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at Enfield, Connecticut, which contains about 200 members, One at Harvard, in the state of Massachusetts, which contains about 200 members. One at Shirley, containing about 150 members. There are, in addition to the above, four distinct Societies in New Hampshire and Maine, containing upwards of 750 members, and five in the Western States, containing about 1700 members. The number of believers, both in the Eastern and Western States, exceed 4000.
The SANDEMANIANS, or Glassites, so called from Mr. Sandeman, an elder in one of these churches. Their leading sentiments are, 1. That justifying faith is no more than a simple belief of the truth, or the divine testimony passively received. 2. That this divine testimony is in itself sufficient ground of hope, to those who believe it, without any thing wrought in us, or done by us, to give it a particular direction to ourselves.
The principal practices in which they differ from other denominations are as follows: They administer the Lord's supper every Sabbath. They make weekly collections before the Lord's supper, for the support of the poor, &c. In the interval between their morning and afternoon service, they have their love-feasts, of which every one is required to partake. At these love-feasts, and on the admission of a new member, they use the kiss of charity, or the saluting each other with a holy kiss, a duty they believe expressly enjoined-Rom. xvi. 16, and in 1 Cor xvi. 20. They also practice washing each other's feet, for which usage they allege John xiij. 14, 15. They hold to community of goods, so far as that every one is to consider what he hath liable to the calls of the poor and of the church. With excommunicated persons they hold it unlawful either to eat or drink.
Mr. Sandeiran came to New-England and settled a society at Boston, Danbury, &c. He died at Danbury in 1771.
The SOUTHCOTTIANS, or followers of the late Joanna Southcott. This poor woman set forth that she was divinely inspired, and had a commission to announce to the world the speedy reign of Christ upon earth. She even pretended to have been miraculously pregnant of the divine Shiloh ; but alas ! the poor woman expired before her delivery ; and when her body was opened, no appearance of a child could be found.
WILKINSON, Jemima, an American female of some noto. riety. She asserted that in 1776, she was taken sick, and actually died, and her soul went to reside in Heaven. Soon after her body was reanimated with the spirit and power of Christ, upon which she set up as a public teacher. She pretended to foretel future events, to discern the secrets of the heart, and to have the power of healing diseases. She acknowledged no other name but that of Universal Friend.
UNIVERSALISTS are those who suppose that, as Christ died for all, so, before he shall have delivered up his mediatorial kingdom to the Father, all shall be brought to a participation of the benefits of his death, in their restoration to holiness and happiness. They teach that the wicked will receive a punishment apportioned to their crimes; that punishment itself is a mediatorial work, and founded upon mercey ; that it is a mean of humbling, subduing, and finally reconciling the sinner to God. They suppose that the words eternal, everlasting, &c. as they sometimes apply to the things which have ended, so they cannot apply to endless misery. They say this doctrine is most consenant to the perfections of the Deity, most worthy of the character of Christ, and that the scriptures cannot be reconciled upon any other plan.
The arguments used by Universalists are, 1. Christ died not for a select number of men only, but for mankind universally : for, say they, the scriptures are full on this point. ' 1 Thes. y. 10; 1 Cor. xv. 3: Rom. v. 6; Pet. iii. 18; John i. 29; John iii. 16, 17 ; 1 John ii. 2; Heb. ii. 9. 2. It is the purpose of God, that mankind universally, in consequence of the death of his son Jesus, shall certainly and finally be saved. Rom. v. 12; Rom. viii. 19, 24 ; Col. i. 19, 20; Eph. iv. 10; Eph. i. 9, 10; 2 Tim. i. 4. 3. As a mean for salvation, God will sooner or later, in this state or another, reduce them all under a willing and obedient subjection to his moral government. 1 John iii. 8; John i. 29; Matth. i. 21 ; Psalm viii. 5, 6; Heb. ii. 6, 9; Phil. ii. 9, Ú; 1 Cor. xv. 24, 29.
