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was one of the seven, mentioned in Acts, vi. and on that account, calculated to do much injury to the church.
According to Irenæus, Tertullian and Austin, they mixed the Jewish and Pagan rites, with a part of the Christian order of worship, after the manner of Balaam, who joined a part of the Jewish rites with the practices of the idolatrous heathens. In reference to which it is said, Rev. ii. 14. 6 because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols." From which it is certain, that idolatry was common among the eastern nations at that period, and that Nicholas revived the old abomination of Balaam, by joining the idolatrous rites with the Christian order of worship.
For which reason, it is said, Rev. ii. 15. “ So hast
thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicholaive tans, which thing I hate.”
Began their heresy also in the time of the evangelist John. · Their founder was Carpocrates.
They held that faith alone was only necessary for salvation : and that it was unnecessary for those who had this faith, to have good works. They were lovers of magic ; men of bad lives, or who indulged themselves in sensual practices; and they taught that Christ was no more than another man.
These followers of Carpocrates appear to have been connected with the church of Pergamos ; for, according to the above-mentioned fathers, they joined the idolas
trous practice of eating things offered up to idols, as mentioned, Rev. ii. 14. with the Christian order of worship. Therefore, the Carpocratians, who lived at this time, must necessarily be meant by those who are thus clearly described by the apostle. In this church also, there were some who held the doctrine of the Nicholaitans, Rev. ii. 15.
THE CERINTHIANS AND EBIONITES.
These professors also lived in the time of the apostle John. The practice of eating things offered to idols, or of offering the sacrifice to the idol, and then eating it, had become customary among the followers of Cerinthus, who wished to retain a little of the old idolatry.
Cerinthus lived in the time of the emperor Domitian : his doctrines were much the same as those taught by Nicholas and Carpocrates. They admitted only the gospel of Matthew, and denied the divinity of Christ. Agreeably to the above-mentioned authorities, they belonged to the church of Thyatira, which suffered them to remain with them, through the influence of Jezebel, who seduced them to eat things offered unto idols. Rev. ii. 20. i. e. to join idolatry to Christianity.
From these a number of sects sprang up, varying but little either in doctrine or practice ; till the heresy of Sabellius made its appearance at the beginning of the third century.
Taught that there was but one person in the Godhead, and that this was the Father. They believed that the Father suffered, and were on that account called
Who personified the Father, or divine essence.
This is a compound word, from the Greek, signifying the form of man. This sect appeared in the early ages of the Christian church. They believed that God was in the form of man, and were on that account called Anthropomorphites.
They were first called Audiani, from Audeus their leader, who lived in the time of the emperor Valentinian, 340 years after Christ. . It would answer no valuable purpose to notice the little variations of those, who attempted to differ from the generally received doctrine and practice of the church. When this was done, though but of a trifling nature, it was only sanctioned by the name of the inventor, who by it obtained notice ; yet all the trifling variations have by some writers been magnified into sécts. I therefore pass over these, wbo, as above observed, varied in so trifling a manner from the Nicholaitans, Car
pocratians, Cerinthians, and Ebionites, as not to be wor- , thy of notice; they were individuals lost in the great body of the professors of genuine Christianity.'
For the first three hundred years after Christ, or until the time of the famous council of Nice, nothing of importance arose to disturb the unity of the church. Then it was that Arius published his opinions; and a schism being thus made, separation ensued, and new opinions generated different sects. From this period, we must necessarily date the beginning of those distinctions, which have taken place in the church of Christ.
Having said as much as is necessary concerning those sects alluded to in scripture, and by the first fathers of the Christian church, I shall now begin with the sects which immediately appeared after the Nicene council; and conclude by defining the doctrines of the different sects of the Christian religion, as they are at this day held forth in Europe.
THE GREEK CHURCH.
The Greek Church was so called, because, after the dispersion of the Jews, the scriptures were read in Greek: for as the Jews only were in possession of the Hebrew language ; and the Greek language being then spoken and understood among all the nations of the Grecian empire; the Septuagint translation was introduced ; and the gospels, which were originally written by the apostles in Hebrew, the language of their country, were
translated into the Greek tongue. This appears to have been confirmed by the apostle Paul, as we cannot suppose that he wrote his epistle to the Hebrews in Greek, a language which the great mass of the people did not understand. But the time, when it began to be generally known by this appellation, was when Constantine the Great embraced Christianity, at the beginning of the fourth century.
The faith and worship of the Greek church is prosessed by many of the eastern nations, and it is the established form of religion throughout the Russian empire. They use the liturgies of Basil and Chrysostom. The service is read in ancient and modern Greek; and in some places they read it in the Sclavonian tongue. The churches subject to the Patriarch of Constantinople are the Russian, Georgian, and Mingrelian. The eastern churches not under the immediate government of the Patriarch of Constantinople, are the Armenian, and the Nestorian : the Abyssinian, Coptic, and Jacobite Monophysists, are also subject to the same patriarch, but differ from the Armenian and Nestorian churches; in as much as the word Monophysist, derived from moros, solus, and puris, natura, implies their belief that there is only one nature in Christ. Turkey in Europe contains a great number of christians, but those of the Greek church are the most numerous. The Patriarch of Con- ; stantinople governs the church with an authority similar to that, which has been exercised by the Roman pontiffs. The next dignitaries in order after the patriarch, are the metropolitans. The number of the metropolitans was originally seventy-two, after the manner of the Sanhedrim of the Jews. The bishops are subject to the metropolitan,