« PreviousContinue »
Quadringentis vero ab Gregorio annis Johannes 18, sive aliis 19, quo pro animabus in purgatorio oraretur, festum instituit, severeque id coli præcepit. Tandem quoque purgatorium a Synodo Florentinâ inter capita fidei relatum fuit anno 1439. Voss. de Statu. Anim. Qu. 4a.
There happened a remarkable conjunction of the five PLANETS, in China, on the same day in which the Sun and Moon were in conjunction, which was observed by the emperor himself. And the great astronomer Cassini calculated this conjunction backward, and found it to have happened in the constellation Xe, or Che, mentioned by the Chinese historians, when the Sun was in the twentieth degree of Aquarius, on the twenty-sixth day of February, in the 2012th year before the Christian æra. See Louber's Hist. of Siam, p. 257. Jackson's Chronol. vol. ii. p. 440.
At Birdlip, (Gloucestershire,), on Thursday night, (February 14, 1766,) a PEACOCK belonging to Mr Gibbs was frozen on the branch where it was at roost. The branch broke, and in the morning the bird was found almost dead with the cold; and the ice congealed to its tail weighed near 100 lb. See Gentleman's Mag. February, 1766.
And it is a certain fact, that as many branches were broken off from one elm-tree, which stands in the centre of Chipping-Norton, Oxfordshire, by the weight of the ice, as were sold afterwards for twelve shillings, and every tree and shrub were so incrustated with ice that they looked like so many glass chandeliers. - The same sort of weather happened almost a century before. See Philosoph. Trans. vol. i. or ii.
Prophecy was a business in which the intellect of the man, under the control of the inspiring spirit, had an active share; and accordingly the composition owes much of its colouring (but nothing more) to the natural genius of the writer. And hence it is that such a variety of style is found in the works of the different authors of the Old Testament, all equally inspired. Horsley on Isai. xviii, p. 79. See Inspiration,
This observation is also applicable to the writers of the New Testament,
I confess that I have no sort of reliance upon a triennial PARLIAMENT. Perhaps it might rather serye to counteract than to promote the ends that are proposed by it. To say nothing of the horrible disorders among the people, attending frequent elections, I should be fearful of committing, every three years, the independent gentlemen of the country into a contest with the trcasury. For, unless the influence of government in elections can be entirely taken away, the more frequently they return the more they will harrass priyate independence. With great truth I may aver, that I never remember to have talked on this subject with any man, much conversant with public business, .who considered short ; parliaments as a real improvement of the constitutionBurke, vol, i. p. 487 . . esiin . . ......
G g 2
It is no inconsiderable part of wisdom to kuow how much of an evil ought to be tolerated; lest, by attempting a degree of purity impracticable in degenerate times and manners, instead of cutting off the subsisting ill practices, new corruptions might be produced for the concealment and security of the old. It were better, undoubted ly, that no influence at all could affect the mind of a member of parliament. But of all modes of influence, in my opinion, a PLACE under the government is the least disgraceful to the man who holds it, and by far the most safe to the country. Pwould not shut out that sort of intluence which is open and visible, which is connected with the dignity and service of the state, when it is not in my power to prevent the influence of contracts, of subscriptions, of direct bribery, and those innumerable methods of clandestine corruption which are abundantly in the hands of the court, and which will be applied as long as these means of corruption and the disposition to be corrupted have existence amongst us. Our constitution stands on a nice equipoise, with steep precipices and deep' waters upon ałł sides of it. In removing it from a dangerous leaning on one side, there may be a risk of oversetting it on the other. Every project of a material change in a government so complicated as ours, combined at the same time with external circunstances still more complicated, is a matter full of difficulties, in which a considerate man will not be too ready to decide, a prudent man too ready to undertake, or an honest man too ready to promise. They do not respect the public nor themselves, who engage for more than they are sure that they ought to attempt or that they are able to perform. Burke, vol. i. p. 488.
