Page images
PDF
EPUB

4. The Bereans interpret a make him inferior to ourgreat part of the old-testament selves." prophecies, and in particular With respect to the practice the whole of the Psalms, ex- of the Bereans as á christian cepting such as are merely sòciety, they consider infantbistorical or laudatory, to be baptism as a divine ordinance typical or prophetical of Jesus instituted in the room of cirChrist; his sufferings, atone- cumcision; and they think it ment, mediation, and king- absurd to suppose that infants, dom: and they esteem it a gross who all agree are admissible perversion of these psalms and to the kingdom of God in prophecies, to apply them to heaven, should nevertheless be the experiences of private incapable of being admitted christians. In proof of this, into his visible church on they not only urge the words carth. They commemorate the of the apostle, that no pro- Lord's supper in general once phecy is of private interpreta- a month; but as the words of tion, but they insist that the the institution fix no particuwhole of the quotations from lar period, they sometimes the ancient prophecies in the celebrate it oftener, and somenew testament, and particu- times at more distant periods, larly those from the psalms, as may suit

their general conare expressly applied to Christ. venience. Equal and univerIn this opinion many classes sal holiness in all manner of of protestants agree with them. conversation, they recommend

5. Of the absolute, all- at all times, as well as at the superintending sovereignty of table of the Lord. They meet the Almighty, the Bereans every Lord's day for the purentertain the highest ideas, as poses of preaching, praying, well as of the uninterrupted and exhortation to love and exertion thereof over all works good works. When any perin heaven, earth, or hell, how- son, after hearing the Berean ever unsearchable by his crea- doctrines, professes his belief tures. “A God without elec- and assurance of the truths tion, (they argue) or choice in of the gospel, and desires to all his' works, is a God with= be admitted into their comout existence; a mere idol, a munion, he is cheerfully renon-entity: and to deny God's ceived upon his profession, election, purpose, and express whatever may have been his will in all his works, is to former manner of life. But

For further particulars respecting the Berean doctrines, the reader is referred to the works of Messrs. Barclay, Nicol, Brooksbank, &c.

if such a one should after- steady profession of the apos. wards draw back from his tolic faith, and a suitable walk good profession or practice, and conversation. they first admonish him; and The doctrine of the Bereans if that have no effect, they has found converts in various leave him to himself. They parts of Scotland, England, do not think they have any and America. They have conpower to deliver up a back- gregations in Edinburgh, Glassliding brother to satan. That gow, Paisley, Stirling, Duntext, and other similar pas- dee, Montrose, Fettercairn, sages, they consider as re- Aberdeen, and other towns in stricted to the apostles, and to Scotland, as well as in Lonthe inspired testimony alone; don, and various places in and not to be extended to any England ; not to add Pennsylchurch on earth, or any num- vania, the Carolinas, and other ber of churches, or of chris states in America.* tians, whether deciding by a [This account of the Bemajority of votes, or by una reans appears to have been nimous voices. Neither do drawn up by one of themthey think themselves autho- selves; and as there is no derized, as a christian church, to nomination particularly, openquire into each others poli- posed to them, under whose tical principles, any more than name we might give the arguto examine into each others ments on the other side, it notions of philosophy. They will be proper here to add the both recommend and practise, following note on their docas christian duties, submis- trine of assurance by Mr. A. sion to lawful authority; but M‘Lean, in his “ Treatise on they do not think that a man the Commission,” first edition, by becoming a christian, or p. 88. joining their society, is under Mr. John Barclay asserts, any obligation, by the rules of that “the assurance of faith the gospel, to renounce his (by which he means the assurights of private judgment rance of a man's own justifiupon matters of public or cation) is established along private importance. Upon all with the resurrection of Jesus such subjects they allow each from the dead, upon the direct other to think and act as each testimony of God, believed in may see it his duty; and they the heart." Assurance of faith Iequire nothing more of their vindicated, title page. members than a uniforin and A direct testimony is that * Supplement to the Encyclopædia, vol. i. p. 102-104. Nicol's Essays.

which absolutely affirins in so the same precise evidence with many express words the truth the resurrection of Jesus and of the particular thing testi- the existence of God, the adfied. He must therefore mean ditional words, believed in the that God hath absolutely, po- heart, are altogether redunsitively, and expressly testified dant: for as Christ's resurrecin the gospel, that“ John Bar- tion, and the being of God, are clay in particular is justified;" truths in themselves, whether for such is the nature of the he believe or not, so must his testimony given to the resur- justification be, if according to rection of Jesus from the dead: him, it stand precisely upon and he affirms it to be pre- the same ground. cisely the same with that. This is so absurd, that it “ Thus verily, before God, scarce needs any refutation. (says he) by whatever evi- The resurrection of Jesus is a dence I hold the resurrection foundation principle; a truth of Jesus for a truth, by the which stands independent of same precise evidence I must my believing, and is the subhold it for a truth that I am ject of direct testimony, which justified, else I do verily hold I am called to believe absoGod for a liar; for God him- lutely. But my particular jusself hath equally asserted both tification is not declared to be the one and the other, in a truth, until I believe the forwords of inseparable connec mer; nor is it directly asserted, tion.” (p. 66.) And in a letter but promised upon that proon the assurance of faith, vol. vision. If thou shalt believe i, p. 208, he says, “ I see the in thine heart that God hath same evidence precisely that the raised him from the dead, thou law is fulfilled for me, even shalt be saved.” (Rom. x. 9.) for me myself, by Jesus, as I cannot therefore know that that there is a law at all; the I in particular am justified, by same evidence that I am passed any thing openly and directly from death unto life, as that testified, till I know that I beever I was under a death, and lieve ; for it is only those who needed a life; the same evi- believe that are declared to be dence precisely that Christ is justified. made to me of God wisdom, But after all that this author righteousness, sanctification, has advanced, in order to estaaud redemption, as that there blish the assurance of his own is a God at all.”--As there- particular justification upon fore the truth of his particu- the direct testimony of God, he Jar justification stands upon is obliged at last to depart en

