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are generally bishops, but a priest is likewise eligible to that office.
In marriage they may form a connection with those only who are of their own communion. The brother who marries a person not of their congregation, is considered as having quitted their church-fellowship. There is, however, no objection to a sister's marrying a person of approved piety in another communion ; and some, by express license, are permitted still to join in their church ordinances, as before. A brother may make his own choice of a partner in society, and both parties may reject the proposals made to them ; but as all intercourse between the different sexes is less frequent among them than elsewhere, and few opportunities of forming particular attachments are found ; they usually rather refer the choice to their friends and intimates, than decide for themselves. As the lot must be cast to sanction their union, each receives his partner as a divine appointment ; and, however strange this method may appear, there are perhaps no where fewer unhappy marriages to be found than among the brethren. In their settlements, at all hours, whether day or night, some persons of both sexes are appointed by rotation to pray for the society.
What chiefly characterizes the Moravians, and holds them up to the attention and admiration, and for the example of all others, is their missionary zeal. In this they are superior to every other body of Christians whatever. Their missionaries are all of them volunteers ; for it is an inviolable maxim with them to persuade no man to engage in missions. They are all of one mind as to the doctrines they teach, and seldom make an attempt where there are not several of them in the mission. Their zeal is calm, steady, and persevering. They would reform the world, but are careful how they quarrel with it. They carry their point by address, and the insinuations of modesty and mildness, which commend them to all men, and give offence to none,
SWÉDENBORGIANS, OR NEW JERUSALEM CHURCH.
This sect owes its origin to one of the most extraordinary men that has existed in modern times : the late Honourable Baron Swedenborg, the son of a pious bishop of West Gothnia, in Sweden, born at Stockholm in 1689, and who died in London. in the year 1772, after a life spent in the acquirement of almost every species of human learning, and the propagation of religious doctrines unlike every thing the Christian world had. before been accustomed to.
The following extract of a letter, written by the baron himself, will serve to convey an idea of the nature of his supposed mission, and of his own personal character.
“ In the year 1710, I began my travels, first into England, Ida and afterwards into Holland, France, and Germany, and return- ido ed home in 1714. In the year 1716, and afterwards, I frequently conversed with Charles XII. King of Sweden, who was pleased to bestow on me a large share of his favour, and in that the year appointed me to the office of assessor in the metallic col. lege, in which office I continued from that time till the year bed 1747, when I quitted the office, but still retain the salary annex. ed to it, as an appointment for life. The reason of my with. drawing from the business of that employment was, that I might be more at liberty to apply myself to that new function to which the Lord had called me. About this time a place of higher dig. nity in the state was offered me, which I declined to accept, lest it should prove a snare to me. In 1719 I was ennobled by Queen Ulrica Eleonora, and named Swedenborg ; from wbichda time I have taken my seat with the nobles of the equestrian Ting order, in the triennial assemblies of the states.
“ Whatever ot' worldly honour and advantage may appear to be the be in the things before-mentioned, I hold them as matters of low estimation when compared to the honour of that sacred office to Thi which the Lord himself hath called me, who was graciously pleased to manifest himself to me his unworthy servant, in a fie personal appearance in the year 1743; to open in me a sight of the spiritual world, and to enable me to converse with spirits and angels ; and this privilege has been continued to me to this day. From that time I began to print and publish various un rithe known Arcana, that have been either seen by me, or revealed to me, concerning HEAVEN and Hell ; the state of men alter death; the true worship of God; the spiritual sense of the. Scriptures ; and many other important truths tending to salva. in tim tion and true wisdom.”
