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tem, not in our being justified by faith, as it apprehends the righteousness of Christ; but in this, that God, abrogating the exaction of perfect legal obedience, reputes, or accepts of faith itself, and the imperfect obedience of faith, instead of the perfect obedience of the law, and graciously accounts them worthy of the reward of eternal life.” This opinion was examined at the synod of Dort,” and has been canvassed between the Calvinists and Arminians on various occasions.# Towards the close of the seventeenth century a controversy was agitated amongst the English dissenters, in which the one side, who were partial to the writings of Dr. Crisp, were charged with Antinomianism, and the other, who favoured those of Mr. Baxter, were accused of Neonomianism. Dr. Daniel Williams, who was a principal writer on what was called the Neonomian side, aftermanythings had been said of him, gives the following as a summary of his faith in reference to those subjects:– “(1.) God has eternally elected a certain definite number of men, whom he will infallibly save by Christ, in that way prescribed by the gospel.— (2.) These very elect are not
personally justified until they receive Christ, and yield up themselves to him ; but they remain condemned whilst unconverted to Christ.—(3.) By the ministry of the gospel there is a serious offer of pardon and glory, upon the terms of the gospel, to all that hear it: and God thereby requires them to comply with the said terms. —(4.) Ministers ought to use these and other gospel benefits as motives, assuring men that if they believe, they shall be justified; if they turn to God, they shall live; if they repent, their sins shall be blotted out: and whilst they neglect these duties, they cannot have a personal interest in these respective benefits.--(5.) It is by the power of the Spirit of Christ freely exerted, and not by the power of free-will, that the gospel becomes effectual for the conversion of any soul to the obedience of faith.(6.) When a man believes, yet is not that very faith, and much less any other work, the matter of that righteousness for which a sinner is justified; i. e. entitled to pardon, acceptance as righteous, and eternal glory before God; and it is the imputed righteousness of Christ alone, for which the gospel gives the believera right to these and all saving blessthreatenings, as motives to our obedience? Both these I affirm, and they deny; saying the gospel in the largest sense is an absolute promise, without precepts and conditions, and a gospel threat is a bull.—(4.) Do the gospel promises of benefits, to certain graces, and its threats that those benefits shall be withheld, and the fifth century; so called from Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople. They maintain that the union of Christ's divinity with his humanity, is a union of will, operation, and benevolence; for the divine Word is perfect in his nature and person. The human nature, united to him is likewise a perfect humanity in its nature and person; neither of them is changed, or undergoes any alteration. Therefore there are two persons in Jesus Christ, and two natures, united by one operation and will. They supposed that, as there were two distinct natures in Christ, the divine and human, it was only the human nature which suffered. They considered Jesus as having been a mere man, till the Spirit of God came upon him at his baptism; and also that he was a mere man in his suffering and death. Nestorius asserted, that, though the Virgin Mary was the mother of Jesus Christ as a man, yet she was not the mother of God ; because no human creature could impart that to another which she did not possess herself.
* Acta Synodi. p. 253. t See Edwards on the Will, London edition, pp. 220, 221.
contrary evils inflicted for the
neglect of such graces, render those graces the condition of our personal title to those benefits: This they deny, and I affirm, &c.” It does not appear to have been a question in this controversy, whether God in his word commands sinners to repent and believe in Christ, nor whether he promises life to believers, and threatens death to unbelievers; but whether it be the gospel under the form of a new law that thus commands or threatens, or the moral law
on its behalf; and whether its.
promises to believing render such believing a condition of the things promised.—In another controversy, however,
which arose about forty years afterwards amongst the same descriptions of people, it became a question whether God did by his word (call it law or gospel) command unregenerate sinners to repent and believe in Christ, or do any thing else which is spiritually good. Of those who took the affirmative side of this question, one party attempted to maintain it on the ground of the gospel being a new law, consisting of commands, promises, and threatenings, the terms or conditions of which were repentance, saith, and sincere obedience. But those who first engaged in the controversy, though they allowed the encouragement to repent and believe to arise merely from the grace of the gospel, yet considered the formal obligation to do so as arising from the
f Williams's Gospel Truth Stated and Vindicated. Chauncey's Neonomianism Unmasked. Maurice's Modern Question Affirmed and Proved,
[NB. The controversy between what a century ago were called the * The opinions of Nestorius were early spread through the East, where they still continue to flourish. See Gregory's History of the Christian
the Antinomians, has been very ably and candidly re
viewed by the famous W. L.T.s sus, author of the oeconomy of the covenants, in his Irenicum. This work has been translated from the latin by the late Mr Thomas Beli, of Glasgow, and is now proposed to be reprinted with notes by the translator, The volume, it is said, will be small, and the subscription low. We earnestly hope the work will be duly encouraged.]
