Page images

Christianity was at its utmost pitch about 430 years after our Saviour, in which ciri : cumstance it greatly resembled the Israelites in Egypt, who were most numerous and . flourishing about the 430th year after the covenant made with Abraham; so we may. look upon the one as typical of the other. · Atterbury's Sermons, vol. i.

Men may dream, but it is impossible to persuade one, that has his eyes open and who reflects on the bitter animosities that must have been between the Egyptians and the Israclites, the bigh contempt the former must have entertained of the latter, the vanity and tenaciousness of the priests of Egypt with respect to the mysteries of their : religion, and the impiety and -abomination which the religious service of the Israelites appeared to them to be stuffed with, that the Egyptian priests (and they principally were: in the earliest times circumcised') would have submitted to follow the despised detested Israelites in a bloody practice of this kind, (CIRCUMCISION,) and would have transmitted it as sacred to their descendants. And, indeed, if it had been meant only for 3 a sign of distinction for Israel, it ought not to have descended to Ishmael and Esau," but ought to have been confined to the twelve tribes. It may reasonably, therefore, be looked on as one of the original institutions appointed just after the falla ,which, though retained here and there, particularly in Egypt, had, nevertheless, been left off : in Abraham's country, where Idolatry began to prevail, and was, therefore, renewed to Abraham when he was selected from his depraved country to be the father of a peo-) ple, to whom the original revelation should be republished, and who were to become the keepers of the oracles of God. Forbes on the Origin of Circumcision... ...

Charles I. roi d'Angleterre, si on a pu le vaincre on n'a pu le forcer; et, comme : - il n'a jamais refuse ce qui étoit raisonnable, étant vainqueur, il a toujours rejette ce qui étoit foible et injuste, étant captif. Rollin's Belles Lettres.

Charles I. qui règnoit depuis 1625, loin de pouvoir soutenir les poids de ce balance, (de l'Europe,) sentoit le sceptre échaper déja de sa main, il avoit voulu rendre son pouvoir en Angleterre indépendant des loix et changer la religion en Ecosse. Trop opiniâtre pour se désister de ces desseins,' et trop foible pour les exécuter, bon mari, bon inaître, bon père, honnête homme, mais monarque mal conseillé. Voltaire's Le Siècle de Lewis XIV. tom 1, p. 47.

DUNSTAN, who was canonised and is one of those saints who disgrace the Roman , calendar, secluded himself entirely from the world: he framed a cell so small that he could neither stand erect in it nor stretch out his limbs during his repose, and he here employed himself perpetually either in devotion or manual labour. It is probably that .. his brain became gradually crazed by these solitary occupations and that his head was filled with chimeras, which, being believed by himself and his stupid votaries, procured him the general character of sanctity among the people. He fancied that the

Devil, among the frequent visits which he paid him, was one day more earnest than usual in his temptations, till Dunstan, provoked at his importunity, seised him by the nose with a pair of red-hot pincers as he put his head into the cell, and he held him there till that malignant spirit made the whole neighbourhood resound with his bellowings. Supported by the character obtained in his retreat, Dunstan appeared again in the world; was placed at the head of the treasury by Edred, was banished the kingdom by Edwy, was afterwards recalled by the adherents to Edgar; and, on Odo's death, and the violent expulsion of Brighthelm, his successor, was made Archbishop of Canterbui;.. Hume's Hist. of Eng. vol. 1..

Druids. See Stonehenge..

Had the first Adam stood in the rectitude of his creation, he had been immortal' and beyond the reach of natural and moral evil. His fall to mortality brought both into the world... The office of the second Adam was to restore us to that happy state. But, as the immortality purchased for us by the Son of God was not, like Adam's, to commence in this world, but was reserved for the reward of the next, both physical and moral evil were to endure for a season. Yet, to shew. that they were indeed to receive their final doom-from the Redeemer, it was but fit, that, in the course of his ministry, he should give a specimen of his power over them. One part, therefore, of his godlike labours was taken up in curing all kinds of natural diseases. But, had be stopped here in the midst of his victories -over physical evil, the evidence of his dominion over both worlds had remained defective. He was, therefore, to display his sovereignty over moral evil likewise. And this could not be sensibly manifested, as it was over natural evil, but by a visible victory over Satan, through whose temptation moral evil was brought into the world, and by whose wiles and malice it was sustained and increased. Hence it was, that, amongst. his amazing works of sanity and salvation, the CASTING OUT OF DEVILS is so much insisted on by the historians of his life and actions. For he had informed them that this was one of the essential operations in the erection of his spiritual kingdom. If I cast out devils by the spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Warburton's Sermon on the Fall. of Satan. See also the supplemental vol. to the Divine Legation, p. 256, &c.