The first, and leading doctrine of this church, as inculcated in the writings of the Baron, relates to the person of Jesus Christ; and to the redemption wrought, not purchased, by him. On this subject, it is insisted, that Jesus Christ is Jehovah, manifested in the flesh, and that he came into the world to glorify his human nature, by making it one with the divine. It is, therefore, insisted further, that the humanity of Jesus Christ is itself divine, by virtue of its indissoluble union with the indwelling Father, and that thus, as to his humanity, He is the Mediator between God and man), since there is now no other medium of God's access to man, or of man's access to God, but this Divine Hu manity, which was assumed for this purpose. Thus it is taught, that in the person of Jesus Christ dwells the whole Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ; the Father constituting the soul of the above humanity, whilst the humanity itself is the Son, and the divine virtue, or operation proceeding from it, is the Holy Spirit, forming altogether one God, just as the soul, the body, and operation of man, form one man.
On the subject of the redemption wrought by this Incarnacs God, it is taught, that it consisted not in the vicarious sacrifice
of one God, as some conceive, to satisfy the justice, or, as others express it, to appease the wrath of another God, but in the real subjugation of the powers of darkness and their removal froin
man, by continual combats and victories over them, during his la abode in the world ; and in the consequent descent to man of The divine power and life, which was brought near to him in the This thus glorified humanity of this combatting God.
2. The sense of the letter of the holy word, says he, is the basis, the continent, and the firinament, of its spiritual and ce. Testial senses, being written according to the doctrine of correspondencies between things spiritual and things natural; and thus designed by the Most High as the vehicle of communication of the eternal spiritual truths of his kingdom to the minds of men.
3. A third distinguishing doctrine, which marks the character of the writings of Baron Swedenborg, is the doctrine relative to life, or to that rule of conduct on the part of man which is truly acceptable to the Deity, and at the same time conducive to man's eternal happiness and salvation, by conjoining him with his God. This rule is taught to be simply this, " to shun all known evils as sins against God, and at the same time to love, to cherish, and to practice whatsoever is wise, virtuous, and holy, as being most agreeable to the will of God, and to the spirit of his precepts.”
4. A fourth distinguishing doctrine, inculcated in the same writings, is the doctrine of Co-operation, on the the part of man, with the Divine Grace or agency of Jesus Christ. On this subject it is insisted that man ought not indolently to hang down bis hands, under the idle expectation that God will do every thing for him in the way of Purification and Regeneration, without any exertion of his own ; but that he is bound by the above law of co-operation, to exert himself, as if the whole progress of his purification and regeneration depended entirely on his own exertion ; yet, in exerting himself, he is continually to recollect, and humbly to acknowledge, that all his power to do so is from above.. It is insisted, on this interesting subject, that the doctrine of co-operation supplies no ground for the establishment of man's merit and independence on the divine aid, since it is continually taught in the writings in question, that all man's freedom, as well as his power of co-operation, is the perpetual gift of the most merciful and gracious God.
5. A fifth, and last distinguishing doctrine taught in the theoJogical writings of our author, relates to man's connexion with the other world, and its various inhabitants. On this subject it is insisted, not only from the authority of the sacred Scriptures, but also from the experience of the author himself, that every man is in continual association with angels and spirits, and that without such association he could not possibly think, or exert any living faculty. It is insisted further, that man, according to his life in the world, takes up his eternal abode, either with angels of light, or with the spirits of darkness ; with the former,
if he is wise to live according to the precepts of God's holy word, or with the latter, if, through folly and transgression, he Fejects the counsel and guidance of the Most High.
ARIANS, a denomination which arose about the year 315, and owed its origin to Arius, presbyter of Alexandria, a man of subtle turn, and remarkable eloquence. He maintained that the Son was totally and essentially distinct from the Father ; that he was the first and noblest of all those beings whom God the Father had created out of nothing, the instrument by whose subordinate operations the Almigbty Father formed the uniFerse, and therefore inferior to the Father both in dignity and nature. He added that the Holy Spirit was of a nature different from that of the Father and of the Son.
