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of obstinacy, that God would (as justly he may) withdraw his grace from them, and leave them to the bias of their malicious minds, which will end in their perdition. The same sin may now a days be committed in kind, but not in degree, because circumstances are different; but an open opposition to, or a total defection from, Christianity, an abuse of Scripture, or jesting with miracles, nearly approaches it. Stackhouse on Creed.
Might we presume so far as to give an opinion of the sin against the Holy Ghost, it would be this, that every slander or blasphemy committed against Christ while upon earth, and his divine mission wanting some of its most authentic evidence, should be capable of pardon; but that, after these last seals of his mission were superadded, to wit, his resurrection from the dead, ascension, and effusion of the Holy Ghost, attended as it was with such miraculous gifts, as prophecy, gift of tongues, miracles, and the like, there remained no excuse for unbelief, and consequently no forgiveness either to the present or future generation of the Jews who should obstinately persist in it; nor, indeed, to any other persons or nations who should reject the glorious light and evidence of his Gospel, when offered to them. This may be thought to lean hard on our modern unbelievers; but, as the Gospel plainly tells us that nothing but faith in Christ, accompanied with sincere repentance, can obtain pardon of sins, how should they hope for it who have neither the one nor the other to entitle them to it. Therefore we think it plainly follows, that this is that unpardonable sin pointed out by our Saviour. And, from what our Saviour says, Matt. xii. 38, it is plain that his resurrection was to give the finishing stroke to the evidence of his mission. Before that, if his other miracles had convinced them that he was the Messiah, they would not have put him to that shameful death, which yet it was decreed and foretold he should undergo; and it is upon this account that St Peter excuses that atrocious deed, as being done through ignorance. But, after his resurrection was proved by so many irrefragable testimonies, who rejected him became inexcusable. Univ. Hist. vol. x. p. 554.
By being inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost, and being called to the ministry in ordination-office, is signified the disposition a person hath to enter into the clerical office, founded in his liking the profession and preferring it to any other, and in a consciousness that he hath the proper powers to be useful in it, and in a persuasion that he shall apply himself to the discharge of the several duties of it with pleasure. Dr Newton's Sermons.
INDULGENCES were originally exemptions from taxes, granted by the emperors and governors to provinces that had been harassed by enemies, earthquakes, unfruitful seasons, &c. The popes applied them to spiritual matters, and granted them to those who went to the Holy Land to recover it from the Saracens. They dispensed them likewise to those, who, instead of marching personally against the Infidels, contributed
tributed to the expense of the expedition. Afterwards the indulgences and pardons became more common; but Leo, at this time, prostituted them to a greater degree than ever had been known. The Dominicans not only absolved the living from all their sins, but delivered the souls of the dead from the pretended pains of purgatory. They likewise sold the liberty of eating flesh, eggs, milk, and cheese, upon prohibited days; and publicly squandered a great part of the money, arising from the sale of the indulgences, in taverns, where they frequently staked their absolution at a game of tables. Modern Umv. Hist. vol. xxvi. p. 275, 276.
As the reformation was first brought on by the enormities of indulgences, so, since the reformation, they have in many places, both in this and other respects, greatly moderated their practices, though they have never effectually disclaimed their principles. Aud, for one proof of it, I have now in my custody a plenary indulgence, granted for a small piece of gold, this very year, (1745,) to an absolute stranger, for himself, for his kindred to the third degree, and to thirty persons more, for whose names a proper blank is left in the instrument. Secker's Sermons, vol. vi. p. 368.
Ignatius Loyola, a gentlemen of Biscay, in the year 1555, founded the order of JESUITS, at Mount Martre, in the neighbourhood of Paris. He at first had followed. the profession of arms; but, being dangerously wounded at the siege of Pampeluna during his sickness he made a vow to embrace an ecclesiastical life, and after his reeovery he applied himself to study in Spain and France; and, having undergone many difficulties and dangers, he, with six others, took the vows of his society in the church of the Virgin Mary. The chief of these vows are, to renounce all temporal pomp and grandeur, to preserve an inviolate chastity, to receive nothing for celebrating mass, to go and preach at Jerusalem; but, if prevented from undertaking that pilgrimage, to offer their service to the pope without any reserve. Modern Univ.. Hist. vol. xxvi. p. 305.