· Archdeacon Paley published three sermons, the first at an ordination, preached at Carlisle, 1777; the next at an ordination at Carlisle, 1781; and the third at the consecration of Bishop Law, at Dublin, 1782; in which he advances many heterodo.c opinions relating to church-government, subscription to articles, &c. which strictly deserved censure. For, in the first sermon, p. 13, sect. iv. he has this very extraordinary passage : “ The conversion of a grown person from heathenism to Christianity, commonly intended in the epistles, was a change of which we have now no just conception, (of what use then is the Society for promoting the Gospel in foreign parts?) and might well admit those strong figures and significant allusions by which it is described in Scripture; a regeneration, a new birth, to be born again of God and of the Spirit, to be dead to sin, and alive from the dead, to be buried with Christ in baptism, and raised together with him, &c. But these expressions are nothing, nothing (that is) to us, uothing to be found or sought for in the present circumstances of Christianity. Now, if the sin against the Holy Ghost can be committed in this age of the world, surely this is it! And ought not young divines to be most strictly cautioned against such dangerous tenets ? (See the title of his first serin.) For, if there be no assistance of the Spirit of God, Christians are now in a worse situation than the Deists. For, as it is granted by this writer himself, (see his Evidences, vol. ii. p. 32,7° “ That the morality of the
Gospel possesses the most of true worth, both as being most difficult either to be acquired or sustained, and as most contributing to the tranquillity and happiness of social life, unless there is some superior help to enable them to attain it, they may be truly said to be of all men the most miserable. And it is worthy of remark, that the author of Public Characters for 1802, 1803, who has bestowed such high encoiniums on his Moral Philosophy and Evidences of Christianity, has taken no notice of these sermons, (whether from ignorance or design I will not pretend to say,) against the poison of which, his other later works, however extolled by persons of the first emia nence, will never be a suflicient antidote. But see Daubeny's Guide to the Church for a very ample confutation of all his pernicious doctrines.
*. As the Hebrews had seven hells, so the Hindoos had seven heavens, or, rather, they divided the celestial Eden, (or PARADISE,) into seven apartments, the raptures enjoyed in which were proportioned to the merits and capacity of the liberated soul. Maurice's Ind. Antiq. vol. iv. p. 651.
Alonzo II. king of PORTUGAL, made a law, by which he gave damages against a plaintiff who brought his action without any just cause of suit. Modern Univ, Hist. vol. xxii. p. 45. : A wise law, worthy the adoption of every other state, in order to prevent vexatious disputes.
Alonzo, regent of Portugal, pawned his crown to furnish the poor with bread, in a time of scarcity. Idem, p. 59.
An unparalleled instance of regal benevolence...
One reason, perhaps, why God enjoined the Israelites not to reserve the fat of the PASCHAL-LAMB till the next day, might be because it was a type of Christ, our Passover, who saw no corruption.
Since the destruction of the world, for the transgression of mankind, would have been a work wherein God alone had been the sufferer, (the sinner, supposing annihilation, being only to be reduced to the condition he was in before,) our thoughts suggest, in the next place, that the guilty creature must be preserved to atone for offending against infinite Majesty, by the infinity, i. e. the eternal duration, of his PUNISHMENTS. And in this thought we are rather confirmed, not only by the notions we have of the justice and holiness of God, but by his proceedings against a nobler rank of creatures, the angels of heaven, who disobeyed their maker. Stackh. Body of Divinity.
We may well conclude that the celestial Venus of the Assyrians, the Astarte of the Phænicians, and the Derceto, or Atergatis, of the later Philistines, were all derived
Semiramis, or wiratever else her name was, the first foundress of Babylon, who seems to have been translated into the queen of heaven, the Moon, as Belus, or Pul, the first Assyrian monarch, was into the Sun; that all the Junos and Jupiters are de. rived from this source, and that on this foundation the whole superstructure of the Greek POLYTHÉISN and Idolatry was raised. Uniy. Hist. vol. iv.
By what has transpired of these old secrets, it seems probable enough that the Romans considered these three principal deities, Jupiter, Minerva, and Juno, as one and the sanie divinity under three different names; among which names that of Jupiter might signify the supreme goodness, that of Minerva the supreme wisdom, and that of Juno the supreme power; somewhat after the manner that our Cudworth (Intell. Syst. lib. i. c. 4, p. 450) and some other learned writers have imagined. Hence may appear too, by the way, the reason why Jupiter is generally placed in the middle, Minerva on his right hand, and Juno last, in the joint representation of these three great divinities. Spence's Polymetis, p. 58, 64.
