is a lamentable truth, of which Christians ought 
never to lose sight, that were the whole surface of the 
globe divided into thirty parts, not less than nineteen of 
these parts, that is, two-thirds of the whole, are still the 
lands of darkness and of the shadow of death, of a dark- 
ness that may be felt. 


Judaism is the religious doctrines and rites of the 
Jews, who are the descendants of Abraham, a person of 
eminence, chosen by God, soon after the flood, to pre- 
serv'e the doctrine of the Divine Unity among the idola- 
trous nations of the earth. A complete system of Juda- 
ism is contained in the five books of Moses, their great 
lawgiver, who was raised up to deliver them from their 
bondage in Egypt, and to conduct them to the posses- 
sion of Canaan, the promised land. The Jewish oeco- 
nomy is so much directed to temporal rewards and pun- 
ishments, that it has been questioned whether the Jews 
had any knowledge of a future state. This opinion has 
been defended with vast erudition by Warburton, in his 
Divine Legation of Moses ; but it has been controverted 
by Dr. Sykes, and other authors of respectability.* The 

* It is strange that a Christian Bishop should have started a doubt upon 
a subject which our Saviour himself has for ever set at rest. When the 



principal sects among the Jews, in the time of our Savi- 
our, were the Pharisees, who placed religion in external 
ceremony — the Saddiicecs, who were remarkable for their 
incredulity; and the Essenes, who Were distinguished by 
an austere sanctity. Some account of these sects will 
be found in the last volume of Prideaux's Connection, in 
Harwood's Introduction to the Study of theNew Testa- 
ment, and in Marsh's improved edition of Michaelis. 
The Pharisees and Sadducees are frequently mentioned 
in the New Testament; and an acquaintance with their 
principles and practices serves to illustrate many passages 
in the sacred history. 

At present the Jews have two sects, the Cardites, who 
admit no rule of religion but the law of Moses; and the 
Habbinisfs, who add to the laws the traditions of the 
Talmud. The dispersion of the Jews took place upon 
the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus the Roman Em- 
peror, A. D. 70. The expectation of a Messiah is the 
distinguishing feature of their religious system. The 
word Messiah signifies one anointed, or installed into an 
office by unction. The Jews used to anoint their kings, 
high priests, and sometimes prophets, at their entering 
upon office. Thus Saul, David, Solomon, and Joash, 
kings of Judah, received the royal unction. Thus also 
Aaron and his sons received the sacerdotal, and Elisha, 
the disciple of Elijah, the prophetic unction. 

Sadducees came tempting him with a question respecting the woman who 
had been married to seven husbands, •' Jesus answered and said, ye do err, 
not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God." " Have ye not read 
that which was spol^en unto you by God, saying, ' I am the God of Abra- 
ham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob ?' God is not the God of 
the dead, but of the living." Here the passage by which the Sadduccau 
doctrine was refuted, was brought from the first book of Moses. 


Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, 
in whom all the Jewish prophecies are accomplished. 
The Jews, infatuated with the idea of a temporal Mes- 
siah, who is to subdue the world, still wait for his ap- 
pearance. According to Buxtorf, (a professor of He- 
brew, and celebrated for rabbinical learning) some of the 
modern rabbins believe that the Messiah is already come, 
but that he will not manifest himself on account of the 
sins of the Jews. Others, however, have had recourse 
to the hypothesis of two Messiahs, who are to succeed 
each other — one in a state of humiliation and suffering— 
the other in a state of glory, magnificence, and power. 
Be it however remembered, that in the New Testament 
Jesus Christ assures us in the most explicit terms that 
he is the Messiah. In John iv. 25, the Samaritan wo- 
man says to Jesus, / know that Alessias comethy which is 
called Christ : when he is come, he ivitl tell us all things. 
Jesus saith unto her, I that speak to thee am He. Ac- 
cording to the prediction of Jesus Christ, several impos- 
tors would assume the title of Messiah ; and accordingly 
such persons have appeared. An history of " False 
Messiahs'' has been written by a Dutchman. Barcochab 
was the first, who appeared in the time of Adrian. 

Besides this impostor, Jortin, in his Remarks on Eccle- 
siastical History, enumerates upwards of nineteen of one 
description and another, whose success was amazing, and 
brought upon the Jews the most enormous calamities. 
Their pretensions and promises were so ridiculous, that 
nothing but judicial infatuation could have induced any 


rational being to follow them. In the time of Theodosius 
the younger, A. D. IS-i, Moses Cretensis arose. He pre- 
tended to be a second Moses, sent to deliver the Jews 
who dwelt in Crete, and promised to divide the sea, and 
give them a safe passage through it. They assembled to- 
gether, with their wives and children, and followed him 
to a promontory. He there commanded them to cast 
themselves into the sea. Many of them readily obeyed 
him, and perished in the waters ; and many were taken 
up and saved by fishermen. The impostor himself is 
supposed to have been drowned, as he was seen no more. 
He wrought no miracle, remarks the Doctor, unless it be 
supposed a sort of miracle to make a Jew throw away 
himself and his money too ! 

A. D. 11 37, a false Messias appeared in Spain, who 
occasioned an insurrection, and the destruction of almost 
all the Jews in that country. Within ten years another 
rose in Morrocco ; after whose extinction followed one 
who pretended to be the forerunner of Messiahs. There 
was something rather extraordinary about this last, at 
least about the test he proposed of his divine embassy. 
When brought before the Arabian king, he was ques- 
tioned as to his mission, and owning himself a messen- 
ger of God, was required to prove his credentials by 
working some miracle. " Cut off my head," said he, 
" and I will return to life again." The king took him 
at his word, and the prophet, who probably knew that 
he would lose his sconce at any rate, had the comfort of 
a speedy decapitation. 

One thousand six hundred and sixty-six was a year of 
gicat expectation. Multitudes from unknown parts were 


«aid to have again congregated in the wilderness, and 
these were supposed to be the ten tribes, so long scatter- 
ed. A ship was reported to have arrived in the north of 
Scotland — then as little known as the deserts of Arabia 
— with sails and cordage of silk, whose mariners spoke 
nothing but Hebrew, and on whose sails was this motto, 
The Twelve Tribes of Israel. During this period of 
excitation among the Jews, Sabatai Levi presented him- 
self to them as the Messias — promised them deliverance 
and a prosperous kingdom, and was immediately hailed 
as their- Prince and Deliverer : with such enthusiastic 
credulity did some of them receive him, that they declared 
if he should prove an impostor, they would turn Chris- 
tians. — He did prove an impostor, but they did not turn 

He was the son of Mordecai Levi, an Israelite of mean 
rank in the city of Smyrna, but he attained great skill in 
Hebrew learning. He was author of a new doctrine, for 
which he was expelled the city. Thence he went to Sa- 
lonichi, where he married a very handsome woman ; be- 
ing, however, divorced by her, he travelled into the 
Morea, then to Tripoli, Gaza, and Jerusalem. By the 
way he picked up a third wife. At Jerusalem he com- 
menced reformer, and communicating his design of pro- 
fessing himself the Messias to one Nathan, — Nathan, de- 
lighted with the project, set up for Elias, commenced 
his office by abolishing all the Jewish fasts as improper, 
now that the Bridegroom was come : and propheciedthat 
the Messias should stand before the Grand Signior in less 
than two years, to take from him his crown, and lead hinj 
in chains. 


'' Sabatai then appeared at Gaza, where he preached 
repentance, together with faith in himself, so effectually, 
that the people gave themselves up entirely to devotion 
and alms. His fame quickly spread abroad, and he re- 
solved for Smyrna — next for Constantinople. Nathan 
meanwhile thus addressed him from Damascus : — "To the 
King, our King, Lord of Lords, who gathers the dispersed 
of Israel, who redeems our captivity ; the man elevated 
to the height of all sublimity, the Messias of the God of 
Jacob, the true Messias, the celestial Lion, Sabatai 
Levi." Full of expectation, the Jews submitted to every 
species of fanatical mortification, that they might not 
obstruct the speedy advent. Some famished themselves 
by long fasting, others buried themselves in the earth 
till their limbs grew stiff. Some would endure melting 
wax dropped on their flesh, others in the depth of winter 
rolled in snow, or sat in cold water, and many whipped 
themselves. Business was laid aside, all superfluous 
household stuff disposed of, and immense sums distribu- 
ted among the poor. 

At length Sabatai came to Smyrna, where he was ador- 
ed by the people, and assumed the title of the only and 
first-born Son of God, the Messias, the Saviour of Israel. 
Four hundred men and women prophecied of his grow- 
ing kingdom ; and young infants who could hardly speak 
would plainly pronounce Sabatai, Messias, and Son of 
God. The people were for a time possessed, and voices 
heard from their bowels : some fell into trances, foamed 
at the mouth, recounted their future prosperity, their vi- 
sions of the Lion of Judah, and the triumphs of Sabatai, 
AH which the Jews afterwards ascribed to the delusions 


of the devil ; but iu the meantime they mightily inflated 
the pride of the impostor ; who ordered the Jews to ab- 
stain praying for the Grand Signior, his doom being seal- 
ed, and to pray for^hi'^iself instead of one who was so 
soon to be his captive ! He then selected princes to 
govern the Jews in their march towards the Holy Land, 
and to preside over them when they should have obtain- 
ed it. A miracle was now required ; and what he could 
not do for himself the people did for him. They imagined, 
when he appeared before the Cadi, that a pillar of fire 
interposed between that magistrate and their king ; and 
he who would not believe in this divine testimony to the 
Messias, was shunned as an excommunicated person. 

Sabatai now felt himself called of God to go to Con- 
stantinople. He went in a small Turkish vessel ; but his 
passage was boisterous, for neither the winds nor the 
waves would obey him. On his arival, the Visier request- 
ed the honour of a visit, and, unwilling to part with so 
exalted a guest, committed him to the tender attentions 
of a Turkish jailor. The Jews at Constantinople follow- 
ed the example of the Jews at Smyrna, gave up their 
business, and prepared for Jerusalem. By way of pre- 
liminary, they resolved to preserve their cash, and there- 
fore refused to pay their debts. The English merchants, 
unwilling to bear the expense of their journey, applied 
to Sabatai, who excercised his Messiaship by ordering 
their accounts to be settled. Sabatai remained prisoner 
at Constantinople two months, till the Grand Visier, de- 
parting for Candia, removed him to the castle at the 
Dardanelles. On this the Jews, who conceived that the 
minister's precaution proceeded from fear — the usual 


mode of a Turkish visier's getting quit of a troublesome 
neighbour, being either to ornament the walls of the ser- 
aglio with his head, or to send his carcase to fatten the 
fishes of the Hellespont — flocked in great numbers to 
visit the place of his captivity : not only those of the 
east, but the strangers scattered through Poland, Ger- 
many, Leghorn, Venice, and the regions of the west, 
obtained Sabatai's blessing, and promises of advance- 
ment. The Turks immediately raised the price of pro- 
visions, lodgings, &c. The guards levied large sums from 
those who wished to gain admission ; and the confine- 
ment of Sabatai turned out a profitable concern. 

The ninth day of the month Ab, had been a solemn 
day of fasting among the Jews; for on that day the first 
temple had been burned by the Chaldeans ; on that day 
the sacred temple had been destroyed by the Romans ; 
and on that day it had been decreed in the wilderness 
that the rebeUious generation of the Israelites should 
not enter Canaan ! But on that day Sabatai had been 
born, and he commanded it now to be made a day of joy 
to be celebrated with feasting, music, and illuminations, in 
acknowledgment of the love of God in giving them that 
day of consolation for the birth of their king Messias, 
Sabatai Levi, his servant and first-born Son, in love ! 

Among Sabatai's visitors was Nehemiah Cohen, a 
learned Rabbin, from Poland, who maintained, that, ac- 
cording to Scripture, there ought to be a two-fold Mes- 
sias, one the son of Ephraim, a poor and despised teacher 
of the law ; the other the son of David, to be a con- 
queror. Nehemiah was content to be the former, and 
to leave the glory of the latter to Sabatai ; but the two 


not agreeing about the boundaries of their mutual offices 
the son of Ephraim denounced the son of David, as a 
dangerous person to the Turkish government. The 
Grand Seignor sent for '* the Conqueror," and told him 
that he expected a miracle. Sabatai hesitated, and the 
Sultan chose one for himself. — " Let the Messias," said 
he, " be stripped naked, and set as a mark for my 
archers to shoot at ; if the arrows do not pierce his flesh, 
I also shall acknowledge his mission." The Celestial 
Lion declined the trial, and was then offered the choice 
of being forthwith impaled, or of immediately turning 
Mahometan. He turned Turk. The Jews insisted that 
he was taken to heaven, and that it was only his angel 
that wore the Turkish habit, but that ho himself should 
again revisit the earth in a fit season ; — the fit season has 
not however yet arrived. 

Rabbi Mordecai, a German Jew, claimed the Messiah- 
ship, 1682. After deluding numbers of Italian Jews 
about Prague, he came to Germany, where he vanished. 
The last who set up for the dignity was Richard Bro- 
thers, about the end of the eighteenth century, who 
finished his career in bedlam. The English Jews reject- 
ed his pretensions ; but what was more wonderful, he 
found followers and supporters even in the British House 
of Commons. — Basnage Hist, des Juifs. — Jortin^s Re- 
marks on Eccl. Hist. Vol. II. p. 185, et seq. 

The Talmud is a collection of the doctrines and mo- 
rality of the Jews. They have two works that bear this 
name; the first is called the Talmud of Jerusalem; and 
the other the Talmud of Babylon. The former is short- 
er and more obscure than that of Babylon, but is of aii 



older date. The Talmud compiled at Babylon the Jews 
prefer to that of Jerusalem, as it is clearer and more 
extensive.* A summary of the modern Jewish creed 
was drawn up by Moses Maimonides, otherwise called 
the great Rambam,-\ an Egyptian Rabbi, of high re- 
pute, who flourished in the Ilth century, which is still 
acknowledged as their confession of faith. It consists 
of thirteen articles, and distinctly affirms the authenticity 
and genuineness of the Books of Moses. 

I. I believe, with a true and perfect faith, that God 
is the Creator, [whose name be blessed] governor, and 
maker of all creatures, and that he hath wrought all 
things, worketh, and shall work for ever. 

II. I believe, with perfect faith, that the Creator 
[whose name be blessed] is one ; and that such an unity 
as is in him can be found in no other ; and that he alone 
hath been our God, is, and for ever shall be. 

III. I believe, with a perfect faith, that the Creator 
[whose name be blessed] is not coi'poreal, not to be com- 

* This is not sufficiently explicit. The Jewish doctrines and morality 
are contained in the law of Moses, as written by himself ; but they believe 
that, beside the written law as contained in the Pentateuch, God delivered 
to Moses an oral law, which was handed down by tradition. This was 
never committed to writing till about the beginning of the third century 
of the Christian a;ra, when Judah Hakkodesh, president of the Sanhedrim 
at Tiberias, arranged it in six books, which the Rabbins hold as of 
equal authority with the Scriptures, and call the mishna, i. e. Heb. repeti- 
tion. Commentaries were written upon this, which are called Gemara ; 
and both together, viz. the text and the commentary, form what they call 
the Talmud. The Targums, which are often mentioned, are translations 
or expositions of the Hebrew Scriptures in the Chaldee language, made at 
difFereut times, after the return from Babylon, for the use of the people. 

t An abbreviation of his Hebrew name being the initials of Rabbi Moses 
Ben Maimon. Such abbreviations arc common among the Jews. 


prehended with any bodily properties : and that there is 
no bodily essence that can be likened unto him. 

IV. 1 believe, with a perfect faith, the Creator [whose 
name be blessed] to be the first and the last ; that no- 
thing was before him, and that he shall abide to last for 

V. I believe, with a perfect faith, that the Creator 
[whose name be blessed] is to be worshipped, and none 

VI. I believe, with a perfect faith, that all the words 
of the prophets are true. 

VII. I believe, with a perfect faith, that the prophe- 
cies of Moses [our master, may he rest in peace] w-ere 
true ; that he was the father and chief of all wise men 
that lived before him, or ever shall live after him. 

VIII. I believe, with a perfect faith, that all the law 
which in this day is found in our hands was delivered by 
God himself to our master, Moses — God's peace be with 

IX. I believe, with a perfect faith, that the same law 
is never to be changed, nor any other to be given us of 
God — whose name be blessed. 

X. I believe, with a perfect faith, that God [whose 
name be blessed] understandeth all the works and 
thoughts of man, as it is written ia the prophets : he 
fashioneth their hearts alike — he understandeth all their 

XI. I believe, with a perfect faith, that God will re- 
compense good to them that keep his commandment?, 
and will punish them who transgress them. 

XII. I believe, with a perfect faith, that Messiah is 


yet to come ; and though he retard his coming, yet I 
will wait for him till he come. 

XIII. I believe, with a perfect faith, that the dead 
shall be restored to life when it shall seem fit unto God, 
the Creator — whose name be blessed, and memory cele^ 
brated, world without end. Amen. 

The most remarkable of these articles is that in which 
they express their expectation of a coming Messiah, 
while they affirm their belief in the predictions of the 
prophets. Scattered and peeled as they have been now for 
nearly eighteen hundred years, without a prince, or with-. 
out a ruler, it is difficult to conceive what they make of 
Jacobs dying blessing, that the sceptre should not de- 
part from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, 
till Shiloh should come. That remarkable prophecy of 
Daniel, " After threescore and two weeks shall Messiah 
be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the 
prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the 
sanctuary," they resolutely avert their eyes from. 

The Jewish oeconomy was certainly typical of the 
Christian dispensation in many important respects ; but 
these types and antitypes have been wretchedly abused. 
A curious instance of this kind occurred about the time 
of the reformation. Le Clerc has recorded it ; and the 
perusal of it must create a smile. The story is this : Two 
eminent protestants, a Lutheran and a Calvinist, had 
been wrangling a considerable time about the precedency 
of their patriarchs, without any seeming advantage; when 
the one took it into his head to make Luther the antitype 
of Aaron, seeing he was the first who had set up and light- 
ed the grand candlestick of the reformation, in the taber-? 


nacle. The other not being able to disprove the fact, had 
recourse to the same ti/jncal reasoning, and affirmed, that 
if Luther was Aaron's antitype, upon that score Calvin 
was much more so, since it is manifest that if he had 
not taken the snuffers in his hand and snuffed the lamps, 
the candlestick would have given so dim a light, that few 
people would have been the better for it !* 

The most remarkable periods in the history of the Jews 
are the call of Abraham, the giving of the law by Moses, 
their establishment in Canaan under Joshua, the build- 
ing of the temple by Solomon, the division of the tribes, 
their captivity in Babylon, theu' return under Zerubba- 
bel, and the destruction of their city and temple by the 
Emperor Titus. Their books of the old Testament are 
the most ancient and authentic records extant. From 
that time to the present dav, they have been without a 
common country — without a temple — without a sacrifice 
— without a prophet — without a common leader or pro- 
tector, and, as was predicted respecting them, have ever 
been " an astonishment, a proverb, and a bye-word," a- 

* The typical nature of the old dispensation, is distinctly and solemnly 
recognised by our Saviour himself, by his forerunner and by his apostles: 
when the Baptist pointed out Jesus to his disciples as the Messiah, it was 
by an allusion to the typical sacrifices under the Jewish oeconomy : — " Be- 
hold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world." When Je- 
sus foretold the manner of his death, and the blessings that would follow, 
it was by a similar token :— " As Moses lifted up the servient in the 
wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever be- 
lieveth on him should not perish, but have eternal life." And the epistle 
to the Hebrews is an explication of the Jewish oeconomy upon the same 
principle. Any ridiculous application, therefore, which would tend to 
weaken our reverence for the legitimate use of the sacred symbols of the 
Jewish ritual, is exceedingly improper : — the one in the text smells strongly 
of infidel or papistical invention,— it was a pity our author admitted it. 


mong all the nations whither the Lord hath scattered 
them. For further information respecting Judaism, many 
publications may be consulted. See the writings of Jo- 
sephus, their famous historian, of which there are several 
translations in our language; Dr. Jenning^s two volumes 
of Jewish antiquities. Dr. Shaw's Philosophy of Judaism, 
and Levies Ceremonies of the Jewish Religion. 

I shall conclude this article of the Jews with remai-k- 
ing, that the indefatigable Dr. Priestly addressed them 
some years ago with spirit ; and Mr. Levi, a learned 
Jew, has replied. An excellent Address to the Jews, 
from the same pen, [Dr. Priestley's] dated Northumber- 
land, America, October I, 1799, concludes in the fol- 
lowing pointed manner : " I formerly took the liberty 
to address you, and bad the happiness to find you were 
satisfied that I wrote from the purest motives, and a sin- 
cere respect and good will to your nation. Having then 
advanced all that I thought necessary for the purpose, I 
shall not repeat it here. But I cannot help observing, that 
though one of your nation, a person whom I well know 
and respect, replied to me, he did not undertake to re- 
fute my principle argument, viz. that from Historical Evi- 
dence. He did not pretend to point out any defect in 
the arguments that I advanced, for Jesus having wrought 
real miracles, for his having died, and having risen from 
the dead. And if the gospel history of those facts be 
true, whatever may be objected to Christianity on other 
accounts, the divine mission will be unquestionable. God 
would never have suffered any person pretending to come 
from iiim, to impose upon your nation and the whole 
world in so egregious a manner as Jesus must liave done. 


If he had been an impostor. Would God have raised 
an impostor to life, after a public execution ? And yet, 
in my discoiu'se on that subject, I have shown that this 
one fact has the most convincing evidence that any fact 
of the kind could possibly have. If you attentively con- 
sider the character of Jesus, his great simplicity, his piety, 
his benevolence, and every other virtue, you must be 
satisfied that he was incapable of imposture. Compare 
his character and conduct with that of Mahomet, or any 
other known impostor, and this argument of the inter- 
nal kind must strike you in a forcible manner. Besides, 
how was it possible for such a religion as the Christian, 
preached by persons in low stations, without the advan- 
tage of a learned education, to have established itself in 
the world, opposed as it was by every obstacle that could 
be thrown in its way, if it had not been supported by 
truth, and the God of truth ? The unbelief of your na- 
tion in general, has answered an important purpose in 
the plan of Divine Providence, as nothing else could 
have given so much satisfaction, that Christianity receiv- 
ed no aid from civil government, and that the books of 
your scriptures are genuine writings, not imposed on the 
world by Christians. But this great end being now com- 
pletely answered by the continuance of your incredulity 
for such a length of time, I hope the time is approach- 
ing when, as the apostle says, Rom. xi. 26. All Israel 
will be saved; an event which will be followed by the con- 
version of the gentiles in general. Your restoration can- 
not fail to convince the world of the truth of your re- 
ligion ; and in those circumstances, your conversion to 


Christianity cannot fail to draw after it that of the whole 
world !" 

In the Spectator, No. 495, Addison has given an ad- 
mirable paper on the history of the Jews, written 
with his accustomed ingenuity and piety. In it he con- 
siders the Jews, with regard to their numbers, disposition, 
and adherence to their religion, as having furnished every 
age, and every nation of the world, with the strongest 
arguments for the Christian faith, not only as these par- 
ticulars are foretold of them, but as they themselves 
are the depositaries of these and all the other prophecies 
which tend to their own confusion. Their numbers fur- 
nish us with a sufficient cloud of witnesses that attest the 
truth of the Old Bible. Their dispersion spreads these 
witnesses through all parts of the world. Their adher- 
ence to their religion makes their testimony unquestiona- 
ble.^ Had the whole body of Jews been converted to 
Christianity, w^e should certainly have thought all the 
prophecies of the Old Testament that relate to the com- 
ing and history of our blessed Saviour, forged by Chris- 
tians many years after the events they pretended to fore- 

Their DisPERsioN.—The greatest prodigy that can 
be imagined, says Basnage, is the preservation of the 
Jewish people in the midst of the miseries which 
they have undergone since seventeen hundred years. 
Religions depend on temporal prosperity; they tri-* 
umph under the protection of a conqueror; they 
languish and sink, with sinking monarchies. Paganism, 
which once covered the Koman world, is extinct. The 


Christian cliurch glories in its niartyrs, yet was conuf- 
derably diminished by the persecutions to which it was 
exposed, nor was it easy to repair the breaches made 
in it by those acts of violence. But here we behold a 
church hated and persecuted for seventeen hundred ages, 
and yet sustaining itself, and widely extended. Kings 
have often employed the severity of edicts, and the hands 
of executionerG to ruin it. The seditious multitudes by 
murders and massacres have committed outrages against 
it still more violent and tragical. Princes and people. 
Pagans, Mahometans, Christians, disagreeing in so many 
things, have united in the design of exterminating it, and 
have not been able to succeed. The bush of Moses, sur- 
rounded with flames, ever burns, and is never consumed. 
The Jews have been expelled at diiferent times from every 
part of the world, which have only served to spread them 
in all regions. From age to age they have been exposed 
to misery and persecution, yet still they subsist in spite 
of the ignominy and hatred which hath pursued them in 
all places, whilst the greatest monarchies are fallen, and 
nothing remains of them beside the name. The judgments 
which God has exercised upon this people are terrible, 
extending to the men, the religion, and the very land in 
which they dwelt. The ceremonies essential to their re- 
ligion can no more be observed ; the ritual law which 
cast a splendour on the national worship, and struck the 
Pagans so much, that they sent their presents and their 
victims to Jerusalem, is absolutely fallen ; for they have 
no temple, no altar, no sacrifice. 

Their land itself seems to be under a never-ceasing curse. 
Pagans, Christians, Mahometans, in a word, almost all 
nations have bv turns seized and held Jerusalem. Tq 


the Jew only hath God refused the possession of the 
small tract of ground, so supremely necessary for him, 
since he ought to worship on this mountain. Tn all this 
there is no exaggeration ; I am only pointing out known 
facts, and far from having the least design to raise an o- 
dium against the nation from its miseries. I conclude it 
ought to be looked upon as one of those prodigies which 
we admire without comprehending, since, in spite of evils 
so durable, and a patience so long exercised, it is preserv- 
ed by a particular providence. The Jew ought to be 
weary of expecting a Messias, who so unkindly disappoints 
his vain hopes, and the Christian ought to have his at- 
tention and his regard excited towards men whom God 
preserves for so great a length of time, under calamities 
which would have been the total ruin of any other 

According to the writers of the New Testament, the 
Jews suffered the evils which they underwent for their dis- 
obedience and their rebellion against Christ : and as the 
national disobedience then continued, it was fit that the 
national punishment should continue also. The ceremo« 
nial law had been abolished by the gospel, and therefore 
it was fit the Jews should not be put in a capacity to ob- 
serve it, though they were ever so willing. Thus they 
were under a curse, as the ancient Christian writers often 
remark, because they could not perform the legal expia- 
tions and, atonements. The Jews might have replied, 
that God accepted the will for the deed ; that a con- 
trite heart would serve instead of sacrifices; that no man 
is bound to impossibilities; and that, under the Babylo- 
nian captivity, they ceased not to be God's people, though 
they had neither temple nor sacrifice. But the long 


cessation of the ceremonial law brought in a prescription 
against it, and showed that it was antiquated, and that 
the new and second covenant had taken place of the first. 
The longer the Jewish dispersion and the desolation of 
Jerusalem continued, the more force the Christian argu- 
ment gathered. Now the argument stands thus : your fore- 
father!, when by idolatry, sorcery, and shedding of inno- 
cent blood, and all sorts of defilements, they had provok- 
ed God beyond measure, were carried captives to Baby- 
lon; but after twenty years they returned and rebuilt 
their temple. Since that time you have been no more 
guilty of idolatry, and yet you are rejected of God these 
seventeen hundred years. What crimes have you com- 
mitted against him worse than idolatry, or high treason, 
for which you are thus severely punished beyond all 
former example of God's dealing with you ? It must be 
for the rejection of the Messias. While the Jews thus re- 
main living proofs of the truth of the gospel, the question 
.has been often agitated about 

Their Restoration. All Christian divines are agreed 
upon this, that the Jews will be converted to Christiani- 
ty in the latter day; and indeed the Apostle Paul is so 
explicit on this subject, that his language cannot admit 
of two interpretations : " Hath God cast away his peo- 
ple ? God forbid ! but rather through their fall, salvation 
is come unto the Gentiles to provoke them to jealousy." 
« For I would not brethren," says he, addressing the Ro- 
mans, "that yeshouldbeignorantof this mystery,— lest ye 
should be wise in your own conceit— that blindness in 
part is happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles 
be come in, and so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written, 


* There shall comeoutof Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn 
away ungodliness from Jacob.' " The apostle shews that 
God had always among them a remnant, according to 
the election of grace, and that though the majority were, 
for their rejection of Christ, severed from the good olive 
tree, yet that separation was only for a time, and they 
should again be grafted into the natural stock. 

The Jews were called God's own people, and his first- 
born. To them Christ was sent; to them the Apostles first 
preached the gospel ; and the first Christian church was 
that of Jerusalem, which in the primitive times was as 
the mother church, and the only one to whom belonged 
in any degree the pre-eminence among the churches. 
In succeeding ages doubtless God has reserved to him- 
self many of that people, though as a nation they are 
outcasts from his church ; and the question is not, whe- 
ther they shall return as a nation to him, from whom 
they have departed ? but whether this return shall be 
marked by a restoration to their own land ? The pre- . 
servation of this people, under such long, signal, and un- 
exampled calamities, evidently points them out as reserved 
for some illustrious purpose of providence ; nor does it 
seem consistent with the design or tenor of prophecy, — 
if we may venture an opinion on so hazardous a subject, 
— that they should, by conversion in the countries in 
which they sojourn, be received into the church, and 
mingle in the general mass of Christianity, in the same 
manner as the Gentile nations, whose destinies have been 
unmarked by other than common political revolutions. 
Our Saviour says, " Jerusalem shall be trodden down of 
the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled ;" 


which warrants the belief, that after that time it shalf 
be again raised up; and a text in Ezekiel, parallel to the 
passage quoted from Paul's epistle to the Romans, leads 
to the same conclusion : " Thus saith the Lord God, 
In the day that I have cleansed you from all your iniqui- 
ties ; I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the 
wastes shall be builded, and the desolate land shall be 
tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that 
passed by ; and they shall say, this land that was desolate 
is become like the garden of Eden ; and the waste, and 
desolate, and ruined cities are become fenced, and are in- 

Never was there a more wonderful prophecy delivered 
respecting any nation, than that contained in the twenty- 
eighth to the thirty-third chapters of Deuteronomy ; the 
curses there pronounced for disobedience have been fear- 
fully fulfilled to the letter; and there is no reason to sup- 
pose that the heart-cheering promises of a final restora- 
tion shall be less faithfully performed: neither is it proba- 
ble that, after having been so dreadfully punished as a na- 
tion in the sight of the whole world, that they shall not in 
like manner be honoured as a nation before all the people 
of the earth. Conjectures, either as to the time or man- 
ner of their restoration, ought ever to be mentioned with 
diffidence ; but the almost universal change of feeling 
which has taken place throughout Christendom, with re- 
gard to the Jews, who are now, even in Popish countries, 
treated with humanity, if not with kindness, bespeaks 
the dawn of better days. In some protestant countries 
efforts have been made for their conversion ; the attempt 
is benevolent, and in the spirit of Christianity ; and it is 



to be hoped, in some instances, may be accompanied with 
success ; but there does not appear any scriptural ground 
to expect that the Jews, as a people, will ever acknow- 
ledge Christ, till after they have been gathered out of 
the countries whither they have been driven, and settled 
again in the land of their fathers. Were they to be con- 
verted before, they would lose their distinctive character; 
but they are " a people who are to dwell alone, and not 
to be reckoned among the nations." It seems therefore 
probable, that they will be reinstated in Caanan as Is- 
raelites, and that their reception of the Messiah will be 
as their rejection of him was, — a national deed. 

The Jews are to be found in every quarter of the 
globe; but they are most numerous in the Turkish em- 
pire, and in Poland : about the beginning of the late war, 
they were calculated at one hundred thousand in France 
and Italy ; in Amsterdam alone, at sixty thousand ; and 
in London, at upwards of sixteen thousand. The whole 
nation has been estimated by some authors so low as 
two millions and a half, and by some as high as neai'ly 
seven millions. 



Mahomet was born towards the end of the sixth cen- 
tury, about the year 570, at Mecca, in Arabia Felix. 


He was descended from a chief family, and one of the 
most illustrious tribes ; but the death of his father left 
him in indigent circumstances, his sole inheritance being 
five camels and a female Ethiopian slave : his grand- 
father protected his infancy ; the care of his education 
was committed to Abu Taleb, his uncle, who instructed 
him in the business of a merchant ; and at the age of 
thirteen carried him with him into Syria, to attend the 
fairs of Bozra and Damascus. Handsome in his person, 
and insinuating in his manners, he gained the affection 
of Khadijah, a noble and rich widow, in whose service 
he had engaged ; and about the twenty -fifth year of his 
age, she gave him her hand as a reward for his fidelity, 
and raised him to an equality with the richest in his na- 
tive city. Advanced to opulence, he assumed a new 
character : during fifteen years he devoted yearly the 
month of Ramadam to religious retirement and in the 
cave of Hira, three miles from Mecca, meditated the pro- 
ject of a new revelation. The church called Christian 
had now most awfully degenerated, and by the promis- 
cuous admission within her pale, of all who would simp- 
ly submit to the initiatory rite, had become an entire 
worldly establishment, which had exchanged the name, 
but scarcely the form of its idolatry. The images of 
saints had succeeded those of heroes, and legendary mi- 
racles fabulous exploits, while the licentiousness of the 
age kept pace with its ignorance and superstition. Ma- 
homet artfully availed himself of the circumstances of 
the times. He sought to unite all by the simple creed 
of one supreme God ; but he suited his subsidiary doc- 
trines to the grosser propensities of our nature, and al* 


lured disciples by the promise of unbounded sensual 
gratification, not only in the present, but in the future 

He was in his fortieth year, when he announced him- 
self the PROPHET AND APOSTLE OF GOD, first Only private- 
ly to those of his own family. At midnight, in his solitary 
cave — the scene of his pretended intercourse with Ga- 
briel, the glorious messenger of the Most High, — he ac- 
quainted his wife with his great commission, and had the 
happiness of receiving Khadijah as his first proselyte ; 
his slave Zeid was the next ; but his cousin Ali, the young 
and impetuous son of Abu Taleb — an important acces- 
sion — styled himself the " first of believers." Three 
years elapsed ere he could number more than twelve 
followers; and as he had no other arms than persuasion, 
he encountered such ridicule and opposition, that his 
uncle endeavoured to persuade him, to give up what he 
considered a hopeless mission. " Should they set the 
sun against me on my right hand, and the moon on my 
left, I shall not quit my enterprise," was the intrepid 
reply of the impostor. 

His unshaken perseverance and consummate policy, at 
length collected a considerable number of adherents; yet 
in the fifth year of his mission, the opposition of the 
Koreish, his own, but hostile tribe, occasioned his first 
flight. His ingenuity eifected a reconciliation, and he re- 
turned to his native city, where, in the twelfth year of his 
mission, he revealed his famous night journey fi-om Mec- 
ca to Jerusalem, and from Jerusalem to Heaven. The 
ridiculous fiction shocked even his followers ; and had not 
Abu Beer, a chief man among the Koreish, declared his 


implicit faith in the fable, its extravagance had probably 
ruined the whole. Its incomprehensible absurdity pro- 
duced an opposite effect ; for he who believed in the 
journey could doubt no more. The last desperate ef- 
fort of his enemies occasioned his second flight* the 
same year •, but he found a secure retreat in Medina, 
where the number of his retainers increased so much, 
that he obtained pennission from God to attack the In- 
fidels, destroy Idolatry, and propagate the true faith at 
the point of the sword. 

From this period his affairs went on prosperously ; he 
was not only able to defend himself against the assaults 
of his enemies, but to attack them ; and the battle of Bedr, 
which he gained within two years, decided his superio- 
rity. Acknowledged as a conqueror, his success inflam- 
ed his ambition, and he now proposed propagating Is-' 
lamism be3'ond the narrow bounds of Arabia. The 
neighbouring princes Vv^ere invited to become proselytes. 
Khosru,king of Persia, received his message with disdain, 
tore his epistle in pieces, and ordered Badhan, the tri- 
butary king of Taman, to send him the impostor. Ma- 
homet announced the vengeance of heaven against the 
Infidel, " God shall tear his kingdom ;" and when Bad- 

* This flight, termed the Hegira, forms the Mahometan sera, and cor- 
responds with the year of our Lord 622. A remarkable, but apparently 
trifling incident, changed, on this occasion, the face of the world. Maho- 
met, with only two attendants, took refuge from his pursuers, who sought 
to kill him, in a cave where he lay hid three days. While the infidels ap- 
proached, and were about to enter his asylum, a bird flew out, and one of 
them observing a spider's web across the passage, they did not enter, natu- 
rally supposing, from these appearances, that the cave could contain no 
human inhabitant. 

E 2 


ha«a's messenger arrived, told him that he had had it re- 
vealed, that Khosru was slain by his son Shii'uyeh ; that 
his religion and empire would soon more than rival the 
kingdom of Khosru, and advised him to exhort his mas- 
ter to embrace the faith of Islam. Within a few days 
Shiruyeh informed his vassal that his father was dead, 
and ordered him to give the prophet no farther trouble : 
Badhan and the Persians became Mahomitans. The king 
of Ethiopia was circumcised ; the governor of Egypt 
sent presents to the Prophet; and the Emperor Heraclius 
received his invitation with respect, and dismissed his 
ambassador with honour. Before the eleventh year of 
the Hegira, his religion was established, and the foun- 
dations of a vast empire laid, when the curiosity or jea- 
lousy of one of his female favourites, finished the earthly 
career of the prophet, whose divine inflation failed in 
enabling him to detect the lurking poison : he died at 
Medina, A. D. 631. 

INIahometanism is the religion of Mahomet. His sys- 
tem is a compound of Paganism, Judaism, and Christian- 
ity ; and the Alcorn, which is their Bible, is held in great 
reverence. It is replete with absurd representations, 
and is supposed to be written by a Jew. The most elo- 
quent passage is allowed to be the following, where God 
is introduced, bidding the waters of the deluge to cease : 
" Earth swallow up the waters; heaven draw up those 
thou hast poured out : immediately the waters retreated, 
the command of God was obeyed, the ark rested on the 
mountains, and these words were heard — woe to the 
wicked r Lust, ambition, and cruelty, have been deem- 


ed the most prominent traits in Mahomet's conduct ; 
and Voltaire has written a fine tragedy on this subject.* 
The great doctrine of the Alcoran is the unity of God; 
and the prophet propagated his religion by force of arms. 
Dean Prideaux hath largely proved, in his Letter to the 
Deists of the present age, that there are seven marks of 
an imposture, and that these all belong to Mahometan- 
ism, and that not one of them can be charged on Chris- 

See Salens Alcoran, Prideaux' s Life of Mahomet, Dr. 
White's Sermons at the Bampton Lecture, and Dr. 
Toulmin's Dissertatiojis on the internal Evidence of Chris- 
tianity, and On the Character of Christ compared with that 
of other founders of religion or philosophy. 

IVIr. Gibbon in his Roman History, gives the follow- 
ing curious specimen of Mahometan divinity : — " The 
sword (saith Mahomet) is the key of heaven and of hell; 
a drop of blood shed in the cause of God, or a night 
spent in arms, is of more avail than two months of fast- 
ing or prayer. Whosoever falls in battle, his sins are 
forgiven at the day of judgment ; his wounds shall be re- 

* The impoitor limited hisfollowers to the number of four wives, while 
he himself, according to Abu '1 Feda had no less than fifteen, besides con- 
cubines. But this, it seems, was a peculiar privilege, founded on the ex- 
press words of God himself: " O Prophet, we have allowed thee thy wives 
unto whom thou hast given their dower, and also the slaves which thy 
right hand possesseth of the booty which God hath granted thee, and the 
daughters of thy uncle, and the daughters of thy aunts, both on thy father's 
side and thy mother's side, who have fled with thee from Mecca ; and any 
other believing woman, if she give herself unto the Prophet, in case the 
Prophet desireth to take her to wife. This is a peculiar privilege granted 
unto thee abo^ e the rest of the true believers." Sal^s Koran, quoted in 
Adain's Re'igious fVorld, vol. i, p. 250, 1. 


splendent as vermilion, and odoriferous as musk ; the 
loss of his limbs shall be supplied by the wings of angels 
and cherubims." 

" I never wondered (says an ingenious author) that 
the attempts of Mahomet to establish his religion were 
crowned with success. When I peruse the Koran, and 
examine the materials of which it is composed ; when I 
observe how much the work is indebted to the Jewish 
and Christian revelations ; when I survey the particular 
part which Mahomet or his agents supplied ; when I see 
with how much art the whole is accommodated to the 
opinions and habits of the Jews, Christians, and Pagans ; 
when I consider what indulgencies it grants, and what 
future scenes it unfolds ; when I advert to the peculiar 
circumstances of the times, when its author formed the 
vast design of assuming the royal and prophetic charac- 
ters; and more than all, when I contemplate the reform- 
er at the head of a conquering army, the Koran in one 
hand, and in the other a sword, I cannot be surprised at 
the civil and religious revolution, which has immortaliz- 
ed his name. With his advantages, how could he fail of 
success ? Every thing favoured the enterprise. The na- 
tions beheld a military apostle. And they who were un- 
convinced by his arguments, trembled at his sword." 

Mahomet himself disclaimed the power of working 
miracles, and when the people demanded this evidence of 
the validity of his mission, he extoled the merit of im- 
plicit faith, and the distinguishing providence of God, 
who would not gratify Infidels with any new displays of 
his power, seeing, in the case of Moses and Jesus Christ, 


they had only aggravated the guilt of their unbelief; but 
he appealed to the internal evidence of the Koran^ which 
is allowed to be elegantly written, in the purest Arabic, 
and asked how he, an illiterate man, could have compos- 
ed so wonderful a work, without the immediate inspira- 
tion of God? This argument, which was considered un- 
answerable by the Arab believer, has been answered by 
some Christian writers, who assert that the language of 
the Prophet was polished, and his invention aided by 
the labours of a Jewish Rabbi of Persia, Abdia ben Salon, 
and an apostate Nestorian monk, SergiuSi or Bahira. 
The early education of Mahomet precludes the idea of 
barbarism ; and his faithful management of a large com- 
mercial concern in a city not devoid of letters, is suffi- 
cient to excite a suspicion that he was acquainted with 
other literature beside that which he had acquired from 
*' the Book of Nature and of Man."* " But that his 
ignorance was affected rather than real," says Mr Adam, 
" might have been inferred from proofs more direct and 
positive: for, notwithstanding all his care and circum- 
spection, the mask sometimes dropped off) and discover- 
ed at once his real character, and the falsehood of his 
pretences. Even by the confession of his own histori- 
ans, there were moments in which his pretended ignor- 
ance was forgotten ; and he not only expressed a desire 
to exercise, but actually practised that very art of which 
he solemnly and repeatedly professed himself to be total- 
ly ignorant."f Evidently compiled as the Koran is from 

* Gibbon. 

t Relig. World Displayed, Vol. I, p. 235.— Abu '1 Feda, p. \56, quoted 

58 ' 

tlie Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, which it 
has debased and polluted, interspersed with the wildest 
fancies of the roving Arabian, and the enthusiastic reve- 
ries of the early Heretics — " this system," as the same 
writer remarks, " has, notwithstanding, this striking pe- 
culiarity, that it bears witness to the truth while it pro- 
pagates a lie. Though founded itself on imposture, it 
does not charge with imposture either Judaism or Chris- 
tianity, but recognises both as true, and affects to rever- 
ence the authority of Moses and of Christ." 

The delusion of the false Prophet spread with fearful 
rapidity over those countries, where once the light of 
the Gospel had shone in its purest lustre; and the Apos- 
tate churches, which had neglected the warning voice of 
their Lord, and *' did not remember from whence they 
had fallen, nor repented, nor did their first works," were 
made monuments of God's righteous judgment, and had 
their candlesticks quickly removed out of their place. 
Ere half a century elapsed, the victorious successors of 
Mahomet over-run Judea, Syria, Lesser Asia, Persia, and 
Armenia ; and, before the end of the century, Egypt, 
Greece, and the islands of the Mediterranean, acknow- 
ledged their sway : they came with the Koran and the 
sword ; their conditions were conversion or tribute ; if 
they chose the first, they were admitted to all the pri- 
vileges of Moslems ; if the latter, their lives were imbit- 
tered by every species of insult and oppression ; degraded, 
plundered, and abused, till life itself became a burden. 
Their appearance and progress are pointed out in the 
Apocalyptic vision, in language which approaches nearly 
to the precision of historical narrative : — " And the 


angel opened the bottomless pit ; and there arose a 
smoke out of the pit as the smoke of a great furnace : and 
the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke 
of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts up- 
on the earth ; and unto them was given power, as the 
scorpions of the earth have power ; and it was com- 
manded them that they should not hurt the grass of the 
earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree, but only 
those men that have not the seal of God on their fore- 
heads ; and to them it was given that they should not 
kill them, but that they should be tormented five 
months : and their torment was as the torment of a 
scorpion when he striketh a man ; and in those days men 
shall seek death, and shall not find it ; and shall desire 
to die, and death shall flee from them." A more strik- 
ing commentary on this passage will not easily be found, 
than in the orders issued by the caliphs to their military 
missionaries : — " When you fight the battles of the 
Lord, acquit yourselves like men, without turning your 
backs : but let not your victory be stained with the blood 
of women or children. Destroy no palm-trees, nor burn 
any fields of corn ; cut down no fruit trees, nor do any 
mischief to cattle, only such as you kill to eat. When 
you make any articles or covenant, stand to it, and be as 
good as your word. As you go on, you will find some 
religious persons v/ho live retired in monasteries, and 
propose to themselves to serve God that way ; let them 
alone, neither kill them, nor destroy their monasteries : 
and you will find another sort of people that belong to 
the synagogue of Satan, who have shaven crowns, be 


stire you cleave their skulls, and give them no quarter 
till they turn Mahometans, or pay tribute." 

This proclamation, taken in connection with the his- 
tory of that period, evinces the exact fulfilment of the 
prophecy uttered upwards of five hundred years before. 
The conquests of the Mahometans extended even to the 
continent of Europe. Spain and Portugal, were reduced 
by them ; their career was checked in France, A. D. 
726, but their dominions continued to increase till, in 
1453, they entirely subverted the Eastern empire, and 
became masters of the capital. The Grecian and Asia- 
tic Christians have groaned under their iron yoke from 
the seventh century to the present time, suffering for 
their idolatry and abuse of the Gospel ; yet it is to be 
hoped that the day of their deliverance draweth nigh : 
the waters of Euphrates are beginning to be dried up, 
and the unwieldy fabric of Moslem power now totters to 
its base. 

The number of Mahometans has been guessed at one 
hundred and forty million ; and, from the extent of space 
they cover, it is more likely to be under, than over the 


Christianity, (to which Judaism was introductory) is 
the last and more perfect dispensation of revealed religion 
with which God hath favoured the human race. It was 


instituted by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who macfe 
his appearance in Judea near two thousand years ago. 
He was born at Bethlehem, brought up at Nazareth, and 
crucified at Jerusalem. His lineage, birth, life, death, and 
sufferings, were minutely predicted by a succession of the 
Jewish prophets, and his religion is now spread over a 
considerable portion of the globe. The evidences of the 
Christian religion are comprised under historical testi- 
mony, prophecies, miracles, the internal evidence of its 
doctrines and precepts, and the rapidity of its first pro- 
pagation among the Jews and the Gentiles. — Though 
thinking men have in every age differed widely respect- 
ing some of the doctrines of this religion, yet they ai'e 
fully agreed in the divinity of its origin, and in the be- 
nevolence of its tendency. 

Brief representations of the Christian religion shall be 
transcribed both from the writings of Churchmen and 
Dissenters, well deserving of attention. 

Bishop Gibson, in his second Pastoral Letter, ob- 
serves — " It will appear that the several denominations 
of Christians agree both in the substance of religion and 
in the necessary enforcements of the practice of it : that 
the world and all things in it were created by God, and 
are under the direction and government of his all-power- 
ful hand and all-seeing eye ; that there is an essential dif- 
ference between good and evil, virtue and vice; that 
there will be a state of future rewards and punishments, 
according to our behaviour in this life j that Christ was 
a teacher sent from God, and that his apostles were di- 
vinely inspired ; that all Christians are bound to declare 
and profess themselves to be his disciples ; that not only 


the exercise of the several virtues, but also a belief in 
Christ is necessary, in order to their obtaining the par- 
don of sin, the favour of God, and eternal life; that the 
worship of God is to be performed chiefly by the heart 
in prayers, praises, and thanksgivings ; and as to all 
other points, that they are bound to live by the rules 
which Christ and his apostles have left them in the holy 
Scriptures. Here then is a fixed, certain, and uniform 
rule of faith and practice, containing all the most neces" 
sary points of religion, established by a divine sanction, 
embraced as such by all denominations of Christians, 
and in itself ahundaritly sufficient to preserve the know- 
ledge and practice of religion in the world.'* 

Dr. Sherlock (who succeeded Dr. Gibson as Bishop 
of London) expresses himself much to the same purpose 
in the first volume of his Sermons. Observing that the 
books of the New Testament may be considered either 
as historical, as doctrinal, or as controversial, and some 
as a mixture of the two last, he thus proceeds : — " By 
the doctrinal I understand those matters of faith and 
rules of duty which do not regard this or that particular 
faith, but were intended for the use of the \v orld, and are 
to continue to the end of it. And if there be a clear law, 
and clearly expressed in the world, this is the law. Can 
words more clearly express the honour and worship we 
are to pay to God, or can more familiar expressions be 
given in this case than are to be found in the gospel ? Is 
not Idolatry clearly condemned in the gospel ? Is there 
any thing relating to divine worship that we yet want 
instructing in ? Are not the duties likewise which we 
owe to each other made evident and plain ; and can 


there be any dispute about them, except what arises from 
lust, or avarice, or other self-interest? As to the pecu- 
liar benefits of the gospel, are they not declared without 
obscurity ? Can you read the gospel, and doubt whe- 
ther Christ died for you ? Whether God w ill grant 
pardon to the penitent, or his assistance to those who 
ask it, whether he will reward all such in glory who con- 
tinue the faithful disciples of his Son ? What other re- 
velation do we want or can we desire, in these great and 
iveiglity concerns ; or what is there wanting to make up 
a complete system of religion ?" 

The immortal Locke also observes — " WTioever would 
attain to a true knowledge of the Christian religion, in 
the full and just extent of it, let him study the Holy 
Scriptures, especially the Xeiu Testament, wherein are 
contained the words of eternal life. It has God for its 
author. Salvation for its end, and Truth, without any 
mixture of error, for its matter." Even Rousseau, con- 
fessed himself struck with the majesty of the Scriptures, 
the purity of the gospel, and the character of Jesus Christ. 
See Gei-ard's Dissertations on the Internal Evidence of 
Christianity, and also Dr. Craig s Life of Christ. 