The Jews stretched the indulgence of Divorces to most extravagant lengths; and, defining the cases in which they pretended divorces to be lawful with a minute and over-curious accuracy, they altogether perverted the institution of God. Their doctors permitted divorces for causes so trivial and ridiculous as cannot be mentioned in a grave discourse. The utmost dissolution of manners was the effect of such licentious opinions : and our Saviour found the abuses to be grown so enormous as to render the strictest and most precise limitations of the Mosaic precept absolutely necessary.


Tire facility of divorces amongst ihe Romans, in that abandoned age, (the age in which our Saviour made his appearance,) rendered married persons careless of obtaining or practising ibose virtries which render domestic life tranquil and delighitul. The education of children was littely neglected by parents, who often met together with a scheme of separation in boih their thoughts. Marriage, instead of restraining, added to the violence of, irregular desire; and, under a legal name, became the vilest and most shaineless prostitution. The married state fell into disreputation and contempt, and it becaine necessary to force men, by penal laws, into a society where they expected 110 secure or lasting happiness. It was in a good time, therefore, that our Saviour abolished a practice which had been one of the most fertile sources of these disorders. The bonds of the inarriage union were by him rendered almost indissoluble, and the cords of love were drain as close as possible. Robertson's Sermon on the Propagation of the Gospel, 1775. Sce Adultery and Crimes.

One cannot help observing, wliat is confirmed by innunerable instances in the Roman story, that the freedom of a divorce, which was indulged without restraint at Rome to the caprice of either party, gave no advantage of confort to the matrimonial state, but on the contrary seems to have encouraged rather a mutual perverseness and obstinacy; since, upon any little disgust or obstruction given to their follies, the expedient of a change was ready always to flatter them with the hopes of better success in another trial: for there never was an age or country where there was so profligate a contempt and violation of the nuptial bond, or so much lewdness and intidelity in the great of both sexes, as at this time in Rome, (iie. in Cicero's consulship.) Middleton's Life of Cicero, vol. ii. p. 171.

Is not this nearly the state of Great Britain at this period?

One may with some probability suppose, that, in the decrease of the waters of the DELUGE, fishes of several kinds would be left upon mountains, where their bones and srells are still found; and that others would sink with the waters, below the broken surface of the carılı, to several depths, where their shells and bones also are now found. But it is not probable that the deluge could dissolve the earth into a fluid stale to any depth, and that bones and shells of fishes and other animals should thereby become soft; and, being inixed with the substance of stone reduced to a fluid matter, should by degrees harden and petrify, as we see them at this day. A deluge has no natural tendency to produce these effects; nor are any such effects intimated to have been then wrought by the miraculous power of God, which brought the deluge upon the earth. So that the fore-mentioned phænomena may be better accounted for from the chaos which preceded the creation or formation of the earth. This chaos

is an unformed Auid mass, covered with water to a considerable depth at least; and, when t'ie water was separated by raising the earth above it, bones and shells of fishes @id other animals, which were dissolved and mixed with the chaotic matter before the

formation formation of the present earth; would naturally be laid in the tops of mountains, and also within the earth, and would there harden in and with the earthy substance, and petrify as they are found. And the angels, so called in Scripture, might be the inhabitants of the pre-existent orb or globe, now called the earth; who, having finished their time of trial and probation, were removed into other habitations; the obedient and good spirits into purer celestial mansions, and the disobedient and evil spirits into the dark abyss and lower regions of the air, to which they are confined. And we seem to have taken their abodes on the earth, new formed and made a suitable habitation for us, who are to have our portion with them in the future state. And this will account for the disposition of angels in relation to us. Jackson's Chronol. vol. is p. 8, 9, 49, 50. - .