tirely from that principle, and draw his justification as an inference from his believing, thus: “ All who believe the record are justified. I believe the record, therefore I believe I am justified.” (Assurance of Faith, p. 38.) Here the assurance of his justification turns out to be the conclusion of what logicians call asyllogism; in which the second proposition (viz. “I believe the record”) is not the direct testimony of God, but that of his own conscience. Yet the professed design of his whole pamphlet, is to establish the assurance of a man's own salvation upon the direct testimony of God. This is his favourite and distinguishing point, in support of which he denies that there are any natural notices of God or his haw—any conviction of sin, before the assurance of pardom—any different degrees of faith—that sin can weaken the assurance of our salvation —that the fruits of faith are any evidence to ourselves of our justification—that any should pray to God until they are assured of their being justified. He maintains that all the doubts and fears in the Psalms are Christ's—that selfjealousy, and cautious fear of coming short, is making God a har—that the sin against the

holy Ghost is simple unbelief, &c. These sentiments are scattered throughout his works, and retailed by his adherents.] BERENGARIANS, a denomination in the eleventh century, which adhered to the opinions of Berengarius, who asserted that the bread and wine in the Lord's supper are not really and essentially, but figuratively changed into the body and blood of Christ. His followers were divided in opinion as to the eucharist. They all agreed that the elements are not essentiallychanged, though some allowed them to be changed in effect. Others admitted a change in part; and others an entire change, with this restriction, that to those who communicated unworthily, the elements were changed back again." BERYLLIANS. So called from Beryllus, an Arabian, bishop of Bozrah, who flourished in the third century. He taught that Christ did not exist before Mary; but that a spirit, issuing from God himself, and therefore superior to all human souls, as being a portion of the divine nature, was united to him at the time of his birth.t BIDDELIANS. So called from John Biddle, who in the year sixteen hundred and forty-four erected an indepen

* Dict, Arts, Scien, vol. i. p.289. t Mosheim, vol. i. p. 248,

dent congregation in London, nation in the third century, He taught that Jesus Christ, who followed the opinions of to the intent that he might be Bonosus, bishop of Sardica.. our brother, and have a fellow. Their sentiments were the same feeling of our infirmities, and with the Photinians, though so become the more ready to they appear to have been of help us, hath no other than a different communions. See human nature; and therefore Photinians. in this very nature is not only BORRELISTS, a denomia person, since none but a nation in Holland, so called human person can be our bro- from their leader, one. Adam ther, but also our Lord and Borreel, of Zealand, who had. God,

some knowledge of the hebrew, Biddle, as well as Socinus, greek, and latin tongues. They and other Unitarians, before reject the use of churches, of and since, made no scruple of the sacraments, public prayer, calling Christ God, though he and all other external acts of believed him to be a human worship. They assert that all: creature only, on account of the christian churches of the the divine sovereignty with world have degenerated from which he was invested.* See the pure apostolic doctrines. Socinians.

They lead a very austere life, BOGOMILES, a denomi- and employ a great part of nation in the twelfth century, their goods in alms and works, which sprung from the Mas- of piety. salians. They derived their BOURIGNONISTS, a dename from the divine mercy, nomination in the seventeenth which its members are said to century, which sprang from have, incessantly implored; for the famous Antoinette Bouthe word bogumiles, in the rignon de la Ponte, a native Mysian language, signifies call- of Flanders, who pretended to: ing out for mercy from above. be divinely inspired, and set

Basilius, a monk at Constan- apart to revive the true spirit tinople, was the fountain of of christianity that had been this denomination. The doc- extinguished by theological trines he taught were similar animosities and debates. In with those of the Manicheans her confession of faith, she and Gnostics. See Gnostics professes her belief in the and Manicheans.

scriptures, the divinity and BONOSIANS, a denomi. atonement of Christ. The

Lindsey's View of the Unitarian Doctrine and Worship, p. 289. * Mosheim, vol, ii, p. 444. Broughton, vol. i. p. 169. R Ib.vol.i p. 170.

« PreviousContinue »