Many of the serious friends of Christianity are alarm- 
ed at the progress of Atheism and Deism, both at home 
and abroad. But let not the friends of truth be discour- 
aged. That revealed (as well as natural) religion is en- 
cumbered with difficulties, has never been denied ; and 
this with a considerate mind will be construed into a 
presumptive proof of its authenticity and excellence. " It 
would be a miracle (says Dr. Watson, the late Bishop of 
LandafF) greater than any we are instructed to believe^ 


if there remained no difficulties ; if a being with but five 
scanty inlets of knowledge, separated but yesterday from 
his mother earth, and to-day sinking again into her bo- 
som, could fathom the depths of the wisdom and know- 
ledge of Him which is, which was, and ivhich is to come — 
the Lord God Almighty, to whom be glory and dominion 
for ever and ever ! We live in a dissolute but enlight- 
ened age ; the restraints of our religion are ill suited to 
the profligacy of our manners ; and men are soon in- 
duced to believe that system to be false which they wish 
to find so : that knowledge, moreover, which spurns with 
contempt the illusions of fanatacism, and the tyranny of 
superstition, is often unhappily misemployed in magnify- 
ing every little difficulty attending the proof of the truth 
of Christianity, into an irrefragable argument of its 
falsehood. The Christian religion has nothing to appre- 
hend from the strictest investigation of the most learned 
of its adversaries ; it suffers only from the misconcep- 
tions of sciolists and silly pretenders to superior wisdom : 
a little learning is far more dangerous to the faith of 
those who possess it than ignorance itself. Some I know 
affect to believe, that as the restoration of letters was 
ruinous to the Romish religion, so the further cultivation 
of them will be subversive of Christianity itself: of this 
there is no danger. It maybe subversive of the reliques 
of the church of Rome, by which other churches are still 
polluted ; of persecutions, of anathemas, of ecclesiastical 
domination over God's heritage, of all the silly out-works 
which the pride, the superstition, and the knavery of 
mankind have erected around the citadel of our faith'; 
|jut the citadel itself is founded on a rock, the gates of 


hell cannot prevail against it — its master-builder is God; 
its beauty will be found ineffable, and its strength im- 
pregnable, when it shall be freed from the frippery of 
human ornaments, and cleared from the rubbish of hu- 
man bulwarks."* 

The excellent Dr. Doddridge also thus happily ex- 
presses himself on the subject : — * The cause of Christi- 
anity has greatly gained by debate, and the gospel comes 
like Jine gold out of the furnace, which the more it is tried 
the more it is approved. I ovv'n the defenders of the gos- 
pel have appeared with very different degrees of ability 
for the work, nor could it be otherwise amongst such 
numbers of them ; but on the whole, though the patrons 
of infidelity have been masters of some wit, humour, and 
address, as well as of a moderate share of learning, and 
generally of a much more than a moderate share of assur- 
ance, yet so great is the force of truth, that, (unless we 
may except those writers, who have unhappily called for 
the aid of the civil magistrate in the controversy) I can- 
not recollect that I have seen any defence of the gospel, 
which has not on the whole been sufficient to establish 
it, notwithstanding all the sophistical arguments of its 
most subtle antagonists. This is an observation which 
is continually gaining new strength, as new assaults are 
made upon the gospel. And I cannot forbear saying, 
that as if it were by a kind of judicial infatuation, some 
who have distinguished themselves in the wretched cause 
of infidelity, have been permitted to fall into such gross 

* This prelate published likewise two Sermons in defence of Revealed 
Religion, together with a Charge, well worthy of perusaL 



misrepresentations, such senseless inconsistencies, and 
such palpable falsehoods, and in a word, into such vari- 
ous and malignant superfluitij of naughtiiiess, that to a 
wise and pious mind, they must appear like those veno- 
mous creatures which are said to coxry an antidote in 
their bowels against their own poison. A virtuous and 
well bred Deist must turn away from some pieces of this 
kind with scorn and abhorrence, and a Christian might 
almost be tempted to wish that the books, with all 
their scandals about them, might be transmitted to pos- 
terity, lest when they come to live, like the writings of 
some of the ancient heathens, only in those of their 
learned and pious answerers, it should hardly be credit- 
ed that ever the enemies of the gospel in such an enlight- 
ened age, should be capable of so much impiety and 

From this paragraph, it would seemingly appear that 
good Dr. Doddridge had, with a kind of prophetical sa- 
gacity, anticipated the publication of the Jge o/'J?e«5on, 
which by its boldness excited alarm ; but which, on ac- 
count Ol its misrepresentations and scurrility, may be 
ranked among the lowest of the deistical productions. 

Finally, to use the words of the ingenious Mr. Clarke, 
in his answer to the question, Why are you a Christian F — 
" Not because I was born in a Christian country, and 
educated in Christian principles ; not because I find the 
illustrious Bacon, Boyle, Locke, Clark, and Newton a- 
mong the professors and defenders of Christianity ; nor 
merely because the system itself is so admirably calcula- 
ted to mend and exalt human nature, but because the 
evidence accompanying the gospel has convinced me of 


its truth. The secondary causes assigned by unbelievers 
do not, in my judgment, account for the rise, progress, 
and early triumphs of the Christian religion. Upon the 
principles of scepticism, I perceive an effect without an 
adequate cause. I therefore stand acquitted to my own 
reason, though I continue to believe and profess the re 
ligion of Jesus Christ. Arguing from effects to causes, I 
think I have philosophy on my side. And reduced to a 
choice of difficulties, I encounter not so many in admit- 
ting the miracles ascribed to the Saviour, as in the arbi- 
trary suppositions and conjectui'es of his enemies. 

That there once existed such a person as Jesus Christ ; 
that he appeared in Judea in the reign of Tiberius ; that 
he taught a system of morals superior to any inculcated 
in the Jewish schools ; that he was crucified at Jerusa- 
lem ; and that Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor, 
by whose sentence he was condemned and executed, are 
facts which no one can reasonably call in question. The 
most inveterate Deists admit them without difficulty. 
And, indeed, to dispute these facts, would be giving the 
lie to all history. As well might we deny the existence 
of Cicero as of a person by the name of Jesus Christ. 
And with equal propriety might we call in question the 
orations of the former as the discourses of the latter. 
We are morally certain that the one entertained the 
Romans with his eloquence, and that the other enlight- 
ened the Jews with his wisdom. But it is unnecessary 
to labour these points, because they are generally con- 
ceded. They who affect to despise the Evangelists and 
Apostles, profess to reverence Tacitus, Suetonius, and 
Pliny. And these eminent Romans bear testimony to 


several particulars which relate to the person of Jesus 
Christ, his influence as the founder of a sect, and his 
crucifixion. From a deference to human authority, all 
therefore acknowledge that the Christian religion deriv- 
ed its name from Jesus Christ. And many are so just 
to its merits, as to admit that he taught better than Con- 
fucius, and practised better than Socrates or Plato. But 
I confess my creed embraces many more articles. I be- 
lieve that Jesus Christ was not only a teacher of virtue, 
but that he had a special commission to teach. I believe 
that his doctrines are not the works of human reason, 
but of divine communication to mankind. I believe that 
he was authorised by God to proclaim forgiveness to the 
penitent, and to reveal a state of immortal glory and 
blessedness to those who fear God and work righteous- 
ness. I believe, in short, the whole Evangelical history, 
and of consequence the divine original of Christianity, 
and the sacred authority of the gospel. Others may re- 
ject these things as the fictions of humour, art, or policy; 
but I assent to them from a full conviction of their truth. 
The objections of infidelity have often shocked my feel- 
ings, but have never yet shaken my faith. 

To come then to the question — Why are you a 
Christian ? I answer, because the Christian Reli- 
gion carries with it internal marks of its truth ; because 
not only without the aid, but in opposition to the civil 
authority, in opposition to the wit, the argument, and in- 
solence of its enemies, it made its way, and gained an 
establishment in the world ; because it exhibited the ac 
complishment of some prophecies, and presents others, 
which have been since fulfilled ; and because its author 


displayed an example, and performed works, which be^ 
speak not merely a superior, but a divine character. Up- 
on these several facts, I ground my belief as a Chris- 
tian. And till the evidence on which they rest, can be 
invalidated by counter-evidence, I must retain my prin- 
ciples and my profession." 

These extracts from Sherlock, Gibson, Locke, Watson, 
Doddridge, and Clarke have been here selected, because 
they serve to illustrate in a few words both the nature 
and evidences of Christianity. " Thus," says an ingenious 
writer, the Reverend Robert Hall of Cambridge — 
" When at the distance of njore than half a century, 
Christianity was assaulted by a Woolston, a Tindal, and 
a Morgan, it was ably supported both by clergymen of 
the established church and writers amongst Protestant 
Dissenters ; the labours of a Clarke and a Butler were 
associated with those of a Doddiidge, a Leland, and a 
Lardner, with such equal reputation and success, as to 
make it evident that the intrinsic excellence of religion 
needs not the aid of external appendages, that with or 
without a dowry her charms are of equal force to fix and 
engage the heart." 

It would, however, be as useless as it is impossible, to 
refer the reader to cdl the principal treatises which have 
been written at different periods for the defence and il- 
lusti'ation of the Christian religion. But a few-ought to 
be mentioned in justice to the subject ; and those 
alones hall be specified which are easiest of access. The 
student may therefore consult Lardner^s Credibiliti/, 
Watson^ s Theological Tracts, Butler's Analogy, and Pa^ 
ley's admirable View of the Evidences of Christianity^ 


For the use of private Christians, Doddridge's Three 
Sermons on the Evidences of the Christian Religion^ are 
warmly recommended ; also an incomparable little piece 
written by Dr. Samuel Chandler, entitled, Plain Rea- 
sons for being a Christian, and an answer to the ques- 
tion, Why are you a Christian, by the late Rev. John 
Clarke, of Boston, in America, from which an extract has 
been given. This admirable compendium has been re- 
printed in this country. 

In this age of infidelity and of dissipation, the minds 
of the young should be sacredly guarded against the er- 
rors and vices of the times. And solemnly doth it con- 
cern both ministers and parents, as they are accountable 
at the tribunal of Heaven, to furnish the rising genera- 
tion with religions principles, which, by operating on the 
springs of human conduct, will ensure their temporal and 
their eternei felicity. 

Before proceeding to consider the different denomi- 
nations, it will be proper to give a brief but connected 
outline of CJiristianity itself, as exhibited in the Scrip- 
tures, without reference to any sectarian creed or com- 
mentary, particularly as regards its Essential and Distin- 
guishing Doctrines, its Moral Precepts, and the Natural 
Dependance of the one upon the other ; — a View of the 
Evidences and the Advantages of our Religion j of the 
Form of Church Government in Primitive Ages; and a 
few short Historical Notices of its Progress. 



Some attempt to separate the Old and New Testa- 
ment, as if they contained two different religions, instead 
of two dispensations of the same scheme of redemption. 
But the fundamental doctrines of both are one; they 
both illustrate the character of God, as " the Lord, the 
Lord God merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abun- 
dant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, 
forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin ; and that 
will by no means clear the guilty :" and unfold the pro- 
gressive accomplishment of the first grand promise of 
God to man, that the seed of the woman should bruise 
the head of the serpent ; the only difference is, that the Old 
gives but a prospective and darker view of a coming Sa- 
viour, through the medium of types and ceremonies, and 
the sublime but dim visions of the Prophets — while the 
New presents us with the bright records of an accomp- 
lished salvation, in the simple narratives of the Evange- 
lists, illustrated and explained by the writings of the 

The eternal existence and attributes of God : 
his omnipresence and invisibility, his infinite power, 
wisdom, and goodness ; his holiness, justice, and truth, 
were expressly revealed to the Jews, and are implicitly 
received by the Christians. In this indivisible essence 
are recognised three distinct substances, yet distinguish- 
ed in such a manner as not to be incompatible with es- 
sential unity or simplicity of being — a doctrine intimat- 
ed in the Mosaic account of the creation, where the 


Creator uses the plural expression, " let us make man,"' 
but more clearly declared in the commission of Christ to 
his disciples, " Go ye therefore and teach all nations, bap- 
tising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, 
and of the Holy Ghost." 

The fall of man, and the entire corruption of 
HUMAN NATURE, as asscrtcd in the Old Testament, is un- 
equivocall}' recognised in the New : — " By one man sin 
entered into the world :" and, " both Jews and Gentiles, 
they are all under sin." The history of the Pagans, 
of the Jews, and of the nations called Christian, de- 
monstrates the fact ; and the' individual experience of 
every human being will bear evidence that love to God 
and to holiness — disinterested love to our neighbour, and 
a desire to promote his prosperity equally with our own, 
are not now the natural predominant affections of the 
heart. Who will dare charge God with having created 
man with a propensity to sin ? yet is it not clear as noon- 
day that such a propensity does exist ; how then is it to 
be accounted for ? " God made man upright, but they 
sought out many inventions ;" by listening to the sug- 
gestions of Satan, they broke the commandment of the 
Lord, and lost his image ; their nature became depraved, 
and ever since inclined to that which is evil, and back- 
ward to that which is good ; their understanding became 
diu"kened, and their affections estranged from Him, tJie 
source of all happiness. 

His recovery and restoration to the favour of 
God. — But the distinguishing feature of the religion of 
the Bible, and that which marks its essential difference 
from all other systems which go under the name of re- 


ligion is, that it proposes a way by which the attributes 
of God may harmonize in pardoning the transgressor, 
and by which, in restoring him to his favour, it restores 
him to his image ; a way by which mercy and truth may 
meet together, righteousness and peace may kiss each 
other, truth spring out of the earth, and righteousness 
look down from heaven. To accomplish this an atone- 
ment was necessary, to satisfy the demands of justice, 
and assert the honour of the divine law. 

The doctrine of such an atonement, as the foun- 
dation of the sinner's hope, and the chief corner stone 
in the temple of mercy, forms the peculiar glory of 
Christianity. Sin subjected man to the penalty of death. 
His inability to deliver himself — and his deliverance by 
substitution, is intimated by all the sacrifices of the old 
dispensation ; more plainly declared in Job, and in 
the Psalms : — *' His soul draweth near unto the grave, 
and his life to the destroyers. If there be a messenger 
with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew 
unto man his uprightness: then he is gracious unto him, 
and saith — * Deliver Kim from going down to the pit, I 
have found a ransom.' " — " None can by any means re- 
deem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him ;" 
" but God will redeem my soul from the power of the 
grave :" — And marked in language that cannot be mis- 
taken, by the prophet Isaiah : — " All we like sheep have 
gone astray; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity 
of us all." The New Testament Scriptures proclaim 
free unmerited mercy through an atonement : — " God 
so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, 
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but 



have everlasting life." — " God commemlctli his love to- 
ward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died 
for us." — " The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God 
is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." 

The Influence of the Sp[iut in applying this 
doctrine is the next essential point. Had Christ 
by his death purchased only pardon, he had not con- 
ferred happiness. A rebel may be pardoned; but if 
compelled to live under the government of a sove- 
reign he hates, and to pay a feigned submission to laws 
that he abhors, he could never be happy ; while a traitor 
in heart, the very favours he received would render him 
miserable. It was therefore promised by the mouth of 
Moses: — " The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, 
and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with 
all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest 
live;" and earnestly prayed for by David : — " Create in 
me a clean heart, O God : and renew a right spirit with- 
in me." Jesus announced, with the solemn repeated as- 
severation. Verily ! verily.! his declaration, "Except a 
man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God j" 
but he also said, " Ask and it shall be given you, seek 
and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto 
you ;" with this additional encouragement, " If ye being 
evil know how to give good gifts unto your childi'en, 
how much more shall your heavenly Father give the 
Holy Spirit to them that ask him ;" and, before he de- 
parted from his disciples, he promised that he would 
send from the Father the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, 
to teach them all things, and guide them into all 


Renewed by this Spirit, men become the wilb'ng sub- 
jects of the Redeemer, and, acting from a principle of 
love, find his yoke easy, and his burden light ; they ac- 
count his service perfect freedom ; the joy of the Lord 
is their strength ; they delight to do his will, they run in 
the way of his commandments ; the love of Christ con- 
straineth them; for they thus judge, that if one died for 
all, then were all dead ; and that he died for all, that they 
which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, 
but unto him who died for them, and rose again. From 
the love thus produced proceeds all acceptable obedi- 
ence ; it is the mark of Christian morality, as Christian 
morality is the test of genuine love — " If ye love me, 
keep my commandments." 

Christian jiorals are consequences, not causes — 
they are the good fruit of a good tree — and, therefore, 
the propriety of the Saviour's remarks, which many who 
plead strenuously for the excellence of the mofels he 
taught are apt to overlook, " Either make the tree good 
and his fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and 
his fruit corrupt." Christian morality is thus beautiful- 
ly summed up by the Apostle of the Gentiles : — " Ren- 
der therefore to all their dues, tribute to whom tribute, 
custom to v/hom custom, honour to whom honour. 
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another; for he 
that loveth another hath fulfilled the law: For this, thou 
shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not kill, thou 
shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, thou 
shalt not covet ; and if there be any other command- 
ment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying. Thou 
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no 


ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of 
the law." 

Being restored to the favour of God by the blood of 
the atonement, and created anew in Christ Jesus unto 
good works, believers are sealed by the Holy Spirit of 
God unto the day of redemption ; they are set upon a 
rock, and their way is established ; they are enabled to 
be sober, and watch unto prayer; and this spirit of watch^ 
fulness, dependence, and prayer, is kept alive in their 
hearts by the grace of God, through faith in the awful 
unseen realities of eternity ; they remember " that the 
end of all things is at hand." 

Rewards and Punishments. — Having revealed to man 
his lost estate, and the means of his recovery, Christiani- . 
ty presents before his view the consummation of all 
things, in the final award of those who receive or reject 
the gospel : and that there may be no cavil, man is to be . 
judged according to his works — the fate of the tree will 
depend upon the fruit. Be not deceived — God is not 
mocked; whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also 
reap; for he that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap 
corruption ; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of 
the Spirit reap life everlasting ! And this award shall 
never be recalled ; the same faithfulness and truth that 
stand pledged for the eternal security of the never-end- 
ing happiness of the righteous, are awfully engaged for the 
final irrevocable unmitigated duration of misery to the 
wicked — " And these shall go away into everlasting pun- 
ishment ; but the righteous into life eternal," 



These are external and internal. The external au- 
thenticate the facts naiTated respecting the personal history 
of the founder, and the progress of his religion. This is 
done by proving that the original record of these facts is a 
genuine document, written by the persons to whom it is 
ascribed : and that this document is in its principal con- 
tents corroborated by undoubted witnesses. Macknight, 
in his Credibility of the Gospel History, and Lardner, 
have fully exhibited and amply elucidated this branch of 
evidence, which Paley has summed up and concentrated 
with great elegance and perspecuity in his popular and 
well known work. It may here be sufficient to ob- 
serve, that no production of antiquity has been attested 
with such an overwhelming and indisputable mass of tes- 
timony, and that no other rational account, than that 
contained in the New Testament, has ever been given of 
the origin and spread of a religion which has superseded 
Judaism, and overturned the whole system of Paganism 
in Europe. 

The internal are those contained in the record itself, 
which carry conviction to the mind in its perusal, that 
it is no legend, but a faithful transcript of real veritable 
authority. Such are the consistancy of the several parts 
of the Scriptures with each other, the purity and perfec- 
tion of the doctrines they contain, and their agreement 
with the moral attributes and perfections of the Deity, 
their suitableness to the present state of man, and their 



tendency to promote the good of society, and advance 
the present as well as future happiness of the human 
race.* Soame Jenyns, Porteus in his Essay on the 
Beneficial Effects of Christianity, and Paley, have illus- 
trated this other branch. 

The evidence arising from miracles rests upon the 
truth of the narration respecting them, and therefore 

* These writings contain various and numerous incidents of time, place, 
persons, names, and things : occasional discourses, differences of style, e» 
pistles in answer to epistles, aaid passages cited from those wliich they an- 
swer, directions and observations suited to the state of several churches, 
seeming contradictions and real difficulties which might easily have been 
avoided, things mentioned which worldly considerations would have sup- 
pressed, and things omitted which invention and imagination might have 
supplied. A character of Christ, arismg from his words and actions, of a 
most singular kind, left to its intrinsic merit, and aided by no art : and, in 
the writings of St. Paul, sentiments, warm, pathetic, and coming from the 
heart : particularities in each gospel suitable to the character, situation, 
and circumstances of each Evangelist. 

There is not one page in the New Testament which affords not internal 
characters of being composed by men who lived at the time when the things 
happened which are there related. The discourses of Christ are always 
occasional, and full of allusions to particular incidents. The historical 
parts of the New Testament, and the travels of Christ and his Apostles, 
correspond with the accounts and descriptions which may be collected 
from other authors. In the judgment which Pilate passed upon Christ, 
the rules of the Roman law was observed. What is accidentally mention- 
ed concerning the behaviour of Felix and Galleo, and some others, agree 
with the character Roman writers have given of them. There are endless 
particularities of this kind which might be produced. 

A man of very ordinary abilities, who relates various things of which he 
has been an ear and an eye witness, is under no difficulty or pain ; but a 
forger, if he had the abilities of an angel, whose imagination must supply 
him with materials, can never write In such a manner, and, if he has tole- 
rable sense, will avoid entering into such minute details in which he must 
perpetually expose his ignorance and his iMshonesty. -—Jor tin' sRernarks on 
Ecclesiastical History, vol. I. p. 49-50. 


ranges under the external proofs ;* but there Is another 
which is insulated, yet of itself is of superior force — 

The evidence of prophecy. — Moses gives a test by 
which the Talidity of such an evidence may be tried : — 
" And if ye shall say in thine heart, How shall we know 
the word which the Lord hath not spoken ? When a 
prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing 
follow not nor come to pass, that is the thing which the 
Lord hath not spoken." The authenticity of Christ's pre- 
dictions was put to this test, and vindicated by their accom- 
plishment — particularly those respecting the total destruc- 
tion of the city and temple of Jerusalem — the coming of 
false Christs, and false prophets, magicians, and sorcer- 

* The Christian miracles may be referred to four periods. The Q^st 
period contains those which are recorded in the New Testament, and 
reaches to about A. D. TO. Of these there can be no doubt among Christians. 
The next period may be of thirty-seven years, and ends about A. D. 107 
There is reason to think it probable that some miracles were then perform- 
ed by those who preached and planted the Gospel in Pagan countries. 
The third reaches from thence to Constantine. For some of the miracles 
in these ages, in the second and third centuries, so much could be alleged 
as should restrain us from determining too positi%'ely against them, and de- 
nying them all. The last period is from Constantine to where you please, 
the defence of which may be left to these who are inclined to undertake it 
at the hasaxd of misapplying their pains. One sort of miracle seems to 
have been much wanted, and that was to cast the " romancing devil" out 
of the Christians of those time* -, howbeitthis kind goeth not out so easily, 
and stands in awe of no exorcisms. If it be asked when miraculous pow- 
ers ceased ? the proper ar^swer seems to be, that these powers cease to us 
when we cease to find satisfactory evidence for them. But it may not be 
amiss to declare once for all, that I would not engage for the truth of any of 
them after A. D. 107, and that I desire as to this point to be ranked not 
among the deniers and rejecters, but among the doubters. — Jor/in's Re- 
marks, vol. I. p. 285-6. 


ers, leading the people to the deserts — famines — pesti- 
lences — earthquakes — fearful sights and great signs from 
heaven— the persecution of the apostles — the apostacy 
of some Christians — a preservation of the faithful — the 
spreading of the gospel through the Roman world — the 
Roman standards defiling the holy place — the city en- 
compassed with armies, walls, and trenches — the retiring 
of the Christians to the mountains — the greatest tribula- 
tion that ever was known — the time when these things 
should happen* — the comparative happiness of the bar- 
ren woman when a mother killed and eat her own child 
— wars and rumours of wars, nation rising against nation, 
and kingdom against kingdoni — the sea and the waves 
roaring — the dispersion of the captive Jews through all 
nations — the continuance of the desolation — and a short- 
ning of the days of vengeance for the sake of the elect, — 
all which things came to pass: And the history of the ful- 
filment of these prophecies is preserved by a Jew [Jose- 
phus], whose prejudices would have led him rather to 
controvert than confirm the authority of Jesus, as well 
as by Pagan writers who despised him. 

The predictions of the Apostles concerning Antichrist are 
at this moment fulfilling — " Let no man deceive you by 
any means, for that day shall not come except there come 
a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the 
son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself 
above all that is called God, or that is worshipped ; so 
that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing 

This generation shall not pass away till all these things be fulfilled. 


himself that he is God;" " even him whose coming is 
after the working of Satan, with all power and signs, 
and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of un- 
righteousness." Now, the Spirit speaketh expressly, 
that, in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, 
giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, 
speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared 
with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to 
abstain from meats, which God hath created to be receiv- 
ed with thanksgiving of them which believe and know 
the truth. 

This argument is well stated by Dr. Dick in his 
Essay on the Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures : — " In 
the writings of Paul and John, it is foretold that a cer- 
tain power should arise which would assume the charac- 
ters and attributes of divinity, change the laws and ordi- 
nances of heaven, work signs and lying wonders to con- 
firm its usurped authority and impious tenets, and perse-, 
cute with unrelenting fury those who should refuse to 
submit to its dominion. What is still more remarkable, 
it is foretold that this power would profess the Christian 
religion ; for the man of sin is represented as sitting not 
in a temple of idols, but in the temple of God. Some of 
the doctrines and practices which he would impose upon 
mankind are specified, and the very place where he 
would erect his throne is pointed out — the imperial city 
of Rome."* Let any person seriously consider this ac- 
count, with all its particulars, and he will be convinced 

« 2 Thessal. ii. 1.— 2 Tim. iv. 1—3.— Rev. xtu. die* 


that nothing was more improbable than the appearance 
of such a power at the time when its rise was predicted. 
Who could have imagined that any person calling him- 
self by the name of Christ would dare to usurp his place, 
and style himself the head of his church ; would carry 
his impiety and arrogance so far as to claim the titles of 
Lord and God, and the attributes of holiness and infal- 
libility ; would have the audacity to interpose his man- 
dates in cases already decided by the supreme authority 
of heaven; to prohibit what God had permitted and com- 
manded, and to enjoin what he had forbidden ? Who 
could have supposed that Christians, in the days of the 
apostles, so enlighted and so jealous of theii' spiritual 
liberties, would ever become so stupid and indifferent as 
to allow such a power to raise itself on the ruins of their 
religion and their reason, and to exercise an imperious 
sway over their bodies and their consciences ? Could 
fancy in its wildest workings have conceived, that Home, 
the mistress of the world, the city where the Cajsars 
reigned, and idolatry triumphed in the plenitude of pow- 
er and splendour ; that Rome, where Christianity was 
little known, and was known only to be hated and pro- 
scribed, would at some future period acknowledge as its 
sovereign a Christian priest ? Nothing could have been 
more remote from the apprehensions of men; and if 
such an event or combination of events had by some 
chance been suggested, it would have been deemed equal- 
ly absurd, as the most extravagant dream ora madman. 
Yet these improbable predictions have been most punctu- 
ally fulfilled in all their circumstances, as Protestant 
writers have unanswerably proved. 


And the prophecy of the Apocalypse, which concludes 
the sacred volume, of which some parts are fulfilled, some 
are fulfilling, and some will extend to the utmost age of 
the world, when time shall be no more, when faith shall 
be swallowed up in vision, and unbelief shall yield to 
dreadful reality — all concur to set the stamp of divini- 
ty on the Scriptures of the New Testament ; and every 
succeeding age gives additional strength to this evidence ; 
— it is a constant, increasing, unanswerable evidence. 

But there remains a section, the most important, be- 
cause the most essential for the welfare of the individu- 
al. — THE EVIDENCE OF THE Sptrit, which they that be- 
lieve on Jesus shall receive. *' In this sense," remarks 
Dr. Doddridge, " though the miraculous communication 
of the Spu-it be ceased, he that believes hath still the witr 
ness in himself: and while the Spirit beareth witness with 
his spii-it, that he is a child of God, he cannot doubt but 
that the word by which he was, as it were, begotten unto 
him is indeed a divine and incorruptible seed. And, per- 
haps, there are certain seasons of pressing temptation in 
which the most learned as well as most illiterate will 
find this the surest anchor of the soul."* This gives to 
the word of God an efficac^: without which the most 
splendid array of evidence is of little avail. The miracles 
and preaching of Jesus Christ himself do not appear to 
have been extensively successful in collecting proselytes ; 
but when he had ascended, and when the Spirit from on 
high was poured out, three thousand were added to the 

Three Sermons on the Evidences of Christianity. 


church by one sermon of the Apostle Peter. " AVlien 
writers against infidelity," says Dr, Dick, " deny, or 
overlook the necessity of the illuminating and regenerat- 
ing influences of the Spirit, they defend a religion, A 
fundamental article of which they do not know, or they 
are too proud to admit. A conviction of the under- 
standing is not always followed by the consent of the 
heart, as is plain from the instance of the Pharisees, 
Mark iii. 22 — 30. A supernatural influence, therefore, 
acting on the minds of those whom they addressed, must 
have accompanied the discourses of the first Christian 
Missionaries, rendering them effectual to conquer strong 
prejudices, controul imperious lusts, and cause a com- 
plete revolution in the ideas, principles, inclinations, and 
conduct of myriads of converts. What the discourses 
of the apostles did, their writings may be said to have 
done — there is no reason for making any distinction." If 
this argument require any additional illustration, it will 
be read in letters of light, in the progress of the Gospel 
in our own day, in the northernmost regions of our globe, 
among the formerly brutal, now humanized Greenlanders, 
and in the softer isles of the Pacific Ocean, among the 
once depraved and licentious Polynesians, who have re- 
ceived the law, and whose modest and chaste behaviour 
adorn the profession of Christianity. 



The advantages of Christianity are commensur£?tef 
with the existence of man, — life and immortality are 
brought to light by the Gospel ; — yet the advantages it 
confers upon the briefer space of mortal life, are incalcu- 
lable, " though, being chiefly felt in the obscurity of 
private stations, they necessarily escape the observation 
of history."* 

From the first general notification of Christianity to 
the present day, there have been in every age many 
millions whose names were never heard of, made bet- 
ter by it, not only in their conduct, but in their dis- 
position ; ^nd happier, not so much in their external 
circumstances, as in that which is inter prcBcordia, 
in that which alone deserves the name of happiness, 
the tranquillity and consolation of their thoughts. It 
has been, since its commencement, the author of vir- 
tue and happiness to millions and millions of the human 
race. It has descended into families, has diminished the 
pressure of private tyranny, improved every domestic en- 
dearment, given tenderness to the parent, humanity to 
the master, respect to superiors, and to inferiors security 
and ease ; and left throughout all the dependencies and 
connections of social life evident marks of its benevolent 
spirit. It has insensibly worked itself into the inmost 
frame and constitution of civil states. It has given a 
tinge to the complexion of their governments, to the 
temper and administration of their laws. It has softened 

* Paley; quoted by Adams, Relig. World, Vol. I. p. 198. 



the rigour of despotism, and tamed the insolence of con- 
quest. It has in some degree taken away the edge of 
the sword, and thrown even over the horrors of war a 
veil of mercy." " I should love the religion of Christ," 
says Dr. Knox, " even as an heathen philosopher and 
philanthropist, for its beneficent effects on the human 
race. It is the guide of youth, the support of age, the 
repose of the weary, and the refuge of the miserable. 
It arrests the hand of the oppressor, by appaling his con- 
science, or if haply the oppressor should prevail, it teaches 
the oppressed to look with confidence to a Deliverer, 
mighty to save." 


The Church of Jerusalem, founded by the Apostles, 
was the model of all those that were afterwards erect- 
ed during the first century. In these early times every 
Christian church consisted of the people, their mini- 
sters, and deacons. " The people were undoubtedly the 
first in authority; for the Apostles shewed by their ex- 
ample, that nothing of moment was to be carried on or 
determined without the consent of the assembly, which 
chose their own rulers and teachers, or received them by 
a free and authoritative consent when recommended by 
others."* Their Ministers [i. c, servants] were indiscrmi- 

* Mosheim.— It seems evident, however, from " The Acts of the Apos- 
tles," that the primitive " elders" were nominated by the Apostles and 


nately called Elders, Bishops, Presbyters, Pastors ; were 
equal in rank ; and no one assumed any authority over 
their brethren. The Deacons were those who managed 
the temporalities of the church, with which the pastors 
at first did not interfere ; accounting it their highest hon- 
our and privilege to be entirely devoted to prayer and 
the ministry of the word. " Three or four Presbyters," 
continues Mosheim, " men of remarkable piety and 
candour, ruled their small congregations in perfect har- 
mony ; nor did they stand in need of any president or 
superior to maintain concord and order where no dis- 
sentions were known. But the number of Presbyters 
and Deacons increasing with that of the churches, and 
the sacred work of the ministry growing more painful and 
weighty by a number of additional duties, these new cir- 
cumstances required new regulations. It was then judg- 
ed necessary that one man of distinguished gravity and 
wisdom should preside in the council of Presbyters, in 
order to distribute among his colleagues theu- several 
tasks, and to be a centre of union to the whole society. 
This person was at first styled the Angel (Rev. ii. 3.) of 
the church to which he belonged, but was afterwards 
distinguished by the name of Bishop or Inspector. Let 
none, however," he adds, " confound the Bishops of this 
primitive and golden period of the church with those 
of whom we read in the following ages ; for though they 
were both distinguished by the same name, yet they differ- 
ed extremely, and that in many respects. A Bishop, during 
the first and second centuries, was a person who had the 
care of one Christian assembly, which, at that time, was, 
generally speaking, small enough to be contained in a pri- 


vate house ; in this assembly he acted not so much with the 
authority of a master as with the zeal and diligence of a 
faithful servant. He instructed the people, performed 
the several parts of divine worship, attended the sick, 
and inspected into the circumstances and supplies of the 
poor. He charged, indeed, the Presbyters with the per- 
formances of those duties and services which the multi- 
plicity of his engagements rendered it impossible for him 
to fulfil ; but had not the power to decide or enact any 
thing without the consent of the Presbyters and 

At length, however, the titles of metropolitans, pri- 
mates, and other dignities being introduced ; the form of 
church government deviated as much in its difference of 
rank and haughtiness of domination from the simplicity 
of Apostolic times, as the church itself did in the tau- 
tology of its liturgies, the pomp of its ritual, and the 
showy magnificence of its service, from the purity of doc- 
trine, and consequent efiicacy of its primitive ministra- 


The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch, 
about the year A. D. 43. " When the first teachers of 
the Gospel, the apostles of Jesus, died," Jortin remarks, 
" their authority in a great measure died with them, and 
devolved not upon their successors — but it still lives in 
their writings," which contain the only code of Christian 
law, and the only veritable record of Christian history 


during that period which was to form the model and ex- 
hibit the example of a Christian church. 

A clear and unpolluted fountain, fed by secret channels 
with the dew of heaven, when it grows a large river, and 
takes a long and winding course, receives a tincture from 
the various soils through which it passes. Thus Christiani- 
ty, plain and simple in its principles, and calculated for ge- 
neral utility, when it became a bulky system, was tainted 
in its progress by the different nations through which it 
passed. One may trace in it the genius of the loquacious 
and ever-wrangling Greeks : the imagination of the enthu- 
siastic Africans, sublimed by the heat of a tropical sun : 
the fooleries of the superstitious Egyptians, whose fertile 
soil and warm climate produced monks and hermits, 
swarming like animals sprung from the impregnated mud 
of the Nile : and the proud domineering spirit of the 
ambitious and political Romans, who were resolved to 
rule over the world in one shape or other. To these 
may be added the Jewish contracted and illiberal zeal 
for trifles — the learned subtlety of the gentile philoso- 
phers — and the pomp and ceremony of Paganism. 

This sketch forms a brief outline of the progress of 
what is called the Christian church, from its humble but 
divine origin, when the source of its prosperity was the 
effusion of the Spirit, like dew from the womb of the 
morning, till it lost that distinctive character which the 
king of martyrs gave it before the tribunal of Pilate, and 
became established by law an essential part and portion 
of the kingdoms of this world. From that period till the 
Reformation, darkness covered the earth, and gross 
darkness the people. With the Reformation sprung up, 

H 2 


or revived, sometimes under the same, sometimes under 
different names, the various sects which have ever since 
divided the Christian world, and of which the following 
pages will give some account. 

Even the Apostolic age was not free from mistake j 
and Newton, in his Review of Ecclesiastical History, 
has shewn that the seeds of all errors and heresies, the 
fashionable of his day, as well as those more generally 
despised, were sown m the first age, and appeared so 
early as to give occasion for the Apostle's censures against 
them; and has assigned in general the principles to which 
all these delusions may be reduced — the springs to which 
these inebriating streams may be traced, " for," as he 
aptly remarks, " the operations of the human mind seem 
to be much more simple and limited than we are ordi- 
narily aware. As there can be no new truths, though 
every truth appears new to us which we have not known 
before, so it is probable there can be now no new errors j 
at least it is certain that a competent knowledge of an- 
tiquity, or even a careful perusal of the Apostles' writ- 
ings, will furnish sufficient evidence that some modern 
authors and teachers are by no means the inventors of 
the ingenious schemes they have presented to the pub- 
lic. Truth, like the sun, maintains a constant course ; 
every thing would stagnate and die if we were deprived 
of it for a single day ; but errors are like comets, which, 
though too eccentric to be subject exactly to our compu- 
tations, yet have their periods of approach and recess, 
and some of them have appeared and been admired, and 
have been withdrawn and forgot over and over again." 
Were Christianity to be traced only in the lives of 


those who have received its doctrines and exemplified it 
in their conduct, the story of its conquests, though de- 
h'ghtful, would be wonderfully circumscribed ; that, how- 
ever, is impossible, either in the communion of the 
church, or in her history — the tares have sprung up with 
the wheat from the beginning, and will so continue to 
the end. It is well where they are not cherished as 
wheat. Unhappil}^, ecclesiastical story exhibits a woeful 
neglect of our Lord's caution — " let both grow together 
until the harvest;" and in the persecutions of the truly 
pious, striking but melancholy illustrations of the divine 
wisdom that dictated it — " lest, while ye gather up the 
tares, ye root up also the wheat with them." 

For some ages Christians exhibited, in the bitterness 
of their revillings, the admixture of worldly wrath, which 
had usurped the garb of holy zeal, until, upon obtaining 
power, their priesthood adopted the principles and prac- 
tice of the heathen they had displaced. Rancorous con- 
troversy has ever been the token of a decline in practi- 
cal piety: — the forerunner of mortal persecution, where 
the means were afforded, against the conscientious ad- 
herents of truth, of contempt or disgust for Christianity 
itself among supei-ficial inquirers, and of a happy repose 
in indolent conformity to the ruling party among the 

It is worthy of remark, that error or {)hilosophy can 
boast ofjfew martyrs. True Christianity owes much to 
persecution — the blood of the martyrs has been the seed 
of the church ; while the sufferings of the saints have 
generally winnowed the corn from the chaff. Perse- 


cution first arose from a nation who gloried in being the 
peculiar people of God, then from the heathen ; the 
severest, however, have been inflicted by a church which 
styles herself, by way of pre-eminence, " Catholic." 


The first Pagan persecution is remarkable for giving 
rise to a strong corroborative evidence from a heathen 
writer, with regard to the origin and progress of Christi- 
anity. Nero, whose name has become a synonime for 
tyranny and cruelty, was reported to have set fire to 
Rome ; and as he appeared in the dress of an actor enjoy- 
ing the awful conflagration as a theatrical entertainment, 
" neither the Emperor's donations, nor the atonements 
offered to the gods, could remove the scandal of this re- 
port;* but it was still believed that the city had been 
burned by his instigation. Nero, therefore, to put a stop 
to the rumour, charged the fact, and inflicted the sever- 
est punishment for it upon the Christians, as they were 
commonly called — a people detestable for their crimes. 
The author of this sect was Christ, who, in the reign of 
Tiberius, was put to death by Pontius Pilate. The 
destructive superstition, which was by this means suppres- 
sed for the present, soon broke out again, and not only 
overspread Judea, where it first arose, but reacK jd even 
to Rome, where all abominations from every quarter are 

» Tacitus. 


sure to meet and to find acceptance. Some who con 
fessed themselves Christians were first apprehended, anj 
a vast multitude afterwards, upon their impeachment, 
who were condemned, not so much for burning the city 
as for being the objects of universal hatred. Their suf- 
ferings and torments were heightened by mockery and 
derision. Some were enclosed in the skins of wild beasts, 
that they might be torn to pieces by dogs ; others were 
crucified ; and others, being covered with inflammable 
matter, were lighted up as torches at the close of the 
day. These spectacles were exhibited in Nero's gardens, 
where he held a kind of Circensian show, either mixing 
with the populace in the habit of a charioteer, or him- 
self contending in the race. Hence it came to pass that 
criminal, and undeserving of mercy as they were, yet 
they were pitied, as being destroyed merely to gratify his 
savage and cruel disposition, and not with any view to 
the public good." 

In this persecution, the apostles, Paul and Peter, are 
said to have fallen ; but so far from the latter having oc- 
cupied any conspicuous station in the Imperial city, it is 
not certain whether he ever was within her walls. The 
other persecutions under the Emperors which followed, 
have usually been all included in the ten Heathen Perse^ 
cutinns ; but the number is inaccurate. Besides that just 
noticed, the principal were those under Domitian, A. D. 
93; Trajan, 104; Hadrian, 125; M. Aurelius, 151; 
Severus, 197; Maximin, 235; Decius, 250; Valerian, 
257 ; Aurelian, 272 ; Numerian, 283 ; Dioclesian, and 
]Maxiraian and Licinius, 303 — 313. 

Excepting Nero and Domitian, it is remarkable that 


the most profligate and abandoned of the Heathen Em- 
perors were those in whose reigns the Christians suffer- 
ed least, while the moral, philosophical, and pious, were 
the most determined opposers and persecutors of the 
faith ; and that, while they could bring no charge against 
them for any crime calculated to disturb the peace, or 
injure the interest of society. A most striking instance 
of this occurs in the persecution under Trajan : it is pre- 
served in a letter of the younger Pliny, then governor of 
Bithynia, written to the Emperor, requesting instruc- 
tions respecting the mode of treatment to be adopted 
towards Christians : — " It is my usual custom, Sir, to 
refer all things of wjiich I harbour any doubts to you. 
For who can better direct my judgment in its hesitation, 
or instruct my understanding in its ignorance ? I never 
had the fortune to be present at any examination of 
Christians before I came into this province, I am there- 
fore at a loss to determine what is the usual object 
either of inquiry or of punishment, and to what length 
either of them is to be carried. It has also been with 
me a question very problematical, whether any distinction 
should be made between the young and the old, the ten- 
der and the robust : whether any room should be given 
for repentance, or the guilt of Christianity once incurred 
is not to be expiated by the most unequivocal retracta- 
tion : whether the name itself, abstracted from any flagi- 
tiousness of conduct, or the crimes connected with the 
name, be the object of punishment. In the meantime, 
this hath been my method with respect to those who were 
brought before me as Christians : — I asked them whether 
f hey were Christians ? If they pleaded guilty, I interros 


gated them twice afresh, with a menace of capital pun- 
ishment. In case of obstinate perseverance, I ordered 
them to be executed ; for of this I had no doubt what- 
ever was the nature of their religion, that a sullen and 
obstinate inflexibility called for the vengeance of the 
magistrate. Some w^ere infected with the same mad- 
ness, whom, on account of their privilege of citizenship, 
I reserved to be sent to Rome to be referred to your 
tribunal. In the course of this business, informations 
pouring in, as is usual when they are encouraged more 
cases occurred. An anonymous libel was exhibited, 
with a catalogue of names of persons who yet declared 
that they were not Christians then, or ever had been ; 
and they repeated after me an invocation of the gods 
and of your image, which, for this purpose, I had order- 
ed to be brought with the images of the deities. They 
performed sacred rites with wine and frankincense, and 
execrated Christ ; none of which things, I am told, a 
real Christian can ever be compelled to do. On this 
account I dismissed them. Others, named by an infor- 
mer, first affirmed, and then denied the charge of Chris- 
tianity, declaring they had been Christians, but had 
ceased to be so some years ago, others still longer, some 
even twenty years ago. All of them worshipped your 
image and the statues of the gods, and also execrated 
Christ. And this was the account which they gave of 
the nature of their religion they once professed, whether 
it deserves the name of crime or error, namely, that they 
were accustomed on a stated day to meet before daylight, 
and to repeat among themselves a hymn to Christ as to 
a god, and bind themselves by an oath, with an obliga- 


tion of not committing any wickedness, but, on the con- 
trary, of abstaining from thefts, robberies, and adulteries ; 
also of not violating their promise, or denying a pledge ; 
after which it was their custom to separate, and to meet 
again at a promiscuous harmless meal ; from which last 
practice, however, they desisted, after the publication of 
my edict ,* in which, agreeably to your orders, I forbade 
any societies of that sort. On which account I judged 
it the more necessary to inquire, by torture, from two 
females, who were said to be deaconesses, what is the real 
truth — but nothing could I collect except a depraved and 
excessive superstition. Deferring, therefore, any farther 
investigation, I determined to consult you ; for the num- 
ber of culprits is so great as to call for serious consulta- 
tion. Many persons are informed against, of every age, 
and of both sexes, and more still will be in the same 
situation. The contagion of the superstition hath spread 
not only through cities, but even in villages and the 
country. Not that I think it impossible to check and to 
correct it. The success of my endeavours hitherto for- 
bids such desponding thoughts ; for the temples, once al- 
most desolate, begin to be frequented ; and the sacred 
solemnities, which had long been intermitted, are now at- 
tended afresh ; and the sacrificial victims are now sold 
every where, which once could scarcely find a purchaser. 
Whence I conclude, that many might be reclaimed, were 
the hope of impunity on repentance absolutely con- 

The moral principles which these Christians professed 
ought to have recommended them to any wise magistrate; 


but so thought not the Heathen philosophers. Their 
calumniators were encouraged; and when Justin, in his 
first Apology, presented to Marcus Aurelius about A. D. 
151 — 2, said to the Emperor, we desire a fair trial and 
no favour, if we are guilty punish us, if we are innocent 
protect us, their reasonable equitable request was little 
attended to ; although accompanied by this noble de- 
claration, — we do not desire you to punish our calumni- 
ators, their own wickedness and ignorance is punishment 

Persecution continued, yet the same Apologist could 
say ; — " We are slain with the sword, we are crucified, 
we are cast to the wild beasts, we are bound with chains, 
tortured, and burned ; and yet we are not only con- 
stant to our profession, but we increase and multiply — 
the more we are persecuted and destroyed, the more are 
added to our numbers. As a vine, by being pruned and 
cut close, puts forth new shoots, and bears a greater a- 
bun dance of fruit, so it is with us, who are the vine which 
God and his Christ have planted." 

If the Christians increased during the periods of per- 
secution, they increased doubly during the intervals of 
peace, till, in the reign of Constantine, they are confident- 
ly asserted to have outnumbered the Pagans ; but the 
accession of numbers formed no real accession of 
strength. Nominal professors abounded, men who had 
the form, but denied the power of religion ; and this was 
lamentably shewn during each successive perescution 
after the middle of the second century, by the increas- 
ing proportion of those who appostatized daring each 



successive time of trouble, and again applied for admis- 
sion into the church when the storm had passed by.* 

Julian was the last of the Heathen Emperors. lie 
had been brought up in, but apostatized from the faith ; 
his inveteracy to Christianity was extreme ; yet he affect- 
ed to despise the profession, and wished rather to shew 
his contempt by harassing vexations, than by sanguinary 
executions. To disprove the prophecies of Christ, and 
get rid of that unassailable standing miracle, the ex- 
istance of the Jews as a nation in a dispersed state, he 
attempted to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem. His 
avowed contest between Paganism and Christianity was 
decided by a miraculous display of divine power, — balls 
of fire bursting from the earth dispersed the workmen, 
and put an end to the undertaking. The miracle is at- 
tested by both Heathen and Christian writers, has been 
elucidated by Warburton in his " Julian," and has not 
even been doubted by Gibbon. 

* Eusebius gives the following character of the Christians towards the 
close of the third century :— •" Through too much liberty, the Chris- 
tians grew negligent and slothful, envying and reproaching one another, 
waging, as it were, civil wars among themselves : Bishops quarrelling with 
Bishops, and the people divided into parties. Hypocricy and deceit were 
grown to the highest pitch of wickedness. They were become so insen- 
sible as not to think of appeasing the divine anger : but, like Atheists, they 
thought the world destitute of any providential government and care, 
and thus added one crime to another. The Bishops themselves had tlirown 
off all concern about religion, and did nothing but quarrel, and envy, and 
hate one another ; they were full of ambition, and tyrannically used their 
power." It has been sometimes alleged, that the temporal establishment 
of religion and its alliance with the state were the causes of its corruption— 
the opposite appears the fact, they were the consequences. 


From that time till the Reformation, the existence of 
the Christian religion itself is a miracle. The accumula- 
tion of superstition, idolatry, and wealth, during ages of 
ignorance, would have smothered every spark of vitality 
in the body, had it not been preserved among a few dis- 
persed members in the sequestered vallies or inacces- 
sible rocks of the Alps, in the distant regions and un- 
heeded districts of the empire, while the sacred volumes, 
coffined in an unknown tongue, were sepulchered in the 
cloisters of the Papacy. 




SfC. c^. 

Having given this preliminary account of Atheism, De- 
ism, Theop/iilajithropism, Paganism, Judaism, Mahomet- 
anism, and Christianity, we now proceed to the denomina- 
tions in the Christian world. In the first ages of Chris- 
tianity there were various sects which have long ago 
sunk into oblivion, and whose names therefore exist only 
in the pages of ecclesiastical history. It is not our pur- 
pose even to glance at these ancient sects, but only briefly 
to notice those which in the present day attract our atten- 
tion. The most distinguished may be included under 
the following arrangement: — Opinions respecting the 
person of Christ ; respecting the means and measure of 
God's favour; and respecting Church Government, to- 
gether with the administration of ceremonies. 