Their opponents observe that the scriptures expressly declare that the punishment of the finally impenitent shall be eternal. Matth. xvii. 8; Matth. XXV. 41, 46 ; Mark ix. 43 ; Rev. xiv, 11; 2. Thés. i. 9; Eph. ii. 17 ; Jude 13; Rev. ix. 3; Rev. xx. 10; Matth. xii. 31, 32 ; Luke xii. 10; Mark iji. 29; 1 John v. '16 ; Heb. i. 4, 6; Heb. x. 26, 27 ; Matth. xxvi. 24; Mark ix. 45, 46.
MENNONITES, a sect of Baptists, who are said to believe that the New Testament is the only rule of faith ; that the terms person and Trinity are not to be used when speaking of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ; that the first man was not created perfect, (all Mennonites may not unite in this belief); that it is unlawful to take oaths or to wage war upon any occasion ; that infants are not the proper subjects of baptism ; and that ministers of the gospel ought not to receive salaries. They maintain that practical piety is the essence of religion, and debar none from their assemblies who lead pious lives. In their private meetings every person has liberty to speak. The Mennonites in Pennsylvania do not baptize by immersion, their common method is to baptize the person kneeling, the minister holds his hands over him, into which the deacon pours water, through which it runs on the head of the baptized, after which succeeds the imposition of hands and prayer.
MILLENNARIANS, those who believe that Christ will reign personally on earth for a thousand years with the saints, before the end of the world and after the first resurrection. The ancient Millennarians beld that after the coming of Antichrist, and the destruction which will follow, there shall be a first resurrection of the just alone ; that all who shall be found on earth, good and bad, shall remain alive : that Jesus Christ · will then descend from heaven in his glory. That Jerusalem will be rebuilt as described in Revelation, chap. xxi. and Ezekiel xxxvi. chap. and that Christ will here establish his kingdom and reign with the prophets and saints for a thousand years, who will enjoy perfect felicity. The following are some of the texts which refer to this subject. Mat. xiii. 41, 43. Luke xvii. 29, 30. Acts iii. 21. Heb. i. 11, 12. 2 Pet. ii. 13. Rev. xx. 4. 6. Dan. ii. 35. However the Millennarians may differ among themselves respecting the nature of this great event, it is agreed on all hands, that such a revolution will be effected in the latter days, by which vice, and its attendant misery, shall be banished from the earth ; that the dissensions and animosities by which the religious world has been agitated, will then cease to exist.
THE ATHEISTS. The Atheists are those who deny the existence of a God : this is called speculative Atheism. Professing to believe in God, and yet acting contrary, is called practical Atheism. Absurd and irrational as Atheism is, it bas had its votaries and martyrs. The open avowal of Atheism by several of the leading members of the French Convention seems to have been an extraordinary moral phenomenon.
Archbishop Tillotson justly observes, that speculative Atheism is unreasonable upon five accounts. 1. Because it gives no tolerable account of the existence of the world. 2. It does not give any reasonable account of the universal consent of mankind in this apprehension that there is a God. 3. It requires more evidence of things than they are capable of giving. 4. The Atheist pretends to know that which no man can know. 5. Atheism contradicts itself.