Ou-Ting, the twentieth Chinese emperor of the second dynasty, who began his reign 1305 before Christ, being young at his coming to the throne, intrusted the government to his prime minister, and shut himself up for three years in a little house built near his father's sepulchre; all which time he spent in study, and meditation, and prayers to God to direct him how to reform and restore the empire to its dignity, and to grant him the virtues proper to qualify him for that high station to which his Providence had appointed him. During his retirement, he saw, in a DREAM, a man presented him from heaven to be his prime minister. His attention was so fixed upon him, and the features of his face were so strongly imprinted on his imagination, that he drew an exact portrait of him when he awoke. He related this dream to an assem: bly of his ministers when he returned to his palace, and shewed the picture to them; and sent several of them to inquire all about for the person represented by the picture. They found, in a village, a man named Fu-Yue, a mason by trade, whose face hit the portrait to the very life.' He was immediately carried to court," and presented to the emperor, who asked him several questions relating to government and political affairs, to all which Fu-Yue gave very wise answers. Upon which, the emperor, admiring the man, made him his prime minister, and he proved a very able statesman. Jackson's Chronology, vol. ii. p. 463.

CONSECRATIONEM DEORUM sic fieri novimus, ut imperatore, qui referendus in Deos et consecrandus erat, vita functo, pyram in tabernaculi formam construerents quod auro et ebore, signisque et tabulis pictis exornatum mirifice, alio desuper brevi. ori, usque ad tertiam contignationem erigebant, aquila cum omnium odorum aggestü in summo culmine locata: lectoque constrato purpura et auro, in quo defuncti effigies jacebat; senatus,' equester ordo, ac viri triumphales, quique amplissimos honores gesserant, procedentes leetum deferebant in pyram, cum carmine et hymnis, omnia busque humanis divinisqne aggestis honoribus. ' Demum incensa pyra, cum vapore et fumo aquila agitata, e sunmo culmine tabernaculi aëra petiisset, religio incussa fuit,


ipsius animam per inane cælum petiisse, ipsumque defæcato quod mortale erat et caducum, in numero cælestium, et concilio Deorum recipi et haberi. Quam consecrationem apotheosin Græci nuncuparunt. Qui deinceps inter Divos pro Deo colebatur. Alex. ab Alexand. lib. vi. c. 4.

The very state of the whole world, immediately before Christianity took place, doth seem by the special Providence of God to have been prepared. For we must know that the countries, where the Gospel was first planted, were for the most part subject to the Roman empire. The Romans use was, commonly, when by war they had subdued foreign nations, to make them provinces, that is, to place over them Roman governors, such as might order them according to the laws and customs of Rome. And, to the end that all things might be the more easily and orderly done, a whole country being divided into sundry parts, there was in each some one city whereinto they about did resort for justice. Every such part was termed a DIOCESE. Howbeit the name diocese is sometimes so generally taken, that it containeth not only more such parts of Providence, (perhaps it should be provinces,) but even more provinces also than one; as the diocese of Asia containing eight, the diocese of Africa seven. — The other dioceses were inferior to the principal one, as daughters unto a mother-city. Thus, in Macedonia, the mother-city was Thessalonica; in Asia, Ephesus; in Africa, Carthage. The governors, officers, and inhabitants, of those mothercities, were termed, for difference sake, metropolites, i. e. to say, mother-city men; than which nothing could have been devised more fit to suit with the nature of that form of spiritual regiment under which afterwards the church should live. Ilooker's Eccles. Pol. book vii. sect. 8. Vide Bishop.

The devil, or the tempter, was the first and great Antichrist, who was to have perpetual enmity with the seed of the woman, and to wage continual war with the saints, and often to prevail to the bruising their heel. Sherlock on Prophecy, p. 302.

Archbishop Newcome, the late primate of Ireland, speaks thus on the DEMONIACS mentioned Mark, v. 13, in his Life of Christ, p. 308, note n. ~ " From this action of the madmen, and the violence of the swine when they precipitated themselves into the sea, as if the madness had been transferred, the demons are said, in popular language, to have gone out and entered into the swine. That the madness was actually transferred we need not assert. The physical manner in which a miracle was wrought is a needless subject of discussion. It must be observed that those who are called demoniacs spake and acted according to their own ideas, as if they had really been possessed; as, in modern times, those, who attributed natural diseases to the power of witchcraft, supposed that the terrors of their minds and the pains of their bodies were caused by the immediate agency of persons, who, from the belief and prejudices of


« PreviousContinue »