Jesus Christ being the medium by which the Deity 
hath imparted a knowledge of his will to mankind, the 
person of Christ has been eagerly investigated, and the 
nature of God rendered the subject of rude and unhal- 
lowed controversy. This has filled the religious world 
with violent contentions, nor are they likely to be 
brought speedily to a termination. In the meantime, it 
would become us to discuss this topic with great modes- 
ty and humility. It is, however, my present province to 
state the existing opinions respecting this abstruse sub- 
ject ; it shall be done in a few words, and I hope with a 
degree of accuracy 


The Trinitarian believes the doctrine of a Trinity, 
by which is generally understood, that there are three 
distinct persons in one undivided Godhead — the Father, 

* Dr. Priestly admits, that all the early writers that have come down to 
us from Justin Martyr to Athanasius, from the middle of the second cen- 
tury to the middle of the fourth, were Trinitarians, with the solitary ex- 
ception of the author of the Clementine, Homilies, and Recogniticms.— 
History of Early Opinions, vol, IV, p. 591, quoted by Adam, vol, 11. p. 105, 


the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The word Trinity is not 
to be found in the Bible, but is a scholastic term, deriv- 
ed from the Latin word Trinitas, denoting a three-fold 
unity. Calvin himself reprobates the term, as being 
barbarous, and of human invention. The most learned 
writers entertain such various and contradictory senti- 
ments respecting this mystery, that it is difficult to know 
to whom the term Trinitarian is justly applicable. Wat- 
erland, Howe, Sherlock, Pearson, Burnet, Beveridge, 
Wallis, and Watts, have each of them separate opinions 
on this subject. Dr. Priestly, however, thinks Trinita- 
rians reducible to two classes ; those who believe that 
there is no proper divinity in Christ, beside that of the 
Father, and the class of Tritheists who maintain that 
there are three equal and distinct Gods.* 

* The Doctor must never have read the Westminster Confession of 
Faith, where it is distinctly asserted, that " in the unity of the Godhead 
there be Three persons of one substance, ^ovter, and Eternity;" nor the 
Shorter Catechism, wher?, after the positive avowal, " There is but one 
only, the living and true God ;" the answer to the question, " How many 
persons are there in the Godhead ? is — There are three persons in the 
Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are 
one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory." Yet that Con- 
fession is the standard of the Church of Scotland, of all the Seceders in that 
country, and of a great part of the Presbyterians in Ireland and Ame- 
rica—and the Shorter Catechism is, or ought to be, taught in all the Pa- 
rochial Schools in Scotland. Why it and the Bible are shoved into a cor- 
ner in other seminaries in that country, to make way for Collections, Ex- 
tracts, Beauties, &c. &c. let their patrons tell ; but assuredly, neither the 
discipUne of the schools, nor the morals of the pupils, have been improved 
by the change. 


In this classification, a numerous body of Trinitarians 
are omitted, whose belief is contained in the quotations 
in the note. These all allow that there is much incom- 
prehensibility in the doctrine, and consider it more pro- 
perly an article of faith than a subject of investigation ; 
every attempt to penetrate into which, farther than God 
has expressly revealed in his word, being at best injuidi- 
cious, often dangerous. The doctrine is offered to our 
minds, say they, for reception, as are many of the phe- 
nomina of nature. The fact is declared, the mode is hid, 
and we are not therefore to deny the revealed truth, 
because, in our present state, and with our limited far 
culties, we cannot penetrate the hidden mystery. 


Nearly allied to the class of Tritheists are the Atha- 
nasians, a name derived from Athanasius, a father of the 
Christian church, who lived in the fourth century. The 
creed, which bears his name in the Common Prayer 
Book, is not of his composition ;* and so little attached 

* Most writers before Vossius took it for granted, that what is called the 
Athanasian creed was drawn up by Athanasius, Bishop of Alexondria, in the 
fourth century ; but it is now generally thought not to be his, and to have 
been written originally in Latin for the use of some part of the Christian 
church. It is commonly attributed to Vigilius, the African, who lived about 

wfts Archbishop Tillotson to it, that in writing to Dr„ 
Burnet the historian, he says, " I wish we were well rid 
of it." The episcopal church in America has rejected it.* 
Were the account of the doctrine of the Trinity con- 
tained in this creed ever so just and satisfactory, yet its 
damnatory clauses are highly exceptionable, and have 
given great offence to some of the more sensible and 
worthy members of the established church. On this sub- 
ject, Dr. Prettyman, [Tomline] in his Elements, speaks 
with candour and moderation — *' Great objection has 
been made to the clauses of this creed, which denounce 
eternal damnation against those who do not believe the 
Catholic faith, as here stated ; and it certainly is to be 
lamented, that assertions of so peremptory a nature, un- 
explained and unqualified, should have been used in any 
human composition." The prelate then endeavours to 
account for the introduction of such clauses into the 
creed ; and adds — " We know that different persons 
have deduced different and even opposite doctrines 
from the words of Scripture, and consequently there 

the end of the fifth century. But Dr. Waterland assigns it to Hilary, Bishop 
of Aries, who, about A. D. 430, composed the Exposition of Faith which 
now bears the name of the Athanasian Creed, for the use of the Galilean 
Clergy, and particularly those of the diocese of Aries. This creed, obtain- 
ed in France about A. D. 850, was received in Spain and Germany between 
one or two hundred years later, was used in some parts of Italy, A. D. 966, 
sanctioned at Rome 1014, and acknowledged in Britain since the tenth 
century. — FTaterland's Crit. Hist, of the Atfianas. Creed— Adam, Relig. 
fVorld, vol. II. p. 105—6. 

* This must allude to only a very small section. As a church, the Epis- 
copalian in America now [1S30] receive it. 


must be many errors among Christians ; but since the 
gospel no where informs us what degree of error will ex- 
clude from eternal happiness — I am ready to acknow- 
ledge, that in my judgment, notwithstanding the autho- 
rity of former times, our church would have acted more 
wisely and more consistently with its general principles 
of mildness and toleration, if it had not adopted the dani' 
natojy clauses of the Athanasian creed. Though I firm- 
ly believe, that the doctrines of this creed are all found- 
ed in Scripture, I cannot but conceive it to be both 
unnecessary and presumptuous to say, that " except every 
one do keep them whole and undefiled, without doubt 
he shall perish everlastingly." 

Mr Broughton, in his valuable Dictionary of all Re- 
ligions, under the article Trinity, has the following ex- 
planatory pargraph, which may assist the reader on this 
most abstruse subject. " The doctrine of the Trinity, 
as professed in the Christian church, is briefly this : that 
that there is one God in three distinct persons. Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost ; person signifying here the same 
as essence, with a particular manner of subsistence, which 
the Greek fathers called hypostasis, taking it for the in- 
communicable property that makes a person. The 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are believed to be three 
distinct persons in the divine nature ; because the Holy 
Scriptures, in speaking of these three, so distinguish them 
from one another, as we use in common speech to dis- 
tinguish three several persons. There are many instances 
to this purpose, particularly the form of administering 
the sacrament of baptism, which runs, in the name of the 
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost ; and that solemn 


benediction, with which St. Paul concliiJcs his second 
epistle to the Corinthians : The grace of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, &c. And the thi-ee Witnesses in heaven, mention' 
ed by St. John. This passage has for some time been 
thought an interpolation, and Dr. Tomline gives it up in 
his Elements of Tlieologif.^ 

" Each of these three persons is affirmed to be God, 
because the names, properties, and operations of God, 
are in the Holy Scriptures attributed to each of them. 
The divinity of the Father is out of the question. That 
of the Son is proved from the following texts, among 
many others: — St. John says, T7ie Wordiuas God; St. 
Paul, that God was manifested in the flesh ; that C/mst 
is over all, God blessed for ever. Eternity is attributed 
to the Son : The So7i hath life in himself. Perfection of 
knowledge — As the Father knoweth me, so hiow I the 
Father. The Creation of all things — All things were 
made by him, and ivithout him was not any thing made that 
was made. And we are commanded to honour the Son 
as we honour the Father. The divinity of the Holy 
Ghost rests upon the following proofs, among others — 
Lying to the Holy Ghost is called lying to God. Because 
Christians are the temples of the Holy Ghost, they are 
said to be the temples of God. His teaching all things, 
his guiding into all truth, his telling things to come, his 

* Trinitarians, in arguing with Socinians, consider the doctrine so 
completely established by the other passages of Scripture which asribe to 
Christ all the attributes of God, and to the Holy Spirit a distinct person- 
ality — that even when they do not consider the text as spurious, they are 
willing to pass it over in their reasoning. 


searching all things, even the deep things of God, Szc. are 
alleged as plain characters of his divinity. Besides he is 
joined with God the Father, as an object of faith and 
worship in baptism and the apostolical bendediction. 
This doctrine is called a mystery, because we are not able 
to comprehend the particular manner of existence of the 
three persons in the divine Nature." Dr. Jeremiah 
Taylor remarks with great piety, that " He who goes 
about to speak of the mystery of the Trinity, and does 
it by words and names of man's invention, talking of es- 
sences and existences, hypostases and personalities, pri- 
orities in co-equalities, and unity in pluralities, may 
amuse himself and build a tabernacle in his head, and 
talk something he knows not what ; but the good mauy 
who feels the power of the Father, and to whom the 
Son is become wisdom, sanctification, and redemption, 
in whose heart the love of the Spirit of God is shed 
abroad ; this man, though he understands nothing of what 
is unintelligible, yet he alone truly understands the 
Christian doctrine of the Trinity." 

It were well, if before we made up our mind on this 
intricate article of faith, we were carefully to read Dr. 
"Watt's Essay on the Importance of any Human Schemes 
to explain the Doctrine of the Trinity. This essay 
shews, first, that no such scheme of explication is neces- 
sary to salvation ; secondly, that it may yet be of great 
use to the Christian church ; and, thirdly, that all such 
explications ought to be proposed with modesty to the 
world, and never imposed on the conscience. 

Bishop Burnet tells us, that before the Reformation 
it was usual in England to have pictures of the Trinity. 


God the Father was generally represented in the shape 
of an old man with a triple crown, and rays about his 
head ! The Son, in another part of the picture looked 
like a young man, with a single crown on his head, and 
a radiant countenance. The blessed Virgin was between 
them, in a sitting posture ; and the Holy Ghost, under 
the appearance of a dove, spread his wings over her. 
This picture, he tells us, is still to be seen in a prayer- 
book printed in the 3'ear 1526, according to the ceremoni- 
al of Salisbury. Skippon also tells us, there is at Padua 
a representation of the Trinity, being the figure of an old 
man with three faces and three beards. How contrary 
are these absurd representations of the Deity to the su- 
blime declaration of our Saviour, John iv. 24, " God 
is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him 
in spirit and in truth." 


The Sahellian reduces the three persons in the Trinity 
to three characters or relations. This has been called 
by some a modal Trinity, and the persons who hold it 
Modalists. Sabellius, the founder of this sect, espoused 
the doctrine in the third century.* Of his tenets, the 

* This sect, as it had its rise, so it chiefly prevailed in Upper Eg\'pt, 
wheo-e Sabellius was a Bishop. It was opposed by Dionysius, Bishop of 
Alexandria, and condemned in a Council, held at Rome, A. D. 205 ; in 


accounts are various. Some sa}', he taught that the Fa- 
ther, Son, and Holy Spirit, were one subsistence, and 
one person, with three names ; and that in the Old Tes- 
tament the Deity delivered the law as Father, in the 
New Testament dwelt among men as the Son, and des- 
cended on the Apostles as the Holy Spirit. This opini- 
on gains ground in the principality of Wales.* 

" The Sabellians (says Mr Broughton) make the Wo7'd 
and the Holj/ Spirit to be only virtues, emanations, or 
functions of the Deity. They held, that he who in hea- 
ven is the Father of all things, descended into the Virgin, 
became a child, and was born of her as a Son, and that 
having accomplished the mystery of our salvation, he 
diiFused himself on the Apostles in tongues of fire, and 
was then denominated the Holy Ghost. They resem- 
bled God to the sun, the illuminative virtue or quality 
whereof was the Word, and its warming virtue the Holy 
Spirit. The word they taught was darted like a divine 
ray, to accomplish the work of redemption; and that, 
being re-ascended to heaven, as the ray returns to its 
source, the warmth of the Father was communicated af- 
ter a like manner to the apostles. Such was the lan- 
guage of Sabellians." 

Sabellius having been a disciple of Noetus — Noetians 
is another name by which his followers have sometimes 

another at Alexandria, A. D. 319 ; and seems to have been extinguish- 
ed, till it revived under several modified shapes in the last century. 

* Chiefly among the General Baptists. The Swedenborgians also have 
been charged with it. 


been knovvn. But, according to Mosheim, " his senti- 
ments differed from Noetus in this, that the latter was 
of opinion that the person of the Father had assumed 
the human nature of Christ; whereas the former main- 
tained, that a certain energy only proceeded from the 
Supreme Parent, or a certain portion of the divine na- 
ture was united to the Son of God, the man Jesus; and 
he considered in the same manner the Holy Ghost as a 
portion of the everlasting Father.'* Much confusion, 
however, involves all the accounts which have been 
handed down to us of his tenets, some of them differing 
only in the manner of expression from sentiments deem- 
ed orthodox ; and, perhaps, we ought to judge favour- 
ably, for it has been often remarked, and ought to be 
attended to in all disputable theological points, said to 
be held by ancient Heretics, that the statements of their 
opinions are generally derived from the representations 
of their adversaries, and are therefore liable to suspi- 

Between the system of Sabellianism, and what is ter- 
med the Indwelling scheme, there appears to be a great 
resemblance, if it be not precisely the same, differently 
explained. The Indwelling scheme is chiefly founded 
on that passage in the New Testament, where the apos- 
tle, speaking of Christ, says — " In him dwelleth all the 
fulness of the Godhead bodily." Dr. Watts, towards 
the close of his life, became a Sabellian, and wrote seve- 
ral pieces in defence of it. His sentiments on the Trini- 
ty appear to have been, that " The Godhead, the Deity 
itself, personally distinguished as the Father, was united 


to the man Christ Jesus ; in consequence of which union 
or indwelling of the Godhead, he became properly God," 
Mr. Pahner, in his useful edition of Johnsoti's Life of 
Waits, observes, that Dr. Watts conceived this union to 
have subsisted before the Saviour's appearance in the 
flesh, and that the human soul of Christ existed with the 
Father from before the foundation of the world ; on 
which ground he maintains the real descent of Christ 
from heaven to earth, and the whole scene of his humi- 
liation, which he thought incompatible with the common 
opinion concerning him. Dr. Doddridge is supposed to 
have been of these sentiments, and also Mr. Benjamin 
Fawcet, of Kidderminster, who published a valuable 
piece, entitled. Candid Reflections concerning the Doc- 
trine of the Trinity/. 


Tritheists, or believers on three Gods, is a term of 
obloquy which has most unwarrantably been applied by 
Jews, Socinians, and Unitarians to the modern believers 
in the Trinity. It was, however, the proper name of a 
sect in the sixth century, whose chief was John Ascun- 
age, a Syrian philosopher; and whose notions, if cor- 
rectly represented, merited the appellation. He is said 
to have imagined three natures, or substances, in the 
Deity, absolutely equal in all respects, and joined to- 
gether by no common essence. This doctrine was 


adopted by John Philoponus, an Alexandrian philoso- 
pher and grammarian of high reputation ; and the sect was 
from him denominated Philoponists. Conon, Bishop of 
Tarsus, also agreed in the doctrine of three equal dis- 
tinct Supreme existences; but he differed from the others 
in his views of the resurrection of the bod}^ respecting 
which he held some unintelligible, unessential, and trifling 


Opinions derogatory to the supreme divinity of 
Christ arose even in the Apostles' days, and to them 
we owe the Gospel of John, which, it is generally allow- 
ed, was written to silence the objections of Ebion and 
Cerinthus. These opinions being revived and zealously 
propagated by Arius, received in consequence their name 
from him as their most eminent advocate ; the contro- 
versy to which they gave rise was long and virulent. So- 
crates gives this account of its origin : — " Alexander, 
Bishop of Alexandria, discoursing one day too curiously 
concerning the doctrine of the Trinity in unity, in the 
presence of his presbyters and the rest of his clergy, 
Arius, one of the presbyters, supposed his Bishop to ad- 
vance the doctrine of Sabellius ; and, disliking that, he 
went into an opinion directly opposite." Soon the 
angry passions of the parties mixed in the debate, and 
the cause of truth was degraded by their personal hos- 

K 2 


tilities, the Ortnodox and the Heretics being equally 
guilty of substituting scurrility for argument. A council 
was summoned to settle the dispute ; it consisted of one 
hundred Bishops, and met in the See of Alexandria. The 
tenets of Arius were condemned, and himself excommu- 
nicated. Constantia, the Emperor's sister, having es- 
poused his cause, the Emperor interfered, and endea- 
voured to effect a reconciliation. Flattered by such high 
seconds, both became more refractory and contentious ; 
and Constantine, in order to pat an end to their dir,grace- 
fuf disputes, ordered a " general council," the first ever 
called, to be convoked. It met at Nice, in Bithynia, in 
in the year 325. Three hundred and eighteen Bishops, 
attended by upwards of sixteen hundred inferior eccle- 
siastics, composed the assembly, of which Athanasius, 
then only a deacon in Alexandria, was the chief ortho- 
dox orator. They were nearly unanimous in condemn- 
ing the tenets as heretical. This was what they had a 
right to do ; but they called in the civil magistrate to 
punish the heretic, and he was forthwith banished by 
" the first Christian" Emperor, his books ordered to be 
burned, and a capital punishment denounced against all 
those who should dare to keep them. This was what 
they had no right to do ; and they suffered accordingly 
for introducing such unlawful weapons into Christian 
warfare. Constantia, on her death-bed, urged her bro- 
ther to favour the Arians. He exercised the power the 
orthodox had assigned him, recalled Arius from banish- 
ment, and repealed the laws he had enacted against the 
sect. Athanasius, now exalted to the bishoprick of 
Alexandria, refusing to relax his ecclesiastical censures, . 


another council [A. D. 335] was assembled at Tyre, ana 
he was deposed. This sentence was confirmed by a 
third council, convoked at Constantinople next year, and 
he in his turn was exiled by the Emperor. Arius is said 
to have died by a wonderful judgment of God soon af- 
ter ; but so low had the character even of the orthodox 
become, that his death by poison is not more incredible 
than by miracle. These terrible contentions and perse- 
cutions of the Christians among themselves, caused the 
Pagans reverse the adage, " Behold how these Chris- 
tians love one another," and adopt another, which un- 
hapily became of juster and longer application, " No 
wild beast was so cruel an enemy to man as most of these 
Christians were to each other." 

The Arian derives his name from Arius, a Presbyter 
of Alexandria, who flourished about the year 315, and 
the propagation of whose doctrine occasioned the famous 
council of Nice, assembled by Constantine, in the year 
325. Arius owned Christ to be God in a subordinate 
sense, and considered his death to be a propitiation for 
sin. The Arians acknov/ledge that the Son was the 
word, though they deny its being eternal ; contending, 
that it had only been created prior to all other beings. 
Christ, say they, had nothing of man in him, except the 
flesh, with which the Logos (xoyeg) or luord, spoken of by 
the Apostle John, was united, which supplied the rest. 
The Arians, though they deny that Christ is the eternal 
God, yet they contend against the Socinians for his 
pre-existence. His p-e-existence they found on the two 
Ibilowing passages, ai>iong many others ; — Before Abra- 


ham was, I AM. And the prayer of Jesus — Glorifi/ me 
with that glory which I had ivith thee before the luorld be- 
gan. These, and other texts of a similar kind, are, in 
their opinion, irrefragable proofs that Christ did actual- 
ly exist in another state before he was born of the Vir- 
gin Mary in the Land of Judea. This matter has been 
argued by various writers ; and names of the first cha- 
racter have distinguished themselves in the Arian con- 
troversy. It has also been strongly urged by the advo- 
cates of Arianism, that the pre-existent dignity of Christ, 
accounts for that sjilendid apparatus of prophecies and 
miracles, with which the mission of the Messiah was at- 
tended. In modern times, the term Arian is indiscrimi- 
nately applied to those who consider Jesus simply sub- 
ordinate to the Father. Some of them believe Christ 
to have been the creator of the world; but they all 
maintain that he existed previous to his incarnation, 
though in his pre-existent state they assign him different 
degrees of dignity. Hence the appellation High and 
Low Arian. 

That valuable practical writer, Mr. Job Orton, though 
he never published any thing explicitly on the Trinity, is 
generally supposed, during the latter period of his life, to 
have entertained these sentiments of the person of 
Christ. He used to recommend the two following tracts, 
as having given him the most satisfaction on the sub- 
ject — A sober and Charitable Disquisition on the Impor' 
tance of the Doctrine of the Trinity, by Simon Brown ; 
and A?i Essay towards a Demonstration of the Scripture 
Trinity, by Dr. Scott. Of the system of Arianism, Dr. 
Clarke, in his Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity, Mr. Hen- 


ry Taylor, in his learned work, entitled, Ben Murdecai's 
Apology, Mr. Tomkins, in his Meditator, and Mr. Hop- 
kins, in his Appeal to the Common Sense of all Christian 
People, have been deemed the most able advocates. Mr. 
Whiston, the famous astronomer and translator of Jose- 
phus, revived this controversy in the beginning of the pre- 
sent century. Soon after, Dr. Clarke published his 
celebrated treatise, entitled, the Sonpture Doctrine of the 
Trinity, which was disapproved of by the convocation, and 
answered by Dr. Waterland, who had been charged with 
verging towards Tritheism. " Erasmus, (says the En- 
cyclopaedia Britannica) seemed to have aimed in some 
measure to restore Arianisra at the beginning of the 16th 
centurvjin his Commentaries on the New Testament. Ac- 
cordingly he was reproached by his adversaries with Arian 
interpretations and glosses, Arian tenets, &c. To which 
he made little answer, save that there was no heresy 
more thoroughly extinct than that of the Arians. But 
Erasmus is known to have been exceedingly timid in his 
disposition, and confesses in one of his letters to a friend, 
that he possessed not the spirit of a martyr. Of the 
truth of this declaration, there were many proofs." 

Dr. Price, in his sermons on the Christian doctrine, 
has taken great pains in explaining and defending the 
principles of Ai'ianism. He states at large the nature of 
the doctrine, and enumerates the advantages arising from 
it in the explication of the Scriptures. To these dis- 
courses, the reader is referred, and whatever he may 
think of the arguments urged in favour of that system, 
he must admire the truly Christian spii'it with which they 
we written. 


The modern history of the Arian controversy may be 
found in a pamphlet, entitled, " An account of all the 
considerable Books and Pamphlets that have been wrote 
on either side, in the controversy concerning the Trini- 
ty, from the year 1712; in which is also contained an 
Account of the Pamphlets written this last year on each 
side by the Dissenters, to the end of the year 1719 ; pub- 
lished at London, 1720." 

Thomas Emlyn, a pious and learned divine, should be 
mentioned here, since he has been rendered memorable 
for his sufferings in the cause of Arianism. He was a 
dissenting minister in Dublin, and there solely persecu- 
ted on account of his religious sentiments. He rejected 
the common notions of a Trinity, but firmly maintained 
the pre-existence of Christ. He died in London, 1741, 
and his works were publised by his son, an eminent 
counsellor, in three volumes ; to which are prefixed me- 
moirs of the author. 

Some few Arians, and most of the present Socinians, 
add to their creed the doctrines of Necessity, Material- 
ism, and Universal Restoration, though these tenets are 
by no means peculiar to them. Towards the close of 
this Sketch will be found an explanation of Universal 
Restoration : and some little account shall be here given 
of Necessity and Materialism. 



The doctrine of Kecessitr/ regards the origin of human 
actions, and the specific mode of the divine government. 
Much controversy has there been on this abstruse sub- 
ject. Collins, Priestly, Palmer, Price, Gregory, and 
Crombie, are authors who are distinguished in the con- 
troversy. The opponents of Necessity strenuously main- 
tain, that it destroys all virtue and vice; whilst its advo- 
cates declare it to be the most consistent mode of ex- 
plaining the divine government. It is not for us to de- 
termine, on so profound a subject, where the truth lies ; 
and it is remarkable, that the perplexity of the theme 
seems to have harassed angelic minds, according to the 
representation of the great IVIilton — 

others apart, sat on a hill retir'd, 
In thoughts more elevate, and reason'd high. 
Of Providence, fore-knowledge, will, and f^te; 
Fix'd fate, free-will, fore-knowledge, absolute. 
And found no end— in wandering maxes lost ! 

To short-sighted mortals, therefore, with all their boast- 
ed wisdom, the subject must appear dark, and in many 
respects unfathomable. The solution of such difficulties 
ought to be referred to a more enlightened sphere of be- 
ing ! Dr. Watts, indeed, thinks it probable that it will 
constitute one of the sublime employments of the blessed 
in the heavenly world. 



The doctrine of Materialism respects the nature of the 
human soul, and the peculiar mode of its existence. All 
Materialists deny an intermediate state of consciousness 
between death and the resurrection. Drs. Price and 
Priestley had a friendly correspondence on this article; 
and though Dr. Price was no Materialist, yet he did not 
hold with an intermediate state. Those who deny the 
existence of an intermediate state, are often called 
Soul-sleepers. See Archdeacon Blackburn's Historical 
View of this Controversy, and Dr. Law's Appendix to his 
Theory of Natural and Revealed Religion. The Light of 
Nature Pursued, by Edward Search, Esq. is a very cu- 
rious work relative to this subject. It contains ingeni- 
ous illustrations : the author's real name was Tucker ; 
he died in 177.5. 

Had not Necessity and Materialism been more of a 
philosophical than of a theological nature, they should 
have received a minuter explication. 



The Sonnian takes his name from Faustus Socinus» 
who died in Poland 1604. There were two who bore- 


the name Socinus, uncle and nephew, and both disjscinf- 
nated the same doctrine. 


Of these two, Lcelius, reported the author of the sect, 
was a native of Tuscany. He was born at Sienna about 
1525, and was educated for the profession of the lavv-. 
There is little known of his early 3-ears, but only, that 
becoming dissatisfied with the dogmas of Rome, he di- 
verged from the study of scholastic divinity, and sought 
in the pursuit of general knowledge some more rational 
foundation for his faith. As was natural, the free opi- 
nions of the Protestants attracted his attention, and, in 
1547, he set out upon his travels through the countries 
where these were most openly professed ; and, after tra- 
versing Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, England, and 
France, he fixed'upon Zurich, in Switzerland, as his place 
of residence. Here he disseminated his doubts, and was 
suspected of heresy, but left an unsettled rationale to be 
more openly vowed and defended by his followers. 

Faustus, his nephew, then about twenty-four years of 
age, was at Lyons when the news of his uncle's death 
reached him. He hastened to Zurich, and took possession 
of his effects ; but the pleasures of the Tuscan court, to 
which he immediately repaired, and the honours he re- 
ceived from the Grand Duke, effaced for the time his 
theological propensities. From some unknown cause of 
disgust, he retired to Germany in 1574, and resisting 
every invitation to return to his envied exaltation, he 
went to Basil, and adicted himself to the study of divini- 
ty. The scheme he adopted is that now known by his 



name. This he first avowed in a treatise, " De Jesu 
Christo Servatore,'^ which being in opposition to the 
opinions and belief of all the Protestants in Germany 
and Switzerland, he found it expedient to seek refuge in 
Poland [1579] from the " flagrant" opposition which his 
tenets were likely to meet with. He resided afterwards 
at different times at Cracow, married a lady of good 
family, and enjoyed the protection of several of the Polish 
Lords, till 1598, when the mob, instigated by some high- 
er authorities, took the examination of his opinions into 
their hands, and settled the dispute by burning his house 
and destroying his manuscripts. He himself, however, 
escaped without bodily injury, and spent the remainder 
of his days tranquilly at the castle of the Grandee Blon- 
ski, about nine miles distant from the capital. He died, 
1604?. His works were published in the two first vo- 
lumes of Bibliotheca Fratrum Polonoriim. 

It is difficult to trace the origin of the Socinian con- 
troversy. John Campanus is said to be the first of the 
reformers who distinguished himself on this side of the 
question. Next Michael Servetus, a Spanish physician, 
whom Calvin persecuted even to death ; for in the year 
I553 he was committed to the flames, by persons who 
had themselves just escaped the fangs of the Romish 
church, and who at least had nominally erected the 
standard of religious liberty. " It is impossible (says Dr. 
Maclaine) to justify the conduct of Calvin in the case of 
Servetus, whose death will be an indelible reproach up- 
on the character of that eminent reformer. The only 
thing that can be alleged, not to deface, but to diminish 
his crime, is, that it was no easy matter for him to divest 


himself at once of that persecuting spirit which had been 
so long nourished and strengthened by the Popish re- 
ligion, in which he was educated. It was a remaining 
portion of the spirit of popery in the breast of Calvin, 
that kindled his unchristian zeal against the wretched 

* The proceedings against Servetus received the approbation of almost 
all the most eminent ecclesiastics who then flourished. The reformed 
Swiss Cantons were unanimous in exhorting the Council of Geneva to 
punish the wicked man, and to put it out of his power to increase heresy. 
Farel, Bucer, and even Melancthon, approved of the measure. This, it 
is true, does not render the measure right, but it shows that the blame 
should not be exclusively attributed to Calvin. 

Life of Servetus. — So much has been said about Servetus, that a brief 
short notice of the " only martyr," (if martyr he may be called) of whom 
the modern free-thinkers can boast, cannot be unacceptable. He was bom 
at Villaneuva, in Arragon, 1509. He studied first civil law in the Univer- 
sity of Toulouse ; and in the agitation produced by the conflict of new and 
old opinions at the Reformation, the inquiries of young students were not 
always conducted with that sobriety which is best calculated to elucidate 
truth. Among others, Servetus was tempted into tlie dangerous field of 
speculation, and unfortunately adopted doctrines respecting the Trinity, 
which have always been considered heretical ; and as Germany was distract. 
ed with a confusion of wild opinions, he hastened thither to disseminate 
his. After conversing with some of the most eminent reformers, he pub- 
lished [1531] a book, entitled, De TrinUatis Erroribus, and soon after two 
Other treatises on the same subject. He then left Germany, returned to 
France, and studied medicine at Paris under Silvius. His thirst after 
knowledge was here conspicuous ; and he is by some considered as one of 
those anatomists whose previous examination of the circulation of the 
blood paved the way for the gi-eat discovery of Harvey. His propensity 
for controversy involving him in a serious misunderstanding with the pro- 
fessors of that University, the Magistrates, who in that age took science as 
well as religion under their care, interfered, and he left Paris in disgust. 
For two or three years he settled at Lyons, as corrector of the press to the 
Frellons. Thence, on the invitation of the Archbishop, he went to Vienne, 
and for some time resided in his palace,where, had he confined his pursuits to 
medicine, or general literature, his life might have passed iu tranquillity^ 


Having mentioned the persecution of Servetus byCal- 
vin, truth, on the other hand, requires it to be mention- 
ed that Socinus has been accused of persecuting one 
Francis David, who, on account of his rejecting the wor- 
ship of Christ, was cast into prison, where he died. The 
persecuting spirit, discoverable in some of the reformers, 
diminishes the respectability of their characters, and the 
only apology that can be made for them is, what has 
been already mentioned, that the nature and foundation 
of religious liberty were not then fully understood. 

The Socinians flourished greatly in Poland about the 
year 1551 j and J. Siemienius, Palatine of Podolia, built 
purposely for their use the city of Racow. A famous 
catechism was published by them, called the Racovian 
Catechism ; and their most able writers are known among 
the learned by the title of the Polones FratreSy or Polo- 
iiian Brethren. " Their writings were (says Dr. Mac- 
laine) republished together in the year 1656, in one great 
collection, consisting of six volumes in folio,under the title 
of Bihliotheca Fratrum. There are, indeed, in this col- 
lection, many pieces wanting, which were composed by 
the most eminent leaders of the sect : but what is there 

and his name descended to posterity among the benefactors of mankinds 
But polemics were Iiis bane, and engaging in them with that acrimony 
which produces rather personal enmity than conviction in an opponent, he 
was arrested. Escaping from prison, he tied f(n- Italy, but, imprudently 
taking his route through Geneva, he again fell into the hands of the civil 
powers, who. In consonance with the principles and practice of the age 
committed the heretic to the hands of the executioner. An instance of in- 
defensible cruelty, unhappily not singular among Protestants in succeed- 
ing times, and of which the disciples of Calvin were doomed in Scotland 
for twenty-two years to be the unpitied victim.s, 


published, is nevertheless sufficient to give the attentive 
reader a clear idea of the doctrine of the Socinians, and 
of the nature of their institution, as a religious communi- 
ty." An interesting account of these several authors 
will be found in Dr. Toulmhi's Life of Socinus. 

Owing to the imprudence of some of their students in 
breaking a crucifix, in 1638, a law was enacted, at the 
instance of the Roman Catholics, " that the academy at 
Racow should be demolished, its professors banished, the 
printing house destroyed, and the Socinian churches 
shut up." Ten years after, by an act of the Diet, held 
at Warsaw, they were banished for ever from the terri- 
tory of Poland ; and capital punishment was denounced 
against all those who should either profess their opinions 
or harbour their persons. In 1661, this act was renew- 
ed, and more rigorously enforced; and all of that persua- 
sion who remained in the country were driven out, some 
with the loss of their goods, others at the risk of their 
lives, as neither sickness, nor any domestic consideration, 
could suspend the execution of the sentence. The un- 
happy exiles found refuge in Transylvania, where their 
opinions, embraced [1563] by Sigismund, the then reign- 
ing prince, through the influence of his physician, had 
still many abettors. Thence they were dispersed 
through the provinces of Silesia, Brandenburg, and Prus- 
sia, where traces of their descendants are still to be 
found; others, without success, sought a place where 
they and their brethren might dwell together, in Denmark, 
Holland, and England ; " but none of the European na- 
tions/' says Mosheim, " would be persuaded to grant a 



public settlement to a sect whose members denied the 
divinity of Christ." They never, however, appear to 
have produced any other martyr than Servetus. Socinian 
tenets were little heard of in England till the reign of 
Charles I. when John Biddle, an independent minister, 
avowed them, who suffered various persecutions, and at 
last died in prison. A few embraced them j but Socini- 
ans or Unitarians formed no conspicuous party till to- 
wards the close of the eighteenth century, when the zeal 
and assiduity of Dr. Priestley, Thophilus Lindsay, Mr. 
Betsham, and a number of other distinguished writers, 
espoused and propagated these tenets. In 1794<, Dr. 
Priestley having been ill treated by a misguided mob, re- 
tired to America, where, although received kindly as a 
sufferer for liberty, he never acquired much influence as 
a divine, nor was he very successful as a missionary, his 
congregation never having exceeded between thirty and 
fort}'. He died, 1804-. His ©pinions have been more 
widly diiiused since through that continent. The pro- 
fessions of Unitarianism some time ago congratulated 
themselves on their increase also in England; and with- 
in these few years they have opened places of worship in 
Edinburgh, Glasgow, and some other places in Scotland; 
but here their numbers do not appear to be consider- 

The Socinian asserts, that Christ had no existence un- 
til born of the Virgin Mary; and that, being a man like 
ourselves, though endowed with a large portion of the 
divine wisdom, the only objects of his mission were 
to teach the efficacy of repentance without an atone- 


ment, as a medium of the divine favour — to exhibit an 
example for our imitation — to seal his doctrine with his 
blood — and, in his resurrection from the dead, to indicate 
the certainty of our resurrection at the last day. The 
simple humanifi/ of Christ, which forms a principal article 
of their creed, is founded on passages of Scripture, where 
the Messiah is spoken of as a man, particularly the fol- 
lowing : — Acts ii. 22. Ye men of Israel, hear these ivords ; 
Jesus of Nazareth, a man apjrroved of God among you, 
&c. — Acts xvii. 3 1 . Because he hath appointed a day in 
the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that 
MAN, luhom he hath ordained, &c. — 1 Tim. ii. v. There is 
one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the 
Man Christ Jesus. — At the same time it must be acknow- 
ledged, that neither the Trinitarian, nor Sabellian, nor 
Arian deny his humanity ; though they do not hold it in 
that exclusive and simple sense of the word, for which 
the Socinian contends. On this account it is, that the 
Socinians have received, on some occasions, the appella- 
tion of Humanitarians. 

Between ancient and modern Socinians, however, a 
considerable difference obtains. The miraculous concep- 
tion, and the worship of Christ, both allowed by Soci- 
nus, are rejected by most of the modern Socinians. Dr. 
Priestley distinguished himself in a controversy on this 
subject with Dr. Horseley, the present Bishop of Ro- 
chester. Dr. Priestley had pubHshed his two principal 
theological works ; the one to prove the first Christians 
Unitarians, entitled, The History of Early Opinions; the 
other, to account for the origin and spread of what is 
commonly called the orthodox doctrine, entitled, A His- 


to)y of the Corruptions of Christianiti/. On one or both of 
these publications, the Bishop severely animadverted; 
and to these animadversions Dr. Priestley made several 
spirited replies. 


But the Socinians have appropriated to themselves 
the appellation of Unitarians ;'* and by this name they 
are now more generally distinguished. Though to this 
appellation they have no exclusive claim, yet it is some- 
what more correctly descriptive of their religious tenets 
than that of Socinians, since they renounce many of the 
opinions of Socinus. The Arians, if not the Trinitari^ 
ans, are equally strenuous for the divine Unity. See 
Lindsey's Historical View of Unitarianism, Dr. Toulmin's 
Life of SocinuSy Hopton Hayne's Scripture Account of 

* We do not answer to that name [Socinians], nor do we approve of being 
distinguished by it. In the first place, because the doctrine we hold is not 
borrowed from Socinus, but is known, and universally allowed, to have 
been coeval with the Apostles. And, further, we differ very materially 
from the opinions of that very great and good man, and his immediate 
followers, who strangely imagined that Christ, though a human being, was 
advanced by God to the government of the whole created universe, and 
was the proper object of religious worship. We call ourselves Unitarians, 
or, to distinguish ourselves from other Christians who assumed that name, 
" Proper" or " Original Unitarians;" and we consider ourselves as entit- 
led to this distinction from prescription, from the reason of the thing, and 
now from the custom of the language.— i^tfoAaw. 


the Attributes and Worship of God^ and of the Character 
and Offices of Jesus Christy and Mr. Belsham's Answer to 
Mr. Wilberforccy where the modern Socinian tenets are 
stated and defended w-ith ability. 

The Trinitarians, Arians, and Socinians, have also dif- 
fered greatly respecting the personality of the Holy Spi- 
rit. Much has been said on both sides of this intricate 
and controverted question. Dr. Lardner's Letter on the 
Logos may be consulted, and also Mr. Marsom's little 
piece, entitled, the hnpersonality of the Holy Ghost, pub- 
lished in 1787. In Doddridge'* s Lectures much informa- 
tion is given respecting this and almost every other article 
of the Christian faith. Dr. Kippis, not long before his 
death, published an edition of this valuable work, with 
considerable additions and improvements. The private 
Christian as well as the theological student, will derive 
an extensive knowledge from the attentive perusal of it. 

A note added to this publication by Dr. Kippis, and 
applicable to this^;-^^ division of religious opinions, is of 
so excellent a nature, that I am tempted to transcribe it. 
" When it is considered, how extremely difficult many 
questions in theselves are, and what different conclusions 
have been drawn concerning them by men of the pro- 
foundest knowledge and deepest reflection, there is a 
modest scepticism, which it will become young students to 
preserve, till time shall have given them the opportunity of 
wider inquiry and larger observation. This remark would 
not have been made, if instances had not occurred of 
youth who have eagerly, and even arrogantly adopted 
an hypothesis on one side or the other, without suffici- 


ently exercising that patience of thinking, and that slow 
progress of examination, which are likely to be the most 
favourable to the acquisition of truth." 

The following remarks, chiefly extracted from an able 
Review of the Socinian or Unitarian Controversy in the 
Religious Instructor, January 1816, will form no impro- 
per accompaniment : — 

" As God has endowed us with the faculty of reason, 
and as this faculty is the great instrument to be employ- 
ed in intellectual and moral inquir}^, we may assume it as 
a first principle, that this faculty is and ought to be em- 
♦ ployed in matters of religion. In regard to what is com- 
monly termed natural religion, we are required to em- 
ploy our rational powers in collecting facts and tracing 
appearances in the universe, so as to deduce from them 
the existence and attributes of God, and the truths obvi- 
ously connected with these. But in the very idea of 
revelation is implied this plain but fundamental truth, 
that the mind of man is incompetent, by the exercise of 
its unassisted powers, to explore the path of truth and 
duty for itself. On this fact is grounded the necessity 
and advantage of a revelation from God ; and as soon 
as you set it aside, you establish a principle adverse to the 
very idea of revelation in general. The enemies of re- 
velation, and of its essential features, have the boldness 
to maintain, that this is giving up the use of reason ! 
Nothing can be more unjust, either in a moral or philo- 
sophical view. It is true we set aside — our avowed aim 
is to set aside the pretensions of natural reason to the 
character and office of supreme judge, or umpire, in mat^ 


ters of revelation. What is the avowed design and object 
of a written revelation ? Is it not the annunciation 
from God of truths to be received, and precepts to be 
practised. The supposition involved in this design is, 
that these truths and precepts come from God, are 
stamped with all the authority of Heaven, and are bind- 
ing on our faith and practice so long as we acknowledge 
the infallibility of God. If every man is at liberty to try 
the dictates of revelation at the bar of his own reason, 
and if no man is obliged to receive them unless they ap- 
pear to harmonize with the impressions and convictions 
of his own mind, it follows, that one may set aside one 
part of revelation, a second may set aside another part, 
and a third may annihilate the whole with impunity. 
If the dictates of revelation are to be judged of by rea- 
son, then reason is the guide and arbiter of revelation ; 
and the high claims of Christianity, as a message from 
God, demanding reasonable submission and obedience, are 
literally exploded. 

It is said that a revelation cannot bind us to as- 
sent to what is clearly contrary to the first princi- 
ples of reason, or plainly inconsistent with pure mo- 
rality. We agree; but we beg leave to add, that the 
very supposition of the possibility of such a case ought 
not to be admitted. It is contrary to all our ideas of 
God or of reason, to imagine that a revelation, ascertain- 
ed to be from heaven, can contain what is clearly incon- 
sistent with common sense or morality, A thing may 
be above reason, and yet by no means contrary to it. I 
cannot comprehend how the simple principle of gravita- 
tion is subservient to every revolution, and to every 


purpose in the physical system — the thing is above or be- 
yond my reason, but it is not also contrary to its dic- 
tates. The legitimate use of reason in matters of reve- 
lation is two-fold ; to ascertain the evidence on which it 
rests, and to determine the import of the revelation it- 
self. In executing the first of these duties, it proceeds 
according to the same method which sound philosophy 
warrants as right and proper in every subject of human 
inquiry — in the second, it ought to proceed in substanti- 
ally in the same way. God has committed his will to 
writing, and has conveyed it to us through the instru- 
mentality of men, speaking in the ordinary language of 
men. We have no reason to suppose that different rules 
of interpretation are to be adopted. As, then, we un- 
derstand a man when he speaks to us according to the 
plain grammatical construction of his words, and as we 
adopt the ideas of a written composition on exactly the 
same principle, so the truths and precepts of a written 
revelation must unquestionably be interpreted and re- 
ceived according to the first principles of grammatical 
analysis adopted in all other instances. Having availed 
ourselves of every means to ascertain the sense of the 
writer, and having, as we think, ascertained it, nothing 
more remains for us than to yield submission to his dic- 
tates, receiving them with sincerity, and applying them 
to their practical ends. Reason has now performed its 
office. Faith succeeds, and obedience is the ultimate 
consequence. Faith may be thus said to be founded on 
reason, because it is the result of a rational and serious 
investigation. There is no inconsistency or opposition 
between reason and faith, only reason must keep its ap- 


propriatc place, and not aim at measuring the depths of 
infinite wisdom by the line of its shallow apprehensions. 
He acts the irrational part who first receives a revelation, 
and them sets about estimating the value and obliga- 
tion of its various parts — that man only acts the ra- 
tional and wise part, who first ascertains the claims of 
Christianity as divine, and then bends submissively to 
its dictates, as to the oracles of God." 



Having ascertained the person of Christ — whether he 
be the eternal God — or an Angel — having an existence 
previous to his being born of the Virgin Mary — or a 
mere iTf«/?, under the guidance of inspiration — Christians 
next proceed to consider the extent of the blessings of 
the gospel, and the manner in which they have been 
conveyed to us. This circumstance also, has been the 
source of endless contentions. Peace and charity have 
been not unfrequently lost in the discussion of the sub- 
ject. Even the Methodists themselves split into two 
great parties concerning it ; and the controversy between 
their respective leaders has scarcely subsided. We shall 
attempt the delineation of this class of opinions with 




John Calvin, or Cauvin, was born on the 10th of July 
509, at Noyon,in Piccardy, of respectable, but not opu- 
-ent parents. He was educated for the Romish church, 
in which he officiated a short time as curate, but never 
received regular ordination. Having acquired some cor- 
rect views of Christianity, from a careful perusal of the 
Scriptures, and the instructions of a relative, he resigned 
the living, and attached himself to the profession of the 
law ; in which he attained to high eminence, particularly , 
as a civilian. He did not, however, give up the study 
of divinity, but continued occasionally to preach in the 
country till his twenty-third year, when, having gone to 
Paris, he abandoned every secular pursuit, and consecrat- 
ed himself to the service of God. Immediately his suf- 
ferings began. His friend, Nicolas Cop, rector of the 
University of Paris, being accused of heresy, was obliged 
to flee the city, and himself, saved only from persecution 
by the interposition of the Queen of Navarre, retired to 

In this retreat he wrote some " Short Christian Ex- 
hortations" to excite the people to inquire after truth. 
He returned to Paris in 1534; but Francis I. having com- 
mitted eight of the reformed to the flames, and declarefl 
he would not even spare his own children if found here- 
tics, Calvin quitted the kingdom, and went to Basil, in 
Switzerland. There he first published his celebrated 
Institutions, to rescue the character of himself and fellow 


sufferers from the calumnies by which Francis endeavoured 
to excuse his cruelty. The dedication to that monarch 
has been universally admired for the beauty of its lan- 
guage and the boldness of its sentiments. About this 
time many parts of Italy began to show symptoms of at- 
tachment to the Reformation, and the Duchess of Fer- 
rara, daughter of Louis XIII. a woman of distinguished 
accomplishments and exemplary piety, was considered a 
patroness of the Protestants. To her court Calvin re* 
paired, and was graciously received •, but the Inquisition 
soon got notice of his arrival, and he was forced to leave 
her protection, but not before he had secured her esteem. 
Returning to Basil, he was under the necessity of going 
by Geneva, and, at the urgent entreaty of Farel, accep- 
ted of an invitation of the consistory and magistracy to 
become their professor of divinity ; while, with the con- 
sent of the people, he at the same time undertook a 
ministerial charge. 

Next year [1537] he succeeded, with the help of his 
colleagues, in causing the senate and people openly ab- 
jure the Church of Rome, and swear to a summary of 
doctrine and discipline which recognized the Presbyterian 
form of church government; but he could not easily 
induce them to change their principles and habits. A ma- 
jority retained the love and practice of their former im- 
moralities ; and as Calvin applied to the civil authorities 
to aid the efforts of the church in repressing them, he 
and his colleagues drew down upon themselves the re- 
sentment and revenge of the vicious and refractory, who 
could not endure the vigilance of such pastors, and at 
length procured an order from the council for the expul- 


eion of Calvin and Farel from Geneva. When the sen- 
tence was intimated to Calvin, he gravely remarked: — 
" Truly, if I had served man, I would have had a poor 
reward ; but it is well that I have served a Master who 
never forgets to pay his servants all that he has promis- 

Thence Calvin retired to Strasburg, where he was 
appointed professor of theology, and pastor of a French 
church; and, in 1541, was delegated by the divines of 
that city to attend the diet convoked to meet at Worms, 
and afterwards at Ratisbonne, for settling the religious 
differences which had arisen in Germany. Here he met 
with Melancthon, who was highly delighted with him. 

Repenting of their former unjust conduct, the Gene- 
vese now anxiously solicited Calvin to return ; and, in 
May 1540, having obtained an honourable release from 
his other engagements, he re-entered that city amid the 
acclamations of the inhabitants. His first care was the 
reformation of public moi'als, for the preservation of 
which he procured a semi-ecclesiastical police to be es- 
tablished; reprobated by some as tyrannical and severe, 
and praised by others as wholesome and efficacious. His 
own personal labours was astonishing ; he preached or 
lectured nearly every day, attended almost every public 
meeting, met with his congregation every Friday, super- 
intended the affairs of the French Protestant churches, 
produced as many works as would have occupied the en- 
tire time of other men ; yet was much engaged in the 
civil business of the republic, being consulted by the 
magistrates in every case of difficulty. The deference 
blievyn to his opinions, and the respect paid to his per- 


sonal character, rose in proportion to the obliquy and 
ill treatment he had formerly endnred. 

He met and combated almost every error of his day ; 
nor were his views of doctrine and discipline confined to 
the narrow precincts of Geneva. He established a semi- 
nary, from which he hoped the few which he consider- 
ed as most accordant with apostolic purity would ema- 
nate through every Protestant country. The case of 
Servetus has been already noticed [page ]. After 
which, Calvin lived to see and deplore the application of 
fire and faggot to his own friends, as heretics, in Paris — 
a severe rebuke for his concurrence in the burning of 
the Socinian. He died 21th May 1564'. The character 
of Calvin stood high with his contemporaries ; his enemies 
bore involuntary testimony to his intellectual might, by 
returning heaven solemn thanks for their deliverance, 
upon a premature report of his death. His name dis- 
tinguishing so large a denomination of Christians, evinces 
the affectionate veneration of his friends ; and Scaliger, 
seldom guilty of exaggerated praise, pronounced him the 
most learned man in Europe, and the most exalted per- 
sonage that had appeared since the days of the apostles. 

The Calvinist adheres to the doctrines which Calvin 
taught at Geneva, about 1540. The tenets of Cahanism 
are predestination, original sin, particular redemption, 
irresistible grace, and the perseverance of the saints. 
These, in the learned world, are termed the Jive points ; 
and frequent have been the controversies agitated re- 
specting them. As the Calvinists differ among them- 
selves in the explication of these tenets, it would be dif- 


ficLilt to give a specific account of tlieni. Generally 
tipeaking, however, they comprehend the following pro- 
positions : — 1st, That God has chosen a certain number 
in Christ to everlasting glory, before the foundation of 
the world, according to his immutable purpose, and of 
his free grace and love, without the least fore- sight of 
any reference to faith, good works, or any conditions 
performed by the creature; and that the rest of mankind 
he was pleased to pass by, and ordain them to dishonour 
and wrath for their sins, to the praise of his vindictive 
justice. 2dly, That Jesus Christ by his death and suf- 
ferings, made an atonement only for the sins of the elect. 
3dly, That mankind are totally depraved in consequence 
of the fall ; and, by virtue of Adam's being their public 
head, the guilt of his sin was imputed, and a corrupt na- 
ture conveyed to all his posterity, from which proceed 
all actual transgressions; and that by sin we are made 
subject to death, and all miseries, temporal, spiritucil, and 
eternal. 4thly, That all whom God has predestinated 
to life he is pleased in his appointed time effectually to 
call by his word and Spirit out of that state of sin and 
death in which they are by nature, to grace and salva- 
tion by Jesus Christ. And, 5thly, That those whom God 
has effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit shall 
never finally fall from a state of grace. Some have sup- 
posed that the Trinity was one of these five points ; but 
this is a mistake, since both the Calvinists and Armini- 
ans, who formed the synod of Dort (where this phrase, 
^ve 2)oints, originated) were on the article of the Trinity 
generally agreed. The most prominent feature of this 


system is the election of some, and the reprobation of 
others, from all eternity. 

