« AnteriorContinua »
bigoted papist; but, falling out with the Pope about his marriage, he took the government of ecclesiastical affairs into his own hand; and having reformed many abuses, entitled himself supreme head of the church. The thirty-nine articles of this church are Calvinistical; and were passed in a convocation, and confirmed by royal authority, in the year of our Lord 1562. Its government is Episcopal, and the king is the supreme head.
10th. The Baxterians are a sect of Christians, so called from the learned and pious Richard Baxter, who was born in the year 1615. His design was to reconcile Calvin and Arminius, by forming a midway scheme between their religious systems. Baxter, it is said, wrote one hundred and twenty books, and had sixty written against him. He told a friend, that six brothers were converted by the reading his of call to the unconverted; and twenty thousand copies of these were said to have been sold in one year.
11th. The Socinians are a sect so called from Faustus Socinus, who died in Poland, in the year 1604. They maintain that Jesus Christ was a mere man, who had no existence before he was conceived by the Virgin Mary; that the Holy Ghost is no distinct person ; but that the Father only is truly and properly God. They own that the name of God is given, in the holy scriptures, to Jesus Christ; but contend, that it is only a deputed title; which, however, invests him with great authority over all created beings. They deny the doctrines of atonement and imputed righteousness, and say, that Christ only preached the truth to mankind; set before them in himself an example of heroick virtue, and sealed his doctrines with his blood. Some of them likewise assert the sleep of the soul; which, they say, becomes insensi. ble at death, and is raised again with the body at the resurrection. Doctor Price, believed in the preexistence of Christ; and likewise, that he was more than a human being. About the year 1550, there
were many Socinians in Poland. Both they and the Unitarians have various notions concerning Christ. Some of them consider him as a mere man, a prophet; others believe in the pre-existence of his soul, as the first and most excellent created intelligent; and some allow that he is a divine person, but not the independent and eternal God. Several of their religious tenets are very different from the principles of the Calvinists.
12th. About the year 1650, the sect called Quakers, took its rise in England; and they soon spread into other countries in Europe, and into the English settlements in North America. Their name was given them by their enemies, and though an epithet of reproach, it seems to be instamped upon them indelibly. George Fox, is supposed to be their first founder; but Penn and Barclay, gave to their principles a more regular form. At first they were called Seekers; but, afterwards, they assumed the appellation of Friends. They do not practise water baptism, nor observe the Lord's supper in the symbols of bread and wine. Their women become publick instructers in religion. In other respects many of them approach near the Socinians in their tenets; but some, acknowledge the doctrine of the Trinity, and the existence of holy and wicked angels.
13th. The Methodists are that denomination of Christians, which was founded in the year 1729, by one Mr. Morgan, and Mr. John Wesley. They were so called from the regularity of their lives. After Mr. Whitfield returned from America, in 1741, he declared his full assent to the doctrines of Calvin. Mr. Wesley, on the contrary, professed the Armenian sentiments. The difference in the tenets of these two great men, eventually caused a separation.
14th. The Presbyterians are so called, because they hold that there is no order established in the church by Christ and his Apostles, superiour to that of presbyters. The term dissenters, is applied to those who separate from the established church; as the Presbyterians, Quakers, Methodists, Baptists, Independents, and others. The several denominatious noticed, may serve to show, in a cursory manner, how the various sects of professing Christians took their origin. And as we are taught in the words of the text, The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch, so other places have been named, and the reasons given, of dillerent names being applied to Herent denominatious.
REFLECTIONS. 1st. We may see some advantages to be derived from the names of the different religious denominations. They are a means of additional light respecting church history. They are a medium of at once giving a correct view of the general principles of a person. They may serve to show, how far one sect can tellowship another. Whether they will be necessary in the meridian of the millennium day, when the watchmen shall sec eye to eye, may be a query. In a future state they doubtless will not exist.
20. A serious call is this subject, for nominal Christions to becoine real Christians. A mere name can avail only in tine; but the thing, or reality, is of importance for eternity. At the great day of final decision, when some will see that they have only had a nume to live; others. with inexpressible joy and for the honour of Christ, will see that they were Christians indeed.
31. An exhortation, then, for all to receive Christ as their God and Saviour. They would gladly welcome some earthly friend. They perhaps would be at considerable expense, and with pomp would rejoice to wait on some great personage. But will they not receive the friend of sinucrs, the Lord froin heave.1? lle profers hinself to them without money and without price. He requires not external splendour. but a willing mind and the receptio! of the heart. To receive him, is life cternal begun in the soul; but, to reject him, is death eternal.
4th. How vastly different the future state of human beings from the present. How much alike the lot of the righteous and the wicked in this world! But what a perfect contrast in the world to come! Here, there is but little distinction between saint and sinner; but, hereafter, the distinction will be as great as heaven and hell. Wherever we are, then, let each one make the inquiry, Am I a Christian? Amen.
M4V FEJRFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE.
• Psalm cxxxix. 1 1.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made. THE pious Psalmist assigns the sentiment contained in these words, as a reason why he should praise God. And surely the contemplation of the human frame is well calculated to excite the wonder and admiration of man. He should be excited with rapture at the thonght of an inquiry into a work so curious and astonishing. What a variety of parts are formed, and of uses designed within the compass of a human
a body! Ilow exactly is every part adapted to its purpose, and one part adjusted to another! And though all the parts of this complex fabrick, are produced and nourished from the same earth, yet how various their texture and consistence! How firm and solid the bones; how soft and pliant the flesh! how tough and flexible the muscles; how fine and feeling the nerves! how quick and lively the organs of sensation; and how promptly the limbs obey the dictates of the will!
Wonderful is the structure of the vessels which receive and distribute the nutriment, convey the blood, and carry on the respiration; and no less wonderful is the action of those vessels, in performing their respective functions. Mysterious is the power of that animal motion, on which life depends. That of the stomach, heart, and lungs, is involuntary. We can give no other account of it, than that which the apos- . tle Paul gives: In God we live, and move, and have our being. The motion of our limbs is indeed vol