Under the first of these he thus argues “ I appeal to any man of reason whether any thing can be more unreasonable than obstinately to impute an effect to chance, which carries in the very face of it all the arguments and characters of a wise design and contrivance, Was ever a considerable work, in which there was required a great variety of parts, done by chance ? Will chance fit means to ends, and that in ten thousand instances, and not fail in any one? How often might a man, after he had jumbled a set of letters in a bag, Aling them out on the
ground, before they would fall into an exact poem ; yea, or so much as inake a good discourse in prose ? And may not a little book be as easily made by chance, as the great volume of the world ? How long might a man be in sprinkling colours upon canvass witb a careless hand, before they would happen to make an exact picture of a man ? And is a man easier made by chance than his picture ? How long might twenty thousand blind men, who should be sent out from several remote parts of England, wander up and down before they would meet on Salisbury plain, and fall into rank and file in the exact order of an army? And, yet, this is much more easy to be imagined than how the innumerable blind parts of matter should rendezvous themselves into a world. A man that sees Henry the Seventh's chapel at Westininster might with as good reason maintain (yea with much better, considering the vast difference betwixt that little structure and the huge fabric of the world) that it was never contrived or built by any means, but that the stones did by chance grow into those curious figures into wbich they seem to have been cut and graven ; and that upon a tine (as tales usually begin) the materials of that building, the stone, mortar, timber, iron, lead, and glass, happily met together, and very fortunately ranged themselves into that delicate order in which we see them now, so close compacted, that it must be a very great chance that parts them again. What would the world think of a man that should advance such an opinion as this, and write a book for it ? If they would do him right, they ought to look upon him as mad; but yet with a little more reason than any man can have to say, that the world was made by chance, or that the first men grew up out of the earth as plants do now. For, can any thing be more ridiculous, and against all reason, than to ascribe the production of men to the first fruitfulness of the earth, without so much as one instance and experiment, in any age or history, to countenance so inon. strous a supposition ? The thing is, at first sight, so gross and palpable, that no discourse about it can inake it more apparent. And yet, these shameful heggars of principles give this preca. rious account of the original of things ; assume to themselves to be the men of reason, the great wits of the world, the only cautious and wary persons that hate to be imposed upon, that must have convincing evidence for every thing, and can admit of nothing without a clear demonstration of it."
The Deists are a class of people, whose distinguishing character it is, not to profess any particular form or system of religion ; but only to acknowledge the existence of a God, and to follow the light and law of Nature, rejecting revelation and op
posing Christianity. The name of deists seems to have been first assumed, as the denomination of a party, about the middle of the 16th century, by some gentlemen in France and Italy, who were desirous of thus disguising their opposition to Christianity by a more bonourable appellation than that of atheists. Viret, an eminent reformer, mentions certain persons in his epistle dedicatory, prefixed to the second volume of his Instruction Chretienne, published in 1653, who called themselves by a new name, that of deists. These, he tells us, professed to believe in God, but shewed no regard to Jesus Christ, and considered the doctrine of the apostles and evangelists as fables and dreams. He adds, that they laughed at all religion, though they outwardly conformed to the religion of those with whom they lived, or whom they wished to please, or feared to offend. Some, he observed, professed to believe the immortality of the soul ; others denied both this doctrine and that of providence. Many of them were considered as persons of acute and subtile genius, and took pains in disseminating their notions. The deists hold, that, considering the multiplicity of religions, the numerous pretences to revelation, and the precarious, arguments generally advanced in proof thereof, the best and surest way is to return to the simplicity of nature, and the belief of one God; wbich is the only truth agreed to by all nations. They complain, that the freedom of thinking and reasoning is oppressed under the yoke of religion, and that the minds of men are tyrannized over, by the necessity imposed on them of believing inconceivable mysteries ; and contend that nothing should be required to be assented to or believed but what their reason clearly conceives. .
The distinguishing character of modern deists is, that they discard all pretences to revelation as the effects of imposture or enthusiasm. They profess a regard for natural religion, though they are far from being agreed in their notions concerning it.
They are classed by some of their own writers into mortal and immortal deists; the latter acknowledging a future state ; and the former denying it, or representing it as very uncertain. Dr. Clarke distinguishes four sorts of deists. 1. Those who pretend to believe the existence of an eternal, infinite, independent, intelligent Being, who made the world without concerning himself in the government of it.-2. Those who believe the being and natural providence of God, but deny the difference of actions as morally good or evil, resolvirig it into the arbitrary constitution of human laws ; and therefore they suppose that God takes no notice of them. With respect to both these classes, he observes that their opinions can consistently terminate in nothing but downright atheism.-3. Those who, having right apprehensions concerning the nature, attributes, and all-governing providence of God, seem also to have some notion of his moral perfections ; though they consider them as transcendent, and such in nature and degree, that we