The Calvinists found their sentiments of election on 
the expressions of the Saviour, respecting his having 
chosen his disciples out of the ivorld ; and more particularly 
on certain terms used by the apostle Paul, in his Epist/e 
to the Romans. To the Epistolatory writings, indeed, 
they more frequently refer than to any other part of the 
New Testament. The chief advantage of this system, 
in the opinion of its advocates is, to produce in us a 
viost reverential awe when we look up to God, and the 
profoundest humility when we look down upon our- 

To the Calvinists also belong more particularly the doc- 
trine of an atonement, or that Christ, by his death, made 
/satisfaction to the divine justice for the elect, appeasing 
the anger of the Divine Being, and effecting on his part 
a reconciliation. Thus Jesus Christ had the sin of the 
elect laid upon him -* and in this sense, Luther said that 
Jesus Christ, was the greatest sinner in the world ! ! ! 
This doctrine, however, is differently explained by their 
divines, and some consider it (with the Arians and Sa- 
bellians) as simply a medium through which God has 
been pleased to exercise mercy towards the penitent. 
See Mr. Fuller's publication, entitled. The Calvinistic and 
Socinian Systems compared,\ which has been admired by 

♦ As proplieticatly spoken, Is. liii. v. 1. " The Lord hath laid on Iiini 
the iniquity of us all." 

t Having referred to this publication, it may be proper to observe, that 
it treats of the Calviui»tic system, and endeavours to defend it from the 


some of the Calvinists, and condemned by others of them, 
as not coming up to the full standard of orthodoxy. 

But to ascertain the real sentiments of this body of 
Christians, recourse should be had to the Assembly's 
Catechism, which is taught their children, and may there- 
fore be supposed to contain a just account of their re- 
ligious opinions. 

absurdities and impieties with which it has been charged in the writings 
of modern Soeinians. Accordingly Dr. Toulmin and Mr. Kentish have 
come forward and bestowed upon it some animadversions, to which their 
antagonist has replied. Dr. Priestley and Mr. Belsham, indeed, against 
■whom Mr. F.'s criticisms are chiefly directed, have treated it in a different 
manner. The former has not deemed it worthy of notice ; the latter men- 
tions it in his reply to Mr. Wilbcrforce, with great contempt. He there 
remarks, that the amount of its boasted argument is this — •' We Calvinists 
being rnuch better Christians than you Soeinians, our doctrine 7nust be 
true !" So very diiferent and even contradictory are the estimates made 
of mere controversial publications. Dr. Toulmin published a second and 
enlarged edition of his piece against it, to which Mr. Fuller replied. 

The full title of Mr. Fuller's work is, " The Calvinistic and Soeinian 
Systems compared as to their moral tendency," and is by no means 
such a performance as either Doctor Priestley or Mr. Belsham were entit- 
led to treat with disdain. It is an attempt, and has generally been con- 
sidered a successful one, to bring the two systems to that which is the only 
true and legitimate test in religious affairs, and that from which the Soei- 
nians ought to be the last to shrink, seeing they boast of their tenets as em- 
bodying tlie purest morality of the Gospel, and their representation of 
Christianity as the only one which inculcates and enforces them in a rational 
•way. Now, as the advocates of both systems allow that one grand end of 
Christianity is to produce good morals, certainly the question which of 
them actually does produce them, and that most uniformly and abun- 
dantly, is a question not to be answered by a sneer ; and if Mr. Fuller have 
established that the Calvinists are much better moralists, i. e. Christians, 
than the Soeinians, it follows of course that their doctrine is the true ex- 
liibition of Christianity— men do not gather figs of thistles— a corrupt tree 
cannot bring forth good fruit. 


To this it would not be improper to add the West- 
minster Confession of Faith, and Calvin's Institutes. 

Calvinists form no particular distinct society of Chris- 
tians, but are found among various bodies which rano-e 
under different denominations, Presbyterians, Episcopa- 
lians, and Independents. It was once the glory of Ge- 
neva, where it is now unfortunately superseded by a 
*'■ rational" system more nearly allied to Deism. It is 
the creed of the Established Church of Scotland, and of 
the Seceders ; is the doctrine of the thirty-nine articles 
of the Church of England ; is acknowledged by the 
Dutch legalized churches ; and by the generality of the 
Presbyterians in America. The Synod of Ulster in Ire- 
land lately separated upon this point — part adhering to 
the confession they had subscribed, and a minority em- 
bracing a new, but not well defined faith. 


Among the refinements of Calvinism are to be ranked 
the distinctions of the Suhlapsarians and Supralai^sari- 
ans. The Suhlapsarians assert, that God had only 
permitted the first man to fall into transgression, without 
absolutely pre-determining his fall : whereas the Supra- 
lapsarians maintain, that God had from all eternity de- 
creed the transgressions of Adam, in such a manner that 


our first parents could not possibly avoid this fatal event. 
Dr. Doddridge in his Lectures, has thus stated these 
abstruse distinctions: — " The Siipralajnarian and Sub- 
lapsarian schemes agree in asserting the doctrine of pre- 
destination, but with this diiference, that the former 
supposes that God intended to glorify his justice in the 
condemnation of some, as well as his mercy in the salva- 
tion of others, and for that purpose decreed that Adam 
should necessarily fall, and by that fall bring himself and 
all his offspring into a state of everlasting condemnation : 
the latter scheme supposes that the decree of predestina- 
tion regards man as fallen by an abuse of that freedom 
which Adam had, into a state in which all were to be 
left to necessary and unavoidable ruin, who were not ex- 
emped from it by predestination." Recent divines, who 
have gone to the height of SujiralapsariayiSy are Mr, 
Brine and Dr. Gill. Were any thing more necessary to 
elucidate this curious subject, it might be added — that 
the term Supralapsarians is derived from two Latin 
words, supra above, and lapsus the fall ; and the term 
Sublapsarians, from sub below or after, and lapsus the 

Calvin, in his Institutes^ states and defends at large, 
the principles of his system. It is written in elegant La- 
tin, is dedicated to Francis the First, King of France, 
and the dedication has been admired for its boldness and 

For a defence of Calvinism, see Edwards on the Willy 
Brine's Tracts. Dr. Gill's Cause of God and Truth, and 
Toplady's Historic Proof of the Calvinism of the Church 
of England, 




James Artvhnius was born in the year 1560, at Oude- 
water, in Holland ; and, having lost his father in infancy, 
was educated by a priest, said to have belonged to the 
church of Rome, though strongly attached to Protestant 
principles. The name of this generous man, of whom 
he was also soon deprived, has not been preserved. Ro- 
dolphus Snellius, a countryman of his own, enabled him 
to pursue his studies, first at Utrecht, and next at Mar- 
purgh. While at the latter place, and only in his 
fifteenth year, he heard that the Spaniards had sacked 
his native town ; and, anxious to ascertain the truth of 
the afilicting report, he travelled on foot the long dis- 
tance under the pressure of indigence, approaching to 
want. His most gloomy anticipations he found exceeded 
on his arrival ; his mother, sister, and brother, with nearly 
the whole inhabitants, had been mercilessly butchered ; 
and he turned with horror from the dismal scene, to seek 
some alleviation to his lacerated feelings in the prosecu- 
tion of his studies. An University having been lately 
founded at Leyden, he went thither ; and his character 
while there procured him the countenance of the magis- 
trates of Amsterdam, who sent him [1582] at their own 
expense to complete his education at Geneva, where he 
attended the lectures of Theodore Beza. Getting in- 
volved in a dispute with some of the professors respect- 

ing the merits of Ramus and Aristotle, he retired to 
Basil, in Switzerland, and read lectures there himself 
with so much applause, that he had the honour of de- 
clining a doctor's degree from the faculty of divinity. 
This, perhaps, coupled with a journey he not long after 
took into Italy to hear the lectures of Zarabella at Pa- 
dua, alienated from him the aiFections of his Dutch pa- 
trons, and occasioned a report that he had become 
favourite to the Popish tenets, associated with the 
Jesuits, and had even abjured Protestanism ; nor was it 
without considerable difficulty that he regained the good 
opinion of the people and magistrates of Amsterdam. 
His prudence and eloquence, however, overcame the cur- 
rent calumny, and he was appointed a minister in that 
city about the year 1588. 

Nearly about the same time his sentiments underwent 
an important revolution — hitherto he had supported the 
creed of Calvin — and the cause which occasioned it, 
though not unexampled, is rather uncommon : trained 
in the Calvinistic school, and esteemed one of the ablest 
scholars, he was pitched upon by the professor of divi- 
nity at Franeker to answer a production in which some 
of the ministers of Delft had oppugned the supra-lap- 
sarian scheme of predestination : but the result of his ex- 
amination was, that he became a convert to the doctrine 
he was called to oppose, and even carried it farther than 
the persons he was employed to refute. He contended 
that died for all men without exception, and that 
those who are chosen to eternal life are such as God 
foresaw would believe and obey the Gospel : and he de- 
nied as unscri[)tural the assertion of absolute decrees and 


personal election. The stricter Calvinists were offend- 
ed, as might naturally be expected, at this change in the 
sentiments of Arminius ; and, according to the custom 
of the times, wished to convince him of his error by a 
little cinl coercion ; but the Magistrates of Amsterdam 
were friendly, and saved him from the threatened injuri- 
ous treatment. In 1603, he was invited to succeed 
Francis Junius as Professor of Divinity at Leyden ; and 
in that important station he propagated his tenets with 
much success among the students. His colleague, Francis 
Gomar, alarmed at the progress of his heterodoxical 
tenets, strenuously opposed them ; and the disputations 
in the University became so violent, that the states inter- 
fered, and appointed conferences, which had the usual 
effect of confirming the disputants in their respective o- 
pinions, and increasing their mutual zeal and animosity. 
The controversy speedily spread over all Holland, and 
Arminius was repeatedly summoned to the Hague to give 
an account of his doctrine ; but ere the battle had reach- 
ed the hottest, Arminius was removed from the field of 
contest, and died with much composure, October 19, 

The Arminian favours the tenets of Arminius, the dis- 
ciple of Beza, and latterly an eminent professor of divi- 
nity at Leyden, who flourished about the year 1600. 
Thinking the doctrine of Calvin with regard to free-will, 
predestination, and grace, directly contrary to the mild 
and amiable perfections of the Deity, he began to express 
his doubts concerning them in the year 1591 ; and upon 
further inquiry, adopted sentiments more nearly resem- 



bling those of the Lutherans than of the Calvinists. 
After his appointment to the theological chair at Ley- 
den, he thought it his duty to avow and vindicate the 
principles which he had embraced ; and the freedom with 
which he published and defended them, exposed him to 
the resentment of those that adhered to the theological 
system of Geneva. The controversy thus begun in the 
life-time of Arminius, ended not with his death, and for 
a long time roused the violence of contending pas- 

His tenets include the five following propositions : 1 st, 
That God has not fixed the future state of mankind by 
an absolute unconditional decree ; but determined from 
all eternity, to bestow salvation on those whom he for- 
saw would persevere to the end in their faith in Jesus 
Christ, and to inflict punishment on those who should 
continue in their unbelief, and resist to the end his di- 
vine assistance. 2dly, That Jesus Christ, by his death 
and sufferings, made an atonement for the sins of all man- 
kind in general, and of every individual in particular; that 
however none but those who believe in him can be par- 
takers of this divine benefit. 3dly, That mankind ai'e 
not totally depraved, and that depravity does not come 
upon them by virtue of Adam*s being their public head, 
but that mortality and natural evil only are the direct 
consequences of his sin to posterity. 4thly, That there 
is no such thing as irresistible grace, in the conversion 
of sinners. And, 5thly, That those who are united to 

« Arminius's motto was a remarkable one— "^ good confcience is a 


Christ by faith, may fall from their faith, and forfeit 
finally their state of grace. 

Thus the followers of Arminius believe that God, hav- 
ing an equal regard for all his creatures, sent his Son to 
die for the sins of the ivhole ivorld; that men have the 
power of doing the will of God, otherwise they are not 
the proper subjects of approbation and condeinnation ; 
and that, in this present imperfect state, believers, if not 
peculiarly vigilant, may, through the force of temptation, 
fall from grace, and sink into final perdition. The Armi- 
nians found their sentiments on the expressions of our 
Saviour respecting his willingness to save all that come 
unto him ; especially on his pathetic prayer over Jerusa- 
lem — his Sermon on the mount, and above all on his 
delineation of the process of the last day, where the sal- 
vation of men is not said to have been procured by any 
decree, but because they had done the will of their FatheVy 
who is in heaven. This last argument they deem de- 
cisive ; because it cannot be supposed that Jesus, in the 
account of the judgment day, v/ouldhave deceived them. 
They also say, the terms in the Romans respecting elec- 
tion, are applicable only to the state of the Jews as a 
body, without a reference to the religious condition of 
individuals, either in the present or future world. 

Whitby, the celebrated commentator, and who was 
originally a Calvinist, has written a large and elaborate 
defence of Arminianism ; and the reader should consult 
Dr. Taylor's Kei/ to the Epistle to the Romans, which has 
been much admired, on the subject. Since the days of 
Laud (who was Archbishop of Canterbury in the reign 
of Charles the First) by far the majority of the English 


clergy have taken this side of the question. Bishop Bur- 
net has given a full account of the opinions of this sect, 
in his Exposition of the Seventeenth Article. 

In the last century disputes ran very high in Holland 
between the Calvinists and the Arminians. On each side 
considerable talents and learning were displayed; but 
some shamefully called in the interference of the civil 
power, and thus terminated a controversy, which for 
some years had agitated the religious world. For this pur- 
pose the famous synod of Dort was held, 1618, and a cu- 
rious account of its proceedings may be seen in a series of 
letters written by the ever-memorable John Hales, who was 
present on the occasion. This synod was succeeded by 
a severe and scandalous persecution of the Arminians. 
The respectable Barnevelt lost his head on a scaffold, 
and the learned Grotius, condemned to perpetual impri- 
sonment, fled and took refuge in France. The storm, 
however, some time after abated, and Episcopius, an Ar- 
n)inian minister, opened a seminary in Amsterdam, which 
produced some able divines and excellent scholars. 

The principal Arminian writers are Episcopius, Vors- 
tius, Grotius, Limborch, Le Cierc, Wetstein, not to 
mention many others of modern times, particularly Mr. 
John Wesley in his Armnian Magazine, and Mr. Felr 
lowes in his Religion without Cant, and in his elegant 
work, entitled, Christian Philosophy. 

The Arminians are sometimes called the Remons- 
trants, because they, in 161 1, presented a remonstrance 
to the States General, wherein they pathetically state 
their grievances, and pray for relief. See an interesting 
work, entitled, An Abridgement of Gerrard Brandt'a 


History of the Reformation in the Low Countries. 2 
vols. 8vo. 



Richard Baxter was born at Rowton, Shropshire, 
12th November, A. D. 1615. He gave early indications 
of a devout disposition, and an inclination for study. 
He was blessed with pious parents ; and his father care- 
fully instructed him in the principles of Christianity ; 
but he was unfortunate in his first teachers, who were 
neither remarkable for learning nor morals. Afterwards, 
however, under Mi\ Owen, at Wroxeter free school, he 
made greater progress, which was much promoted by Mr. 
Wickstead, chaplain to the council at Ludlow, who al- 
lowed him the use of an excellent library. Mr. Garbett, 
minister of Wroxeter, carried him through a course of 
philosophy. When about eighteen years of age [1633], 
he was persuaded to go to court, and was recommended 
to Sir Henry Herbert, Master of the Rolls; but the em- 
ployment was little suited to his taste, and in less than 
a month he returned to his studies with greater avidity 
than ever. Four years after this he was appointed mas- 
ter of the free school at Dudley ; and in the same 
year received orders from Dr. Thornborough, Bishop of 
Worcester. In his fourteenth year he had been seized 

N 2 


with the small-pox, and, ere he recovered from that ma-- 
lady, was attacked with a complication of disorders, 
which, aided by the multiplicity of cures that were pre- 
scribed and he followed, rendered him a valetudinarian 
during the remainder of his life. Meanwhile, the near 
prospect of death caused him be doubly anxious to re- 
commend to his fellow sinners that religion of which 
he felt the importance in such circumstances ; and he 
ever, from his state of health, had an earnest solemnity 
in his sermons, considering himself constantly as stand- 
ing on the verge of eternity, and as a dying man addres- 
sing dying men. He was settled, 1640, as stated preacher 
at Kidderminster, an ignorant and dissolate place, where 
he at first met with violent opposition, till, by his un- 
wearied diligence in the discharge of his duty, he occa- 
sioned a considerable reformation in the place. When 
the civil war commenced, he, although loyal from prin- 
ciple, supported the Parliament, and was in consequence 
exposed to considerable vicissitude. What chiefly griev- 
ed him, was the strong tendency in these times of strong 
excitement for professors of religion to split into parties 
and sects. Among the other grievances of these evil 
days, the government, with a folly neither singular nor 
matchless, endeavoured to force all the religious part of 
the community to adhere not only to an establishment 
about which they had some doubts, but to hear a set of 
caicicis incapable clergy, about which they had none : 
the natural consequence was, that the people ran to an 
opposite extreme, and were apt to under-rate and despise 
the regular order of the ministry. To remedy, or at 
least to contend with this evil, Baxter betook himself to 


die army, and debated and disputed against the liberty, 
or, as he styled it, the licentiousness of the sects, but to 
little purpose, till an opportune bleeding at the nose 
[1647] reduced him to a state of great weakness, and 
obliged him to leave the ungrateful field. 

Having recovered, under the kind nursing of the lady 
of Sir Thomas Rowe, he returned to Kidderminster, vi'here 
he laboured for fourteen years with the most exemplary 
diligence and most astonishing success ; so that, as there 
was hardly a family in which the worship of God was 
before this, in the end of that time there was scarcely a 
family in which it was not. He now openly differed 
from the measures of rigid Presbyterians ; and though 
lie had taken the covenant himself, dissuaded others from 
doing so. He preached against Cromwell's usurpation ; 
yet he allowed that he had done more good to the cause 
of religion than any king that ever sat upon the throne; 
and laboured to reconcile the different parties by opposing 
them all. He wished to be a mediator of extreme op- 
ponents, and pitched his tabernacle on the debateable 
ground between them ; but although both respected his 
talents and acknowledged his integrity, he only got in- 
volved with each in his turn, and expatiated in the field 
of controversy alternately with either. He espoused the 
cause of Charles XL recommended loyalty to the rump 
parliament, and preached a sermon at St. Pauls on Monk's 
success. After the Restoration, he was appointed one 
of the king's chaplains in ordinary, had several private 
interviews with him, and was always treated by him with 
respect ; but he could obtain no favourable treatment for 
the non-conformists from that deceitful prince. He had 


the honour, however, of refusing a bishoprick, and of 
suffering along with them. He anxiously wished to be 
allowed to resume his labours at Kidderminster, but he 
was too obnoxious to the high church party for his ex- 
emplary piety and assiduous performance of his parochial 
ministrations. He preached occasionally in London and 
the neighbourhood, till the passing of the act against 
conventicles, 1662. During his retirement he married, 
which proved a great advantage in the seasons of suffer- 
ing he endured in these persecuting times; his wife taking 
the management of the frequent removals to which he 
was subjected in consequence of his being unceasingly 
pursued by the high church persecutors. He was a com- 
panion of the non-conformists in all their trials, being 
repeatedly imprisoned, and frequently fined ; yet nothing 
eould deter him from the discharge of his duty ; in health 
or sickness his labours were incessant. In the reign of 
James II. he was brought before the infamous Jeffries, 
and, although old and infirm, and blameless, except in 
the matter of his religion, the brutal treatment he expe- 
rienced on his trial stands recorded, to the disgrace even 
of that unjust judge. He died in 1691, at the age of 76. 

The Baxterian strikes into a middle path, between 
Arminianisra and Calvinism, and thus endeavours to 
unite both schemes. With the Calvinist, he professes 
to believe that a certain number, determined upon in the 
divine councils, will be infallibly saved; and with the 
Arminian he joins in rejecting the doctrine of reprobation 
as absurd and impious ; admits that Christ, in a certain 
sense, died for all, and supposes that such a portion of 


grace is allotted to every man, as renders it his own fault 
if he doth not attain to eternal life. This conciliatory 
fcvstem was espoused by the famous non-conformist Rich- 
ard Baxter, who lived in the last century, and who was 
equally celebrated for the acuteness of his controversial 
talents, and the utility of his practical writings. Hence 
came the term Baxterians, among whom are generally 
ranked both Watts and Doddridge. In the scale of re- 
ligious sentiment, Baxterianism seems to be, with respect 
to the subject of the divine favour, what Arianisn is with 
respect to the person of Christ. It appears to have been 
considered by some pious persons as a safe middle way 
between two extremes. Baxter was an extraordinary 
character in the religious world. He wrote above liO 
books, and had above 60 written against him. Though 
he w^as of a very metaphysical genius, and consequently 
sometimes made a distinction without a difference, yet 
the great object of most of his productions was peace and 
amity. Accordingly his religious system was formed not 
to inflame the passions and widen the breaches, but to 
heal those wounds of the Christian Church, under v.'hich 
she had long languished.* 

* For the particular detail given of the Calvinistic and Arnninian senti. 
ments, see a brief but. useful history of the Chri«^tian church, in 2 vols, by 
Dr. Gregory. The best and amplest ecclesiastical history is Mosheinn's, 
in 6 vols, translated from the Latin into English, by Dr. Maclaine, of th« 
Hague, who has enriched it with niapy valuable notes. 



The Atitino7nhn derives his name from two Greek 
words, avTi, against, and vofto?, a law ; his favourite tenet 
being, that the law is not a rule of life to believers. It 
is not easy to ascertain what he means by this position. 
But he seems to carry the doctrine of the imputed righte- 
ousness of Christ, and of salvation by faith without 
works, to such lengths as to injure, if not wholly destroy, 
the very obligation to moral obedience. Antinomianism 
may be traced to the period of the Reformation, and its 
founder was John Agricola, originally a disciple of Lu- 
ther. The Papists, in their disputes with the Protestants 
of that day, carried the merit of good works to an ex- 
travagant length ; and this induced some of their oppon- 
ents to run into the opposite extreme. This sect (says 
the Encyclopaedia) sprung up in England, during the 
protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, and extended their 
system of libertinism much farther than Agricola, the 
disciple of Luther. Some of their teachers expressly 
maintained, that as the elect cannot fall from grace, nor 
forfeit the divine favour, the wicked actions they commit 
are not really sinful, nor are to be considered as instances 
of their violation of the divine law, and consequently 
they have no occasion either to confess their sins or to 
break them off by repentance. According to them, it is 
one of the essential and distinctive characters of the elect, 
that they cannot do any thing displeasing to God, or pro 
hibited by the law. Luther, Rutherford, Sedgwick, Ga- 


taker, Witsius, Bull, Williams, &c. have written refuta- 
tions; whilst Crisp, Richardson, Saltmarsh, put forth 
defences of the Antinomians ; Wisgandus wrote " A 
Comparison between ancient and modern Antinomians." 
The late Rev. Mr. Fletcher, Vicar of Madeley,in Shrop- 
shire, published Four Checks to Aniinomianism, which 
have been much read, and greatly admired. 

The term Antinomian has been frequently fixed on per- 
sons by way of reproach ; and therefore many who have 
been branded with this name have repelled the charge. 
There are many Antinomians, indeed, of a singular cast 
in Germany, and other parts of the continent ; they con- 
demn the moral law as a rule of life, and yet profess a 
strict regard for the interests of practical religion. Many 
persons, however, who reprobate the system of John 
Calvin, pronounce Antinomianism to be nothing more 
than Calvinism run to seed.^ Speculative sentiments of 
any kind ought not to be carried to a degree which 
might endanger even in appearance the sacred cause of 

* This remark has an appearance of point, but is, in fact, nonsense. A 
plant can only produce seed which contains its owns principles in embryo. 
The Anti-Calvinist, who emitted this witty saying, meant to convey a to- 
tally different idea; he meant to shew that Antinomianism was the fruit, 
the perfection of Calvinism— than which, nothing can be more untrue. 
The Calvinist who beheves in predestination, beUeves that God hath pre- 
destinated him unto good works, an essential part of the Calvinistic, as of 
the Apostolic doctrine, too much overlooked by professors of all denomi- 
nations. Antinomians, like Calvinists, are not confined to any particular 
sect or party, but are found most plentifully among those who denominate 
themselves Evangelical, who think that a notional soundness of creed will 
atone for a little loosenese of practice ; who, having imbibed what thev 




•* The extent of Christianity in the world, or all those 
several kingdoms and countries where the Christian re- 
ligion is professed and embraced (says Mr. Martin in his 
Philological Library) are, taken together, called ChriS' 
tendom ; and this consisteth of many (some more gene- 
ral, some more particular, &c.) different religious socie- 
ties, which are called clmi-ches. A Christian church is a 
society or congregation of men and women, who are 
called out from the vicious world by the preaching of 
the Gospel, and are regulated in all the parts of their 
ritual discipline and articles of faith by the plain rules 
and prescriptions of the New Testament, [and whose lives 
are correspondent to their holy professions.]* The mini- 
sters of the Christian church, in its primitive state, were 
extraordinary or ordinary. The Extraordinary were 

call simple views of saving faith, imagine that a clear theoretical ursderstand- 
ing of the doctrines of the Gospel is sufficient to entitle a man to the name 
af a Believer, and to ensure his salvation, provided he abstain from gross 
immorality, although he indulge in ccnformity to the respectable or fash- 
ionable customs of the world, be as keen an advocate for its maxims of 
business, and its modes of harmless amusements, as those who seek no 
better inheritance. 

* The ciause within brackets is left out in the later editions of Evan*. 
Query— for what reason ? 


cliiefly three : 1. Apostles, who were delegated by Christ 
with power and commission to preach the gospel, and 
work miracles in confirmation therpof among all nations. 
2. Prophets, who were not such as simply foretold things, 
but those to whom God was pleased to reveal his more 
secret counsels and designs, and who related and preach- 
ed the same to men.* 3. Evangelists, such as were as- 
sistants to the apostles in preaching the gospel, and were 
endued with many extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit, 
as of languages and interpretations, &c.f But since the 
establishment of Christianity in the world, these extra- 
ordinary officers have ceased. The Ordinary ministers of 
the Christian church are principally three: 1. A Bishop, 
who had the oversight of the flock or church of Christ ; 
to him pertained the preaching of the word, and due re- 
gulation of the church in faith and manners. And this 
rule and precedence of the Bishop is called Episcopacy 
no where in the New Testament. 2. Presbyters or El- 
ders, or Priests ; these were such as preached the word, 
and administered the sacraments, and performed all the 
other sacred functions of the ministry, under the inspec- 
tion of the Bishop. But it is a controversy, whether the 
Scripture doth not intend the same person or officer by 
the appellations Bishop and Presbyter. The power of 
the Presbyter is called Presbytery. 3. Deacons ; these 
were such as officiated in that part of the Christian mi- 

• I have never been able to discover this order in the New Testament, 
nor in any credible church history. 
t These were equivalent to missionaries sent out from the churches. 



nistry which related to the 'poor, and their business was 
to take the collections of money made in the church, and 
to distribute it to the necessities of the poor, and other 
sacred uses. And their office, properly speaking, is cal- 
led the Ministry or Deaconship. These officers are per- 
petual in the Christian church." — After this introductory 
explanation of The Christian Church, I proceed to 
the Opinions respecting church government and the ad- 
winistration of ceremonies. 


The Papists are so denominated from their leading 
tenet — the infallibility and supremacy of the Pope (in 
the Latin, Papa, signifying father),-)- which they strenu- 
ously maintain. By the infallibility of the Pope, is un- 
derstood, that the Pope cannot err in ecclesiastical mat- 
ters ; and by his supremacy is meant his authority over 
all the churches, and sometimes over all the princes of 

* This was the denomination by v.fhich the adherents of the church of 
Rome were distinguished by the first reformers, who would not allow that 
they were entitled to the name of Christians, and adopted in the law of 
this country. They, however, considering it a title of reproach, the term 
Roman Catholic has been substituted by courtesy. 

t From the Greek rather. It was given indiscriminately in the iSrst 
ages of Christianity to all Bishops, and in the East to all ecclesiastics, till 
Gregory VII. ordered it to be reserved to the Bishop of Rome alone. He 
reigned from 1073 to 1085. 


the earth. This enormous power has been for some 
time diminishing, and the Roman Catholics at present 
are much divided on the subject. Some allow the Pope's 
infallibility and supremacy in their full extent ; others 
acknowledge them in part ; and a third wholly reject 
them. The late Father O'Leary's Tracts also may be 
consulted, who had a dispute on Popery with the Rev. 
John Wesley. They also profess to believe, 1. In seven 
sacrements — baptism, confirmation, the eucharist, pen- 
ance, extreme unction, or the anointing the sick in the 
prospect of death, orders, and matrimony. With respect 
to the Eucharist, or Lord's Supper, they hold the doc- 
trine of transuhstantiation^ or that the bread and wine 
are changed into the body and blood of Christ ; the pay- 
ing divine worship to the host, or consecrated wafer, and 
the allowing communion only in one kind, viz. bread, to 
the laity.* 2. In works of supererogation, or that the 

* The following is the Tridentine creed relative to the mass, which, as 
forming one of the fundamental articles of the Romish faith, deserves es- 
pecial notice ; it was that which the reformers assailed with their heaviest 
artillery, because they considered the belief of it entirely subversive, not 
only of the real design of the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, but of the 
foundation of the Christian religion, and incompatible with any scriptural 
hope of salvation. — Art. XV. " I profess likewise, that in the mass there 
is ofTered to God a true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living 
and the dead ; and that in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist there 
is truly, really, and substantially the body and blood, together with the 
soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ ; and that there is made a con- 
version of the whole substance of the bread into the body and of the whole 
substance of the wine into the blood, which conversion the Catholic 
church calls transuhstantiation. XVIIL I also confess, that under either 
kind alone Christ, whole and entire, and a true sacrament, is received.' ' 
This is an article which no Roman Catholic dare dispute or set aside without 

J 60 

good works of saints are meritorious enough to supply 
the deficiency of others. 3. In the celibacy, or single 
life of the clergy. 4. In the worship of images and sa- 
cred relics. And, 5. In the celebration of divine service 
in an unknown tongue. Many, however, of the adherents 
of Popery, in the present day, reject some of the above 
tenets ; and more especially renouncing the supremacy 
of the Pope, distinguish themselves by the name of Ca- 
tholics, and sometimes of Catholic Dissenters. The 
publications of the late Dr. Geddes, on this subject, are 
worthy of attention. He was a liberal and learned priest 
among this class of the Roman Catholics, and was for 
several years engaged in a translation of the Bible under 
the patronage of Lord Petre.* 

ceasinp; to be a Roman Catholic in deed, whatever he may be in name; but 
believing which, he sets aside the only one sacrifice offered without the 
gates of Jerusalem, and substitutes the adoration of a wafer or a mystical 
something in oi)position, as has been often remarked both to the dictates 
of sound reason, and to the direct evidence of four out of five senses. 

* There are many good men who, without considering the subject, are 
willing to allow that the Roman Catholic religion is not the same now 
that it was in the dark ages ; that it is quite harmless, in a civil point of 
view, and purged of its grosser absurdities, is quite safe in a religious one ; 
but they forget that the boast of the Ilomish Church is its antiquity, and 
the unchangeable nature of its tenets, and that although some of its col- 
leges or fraternities— as the Jesuits— may explain away the more obnoxi- 
ous parts of her creed, the church disavows all explications except those of 
the Pope or a general council ; and the individuals who deny any of tlie 
acknowledged credenda of the Roman Catholic church — and in disclaim- 
ing her infallibility, they commit one of her mortal sins— ought to with- 
draw from her communion, and renounce the name when they renounce 
the principles. All true Roman Catholics maintain that their faith has 
been, is, and must continue one and the same, and that faith has been so- 
lemnly enunciated in the decrees of the council of Trent, the last council 


several monastic orders, such as the Augustines, the Be- 
nedictines, the Carmelites, the Dominicans, the Fran- 
ciscans, &c. and also a variety of sects, such as the Jesuits, 
the Jasenists, the Molinists, and others, some of whom 
were sects of celebrity. The ingenious Pascal, in his 
Provincial Letters, aimed an effective blow at the order 
of the Jesuits, and it was abolished in France in 1762, 
on the supposition that they adopted practices which 
were inimical to the welfare of their country. 

In the council of Trent, held 1549, the tenets of the 
Papists were reduced into one compact standard, and 
the summary of Popery, exhibited in Pope Pius's creed, 
contains the substance of the decrees and canons of 
this council. The creed is divided into twenty-four ar- 
ticles. The first twelve are expressed in the very words 
of the creed called the Nicene; and the remaining twelve 
are new articles, truly Romish. See Borrough's View 
of Popery, taken from the Creed of Pope Pius the Vlth, 
1735. Father Paul, of Venice, has immortalized him- 
self by a faithful history of the council of Trent ; and 
though himself a Papist, yet he has exposed with free- 
dom the intrigues by which this council was conducted. 
Bellarmine, an acute Jesuit, and Bossuet, the Bishop of 
Meaux, are the two most celebrated defenders of Popery. 
They had also amongst them several eloquent preachers ; 
and the sermons of Massilon, Bourdaloue, and Flechier, 

that was held, or probably ever will be held. The articles in the text are 
a correct summary of them, so far as they go. 



nre esteemed models of pulpit eloquence. In this coun- 
try several penal laws were in force against the lloman 
Catholics ; but most of them were repealed in the course 
of the present reign. It was an opposition to the repeal 
of these law that occasioned the disgraceful riots, which 
broke out during the month of June, 1780, and threat- 
ened the destruction of the metropolis.* 

It is remarkable, that the Papists have had amongst 
them a Pope, who used to be denominated a Protestant 
Pope. His name was Ganganelli, and is known to the 
world under the title of Clement the 14th. His liberality 
appeared in his actions, and it was his common saying, 
" We too often lay aside chanty to maintain /a?'^/i, with- 
out reflecting that if it is not allowed to tolerate men, it 
is forbidden to hate and persecute those who have unfor- 
tunately embraced it." He died in 1775, not without 
suspicion of poison. Such a character must be pronounc- 
ed an honour to the Romish church, and it is to be hoped 
that there are many individuals of this description to be 
found in her communion. As to his letters, which for 
the liberality of their sentiments and the elegance of 
their diction, have been much admired, many entertain 
doubts of their authenticity. Archbishop Fenelon 
also was distinguished both for his benevolence and 

Here the account of Popery should have ended, had 
not their doctrine of Indulgences deserved particular ex- 

« All disabilities have now been removed, and they have at last obtain- 
ed complete emancipation. 


plication. The history and form of these indulgence* 
are given us by that eminent historian Dr. Robertson, in 
his History of Charles the Fifth, and are here transcrib- 
ed. " According to the doctrine of the E.omish church, 
all the good works of the saints, over and above those 
which were necessary towards their own justification, are 
deposited together, with the infinite merits of Jesus 
Christ, in one inexhaustible treasury. The keys of this 
were committed to St. Peter, and to his successors the 
Popes, who may open it at pleasure, and by transferring 
a portion of this superabundant merit to any particular 
person for a sum of money, may convey to him either 
the pardon of his own sins, or a release for any one in 
whom he is interested, from the pains of purgatory ; 
which indulgences were first invented in the eleventh 
century, by Urban the Second, as a recompense for those 
who went in person upon the meritorious enterprize 
(commonly called the Crusades) of conquering the holy 
land. Tliey were afterwards granted to those who hired 
a soldier for that purpose ; and in process of time vzere 
bestowed on such as gave money for accomplishing any 
pious work enjoined by the Pope. Julius the Second 
had bestowed indulgences on all who contributed to- 
words building the church of St. Peter, at Rome ; and 
as Leo the Tenth was carrying on that magnificent and 
expensive fabric, his grant was founded on the same pre- 

The following is the form of these indulgences: — 
" May our Lord Jesus Christ have mercy upon thee, and 
absolve thee by the merits of his most holy passion. And 
1, by his authority, that of his blessed apostles Peter and 


Paul, and of the most holy Pope, granted and commit- 
ted to me in these parts, do absolve t4iee, first, from all 
ecclesiastical censures, in whatever manner they have 
been incurred, and then from all thy sins, transgressions 
and excesses, how enormous soever they be, even from 
such as ai-e reserved for the cognizance of the holy see, 
and, as far as the keys of the holy church extend, I remit 
to you all punishment which you deserve in purgatory 
on their account ; and I restore you to the holy sacra- 
ments of the church, to the unity of the faithful, and to 
that innocence and purity which you possessed at bap- 
tism, so that when you die the gates of punishment shall 
be shut, and the gates of the paradise of delight shall be 
opened ; and if you 'shall not die at present, this grace 
shall remain in full force when you are at the point of 
death. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and 
of the Holy Ghost." 

This was the form of absolution used by Tetzel, a Do- 
minican friar, who, in the sixteenth century, was ap- 
pointed to sell these indulgences in Germany, which 
eventually brought about the Reformation. 

This article shall conclude with the mention of a cu- 
rious tract on Popery, lately published, entitled, " A 
Modest Apology for the Roman Catholics of Great 
Britain, addressed to all moderate Protestants, particu- 
larly to the Members of both Houses of Parliament." 
This piece came from the pen of the late Dr. Geddes, 
already mentioned, and is written with his usual learning 
and ingenuity. It is, indeed, a most singular perfor- 
mance, and well worthy attention. 



The Greek, or Russian Church, which now spreads it- 
self over the eastern parts of Europe, is very ancient, 
and bears a considerable resemblance to the church of 
Rome. Denying, however, the infallibility and supre- 
macy of the Pope, they are in communion with the 
Patriarch of Constantinople. Amongst other articles of 
belief, they are distinguished for these three: — 1. The 
rejection of images. 2. The doctrine of consubstantia- 
tion, or the union of the body of Christ with the sacra- 
mental element. 3. The administration of baptism, by 
immersing the whole body in water. 

The Russian, or Greek church, equals the Latin 
church in the number of ceremonies and superstitious 
customs ; some of which are thus described in Chan- 
treau's Travels into Russia: — " At the beginning of the 
year, the king's day is a singular festival, which the Rus- 
sians call the benediction of waters. On the Neva, then 
frozen, there is raised for this ceremony a kind of temple, 
of an octagonal figure, on the top of which is a St. John 
the Baptist, and the inside is decorated with pictures, 
representing the baptism of Jesus, his transfiguration, and 
some other parts of his life. There your attention is 
drawn to an enormous Holy Ghost, appearing to descend 
from heaven, a decoration common to all the Greek 
churches, which introduces the Holy Ghost everywhere. 
In the middle of the sanctuary is a square space, whero 
the broken ice leaves a communication with the water* 


running below, and the rest is ornamented with rich tapes- 
tr3% Around this temple there is erected a kind of gallery, 
which communicates with one of the windows of the im- 
perial palace, at which the empress and her family come 
out to attend the ceremony, which begins as soon as 
the regiments of guards have taken post on the river. 
Then the archbishop, at the sound of the bells, and of 
the artillery of the fortress, comes out of the palace, and 
walks in procession, with all his clergy, to the little 
temple we have just mentioned. When arrived at the 
place where the ice is broken, he descends, by means of 
a ladder, to the side of the water. There he dips his 
cross three or four times, afterwards says some prayers, an 
orison to the great St Nicholas, and the waters are then 
thought blessed. The prelate sprinkles the water on the 
company around him, and on the colours of all the regi- 
ments that happen to be at St. Petersburg. After this 
benediction, the archbishop retires. Then the people 
crowd towards the hole, by which this prelate has bless- 
ed the waters. They drink of them with a holy avidity. 
Notwithstanding the cold, the mothers plunge their in- 
fants, and the old men their heads, into them. Every 
body makes it a duty to carry away some for the purifi- 
cation of their houses, and curing certain distempers, 
against which the good Russians pretend this holy water 
is a powerful specific. While every one proceeds to this 
useful provision, four popes, who are at the four corners 
of the sanctuary, sing a kind of litany, in which they re- 
hearse all the titles of the empress, and to which the 
people answer by these words, Pameloi-Bog — May God 
take pity on her. 


" The Russians have a great number of abstinencies, or 
fasts, and among the rest four lents. 

" The Greek priests have much more reverence and 
meditation in their way of going through divine service, 
than the Latin priests ; and the discipline of their church 
directs, that when onee a priest is at the altar, he must 
not remove from it during the time he ought to stand 
there, whatever may happen to him. For instance : we 
are told, that the prelate Gabriel, at present metropolitan 
of Novogorod,and Archimandrite to St. Alexander Neus- 
ki, being one day engaged in saying mass at St. Peters- 
burg, the house contiguous to the church took fire, and 
the flames reaching the steeple, Gabriel was warned of 
the danger he was in, and yet he stirred not, even al- 
though he was told a second time, that the bells would 
not be long in bruising him to atoms. As the cries of 
the multitude, conjuring him to remove from certain 
death, made no impression on him, one of his relations 
leaped towards the altar, and tore him from it. Scarcely 
was he twenty paces from it, when the steeple fell in with 
a great crash upon the sanctuary." 

Efforts have been made to join the Greek to the re- 
formed church ; but hitherto they have failed of success. 
The Rev. Dr. John King published an account of the 
doctrine, worship, and discipline of the Greek Church in 
Russia. There are several curious particulars to be found 
in the Russian Catechisvi, composed by the Czar, and 
which was published in London, 1725; in Robinson's 
Ecclesiastical Researches, and in a work not long ago 
published, entitled, Secret Memoirs of the Court of Pc' 


That the Header may form some judgment of tlie pre- 
sent state of the Greek church, the last mentioned work 
presents us with the following recent fact, translated from 
the Imperial Gazette, of Petersburg : — 

" Petersburg, 17 Dec. 1798. 

" In 1796, a coffin was found at the convent of Sumo- 
vin, in the city of Trotma, in the eparchy of Volgoda, 
containing a corpse, in the habit of a monk. It had been 
interred in 15G8, yet was in a state of perfect preserva- 
tion, as were also the garments. From the letters em- 
broidered on them, it was found to be the body of the 
most memorable Feodose Sumorin, founder and superior 
of the convent, and who had been acknowledged as a 
saint during his life, for the miracles he had performed." 
It is then stated, that the directing synod had made a 
very humble report on this occasion to his Imperial Ma- 
jesty. After which follows the Emperor's ukase or pro- 

" "We Paul, &c. having been certified by a special re- 
port of the most holy synod, of the discovery that has 
been made in the convent of Spasso-Sumovin, of the 
miraculous remains of the most venerable Feodose, which 
miraculous remains, distinguish themselves by the happy 
cure of all those who have recourse to them with entire 
confidence ; we take the discovery of these holy remains 
as a visible sign, that the Lord hast cast his most gracious 
eye in the most distinguished manner on our reign. For 
this reason, we offer our fervent prayers and our grati- 
tude to the supreme Dispenser of all things, and charge 
our moit holy synod to announce this memorable discovery 


throughout all our empire, according to the forms pre- 
scirbed by the holy church, and by the holy fathers, &c. 
The 28th September 1798." 

This writer immediately adds, that Paul has enriched 
the Russian calendar with a few festivals ; for every child 
that he has, gives rise to two new festivals, his birth-day 
and his name-day ; and Paul has nine children already. 
From this circumstance, I am tempted to remark, that 
had Paul continued to live, and had the Empress proved 
only half as fruitful as the lady usually represented in wax^ 
work^ the three hundred and sixty-Jive days of the year 
would then be converted into holy days, and thus would 
the Greek church have attained to the highest pitch of 

The following anecdote, however, from the same work, 
and on the subject, almost exceeds credibility : — " I knew 
a Russian princess, who had always a large silver crucifix 
following her in a separate carriage, and which she usu- 
ally placed in her bed-chamber. When any thing fortu- 
nate had happened to her in the course of the day, and 
she was satisfied with her admirers, she had lighted 
candles placed about the crucifix, and said to it in a fa- 
miliar style — " See, now, as you have been very good 
to-day, yoa shall be treated well — you shall have candles 
all night — I will love you — I will pray to you." If, on 
the contrary, any thing occurred to vex this lady, she 
had the candles put out, forbade the servants to pay 
any homage to the poor image, and loaded it with 
reproaches and reviiings ! ! !" — The author closes the 
chapter with this sensible paragraph — " I shall not par- 
ticularize all the superstitions with which siij:h a religion, 



if it deserves that name, must necessarily inspire an igno- 
rant and enslaved people. It seems the present policy 
to thicken the cloud of errors, which the genius of Peter, 
the humanity of Elizabeth, and the philosophy of Catha- 
rine, sought in some degree to attenuate. While we pity 
the state of degradation under which a great people 
crouches, we should do justice to the enlightened Rus- 
sians, by whom it is lamented, but they are chained by 
prejudices, as the giant Gulliver, by the Lilliputians ; his 
bonds were weak and imperceptible as his enemies were 
minute, but every one of his hairs was separately fasten- 
ed to the ground, and he was unable to raise his head." 
In addition to the books already mentioned, I shall 
close this article of the Greek Church, with recommend- 
ing Mr. Tooke's History of Russia, which may be satis- 
factorily consulted on this as well as many other subjects ; 
for it is replete with information. 


Under the appellation of Protestants, we include all 
who dissent from Popery, in whatever country they re- 
side, or into whatever sects they have been since distri- 
buted. Abroad they are divided into two sorts — the 
Lutherans, who adhere to Luther's tenets ; and the J?e- 
formed, who follow the discipline of Geneva. They were 
called Protestants, because, in 1529, they protested a- 
gainst a decree of the Emperor Charles the Fifth, and 


declared, that they appealed to a general council. A 
present this vast class comprehends those whom Papists 
used contemptuously to style Hugonots in France ; Refu- 
gees in Holland, who fled thither upon the revocation of 
the Edict of Nantz, 1684 j the Fresbytenans in Scot- 
land; the Episcopalians and No7i-conformists in Eng- 
land ; together with a numerous body of Christians ia 

As the Protestants originated at the Reformation, it 
will be proper to give a brief account of this illustrious 
period of ecclesiastical history. 


For the three first centuries the religion of Jesus Christ 
stood on its own basis, was rapidly propagated among Jews 
and Gentiles, and suffered very severe persecutions from 
the Roman emperors. On the commencement of the 
fourth century, Constantine became a convert to Chris- 
tianity, and incorporated it with the state. " It was not 
till the fifth, or near the sixth century, that the Bishop 
of Rome arrogantly assumed an illegal supremacy over 
his fellow pastors, and in process of time aimed at the 
secuiai* government of princes as well as subjects. Though 
several emperors embraced and defended Christianity, 
yet the gradual decay of the Roman empire was a seri- 
ous impediment to the rising preachers of the newly es- 
tablished religion. Those accomplishments which adorned 
the conquests of the Romans, and the perfection of sci- 
ence, which had dignified their state, in such extent, 
were gradually swept away by the barbarous nations which 


defeated them, and the close of the sixth century could 
not trace a vestige of that exalted nation's government 
or its laws. Between four and five hundred years was 
the glorious luminary of the gospel eclipsed by the dismal 
return of ignorance and of superstition * To these dark 
ages (as they are by some justly termed, and by others 
called the night of time) are to be attributed the doctrine 
of indulgences, partial absolution, transubstantiation, the 
creation and worship of saints, purgatory, monastic se- 
clusion, &c. So swift was the extinction of knowledge, 
and its revival so impeded, that persons of the greatest 
eminence in point of station could scarcely read or write. 
The clergy themselves, who engrossed what little science 
was remaining, could scarcely translate the liturgy ; and, 
when ordained, were expressly obliged to affirm, that 

* The Crusades, commonly called the fto/r/ ztwr^, were expeditions un- 
dertaken by the Papists to drive the Turks from Palestine, or the land of 
Judea, and thus to rescue the holy sepulchre out of the hands of Infidels. 
There were eight of these crusades, the first in the year 1096, the last in 
1270, assisted by Prince Edward, afterwards Edward I. King of England. 
The number of lives lost in these Quixotic expeditions is incredible; ajid 
it will remain to future ages a matter of astonishment, how enthusiasm and 
Buperstition could so completely infatuate the human mind. An account 
of the Crusades is given in Robertson's Charles the Fifth, and in Hume's 
History of England. 

The Inquisition was a tribunal erected by the Popes for the examina- 
tion and punishment of heretics. It was founded in the twelth century by 
Father Dominic and his followers, who were sent by Pope Innocent the 
Third to inquire into the number and quality of heretics, and then to send 
an account to Rome. Hence they were termed Inquisitors, and their court 
the Inquisition. This infemal court was established in all Italy, and the 
dominions of Spain, except Naples and the Low Countries. Its cruelties 
were shocking beyond description ; and were only one half of the bloody 
tale true, yet even then there is sufficient to freeze you with horror ! See 
Dr. Chandler's History of the Inquisition, which is full of interesting in- 
formation on the subject. 


they could read the Gospels and Epistles, and explain 

" The Reformation was effected in the sixteenth cen- 
tury, by the pious labours and unwearied studies of those 
bright characters, Erasmus, Luther, Hues, Jerome of 
Prague, &c. and as it should seem the particular act of 
Providence to facilitate their labours, and extend their 
influence, we find but half a century before the days of 
Luther the science of printing was discovered, and not 
long before that of the making of paper." 

" This indefatigable reformer, having the way some- 
what cleared for him by Erasmus, had the happiness to 
discover a copy of the Bible in the neglected library of 
his monastry. From so valuable a discovery the talents 
and application of this great man were called forth into 
more than ordinary exercise ; and he quickly drew aside 
the veil which had concealed the rooted errors and abo- 
minations of the priesthood, and exposed the craft and 
aj'tifice which had deluded the disciples, and disgraced 
the doctrine of the cross. Unawed by persecution, he 
proceeded coolly to examine into the several pretensions 
and inventions of the church of Rome, and overthrew 
them. He asserted and proved, that monastic retirement, 
if not contrary to, was no where required by the laws of 
God ; and proposed to the Elector of Saxony, by whose 
permission he reformed the several churches within his 
dominions, to expel all abbots and monks, and to con- 
vert the convents of mendicant friars into public schools . 
and hospitals. He proceeded to expose all the absurdi- 
ties and superstitious of the Romish church, and had the 
satisfaction to see his cause prevail." — Birch's Concilia. 



