Page images
PDF
EPUB

kind, that God made the pro- conscience, and spiritual commise. (Gen. iii. 15.) The con- munion with the church mysditional new covenant does tical in heaven and earth. equally give Christ, pardon, Rom. v, 12. Heb. xii. 22. and life, to all mankind, on --(7.) A special interest in condition of acceptance. The Christ, and intercession with conditional grant is universal: the Father. Rom. viii. 32, 33. Whosoever believeth shall be -(8.) Resurrection unto life, saved.

and justification in judgment; 3. It is not to the elect glorification of the soul at only,' but to all mankind, that death, and of the body at the Christ has commanded his resurrection. Phil. iii. 20, 21. ministers to proclaim his gos- 2 Cor. v. 1, 2, 3. Rom. viii. pel, and offer the benefits of 17-32. his procuring.

Christ has made a condiThere are, Mr. Baxter al- tional deed of gift of those lows, certain fruits of Christ's benefits to all mankind; but death which are proper to the the elect only accept and poselect only:-(1.) Grace even sess them. Hence he infers tually worketh in them true that, though Christ never abfaith, repentance, conversion, solutely intended, or decreed, and union with Christ, as his that his death should eventuliving members.--(2.) The ally put all men in possession actual forgiveness of sin, as of those benefits; yet he did to the spiritual and eternal intend and decree that all men punishment. Rom. iv. 1-34. should have a conditional gift

[ocr errors]

(3.) Our reconciliation with of them by his death.* God, and adoption and right For an account of Mr. to the heavenly inheritance. Baxter's sentiments respecting Psal. iv, 6–16.-(4.) The the trinity, see Trinitarians ; Spirit of Christ to dwell in us, see also Neonomians. and sanctify us, by a habit of BEHMENISTS, a name divine love. Rom. viii. 9-13. given to those mystics who Gal. v. 6.-(5.) Employment adopt the explications of the in holy, acceptable service, and mysteries of nature and grace access in prayer, with a pro- as given by Jacob Behmen. mise of being heard through This writer was born in the Christ. Heb. ii. 5, 6. John year fifteen hundred and sevenxiv. 13.-16.) Well grounded ty-five, at Old Seidenburg near hopes of salvation, peace of Gorlitz, in Upper Lusatia. He

* Baxter's Catholic Theology, p. 51, 52, 53. Watts's Posthumous Works.

Baxter's End of Doctrinal Controversies, p. 154, 155.

was a shoemaker by trade: he twelve, that Behmen commitis described as having been ted these revelations to writthoughtful and religious from ing. His first treatise is entihis youth up, taking peculiar tled, Aurora.* The next propleasure in frequenting the duction of his pen, is called public worship. At length The Three Principles. In this seriously considering within work he more fully illustrates himself that speech of our the subjects treated of in the Saviour, My Father which is former, and supplies what is in heaven will give the holy wanting in that work. The Spirit to him that ask him, he 'contents of these two treatises was thereby thoroughly awak- may be divided as follow : ened in himself, and set for- (1.) How all things came ward to desire that promised from a working-will of the Comforter; and, continuing in holy triune incomprehensible that earnestness, he was at God, manifesting himself as last, to use his own expression, Father, Son, and holy Spirit, “ surrounded with a divine through an outward perceptilight for seven days, and stood ble working triune power of in the highest contemplation fire, light, and spirit, in the and kingdom of joys!" After kingdom of heaven.--(2.) How this, about the year sixteen and what angels and men were hundred, he was again sur- in their creation; that they are rounded by the divine light, in and from God, his real offand replenished with the hea- spring; that their life begun venly knowledge; insomuch in and from this divine fire, as, going abroad into the fields, which is the Father of Light, and viewing the herbs and generating a birth of light in grass, by his inward light he their souls; from both which saw into their essences, use, proceeds the holy Spirit, or and properties, which were breath of divine love in the discovered to him by their triune creature, as it does in lineaments, figures, and signa- the triune Creator.—(3.) How tures. In the year sixteen hun- some angels, and all men, are dred and ten, he had a third fallen from God, and their special illumination, wherein first state of a divine triune still farther mysteries were re- life in him ; what they are in vealed to him, It was not till their fallen state, and the difthe year sixteen hundred and ference between the fall of

* This book was seized on and withheld from him by the senate of Gorlitz, (who persecuted him at the instigation of the primate of that place) before it was finished ; and he never afterwards proceeded with it further than by adding some explanatory notes,

angels and that of man.- Man, according to the three (4.) How the earth, stars, and principles.* In this work he elements, were created in con treats more largely of the sequence of the fall of angels. state of man in this world :