Therefore may be various degrees of INSPIRATION requisite, and therefore granted, according to the variety of circumstances. Moving a person inwardly to undertake the work is one degree. Superintending him during the execution of it, so as to preserve him from any considerable mistake or omission, is another. Preserving him from all, even the least, is a higher still. Enabling him to express himself in a manner loftier, clearer, more convincing, or more affecting, than he could have done otherwise, is yet a farther step. Suggesting to him also the matter which he shall deliver goes beyond the former, especially if he was unacquainted with it till then. And putting into his mouth. the very words he shall use is the completest guidance that can be. Now we say not that God hath done all these things in every part of Scripture, but so many in each as were needful. Secker's Sermons, vol. vi. p. 8.
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Concerning POPE JOAN, Courayer, in his notes upon a libel in the ninth book of Sleidan's History of the Reformation, remarks thus. "C'étoit une opinion assez commune, dans le tems que parut ce libelle, que la personne, qui a porté le nom de Jean VIII. a été une femme, qu'on assure avoir accouché d'un fils la troisième année de son pontificat. Mais il n'y a presque personne aujourd'hui, qui ne convienne que cette historiette est une fable 'qui n'a pas le moindre fondement, et qui est contredite par tous les monumens contemporains."
Il est visible, par les conclusions de Malvenda, aussi bien que par celles de Bucer, que la disputé sur la JUSTIFICATION, qui a été un des principaux points de division entre es catholiques et les protestans, n'a été proprement qu'une dispute de mots, et qu'on ne s'est attaqué que faute de vouloir s'entendie. Car les uns et les autres convenoient, de bonne foi, que la foi en Jésus Christ et la pratique des bonnes œuvres sout également nécessaires pour le salut, que l'une sans l'autre est insuffisante, et qu'il est également contraire à la raison et à l'analogie de la foi d'exclure l'une ou l'autre comme non nécessaire à la justification. La chaleur des contestations, au commencement de ces disputes, fit, à la vérité, qu'on exprima quelquefois, de part et d'autre, d'une manière si outrée qu'il étoit assez naturel de penser que les uns n'exigeoient aucune bonne œuvre comme nécessaire au salut, et que les autres tenoient peu de compte de la foi. Mais et les aveus faits en d'autres endroits de leurs écrits, et les limitations proposées lorsqu'on venoit à s'expliquer, démontrent clairement, et qu'on convenoit dans l'essentiel, et qu'on ne se contredisoit, ou que dans les expressions ou que dans les idées de logique ou de métaphysique, qui faisoient placer la cause formale de la justification dans un point plutôt que dans un autre. Courayer sur Sleidan, tom. ii. p. 280.
What Courayer says on this head is true enough perhaps of the disputes between protestants concerning justification, who all deny the merit of good works; but is not so strictly just of the disputes between the papists and the protestants, as there was a particular difference between them concerning the meritoriousness of works. See Faith.
The first approach towards IMAGE-WORSHIP amongst the nations was, as some learned men probably suppose, their erecting stones and pillars in honour of their deities. This seems to have been an abuse of a custom that was originally used by the worshippers of the true God, who were wont to erect large stones, as monuments, in places, where, in those antient times, there had been remarkable divine appearances; and there they erected altars and offered sacrifices. See Gen. xxviii. 18, 19. Leland's Christian Revelation, vol. ii. p. 457.
But to this supposition there seems to arise a difficulty, which is this, that the. erecting of those pillars and the worship of images seem to be at the same period of time, or rather plain stones or pillars might be erected in contradistinction to images. IDOLOLATRIAM
IDOLOLATRIAM ante diluvium extitisse nusquam legimus, nec etiam tunc fuisse credibile est. Quia recens adhuc erat mundi creati memoria, et religionis puritas ab iis, qui vocabantur Filii Dei, conservabatur. Limborch Theolog. Christian. lib. iii.
But may it not rather be inferred, from the deluge, that this was the principal sin which induced the Deity to destroy the whole race of mankind except eight persons; and as the Scripture informs us that all flesh was corrupt, surely the sin of Idolatry hardly escaped them: besides, when the worshippers of the true God were distinguished by this peculiar appellation, the sons of God, does not this title seem to be given in contradistinction to the worshippers of false gods, as they expressly are. 1 John, iii. 10.