Dr. Robertson also observes — " It was from causes 
seemingly fortuitous, and from a source very inconsider- 
able, that all the mighty effects of the Reformation flow- 
ed. Leo the Tenth, when raised to the papal throne, 
found the revenues of the church exhausted by the vast 
projects of his two ambitious predecessors, Alexander 
the Sixth, and Julius the Second. His own temper, 
naturally liberal and enterprising, rendered him incap- 
able of that severe and patient economy which the situa- 
tion of his finances required. On the contrary, his 
schemes for aggrandizing the family of Medici, his love 
of splendour, his taste for pleasure, and his magnificence 
in rewarding men of genius, involved him daily in new 
expenses; in order to provide a fund for which, he tried 
every device that the fertile invention of priests had 
fallen upon to drain the credulous multitude. Among 
others, he had recourse to a sale of indulgences. The 
right of promulgating these induglences in Germany, to- 
gether with a share in the profits arising from the sale 
of them, was granted to Albert, Elector of Mentz, and 
Archbishop of Magdeburg, who, as his chief agent for 
retailing them in Saxony, employed Tetzel, a Domi- 
nican friar, of licentious morals, but of an active spirit, 
and remarkable for his noisy and popular eloquence. 
He, assisted by the monks of his order, executed the 
commission with great zeal and success, but with little 
discretion or decency ; and though by magnifying exces- 
sively the benefit of their indulgences, and disposing of 
them at a very low price, they carried on for some time 
an extensive and lucrative traffic among the credulous 
multitude, the extravagance of their assertions, as well 
as the irregularities in their conduct, came at last to give 


general offence. The princes and nobles were irritated 
at seeing their vassals drained of so much wealth, in 
order to replenish the treasury of a profuse pontiff. Men 
of piety regretted the delusion of the people, who, being 
taught to rely for the pardon of their sins on the indul- 
gences which they purchased, did not think it incumbent 
on them either to abound in faith or to practise holiness. 
Even the most unthinking were shocked at the scanda- 
lous behaviour of Tetzel and his associates, who often 
squandered in drunkenness, gaming, and low debauchery, 
those sums which were piously bestowed, in hopes of ob- 
taining eternal happiness ; and all began to wish that 
some check were given to this commerce, no less detri* 
mental to society than destructive to religion. 

" The corrupt state of the church prior to the Refor- 
mation, is acknowledged by an author who was both a- 
bundantly able to judge concerning this matter, and who 
was not over forward to confess it. — " For some years 
(says Bellarmine) before the Lutheran and Calvinistic 
heresies were published, there was not (as contemporary 
authors testify) any severity in ecclesiastical judicatories, 
any discipline with regard to morals, any knowledge of 
sacred literature, any reverence for divine things ; there 
was not almost any religion remaining." — Such a re- 
mai-kable confession made by the avowed champion of 
Popery, should not pass unnoticed by Protestants ; and 
before the enemies of Protestantism inveigh against the 
Reformation, let them consider its absolute necessity, 
and contemplate the innumerable advantages with which 
it was attended."* 

• The proselyting spirit of the Romish religion is proverbial. The 


A symbolical representation of the Reformation wan 
exhibited before Charles the Vth and his brother Ferdi- 
nand at Augsburgh, in 1530, at the time when the Lu- 
therans presented their confession of faith to that 
assembly. As the princes were at table, a company of 
persons offered to act a small comedy for the entertain- 
ment of the company. They were ordered to begin ; 
and first entered a man in the dress of a doctor, who 
brought a large quantity of small wood, of straight and 
crooked billets, and laid it on the middle of the hearth, 
and retired. On his back was written Reuchlin. When 
this actor went off, another entered apparelled also like 
a doctor, who attempted to make faggots of the wood, 
and to fit the crooked to the straight ; but having la- 
boured long to no purpose, he went away out of humour, 
and shaking his head. On his back appeared the name 
of Erasmus. A third dressed like an Augustinian monk, 
came in with a chaffing-dish full of fire, gathered up the 
crooked wood, clapped it on the fire, and blew it till he 
made it burn, and went away ; having upon his frock the 
name of Luther. A fourth entered dressed like an Em- 
peror, who seeing the crooked wood all on fire, seemed 
much concerned, and to put it out, di'ew his sword, and 

above account of the Reformation is therefore designed to counteract the 
spread of Popery, which no doubt some of the French priests are attempt- 
ing, who have been so plentifully imported into this country. No one 
pities their exiled situation more than the writer of this Sketch ; but he 
should be sorry if (like Dr. Horsley) his commiseration should get the bet- 
ter of his Protcstantisin, and induce him to approve of a religion which 
(to say the least) is certainly, in the opinion of all Protestants, the grossest 
corruption of Christianity. The Roman Catholics in England, how- 
ever, are in general more intelligent and liberal than they were in former 


poked the fire with it, which only made it burn the brisk- 
er. On his back was written Charles the Vth. Lastly,, 
a fifth entered in his pontifical habit and triple crown, 
who seemed extremely surprised to see the crooked bil- 
lets all on fire, and by his countenance and attitude be- 
trayed excessive grief. Then looking about on every side 
to see if he could find any water to extinguish the flame, 
he casts his eyes on two bottles in a corner of the room, 
one of which was full of oil and the other of water, and 
in his hurry he unfortunately seized the oil, and poured 
it on the fire, which unfortunately made it blaze so vio- 
kntiy, that he was forced to walk off. On his back was 
written Leo the Xih. 

The reader, who is acquainted with the history of the 
Reformation, will perceive the propriety of the lively 
representations here given of those several characters 
who were the principal actors in bringing about that me- 
morable event. 

Chillixgworth, addressing himself to a Romish wri- 
ter, speaks of the religion of Protestants in the following 
terms, worthy to be inscribed in letters of gold. — " Know 
then, Sir, that when I say the religion of Protestants is in 
prudence to be preferred before your's ; as on the one 
side I do not understand by your religion the doctrine of 
Bellarmine or Baronius, or any other private man amongst 
you, nor the doctrine of the Sorbonne, or of the Jesuits, 
or of the Dominicans, or of any other particular com- 
pany among you, but that wherein you all agree, or pro- 
fess to agree. The Doctrine of the Council of Trent : So 
accordingly, on the other side, by the religion of Protes- 
tants I do not understand the doctrine of Luther, or Cal->- 


vin, or iMelancthon, nor the confession of Augsburg, or 
Geneva, nor the Catechism of Heidelberg, nor the articles 
of the Church of England — no, nor the harmony of Pro^ 
testant confessions ; but that wherein they all agree, and 
which they all subscribe with a greater harmony, as a 
perfect rule of faith and action, that is, THE BIBLE. 
The Bible, I say, the Bible only, is the religion of Protes- 
tants. Whatsoever else they believe besides it, and the 
plain, irrefragable, indubitable consequences of it, well 
may they hold it as a matter of opinion ; but as a matter 
of faith and religion, neither can they with coherence to 
their own grounds believe it themselves, nor require be- 
lief of it of others, without most high and most schisma- 
tical presumption. I, for my part, after a long, and (as 
I verily believe and hope) impartial search of the true 
way to eternal happiness, do profess plainly, that I can- 
not find any rest for the sole of my foot, but upon this 
ROCK only. I see plainly, and with my own eyes, that 
there are Popes against Popes, and councils against 
councils ; some fathers against other fathers, the same 
fathers against themselves ; a consent of fathers of one 
age against a consent of fathers of another age ; traditive 
interpretations of scripture are pretended, but there are 
few or none to be found : no tradition but that of scrip- 
ture can derive itself from the fountain, but may be plain- 
ly proved either to have been brought in, in such an age 
after Christ, or that in such an age it was not in. In a 
word, there is no sufficient certainty but of scripture only 
for any considering man to build upon. This, therefore, 
and this only, I have reason to believe. This I will pro- 
fess : according to this, I will live ; and for this if there 



be occasion, I will not only willingly, but even gladly 
Jose my life, though I should be sorry that Christians 
should take it from me. 

" Propose me any thing out of this book, and require 
whether I believe or no, and seem it never so incompre- 
hensible to human reason, I will subscribe it with hand 
and heart, as knowing no demonstration can be stronger 
than this, God hath said so, therefore it is true. In other 
things I will take no man's liberty of judging from him ; 
neither shall any man take mine from me. I will think 
no man the worse wfln, nor the worse Christian ; I will 
love no man the less, for differing in opinion from me. 
And what measure 1 mete to others, I expect from them 
again. I am fully assured that God does not, and there- 
fore men ought not, to require any more of any man than 
this — " To believe the scripture to be God's word ; to 
endeavour to find the true sense of it, and to live accords 
ing to it"*- Chillingworth's Works, fol. edit. 1 742. 

* Our English translation of the Bible was made in the time and by 
the appointment of James the First According to Fuller, the list of the 
translators amounts to forty-seven. This number was arranged under six 
divisions, and several parcels of the Bible assigned them. Every one of 
the company was to translate the whole parcel, then they were to compare 
these together, and when any company had finished their part they were 
to communicate it to the 'other companies, so that nothing should pass 
without general consent. The names of the persons and places where they 
met, together with the portions of scripture assigned each company, are to 
be found in Johnson's Historical Account of the several Translations of the 
Bible. These good and learned men entered on their work in the spring, 
1607, and three years elapsed before the translation was finished. 

From the mutability of language, the variation of customs, and the prO' 
gress of knowledge, several passages in the Bible require to be newly trans- 
lated, or to be materially corrected. Hence, in the present age, when 
biblical literature has been assiduously cultivated, different parts of th9 


It may be proper to add, that Chillingworth was a 
learned divine of the Church of England, and lived in 
the reign of Charles the First. In the earlier part of 

sacred volume have been translated by very able hands. The substitutin-g 
a new translation of the Bible in the room of the one now in common use, 
has been much debated. Dr. Knox, in his ingenious essays, together with 
others, argue against it, whilst Dr. Newcombe, the late Lord Primate of 
Ireland, the late Dr. Geddes, of the Catholic persuasion, and the late Rev. 
Gilbert W^akefield, contended strenuously for it. The correction of seve- 
ral passages, however, would deprive Deists of many of their objections, 
prevent Christians from being misled into some absurd opinions, and be 
the means of making the scriptures more intellgible, and consequently 
more beneficial to the world. 

Dr. Alexander Geddes, at his decease, had got as far as the Psalms, in 
the translation of the Old Testament, Dr. Newcombe and Mr. Wakefield 
published entire translations of the New Testament, of singular merit and 
ability. The Rev. Edmund Butcher also has just laid before the public 
a Family Bible, in which many of the errors of the common translation 
are corrected, and notes added by way of illustration, whilst the text broken 
down into daily lessons, is happily adapted to the purposes of family de- 

On this it may be proper to remark, that the English translation of the 
Bible is, as a whole, perhaps, tlie best and most literal of any translation 
of any book that ever appeared in any language ; that the number of e- 
mendations proposed by later translators more frequently obscure than 
illustrate, and not seldom pervert a plain passage to serve the purpose of 
a party. There is not in the present translation, as it stands, one sentence 
of dangerous tendency, which is more than can be said for some of the 
*• improvements" of Geddes and Wakefield. A few verbal alterations in 
our own language might, perhaps, be proper. For instance, the verb 
" tempt " was used in the days of James to signify try, whether lawful- 
ly or unlawfully ; the meaning is now restricted to unlawful trying, expos- 
ing to seduction, and therefore might be changed with advantage in some 
pa.ssa(,'e6 of Scripture to the verb try, as in Genesis xxii, v. 1. ; but the un- 
ceremonious liberties which many, even well-meaning men, use with 
Scripture language is highly to be deprecated—" add thou not unto his 
words lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." This caution, says 
Mr. Scott, is worthy of their notice who are continually wanting to alter 
and amend, as they call it, the text of Scripture. 


life he embraced they,Ilomish religion ; but having found, 
after the most impartial investigation, that it was false 
and inconclusive, he returned. to the communion of the 
church of England, and vindicated the Protestant re- 
ligion, in a work entitled. The Religion of Protestants a 
Safe Way to Salvation. Many curious particulars respect- 
ing Popery will be found in the Romish Ecclesiastical 
History of late Years, by Richard Steele, Esq., m Ged- 
des's Tracts, and in Bowyer's History of the PojJes. 

Before we quit the subject of the Reformation, it may 
not be improper to add a short account of the Luthe- 
rans. It has been already said, that the Protestants 
were at first divided into the Lutherans, who adhere to 
Luther's tenets, and the Reformed, who follow the doc- 
trine and discipline of Geneva. In other words, Luther 
was at the head of one party ; Calvin, the chief of the 
other. The tenets of the latter have been specified ; 
those of the former, therefore, are the present subject of 



Martin Luther was born, 10th November, 1483, at 
Aisleben, in Upper Saxony. His parents, though of no 
very elevated rank, bestowed exemplary care on the 
education of their son, which he ever after gratefully 



remembereo ; particularly, he delighted to acknowledge 

the benefit he received from the early instructions of his 
mother. When of age, sufficient to be sent to school, he 
attended George Omilius, an Augustine friar, in his na- 
tive place, thence, at 14, he went to Magdeburg, and 
afterwards proceeded to Issenach, where he remained 
four years, under Trebonius, then high in repute as a 
teacher. Having, by that indefatigable ardour which 
characterized him, laid a foundation of classical learning, 
he entered the University of Erfurt, 1501 — 2, and was 
created Master of Arts in his twentieth year, 1503. His 
high attainments induced his friends to urge him to study 
law ; but Providence had designed him a nobler course. 
In an excursion to the country with a young friend, 
Alexius, they were overtaken by a thunder-storm ; A- 
lexius was killed, and he escaped. On the spot, he vow- 
ed to dedicate himself and all his powers henceforth to 
the service of God. He became first a monk of the Au- 
gust! nian Eremites, and afterwards Professor of Divini- 
ty [1517] in a new University founded at Witteraburg, 
by Frederic, Elector of Saxony. While in the monastery, 
he had found a treasure, which lay unheeded by his bre- 
thren, a Latin copy of the Bible. This he studied with 
intense eagerness ; and, when he obtained a chair, began 
immediately to inculcate its doctrines. The novelty of 
this mode of teaching created an uncommon sensation, 
and prepared the minds of the students for the mighty 
envets about to follow. It was at that portentous time 
that Tetsel arrived, preaching indulgences ; and Luther 
immediately set himself against a measure so inimical 
to the interests of piety and virtue, which was rendered 


still more detestable by the flagrant profligacy of the 
preacher. In September 1.517, he openly impugned the 
doctrine of indulgences, in 95 propositions. His bold- 
ness, and the excellence of his cause, soon procured him 
many followers ; and his rapid success made the voluptu- 
ous Leo X. and his corrupt court, attempt suppressing 
the dangerous innovator. 

Cajetan, papal legate in Germany, was ordered to 
summon Luther before him, and command him to re- 
tract, or send him to Rome. The intrepid reformer 
refused to yield to any force but argument,* and, for- 
tunately, the legate was prevented from using any 
other. The progress of truth in his mind was, how- 
ever, gradual; he had not yet thought of questioning 
the supremacy of the Pope, or considering the Romish 
church as radically corrupt, and was even anxiously 
attempting an accommodation, when the impatient fury 
of the Holy See, 1520, ordered him to recant within 
sixty days, on pain of being excommunicated. He im- 
mediately and publicly renounced her communion ; and 
declared the Pope an apostate, heretic, and antichrist. 
Germany was now so much agitated, that the Emperor 
Charles V. summoned Luther to appear at Worms, and 
promised him protection on the journey. His friends, 
notwithstanding, were much afraid, and endeavoured to 
dissuade him, reminding him of the fate of John Huss ; 
but his mind rose with his circumstances, and he boldly 
declared, " that if there were as many devils at Worms as 
tiles on the houses, he would still go there." Much con- 
cession in the cause of truth from such a man was not to 
be expected, yet he acknowledged that he had been oc- 


casionally too violent, and offered to retract any of his 
opinions that might be proved erroneous from Scripture. 
The Emperor was strongly advised to violate his safe 
conduct ; but he remembered the misfortunes of Sigis- 
mund, and avoided a similar infamy. An edict, com- 
manding his seizure as an excommunicated heretic, as 
soon as it should have expired, was issued. The kind- 
ness of tlie Elector of Saxony withdrew him from the 
storm. On his return, he was carried by a party of men 
in masks to the Castle of Wortemburg, where he was 
concealed nine months ; this retreat he called his Pat- 
mos, and here he effected his most important work, 
the cope-stone of the Reformation, a translation of the 
Scriptures into the vulgar tongue. He married a nun, 
1525; enjoyed a year of repose, 1526; had the hap- 
piness of seeing the reformed religion established in 
Saxony, 1527; and, after a life of almost super-human 
exertion, died quietly, 1546. His works were collected 
after his death, and printed in 7 volumes, folio. 


The Lutherans, of all Protestants, are those who diifer 
least from the Romish church, as they affirm that the 
body and blood of Christ are materially present in the 
sacrament of the Lord's Supper, though in an incompre- 
hensible manner ; they likewise represent some religious 
rites and institutions, as the use of images in churches, 
the distinguishing vestments of the clergy, the private 


confession of sins, Uie use of wafers in the administration 
of the Lord's Supper, the form of exorcism in the cele- 
bration of baptism, and other ceremonies of the like na- 
ture as tolerable, and some of them useful. The Luthe- 
rans maintain, with regard to the divme decrees, that tliey 
respect the salvation or misery of men, in consequence 
of a previous kyioiuledge of their sentiments and charac- 
ters^ and not as free and unconditional, and as founded 
on the mere will of God, which is the tenet of the Cal- 
vinists. Towai'ds the close of the last century, the Lu- 
therans began to entertain a greater liberality of senti- 
ment than they had before adopted, though in many 
places they pej'severed longer in severe and despotic 
principles than other Protestant churches. Theij- pub- 
lic teachers now enjoy an unbounded liberty of dissent- 
ing from the decisions of those symbols or creeds,* which 
were once deemed almost infallible rules of faith and 
practice, and of declaring their dissent in the manner 
they judge most expedient. Mosheim attributes this 
change in their sentiments to the maxim which they ge- 

* The Lutherans call their standard books symb-slical, from a Greek word 
that signifies collection or compilation ; for it is their leading principle, that 
the Holy Scriptures are the only source whence to derive our sentiments, 
whether of faith or practice. The txsi of these is the " Confession of 
Augsburg;" next, "The Articles of Smalcald," with the Shorter and 
Larger Catechisms of Luther ; and the " Form of Concord." The coun- 
tries where the Lutherans chiefly predominate are the north of Germany, 
Saxony, and the greatest part of Prussia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden 
there are likewise Lutheran churches in England, Holland, Russia, North 
America, and the West India islands. Out of eighteen Protestant universi- 
ties in Germany [1810], fourteen were Lutheran. 

tt 2 


nerally adopted, that Christians were accountable to God 
alone, for their religious opinions ; and that no individual 
could be justly punished by the magistrate for his errone- 
ous opinions, while he conducted himself like a virtuous 
and obedient subject, and made no attempts to disturb 
the peace and order of civil society. 

It may be just added, that Luther's opinion respecting 
the sacrament is termed Comubstantiation ; and it vv-as, 
that the partakers of the Lord's Supper received, along 
with the bread and wine, the real body and blood of 
Christ. And this, says Dr. Mosheim, in their judgment, 
was a mystery which they did not pretend to explain. 
But his translator, Dr. Maclaine, justly remarks, " That 
Luther was not so modest as Dr. Mosheim here repre- 
sents him. He pretended to explain his doctrine of the 
real presence, absurd and contradictory as it is, and ut- 
tered much senseless jargon on the subject. As in a red- 
hot iron, said he, two distinct substances, viz. iron and 
fire are united, so is the body of Christ joined with the 
bread, in the eucharist. I mention this miserable com- 
parison, to shew into what absurdities the towering pride 
of system will often betray men of deep sense and true 

Such is the account given us of the Lutherans in a 
respectable work, and it appears to be founded in truth. 
I shall only remark, that according to the above sketch, 
Luther differed considerably from Calvin, respecting e- 
lection and reprobation, and as to the principle, that 
Christians are accountable to God alone, for their re» 
ligious opinions, it is a sentiment worthy of a great and 
elevated mind. It is the corner-stone on which the Re- 


formation has been raised. It is the only tiaie founda- 
tion of religious improvement, and wherever it is sincere- 
ly embraced, will check every degree of uncharitableness 
and persecution, and forward the blessed reign of love 
and charity amongst the professors of Christianity. 


The appellation Hugonots, was given to the French 
Protestants in 1561. The term is (by some) supposed 
to be derived from a gate in Tours, called Hvgon, where 
they first assembled. According to others, the name is 
taken from the first words of their original protest or 
confession of faith — Hue nos venhnus, &c. During the 
reign of Charles the Ninth, and on the 24th of August, 
1572, happened the massacre of Bartholomew, when 
70,000 Protestants throughout France were butchered, 
with circumstances of aggravated cruelty. It began at 
Paris in the night of the festival of Bartholomew, by se«- 
cret orders from Charles the Kinth, at the instigation of 
his mother, the Queen Dowager Catharine de Medicis. 
See Sully's Memoirs, and also a fine description of it in 
the second canto of Voltaire's Henriade. 

In 1598, Henry the Fourth passed the famous Edict 
of Nantz, which secured to his old friends the Protes- 
tants the free exercise of their religion. This edict was 
revoked by Lewis the Fourteenth. Their churches were 
then erased to the ground ; their persons insulted by the 
soldiery, and, after the loss of innumerable liveS; 50,000 


valuable members of society were driven into exile ! In 
Holland they built several places of worship, and had 
amongst them some distinguished preachers. Among 
others were Superville, Dumont, Dubosc, and the elo- 
quent Saurin, five volumes of whose select sermons were 
translated into our language by the late Mr. Robinson of 
Cambridge. In one of these sermons Saurin makes the 
following fine apostrophe to that tyrant, Lewis the Four- 
teenth, by whom they were driven into exile — *' And 
thou, dreadful prince, whom I once honoured as my 
king, and whom I yet respect as a scourge in the hand 
of Almighty God, thou also shalt have a part in my 
good wishes ! These provinces, which thou threatenest, 
but which the arm of the Lord protects ; this country, 
which thou fillest with refugees, but fugitives animated 
with love ; these walls, which contain a thousand mar- 
tyrs of thy making, but whom religion renders victorious, 
all these yet resound benedictions in thy favour. God 
grant the fatal bandage that hides the truth from thine 
eyes may fall off! May God forget the rivers of blood 
with which thou hast deluged the earth, and which thy 
reign hath caused to be shed ! May God blot out of his 
book the injuries which thou hast done us, and while he 
rewards the sufferers, may he pardon those who exposed 
us to suffer ! O may God, who hath made thee to us, 
and to the whole church, a minister of his judgments, 
make thee a dispenser of his favours, and administrator 
of his mercy !"* 

* It cannot, however, be dissembled, that the Hugonots of France merit, 
ed theif fate, though not from the hands of theix tyrant, by their base 


About the time of the Revolution, 1688, there were 
many controversies between the Protestant and the Po- 
pish divines, occasioned by James the Second's unavail- 
ing attempt to bring in Popery. Tillotson and Burnet, 
two clerg^Tnen of the church of England, rendered Pro- 
testantism great service by their writings j and it is con- 
jectured, were, on that account, elevated to the Bench 
by King William of immortal memory. There are also 
two excellent volumes o( Sermons against Popery, preach- 
ed in the early part of this centiu-y, by various dissenting 
ministers, at Salter's Hall, See also a sermon by the 
Rev. Robert Winter, entitled, " Reflections on the fre^ 
sent State of Popery ^'^ delivered at Salter's Hall, Novem- 
ber, 1800 ; from the perusal of which, the reader will 
find much satisfaction. Burnet's History of the Refor- 
fo7^)iation, and The History of his Own Times, published 
after his death by his son, are two works which throw 
much light on the state of religion in the last and pre- 
ceding centuries among Papists, Churchmen, and Dis- 
senters. The merit of these publications, particularly of 
the latter, is judiciously appreciated by Dr. Kippis, under 
the article Burnet, in the Biographia Britajmica. To 
these may now be added, an excellent Defence of Pro- 
testantism, by Dr. Sturges, in his answer to Mr. Mil- 

subserviency to the established church, and their fruitless endeavours to 
render the Protestant religion agreeable to the Roman Catholics. Before 
the revocation of the Edict of Nantz, the French Protestants, from laxity 
of disciphne, and corruption of manners, had themselves paved the way 
for their own destruction. Quick's Synodicon presents a miserable picture 
pf the internal state of these unfortunate people. 


ner, who, in his Histoiy of Winchester, takes every op- 
portunity of reprobating the Protestant reh"gion, and of 
erecting on its ruins his beloved edifice of Popery. Dr. 
S. shews the rise, progress, and tendency of the Romish 
religion ; animadverts with spirit on the calumnies b}' 
which his antagonist had endeavoured to blacken the 
characters of the reformers : and, finally, he proves the 
Protestant religion by its views of the Divine Being, and 
by its regard for the rights of mankind, to be the only 
true and primitive Christianity. 


The Episcopalians, in the modern acceptation of the 
term, belong more especially to the Church of England, 
and derive this title from Episcopus, the Latin word for 
bishop J or if it be referred to its Greek origin from 
iKovico to look, iv7 over, implying the care and diligence 
with which bishops are expected to preside over those 
committed to their guidance and direction. They insist 
on the divine origin of their bishops, and other church 
officers, and on the alliance between church and state. 
Respecting these subjects, however, Warburton and 
Hoadley, together with others of the learned amongst 
them, have different opinions, as they also have on their 
thirty-nine articles; which were established in the reign 
of Queen Elizabeth. They are to be fonnd in most 
Common-Prai/cr Books; and the Episcopal church in 


America has reduced their number to twenty. By some, 
these articles are made to speak the language of Calvin- 
ism, and by others have been interpreted in favour of 
Arminianism. The doctrines and discipline of the Church 
of England are nearly connected with the reformation of 
Luther in Germany, and also with the state of ecclesias- 
tical affairs for a considerable time before that reforma- 
tion commenced. 

Eusebius positively asserts, that Christianity was first 
introduced into South Britain by the apostles and their 
disciples ; and it is supposed that the apostle Paul visit- 
ed this country, whose zeal, diligence, and fortitude, were 
abundant. It is also said, that numbers of persons pro- 
fessed the Christian faith here about the year 150; and 
according to Usher, there was, in the year 182, a school 
of learning, to provide the British churches with proper 
teachers. On the subject of the first introduction of Chris- 
tianiij/ in this island, the reader is referred to the first 
volume of Henry's History of Great Britain^ where his 
curiosity will be considerably gratified. 

John Wickliffe, educated at Oxford, in the reign of 
Edward the Third, was the first person who publicly 
questioned, and boldly refuted the doctrines of Popery. 
He left behind him many followers, who were called 
Wicklijltes and Lollards ; the latter being a term of re- 
proach taken from the Flemish tongue. In the council 
of Constance, 1415, the memory and opinions of Wickliffe 
(who died peaceably at Lutterworth, 1384,) were con- 
demned, and soon after his bones were dug up and burnt. 
This impotent rage of his enemies served only to promote 
the cause of reform which Wickliffe had espoused. It 


is with a view to this subsequent extension of his doc- 
trine that the judicious Rapin observes — " His ashes 
were thrown into the brook which runs through the town 
of Lutterworth, the brook conveyed the ashes to the Se- 
vern, and the Severn to the Sea !" 

The Church of England broke off from the Romish 
church in the time of Henry the Eighth, when (as has 
been already related) Luther had began the reformation 
in Germany. In earlier life, and during the earlier part 
of his reign, Henry was a bigotted Papist, burnt William 
Tyndal, who made one of the first and best English 
translations of the New Testament, and wrote fiercely in 
defence of the seven sacraments, against Luther, for 
which the Pope honoured him with the title Defender of 
the Faith. This title is retained by the kings of England 
even to the present day, though they are the avowed 
enemies of those opinions, by contending for which he 
acquired that honourable distinction. Henry, falling out 
with the Pope, took the government of ecclesiastical af- 
fairs into his own hands; and, having reformed many 
enormous abuses, entitled himself Supreme Head of the 

When the Reformation in England first took place, 
great efforts were made to promote the reading of the 
scriptures among the common people. Among other 
devices for the purpose, the following curious one was 
adopted : — Bonner, Bishop of London, caused six Bibles 
to be chained to certain convenient places in St. Paul's 
church, for all that were so well inclined to resort unto ; 
together with a certain admonition to the readers fasten- 
ed upon the pillars to which the Bibles were chained, to 


this tenor — " That wliosoevcr came there to read 
should prepare himself to be edified, and made the bet- 
ter thereby ; that he bring with him discretion, honest 
intent, charity, reverence, and quiet behaviour; that 
there should no such number meet together there as to 
make a multitude ; that no such exposition be made 
thereupon but what is declared in the book itself; that 
it be not read with noise in time of divine ser\ice, or 
that any disputation or contention be used about it; 
that in case they continued their former misbehaviour, 
and refused to comply with these directions, the king 
■would be forced against his will to remove the occasion, 
and take the Bible out of the church." — See Johnson's 
Historical Account of the several English Translations 
of the Bible, and the opposition they met with from the 
Church of Rome. 

The Church of England is governed by the king, who 
is the supreme head ; by two archbishops, and by twenty- 
four bishops. The benefices of the bishops were con- 
verted by William the Conqueror into temporal ba- 
ronies ; so that every prelate has a seat and vote in the 
House of Peers. Dr. Benjamin Hoadley, however, in a 
sermon preached from this text, my ki-ngdom is not of this 
world, insisted that the clergy had no pretensions to 
temporal jurisdiction, which gave rise to various publi- 
cations, termed by way of eminence the Bmigorian Con- 
troversy, for Hoadley was then Bishop of Bangor.* 

There is a bishop of Sodor and Man, who has no seat 

* The meiTiory cf this eminent prelate has been insulted by Mr. MUncr 
in his History of JFir.cheiUr ; but Dr. Hoadley, AsheaiviDr. Sturgcsliave 
anjply vindicated it. 



in the House of Peers ; and a late prelate of this see was 
the amiable and learned Dr. Wilson. Since the death 
of the pedantic and intolerant Archbishop Laud, men of 
moderate principles have been raised to the see of Can- 
terbury, and this hath tended not a little to the tranquil- 
lity of church and state. The established church of 
Ireland is the same as the church of England, and is go- 
verned by four archbishops and eighteen bishops. Since 
the Union, it sends four spiritual Lords to the British 

In the course of the last century disputes arose among 
the English clergy respecting the propriety of subscrib- 
ing to any human formulary of religious sentiments. An 
application for its removal was made to Parliament in 
1772, by the petitioning clergy, and received, as it deserv- 
ed, the most public discussion in the House of Commons. 
The third edition of Archdeacon Blackburn's excellent 
Confessionaly was published 1770, two years previous to 
the presentation of this clerical petition, when the long 
controversy in consequence of the work, was closed, and 
indeed introductory to the application to Parliament 
pending, by which the controversy was renewed. Mr, 
Dycr''s Treatise against Subscription, appeared many 
years afterwards. Some respectable clergymen were so 
impressed with the impropriety of subscription, that they 
resigned their livings, and published reasons for their con- 
duct. Among these, the names of Robertson, Jehby Mat- 
ty, Lindsey, and Disney, will be long remembered. Seve- 
ral others, indeed, resigned preferment held by the same 
tenure for similar reasons, without giving such reasons to 
the public, as Mr. Tyrwhitt, Mr. Wakefield, &c. ; and it 


has been said that many more reluctantly continue in 
their conformity, under the contest between their con- 
victions and their inability from various causes to extri- 
cate themselves, but who will never repeat their subscrip- 
tions. The Rev. T. Lindsey, however, withdrew from 
the church, because he objected to the trinity ; professing 
to worship the Father only as the one true God, to the 
exclusion of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit, as ob- 
jects of worship. See " The Book of Common Prayer 
reformed,''' used at Essex Street Chapel ; a new edition 
of which has been just published. 

Attempts have been made to amend the articles, the 
liturgy, and some things which related to the internal go- 
vernment of the church of England. Dr. Watson, the 
present Bishop of Landaff, wrote a Letter to the Archbishop 
of Canierhurrj, in the year 1781, in which he argues for 
the propriety of a more equal distribution of salary among 
the different orders of the clergy. But this plan, pro- 
jected by the worthy prelate, together with the preced- 
ing proposals for reform by the authors of the Free and 
Candid Disquisitions, and the Appeal to Reason and Can- 
dor, have been suffered to sink into oblivion. The church 
of England has produced a succession of eminent men. 
Among its ornaments are to be reckoned Usher, Hall, 
Taylor, Stillingjleet, Cudworth, Wil/cins, Tillotson, Cum' 
berland, Barroiu, Burnet, Pearson, Hammond, Whitby, 
Clarke, Hoadley, Jortin, Seeker, Home, Lowth, and War- 
hurton. In the Appendix to Mosheim^s Ecclesiastical 
History, will be found a circumstantial account of the 
correspondence carried on in the year 1718, between 
Dr. Wm. Wake, Archbishop of Canterbury, and certain 


doctors of the Sorbonne of Paris, relative to a project 
of union between the English and Gallican churches. 
Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity — Pearson on the Creed, 
Burnet on the Thirty-nine Articles, and Bishop Pretty- 
man's Elements of Theology,* are deemed the best de- 
fences of Episcopacy. 

The Reformation in England, begun under the au- 
spices of Henry the Eighth, was greatly checked by 
INIary, who proceeded like a female fury to re-establish 
Popery. In her sanguinary reign were burnt one arch- 
bishop, four bishops, twenty-one divines, eight gentlemen, 
one hundred and eighty-four artificers, and one hundred 
husbandmen, servants, and labourers ; twenty-six wives, 
twenty widows, and nine virgins, two boys, and two in- 
fants ! ! ! On the death of Mary, 1558, Elizabeth as- 
cended the throne, repealed the laws which had been es- 
tablished in favour of Popery, and restored her supremacy, 
jn these matters she wonderfully succeeded, since of 
9,400 beneficed clergymen, about 120 only refused to 
comply with the Reformation. The establishment of 
Protestantism in England underwent various fluctuations 
til' the glorious Revolution under William, in 1688, pla- 
ced it on a firm and permanent foundation. The family 
of the Stuarts were bitter enemies to the civil and re- 
ligious liberties of their subjects, and violently attached 
to Popery. Dr. Goldsmith tells us, in his History of 
England, that James the Second, in endeavouring to 
convert his subjects to the Popish religion, descended so 

♦ Mr. William Friend, the celebrated mathematician, late of Cambridge, 
published a series of letters to this prelate, by way of reply to certain pai- 
sages in his Elements of Theology' 


low as Colonel Kirke. But that daring and unprinci- 
pled soldier assured his majesty that he was pre-engaged, 
for that if ever he did change his religion, he had promis- 
ed the Emperor of Morocco, when quartered at Tan- 
giers, to turn Mahometan I 

Mr. Gisborne, in his excellent Familiar Survey of the 
Christian Religion, has the following remarks on church 
government : — " In every community or body of men, 
civil or ecclesiastical, some species of government is re- 
quisite for the good of the whole. Otherwise all is ir- 
regularity, and interminable confusion. How then in 
an}' particular country is the Christian church to be go- 
verned ? " Every separate congregation," answers the 
Independent^ " is a sovereign church amenable to no ex- 
trinsic jurisdiction, and entitled to no jurisdiction over 
other churches." " That mode of government," replies 
the Presbyterian, " is calculated to destroy unity, co- 
operation, and concord among Christians. All congre- 
gations within the same, which agree in doctrine, ought 
to be under the general superintendence of a represen- 
tative assembly, composed of their ministers and dele- 
gates." " Such a representative assembly," returns the 
Episcopalian, " wants vigour and dispatch, and is per- 
petually open to tumult and partiality, and faction. Di- 
vide the country into dioceses, and station a bishop in 
each, armed with sufficient authority, and restrained by 
adequate laws, from abusing it. Such was the apostolic 
government of the church — such, perhaps," he adds, " was 
the government enjoined on succeeding ages." " Away," 
cries the Papist, " with these treasonable discussions. The 
Pope, the successor of St. Peter, is by divine right the 



only source of ecclesiastical power, the universal monarch 
of the universal church." 

Writing as I am to Protestants, I may pass by the claim 
of the successor of St. Peter. But the concluding words 
of the Episcopalian are of prime importance. If Christ 
or his apostles enjoined the uniform adoption of Episco- 
pacy, the question is decided. Did Christ then or his a- 
postles deliver or indirectly convey such an injunction ? 
This topic has been greatly controverted. The fact ap- 
pears to be this — that our Saviour did not pronounce 
upon the subject ; that the apostles uniformly establish- 
ed a bishop in every district, as soon as the church in 
that district became numerous, and thus clearly evinced 
their judgment as to the form of ecclesiastical govern- 
ment, most advantages at least in those days to Christi- 
anity ; but that they left no command, which rendered 
Episcopacy universally indispensable in future times, if 
other forms should evidently promise, through local 
opinions and circumstances, greater benefit to religion. 
Such is the general sentiment of the present church of 
England on the subject. Bishop Prettyman has expres- 
sed himself much after the same manner in his Elements 
of Theology. 

Adam thus gives the state of their establishment. The 
number of inhabitants in England and Wales is suppos- 
ed to be about 8,000,000 ; of these one-fifth or more are 
said to dissent. The number of parishes is nearly 10,000 ; 
and the chiu'ch livings are in the gift of the King, the Bi- 
shops, the two Universities, the Cathedrals, the nobility, 


gentry, &c. &c. These livings, of all descriptions, amount 
to about 1 1,755 rectories, vicarages, &c.&c. The revenues 
of the church are considered by some as very consider- 
able; but, according to the great Lord Chatham, they 
are but " a pittance," being only about three millions of 
money, i. e. thirty hundred thousand pounds sterling ; 
while the number of the established clergy, of all ranks 
and orders, amount to no less than eighteen thousand ! 
It may, perhaps, be proper to add, that some later " po- 
litical" writers estimate the sum paid to the established 
clergy at not less than three times three millions ; but 
certainly the first estimate — the " pittance" — would be 
a pretty fair tax for a nation to pay ; and, if equally di- 
vided, might afford full maintenance for all the teachers 
of religion, as by law established. Unfortunately, how- 
ever, it is very unequally divided, some of the high dig- 
nitaries levying many thousand pounds per annum, while 
a great number of the curates who perform the drudgery 
receive ("a pittance," shall we call it ? of) £10 or 
£20. In Ireland the members of the established church 
are estimated at 300,000, out of a population of five 
millions. The revenue is still more enormous in pro- 
portion to the numbers of their clergy, or the duty per- 


In Scotland, and other parts, since the Revolution, 
there existed a species of Episcopalians called Non-jur- 
ors, because being inflexibly attached to the Stuarts^ 


who wete then driven from the throne, they refused to 
take the oath of allegiance to the Brunswick family. On 
the decease, however, of the Pretender, whom the Non- 
jurors stiled Prince Charles, and who died at Rome, 
1788, they complied with the requisition of Government, 
aud now the distinction is abolished. 

These were the remains of the Scottish Prelatists, who 
for so long a term had persecuted the Presbyterians, and 
who, in consequence of their turbulent factious disposi- 
tion, were objects of natural jealousy to the govern- 
ment. They were incapacitated for their civil offences 
from enjoying civil offices till l«792,when the penallaws, 
which had been enacted against them, were repealed. 
Since that period the Episcopal church in Scotland has 
obtained a great accession in numbers and respectabili- 
ty from several congregations, under the pastoral care of 
English ordained clergymen, uniting in religious commu- 
nion with their bishops and clergy; who, in 1804, hav- 
ing subscribed the 39 Articles of the Church of England, 
became a branch of the united Episcopalian church of the 
three kingdoms. There are eight bishops — Aberdeen, 
Ross, Glasgow, Moray, Edinburgh, Dunkeld, and Bre- 
chin, of whom one is Primus, or Primate. 


Dissenters from the church of England made their 
first appearance in Queen Elizabeth's time, when, on ac- 


count of the extraordinary purity which they proposed 
in religious worship and conduct, they -were reproached 
with the name of Puritans. They were greatly increas- 
ed by the act of uniformity, which took place on Bartho- 
lomew-day 1662, in the reign of Charles the Second. 
By this act 2,000 ministers were obliged to quit the es- 
tablished church, refusing to conform to certain condi- 
tions, whence they were called Kon-co7}formists. An 
instructive and entertaining account of the lives, literature, 
and piety of these good men, is to be found in Palmer's 
Kon-conformist Memorial. Their descendants are known 
by the name of Protestant Dissenters, and rank under the 
three respectable denominations of Presbyterians, Inde- 
pendants, and Baptists. 

Of the origin and progress of the Dissenters, a full ac- 
count is contained in Xeal's Histort; of the Piiritam, an 
improved edition of which work was lately published by 
Dr. Toulm.iu of Taunton, who has accompanied it with 
notes, in which are obviated the objections which have 
been made to it by Grey, Maddox, Warburton, and 
others. Here the historian traces, step by step, the dif- 
ferences which originally occasioned tlie separation, and 
an affecting narrative is given of the sufferings which our 
forefathers were doomed to undergo in the cause of re- 
ligious liberty. A brief history of the Puritans also was 
published in 1773, of which the author, the Rev. J. Cor- 
nish, has given an enlarged and pleasing edition. The 
principles on which the Dissenters separate from the 
church of England are the same with those on which 
she separates herself from the churcii of Home. They 
may be summarily comprehended in these three : 1. The 


right of private judgment. 2. Liberty of Conscience. 
And, 3. The perfection of scripture as a Christian's ow/t/ 
rule of faith and practice. 

The late Dr. Taylor of Norwich, thus expressed him- 
self concerning the principles and worship of the Dis- 
senters — " The principles and worship of Dissenters are 
not formed upon such slight foundation as the unlearn- 
ed and thoughtless may imagine. They were thorough- 
ly considered and judiciously reduced to the standard of 
scripture and the writings of antiquity, by a great num- 
ber of men of learning and integrity. I mean the Bar- 
tholomew-divines^ or the ministers ejected in the year 
1662, men prepared to lose all, and to suffer martyrdom 
itself, and who actually resigned their livings (which with 
most of them were, under God, all that they and their 
families had to subsist upon) rather than sin against God 
and desert the cause of civil and religious liberty, which, 
together with serious religion, would, 1 am persuaded, 
have sunk to a very low ebb in the nation, had it not 
been for the bold and noble stand these worthies made 
against imposition upon conscience, profaneness, and 
arbitary power. They had the best education Englaiid 
could afford; most of them were excellent scholars, ju- 
dicious divines, pious, faithful, and laborious ministers, 
of great zeal for God and religion, undaunted and cou- 
rageous in their master's work, standing close to their 
people in the worst of times, diligent in their studies, so- 
lid, affectionate, powerful, awakening preachers, aiming 
at the advancement of real vital religion in the hearts 
and lives of men, which it cannot be denied, flourished 
greatly wherever they could influence. Particularly they 


were men of great devotion and eminent abilities in 
prayer, uttered as God enabled them from the abund- 
ance of their hearts and affections, men of divine elo- 
quence in pleading at the throne of grace, raising and 
melting the affections of their hearers, and being happily 
instrumental in transfusing into their souls the same spi- 
rit and heavenly gift. And this was the ground of all 
their other qualifications, they were excellent men, be- 
cause excellent, instant, and fervent in prayer. Such 
were the fathers and first formers of the Dissenting inter- 
est. Let my soul for ever be tvith the souls of these 

The Test Act excludes Dissenters from filling public 
offices, except they take the sacrament at the establish- 
ed church, which some think cannot be consistently 
done by any conscientious Dissenter. Hence loud com- 
plaints have been raised respecting this exclusion, since, 
as members of the civil community, they are entitled to 
all the common privileges of that community. The Test 
Act was originally levelled against the Roman Catholics. 
The Dissenters have made several unsuccessful applica- 
tions for its repeal. The question was warmly agitated in 
the House of Commons, 1787, and on each side numerous 
publications issued from the press. The chief argument 
urged for the continuance of the Test Act is the safety of 
the established church. The principal arguments alleged 
for its repeal are, that it is a prostitution of the Lord's 
Supper, and that to withhold civil rights on account of re- 
ligious opinions, is a specious of persecution.* 

* It is now repealed. 


The Dissenters, as a body, have not been unfruitful of 
great and learned men. Among their ornaments are to 
be ranked Baxter, Bates, Howe, Owen, Williams, Neal, 
Henry, Stennet, Evans, Gale, Foster, Leland, Grosve- 
nor. Watts, Lardner, Abernethy, Doddridge, Grove, 
Chandler, Gill, Orton, Furneaux, Farmer, Towgood, 
Robinson, and Price. Though (as enemies have sug- 
gested) it may happen that among Dissenters sufficient 
encouragement is not given in certain cases to men of 
talents and integrity, yet among their more liberal deno- 
minations, it must be confessed that a dissenting minister 
may, unawed by a conclave of cardinals — a bench of bi- 
shops — or a board of ministers — exercise in its fullest 
extent the rights of private judgment, which is the pride 
and pleasure of the human mind. In Pierce's Vindica- 
tion of the Dissenters, Towgood's Letters to White, and 
Palmer's Protestant Dixsenter^s Catechism, are stated the 
grounds upon which their dissent from the established 
church is founded. 


The members of the Kirk of Scotland are, strictly 
speaking, the only Presbyterians in Great Britain.* Their 

• Kirk is derived from y,v^iix.xvi, and is the oriftinal Saxon or Teutonic 
•word ktjke, a place set apart for divine worship, by a catachresis applied to 
the congregation who assembles together in one place, or the various con- 
gregations connected together in one communion. It is a mistake to say 


mode of ecclesiastical government was brought thithef 
from Geneva by John Knox, the celebrated Scottish re- 
former, and who has been styled the apostle of Scot- 
land, for the same reason that Lather was called the 
apostle of Gerviani/. 

Contrary to the Episcopalians, the Presbyterians main- 
tain that the church should be governed by Presbyteries, 
Synods, and General Assemblies. The title Presby- 
terian comes from the Greek word n^nr^vrt^og, which 
signifies senior, or elder. In the kirk of Scotland there 
are fifteen synods and sixty-nine presbyteries. Their ar- 
ticles and their creed is Calvinistic, and their general as- 
sembly is held annually in the month of May at Edin- 

This, which is the supreme ecclesiastical court, consists 
of 200 ministers and 89 lay or ruling elders, representing 
presbyteries ; 67 elders from royal burghs, and 5 repre- 
sentatives from the universities; in all, 361 members. 
It is chosen annually, and has tsvo presidents, a royal 
commissioner, appointed by the king, and a moderator, 
chosen by the meeting. The inferior courts are, first, 
kirk-sessions : These consist of the minister or ministers, 
and so many elders, selected from the most respectable 
inhabitants of the parish, who are solemnly ordained to 

the members of the established church are the only Presbyterians in Scot- 
land. The Reformed Presbytery, the Seceders, and the Relief, are all 
Presbyterians, and ought to hold the principles of Presbyterianism in 
greater purity than the •' corrupt kirk." 



their office. The number is not limited, but they can- 
not be less than two : they are entrusted with the man- 
agement of the poors' funds, and have, besides, a general 
inspection of the morals of the parishioners, and a right 
to administer the discipline of the church, according to 
established laws. Every proceeding of a kirk-session is 
subject to the review of the presbytery of the district, 
which is the court immediately above, and consists of 
the ministers of so many contiguous parishes, who are 
ex officio members, and of an elder from each kirk-ses- 
sion within the district, usually elected at the end of 
every six months. Its duties extend to the superintend- 
ance of the private conduct, and public teaching of the mi- 
nisters of the district, to induct them to these charges, to 
admonish, suspend, or even deprive them, if found un- 
qualified. The trial and induction of parish schoolmas- 
ters is likewise entrusted to the presbyteries. The Synod 
is the court of review immediately above the Presbytery, 
and consists of all the ministers and elders who stand on 
the roll as constituent members of so many contiguous 
presbyteries placed under its provincial jurisdiction, and 
possess, like it, an original jurisdiction on subjects of 
general interest — from it, by appeal, to the General 
Assembly, which sits both as a judicial and legislative 

* The following has been stated as their annual incomes :—l 72 charges 
at £1.50; 200 at £200; 150 at £230; 150 at £250; 150 at £500; 80 at 
£325; 30 at £550; 28 at £400; 10 at £500; 10 at £600; and 20 at 
£800 ; which, with manse and glebe, makes the whole expense of th» 
establishment within a trifle of £500/)00 per annum. 




John Knox first drew breath in the village of Gif- 
ford, in the county of East Lothian, A. D. 1505. His 
family was respectable. He received the rudiments of 
his education in the grammar-school of Haddington 
which he completed in the University of St. Andrews, 
under John Mair, or Major, and in conjunction with 
Buchanan. Originally designed for the Romish church, 
he was ordained a priest before he attained the canoni- 
cal age [25] ; but his masculine soul threw off the fet- 
ters of a degrading superstition as soon as his inquiries 
led him to perceive their absurdity. At the risk of his 
life he professed himself a Protestant about 154-2, and 
found refuge, as a private tutor, from the revenge of 
Cardinal Beatoun, in the family of Hugh Douglas of 
Langniddrie. On the fall of Beatoun, he was persuaded 
by his patrons to enter the castle of St. Andrews, where 
he remained till it surrendered, and shared the fate of its 
inmates, being sent to the French gallies. After endui'- 
ing a severe and tedious imprisonment of 19 months, he 
was set at liberty, February 1549; and, repairing to 
England, was employed as a Protestant preacher in 
Berwick. In 1551, he was appointed one of Edward VI.'s 
private chaplains, and assisted in revising the English 
Book of Common Prayer ; but, on the death of that pi- 
ous youth, was forced to flee to the continent, to avoid 
the flames kindled by the bigotted Mary. A short time 


before his departure he married IMarjory Bowes, a re- 
spectable young lady, a native of Berwick. He now re- 
paired to Geneva, where he became intimate with Cal- 
vin ; then tarried for a short time at Frankfort ; but upon 
some disputes with the exiled English, returned to Ge- 
neva; whence, 1555, he set out for Scotland, upon 
learning that the principles of the Reformation were 
making rapid progress there. His labours in his native 
land are identified with the history of civil and religious 
liberty, and have been recently so fully and ably detailed, 
that we shall not attempt any curtailed account of a series 
of exertions which his countrymen can never forget. He 
died, 1572; and the Kegent Morton pronounced over 
him an imperishable epitaph, " There lies he who never 
feared the face of man." 