And might not this system of the three Supreme Deities being considered as one arise from a corruption of an antient tradition concerning the creation of the world by the trinity of persons ? and the Father might be supposed to be Jupiter, as the very name implies Jehovah the Father; thre Son, or Acgos, Minerva, as he is expressly called the Wisdom of God, i Cor. i. 24; and the Holy Ghost, Juno, or the air, which idea might take its rise from that passage, Gen, i. 2, “ And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters ;” and Juno, or the air, being the last, may refer to the Holy Spirit, the third person.
Whether an insurrection against a PRINCE can, on any account, be lawful, is a question that hath greatly been disputed: though, possibly, cases might be put of oppression, cruelty, and absolute tyranny, over the properties, the religion, and lives, of subjects' which human nature could not endure, but would be roused by a kind of natural instinct to shake off the present incumbrance; to say men are bound to sit still under such a load, would be establishing an unequal law against themselves and rendering free subjects ever liable to change their condition for that of slavery, without having any means to prevent it. At such junetures, therefore, if some boldet steps should bé raken to rescue themselves, the necessity of the times might seem to excuse them. But then as, on one land, liberty might be lost, if to resist was in no way allowable, so, on the other, government could not subsist if men might rebel as oft' as they were 'dissatisfied. Nothing, therefore, less than the greatest evils félt of reasonably apprehended can afford any plea to'justify a forcible opposition. Dr Thou mas Fothergill's 'Serin. on Jan. 30. : . uur. . ....vl. is !
To combat the dangerous position of deposing kings, so prejudicial to the power of kings, and which was meant to justify all attempts of violence on the lives of heretical princes, the protestant divines went into the other extreme; and, to save the person of
. . "theit
their sovereign, preached up the doctrine of divine right, Hooker, superior to every prejudice, followed the truth, but the rest of our reforming and reformed divines stuck to the other opinion; which, as appears from the Homilies, the Institution of a Christian Man, and the general stream of writing in those days, became the opinion of the church, and was, indeed, the received protestant doctrine. And thus, unhappily, arose in the church of England that pernicious system of divine indefeasible right of kings, broached, indeed, by the clergy, but not froin those corrupt and temporising views to which it has been imputed. And, being thought to receive a countenance froin the general terms in which' obedience to the civil magistrate is ordained in Scripture, it has continued to our days, and may, it is feared, still continue to perplex and misleid the judgement of too many anongst us. Hurd's Dialogues, vol. ii. p. 301.
· Since religion would be but a very imperfect institution, should not POINTS of faith be seconded with suitable rules of practice, hereupon (in the church of Rome) mortification and austerity of life were (in shew at least) equally advanced; and Satan began to play the white devil by prohibiting, upon pretence of higher sacerdotal purity, the marriage of the clergy, though at the same time reckoned by themselves a, sacrament, forbidding also certain sorts of meat, &c.; for the recommending of all which to men's use, they taught them that these practices were satisfactory for sin and meritorious of heaven. South's Serm. on 2 Cor. xi. 14.
· In one of the public prints of February, 1806, this paragraph was inserted: "Tho. Mas Paine. — Of this arch infidel and well-known disturber of the happiness of his fellow-mortals, Relfe's American Gazette of December, 1805, says, in consequence of having been visited by a second stroke of the palsy, this man at last is deeply impressed with the heinousness of a life spent in reviling all religion and in contemning divine revelation, and that he is in daily practice of prayer for heavenly grace and reconciliation.
Would it not be highly proper, for the societies for promoting Christian knowledge and the propagation of the Gospel in foreign parts, to have this very interesting acknowledgement in favour of religion printed and placed at the beginning of all the bibles which they distribute, which might be done at a very small expense, as twenty thousand of them would not cost more than ten pounds.
The religion of the QUAKERS seems to have been borrowed from some of the heathen philosophers, who were thought to have the sublimest notions of the Divinity and seemed to be against all external worship of the supreme God. For, Appollonius Tyanæus was of opinion, “That no sensible thing was fit to be offered or dedicated to the God whom we call the first, but that he ought to be worshipped by the word or reason which is inward, not that which proceedeth out of the mouth; and that we must ask good