(5.) Whence there is good (1.) That he has that immorand evil in all this temporal tal spark of life which is comworld, in all its creatures, ani- mon to angels and devils.mate and inanimate ; and what (2.) That divine life of the is meant by the curse that light and Spirit of God, which dwells every where in it.- makes the essential difference (6.) Of the kingdom of Christ, between an angel and a devil ; how it is set in opposition to, the last having extinguished and fights and strives against this divine life in himself: but the kingdoin of hell.—(7.) that man can only attain unto How man, through faith in this heavenly life of the second Christ, is able to overcome the principle through the new kingdom of hell, and triumph birth in Christ Jesus.-(3.) over it in the divine power, The life of the third principle, and thereby obtain eternal or of this external and visible salvation ; also how, through world.Thus the life of the working in the hellish quality, first and third principles is or principle, he casts himself common to all men; but the into perdition.—(8.) How and life of the second principle why sin and misery, wrath and only to a true christian, or death, shall only reign for a child of God. time, till the love, the wisdom, - Behmen wrote several other and the power of God, shall treatises, besides the three alin a supernatural way (the ready enumerated ; but these mystery of God made Man) three being, as it were, the triumph over sin, misery, and basis of all his other writings, death; and make fallen man it was thought proper to norise to the glory of angels, tice them particularly.. His and this material system shake conceptions are often clothed off its curse, and enter into an under allegorical symbols; and everlasting union with that in his latter works he has freheaven from whence it fell. quently adopted chemical and The year

after he wrote his latin phrases to express his Three Principles, Behmen pro- ideas, which phrases he borduced his Three-fold Life of rowed from conversation with

* By the Three Principles is to be understood—the dark world, or hell, in which the devils live—the liglyt world, or heaven, in which the angels live—the external and visible world, which has proceeded from the internal and spiritual worlds, in which mand, as to his bodily lite, lives,

[ocr errors]

learned men, the education he respecting the doctrine of the
had received being too illite- trinity, which they hold as a
rate to furnish him with them. fundamental article of the
But as to the matter contained christian faith. They also
in his writings, he disclaimed agree in great measure with
having borrowed it either from the professed principles of the
men or books. He died in established churches of Eng-
the
year

sixteen hundred and land and Scotland, respecting twenty-four. His last words predestination and election, were, “ Now I go hence into though they allege that these paradise !"*

doctrines are not consistently Behmen's principles were taught in either church; but adopted by the late ingenious they differ from many other and pious William Law, who sects of christians in various has clothed them in a more particulars. modern dress, and in a less 1. Respecting our knowobscure style ; for whose sen- . ledge of the Deity. Upon timents see article Mystics. this subjecť they say, that the

BEREANS, a sect of pro- majority of professed christestant dissenters from the tians stumble at the very church of Scotland, who take threshold of revelation; ande their title from, and profess to by admitting the doctrine of follow the example of the natural religion, natural conancient Bereans, in building science, natural notices, &c. their system of faith and prac- not founded upon revelation, tice

upon the scriptures alone, or derived from it by tradition, without regard to any human they give up the cause of authority whatever.

christianity to the infidels, who Mr. Barclay, a Scotch cler- may justly argue, as Mr. Paine gyman, was the founder of in fact does in his Age of this denomination. They first Reason, that “ there is no ocassembled as a separate soci- casion for any revelation, or ety of christians in the city of word of God, if man can disEdinburgh, in autumn, seven cover his nature and perfecteen hundred and seventy- tions from his works alone.” three, and soon after in the But this, the Bereans argue, parish of Fettercairn.

is beyond the natural powers The Bereans agree with the of human reason; and theregreat majority of christians, fore our knowledge of God is both protestants and catholics, from revelation alone; and * Behmen's Works, vol. i. p. 6—20. vol. ii, p. 1. Okely's Memoirs of

Behmen, p. 1-8.

[ocr errors]

M

In &

that without revelation man it is given is as conscious of could never have entertained possessing it as the being to an idea of his existence. whom God gives life is of

2. With regard to faith in being alive; and therefore he Christ, and assurance of sal- entertains no doubt either of vation through his merits, they his faith or his

consequent differ from other denomina- salvation through the merits tỉons. These they reckon in- of Christ, who died and rose separable, or rather the same; again for that purpose, because, they argue, God has word, they argue that the gosexpressly declared, He that pel would not be what it is believeth shall be sared ; and held forth to be, (glad tidings therefore it is not only absurd, of great joy) if it did not bring but impious, and in a manner full personal assurance of etercalling God a liar, for a man nal salvation to the believer; to say, " I believe the gospel; which assurance, they insist, but have doubts, nevertheless, “is the present infallible priof my own salvation.” With vilege and portion of every in. regard to the various distinc- dividual believer of the gostions and definitions that have pel.”—These definitions of been given of different kinds faith, and its inseparable conof faith, they argue, that, comitant assurance, they prove " there is nothing incompre- by a variety of texts of sçriphensible or obscure in the ture. meaning of the word, as used 3. Consistently with the in scripture; but that as faith, above definition of faith, they when applied to human testi- say that the sin against the mony, signifies neither more holy Ghost is nothing else but, nor less than the mere simple unbelief; and that the expresa belief of that testimony as sion, It shall not be forgiten,

the authority of the, neither in this world nor that testifier; so, when applied to which is to come, means only the testimony of God, it sig, that a person dying in infidenifies precisely the belief of lity would not be forgiven, his testimony, and resting upon neither under the former dis. his veracity alone, without any pensation by Moses (the then kind of collateral support from present dispensation, kingdom, the concurrence of any other or government of God) nor evidence or testimony what- under the gospel dispensation, eyer.”. And they insist, that as - which, in respect of the Mosaic, this faith is the gift of God was a kind of future world, or alone, so the person to whom kingdom to come. ,

true upon

« PreviousContinue »