The Reformation in Scotland, like that in Eng- 
land and Germany, struggled with a long series of op- 
position, and was at length gloriously triumphant. Dr. 
Gilbert Stewart, therefore, closes his History of the Re- 
formation in North Britain with the following animated 
reflections : — 

" From the order and the laws of our nature it per- 
petually happens that advantages are mixed with mis- 
fortune. The conflicts which led to a purer religion, 
while they excite under one aspect the liveliest trans- 
ports of joy, create in another a mournful sentiment of 
sympathy and compassion. Amidst the felicities which 
were obtained, and the trophies which were won, we de- 
plore the melancholy ravages of the passions, and weep 
over the ruins of ancient magnificence. But while the 


contentions and the ferments of men, even in the road 
to improvements and excellence, are ever destined to be 
polluted with mischief and blood ; a tribute of the high- 
est panegyric and praise is yet justly to be paid to the 
actors in the Reformation. They gave way to the move- 
ments of a liberal and resolute spirit. They taught the 
rulers of nations that the obedience of the subject is the 
child of justice, and that men must be governed by their 
opinions and their reason. This magnanimity is illus- 
trated by great and conspicuous exploits, which at the 
same time that they awaken admiration, are an example 
to support and animate virtue in the hour of trial and 
peril. The existence of civil liberty was deeply connect- 
ed with the doctrines for which they contended and 
fought. "While they treated with scorn an abject and a 
cruel superstition, and lifted and sublimed the dignity 
of man, by calling his attention to a simpler and a 
wiser theology, they were strenuous to give a permanent 
security to the political constitution of their state. The 
happiest and the best interests of society were the ob- 
jects for which they buckled on their armour, and to 
wish and to act for their duration and stability, are per- 
haps the most important employments of patriotism and 
public affection. The Reformation may suffer fluctua- 
tions in its forms, but, for the good and the prosperity 
of mankind, it is to be hoped that it is never to yield 
and to submit to the errors and the superstitions it over- 

At the time of the Reformation, the nobility and gen- 
try of Scotland were at the head of the reformers; and 

s 2 


though the ministers had great influence, the landhold- 
ers first, and ultimately the crown, never lost sight of 
the patrimony of the church they overturned, nor of its 
povi'er. The Presbyterian government, the original form, 
was established during the minority of James VI. ; but 
the whole of his own administration consisted of at- 
tempts to overturn it, and erect a hierarchy. His ac- 
cession to the English throne gave him an overwhelming 
influence; and he had nearly succeeded in his darling 
scheme when he died. Charles I. urging a liturgy, undid 
the whole, and Presbytery became triumphantly the co- 
venanted religion of the land, to the exclusion of every 
other. Cromwell tolerated all Protestants; and the 
Presbyterians sighed for the return of a covenanted king 
and Presbyterian supremacy. Charles II. was restored, 
and prelacy was established,* on which a horrible scene of 
blood and persecution ensued, which lasted till the Re* 
volution, when Presbytery was restored ; but other sects 
were tolerated. Since then it has remained the esta- 
blished religion of Scotland, and has been professed by 
an immense majority of the inhabitants ; the chief sub- 
ject of difference being — lay patronage. It is well 
known that the idea of patronage, or the right of pre- 
senting to church benefices, took its rise from the canon 

* So averse, however, were the Scots to the Episcopalians, and so harsh 
were the measures of the Episcopalian party, that the whole country was 
thrown into confusion. Leighton, the most pious and moderate prelate 
amongst them, disgusted with the proceedings of his brethren, resigned his 
bishoprick, and told the king, " He would not have a hand in such op- 
pressive measures, were he sure to plant the Christian religion in an infidel 
country by them ; mudh less when they tended only to alter the form of 
church government." 


law, which, even before the Reroiniation, was never com- 
pletely established in Scotland. In tiie second book of 
discipline adopted in 1578, and recorded in 1580, the 
General Assembly declared, " that patronages and pre- 
sentations to benefices had flowed from the Pope, and 
corruption of the canon law, only in so far as thereby 
any person was intruded or placed over kirks having cu- 
ram animarum [the care of souls] ;" and at the same time 
claimed, that, in Scotland, " none should be intruded 
upon any congregation, either by the prince or any infe- 
rior person, without lawful election and the assent of the 
people over whom the person is placed." Nevertheless 
the crown, and the nobles who had seized the lands, 
gradually usurped the power of the Papists, and present- 
ed to livings. The practice was abolished in 1649 ; like 
numerous evils, it came back with Charles II. was allevia- 
ted at the Revolution, revived under Queen Anne, and, 
at this day, reigns in all its pristine vigour, it having 
been lately found that even a Papist could present to a 
Protestant ku-k ; a decision which occasioned very little 
discussion with regard to its religious bearings, although 
such a phenomenon once would have shaken the land 
from the one end to the other. 


These represent the Presbyterians of the purest times 
of Presbytery, retaining or bearing testimony to the com- 


|)lete work of lleformation, as finally settled in that 
brightest day of the church of Scotland's brightest sea- 
son — the second glorious Reformation of 1649. In 
enumerating, therefore, the principles they profess, we 
enumerate what ought to be the principles of all who 
claim the title of Presbyterian, at least of all who affect 
to glory in the struggle that was made in the mountains 
and muirs of Caledonia, for the rights, liberties, and re- 
ligion of their country. This body is known by a variety 
of titles, or, as they say themselves, " nicknames,'* 
Whigs, Cameronians, Mountain-men, Sec. &c. These 
Were once titles of reproach, but those days have passed 
by. They are now known more commonly by the name 
of Cameronians, from the Rev. Richard Cameron, who 
fell at Airsmoss, in Kyle, 1680; or covenanters, from ad- 
hering to that famous bond of union. The Roman Ca- 
tholics and Episcopalians boast of the more than doubt- 
ful regular order of apostolic succession ; the Cameronians 
clearly trace their lineal descent from the original profes- 
sors and martyrs of the Scottish church ; but what they 
esteem of more consequence, they hold fast their faith. 
At the Revolution 1688, they were deserted by their 
pastors, who chose to comply with the principles of the 
times, and own an authority in the church which the 
more strict covenanting people believed to be a sinful 
compliance. They had, during days of darkness and 
peril, contended for the supreme headship of Christ in 
his church, and they could not in days of ease submit to 
surrender what they and their fathers had striven for in 
the high places of the field. Patronage in any shape 
they resisted ; and although they allowed the right of 


Christian magistrates to IiolJ a place in Christian 
churches, according to the covenant, they could not 
bow to any undue or Erastian interference. For some 
time they remained without regular ministers, till, after 
various vicissitudes, on the 1st of August 1743, Mr. Mac- 
Millan and Mr. Nairne, with some ruling elders, who 
had been regularly ordained, " formed and constituted a 
presbytery in the name of Christ, the alone king and head 
of his church, under the title of the Rkformed Presby- 
TERi'." This title [now Synod, from the increase of 
their numbers], they still bear, " not," as they modestly 
say, " that they consider themselves as better than other 
men, or as having in their own persons arrived at higher 
degrees of perfection, such thoughts they never enter- 
tained, but purely for this reason, that it is at least their 
honest intention faithfully to adhere to the whole Refor- 
mation attainments both in church and state, without 
knowingly dropping any part of these;" " and, having 
obtained help of God, they continue to this day witness- 
ing none other things than what many thousands in the 
once famous and reformed church of Scotland have wit- 
nessed before theuj." The principles and history of these 
representatives of the primitive covenanters may be found 
in " A Short Account of the Old Presbyterian Dissen- 
ters," &c. published by authority of the Reformed 
Synod ; to which, as being both concise and satisfactory, 
I refer. It may be had at the Publisher of this work, 
price one shilling. There are three presbyteries in this 
connection, consisting of thirty-two congregations. 



Dissenters from the Kirk or Church of Scotland, 
call themselves Seceders ; for as the term Dissenter comes 
from the Latin word, dissentio, to differ, so the appella- 
tion Seceder is derived from another Latin word seccdo, 
to separate or to withdraw from any body of men with 
which we may have been united. The Seceders are 
rigid Calvinists, rather austere in their manners, and in 
in their discipline. Through a difference as to civil mat- 
ters they are broken down into Burghers and Anti' 
burghers. Of these two classes the latter are the most 
confined in their sentiments, and associate therefore the 
least with any other body of Christians. The Seceders 
originated under two brothers, Ralph and Ebenezer 
Erskine, about the year 1730. It is worthy of observa- 
tion, that the Rev. G. Whitefield, in one of his visits to 
Scotland, was solemnly reprobated by the Seceders, be- 
cause he refused to confine his itinerant labours wholly 
to them. The reason assigned for this monopolization 
was, that they were exclusively God's people! Mr. 
Whitefield smartly replied, that they had therefore the 
less need of his services, for his aim was to turn sinners 
from the error and wickedness of their ways by preach- 
ing among them, glad tidings of great joy ! 

The causes of the secession, were many material dif- 
ferences both in doctrine and discipline. The Seceders 
accused the Church of Scotland of retaining in her bosom, 


and bearing with ministers who favoured the scheme of 
Arminius, and who were lax and defective in their pa- 
rochial duties, but chiefly of imposing upon the people, 
as their pastors, men to whom they were totally averse, 
and from whose ministrationSj of course, they could ex- 
pect no benefit — of departing from the principles for 
which their fathers had so strenuously contended, by sup- 
porting the system of patronage — and of harshness and 
tyrannical conduct to the godly men who wished to re- 
vert, as nearly as possible, to the primitive practice of 
the Scottish church. The two parties. Burghers and 
Antiburghers, are now united, and form one body. The 
United Associate Synod of the Secession Church con- 
sist of nineteen presbyteries, containing upwards of 
three hundred congregations. 

There are, besides these, two divisions of Secederg, 
who remain separate, chiefly differing from their brethren 
with regard to the power of the civil magistrate in reli- 
gious matters, and the binding obligation of the covenants. 
The first style themselves the Associate Synod op 
Original Seceders, which consists of four presbyteries, 
and has under its inspection thirty three congregations ; 
the other. The Original Burgher Associate Synod, 
five presbyteries, with fifty -five congregations. 


This body arose in consequence of Mr. Thomas GiU 
lespie, minister of Carnook, in the presbytery of Dun- 


fermline, being forcibly thurst out of the Church of 
Scotland, because he would not be present at what he 
could not in conscience approve, the violent intrusion of 
a Mr. Andrew Ilichardson to the charge of Inverkeith- 
ing. Being joined by Mr. Thomas Boston, minister of 
Oxnam, and afterwards by a Mr. Collier, they formed 
themselves into a Relief Presbytery, solely for the 
purpose of relieving congregations from having ministers 
to whom they were averse forced upon them ; in no- 
thing else did they profess to differ from the Church of 
Scotland. They consist of seven presbyteries, and nine- 
ty-five congregations ; but it has been alleged that their 
increase has been owing greatly of late to the laxity of 
their church discipline, which is even less rigorous, with 
regard to drunkenness or fornication, either on the part of 
pastors or people, than that of the old mother church her- 
self. In abhorrence, however, of instrumental music, 
they may vie with the strictest of the strict ; and the in- 
troduction of an organ into one of their chapels in Edin- 
burgh occasioned the withdrawing of one of the ablest 
and most popular ministers from their connection. As 
the case is curious, I subjoin it in a note.* 

* Instrumental music, it is well known, formed a delightful part of the 
temple service. In the New Testament it is no where forbidden, but is 
even symbolically represented as increasing the enjoyment of heaven. It has 
been admitted into almost all the Protestant churches abroad ; and, in 
England, is employed not only by the Episcopalians, but by the Presby- 
terians, and other dissenters. In Scotland alone it has been rejected with 
horror ; yet even there it has never been pronounced a sin by any of the con- 
stitutions of the church, the Seceders, or the Dissenters — it has on the worst 
side only been considered inexpedient. Mr. Johnstone's congregation in 
Roxburgh Street viewed the case somewhat differently ; they consider- 



Bur the appellation Presbyterian is in England ap- 
propriated to a large denomination of Dissenters, who 

ed it adviseable, perhaps ; and, along with many congregations in Scotland, 
contemplating an improvement in the Psalmody as higly requisite, they in- 
stead of hiring what is called "a Band," preferred the assistance of an " In- 
strument." This decision, harmless at least, if not praiseworthy, was the un. 
anlmous act of the people, in which their pastor wisely acquiesced ; but the 
other congregations of P.elief in Edinburgh, either not able to afford the ex- 
pense, or from the remains of old prejudice, or some other less defensible 
cause, instantly raised the hue and cry, as if the vilest heresy had been in- 
troduced. The case came before the Edinburgh Presbytery, when it was 
proposed to delay, and attempt conciliatory measures ; but it was carried by 
the violent anti-organists to the Synod ; and the colective wisdom of that re- 
verend conclave, without either hearing T\Ir. Johnstone or his congregation, 
decreed, " That the Rev. John Johnstone be enjoined inst miter to g\\e 
up the organ, or have his name struck off the roll of the Edinburgh Pres- 
bytery," — a decree of which it is impossible to say whether folly or tyranny 
be the most revolting feature. Mr. Johnstone immediately gave in his 
resignation, refusing to hold connection with a society which had so griev- 
ously outraged ever^' regular legal proceeding; but the Presbytery crown- 
ed the climax of absurdity, by striking Mr. Johnstone off a roll, whence 
he had already struck himself. — Had not that Synod and that Presbytery 
belonged to a body, from whose professed principles more moderation, for- 
bearance, and freedom of conscience, might have been expected than any 
other, the melancholy contrast between the law of liberty and the law 
of love, and the more than even priestly despotism they exercised, and the 
more than common disregard of Christian feeling and brotherly kindness 
they evinced, would not have appeared in such dark and deep relief; but 
as it is, it speaks woefully for their progiess in knowledge oi liberahty in 
this advancing age. The organ, however, maintains its place, and the 
minister and his congregation go on prosperously together; nor is it im- 
probable but their example may be followed ; and, indeed, from the abuse 
of " Bands," in some instances, it is perhaps desirable that it should. In 
Rrxburgh Street chapel the congregation sing with the organ, in some 
other chapels and churches the " Bands" sing alone. What renders the 
whole of this procedure most strange is, that, by one of the fundamental 
articles of the Relief Association, they were to hold communion with 
Episcopalians ! in whose worship the organ is indispemable ! ! 



have no attachment to the Scottish mode of church go- 
vernme-nt, any more than to Episcopacy amongst us, and 
therefore to this body of Christians the term Presbyteri- 
an in its original sense is improperly applied. How this 
misapplication came to pass cannot be easily determined, 
but it has occasioned many wrong notions, and should 
therefore be rectified * English Presbyterians, as they 
are called, adopt the same mode of church government 
with the Independents, which is the next sect to be men- 
tioned. Their chief diiference from the Independents 
is, that they are less attached to Calvinism, and conse- 
quently admit a greater latitude of religious sentiment.f 
Dr. Doddridge in his lectures has this paragraph on 
the subject, which may serve still further for its illustra- 
tion. " Those who hold evevy pastor to be as a bishop 
or overseer of his own congregation, so that no other 
person or body of men have by divine institution a pow- 
er to exercise any superior or pastoral office in it, may, 
properly speaking, be called (so far at least) congrega' 
tional ; and it is by a vulgar mistake that any such are 
called Presbyterians, for the Presbyterian discipline is 
exercised by synods and assemblies, subordinate to each 
other, and all of them subject to the authority of what 
is commonly called a General Assembly.''^ This mode of 
church government is to be found in Scotland, and has 
been already detailed under a former article in this 

» It can very ea<;ily be determined. During the commonwealth, Pres- 
byterJanism was established by act of Parliament. 

t A great number of their congregations profess Socinian principles. 


The Indej^endents, or CongregationalistSy deny not only 
the subordination of the clergy, bat also all dependency 
on other assemblies. Every congregation (say they) has 
in itself what is necessary for its own government, and is 
not subject to other churches or to their deputies. 
Thus this independency of one church with respect to 
another has given rise to the appellation Independents ; 
though this mode of church government is adopted by 
the Dissenters in general. The Independents have been 
improperly confounded with the Brownists, for though 
they may have originally sprung from them, they excel 
them in the moderation of their sentiments, and in the 
order of their discipline. The first Independent or Con- 
gregational Church in England was established by a Mr. 
Jacob, in the year 1616; though a Mr. Robinson ap- 
pears to have been the founder of this sect. 


The Brotunists, which have been just mentioned, were 
the followers o£ Robert Brown, a clergyman of the church 
of England, who lived about 1600. He inveighed a- 
gainst the ceremonies and discipline of the church, se- 
parated himself from her communion, and afterwards 
returned into her bosom. He appears to have been a 
persecuted man, of violent passions. He died in North- 


ampton goal, 1630, after boasting that he had been com- 
mitted to thirty-two prisons, in some of which he could 
not see his hand at noon day ! 

Before we proceed to the Baptists, it will be necessary 
just to remark, that all persons who baptize infants, are 
denominated Pa:dobaptists, from the Greek word, which 
signifies child or itifant. Of course the Established 
Church, the Presbyterians both in Scotland and Eng- 
land, together with the Independents are all Pcedobap- 
tists ; that is, baptizers of infants or children. Their 
reasons for this practice are to be found in Wall, Tow- 
good, Addington, Williams, Horse}', and others, who 
have expressly written on the subject with learning and 
ingenuity. They rest their arguments principally on the 
following circumstances: That baptism has succeeded 
instead of the rite of circumcision ; that households, pro- 
bably (say theyj including children, were baptized ; that 
Jesus shewed an affectionate regard for children ; and, 
finally, that it is the means of impressing the minds of 
parents with a sense of the duties which they owe their 
offspring, upon the right discharge of which depend the 
welfare and happiness of the rising generation.* Persons, 
therefore, engage themselves as sponsors in the Estab- 
lished Church, who promise that they will take care of 
the morals of the children j among other sects the pa- 
rents are made answerable, who indeed are the most proper 
persons to undertake the arduous task, and to see it duly 
accomplished. These preliminary remarks were neces- 
sary to render a sketch of the Baptists the more intel- 

* The most unanswerable of all the argi.iments are derived from the 
Abrahamic covenant. 

ligible. We shall now therefore proceed to the denomi^ 


The Baptists are distinguished from other denomina- 
tions respecting the mode and subject of baptism. They 
contend that this ordinance should be administered by 
immerrAon only, which indeed is enjoined, though not 
practised, by the church of England. They also assert, 
that it should be administered to those alone who profess 
their belief in the Christian religion, and their determi- 
nation of regulating their lives by its precepts. Some of 
the learned, however, suppose that the controversy is not 
so properly whether infants or adults should be baptized, 
as whether the rite should be administered on the pro- 
fession of our own faith, or that of another's faith. See 
Letters addressed to Bishop Hoadlej/, by the late Mr. 
Foot, a General Baptist at Bristol. 

The Baptists are divided into the General, who are 
Arminians, and into the Particular, who are Calvinists. 
Some of both classes allow viixed communion, by which 
is understood, that those who have not been baptized by 
immersion on the profession of their faith (but in their in- 
fancy, which they themselves deem valid) may sit down 
at the Lord's table along with those who have been thus 
baptized. This has given rise to some little controversy 
on the subject. Mr. Killingworth and Mr. Abraham 
Booth have written against free communion, but honest 

» A misnomer — Whoever is baptized, either by sprinkling or immersion, 
infant or adult, is a Baptist. . 

T 2 


John Biinyan, Dr. Foster, Mr. Cliurles Bulkely, Mr. 
John Wiche,for many years a respectable General Bap* 
tist minister, at Maidstone, and Mr. llobinson, of Cam- 
bridge, have strenuously contended for it. It is deeply 
to be r-jgretted that such disputes should ever have arisen, 
since they have contributed in no small degree to injure 
the repose, and retard the prosperity of the Christian 

The General Baptists have, in some of their churches, 
three distinct orders, separately ordained — Messengers, 
Elders, and Deacons ; and their General Assembly is held 
annually in Worship Street, London, on the Tuesday in 
the Whitsun Week; it used to be on the Wednesday, 
but is changed for the convenience of ministers, who at- 
tend it from the country. They have thus met together 
for upwards of a century. Dr. John Gale, a learned 
General Baptist, had a famous controversy, in the be- 
ginning of this century, with Dr. Wall, who defended 
the practice of baptizing infants. But there has been a 
more recent controversy on the subject, between ]Mr. 
Abraham Booth, and Dr. Williams. The appellation 
A)iabaptist, which comes from two Greek words, and 
signifies to re-baj)tize, is sometimes applied to this deno- 
mination of Christians. But this is an unjust accusation 
brought against them by their adversaries, and being 
deemed a term of reproach, ought to be wholly laid 
aside. See Dr. Rippon's Baptist Register. The late 
Mr. Robinson published a very valuable work, entitled. 
The History of Baptism. 

The administration of baptism to adults by immersion, 
|ias been the subject of so much ridicule and misrcpre- 

sentation, that an account of it, taken from the latter 
work, shall be inserted, for the information of the serious 
reader. " The English and most foreign Baptists con- 
sider a pcrsojial profession of faith, and an immersio7i in 
water, essential to baptism. The profession of faith is 
generally made before the church at a church meeting. 
Some have a creed, and expect the candidate to assent 
to it, and to give a circumstantial account of his conver- 
sion. Others only require a person to profess himself a 
Christian. The former generally consider baptism as an 
ordinance, which initiates persons into a particular 
church; and they say, without breach of Christian liber- 
ty, they have a right to expect an agreement in articles 
of faith in their own societies. The latter only think 
baptism initiates into a profession of the Christian re- 
ligion in general, and therefore say they have no right 
to require an assent to our creed of such as do not pur- 
pose to join our churches. They quote the baptism of 
the Eunuch, in the 8th of Acts, in proof. There are 
some who have no public faith, and who both adminis- 
ter baptism and admit to church membership any who 
profess themselves Christians. They administer baptisni 
in their own baptisteries, and in pubHc waters." 

" Not many years ago at Whittlesford, seven miles 
from Cambridge, forty-eight persons were baptized in 
that ford of tlie river from which the village takes its 
name. At ten o'clock of a very fine morning in May, 
about loOO people of different ranks assembled together. 
At half past ten in the forenoon, the late Dr. Andrew 
Gifford, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, Sub-lib- 
rarian of the British Museum, and teacher of a Baptist 


congregation in Eagle Street, London, ascended a move- 
able pulpit in a large open court-yard, near the river, 
and adjoining to the house of the Lord of the manor. 
Round him stood the congregation ; people on horse- 
back, in coaches, and in carts, formed the outside semi- 
circle : many other persons sitting in the rooms of the 
house, the sashes being open, all were uncovered, and 
there was a profound silence. The doctoj- first gave out 
a hymn, which the congregation sung. Then he prayed. 
Prayer ended, he took out a New Testament, and read 
his text — I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. 
He observed, that the force of the preposition had es- 
caped the notice of the translators, and that the true 
reading was — I indeed baptize or dip you in water at or 
upo7i repentance ; which sense he confirmed by the 4 1st 
verse of the 12th of Matthew, and other passages. Then 
he spoke as most Baptists do on these occasions, con- 
cerning the natur-e, subject, mode, and <?>2c?of this ordinance. 
He closed, by contrasting the doctrine of infant sprinkling 
with that of believer's baptism, which being a part of 
Christian obedience, was supported by divine promises, 
on the accomplishment of which, all good men might 
depend. After sermon, he read another hymn and pray- 
ed, and then came down. Then the candidates for bap- 
tism retired, to prepare themselves. 

About half an hour after, the administrator, who that 
day was a nephew of the doctor's, and admirably qualifi- 
ed for the work, in a long black gown of fine baize, with- 
out a hat, with a small New Testament in his hand, came 
down to the river side, accompanied by several Baptist 
ministers and deacons of their churches, and the per- 


sons to be baptized. The men came first, two and twa, 
without hats, and dressed as usual, except that instead 
of coats, each had on a long white baize gown, tied round 
the waist with a sash. Such as had no hair, wore white 
cotton or linen caps. The women followed the men, 
two and two, all dressed neat, clean, and plain, and their 
gowns white linen or dimity. It was said, the garments 
had knobs of lead at bottom, to make them sink. Each 
had a long light silk cloak hanging loosely over his 
shoulder, abroad ribband tied over her gown beneath the 
breast, and a hat on her head. They all ranged them- 
selves around the administrator at the water side. A 
great number of spectators stood on the banks of the river 
on both sides ; some had climbed and sat on the trees, 
many sat on horseback and in carriages, and all behaved 
with a decent seriousness, which did honour to the good 
sense and the good manners of the assembly, as well as 
to the free constitution of this country. First, the ad- 
ministrator read an nymn, which the people sung. Then 
he read that portion of scripture which is read in the 
Greek church on the same occasion, the history of the 
baptism of the Eunuch, beginning at the 2Gth verse, and 
ending with the 39th. About ten minutes he stood ex- 
pounding the verses, and then taken one of the men by 
the hand, he led him into the water, saying as he went. 
See here is water, what doth hinder ? If thou believcst ivith 
all thine heart, thou mayst he baptized. When he came 
to a sufficient depth, he stopped, and with the utmost 
composure placing himself on the left hand of the man, 
his face being towards the man's shoulder, he put his 
right hand betv.cen his shoulders behind, gathering into it 


a little of the gown for hold : the fingers of his left hand 
he thrusted under the sash before, and the man putting 
his two thumbs into that hand, he locked all together, 
by closing his hand. Then he deliberately said, I bap- 
tize thee in the name of the Father ^ a7id of the Son, and of 
the Holy Ghost; and while he uttered these words stand- 
ing wide, he gently leaned him backward, and dipped him 
once. As soon as he had raised him, a person in a boat 
fastened there for the purpose, took hold of the man's 
hand, wiped his face with a napkin, and led him a few 
steps to another attendant, who then gave his arm, walk- 
ed with him to the house, and assisted him to dress. 
There were many such in waiting, who like the primitive 
susceptors, assisted during the whole service. The rest 
of the men followed the first, and were baptized in like 
manner. After them the women were baptized. A fe- 
male fi-iend took off at the water side the hat and cloak. 
A deacon of the church led one to the administrator, and 
another from him ; and a woman at the water side took 
each as she came out of the river, and conducted her to 
the apartment in the house, where they dressed them- 
selves. When all were baptized, the administrator com- 
ing up out of the river, and standing at the side, gave a 
short exhortation on the honour and the pleasure of 
obedience to divine commands, and then with the usual 
benediction dismissed the assembly. About half an hour 
after, the men newly baptized, having dressed themselves, 
went from their room into a large hall in the house, 
where they were presently joined by the women, who 
came from their apartments to the same place. Then 
they sent a messenger to the adminstrator, who was 


dressing in his apartment, to inform him they waited for 
him. He presently came, and first prayed for a few mi- 
nutes, and then closed the whole by a short discourse on 
the blessings of civil and religious liberty, the sufficiency 
of Scripture, the pleasures of a good conscience, the im- 
portance of a holy life, and the prospect of a blessed im- 
mortality. This they call ix ptiblic baptism.'* 

A more private baptism takes place after a similar 
manner in baptisteries, which are in or near the places of 
worship ; thus every convenience is afforded for the piu*- 
pose. This, indeed, is now the most common way of 
administering the ordinance among the Baptists, either 
with the attendance of friends or in the presence of the 
congregation. Such is baptism by immersiouy and thus 
conducted, it must be pronounced significant in its na- 
ture, and impressive in its tendency. It is, however, to 
be wished, that the rite was on every occasion adminis- 
tered with equal solemnity. 

The propriety of the exclusive appellation of the term 
Baptists to those who baptize adidts by immersion, has 
been questioned. Hence they are by many stiled Ardi- 
pcBdobaptists, merely as opposing the validity of infant 
baptism. An account of the manner in which infant 
baptism is administered, should have been added, were it 
not so well known by its general practice, both in the 
Established Church and among Dissenters. 

The three denominations of Protestant Dissenters have 
seminaries of their own, where young men designed for 
the Christian ministry are educated. Amongst the Pres- 
byterians are to be reckoned the academies at Manches- 
ter, and Caermarthen, in South Wales ; besides six ex- 


hibitions grantea by Dr. Daniel Williams, to English 
Presbyterian students, to be educated at Glasgow. A- 
inong the Independents are to be mentioned the aca- 
demies at Wyraondley House near Hitchin, Homerton, 
Wrexham, and Hoxton. There is also an academy of 
Lady Huntingdon's, formerly at Trevecka, now at Ches- 
hunt. The Baptists have two exhibitions for students 
to be educated at one of the universities in Scotland, 
given them by Dr Ward, of Gresham College, the author 
of The Sifstcm of Oratory.^- There is likewise an aca- 
demy at Bristol, generally known by the name of The 
Bristol Education Society, over which the late Dr. Caleb 
Evans and his venerable father, the Rev. Hugh Evans, 
A. M. presided for many years with great respectability 
A similar institution, though upon a much smaller scale, 
has been formed among the General Baptists, v/hich it is 
to be hoped will meet with due encouragement. They 
could formerly boast of a Gale, a Foster, a Burroughs, a 
Foot, a Noble, and a Bulkeli/. A learned education lays 
the foundation for a respectable Christian ministry. In 
Dr. Kippis's Life of Dr. Doddridge, prefixed to the 

* As the autlior of this httle work stands indebted to the Exhibition of 
Dr. John JVard, he wishes to pay a grateful tribute of respect to his me. 
mory. He was the son of a Dissenting minister, and bom about 1679, in 
London. He kept an academy for many years in Tenter Alley, Moorfields. 
In 1720, he was chosen professor of Rhetoric in Gresham College, where 
his System of Oratory was delivered. In 1723, during the Presidency of 
Sir Isaac Newton, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society : and in 
1752, chosen one of its Vice-Presidents, in which office he continued till 
his death, which happened at Gresham College, October 17, 1758, in the 
eightieth year of his age. He published many learned works ; and is al- 
lowed by all who knew him, to have been a character in which were united 
a diffusive benevolence and a rational piety. 


seventh edition of his Family Expositor, will be found an 
account of the general mode of education for ministers 
among the Dissenters. 

Mr. Palmer, in his Nonconforviist's Memorial, speak- 
ing of Dr Daniel Williams, says — "He gave the bulk of 
his estate to charitable uses, as excellent in their nature 
as various in their kinds, and as much calculated for the 
glory of God, and the good of mankind, as any that have 
ever been known. He left his library for public use, and 
ordered a convenient place to be purchased or erected, in 
which the books might be properly disposed of, and left 
an annuity for a librarian. A commodious house was 
accordingly erected in Redcross- street, Cripplegate, where 
his collection of books is not only properly preserved, but 
has been gradually receiving large additions. This is 
also the place in which the body of dissenting ministers 
meet to transact their business, and is a kind of repository 
for paintings of Nonconformist ministers, for MSS. and 
others matters of curiosity or utility." The building it- 
self belongs to the Presbyterians, but it is by the trustees 
handsomely devoted to the use of the dissenters in gene- 
ral. The library in Redcross-street, since its original en- 
dowment, has been augmented by the donations of liberal 
minded persons, and its increase depends upon their zeal : 
no part of the founder's estate being appropriated for the 
purpose. Were every dissenting author to send thither 
a copy of his pulications (a measure that has been recom- 
mended and ought to be adopted), the collection would 
soon receive a considerable augmentation, and of course 
increase not only in extent but also in respectability. A 
second edition of the catalogue, in one volume, octavo, 



iias been lately published, with the rules respecting the 
use of it, prefixed. 

Near to this spot also stands Sioji College, founded by 
Dr. Thomas White, and of which a particular account is 
given in Northouck's History of London, Here the Lon- 
don clergy meet to transact their affairs, and it is enrich- 
ed with an extensive library, and ample endowments. 


In the year 1797, when missionary exertions for car- 
rying the gospel to the heathens were strongly advocat- 
ed, the question being often tauntingly asked by opposers, 
have we no heathens at home ? it occurred to some pri- 
vate individuals to give a practical answer ; and accord- 
ingly Messrs James Haldane, John Aikman, and Joseph 
Rait, who had previously preached in the villages around 
Edinburgh, after having been recommended to God and 
set apart by prayer, at a meeting of some friends, of 
whom the Rev. David Black, minister of Lady Yes- 
ter's Church, was one, set out upon an itinerancy to the 
north of Scotland, to preach and distribute tracts. 

The interest created by this expedition, and the publi- 
cation of their tour, was great ; and the opposition of the 
regular clergy proportionable, as the persons who had 
thus acted were laymen, as the term is. This was still 
farther increased, when, after their return to Edinburgh, 
they commenced preaching in the circus hired for this pur- 
pose, and formed a society for promoting the gospel at 

As the country was now in a complete state of excite- 


ment, never fairer opportunity offered for doing exten- 
sive good, and a circumstance occurred at the same time 
which seemed to secure it ; but vain are the schemes and 
anticipations of men; what was thought to be a remarkable 
interposition of Providence, was destined to destroy, not 
to build up the fau* fabric. 

Robert Haldane, Esq. of Airthry had sold his estate, 
and induced the Rev. Mr. Innes of Stirling, and G. 
Ewing of Lady Glenorchy's Chapel, to engage to ac- 
company him on a mission to India. Government, 
who had received very unfavourable reports of this 
gentleman's political sentiments, refused to allow the 
proposed mission to proceed ; and he, thus disappoint- 
ed, directed all his energies to promote the rising project 
at home. His wealth gave him a degree of influence 
totally inconsistent with the principles of Christian so- 
ciety, [James ch. ii. v. 2 — 4] though very seldom resisted, 
but which, in this case, may be perhaps extenuated, as 
his zeal appeared so very disinterested and pure. Cut 
off as the itinerants or missionaries, as they were cal- 
led, were from the church of Scotland, they were 
forced to form separate churches, and a plan being 
formed upon that of the London Tabernacle, he built 
Tabernacles at Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Dundee, of im- 
mense size ; others, lesser, at Perth and Dumfries. He 
established a seminary for the instruction of preachers ; 
and he was forward in every good work, wherever a 
chapel was to be erected, or a church to be formed. 

The Tabernacles thus opened were at first conducted 
upon the principles of free communion, and a regular com- 
piunication with the English Independent ministers ; and 


the success was amazing. The crowds which attended 
were immense ; and the almost universal opinion of the 
country appeared to be in favour of this new way. But 
Aese days soon passed away, Mr. Haldane changed his 
views, and he naturally expected that those who had 
hitherto received his dicta as oracular, should still con- 
tinue so to do. They ventured to differ ; and a separa- 
tion, not the most agreeable, took place. Mr. James 
Haldane and some few continued with Mr. R. Haldane 
to progress, till they became insulated from all other 
Christian societies, and are now a kind of non-descript 

The great majorit}', who were not susceptible of such 
rapid improvement, have retained nearly the sentiments 
they originally adopted, and have lately formed them- 
selves into a Congregational Union of Independent 
Churches.* In civil affairs, they believe it to be the 
duty of Christians to submit to the powers that be, and 
even carry their doctrine of obedience and non-resistence 
to a very disputable length. In religious matters they 
own no authority but that of the word of God, and be- 
lieve all interference of the magistrate in the church of 
Christ as totally inadmissible. They acknowledge no 
connection between church and state, but consider that 
wherever it does exist, it does harm rather than good to 
the cause of pure and undefiled religion. In their form 
of church government, they assert the entire complete- 
ness of each separate church for all the purposes of or- 
der and discipline, and admit of no foreign interference. 

» So styled in the Almanack. 


The office-bearers are a pastor or pastors for teaching 
and administration of the ordinances, and deacons for 
taking care of the poor. The members are such as 
make a credible and consistent profession of religion. 

Their tenets are what are termed Calvinistical, but 
they have no formal confession of faith. Their infants 
are baptized, and the ordinance of the Lord's Supper is 
administered the first day of every week, they believing 
that the same authority which changed the observance 
of the Sabbath authorises this. The union of the 
churches is merely for the sake of mutual aid and fellow- 
ship in promoting the cause of the gospel. The number 
of churches in the connection is eighty-two 

To the foregoing si/s ieyn at ical distribution of the several 
denominations, shall be added a few sects, which cannot 
be classed with propriety under any one of the three ge- 
neral divisions which have been adopted. 


The Society of Friends, usualy called Quakers,* arose 
about the middle of the seventeenth century. Their 

* This name was first given thern, tauntingly, by a justice of peace in 
Derbyshire, on George Fox's bidding him, and those about him, tiemble 
at the word of the Lord. 



first preacher, and the person by wliose instrumentaJity 
they were gathered as a distinct church, was George 
Fox, who was born at Drayton in the Clay, in Leicester- 
shire, A. D. 1624. When quite a young lad, he was of a 
thoughtful and serious turn, much accustomed to read- 
ing the Scriptures, meditation and prayer; and before he 
had attained the age of twenty, he was so deeply con- 
vinced of sin, as to undergo a condition of extreme men- 
tal conflict. During this period of painful exercise of 
mind, which appears to have lasted for two or three 
years, he was often led to reflect on the sufferings of Je- 
sus Christ ; and the following conversation, recorded in 
his journal as having taken place in his 21st year, aftbrds 
a striking evidence of his early acquaintance with the 
fundamental doctrines of Christianity. " The priest 
Stevens asked me why Christ cried out upon the cross, 
' My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?' and 
why he said, * If it be possible, let this cup pass from 
me, yet not my will, but thine be done.' I told him ; 
at that time the sins of all mankind were upon him, and 
their iniquities and transgressions with which he was 
wounded ; which he was to bear and be an offering for, 
as he was man, but died not, as he was God ; so, in that 
he died for all men, tasting death for every man, he was 
an ofiering for the sins of the whole world. This I spoke, 
being at that time in measure sensible of Christ's suffer- 
ings. The priest said; it was a very good, full answer, 
and such an one as he had not heai'd." — Fox's Journal, 
fol. ed. p. 4. 

Soon after this period, George Fox began to travel 
in the capacity of a preacher of the gospel. Deeply im- 


pressed himself with the spirituality of true religion, and 
of the inefficacy of all merely human systems in promot- 
ing the great work of salvation, he felt himself impelled 
to call on his fellow men, to forsake their dependence on 
such systems, and to place their reliance only on Christ, 
the Mediator between God and man, whose blood clean- 
ses from all sin, and whose Spirit guides into all righte- 

His preaching was attended with astonishing success ; 
for there were at that time, in various parts of England, 
a number of serious persons dissatisfied with those out- 
ward forms of religion to which they had been accustom- 
ed, and prepared by their own experience, to embrace 
those spiritual views of religion which George Fox was 
engaged in promulgating. These persons now forsook 
the established modes of worship, and sat down together 
from time to time, and especially on the first day of the 
week, to wait on the Lord in silence. While thus en- 
gaged in worshipping Him who is a Spirit, " in spint and 
in truth*'' they were frequently permitted to feel the in- 
fluence of his love and power. Many amongst them be- 
came ministers of the gospel, and under a strong impres- 
sion of duty, they followed the example of George Fox 
in travelling over the country, and in calling the atten- 
tion of their hearers to the teaching of the Spirit of 
Christ in the secret of the heart. Meetings of Friends 
were, in the course of a few years, established in almost 
every part of England, and in many places in Scotland 
and Ireland. 

One principle, advocated by the new Society was, 
that human learning, though highly valuable in itself, 


is altogether insufficient to make a minister of the gospel 
— that the preparation of grace in the heart, and a di- 
vine call, are indispensable to the work of the ministry — 
and that the gift of publicly preaching or praying ought 
never to be exercised, except under the immediate in- 
fluence of the Holy Spirit. They considered this gift 
to be free in its very nature, incapable of being purchas- 
ed or hired by man, or of being exercised, at fixed and 
stated times, according to man's appointment. Hence 
it followed, that when in their religious assemblies, the 
gift was not, as they believed, called forth iuto exercise 
by the great Head of the Church, they continued during 
the whole time of their meeting in silence. It is re- 
corded in the early history of the Society, that during 
their silent worship, they were sometimes so broken by 
the Lord's power, that the floors of their meeting-houses 
were wetted with their tears. It appears however that a 
lively ministry was, at that period, generally heard in their 
meetings ; and the work devolved then, as it does now, 
on the women as well as the men. The Society of 
Friends dare not make any distmction in this respect, 
because they consider it the sole prerogative of the great 
Head of the Church, to call into his service, whomsoever 
he sees meet for it. Nor can they fail to call to mind 
both the history of the day of Penticost (Acts ii.) and the 
words of ancient prophecy on this particular subject : 
" And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour 
out my Spirit upon all flesh ; and your sons and your 
daughters shall prophecy, your old men shall dream 
dreams, your young men shall see visions : and also up- 


on the servants and upon the handmaids in tliose days 
\\\\\ I pour out my Spirit."— Joel ii. 28, 29. 

It is erroneously supposed that Friends reject baptism 
and the Lord's Supper, It is true that they disuse the 
outward ceremonies as now practised among Christians, 
in the belief that mere typical ordinances do not corres- 
pond with the spirituality of Christian worship. But 
they hold that C/irist's baptism, which is with the Holy 
Ghost and fire (.see Matt. iii. 11.), is absolutely essential 
to membership in his church, as well as to the soul's sal- 
vation. Equally essential, for these high purposes, do 
they regard a spiritual participation by faith, in the body 
and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. — {See John vi. 

Besides these views which have respect to the worship 
of God, the Society of Friends, from their first origin to 
the present da}^, have believed it to be their Christian 
duty to adopt a line of conduct, in some matters of a 
moral and practical nature, difierent from that which is 
generally pursued by the professors of the Christian 
name. Calling to mind the plain precept of our Savi- 
our, " Swear not at all," they make it a point of con- 
science to refrain from all use of oaths, not only on 
trifling occasions, but even in courts of justice ; and they 
have often been exposed, in consequence, to very serious 
hardships, both in their persons and their property. A- 
gain, since our Saviour's law, " Love your enemies," is, 
under every possible circumstance, of perpetual obliga- 
tion, they conceive it to be their duty to abstain from 
all participation in warfare, whether offensive or defen- 
sive. They consider themselves bound by the moral 


code of the great Head of the Church, to suffer wrong 
rather than to avenge it ; and although the zeal of some 
of their early controversial writers, sometimes carried 
them beyond the bounds of Christian charity and mo- 
deration, it may truly be said, that in every period of 
their history, Friends, considered as a body, have been a 
harmless and inoffensive people. 

As they deem it irreverent to address to their fellow 
creatures, those acts of honour and obeisance, which they 
are accustomed to use in their approaches to the Most 
High, they refuse to kneel before kings and governors, or 
to take off the hat in honour of man. They have also 
ever regarded it as a Christian duty to avoid all merely 
complimentary forms of speech, and to follow the ex- 
ample of Christ and his apostles, in addressing single in- 
dividuals by pronouns in the singular number — thus ad- 
hering to the language of simplicity and truth. They 
give numerical names to the months and days of the 
week, objecting to those in common use, as being mostly 
derived from the names of heathen deities, and hence, 
having their origin in superstition. In their dress like- 
wise they are somewhat peculiar, as they do not con- 
sider it right to follow the vain and changeable fashions 
of the world, but have always been distinguished by a 
plain garb. 

Innocent and Christian as are these several peculiari- 
ties both in worship and conduct, they were the means 
of exposing the early Friends to violent and long con- 
tinued persecution. The high professors of those days 
were exceedingly provoked, by not receiving from them 
the homage to which they had been accustomed, and es- 


pecially by their steadfast and uniform refusal to pay 
tithes. For these demands they were willing quietly to 
suffer a legal distraint, but they dared not take any active 
part in upholding a system so entirely opposed to their 
own principles. Their conscientious objection to all 
swearing was also made a frequent pretext for persecu- 
tion ; and their steady perseverance in meeting publicly 
together for divine worship, called down upon them the 
vengeance of the law, which at one time forbade all such 
meetings, except within the pale of the established 
church. Multitudes of them were thrown into prison 
during both the commonwealth and the reign of Charles 
II., and all parties seemed to unite in trampling on this 
suffering but innocent people. Yet in the midst of their 
sorrows and perplexities, they continued boldly to pro- 
claim the spirituality of the gospel dispensation, and of- 
ten, in the depth of the noisome prison-house, were they 
heard to utter the joyful sounds of thanksgiving and 

On the accession of William the III. to the throne of 
Great Britain, the Friends, as well as other denomina- 
tions of Christians dissenting from the Church of Eng- 
land, were, by the act of toleration, set at liberty to wor- 
ship God according to the dictates of their own con- 
sciences. A solemn affirmation was also allowed to be 
taken by them in the courts of justice, instead of an oath, 
in all merely civil matters, by which provision they were 
relieved from many of their difficulties. 

Now that the days of persecution are passed away (we 
trust, for ever), there is a danger that Christians should 
give way to a state of spiritual indolence. This danger 


probabl}' is the more to be apprehended among the So- 
ciety of Friends, in consequence of their being excluded 
by their principles from some of the professions, and of 
their being so generally engaged in trade. But although 
a worldly spirit may too much have taken the place of 
that remarkable ardour,which distinguished some of the 
earliest Quakers, we believe that many amongst that peo- 
ple are still truly zealous for " the law of the testi- 

By a late act of Parliament, the affirmation of Friends 
is allowed to be taken in evidence, instead of an oath, 
even in criminal cases. But their refusal to sv/ear still 
excludes them from serving on juries, and from filling 
any office of honour or profit under government. These 
remaining disabilities are said to be by no means disagree- 
able to the Quakers ; for they have little ambition for 
public office, and their principles are much opposed to an 
interference in the politics of the world. It ought how- 
ever to be observed, that there are some measures of a 
public nature, of which Friends have long been the ar- 
dent and indefatigable promoters; we mean the abolition 
of the slave trade and slavery, and the mitigation of the 
anti-christian severity of our penal code. These form a 
branch of the politics of our country, in which it is the 
positive duty of Christians to take an active part, that 
they may thereby promote the speedy triumph of the 
cause of righteousness, over oppression, inhumanity, and 

George Fox and his brethren took early care to estab- 
lish in the society which they had been instrumental in 
forming, a salutary order of Christian discipUnc ; and this 


order has continued in force, that little alteration, to 
the present day. They set up monthly, quarterly, and 
yearly meetings for chuich-government. The monthly 
meeting is usually composed of two or more separate 
meetings for worship, and conducts the discipline of the 
church over all the individual members. The quarterly 
meeting consists of two or more monthly meetings, as 
geographical convenience may dictate^ and receives re- 
gular reports of the religious condition of these several 
lesser bodies, in the form of written answers to certain 
fixed queries. Answers to the most important of the 
same queries, are annually transmitted by the quarterly 
meetings themselves, to the yearly meeting, which is 
composed of their representatives, but which is open to 
every male member of the society. From the yearly 
meeting emanate all laws for the general regulation of 
the body. The female part of the society have also their 
monthly, quarterly, and yearly meetings, held cotem- 
poraneonsly with those of the men. The great principles 
maintained in meetings for discipline among Friends are 
these — that no individual member possesses authority 
over others, except as far as arises from weight of charac- 
ter, and that the whole church unites in conducting its 
own affairs, under the supreme authority and gracious 
guidance of its only head — ^our Lord Jesus Christ. On 
this principle, these meetings have no outward president ; 
neither is any question ever determined by majorities ; 
but Friends when thus met together, consider it their 
duty to discuss every subject which comes before them, 
in the spirit of calmness and condescension — not with- 
out silent waiting on the Lord — until the sense of the 



meeting is clearly formed. That sense is then declared 
and recorded by the clerk, and thus the business in hand 
is concluded. 

Although the early Quakers were for the most part 
of the middle or lower ranks of society, they numbered 
among their members some individuals of considerable 
distinction. Robert Barclay of Ury in Scotland was a man 
of old family, large landed property, and great learning. 
His celebrated " Apology" for the Quakers is usually 
considered to contain the best account of their principles. 
The biography of William Penn belongs to the history 
of his country. He was a person of large and cultivated 
understanding and liberal principles. In the year 1682 
King Charles 11. made him an extensive grant of land in 
North America, where he formed the settlement of 
Pennsylvania. His transactions with the North Ameri- 
can Indians were marked by the most scrupulous integri- 
ty, and his kindness to them, insured the lasting attach- 
ment of their once warlike tribes towards himself and 
" his children," i. e. the Quakers. He founded the city 
of Philadelphia, and the laws by which he governed the 
province of which it was the capital, were eminently dis- 
tinguished by their mildness and wisdom, or in other 
words, by their conformity to the 2irinciples of Christiani" 
ty, A large number of the Friends followed William 
Penn into this new settlement ; and many others, taking 
refuge from persecution in England, found a home in 
other provinces of North America. The greater part of 
the whole Society is now resident on that continent. 

We shall conclude this account with some remarks on 
the creed of this Society. In consequence of their ob- 


jecting to the use of theological terms not employed in 
Scripture — such as Trinity and Person — and of their in- 
sisting so prominently on the inward and spiritual work 
of religion, Friends have often been charged with un- 
sound views respecting the nature and character of 
Christ, and especially on the subject of his incarnation, 
meritorious life, and atoning death. Such charges were 
ever indignantly repelled by their early preachers and 
writers. In proof of the adherence of the Society, dur- 
ing the earlier periods of its history, to the fundamental 
doctrines of the New Testament,^ the reader may be re- 
ferred to a document published by the Society A. D. 
1693, and given verbatim, under t\\2i.t date, in " Sewell's 
History of the Quakers." It is entitled " The Christi- 
an Doctrine and Society of the People called Quakers 
cleared," &c., and is signed " on behalf of the Christian 
profession and people aforesaid," by George Whitehead, 
Ambrose Rigg, and several others. In this very interesting 
paper will be found a clear statement of the belief of the 
Society, in the divinity of the Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Spirit — in the incarnation of the Son, and the 
atonement made by Him on the cross for the sins of all 
men — in his resurrection, ascension, intercession, and 
supreme government — in the immortality of the soul 
and resurrection of the body — in the future glorious ap- 
pearing of Jesus Christ — and in the final and universal 
judgment of quick and dead. 

Such was the faith of the early Quakers ; and such is 
the faith of the Society in the present day. That it con- 
tinues to be orthodox and scriptural, is clearly evinced 
by the following declaration issued by the Yearly Meet- 


ing of London in the Spring of 1829, and signed on its 
behalf by its clerk, Josiah Forster. 

" In order to prevent any misapprehension as to our 
views, we feel ourselves called upon, at this time, to 
avow our belief in the inspiration and divine authority 
of the Old and New Testament.* 

" We further believe, that the promise made after the 
transgression of our first parents, in the consequence 
of whose fall all the posterity of Adam are involved, 
that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of 
the serpent ; Gen. iii. 15. and the declaration unto 
Abraham, ' In thy seed shall all the families of the 
earth be blessed,' Gen. xxviii. 14. had a direct reference 
to the coming in the flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ. To 
Him, also, did the prophet Isaiah bear testimony, when 
he declared, ' Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is 
given : and the government shall be upon his shoulders: 
and he shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty 
God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace : of 
the increase of his government and peace the7^e shall be 
no end.' Isaiah ix. 6, 7. And again, the same Prophet 
spoke of him when he said, ' Surely he hath borne our 
griefs, and carried our sorrows : yet we did esteem him 
stricken, smitten of God and afflicted ; but he was wound- 
ed for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniqui- 
ties : the chastisement of our peace was upon him ; and 
with his stripes we are healed.' Isaiah liii. 4, 5. The 
same blessed Redeemer is emphatically denominated by 

* The Friends object to call the Scriptures the Word of God, applying 
that title to Christ alone.— (S'ce John i. 1.) 


the Prophet Jeremiah, ' The Lord ouu Righteousness.' 
Jerm. xxiii. 6. 

" At that period, and in that miraculous manner, which 
God in his perfect wisdom saw fit, the promised Messiah 
appeared personally upon the earth, when ' He took 
rot on him the nature of angels ; but he took on him the 
seed of Abraham.' Heh. ii. G. He ' was in all points 
tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Heh. iv. 15. 
Having finished the work which was given him to do, he 
gave himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God. 
Eph. V. 2. He tasted death for eveiy man. Heh. ii. 9, 
* He is the propitiation for our sins : and not for our's 
only, but also for the sins of the whole world.' 1 John 
ii. 2. ' We have redemption through his blood, ere^i the 
forgiveness of sins.' CoL'i. 14. He passed into the 
heavens ; Heh. iv. 14. and being the brightness of the 
glory of God, * and the express image of his person, and 
upholding all things by the word of his power, when he 
had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right 
hand of the Majesty on high ;' Heh. i. 3. and ever liveth 
to make intercession for us. Heh. vii. 25. 