In the Nestorian controversy, the contending parties seem to have been all of one opinion, as to the doctrine of the trinity, in opposition to the Arians; and to have held the consubstantiality, co-eternity, and natural co-equality of the three divine persons, or hypostases. The generality of the christians in the Levant are called Nestorians.” NEW J ER US ALEM CHURCH, a society who embrace the tenets of Baron Swedenborg, and have lately begun to form themselves into a separate communion under this name. For an account of their distinguishing sentiments, see Swedenborgeans. NICOLAITANS, a denomination in the first century; so called from Nicolas, one of the first seven deacons of Jerusalem. They made no
Church, vol. i. p. 217.
Priestley's History of Early Opinions, vol. iv. p. 252, Jortin's Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, vol. iv. p. 278. Memoirs of Literature, vol. v.
p. 137. Bailey's Dictionary vol. ii.
* Dupin's Church History, vol. i. p. 30. Broughton's Hist. Lib, vol. ii. p.179: * Mosheim, vol. i. pp. 246, 247. Broughton, vol. ii. p. 172.
who pretended that he was another Moses sent by God, and that his brother was a new Aaron. He affirmed that the supreme God, whom he called the Father, and considered as absolutely indivisible, united himself to the man Christ, whom he called the Son, and was born and crucified with him. From this opinion Noetus and his followers were distinguished by the title of Patripassians; i. e. persons who believe that the supreme Father of the universe, and not any other divine person, had expiated the guilt of the human race.”
NOVATIANS, a denomination in the third century. They derive their name from their founders Novat and Nowation; the first a priest of the church of Carthage, the ether of that of Rome. This denomination laid it down for a fundamental tenet, that the church of Christ ought to be pure, and free from every stain ; and that the
PHITES, a denomination which appeared in the second century, whose leader was called Euphrates. They derive their name from
sinner who had once faller: into any offence could not again become a member of it, though they did not refuse him the hopes of eternal life. Hence they looked upon every society which re-admitted those to their communion who, after baptism, had fallen into heinous crimes, as unworthy the title of a christian church. They separated from the church of Rome, because they admitted to communion those who had fallen off in time of persecution, which opinion they founded on Heb. vi. 6. They obliged such as came over to them from the general body of christians to submit to baptism a second time, as a necessary preparation for entering into their society. This denomination also condemned second marriages, and denied communion for ever to such as, after baptism, married a second time. They assumed to themselves the title of Cathari, i. e. the
t Formey's Eccles, Hist. yol. i. p. 64, Mosheim's Eccles. Hist, vol. i. pp. 250, 251, History of Religion, vol. iv, Broughton's Hist, Lib. vol. ii.
tunder the form of that animal. In consequence of this opinion they offered a subordinate kind of divine worship to a certain number of serpents, which they nourished and esteemed sacred. It is said they kept a live serpent in a kind of cage. At certain times they opened the door and called the serpent. The animal came out, and, mounting upon the table, twined itself about some loaves of bread. This bread they broke and distributed among the company, who all kissed the serpent. This they called their eucharist. Their other opinions were similar with the rest of the Egyptian Gnostics.” See Gnostics. ORIGENISTS, a denomination which appeared in the third century, who derived their opinions from the writings of Origen, a presbyter of Alexandria, and a man of vast and uncommon abilities, who interpreted the divine truths of religion according to the tenor of the Platonic philosophy. He, alleged that the source of many evils lies in adhering to the literal and external part of scripture ; and that the true meaning of the sacred writers was to be sought in a mysterions and hidden sense, arising from the nature of things themselves.
The principal tenets ascribed to Origen, together with a few of the reasons made use of in their defence, are comprehended in the following summary:—
1. That there is a pre-existent state of human souls. For the nature of the seul is such as to make her capable of existing eternally, backward as well as forward ; beeause her spiritual essence, as such, makes it impossible that she should, either through age or violence, be dissolved : so that nothing is wanting to her existence but the good pleasure of him from whom all things proceed. And if, according to the Platonic scheme, we assign the production of all things to the exuberant fulness of life in the Deity, which, through the blessed necessity of his communicative nature, empties itself into all possibilities of being, as into so many capable receptacles, we must suppose her existence in a sense necessary, and in a degree co-eternal with God.
2. That souls were condemned to animate mortal bodies, in order to expiate faults they had committed in a pre-existent state: for we may be assured, from the infinite goodness of their Creator, that they were at first
* Broughton, vol., ii, p, 191, Mosheim, vol. i. pp. 189-199.