Mr Apthorpe, in his Letters, p. 161, supposes that the antediluvian world was characterised by a moral apostacy, and that polytheism, or IDOLATRY, did not commence till after the deluge. But why might not mankind be as prone to this sin in the antediluvian age as after? and, when we read that all flesh was corrupt, does not this seem to include the sin of Idolatry? And, in whatever sense we understand those words of Geñesis, c. iv. 26, it may be inferred that Idolatry had then taken place: for, if we translate them, with some, then men began to call themselves by the name of the Lord, this must be supposed to be in contradistinction to others who worshipped some other being, (perhaps Satan under the form of the serpent; for, the worship of the serpent seems to have been of great antiquity, and hence certainly arose that early error of two principles). If, with others, then men began to profane the name of the Lord, the same inference still follows, that they worshipped some other being besides their Creator. And it is rather inconsistent to suppose that they should so soon after the flood fall into Idolatry and be entirely free froin it before, as they had had so recent and so dreadful an example of God's vengeance, and that the Deity should punish mankind so se erely for the violation of moral duties, and not punish them at all for Idolatry till the destruction of Pharoah and his people. And does not the apostle, in his epistle to the Romans, c. i. suppose that the corruption of the moral principle was judicially inflicted upon mankind, in the earliest ages, as a punishment for the perversion of their religious principle?
Inter causas, quæ genuerunt opinionem de INTERCESSIONE SANCTORUM, facile principem obtinet locum philosophia Platonica, cujus dogma est, animas pias post excessum ex hac vitâ dæmonas effici terrestres, optimos, mali Averruneos et custodes generis humani. Et inter Christianos Platonicis impense addictus Origines primus opinionem eam in ecclesiam invexit. Sed consilii saltem Nicæni tempore pontificii im pellere neminem potuerunt ad invocandos defunctos, tametsi particularum eorum intercessionem aliqui faterentur. Voss. de Inv. Sanct. Disp. x. 6, 7.
If we examine the antient book of Jos, who descended from Abraham and lived before the promulgation of the Mosaic law, we shall find that there is scarce any one of the moral precepts, which were afterwards published to the people of Israel, but what may be traced in the discourses of that excellent man and his friends, and which are there represented as having been derived by tradition from the most antient times, Leland's Christianity, vol. ii. 4to. p. 27.
The power of JUDICATURE, in our excellent constitution, is so justly tempered, so properly disposed, and placed in such safe and faithful hands, that there never existed any nation whose happiness in this respect was so wisely considered or so effectually secured. It is the great and singular privilege of every subject of this happy state to be judged by a jury of his own equals, by those,, who, from a similitude of situation, of circumstances, of interests, and even of sensations, are most likely to give evidence with justice, with candour, with equity, with mildness, and tenderness; as friends rather than judges, as an assembly of brethren rather than a tribunal of inquisitors; appointed in such a manner as to leave no possibility for fraud, malice, or prejudice; consisting of such a number as that their unanimous consent must imply a clear and certain investigation of truth; so far liable to the refusal of the party, whose life or property is in question, that those who are not refused may justly be esteemed his own choice. The venerable magistrate who pronounces sentence, though distinguished by the name of judge, bears in reality a character superior to the ordinary import of that name, that of a being abstracted from all external regards, without affection or partiality, without passion or prejudice. It is Law herself uttering her decrees with a hu man voice, who absolves without favour and punishes without resentment. Lowth's Assize-Serm. Aug. 15, 1764.
But this singular privilege of the subject, and that of true representation, is in some measure defeated for want of a reform in the right of freeholders to vote at elections and to serve upon juries: for, a man can scarcely be said to be tried by his peers. now, when the qualification of forty shillings a year for a freeholder to serve upon juries, when first established, was at least equivalent to thirty pounds a year at present ; as, according to Lord Lyttelton, the custom of trying by twelve men is of Saxon original. See his Letters, 6th.
Crediderim melius esse extra templa locaque sacra IMAGINES, quam in iis reperiri; nimium vicina est idololatria occasio, ubi in templis imagines conspiciuntur. Facilis levisque a religione ad superstitionem, ab admiratione ad devotionem transitus est, nisi repagula singulis pæne momentis objicias. Utilitas vero, quæ ex illarum positione speratur est tam parva, ut non modo non cum periculo Idololatriæ aut saltem cum illius periculi metu, sed ne quidem cum aliis damnis atque incommodis, quæ inde proveniunt, conferri mihi posse videatur. Optarem Christianos hujus sæculi sapientissi