" It is by the Lord Jesus Christ that the world will be 
judged in righteousness. Acts, xvii. 31. He is the me- 
diator of the new covenant ; Heh. xii. 24. * the image of 
the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature : for by 
him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that 
are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they he thrones, 
or dominions, or principalities, or powers : all things 
were created by him and for him: and he is before all 
things, and by him all things consist.' Co/, i. 15. 17. *In 

him dwelleth ail the fulness of the Godhead bodilv :' Col 

X 2 


n. 9. and to him did the Evangelist bear testimony when 
he said ' In the beginning was the Word, and the Word 
was God. The same was in the beginning with God. 
All things were made by him; and without him, was not 
any thing made that was made. In him was life ; and 
the life was the light of men.* He * was the true Light, 
which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.* 
John, i. 1.4. 9. 

" Our blessed Lord himself spoke of His perpetual do- 
minion and power in his church, when He said ' My 
sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow 
me : and I give unto them eternal life :* Jofm, x. 27, 28. 
and when describing the spiritual food which he bestow- 
eth on the true believers, He declared, " I am the bread 
of life : he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and 
he that bclieveth on me shall never thirst.' Jok7i, vi. 35. 
He spoke also of his saving grace, bestowed on those who 
come in faith unto Him, when He said * Whosoever 
drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never 
thirst ; but the water that I shall give him shall be in 
him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.' 
John, iv. 14. 

*' Our religious Society, from its earliest establishment 
to the present day, has received these most important 
doctrines of Holy Scripture in their plain and obvious 
acceptation ; and we do not acknowledge as in fellowship 
Math us, as a Christian Community, any body of religi- 
ous professors which does not thus accept them, or which 
openly receives and accredits as Ministers, those who at^ 
tempt to invalidate any of these doctrines which we 
esteem essential parts of the Christian Religion. 


*' It is the earnest desire of this fleeting, that all who 
profess our name, may so live, and so walk before God, 
as that they may know those sacred truths to be blessed 
to them individually. We desire that, as the mere pro- 
fession of sound Christian doctrine will not avail to the 
salvation of the soul, all may attain to a living efficacious 
faith, which, through the power of the Holy Ghost, 
bringeth forth fruit unto holiness ; the end whereof is 
everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. 
vi. 22. ' Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be 
unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the 
Lamb for ever and ever.' " Rev. v. 13. 


The Methodists in this country form a large part of 
the community. In the year 1729, they sprung up at 
Oxford, under ]Mr. Morgan (who soon after died) and 
Mr. John Wesley. In the month of November of that 
year, the latter being then fellow of Lincoln College, 
began to spend some evenings in reading the Greek New 
Testament along with Charles Wesley, student, Mr. 
Morgan, commoner, of Christ Church, and Mr. Kirkham, 
of Merton College. Next year, two or three of the pu- 
pils of Mr. John Wesley, and one pupil of Mr. Charles 
Wesley, obtained leave to attend these meetings. Two 
years after, they were joined by Mr. Ingham, of Queen's 
College, Mr. Broughton, of Exeter, and Mr. James Her-* 


Vey; and in 1735, they were joined by the celebrated 
Mr. Whitfield, then in his eighteenth yeaj*. They soon 
obtained the name of Methodists, from the exact regu- 
larity of their lives ; which gave occasion to a young 
gentleman, of Christ Church, to say, — " Here is a new 
set o^ Methodists sprung up !" Alluding to a sect of an- 
cient Physicians, who practised medicine by method or 
regulai- rules, in opposition to quackery or empiricism. 
Thus was the term Methodist originally applied to this 
body of Christians, on account of the methodical strict- 
ness of their lives; but is indeed now, by some, indiscri- 
minately appropriated to every individual who manifests 
a more than ordinary concern for the salvation of man- 

These heads differing soon afterwards in religious sen- 
timent, their respective followers distributed themselves 
into two parties ; the one under Mr. George Whitfield, 
the other under Mr. John and Charles Wesley. Edu- 
cated at Oxford, these leaders still continued to profess 
an attachment to the articles and liturgy of the Estab- 
lished church, though they more commonly adopted the 
mode of worship which prevails among the Dissenters. 
Upon their being excluded from the pulpits in many 
churches, they took to preaching in the fields ; and from 
the novelty of the thing, in conjunction with the fervour 
of their exertions, they were attended by some thousands 
of people ! In their public labours, Mr. Whitfield hav- 
ing a most sonorous voice, was remarkable for an engag- 
ing and powerful eloquence ; whilst Mr. John Wesley, 
being less under the influence of his passions, possessed 
both in writing and preaching, a perspicuous and com- 


rnanding simplicity. Even their enemies confess that 
they contributed in several jolaces to reform the lower 
classes of the community. The Colliers at Kingswood, 
near Bristol, and the Tinners in Cornwall, were greatly 
benefited by their exertions. In consequence of their 
attention to the religion of Jesus, by the instrumentality 
of these preachers, many of them rose to a degree of re- 
spectability, and became valuable members of society. 
The followers of Mr. Wesley (who died in London, 1791, 
aged eighty-eight, and was buried in the ground behind 
his chapel, the Fonndery, in Moorfields) are AnninianSy 
though some of his preachers incline to Baxtcrianism. 
The followers of Mr. Whitfield (who died in 1770, aged 
fifty-six, at Newbury Port, near Boston, in New Eng- 
land, and was buried there) are Calvinists, and were 
warmly patronized by the late Countess Dowager of 
Huntingdon, to whom Mr. W. was chaplain, and who 
was a lady of great benevolence and piety. Lady Ers- 
kine (a near relation of the celebrated Counsellor of that 
name) has taken her situation, and is said to be equally 
attentive to the concerns of this part of the religious 
community. With respect to the splitting of the Me- 
thodists into Calvinists and Arminians, it happened so 
far back as the year 1741 ; the former being for particu- 
lar, and the latter for universal redemption. 

Both Mr. Wesley and Mr. Whitfield were indefatig- 
able in promoting their own views of the Christian re- 
ligion, notwithstanding all the reproaches with which 
they were stigmatized. It is well known, that for this 
purpose they went over several times to America. Mr. 
Whitfield, indeed, established an Orphan House in 


Georgia, for which he made large collections in this 
country, and which was since converted into a college 
for the education of young men, designed chiefly for the 

In America, the Methodists were extremely useful, 
riding 20 or 30 miles in the course of the day, and 
preaching twice or thrice to considerable congregations. 
The account of their labours by Mr. Hampson, in his 
memoirs of Mr. Wesley, is interesting and impressive. 
" Their excursions (says he) through immense forests, 
abounding in trees of all sorts and sizes, were often highly 
romantic. Innumerable rivers and falls of water ; vistas 
opening to the view, in contrast with the uncultivated 
wild ; deer now shooting across the road,and now scouring 
through the woods, while the eye was frequently relieved 
by the appearance of orchards and plantations, and the 
houses of gentlemen and farmers peeping through the 
trees, formed a scenery so various and picturesque, as to 
producer variety of reflections, and present, we will not 
say to a philosophic eye, but to the mind of every reason- 
able creature^ the most sublime and agreeable images. 
Their worship partook of the general simplicity. It was 
frequently conducted in the open air. The woods re- 
sounded to the voice of the preacher, or to the singing 
of his numerous congregation, whilst the horses fastened 
to the trees, formed a singular addition to the solemnity. 
It was, indeed, a striking picture, and might naturally 

* To this paragraph, the American editor of the Sketch has added — 
•' It has been lately burnt, and the whole of the benefice added to it, is in 
possessiion of the State. A just judgment for purchasing slaves to support 
a charitable institution !" 


impress the mind with a retrospect of the antediluvian 
days, when the hills and rallies re-echoed the patriarchal 
devotions, and a Seth or an Enoch, in the shadow of a 
projecting rock, or beneath the foliage of some venerable 
oak, delivered his primeval lectures, and was a preacher 
of righteousness to the people .'" 

The distinguishing principles of Methodism, are salva- 
tion by faith in Jesus Christ ; perceptible, and in some 
cases instantaneous conversion ; and an assurance of re- 
conciliation to God, with which they say, the new birth, 
or being born again, is inseparably attended. On these 
doctrines they lay the utmost stress; and information 
respecting these topics, will be found in Dr. Haweis's 
History of the Church of Christ, recently published. Se- 
veral persons have written the Life of Islr. Wesley ; there 
is one by Mr. Hampson, another by Dr. Whitehead, and 
a third by Dr. Coke and Mr. Moor. Mi-. Whitfield's 
life was drawn up by the late Dr. Gillies, of Glasgow. 
Mr. Wesley and INIi-. Whitfield both published an ac- 
count of their travels and itinerant labours in this king- 
dom and in America. These Sketches are entitled Jour- 
nals, and serve greatly to illustrate the principles and pro- 
gress of Methodism. To conclude this article of the 
Methodists, in the words of Mr. Hampson, in his Me- 
uioirs of Mr. Wesley — " If they possess not much know* 
ledge, which however we do not not know to be the 
case, it is at least certain they are not deficient in zeal, 
and without any passionate desire to imitate their ex- 
ample, we may at least commend their endeavours for 
the general good. Every good man will comteraplate 
v/ith pleasure, the operation of the spirit of reformation, 


whether foreign or domestic, and will rejoice in every 
attempt to propagate Christianity in the barbarous parts 
of the world ; an attempt, which if in any tolerable degree 
successful, will do infinitely more for their civilization 
and happiness, than all the united energies of the philo- 
sophical infidels ; those boasted benefactors of man- 

Dr. Priestley published a curious volume of Mr. Wes- 
ley's Letters, just after his decease, prefaced with a sen- 
sible Address to the Methodists ; where, after having 
freely expostulated with them respecting their peculari- 
ties, he gives them great credit for their zeal and un- 
wearied activity. The Methodists have recently found 
an eloquent advocate in William Wilberforce, Esq. 
M. P. who pleads their cause at some length, in his 
Treatise on Vital Christianity, 


* The New Methodist Connection, among the fol- 
lowers of Mr Wesley, separated from the original Me- 
thodists in 1797. The grounds of this separation, they 
declare to be church government, and not doctrines, as 
affirmed by some of their opponents. They object to 
the old Methodists, for having formed a hierarchy or 
priestly corporation ; and say that in so doing they have 
robbed the people of those privileges, that as mem- 

' * This article was sent the editor by a correspondent at Nottingham, 
and is inserted with a few alterations and omissions. 


bers of a Christian church they are entitled to by reason 
and scripture. The New Methodists have therefore at- 
tempted to establish every part of their church govern- 
ment on popular principles, and profess to have united 
as much as possible the ministers and the people in every 
department of it. This is quite contrary to the original 
government of the Methodists, which in the most im- 
portant cases, is confined only to the ministers. This, 
indeed, appears most plainly, when their conference or 
yearly meeting is considered ; for in this meeting, no 
person, who is not a travelling preacher^ has ever been 
suffered to enter as a member of it. And, indeed, this 
is the point to which the preachers have always stedfast- 
ly adhered with the utmost firmness and resolution, and 
on which the division at present entirely rests. They are 
also upbraided by the New Methodists, for having abused 
the power they have assumed; agreatmany of f/^e^e abuses, 
the New Methodists have formally protested against, 
which are enumerated in various publications, and parti- 
cularly in the Preface to the Life of one of their deceas- 
ed friends, Mr. Alexander Kilham. 

Though these are the points on which the division 
seems principally to have rested, yet there are several 
other things that have contributed to it. It is frequent- 
ly easy to forsee and to calculate the future changes in 
society, that the lapse of time will produce; and in no 
instance is this observation better warranted than in this 
division, which most persons have long expected. The 
old attachment of the Methodists to the Established 
Church, which originated in Mr. Wesley, and was che.. 
rished by him and many of the preachers by all possible 


means, and also the dislike to these sentiments in many 
others of the preachers and of the societies, were never 
failing subjects of contention. As all parties are distin- 
guished in their contests by some badge or discriminating 
circumstance, so here the receiving or not receiving the 
Lord's Supper, in the Esiablished Church, was long con- 
sidered as the criterion of methodistical zeal or disaffec- 
tion. Thus the rupture that had been long forseen by 
intelligent persons, and for which the minds of the Me- 
thodists had been undesignedly prepai*ed, became inevi- 
table when Mr. Wesley's influence no longer interfered. 
Soon after Mr. Wesley's death, many things had a ten- 
dency to displease the societies, and bring forward the 
division. Many petitions having been sent by the socie- 
cieties to the preachers, requesting to have the Lord's 
Supper administered to them in their own chapels, the 
people had the mortification to find that this question 
was decided by lot, and not by the use of reason and 
serious discussion ! 

The new Methodists profess to proceed upon liberal, 
open, and ingenuous principles, in the construction of 
their plan of church government, and their ultimate de- 
cision in all disputed matters, is in their popular annual 
assembly, chosen by certain rules from among the preach- 
ers and societies. These professions are at least general 
and liberal ; but as this sect has yet continued for only a 
short season, little can be said of it at present. It be- 
comes matter of curious conjecture and speculation, how 
far the leading persons among them, will act agreeably 
to their present liberal professions. If they should be- 
come firmly established in power and influence, and have 


the opportunity of acting otherwise; they have at least 
the advantage of the example of their late brethren, and 
of Dr. Priestley's remaiks upon them. Speaking oi' the 
leading men among the Methodists, the Doctor says — 
" Finding themselves by degrees at the head of a large 
body of people, and in considerable power and influence, 
they must not have been ine7i, if they had not felt the 
love of power gratified in such a situation ; and they must 
have been ynoj-e titan meiiy if their subsequent conduct 
had not been influenced by it." A shrewd hint, that 
Dr. P. thought the Methodists had been too remiss in 
theii' attention to their liberties, ivhich ihey ought to con- 
vex/ down entire and unmiitulated to posterity. 


Jumpers. — Originally this singular practice o^ jumping 
during the time allotted for religious worship and instruc- 
tion, was confined to the people called Methodists in 
Wales, the followers of Harris, Rowland, Williams, and 
others. The practice began in the western part of the 
country about the year 1760. It was soon after defend- 
ed by Mr. William Williams (the Welch poet, as he is 
sometimes styled) in a pamphlet, which was patronized 
by the abettors of jumping in religious assemblies, and 
viewed by the seniors and the grave with disapprobation. 
However, in the course of a few years, the advocates of 
groaning and loud talking, as well as loud singing, re- 


peating the same line or stanza over and over thirty oi* 
forty times, became more numerous, and were found 
among some of the other denominations in the princi- 
pality, and continue to this day. Several of the more 
zealous itinerant preachers in Wales recommended the 
people to cry out Gogomant (the Welch word for glory) 
Amen, &c. &c. to put themselves in violent agitations ; 
and finally, to jump until they were quite exhausted, so 
as often to be obliged to fall down on the floor or the 
field where this kind of worship was held. If any thing 
in the profession of religion, that is absurd and unreason- 
able, were to surprise us, it would be the censure that 
was cast upon those who gently attempted to stem this 
tide, which threatened the destruction of true religion as 
a reasonable service. Where the essence of true religion 
is placed in customs and usages which have no tendency 
to sanctify the several powers through the medium of 
the understanding, we ought not to be surprised, when 
we contemplate instances of extravagance and aposlacy. 
Human nature, in general, is not capable of such exer- 
tions for any length of time, and when the spirits become 
exhausted, and the heat kindled by sympathy is subsid- 
ed, the unhappy persons sink into themselves, and seek 
for support in intoxication. It is not to be doubted but 
there are many sincere and pious persons to be found 
among this body of people — men who think they are do- 
ing God's service, whilst they are the victims of fanati- 
cism. These are objects of compassion, and doubtless 
will find it in God. But it is certain, from incontestible 
facts, that a number of persons have attached themselves 
to those religious societies, who place a very dispropor- 


tioned stress on the practice o^ jumpivg, from suspicious 
motives. The theory and practice of such a reh'gion 
are easily understood ; for the man who possesses an un- 
blushing confidence, and the greatest degree of muscular 
energy, is likely to excel in bodily exercise. Upon the 
whole, it is probable, as such an exercise has no counte- 
nance in reason nor revelation, that it has been, and is 
still productive of more evil than good. Many of the 
ministers, who have been foremost in encouvagmgjumpingy 
seemed to have nothing in view but the gratification of 
their vanity, inflaming the passions of the multitude by 
extravagant representations of the character of the Deity 
— the condition of man — and design of the Saviour's 
mission. The minister that wishes not to studi/ to shew 
himself of God, has only to favour Jw???/)fnn|- with its ap- 
pendages ; for as reason is out of the question, in such a 
religion, he can be under no fear of shocking it. It is 
some consolation to real religion, to add, that this prac- 
tice is on the decline, as the more sober or conscientious, 
who were at first at a loss to judge where this practice 
might carry them, have been its pernicious tendency. 

Such is the account of the Jumpers, which, with a few 
alterations, has been transmitted me by a respectable mi- 
nister, who frequently visits the principality. It is to be 
hoped, that the exercise of common sense will in time 
recover them from these extravagant ecstasies, which 
pain the rational friends of revelation, and afford matter 
of exultation to the advocates of infidelity. 

About the yeai' 1785, I myself happened very acci- 
dentally to be present at a meeting, which terminated in 
Jumjmg. It was held in the open air, on a Sunday 



evening, near Newport, in Monmouthshii-e. ITie preach- 
er was one of Lady Huntingdon's students, who conclud- 
ed his sermon with the recommendation o'l jumping ; and 
to allow him the praise of consistency, he got down from 
the chair on which he stood, and jumped along with 
them. The arguments he adduced for this purpose were, 
that David danced before the ark — that the babe leaped 
in the womb of Elizabeth — and that the man whose 
lameness was removed, leaped and praised God for the 
mercy which he had received. He expatiated on these 
topics with uncommon fervency, and then drew the in- 
ference, that thet/ ought to shew simihr expressions of 
joy. for the blessings which Jesus Christ had put into 
their possession. He than gave an empassioned sketch 
of the sufferings of the Saviour, and hereby roused the 
passions of a few around him into a state of violent agi- 
tation. About nine men and seven women, for some 
little time, rocked to and fro, groaned aloud, and then 
jumped with a kind of frantic fury. Some of the audi- 
ence flew in all directions ; others gazed on in silent 
amazement ! They all gradually dispersed, except the 
jumpers, who continued their exertions from eight in the 
evening to near eleven at night. I saw the conclusion 
of it; they at last kneeled down in a circle, holding each 
other by the hand, while one of them prayed with great 
fervour, and then all rising up from oif their knees, de- 
parted. But previous to their dispersion, they wildly 
pointed up towards the sky, and reminded one another 
that they should soon meet there, and be never again se- 
parated ! I quitted the spot with astonishment. Such 
disorderly scenes cannot be of any service to the deluded 


individuals, nor prove beneficial to society. Whatever 
credit we may and ought to allow this body of Christians 
for good intentions, it is impossible not to speak of the 
practice itself, without adopting terms of unqualified 
disapprobation. The reader is referred to Binglei/'s and 
Evans Tours through Wales, where (as many particulars 
are detailed respecting the Jumpers) his curiosity will 
receive a still farther gratification. It pains the author 
of the present work, that he had it not in his power 
to give a more favourable account of them. The decline 
of so unbecoming a practice will, it is to be hoped, be 
soon followed by its utter extinction. 


The UxivERSALisTs, properly so called, are those who 
believe, that as Christ died for all, so, before he shall 
have delivered up his mediatorial kingdom to the Fa- 
ther, all shall be brought to a participation of the bene- 
fits of his death, in their restoration to holiness and hap- 
piness. Their scheme includes a reconciliation of the 
tenets of Calvinism and Arrainianism, by uniting the 
leading doctrines of both, as far as they are found in the 
scriptures : from which union they think the sentiment 
of universal restoration naturally flows. 

Thus they reason — " The Arminian proves from scrip- 
ture, that God is love ; that he is good to all ; that his 
tender mercy is over all his works ; that he gave his Son 


for the world ; that Christ died for the world, even for 
the whole world ; and that God will have all men to be 

" The Calvinist proves also from scripture, that God 
is without variableness or shadow of turning ; that his 
love, like himself, alters not; that the death of Christ will 
be efficacious towards all for whom it was intended ; that 
God will perform all his pleasure, and that his council 
shall stand. The union of these scriptural principles, is 
the final restoration of all men. 

" Taking the principles of the Calvinists and Armini- 
ans separately, we find the former teaching, or at least 
inferring, that God doth not love all ; but that he made 
the greater part of men to be endless monuments of his 
wrath. The latter declaring the love of God to all; but 
admitting his j^nal failure of restoring the greater part. 
The God of the former, is great in power and wisdom ; 
but deficient in goodness, and capricious in his conduct : 
who that views his character can sincerely love it ? The 
God of the latter, is exceeding good; but deficient in 
power and wisdom : who can trust such a being ? If, 
therefore, both Calvinists and Arminians love and tmst 
the Deity, it is not under the character which their 
several systems ascribe to him ; but they are constrained 
to hide the imperfections which their views cast upon 
him, and boast of a God, of whose highest glojy, their 
several schemes will not admit." 

The Universalists teach the doctrine of election ; but 
not in the exclusive Calvinistic sense of it; they suppose 
that God has chosen some, for the good of all ; and that 
his final purpose towards all, is intimated by his calling 


his elect the ^rsi born and the Jirst fruits of iiis creatures', 
which, say they, implies other branches of his family, and 
a future ingathering of the harvest of mankind. 

They teach also that the righteous shall have part in 
the first resurrection, shall be blessed and happy, and be 
made priests and kings to God and to Christ in the mil- 
lennial kingdom, and that over them the second death 
shall have no power; that the wicked will receive a 
punishment apportioned to their crimes, that punishment 
itself is a mediatorial work, and founded upon mercy, con- 
sequently, that it is a means of humbling, subduing, and 
finally reconciling the sinner to God. 

They add, that the words rendered everlasting, eternal, 
for ever, and for ever and ever^ in the scriptures, are fre- 
quently used to express the duration of things that have 
ended, or must end : and if it is contended, that these 
words are sometimes used to express proper eternity, they 
answer, that then, the subject with which the vv'ords are 
connected, must determine the sense of them ; and as 
there is nothing in the nature of future punishment which 
can be rendered as a reason why it should be endless, 
they infer that the above words ought always to be taken 
in a limited sense, when connected with the infliction 
of misery. 

The Universalists have to contend on the one hand 
with such as hold with the eternity of future misery, and 
on the other with those who teach that destruction or 
extinction of being, will be the final state of the wicked. 
In answer to the latter, they say, " That before we ad- 
mit that God is under the necessity of striking any of 


his rational creatures out of being, we ought to pause, 
and inquire, 

" Whether such an act is consistent with the scriptural 
character of Deity, as possessed of all possible wisdom, 
goodness, and power ? 

" Whether it would not contradict many parts of 
scripture ; such, for instance, as speak of the restitution 
of all things — the gathering together of all things in 
Christ — the reconciliation of all things to the Father, by 
the blood of the cross — the destruction of death, &c.'* 
These texts, they think, are opposed equally to endleps 
misery, and to final destruction. 

" Whether those who will be finally destroyed, are not 
in a worse state through the mediation of Christ, than 
they would have been without it ? This question is 
founded on a position of the friends of destruction ; viz. 
that extinction of being, without a resurrection, would 
have been the only punishment of sin, if Christ had not 
become the resurrection and the life to men. Conse- 
quently, the resurrection and future punishment spring 
from the system of mediation ; but, they ask, is the jus- 
tification to life, which came upon all men in Christ Je- 
sus, nothing more than a resurrection to endless death to 
millions ? 

" Whether the word, destruction, will warrant such a 
conclusion ? It is evident that destruction is often used 
in scripture to signify a cessation of present existence 
only, without any contradiction of the promises that re- 
late to a future universal resurrection. They think, 
therefore, that they ought to admit an universal restora- 
tion of men, notwithstanding the future destruction 


which is threatened to sinners :* because, say they, the 
scripture teach both." 

They suppose the universal doctrine to be most con- 
sonant to the perfections of the Deity — most worthy of 
the character of Christ, as the mediator ; and that the 
scriptures cannot be made consistent with themselves up- 
on any other plan. They teach that ardent love to 
God, peace, meekness, candour, and universal love to 
men, are the natural result of their views. 

This doctrine is not new. Origen, a Christian father, 
who lived in the third century, wrote in favour of it. St. 
Augustine, of Hippo, mentions some divines in his day, 
whom he calls the merciful doctors, who held it. The 
German Baptists, many of them, even before the Refor- 
mation, propagated it. The people called Tunkers, in 
America, descended from the German Baptists, mostly 
hold it. The Menonites, in Holland, have long held it. 
In England, about the latter end of the seventeenth 
century. Dr. Rust, Bishop of Dromore, in Ireland, pub- 
lished a piece in defence of it. And Mr. Jeremiah White 
wrote his book in favour of the same sentiment soon af- 
terwards. The Chevalier Ramsay, in his elaborate work 
of the Philosophical principles of Natural and Revealed 
Religion, espouses it. Archbishop Tillotson, in one of 
his sermons, supposes future punishment to be of limited 
duration, as does Dr. Burnet, master of the Charter 
House, in his book on the state of the dead. 

But the writers of late years, who have treated upon 
the subject most fully, are Dr. Newton, Bishop of Bris- 

* See Vidler's Notes on Winchester's Dialogues on the Restoration, 
fouitli euition, r. 176. 


tol, in his Dissertations; Mr. Stoneliouse, Rector of 
Islington ; Dr. ChauncY) of Boston, in America ; Dr. 
Hartley, in his profound Work on ]Man ; Mr. Pnrves, of 
Edinburgh; Mr. Elhanan Winchester, in his Dialogues 
on Universal Restoration (a new edition of which, with 
explanatory notes, has been recently published) and Mr. 
William Vidler. See the Universalisfs Miscellany (a 
monthly publication of merit) from the first to the fourth 
volume, where the controversy on the subject between 
Mr. Vidler, Mr. Fuller, and Mr. Fisher, will be found. 
The Rev. Mr. Browne, also a clergyman of the church 
of England, has written an excellent essay on the sub- 
ject. Mr. N. Scarlett has likewise published a new 
translation of the Testament, in which the Greek term 
am in the singular and plural, is rendered age and ages ; 
and in his Appendix has proposed that its derivative a/sv/av 
should be rendered age-lasting, instead of everlasting and 

The writers, who have of late particularly animadvert- 
ed upon the doctrine are, in America, President Ed- 
wards and his son. Dr. Edwards ; and in England, Mr. 
Dan. Taylor, Mr. Fisher, and Mr. Andrew Fuller.* 

Mr. Broughton, at the close of his Disserfatio72S on 
Futurity (shocked at the idea of ete}-nal punishment in 
every case) proposes the following hypothesis — " That 
the spirit of God had made choice of an ambiguous term 
amnoi, acknowledged on both sides, sometimes to mean 
eternal, and sometimes only a temporary duration, with 

♦ For most of the above account of the Universalists, the autlior is in. 
debted to a popular minister of that persuasion ; and tlie next paragTapIi 
but one was sent by a gentleman who espouses the doctrine of destrudion. 


the wise view, that men might live in fear of everlasting 
jmnishmcnt ; because, it is possible, it may be everlast- 
ing; and at the same time God be at liberty (if I may 
so speak) without impeachment of his faithfulness and 
truth, to inflict eiihev Jinite or infinite punishment, as his 
divine wisdom, power, and goodness shall direct." He, 
however, only suggests this scheme with an amiable and 
becoming modesty. 


Between the system of restoration and the system of 
endless misery, a middle hypothesis of the final destruc- 
tion of the wicked (after having suffered the punishment 
due to their crimes) has been adopted more particularly 
by Dr. John Taylor of Norwich ; Rev. Mr. Bourne, of 
Birmingham ; and Mr. John Marsom, in two small 
volumes, of which there has been a second edition with 
additions. They say, that the scripture positively asserts 
this, doctrine of destruction ; that the nature of future 
punishment (which the scripture terms death) determines 
the meaning of the words everlasting, eternal, for ever, 
&c. as denoting endless duration ; because no law ever 
did or can inflict the punishment of death for a limited 
period ; that the punishment cannot be corrective, be- 
cause no man was ever put to death, either to convince 
his judgment or to reform his conduct ; that if the wick- 
ed receive a punishment apportioned to their crimes, theif 



deliverance is neither to be attributed to the mercy of 
of God, nor the mediation of Jesus Christ, but is an act 
absolute justice ; and finally, that the mediatorial king- 
dom of Jesus Christ will never be delivered up, since the 
scripture asserts, that of his kingdom tho^e shall he no end. 
Those who maintain these sentiments respecting the 
destruction of the wicked, are accused of espousing the 
doctrine of annihilation ; but this accusation they repel, 
alleging, that philosophically speaking, there can be no 
annihilation, and that destruction is the express phrase 
used in the New Testament. Of this sentiment there 
have been many advocates distinguished for their erudi- 
tion and piety. 


The Sabbatarians are a body of Christians who keep 
the seventh day as the Sabbath, and are to be found prin- 
cipally, if not wholly, among the Baptists. The common 
reasons why Christians observe the Jirst day of the week 
as the Sabbath are, that on this day Christ rose from the 
dead ; that the apostles assembled, preached, and admi- 
nistered the Lord's Supper, and it has been kept by the 
church for several ages, if not from the time when Chris- 
tianity was originally promulgated. The Sabbatarians, 
however, think these reasons unsatisfactory, and assert 
that the change of the Sabbath from the seventh to the 
first day of the week, was effected by Constantine, upon 


his conversion to the Christian reh'gion. The threefol- 
lowing propositions contain a summary of their principles 
as to this article of the Sabbath, by which they stand 
distinguished. 1st, That God hath required the obser- 
vation of the seventh, or last day of every week, to be 
observed by mankind universally for the weekly sabbath 
2dly, That this command of God is perpetually binding 
on man till time shall be no more ; and, 3dly, That this 
sacred rest of the seventh day sabbath is not (by divine 
authority) changed from the seventh and last to the first 
day of the week, or that the scripture doth no where re- 
quire the observation of any other day of the week for 
weekly sabbath, but the seventh day only. There are 
two congregations of the Sabbatarians in London, one 
among the General Baptists' meeting in Mill-yard, 
Goodman's Fields, the other among the Particular 
Baptists' meeting in Red Cross-street, Cripplegate. 
There are also a few to be found in different parts of the 

INIi'. Morse informs us that there are many Sabbatari- 
ans in America. '•' Some (says he) in Rhode Island ob- 
serve the Jewish or Saturday sabbath, from a persuasion 
that it was one of the ten commandments, which they 
plead are all in their nature moral, and were never ab- 
rogated irl the New Testament. Though, on the con- 
trary, others of them believe it originated at the time of 
the creation, in the command given to Adam by the 
Creator himself." See Genesis, chap. ii. 3. " At New 
Jersey also there are three congregations of the Seventh 
Day Baptists ; and at Ephrata, in Pennsylvania, there 
is one congregation of them, called Tunkers. There are 


Hkewise a few Baptists who keep the seventh day as hoty 
time, who are the remains of the Keithian or Quaker 

This tenet has given rise to various controversies, and 
writers of considerable ability have appeared on both 
sides of the question. Mr. Cornthwaite, a respectable 
minister among them, about the year 1740, published 
several tracts in support of it, which ought to be consult- 
ed by those who wish to obtain satisfaction on the sub- 
ject. The reader should also have recourse to Dr Chand- 
ler's two discourses on the Sabbath, Mr. Amner's Disser- 
tation on the Weekly Festival of the Christian Church, 
and Dr. Kennicott's Sermon and Dialogue on the Sab- 
bath, and the Rev. S. Palmer's publication on the Na- 
ture and Obligation of the Christian Sabbath, which is well 
worthy of attention. But whatever controversy may 
have been agitated on this subject, certain it is, that were 
no particular day set apart for the purpose of devotion 
(for which some in the present day contend) our know- 
ledge of human nature authorises us to say, that virtue 
and religion would be either greatly debilitated or finally 
lost from among mankind. 

The Sabbatarians hold in common with other Chris- 
tians, the distinguishing doctrines of Christianity, and 
though much reduced in number, deserve a distinct men- 
tion in this miscellany, on account of their integrity and 

* Most of the above particulars respecting the Sabbatarians were commu- 
nicated to the author by some worthy individuals of that persuasion. 



The Moravians were originally exiles who, forced, 
by popish persecution to flee from their native land 
Moravia, found refuge on the estates of Nicholas 
Lewis, Count of Zinzendorf, a German nobleman, who 
died 1760. They were also called HernhuterSy from 
HernJmth, the name of the village where they were first 
settled. The followers of Count Zinzendorf are called 
Moravians, because the first converts to his system were 
some Moravian families. The society themselves how- 
ever assert, that they are descended from the old Mora- 
vian and Bohemian Brethren, who existed as a distinct 
sect sixty years prior to the Reformation. They also stile 
themselves Unitas Fratrum, or the United Brelhren ; 
and, in general, profess to adhere to the Augsburgh con- 
fession of faith. When the first reformers were assembled 
at Augsburgh in Germany, the Protestant Princes era- 
ployed Melancthon, a divine of great learning and mode- 
ration, to draw up a confession of their faith, expressed 
in terms as little offensive to the Roman Catholics as a 
regard for truth would permit. And this creed, from 
the place where it was presented, is called the Confession 
of Augsburgh. It is not easy to unravd the leading tenets 
of the Moravians. Opinions and practices have been at- 
tributed to them of an exceptionable nature, which the 
more sensible of them totally disavow. They direct their 
worship to Jesus Christ; are much attached to instru- 
mental as well as vocal music in their religious services j 

z 2 


ciral discover a great predilection for forming themselves 
into classes, according to sex, age, and character. Their 
founder not only discovered his zeal in travelling in per- 
son over Europe, but has taken special care to send mis- 
sionaries into almost every part of the known world. 
They revive their devotion by celebrating agapae, or love 
feasts, and the casting of lots is used amongst them to 
know the will of the Lord. The sole right of contract- 
ing marriage lies with the elders. In Mr. La Trobe's 
edition of Spangenburgh's exposition of Christian doc- 
trine, their principles are detailed to a considerable 
length. There is a large community of them at a village 
near Leeds, which excites the curiosity of the traveller ; 
and they have places of worship in various parts of the 
kingdom. Mr. Rimius published his candid narrative of 
this people, and Bishop Lavington (who wrote also a- 
gainst the Methodists) replied, in 1755, in his Moravians 
compared and detected. Mr. Weld, in his Travels 
through the United States, gives a curious account of a 
Settlement of Moravians at Bethlehem, honourable to 
their virtue and piety. 

Dr. Paley, in his Evidences of Christianity/, pays the fol- 
lowing compliment to the religious practices of the Mo- 
ravians and Methodists ; he is speaking of the first Chris- 
tians — " After men became Christians, much of their 
time was spent in prayer and devotion in religious meet- 
ings — in celebrating the eucharist — in conferences — in 
exhortations — in preaching — in an affectionate inter- 
course with one another, and correspondence with other 
societies. Perhaps their mode of life in its form and 
habit, was not very unlike the Unitas Fratrim, or of 


modern Methodists.^* Be it, however, the desire o^ evert/ 
body of Christians not only thus to imitate the primitive 
disciples in their outward conduct^ but to aspire after the 
peaceableness of their tempers, and the purity of their 


Sonde ma7iians,* a modern sect, that originated in Scot- 
land about the year 1728 ; where it is, at this time, 
distinguished by the name of Glassites, after its founder, 
IVIr. John Glas, who was a minister of the established 
church in that kingdom, but being charged with a design 
of subverting the national covenant, and sapping the 
foundation of all national establishments, by maintaining 
that the kingdom of Christ is not of this world, was ex- 
pelled by the synod from the church of Scotland. His 
sentiments are fully explained in a tract published at that 
time, entitled, " The Testimony of the King of Martyrs," 
and preserved in the first volume of his works. In con- 
sequence of jNIi'. Glas's expulsion, his adherents formed 
themselves into churches, conformable in their institu- 
tion and discipline, to what they apprehended to be the 
plan of the first churches recorded in the New Testa- 
ment. Soon after the year 1755, IVIr. Robert Sande- 

* The author has been favoured with this entire account of the Sandc- 
manians by a gentleman of respectability, who belongs to that body of 


man, an elder in one of these churches in Scotland, pub- 
lished a series of letters addressed to Mr. Hcrvey, occa- 
sioned by his Theron and Aspasio, in which he endeav- 
ours to shew, that his notion of faith is contradictory to 
the scripture account of it, and could only serve to lead 
men, professedly holding the doctrines called Calvin- 
istic, to establish their own righteousness upon their 
frames, feelings, and acts of faith. In these letters Mr. 
Sandeman attempts to prove that faith is neither more 
nor less than a simple assent to the divine testimony 
concerning Jesus Christ, delivered for the offences of 
men, and raised again for their justification, as recorded 
in the New Testament. He also maintains that the 
word faith or belief, is constantly used by the apostles to 
signify what is denoted by it in common discourse, viz. 
a persuasion of the truth of any proposition, and that 
there is no difference between believing any common 
testimony and believing the apostolic testimony, except 
that which results from the testimony itself, and the divine 
authority on which it rests. This led the way to a contro- 
versy among those who are called Calvinists, concerning 
the nature of justifying faith, and those who adopted 
Mr. Sandeman's notion of it, and they who are denomi- 
nated Sandemanians, formed themselves into church 
order, in strict fellowship with the churches of Scot- 
land, but holding no kind of communion with other chur- 
ches. Mr. Sandeman died 1772, in America. 

The chief opinion and practices in which this sect 
differs from other Christians, are, their weekly adminis- 
tration of the Lord's Supper; their love feasts, of which 
every member is not only allowed, but required to par- 


take, and which consist of their dining together at each 
other's houses in the interval between the morning and 
afternoon service. Their kiss of charity used on this 
occasion, at the admission of a new member, and at 
other times when they deem it necessary and proper; 
their weekly collection before the Lord's Supper, for 
the support of the poor and defraying other expenses ; 
mutual exhortation ; abstinence from blood and things 
strangled ; washing each other's feet, when, as a deed of 
mercy, it might be an expression of love ; the precept 
concerning which, as well as other precepts, they under- 
stand literally. Community of goods, so far as that every 
one is to consider all that he has in his possession and 
power liable to the calls of the poor and the church, and 
the unlawfulness of laying up treasures upon earth, by 
setting them apart for any distant, future, and uncertain 
use. They allow of public and private diversions so far 
as they are not connected with circumstances really sin- 
ful ; but apprehending a lot to be sacred, disapprove of 
lotteries, playing at cards, dice, &c. 

They maintain a plui'ality of elders, pastors, or bishops, 
in each church, and the necessity of the presence of two 
elders, in every act of discipline^ and at the administra- 
tion of the Lord's Supper. 

In the choice of these elders, want of learning and 
engagement in trade are no sufficient objection, if quali- 
fied according to the instructions given to Timothy and 
Titus; but second marriages disqualify for the office; and 
they are ordained by prayer and fasting, imposition of 
hands, and giving the right hand of fellowship. 

In their discipline they are strict and severe, and think 


themselves obliged to separate from the communion and 
worship of all such religious societies as appear to them 
not to profess the simple truth for their only ground of 
hope, and who do not walk in obedience to it. We shall 
only add, that in every transaction they esteem unanimi- 
ty to be absolutely necessary. 


HuTCHiNSONiANS, the followers of John Hutchinson, 
born in Yorkshire, 1674, and who in the early part of 
life served the Duke of Somerset in the capacity of a 
steward. The Hebrew scriptures, he says, comprise a 
perfect system of natural philosophy, theology, and reli- 
gion. In opposition to Dr. Woodward's Natural His- 
tory of the earth, Mr. Hutchinson, in 1724, publish- 
ed the first part of his curious book, called, Moses's 
Principia. Its second part was presented to the public 
in 1727, which contains, as he apprehends, the princi- 
ples of the scripture philosophy, which are a plenum and 
the air. So high an opinion did he entertain of the He- 
brew language, that he thought the Almighty must have 
employed it to communicate every species of knowledge, 
and that accordingly every species of knowledge is to be 
found in the Old Testament. Of his mode of philoso- 
phising the following specimen is brought forward to the 
reader's attention. " The air (he supposes) exists in 
three conditions, fire, lights and spirit, the two latter are 


the finer and grosser parts of the air in motion : from tlie 
earth to the sun, the air is finer and finer till it becomes 
pure light near the confines of the sun, and fire in the orb 
of the sun, or solar focus. From the earth towards the 
circumference of this system, in which he includes the 
fixed stars, the air becomes grosser and grosser till it be- 
comes stagnant, in which condition it is at the utmost 
verge of this system ; from whence (in his opinion) the 
expression of outer darkness, and blackness of darkness, 
used in the New Testament, seems to be taken." 

The followers of Mr. Hutchinson are numerous, and 
among others the Rev. Mr. Romaine, Lord Duncan For- 
bes of Culloden, and the late amiable Dr. Home, Bishop 
of Norwich, who published an Abstract of Mr. Hutchin- 
son's writings. They have never formed themselves in- 
to any distinct church or society. 


The Dunkers and Shakers are two sects peculiar to 


The Dunkers (or Tunkers) arose about 1724, and 
formed themselves into a kind of commonwealth, mostly 
in Pennsylvania. They baptize by immersion, dress hke 
the Dominican friars, never shave head nor beard, have 
difierent apartments for the sexes, live chiefly on roots 


and vegetables, except at their love-feasts, when they eat 
only mutton. It is said that no bed is allowed them but 
in case of sickness, for in their separate cells they have 
a bench to lie upon, and a block of wood for their pillow. 
Their principal tenet is the mortification of the body, 
and they deny the eternity of future punishment. They 
are commonly called the harmless Dunkers. 


The Shakers, instituted in 1774, are the followers 
of Anna Leese, whom they stile the Elect Lady, and the 
Mother of all the Elect. They say she is the woman 
mentioned in the twelfth chapter of the Revelations, can 
speak seventy-two tongues, and converses with the dead. 
Their enthusiasm is vented in jumping, dancing, and vio- 
lent exertions of the body, which bringing on shaking, 
they are termed Shakers. This dancing, they say, de- 
notes their victory over sin. Their most favourite exer- 
cise is turning round for an hour or two, which, in their 
opinion, shews the great power of God. See a curious 
account of the Shakers in the first volume of the Duke 
de la Rochefoucault's Travels through America. 

The American editor of this work, has added the fol- 
lowing article. 

" Many of those who lately migrated from Wales to 
America, have adopted the following articles as their re- 
ligious constitution : 1. The convention shall be called 
the Christian Church. 

** 2. It shall never be called by another name, or be 


distinguished by the particular tenets of any man or set 
of men. 

" 3. Jesus Christ is the only head — believers in him 
the only members — and the New Testament the only rule 
of the fraternity. 

" 4. In mental matters, each member shall enjoy his 
own sentiments, and freely discuss every subject ,* but in 
discipline, a strict conformity with the precepts of Christ, 
is required. 

" 5. Every distinct society belonging to this associa- 
tion, shall have the same power of admitting its members, 
electing its officers, and in case of mal-conduct, of im- 
peaching them. 

" 6. Delegates from the different congregations, shall 
meet from time to time, at an appointed place, to con- 
sult the welfare and advancement of the interest. 

" 7. At every meeting for religious worship, collections 
shall be made for the poor, and the promulgation of the 
gospel among the Heathens.''^ 

This plan, which has many traits to recommend it, ori- 
ginated chiefly with the Rev. M. J. Rees, who a few years 
ago emigrated from Wales, and has distinguished him- 
self in America, by his talents and activity. 

As to the other sects in the United States, they are 
much the same as on this side of the Atlantic. For an ac- 
count of them, the reader may consult Morse's American 
Geography y and Winterbotham^s History of America. 

2 A 



The Mystics are those who profess a pure and su- 
blime devotion, with a disinterested love of God, free 
from all selfish considerations. Passive contemplation 
is the state of perfection to which they aspire. Of this 
description there have been many singular characters, es- 
pecially Madam Giiyon, a French lady, who made a 
great noise in the religious world. Fenelon, the amiable 
Archbishop of Cambray, favoured the sentiments of this 
female devotee, for which he was reprimanded by the 
Pope, and to whose animadversions he most didifulli/ as- 
sented, contrary to the convictions of his own mind. It 
is not uncommon for the Mystics to allegorise certain 
passages of scripture, at the same time not denying the 
literal sense, as having an allusion to the inward experi- 
ence of believers. Thus, according to them, the word 
Jerusalem, which is the name of the capital of Judea, 
signifies allegorically the church militant ; morally, a be- 
liever; and mysteriously, heaven. That fine passage also 
in Genesis, " Let there be light, and there was light," 
which is, according to the letter, corporeal light, sig- 
nifies allegorically, the Messiah ; morally, grace ; and 
mysteriously, beatitude, or the light of glory. MyS' 
ticism is not confined to any particular profession of 
Christianity, but is to be understood as generally applied 
to those who dwell upon the inward operations of the 
mind (such as the Quakers, &c.) laying little or no stress 
on the outward ceremonies of religion. 



* The Swedenborgians are the followers of Emanuel 
Swedenborg, a Swedish nobleman, who died in London, 
1772. He professed himself to be the founder (under 
the Lord) of the Neiu Jerusalem Church, alluding to the 
New Jerusalem spoken of in the Book of the Revelation 
of St. John. His tenets, although peculiarly distinct 
from every other system of Divinity in Christendom, are 
nevertheless drawn from the Holy Scriptures, and sup- 
ported by numberless quotations from them. He asserts, 
that in the year 1 743, the Lord manifested himself to him 
in a personal appearance ; and at the same time opened his 
spiritual eyes, so that he was enabled constantly to see and 
converse with spirits and angels.f From that time he 

« The two following sects are occasionally mentioned in conversation, 
and the author has been a^ked by young people more than once for an ex:: 
planation of them. A short account therefore is here subjoined. 

The Fifth Monarchy Men were a set of enthusiasts in the time of Crom- 
well, who expected the sudden appearance of Christ to establish on earth a 
new monarchy, or kingdom. In consequence of this allusion some of them 
aimed at the subversion of all human government. In ancient history we 
read of four great monarchies, the Assyrian, the Persian, the Grecian, and 
the Roman : and these men believing that this new spiritual kingdom of 
Christ was to be thejifth, came to bear the name by which they are dis- 

The Muggktonians were the followers of Ludovick Muggleton, a jour- 
neyman tailor, who with his companion Reeves (a person of equal obscuri- 
ty) set up for great Prophets, in the turbulent times of Cromwell. They 
pretended to absolve or condemn whom they pleased, and gave out that 
they were the two last witnesses spoken of m the Revelations, who were to 
appear previous to the final destruction of the world. 

t Baron Swedenborg, in his treatise concerning heaven and hell, and of 


began to print and publish various wonderful things, 
which, he says, were revealed to him, relating to heaven 
and hell, the state of men after death, the worship of 
God, the spiritual sense of the scriptures, the various 
earths in the universe, and their inhabitants, with many 
other extraordinary particulars, the knowledge of which 
was, perhaps, never pretended to by any other writer, 
before or since his time. He denies a Trinity oi' persons 
in the Godhead, but contends for a divine Trinity in 
the single person of Jesus Christ alone, consisting of a 
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, just like the human Tri- 
nity in every individual man, of soul, body, and pro- 
ceeding operation : and he asserts, that as the latter 
Trinity constitutes one man, so the former Trinity 
constitutes one Jehovah God, who is at once the Crea- 
tor, Redeemer, and Regenerator. On this and other 
subjects. Dr. Priestley addressed letters to the members 
of the I^ew Jerusalem Church, to which several replies 
were made, and particularly one by Mr. R. Hindmarsh, 
a printer. 

Baron Swedenborg further maintains, that the sacred 
scripture contains three distinct senses, called celestial, 

the wonderful things therein, as heard and seen by him, makes the fol- 
lowing declaration. " As often as I conversed with angels face to face, it 
was in their habitations, which are like to our houses on earth, but far 
more beautiful and magnificent, having rooms, chambers, and apartments 
!n great variety, as also spacious courts belonging to them, together with 
gardens, parterres of flowers, fields, &c. where the angels are formed into 
societies. They dwell in contiguous habitations, disposed after the man- 
ner of our cities, in streets, walks, and squares. I have had the privilege 
to walk through them, to examine all round about me, and to enter their 
houses, and this when I was fully awake, having my inward eyea opened." 
A similar description is given oi heaven itself, but the reader is referred to 
the treatise whence the extract is taken. 


spiritual, and naticral, which are ur.iteJ by correspon- 
dencies ; and that in each sense it is divine truth, accom- 
modated respectively to the angels of the three heavens, 
and also to men on earth. This science of con^espon- 
dencies (it is said) has been lost for some thousands of 
years, viz. ever since the time of Job, but is now revived 
by Emanuel Swedenborg, who uses it as a key to the 
spiritual or internal sense of the sacred scripture, every 
page of which, he says, is written by correspondencies, 
that is, by such things in the natural world as correspond 
unto and signify things in the spiritual world. He denies 
the doctrine of atonement, or vicarious sacrifice, together 
with the doctrines of predestination, unconditional elec- 
tion, justification by faith alone, the resurrection of the 
material body, &c. and in opposition thereto maintains, 
that man is possessed of free-will in spiritual things; that 
salvation is not attainable without repentance, that is, 
abstaining from evils because they are sins against God, 
and living a life of charity and faith, according to the 
commandments; that man, immediately on his decease, 
rises again in a spiritual body, which v»as inclosed in his 
material body, and that in this spiritual body he lives as 
a man to eternity, either in heaven or in hell, according 
to the quality of his past life. 

It is further maintained by Baron Swedenborg and his 
followers, that all those passages in the sacred scripture, 
generally supposed to signify the destruction of the world 
by fire, &c commonly called the last judgment, must be 
understood according to the above-mentioned science of 
correspondencies, which teaches, that by the end of tlie 
world, or consummation of the age, is not signified the 


destruction of the world, but the destruction or end of 
the present Christian church, both among Roman Catho- 
lics and Protestants of every description or denomina- 
tion ; and that this last judgment actually took place in 
the spiritual world in the year 1 757 ; from which sera is 
dated the second advent of the Lord, and the commence- 
ment of a new Christian church, which, they say, is meant 
by the new heaven and new earth in the Revelation, and 
the New Jerusalem thence descending. 

Such are the general outlines of Baron Swedenborg's 
principal doctrines, collected from his voluminous writ- 
ings. His followers are numerous in England, Germany, 
Sweden, &c. and also in America. They use a liturgy, 
and instrumental, as well as vocal music, in their public 
worship.* Mr. Proud, formerly a General Baptist mi- 
nister, is at present the most popular preacher amongst 

We shall close our list of denominations with an ac- 
count of that discriminating article of belief, which refers 
to the Jinal triumiihs of Christianitj/, Its advocates are 
not indeed a sect distinct from others, but their tenet 
prevails in a less or greater degree through almost every 
department of the religious world; 

* The whole of the above account was sent to the author for insertion 
by a gentleman of that denomination. 