The modern Arians, to prove the subordination and inferiority of Christ to God the Father, argue thus : 1. That in the scripture the Father is styled the one, or only God : Matth. xix. 17; Matth. xxij. 9; Mark, v. 7 ; Eph. iv. 6; Matth. XXVII. 46 ; John, xx. 17; John xiv. 23 ; Jobn xvii. 3-5, 11, 21, 24, 25 ; 1 Cor. viji. 6; Ephes. iv. 6. 2. That there are numerous texts of scripture, in which it is declared that religious worship is referred to the Father only. Matth. iv, 10; John, iv. 23 ; Acts, iv. 24; 1 Cor. i. 4.
SOCINIANS, a denomination which appeared in the 16th century, followers of Lelius Socinus and Faustus Socinus, bis nephew.. Their principal tenets are : 1. That the holy scriga tures are to be understood or explained in such a manner as to render them conformable to the dictates of right reason and sound philosophy. 2 That Jesus Christ, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, was the true Mes, siah, and the chief of the prophets-that before he commenced his ministry, be was taken up into heaven, and instructed fully in the object of his mission : after which he returned to earth, to promulgate a new rule of life-- to propagate divine truth by bis ministry, and to confirm it by his death : in reward for which he is raised to dominion and glory. 3. That those who believe and obey the voice of this divine teacher, (wbich is 10 the power of every one) shall, at the last day, be raised from the dead and made eternally happy ; while on the other hand the wicked and disobedient shall be tormented and destroyed.
This denomination differ from the Arians in the following particulars :--The Socinians assert that Christ was simply a man, and consequently had no existence before his appearance in the world. The Arians maintain that Christ was a super-angelic being, united to a human body ; that, though himself created, he was the creator of all other things under God, and the instru. ment of all the divine communications to the patriarchs.
The Socinians say that the Holy Ghost is the power and wis: dom of God, which is God. The Arians suppose that the Holy Spirit is the creature of the Son, and subservient to him in the Fork of redemption.
FREE-THINKING CHRISTIANS are a sect of Unitarians, who sprung up in London, about ten or twelve years ago. With the Unitarians they deny the divinity of Christ's person, but believe in the divine character or nature of his mission as a teacher of religion. They regard the New Testament as the only authentic rule of faith and practice. They believe the church of God to consist of an assembly of men, believing the truth of Christianily, and united under the authority of Jesus, in the bonds of Christian fellowship. They reject Baptism, the Lord's Supper, and public social worship. In their assemblies, therefore, they have neither singing nor prayer; and they renounce all those doctrines usually termed orthodox in other societies, as the Trinity, the Atonement, original sin; the existence of devils, and of both good and evil spirits or angels ; the eternity of future punishments ; the immateriality and immortality of the soul ; the inspiration of the bible * as a book,” though they admit the origin of revelation, and the miracles, and other parts of the sacred scriptures.
Their public ineetings are conducted after the manner of an ordinary Debating or Philosophical Society ; and they frequently differ in their opinions amongst themselves. They sit in their meetings with covered heads, like the Quakers, and make very free in censuriny, if not condemning, all other sects of Chris. tians whatever, being extremely lavish in their abuse of the priesthood.
DESTRUCTIONISTS, a denomination who teach that the final punishinent threatened in the gospel to the wicked and impenitent, consists not in eternal misery, but in a total extinction of being ; and that the sentence of annihilation shall be executed with more or less torment, in proportion to the greater or less guilt of the criminal. They take for granted that the scripture word destruction, means annihilation.
In defence of this system it is argued, that there are many passages of scripture in wbich the ultimate punishment to which wicked men should be adjudged, is defined in the most precise terms, to be an everlasting destruction. They say that eternal punishment, which is opposite to eternal life, is not a state of perpetual misery, but total and everlasting destruction from The presence of the Lord,” which is “the second death," from which there is no resurrection.
Against this scheme it is urged. 1. That the punishment of annihilation admits of no degrees. 2. That this destruction is not described as the end, but the beginning of misery. 3. That the punishment of the wicked is to be the same as that of fallen angels. Mattb. xxv. 41-F. As the happiness of the just does not consist in eternal being, but well-being, so the punishment of the wicked requires the idea of eternal suffering to support the contrast,