The Millenarians are those who believe that Christ 
will reign personally on earth for a thousand years, and 
their name, taken from the Latin, milley a thousand, has 
a direct allusion to the duration of this spiritual empire. 
" The doctrine of the Millenium, or a future paradisia- 
cal state of the earth, (says a monthly reviewer) is not of 
Christian but of Jewish origin. The tradition is attri- 
buted to Elijah, which fixes the duration of the world in 
its present imperfect condition to six thousand years, and 
announces the approach of a sabbath of a thousand years 
of universal peace and plenty, to be ushered in by the glo- 
rious advent of the Messiah. This idea may be traced 
in the epistle of Barnabas, and in the opinions of Papias, 
who knew of no written testimony in its behalf. It was 
adopted by the author of the Revelations, by Justin Mar- 
tyr, by Iraenus, and by a long succession of the fathers. 
As the theory is animated and consolatory, and, when 
divested of cabalistic numbers and allegorical decorations, 
probable even in the eye of philo&ophy^ it will no doubt 
always retain a number of adherents."* 

But as the Millenium has of late attracted the at- 

* It is somewhat remarkable, that Druidis.m, the religion of the first 
inhabitants of this island, had a particular reference to the progressive me^ 
lioration of the human species. A notion of a Millenium seems to have 
been familiar to their minds, and therefore forms a strikuig coincidence 
with Christianity. The tenets of Druidism (which also include the doc^ 
trine of universal restoration) are far from being extinct in the jirincipali- 
ty. See a curious and interesting sketch of the system of Druidistn, in 
some very ingenious Poems, by Edward Williams, the Welsh bard, in 
two volumes. 


tention of the public, we shall enter into a short detail 
of it. 

Mr. Joseph Mede, Dr. Gill, Bishop Newton, and Mi*. 
Winchester, contend for the posonal reign of Christ on 
earth. To use that prelate's own words, in his Dissertations 
on the Prophecies — " When these great events shall come 
to pass, of which we collect from the prophecies, this to 
be the proper order; the Protestant witnesses shall be 
greatly exalted, and the 1260 years of their prophecying 
in sackcloth, and of the tyranny of the beast, shall end 
together; the conversion and restoration of the Jews 
succeed ; then follows the ruin of the Othman empire ; 
and then the total destruction of Rome and of Anti- 
christ. When these great events, I say, shall come to 
pass, then shall the kingdom of Christ commence, or the 
reign of the saints upon earth. So Daniel expressly informs 
us, that the kingdom of Christ and the saints will be rais« 
ed upon the ruins of the kingdom of Antichrist, vii. 26, 
27. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away 
his dominion to consume and to destroy it iinto the end: 
and the Jtingdom and doiimiion, and the greatness of the 
kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the peo- 
2)le of the saints of the Host High, whose kingdom is an 
cve7'lasting kingdom, and all dominion shall serve and obey 
him. So likewise St. John saith, that upon the final de- 
struction of the beast and the false prophet, Rev. xx. 
Satan is bound for a thousand years ; and I saw throncSy 
and they sat upon them, and judgment luas given unto them ; 
and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the 
witness of Jesus Christ and for the word of God; which 
had not tvorshippcd the beast, iieithcr his image ; neither 


hud received his mark upon their foreheads or in their 
handsy and they lived and reigned ivith Christ a thousand 
years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the 
thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrec- 
tion. It is, I conceive, to these great events the fall of 
Antichrist, there-establishment of the Jews, and the be- 
ginning of the glorious millenium, that the three diifer- 
ent dates in Daniel of 1260 years, 1290 years, and 1335 
years, are to be referred. And as Daniel saith, xii. 12. 
Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh the 1335 years. So 
St. John saith, xx. 6. Blessed and holy is he that hath 
part in the first resurrection. Blessed and happy indeed 
will be this period ; and it is very observable, that the 
martyrs and confessors of Jesus, in Papist as well as 
Pagan times, will be raised to partake of this felicity. 
Then shall all those gracious promises in the Old Testa- 
ment be fulfilled — of the amplitude and extent — of the 
peace and prosperity — of the glory and happiness of the 
church in the latter days. Then^ in the full sense of the 
words. Rev. xi. 15. Shall the kingdoms of this ivoj'ld become 
the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall 
reign for ever and ever. According to tradition,* these 
thousand years of the reign of Christ and the saints, will 
be the seventh Millenary of the world ; for as God creat- 
ed the world in six days, and rested on the seventh, so 
the world, it is argued, will continue six thousand years, 
and the seventh thousand will be the great Sabbatism or 
holy rest to the people of God. One day, 2 Pet. iii. 8. 
heing with the Lord, as a thousand years, and a thousand 

* Sec Bumet's Theory. 


years as one day. According to tradition, too, these 
thousand years of the reign of Christ and the saints, are 
the great day of judgment, in the morning or beginning 
whereof, shall be the coming of Christ in flaming fire, 
and the particular judgment of Antichrist, and the first 
resurrection ; and in the evening or conclusion whereof, 
shall be the general resurrection of the dead, small 
and great ; and they shall be judged every man according 
to their woi^Jcs.^^^ 

This is a just representation of the Alilleyiium^ accord- 
ing to the common opinion entertained of it, that Christ 
will reign personally on earth during the period of one 
thousand years ! But Dr. Whitby, in a Dissertation on 
the sidjcct ; Dr. Priestley, in his Institides of Religion ; 
and the author of the Illustrations of Prophecy, contend 
against the literal interpretation of the Millenium, both 
as to its nature and its duration. On such a topic, how- 
ever, we cannot suggest our opinions with too great a 
degree of modesty. 

Dr. Priestley (entertaining an exalted idea of the ad- 
vantages to which our nature may be destined) treats the 
limitation of the duration of the world to seven thousand 
years, as a Rabbinical fable ; and intimates that the thou- 

* Mr. Winchester, in his Lectures on the Prophecies, freely indulges his 
imagination on this curious subject. He suggests, that the large rivers in 
America are all on the eastern side, that the Jews may waft themselves the 
more easily down to the Atlantic, and then across that vast ocean to the 
Holy Land ; that Christ will appear at the equinoxes (either March or 
September) when the days and nights are equal all over the globe; and, 
finally, that the body of Christ will be luminous, and being suspended in 
the air, over the equator, for twenty-four hours, will be seen with circum . 
stances of peculiar glory, from pole to pole, by all the then inhabitants of 
the world ! 


sand years may be interpreted pi-opheticallt/ ; then every 
day would signify ai/ear, and the Millenium last for three 
hundred and sixty-five thousand years ! Again, he sup- 
poses, that there will be no resurrection of any individu- 
als till the general resurrection ; and that the Millenium 
implies only the revival of religion. This opinion is in- 
deed to be found in his Institutes, published many years? 
ago, but laterally he has inclined to the j)ersonal reign of 
Christ. See his Fareivell Sermon, preached at Hackney, 
previous to his emigration to America. The same con- 
jecture as to its duration is thrown out by the author of 
the Illustrations of Prophecy ; but he contends that in 
the period commonly called the Millenium, a melioration 
of the human race will gradually take place, by natural 
means, throughout the world. For his reasons, we refer 
to the work itself, where will be found an animated sketch 
of that period, when an end shall be put to many of the 
crimes and calamities now prevalent in the globe ! 

The Rev. Mr. Bicheno, of Newbury, likewise, has in his 
late publications, thrown out some curious particulars re- 
specting the Millenium; and though the reader may not 
agree with him in many things, yet he will applaud his 

This final article of the Millenium, shall be closed with 
one observation. However the Millenarians may differ 
among themselves respecting the nature of this great 
event, it is agreed on all hands, that such a revolution will 
be effected in the latter days, by which vice and its at- 
tendant misery shall be banished from the earth ; thus 
completely forgetting all those dissentions and animosi- 
ties by which the religious world has been agitated, and 


terminating the grand drama of human affairs with uni- 
versal FF.LICITY.* 

These are the divisions of human opinions, which char- 
acterize the more popular departments of the religious 
world. I have endeavoured to delineate them with ac- 
curacy and brevity. Each system boasts of admirers, 
and professes to have its peculiar arguments and ten- 
dencies. To a thoughtful mind they exhibit a melancho- 
ly picture of the human understanding, misguided 
through passion, and warped with prejudice. In draw- 
ing out the motley catalogue, several cursory reflections 
arose in my mind. A few only, such as may operate as 
a persuasive to religious moderation, and tend also to the 
improvement of other Christian graces, shall be submit- 
ted to the reader's attention. 

* The professors of Christianity have instituted Societies for the ad- 
vancement of religion. There are four which deserve to be mentioned : 
1. The Society for Promoti7)g Christian Knmrledge, whicli erects charity 
sdiools in England and Wales, and distributes Bibles, Common Prayer 
Books, and religious tracts ; 2. TJie Incorporated Society for the Propaga- 
tion of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, which takes care that the West India 
islands and the British colonies in North America are provided with epis- 
copal clergymen and schoolmasters ; 3. A Society in Scotland for propa- 
gating Christian Knoivledge, designed to banish ignorance and profaneness 
from the Highlands and Western islands; and, 4. A Society established in 
Ireland called the Incorporated Society in Dub/in for promotijig English. 
Protestant Working Schools. 

Mr. Daniel Neal, about 60 years ago, estimated the number of Dissen- 
ters in England at one hundred and fifty thoiisa:id families ; but since that 
period it is believed that they have declined. At present the proportion 
of Noncoriformists to the Members of the Church of England is supposed 
to be as one to Jive ; and it is singular that the sa7ne proportion holds be- 
tween the Episcopaliaris -dnd Roman Catholics in Ireland. 


pray God to give all his ministers and people more and more of the 
Spirit of TFisdom and of love, and of a sound mind, and to remove fat 
from us those mutualjealoufies andanimosities which hinder our acting 
with that unanimity which is necessary to the successful carrying on of 
our common warfare against the enemies q/" Christianity. 

Doddridge'9 Rise and Progress of Religion^ 

A MODEST estimate of the human faculties is an irre- 
sistible inducement to moderation. After laborious in- 
vestigations, probably with equal degrees of knowledge 
and of integrity, men arrive at opposite conclusions. 
This is a necessary consequence of present imperfec- 
tion. Human reason, weak and fallible, soars with 
feeble, and often with iViefFectual wing, into the regions 
of speculation. Let none affirm that this mode of argu- 
Inent begets an indifference to the acquisition and pro- 
pagation of religious truth. To declare that all tenets are 
alike, is an affront to the human understanding. The 
chilling hesitation of scepticism, the forbidding sternness 
of bigotry, and the delirious fever of enthusiasm, are 
equally abhorrent from the genius of true Christianity. 
Truth being the conformity of our conceptions to the 
nature of things, we should be fearful lest our con- 
ceptions be tinctured with error. Philosophers suppose 
that the senses convey the most determinate species 



of information ; yet these senses, notwithstanding their 
singular acuteness, are not endued with an instinctive 
infallibility. How much greater cause have we to mis- 
trust the exercise of our rational powders, which often 
from early infancy are beset with prejudices ! 

Reason, though imperfect, is the noblest gift of God, 
and upon no pretence whatever must it be decried. It 
distinguishes man from the beasts of the field — consti- 
tutes his resemblance to the Deity, and elevates him to 
the superiority he possesses over this lower creation. 
That it is incompetent to investigate certain subjects 
which our boundless curiosity may essay to penetrate, is 
universally acknowledged. 

Upon many religious topics, which have tried and tor- 
tured our understandings, the sacred writers are respect- 
fully silent. Where they cease to inform us we should 
di-op our inquiries; except we claim superior degrees of- 
information, and proudly deem ourselves more competent 
to decide on these intricate subjects. The primitive 
Christians, in some of their councils, elevated the New 
Testament on a throne — thus intimating their concern, . 
that by that volume alone their disputes should be finally 

The diversity of religious opinions implies no re- 
flection upon the sufficiency of scripture to instruct us in 
matters of faith and practice, and should not, therefore, 
be made a pretence for uncharitableness. 

Controversies are frequently agitated concerning words 
rather than thmgs. This is to be ascribed chiefly to the 
ambiguity of language, which has been a fertile source of 
ecclesiastical animosities. But there is not in the world, 


such a multitude of opinions as superficial observers may 
imagine. A common gazer at the stariy firmament con- 
ceives the stars to be innumerable; but the astronomer 
knows their number to be limited — nay, to be much small- 
er than a vulgar eye would apprehend. On the subjects 
of religion, many men dream rather than think — imagine 
rather than believe. Were the intellect of every indivi- 
dual awake, and preserved in vigorous exercise, similarity 
of sentiment would be much more prevalent. But man- 
kind will not think, and hence thinking has been deemed 
" one of the least exerted privileges of cultivated huma- 
nity." It unfortunately happens that the idle flights in- 
dulged by enthusiasts* — the burdensome rites revered 
by the superstitious — and the corrupt maxims adopted 
by worldly-minded professors, are charged on the scrip- 
tures of truth. Whereas the inspired volume is fraught 
with rational doctrines — equitable precepts — and imma- 
culate rules of conduct. Fanciful accommodations — 
distorted passages — false translations — and forced analo- 
gies, have been the despicable means employed to debase 
and corrupt the Christian doctrine. A calm and impar- 
tial investigation of the word of God, raises in om* minds 

* Since the article relative to the JVeslean Methodists has been thrown 
off, a communication has been made to the author respecting their revival 
meetings, where certain persons, imder the influence of a religious phrenz)', 
occasion by their groanings and vociferations an uncommon degree of 
tumult and confusion. The more sensible, however, of the ;Methodists, 
reprobate these disgraceful scenes. At Nottingham the writer of this para- 
graph witnessed them with astonishment. He hopes that such fanaticism 
will not continue long, and that some person-; of respectability among them 
will interfere, so as to put an end to practices, which cannot but strengthen 
the hands of infidelity, and afford matter of grief to all the friends of real 
and substantial pieti'. 


conceptions worthy the perfections of Deity — suitable to 
the circumstances of mankind, and adapted to piuify and 
exalt out nature : 

Religion's lustre— is by nature imiocent, 

Divijiely pure, and simple from all arts ; 

You daub and dress her like a common mistress— 

The harlot of your fancies ! and by adding 

False beauties, which she wants not, make the world 

Suspect her angel face is foul beneath. 

And will not bear all lights ! 

The Papists deprive their laity of the use of scripture, 
by restraining its use, and denying its sufficiency. The 
same reason also was assigned to vindicate the necessity 
of an infallible head to dictate in religious matters. Not- 
withstanding these artful devices to produce unanimity 
of sentiment, they were not more in possession of it than 
the Protestants. The discordant sects, which at differ- 
ent periods sprang up in the bosom, and disturbed the 
tranquillity of the Catholic church, are demonstrative 
proofs that they failed to attain the desired object. Pre- 
tences, therefore, however goodly, should be rejected if 
they tend to invalidate the sufficiency, or disparage the 
excellence of holy writ. Least of all should diversity of 
sentiment be alleged, for it does not originate in the 
scriptures themselves, but in the imbecility of the under- 
standing — in the freedom of the will — in the pride of 
passion — and in the inveteracy of prejudice. Deists, 
nevertheless, who are expert in observing v.hat may be 
construed into an objection against revealed religion, 
declaim loudly on this plausible topic. On account of 
the diversity of sentiment which obtains, they charge the 


Bible with being defective in a species of intelligence it 
never pretended to communicate. Unincumbered with 
human additions, and uncontaminated with foreign mix- 
tures, it furnishes the believer with that information which 
illuminates the understanding — meliorates the temper — 
invigorates the moral feelings, and improves the heart. 
All scripture given by inspirationy is profitable for doctrine^ 
for reproof for correction, for instruction in righteousness , 
that the man of God may be perfect , thoroughly furnished 
under all good ivorJts. 

Let nbf aiiy one presume to exempt himself from an 
attention to religion, because some of its tenets seem in- 
volved in difficulties. 

Upon articles which promote the felicity, and secure 
the salvation of mankind, the scripture is cleai- and 
decisive. The curiosity of the inquisitive, and the rest- 
lessness of the ingenious, have involved some subjects of 
theological disquisition in considerable obscurity. Dr. 
Paley, speaking of the disputes which distract the religi- 
ous world, happily remarks, " that the rent has not reach- 
ed the foundation." Incontrovertible are the facts upon 
which the fabric of natural and revealed religion is rear- 
ed ; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it / He 
Vv'ho seriously and dispassionately searches the scriptures, 
must confess that they teach, in explicit terms, that God 
rules over all — that man is fallen from his primeval rec- 
titude — that the Messiah shed his blood for his restora- 
tion — and that in a future state rewards await the righte- 
ous, and punishments will be inflicted on the wicked. 

From the preceding sketch of the different opinions of 
Christians, it appears that controversies have been chiefly 

2 B 2 


agitated concerning the person of Chriat — the subject of 
the divine favour — and the article of church government. 
But what was the specific matter of disputation ? Not 
whether Christ has actually appeared on earth to intro- 
duce a new dispensation ; nor whether God is disposed 
to shew grace or favour towards fallen man ; nor whe- 
ther the professors of religion ought to submit themselves 
to certain regulations, or church government, for mutual 
benefit. These are truths revered by every denomina- 
tion, and the only point of contention has been, what 
particular vieius are to be entertained of these interest- 
iug facts. The Trinitarian, the Arian, and the Socinian, 
equally acknowledge the divinilij of Christ's mission, or 
that he was the Messiah predicted by the ancient pro- 
phets ; and the chief point of dispute is, whether this 
Messiah be a man highly inspired — or one of the angelic 
order — or a being possessed of the attributes of Deity.* 
The Calvinist, the Arminian, and the Baxtarian also, 
each of them firmly believes that the grace of God hath 
appea7'ed, and differ only respecting the wideness of its ex- 
tent, and the mode of its communication. Similar ob- 
servations might be transferred to the subject of church 
goyernrijent, and the administration of ceremonies. But 
sufficient has been said to shew that the differences sub- 
sisting between Christians do pot affect the truth of 
Christianity, nor hazard the salvation of mankind. 

Faint indeed is the light thrown by revelation on cer- 

* This is very inaccurately stated. T!ic (liflaeucc b fundamenfa' 
yide pp. 130-3. 


tain subjects. Yet no lover of righteousness need dis- 
tress himself, whether he be mistaken in leading a life of 
virtue and of piety. Practical religion lies within a nar- 
row compass. The sayings of Christ embrace almost 
evei'y part of human conduct, though his disciples have 
been lamentably deficient in paying them the attention 
due to their importance. Jesus Christ assures us, that 
to love the Lord our God ivith all our hearts, is the first and 
great commandment — and that the second is like unto it — 
to love our neighbour as ourselves. They entertain mis- 
taken views o^ tht' glorious gospel, who consider it inimi- 
cal to the prosperity of the human race. Descending 
from a God of love, and presented to us by his only be- 
gotten Son — every mind should have opened for its re- 
ception. Wrangling should have been prevented by the 
clearness of its fundamental doctrines, hesitation about- 
obedience precluded by the justice of its precepts, and 
the beauty of its examples should have captivated the 
most indifierent hearts. 

The perplexity in which some religious tenets are in- 
volved, instead of alienating us from the practice of 
righteousness, should quicken our inquiries after truth. 
Indeed, upon a serious and intelligent individual,, it pro- 
duces this beneficial effect. Having in his eye the scrip- 
ture as the only standard, he is the more alive to free in- 
quiry, when he contemplates the diversity of religious 
systems ; and more accurately scrutinizes their nature, 
examines their foundation, and ascertains their tenden- 
cies. This mode of arriving at truth, is attended with 
sterling advantages. Our knowledge is enlarged — our 
candour established — and our belief founded on the firm 


basis of conviction. Such a believer reflects an honour 
upon the denomination with which he connects himself. 
For feeling sensibly the difficulties of religious investiga- 
tion, he presumes not to charge with heresy those of his 
fellow Christians who differ from him ; nor is he such a 
stranger to the perfections of the Deity, and to the be- 
nign spirit of his religion, as to consign them over to the 
regions of future misery. Of Mr. Gouge, an eminent 
Nonconformist minister, it is thus honourably recorded 
by the great and good Archbishop Tillotson — " He al- 
lowed others to differ from him even in opinions that 
were very dear to him, and provided men did but fear 
God, andivorh righteousness, he loved them heartily, how 
distant soever from him in judgment about things less ne- 
cessary : in all which he is very worthy to be a pattern 
to men of all persuasions." 

Let us reflect with pleasure in how many important 
articles of belief all Christians are agreed. 

Respecting the origin of evil, the nature of the human 
soul, the existence of an intermediate state, and the du- 
ration of future punishment, together with points of a 
similar kind, opinions have been, and in this imperfect 
state will ever continue to be different. But on articles 
of faith, far more interesting in themselves, and far more 
conducive to our welfare, are not all Christians united? 
We all believe in the perfections and government of one 
God — in the degradation of human nature through trans- 
gression — in the vast utility of the life, death, and suffer- 
ings of Jesus Christ — in the assurance of the divine aid — 
in the necessity of exercising repentance, and of cultivat- 
ing holiness — in a resurrection from the dead — and in a 

future state of rewards antl punishment. Cheerfully 
would I enter into a njinute illustration of this important 
part of the subject ; but the devout and intelligent Dr. 
Price has ably discussed it in the first sermon on the 
Christian Doctrine, to which discourse I refer the reader, 
and recommend it to his repeated and impartial perusal. 
Many Christians are more anxious to know w herein their 
brethren differ from them, than wherein they are agreed. 
This betrays an unhappy propensity to division, and bears 
an unfavourable aspect on mutual forbearance, one of 
the highest embellishments of the Christian character. 
An enlightened zeal is perfectly compatible with religi- 
ous moderation, which is more particularly opposed to 
the furious spirit of uncharitableness, the gangrene of 
genuine Christianity. From the shy and distant deport- 
ment of men of different persuasions towards each other, 
a stranger to them all, would with cUfficulty be brought 
to believe that they looked up to the same God — con- 
fided in the same Saviour — and were bending their steps 
towards the same state of future happiness. To me, often 
has the Christian world had the appearance of a subdued 
country, portioned out into innumerable districts, through 
the pride and ambition of its conquerors, and each dis- 
trict occupied in retarding each other's prosperity. 
Alas ! what would the Prince of Peace say, were he to 
descend and sojourn among us ? Would he not reprove 
our unhallowed warmth — upbraid us with our divisions 
— chide our unsocial tempers — and exhort to amity and 
concord ? " This antipathy to your fellow Christians," 
would he say, " is not the effect of my religion, but pro- 
ceeds from the ivant of it. My doctrines, precepts, and 


example, have an opposite tendency. Had you learned 
of me you would have never uttered against your breth- 
ren terms of reproach, nor lifted up the arm of persecu- 
tion. The new commandment I gave unto you was — 
That ye love one another.''^ 

The ingenious Mr. Seed (a clergyman) observes, " Our 
own particular darling tenets, by which we are distin- 
guished from the bulk of Christians, we look upon as our 
private enclosures, our private walks, in which we have 
property exclusive of others, and which we take care to 
cultivate, beautify, and fence in against all invaders. To 
the received notions, however imjjorfmit, we are more 
indifferent, as the common field and public walks, which 
lie open to every body." Were the professors of the 
Gospel once fully sensible how they coincide on the 
fundamental facts of natural and revealed religion, they 
would cherish with each other a more friendly inter- 
course, unite more cordially to propagate religion both 
at home and abroad, and superior degrees of success 
would crown their combined exertions for the purpose. 
Much is it regretted that disputes have generally been 
agitated concerning unessential points, and with an acri- 
mony diametrically opposite to the Gospel of Jesus 
Christ. That controversy is in itself injurious to truth, 
no intelligent individual will insinuate. When conduct- 
ed with abihty and candour, light has been struck out, 
errors have been rectified, and information, on interest- 
ing subjects, has been comnuuiicated to the public. But 
alas ! controversy has been perverted to evil purposes. 
To many who have engaged in theological discussion, 
victory, not truth, appeal's to have been the object of 


pursuit. Seduced by unworthy motives, they swerved 
from the line of conduct prescribed by an apostle, and 
contended boisteros/i/ rather than earnestlij for the faith 
once delivered to the snints. Fiery controversialists, hurri- 
ed away by impetuousness of temper, or exaspecated by 
the opposition of an acute and pertinacious adversary, 
have disgraced the polemic page by opprobrious terms 
and ungenerous insinuations. Thus are infidels furnish- 
ed with an additional objection to revealed religion — the 
investigation of interesting truth terminates in mutual 
reproaches ; and Christians of different sentiments, driven 
still farther from each other, are the less fitted to associ- 
ate together in the common mansions of the blest. To 
this pernicious mode of agitating disputes, there are, how- 
ever, exceptions, and instances of this kind might be ad- 
duced. In the defence of Christianity, and in the sup- 
port of its particular doctrines, writers have stood forth 
whose temper and liberality breathe the genuine spirit of 
the Christian Religion. Doddridge's Letters to the Au- 
thor of Christianity not founded in Argument, Bishop 
Watson's Reply to Gibbon, and Campbell's Answer to 
Hume on Miracles, are admirable examples of the cand- 
our with which religious controversies should be invari- 
ably conducted. In an age enlightened like the present, 
this conciliating spirit was to be expected ; and we in- 
dulge the pleasing hope, that times still more auspicious 
to truth are approaching, when the amicable discussion 
of every doctrine supposed to be contained in the Gospel 
of Jesus Christ, shall obtain an universal prevalence : — 


Seize upon truth where'er 'tis found, 
Among your friends— among your foes, 

On Christicin or on Heatlien grcvmA, 
The flower's divine where'er it grows ; 
Neglect the prickles and assume the rose 


Truth, indeed, moral and divine, flourishes only in the 
soil of freedom. There it shoots up and sheds its fruit 
for the healing of the nations. Civil and religious liberty 
are two of the greatest earthly blessings which heaven 
can bestow on man. Thrice happy are the people who 
experience the benefits of good government, unburdened 
by the impositions of oppression, and who enjoy the 
sweets of liberty, unembittered by the curse of anarchy 
and of licentiousness ! 

We should allow to others the same right of private 
judgment in religious matters, which we claim and exer- 
cise ourselves. 

It is replied — " We forbid not the sober use of this 
privilege." But who can estimate the sobrietif of another 
man's speculations? and by reprobating the opinions 
which a serious brother may happen to entertain in con- 
sequence of free investigation, we tacitly condemn that 
operation of his mind which induced him to take up such 
tenets. This is the spirit of Popery in disguise. Cauti- 
ously exercising his reason, and devoutly examining the 
sacred records, let every man he fully 'persuaded in Im own 
mind. This was the judicious advice of Paul to the pri- 
mitive Christians, and no substantial reason has been, or 
ever will be given for its being abandoned. For a Pro- 
testant, who demands and exercises the right of private 
judgment, to deny it his brother, is an unpardonable in- 


consistency. It is also an act of injustice, and, therefore, 
contrary to reason, condemned by revelation, and preju- 
dicial to the best interests of mankind. He who instrlts 
your person, steals your property, or injures your reputa- 
tion, subjects himself to the punishment which the law 
denounces against such offences. What then can we 
think of the man who attempts to rob you of the right 
of private judgment ?— a jewel of inestimable price— a 
blessing of the first magnitude ! Were we once to relin- 
quish thinJiing for ourselves, and indolently to acquiesce 
in the representations of others, our understandings might 
soon groan beneath the absurdities of other men's creeds, 
and our attention be distracted by the perplexed nature 
of our religious services. Hitherto, persons have never 
been wanting unreasonable enough to impose on their 
brethren articles of faith. The late Mi*. Robinson, of 
Cambridge, an avowed foe to ecclesiastical tyranny, has 
traced its sources with his usual acuteness, and pro- 
nounces them to be power — law — patronage — office — 
the abuse of learning, and mistaken piety. These pre- 
tences for domination over conscience are plausible, and 
by their speciousness millions have been deceived. But 
explain to a man of common sense the nature and foun- 
dation of religious liberty, and the infatuation ceases. 
He must perceive that the Father of spirits hath autho- 
rised no man to dictate to another what he is to believe 
— much less to impose his dogmas under pain of eternal 
punishment j 

Let Caesar's dues be ever paid, 

To Caesar and his throne ; 
But consciences and souls were made. 

To be the Lord's alone. 


2 C 


Wh^ even of yoursehes judge ye not ivhat is right ? was 
the energetic language in which Christ reproached the 
Pharisees ; and prove all things was Paul's manly ex- 
hortation to the church at Thessalonica. These pas- 
sages alone prov^e, beyond the possibility of dispute, that 
both Christ and Paul were distinguished patrons of free 
inquiry. Free inquiry, even in its fullest extent, has 
been found serviceable to the interests of religion. Here- 
by error ceases to be perpetuated, and truth emerges 
from those shades of darkness with which she has been 
industriously enveloped by the artful and the designing. 
Survey the page of ecclesiastical history — mark the in- 
tervals of langour when the right of private judgment 
lay dormant— then was the church of Christ debilitated 
and pestered with a heterogeneous mass of errors. Ex- 
cellently is it remarked in a periodical publication — " No 
man can write down truth. Inquiry is to truth what 
friction is to the diamond. It proves its hardness — 
adds to its lustre — and excites new admiration." The 
ablest advocates for Christianity confess, that by the at- 
tacks of its enemies provoking examination, it has been 
benefited rather than injured. To infidel writers we are 
indebted for Butler's profound Analogy — Law's Theory 
of Natural and Revealed Religion — Campbell's Disser- 
tations on Miracles — Newton's work on the Prophecies 
— Watson's Apology for the Bible — and other perfor- 
mances, which reflect as much honour on the names of 
their respective authors, as they have rendered service to 
the glorious cause they espoused. 

Let us be careful to treat those who differ from us with 


Believing those who differ from us to be the disciples 
of error, they have a powerful claim on our compassion. 
And as a farther incentive to a lenient conduct, it bhould 
be remembered — that we differ from them just as much 
as they do from us. By either party, therefore, no ana- 
themas should be hurled, and a proneness to persecu- 
tion should be instantly eradicated. The Quakers, in 
their address to James the Second, on his accession, 
told him, that they understood he was no more of the 
established religion than themselves : — " We therefore 
hope (say they) that thou wilt allow us that liberty which 
thou takest thyself." The terms schism and heresy are 
in the mouth of many, and it is no unfrequent case to 
find that those who use them most, least understand 
their real import. Dr. Campbell (who lately favoured 
the public with an excellent translation of the Four Gos- 
pels) thus concludes a learned dissertation on the subject : 
" No person (says he) who in the spirit of candour and 
charity adheres to that, which, to the best of his judg- 
ment, is right, though in this opinion he should be mis- 
taken, is in the scriptural sense either schismatic or here- 
tic ; and he, on the contrary, whatever sect he belongs 
to, is more entitled to those odious appellations who is 
most apt to throw the imputation upon others." Would 
to God, that this observation, made by a great and good 
man, were engraven on the memory of every individual 
in Christendom !* 

* Having had the honour of attending the lectures both of Dr. Campbell 
and Dr. Gerard, at Aberdeen, in the year 1790, the author takes this op- 
portunity of expressing his obligation for the instruction received on many 
important topics ; and particularly for that amiable spirit of cu7tdoui; 
which induced them fairly to state opposite opinions, and never to dis- 


Upon the advantages arising from Christian modera- 
tion we might largely expatiate, and to detail the evils 
which have flown from an unlightened and furious zeal, 
would be to stain my page with blood. The incompar- 
able Bishop Hall, in the last centur}-^, wrote a treatise on 
moderation, and has discussed the subject with that elo- 
quence and ability which are peculiar to all his writings. 
But this great and good man, towards the close of the 
same treatise, forgetting the principles which he had bedh 
forcibly inculcating, devotes one solitary page to the exe- 
crable cause of intolerence. This page he concludes 
with these remarkable expressions — " Mastej' Calvin did 
well ajjprove himself to God's church, in bringing Serve- 
tus to the stake at Geneva." Blessed Jesus ! how art 
thou wounded in the house of thy friends ! After this 
deplorable instance of human inconsistency, should not 
the most eminent of thy followers beware, lest, by in- 
dulging even in the slightest degree a spirit of intolerance, 
they be insensibly led either to adopt or applaud practi- 
ces which, under the specious mask of an holy zeal, out- 
rage the very first principles of humanity ? To love our 
own parti/ only, is (to use the words of the excellent Dod- 
dridge) nothing else than self-love reflected. The most 
zealous partizans, therefore, ai'e revelling in self-gratifi- 

Christians, indeed, of almost ei^ery denomination, ap- 
pear at times to have forgotten, that harshness widens 
rather than closes the breaches which previous diversity of 
sentiment may have occasioned. Coercive measures reach 

cover the least trait of that unchavitablciiess, wliich is the disgrace of Chris, 
tiaiiity. The Spajiish proverb says, " To parerits— to teachers— hxkI to 
CfuDj al! sujjlcient, we canuot exercise too great a degree of gratitude.- 


not the mind, and the issuing edicts to extort assent to 
speculative tenets, is the bombast of civil authority. 
Truth rests on evidence. But what lias evidence to do 
with exertions of power, implements of torture^ and 
scenes of devastation ? From the commencement of 
the fourth century, down to the illustrious aera of the 
Reformation, wide and unmolested was the empire of 
ignorance and of superstition over the human, mind. 
At Rome, for a series of ages, the chair of infallibility 
was filled by a succession of intolerent and domineering 
Pontiffs. Complicated systems of cruelty were industri- 
ously devised and inhumanly practised, for the support 
and defence of their most holy faith. Out of that once 
respectable capital of the world, the demon of persecu- 
tion rushed forth, brandished his torch, and deluged the 
church of Christ with the blood of her martyrs. Impa- 
tient for the destruction of the human race, he flew into 
different regions of the earth, framed racks, fixed stakes, 
erected gibbets, and, like a pestilence, scattered around 
him consternation and death ! Shall the mild and evan- 
gelical genius of Protestantism countenance a temper 
which incites to such execrable deeds, and exultingly en- 
rolls the names of the perpetrators in the calendar of the 
saints? In this twilight state of being, to expostulate is 
our province, to inveigh and persecute is forbidden. The 
glorious Gospel of the blessed God prohibits rash accusa- 
tions, cruel surmises, and malignant anathemas. Had an 
inviolable regard been paid to the golden rule. Do unto 
others as ye ivould they shoidd do unto you^ intolerance 
would have never reared its ensanguined crest to affright 
the children of men. Ye know not what manner of 

2 c 2 


spirit ye are of — was our Saviour's pertinent reprimand 
to the disciples, who, in the plenitude of their zeal, would 
have called down fire from heaven to consume the de- 
luded Samaritans. Too often does a portion of this ac- 
cursed spirit reign in the breasts of Protestants. Hence 
censures are poured forth, hatreds are engendered, and a 
preparation for heaven is retarded. Instead, therefore, 
of presumptuously usurping the seat of judgment, which 
the Almighty has exclusively reserved to himself, and of 
impiously aiming to become the dispensers of the divine 
vengeance, let us wait the issue of all things, in deep and 
reverential silence. A wise and a good God will solemn- 
ly decide the business, when he Judges the world in righte- 


Let us not repine because perfect unanimity of religi- 
ous sentiment is unattainable in this present state. 

A repining spirit is the source of ill temper towards 
those who dissent from us ; but it seems to be the inten- 
tion of the Divine Being, that we should think different- 
ly concerning certain points of faith and practice. Va- 
riety marks the works of God. It is impressed through- 
out the circumference of the natural, the animal, and 
the intellectual world. Above us, we behold the dazz- 
ling brightness of the sun, the pale splendour of the moon, 
the mild twinkling of the stars, and the variegated colours 
which adorn the firmament of heaven ! Around us, the 
surface of tlie earth is diversified into a thousand beauti- 
ful forms, and in the animal, the vegetable, and the fossil 
kingdoms, no two individual productions are perfectly 
alike ! Within us, upon the slightest examination, we 
discern our minds stamped with an original peculiarity. 


From senseless icHotisni, up to the piercing sagacity of 
Newton, how numerous are the gradations of intellect ! 
Minds are of various sizes. Their capacities, habits and 
views are never in strict conformity with each other. In 
some degree, therefore, diversity of opinion flows from 
the very structure of our understanding. To fall out 
with this branch of the dispensations of God is to arraign 
his wisdom. Doubtless he might have shed upon us 
such a superior degree of light that we should have seen 
as with one eye, and have been altogether of one mind. 
But the Supreme Being has otherwise ordered it ; and 
with becoming resignation let us acquiesce in the proprie- 
ty of the appointment. " If it vnistbe with us (says good 
Bishop Hall) as with two famous rivers in the East, that 
they run threescore miles together in one channel, with 
their waters divided in very colour from each other, yet let 
it be (as it is with them) without noise, without violence." 
Innumerable and unavailable have been the attempts 
made in the successive ages of the church to produce 
unanimity of sentiment. For this purpose legislatures 
have decreed various acts, poured forth torrents of hu- 
man blood, and perpetrated deeds at which humanity 
sickens, shudders, and turns away with disgust. Francis 
the First, King of France, used to declare, " that if he 
thought the blood in his arm was tainted with the Lu- 
theran heresy, he would have it cut off, and that he would 
not spare even his own children, if they entertained sen- 
timents contrary to the Catholic Church." Pride in 
one person, passion in a second, prejudice in a third, and 
in a fourth investigation, generates difference of opinion. 
Should divei-sity be deemed an evil, it is incumbent on 


rational beings, and congenial with the dignity of the 
Christian profession, to improve it to valuable purposes. 
It is an indisputable fact, that different denominations 
have, in every age of the church, kept a jealous eye over 
each other j and hereby the scripture, the common stan- 
dard to which they appealed for the truth of their re- 
spective tenets, have been preserved in greater purity. 
It may also be added, that diversity of opinion quickens 
the inquiries after truth, and gives scope for the exercise 
of charity, which in one passage of the sacred writings is 
pronounced superior to faith and hope^ and in another 
passage termed the bond of 'perfcctness. Much improve- 
ment have good men extracted from the common evils 
of life, by these evils giving rise to graces and virtues 
which otherwise, perhaps, would have had no existence ; 
or, at least, would have been faintly called forth into ac- 
tion. To perceive the justice of this observation, it is 
not necessary that we be profound contemplators of hu- 
man affairs. 

Under the accumulated difficulties of faith and prac- 
tice, by which we are embarrassed in this sublunary state 
of imperfection, we should meditate on the doctrine of 
a providence, which administers the richest consolation. 
The dominion exercised by the Supreme Being over the 
works of his hands, is neither partial as to its objects, 
narrow in its extent, or transitory in its duration. Unlike 
earthly monarchs, who expire in their turn, and who are 
successively borne into the tombs of their ancestors, the 
King of Saints liveth and reigneth for ever and ever! 
Evils, indeed, have entered the world, and still continue 
to distress it. But these evils have not crept into the 


system unknown to its great Author ; and the attributes 
of Deity ensure their extirpation. Our rejoicing is — 
the Lord God omnijjotent relgneth ! Glorious, therefore, 
mu3t be the termination of the divine dispensations. The 
august period is predicted in sacred writ, and lies con- 
cealed in the womb of time. Distant may be its arrival, 
but its blessings, once realized, will compensate the ex- 
ercise of your faith, and the trial of your patience : — 

" One part, one little part, we dimly scan. 
Thro' the dark medium of life's fev'rish dream ; 
Yet dare arraign the whole stupendous plan. 
If but that little part incougrous seem ; 
Nor is that part perhaps what mortals deem : 
Oft from apparent ills our blessings rise — 
O ! then renounce that impious self-esteem. 
That aims to trace the secrets of the skies ; 
For thou art but of dust — be humble and be wise." 


Penetrated with a sense of the imperfection of this 
present life, let us be exceedingly cautious how we form 
our religious sentiments, watch unremittingly over our 
tempers and conduct, and aspire to that better world, 
where jy^^^'c ^nd unadulterated truth snail be disclosed to 
our view ! 

Of all the subjects presented to the human mind, re- 
ligion claims the first and the greatest attention. If 
there be a God, a Providence, a Saviour, and a Future 
State of retribution, these weighty truths ought to be 
pressing upon our minds, and presiding over our conduct. 
To familiarize ourselves with their evidences, to lay open 
our souls to their energy, and promote, by every honour- 
able method, their spread and establishment among man- 
kind, should be our noblest ambition. Zeal is an elevated 


and an useful passion. It is forcibly and repeatedly en- 
joined in the sacred writings. It forms the leading trait 
of excellence in the best and most enlightened characters. 
Indeed, an individual can scarcely be pronounced truly 
good, except he possesses a portion of this celestial fire. 
But let us be exceedingly careful that our warrnth be 
temperate and regular. Zeal, confined within the limits 
prescribed by reason and scripture, is attended with the 
most blessed consequences. Loosened from these re- 
straints, like the devouring conflagration, it involves in 
one undistinguishable ruin the victims of its fury, and 
triumphs in the desolation it has effected. How differ- 
ent is the Christian, influenced by a zeal purely evange' 
lical, from the monster, who is either swoln with the 
venom of uncharitableness, or pregnant with persecution 
for conscience sake ! " Mistake me not (says good 
Richard Baxter), I do not slight orfhodoxt/, nor jeer at 
the nar)ie ; but only disclose the pretences of devilish zeal 
in pious or seemingly pious men. The slanders of some 
of these, and the bitter, opprobrious speeches of others, 
have more effectually done the Devil's service, under the 
name of orthodoxi/ and zeal for truth, than the malignant 
scorners of godliness." The pious Matthew Henry de- 
clares, " that of all the Christian graces, zeal is most apt 
to turn sour" And Dr. Doddridge in his Family Exposi- 
tor, has this remark — " Wisely did Christ silence the 
suspicious praises of an unclean spirit ; and vain is all 
the hope, which men build merely on those orthodox pro- 
fessions of the most important truths, in which Satan him- 
self could vie with them." May these observations be 
remembered by zealots of every description ! 


Indeed, the light and darkness now blended together 
instead of generating a spirit of scepticism, or precipitat- 
ing us into acts of violence, should impel us to look for 
the neiu heavens and the neio earth, wherein dwelletk 
righteousness. What ye know not now, ye shall knoiu 
hereafter — was our Saviour's kind declaration to his dis- 
ciples, respecting an event which occurred whilst he 
continued to sojourn amongst them. It is, therefore, 
reasonable to believe that we shall not remain ignorant 
of matters of superior importance, when the proper 
period of communicating higher degrees of information 
arrives. We may, however, be assured, that the Spirit 
of God guides all good men into necessary truth. This 
is a sentiment in which the wisest of mankind concur ; 
and upon which learned divines, after their most pene- 
trative researches, are obliged ultimately to rest. A ve- 
nerable and distinguished Christian father pronounced 
the greatest heresy to be a tvicked life. Devoutly is it 
wished that those who are clamorous about speculative 
tenets, would level their artillery more against the viola- 
tion of the preceptive part of our religion. 

Pilgrims and sojourners on earth, we are hastening to 
an eternal world, and a few more fleeting years will 
place even the youngest of us before the tribunal of 
Heaven. Whether we can abide the awful scrutiny which 
shall be instituted at the last great day, " for which all 
other days were made," is a question of infinite import- 
ance, and most intimately concerns rational and ac- 
countable creatures. Amidst the din of controversy, 
and thejarrings of adverse parties, the opinions of the 
head are often substituted for the virtues of the heart 



and thus is practical religion most deplorably neglected. 
Fleeing, therefore, those pernicious disputes, which damp 
our devotion, and contract our benevolence, let us as- 
siduously cultivate the means by which our faith may be 
invigorated, our hope enlivened, our charity confirmed, 
and our affections elevated to the things which arc abovc^ 
where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God ! The veil 
now thrown over this preliminary state, and concealing 
from our view celestial objects, shall be speedily removed. 
Then bidding an adieu to prejudices which darken the 
understanding, irritate the temper, and deform the spirit, 
we shall embrace each other with perfect love, and shall 
be astonished at ourselves for hating been on earth so 
addicted to unprofitable disputations, and so backward 
to the exercise of brotherly kindness, and of Christian 

Almighty God ! look down on thine erring creatures. 
Pity their darkness and im.perfection. Direct them into 
the truth as it is in Jesus. Banish from their hearts the 
bitterness of censure. Cherish in their minds a spirit of 
moderation and love towards their fellow Christians. To 
their zeal add knowledge, and to their knowledge chari- 
ty. Make them patient and humble under the difficul- 
ties which adhere to their faith, and under the perplexi- 
ties which accompany their practice. Guide them by thy 
counsel, and, through the mediation of thy Son Jesus 
Christ, receive them into thy kingdom and glo7y. — Amen. 




Some time in the year 1819, Thomas Erskine, Esq. 
advocate, published a small treatise on the Evidences of 
Christianity, eloquently and orthodoxly written, which be- 
ing immeasurably lauded, was followed by several other 
produi't'?."?^, Whether this praise, or a trip which Mr. 
Erskir,, to de to Rome, had rendered him ambitious of 
becon. This, ? founder of a new sect, we know not ; but 
the factnroortain, that every successive work* departed 
farther froi^^ede^ faith generally received among Chris- 
tians, till, in i-'isecist publication [1830], " An Introduc- 
tion" to a few 1^'. ot-^rs, with which it has no natural con- 
nection, he openly, i'owed as his creed, and as " The 
Truth ;" a crude ana-LVot quite intelligible mixture of the 
doctrine of Universal Redemption, Mysticism, and Anti- 
nomianiim, under the names of Universal Pardon, As- 
surance, &c. &c. a new growth of heretical weeds which 
have been grubbed up by the roots twenty times since 
the Reformation ; but which, while their seeds remain in 
»uch a soil as the heart of man, will never be eradicated 
ill that heart be changed. From such a creed the transi- 
011 was easy to a belief in the gift of tongues, and the 

* The equivocal principles of Mr. Erskine, in his Essay on Faith, were 
ahlv answered in " An Es5;ay on the Extent of Human and Divine Agency 
in the Production of Saving Faith, published by Blackwood, 1827. Tliis, so 
far as I know, was the first work which pointed out the fallacy of Mr. 
' -^kine's reasonings, and their probable results. I am astonished the work 
■ more known. It is an excellent little piece. 



working of miracles, at which this sect, who call them- 
selves the " only believers," and their farrago, " The 
Gospel," have at length arrived ; denouncing all others 
as Atheists, who drink not as deep of the waters of ab- 
surdity as they have done. 

Mr. E.'s tenets had been gradually spreading among 
a set of sentimental Christians, when an incident in the 
chapter of accidents occasioned a display of insane en- 
thusiasm, unrivalled since the days of the French pro- 

What brought matters to this crisis, or at least 
paved the way for it, was the publication in 1829, 
by the Rev. Mr. Storie, of a small volume, entitled, 
" Peace in Believing, being the Letters and Memoirs 
of Isabella Campbell," an interesting young woman, 
the daughter of an officer in reduced circumstances, 
who died of consumption. This volume ac^-'b-^d great 
popularity with a certain class of readers, jf Qi^] from 
the quarter from whence it issued, and ^ from 

the interesting character of the subject of. memoir, 
as well as the natural eloquence whH'''"i^lly distin- 
guished many of her letters. The h ■ Diwas published 
with the benevolent purpose of re^or^-'S the pecuniary 
distresses of the family; and, ab'- , i ne period of its ap- 
pearance, a brother and sister oi Aliss Campbell were 
taken ill of the complaint of which she died. The simi- 
larity of the circumstances of the two sisters, as well as 
the similarity of character and acquirements, excited an 
unusual interest, and many a pious pilgrim visited Fer- 
nicarrie, the residence of Mary Campbell. Every word 
she uttered concerning Isabella, which was still more in- 
teresting as proceeding from the bed of an apparently 
dying sister, was listened to as the dictates of inspiration ; 
and she spoke with fervour and fluency truly wonderful. 
" We have here to observe," says the writer from whom 
the above account is chiefly taken, " that, by n gross 
abuse of the terms, ' the teaching of the Spirit,' and 
• being taught of God,' the sect lays claim to direct in- 


spiration, and the Church of Rome cannot assert her in- 
fallibility in stronger language than is clone on the banks 
of the Gareloch." Accustomed to such doctrines, it is 
not to be wondered at, that Miss Mary Campbell should 
regard what herself poured forth with such facility — a 
facility the sure result of practice — as in reality the out- 
pouring of the Spirit. 

Contrary to all expectations, Mary Campbell began to 
recover; and, with the prospect of returning health, de- 
termined to devote her future life to the conversion of 
the heathen. Conceiving herself called to this service, 
she prayed for the necessary qualifications, and, in an- 
swer, received the gift of speaking in unknown tongues, 
and writing in unknown characters ; but the gift of un- 
derstanding or interpreting was withheld, nor have any 
of the learned been able to distinguish a resemblance 
between the sounds she utters, and the scribbles that she 
scrawls, to any thing hitherto heard or seen among 
men. This, however, to her admiring advocate appears 
decisive proof of divine inspiration 1 To the gift of 
tongues succeeded the power of working miracles. This 
was first exercised in Greenock, where a brother ap- 
proached the bed of his sister, who had been long sick, 
and commanded her, in the name of the Lord Jesus, to 
arise and walk. Asronished, but believing, she replied, 
" Is it possible ! I will try." She accordingly got up, 
and did walk. The report of this miracle was instantly 
dispatched to Fernicarrie, in a brotherly epistle, assert- 
ing, that in spite of all the children of the devil could 
say, they were endowed with the miraculous power of 
healing; and accordingly some of the holy fraternity 
couunanded sister Campbell to arise and walk, which she 
did forthwith, asking no questions, but praising God. 
The company of believers next proceeded to Helinsburgh, 
to give a more open display of their gift in the cure of a 
lame boy. Ke also received the command to arise 
and walk ; but unfortunately the poor fellow was un- 
able to obey. This failure the miracle-mongers attributed 


to his want of faith, not any want of power in themselves. 
They are also said upon one occasion actually to have 
expected to raise the dead, an attempt which also un- 
happily failed. Did this, too, proceed from want of faith 
in the subject ? 

The minister of the Row, from whose parish the 
sect takes its name, has not, so far as we know, direct- 
ly enlisted among the workers of miracles ; but by his 
presence at several of their meetings, he has got his 
name involved with them, and at present stands accused 
of propagating some of Mr. Erskine's most objectionable 
doctrines. Mr. Erskine is zealous in endeavouring to 
proselyte to this new way, and, if report says true, very 
successful, not only, as might have been anticipated, a- 
mong silly women, but even among those from whom 
better things might have been expected. The distin- 
guishing marks of this sect are, — an high opinion of them- 
selves, and a supercilious despising of others ; and, when 
in their power, an absolute persecution of those who will 
not embrace their tenets. In some cases, children have 
refused to eat with their parents, because they were not 
converted ! and in others, a total withdrawing from all 
intercourse with Christian friends, accompanied by the 
most impious and arrogant denunciations against them, 
as enemies of God, have taken place ! Yet, Oh how 
sweet, how divinely sweet, how full of love, and of de- 
lightful assurance of the favour of the God of love, are 
their prayers and exhortations !* 

« For a full aceoimt of the Rowites, vide Mr. Robertson's Vindication 
of the Religion of the Land, &c. lately published. 


Edinburgh.— DuNcjjf SrnrEJvsojf, 
Printer to the University. 

BW2442 .E92 1831 

Sketch of the demominations of the 

Princeton Theological Seminary-Speer Library 

1 1012 00064 2035