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tained the eternity of matter, and also the existence of an evil being, who presided, and thus shared the empire of the universe with the supreme and beneficent Mind. They probably embraced the opinion of those who held that matter moved from eternity; and, by an intrinsic and necessary activity, had, from its innate force, produced, at a certain period of time, from its own substance, the evil principle which now exercises dominion over it, with all its numerous train of attendants. They are said to have taught that all human actions were indifferent, to have attributed a surprising power to magic, and to have denied the resurrection of the dead. Simon Magus taught those who followed him to fall down before him and his mistress Helena in his journey from Asia to Rome, to whom he ascribed the quality of the first intelligence of the sovereigu virtue. To her he attributed theproduction of angels, and to angels the creation of the world. He pretended that in his person resided the greatest and most perfect of the divine aions, and another, of the female sex, the mother of all human souls, dwelt in the
person of his mistres Helena; and that he came by the command of God upon earth to establish the empire of those who had formed the material world, and to deliver Helena from their power and dominion.* SOCINIANS, a denomination which appeared in the sixteenth century, and embraced the opinions of Lelius Socinus, a man of uncommon genius and learning; and of Faustus Socinus, his nephew, who propagated his uncle's sentiments in a public manner after his death. The principal tenets maintained by this denomination are as follow ; to which are added a few of the arguments they use in defence of their sentiments. That the holy scriptures are to be understood and explained in such a manner as to render them conformable to the dictates of reason.—In consequence of this leading point in their theology, they maintain that God, who is infinitely more perfect than man, though of a similar hature in some respects, exerted an act of that power by which he governs all things; in consequence of which an extraordinary person was born of the Virgin Mary. That person was Jesus Christ, whom God first translated to heaven by that portion of his divine power called the holy Ghost;" and, having instructed him fully in the knowledge of his counsels and designs, sent him again into this sublunary world to promulgate to mankind a new rule of life, more excellent than that under which they had formerly lived, to propagate divine truth by his minist try, and to confirm it by his death. That those who obey the voice of this divine teacher (and this obedience is in the power of every one whose will and inclination lead that way) shall one day be clothed with new bodies, and inhabit eternally those blessed regions where God himself immediately resides. Such, on the contrary, as are disobedient and rebellious, shall undergo most terrible and exquisite torments, which shall be succeeded by annihilation, or the total extinction of their being. The above is an account of the religious tenets of Socinus
* Mosheim's Eccles. Hist, vol. i. 115. Simson's History of the Church; fi. Dupin's Church History, vol. ii. p. 29. Formey's Ecclesiastical History, vol. i. p. 21.
and his immediate followers. Those at the present day who maintain the mere humanity. of Christ, differ from Socinus in many things; particularly in not paying religious worship to Jesus Christ, which was a point that Faustus Socinus vehemently insisted on, though he considered Christ as a man only, with divine powers conferred upon him. . He supposed that, in condescension to human weakness, in order that mankind might have one of their own brethren more upon a level with them, to whom they might have recourse in their straits and necessities, Almighty God, for his eminent virtues, had conferred upon Jesus Christ, the Son of Mary, some years after he was born, a high divine power, lordship, and dominion, for the government of the christian, world only; and had qualified him to hear and answer the prayers of his followers in such matters as related to the cause of the gospel. The chief foundation on which Socinus founded the opinion of Christ's being an object of religious worship, was the declarations in the scriptures concerning the kingdom and power bestowed upon him. The interpretation which he put on those passages which speak of angels and heavenly powers being put under him, and worshipping him ; his having a knowledge of the secret thoughts of men imparted to him, and the like, which, with some presumed instances of the fact, of prayer being actually made to him, he maintained to be a sufficient though indirect signification of the divine will, that men should invoke Christ by prayer. But he constantly acknowledged that there was no express precept for making him an object of religious worship. Socinus allowed that the title of 'true God might be given to Christ; though all he meant 'by it was, that he had a real divine power and dominion bestowed upon him, to qualify him to take care of the concerns of christians, and to hear and answer their prayers, though he was originally nothing more than a human creature. There were some among the early Socinians who disapproved and rejected the worship paid to Christ, as being without any foundation
* Socinus and some of his followers entertained a notion of Christ's having been in some unknown time of his life taken up personally into heaven, and sent down again to the earth, which was the way in which they solved these expressions concerning him : " No man has ascended to heaven but he that came from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven,” (John iii. : Thus Moses, who was the type of Christ, before the promulgation of the law, ascended to God upon Mount Sinai. So Christ, before he entered on the office assigned him by the Father, was in consequence of the divine counsel and agency, translated into heaven, that he might see the things he had to announce to the world in the name of God himself,
in the holy scriptures, the only rule of christian faith and worship. At present it is agreed, both by Arians and Socinians, that the supreme God, in one person, is the only object of prayer. See Unitarians. Socinus was a strict Pelagian in his sentiments respecting human nature. See Pelagians. 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 birth and appearance in this world. The Arians maintain that Christ was a super-angelic being united to a human body : that, though he was himself created, he was the creator of all other things under God, and the instrument of all the 'divine communications to the patriarchs. * The Socinians say that the holy Ghost is the power and wisdom of God, which is God. The Arians suppose that the holy Spirit is the creature of the Son, and subservient to him in the work of redemption.” For an account of the Socinian divisions, see Bidelians, Budneians, and Farvonians.
* Mosheim, vol. iv. pp. 167—195. Lindsey's View of the Unitarian Doctrine, &c., pp. 173–393. Priestley's Disquisitions, vol. i. p. 376 Priestley's History of Early Opinions, vol. iv. p. 233. Toulmin's Life of * Broughton, vol. ii. p. 560.
SOLDINS, so called from their leader, one Soldin, a greek priest. They appeared about the middle of the fifth century in the kingdoms of Saba and Godolia. They altered the manner of the sacrifice of the mass; their priests offered gold, their deacons incense, and their subdeacons myrrh ; and this in memory of the like offerings made to the infant Jesus by the wise men.” Very few authors mention the Soldins, neither do we know whether they still subSlSt. STANCARIANS, the disciples of Francis Stancarus professor of the hebrew tongue, and a native of Mantua in Italy. The tenet which he most eagerly defended was, that Jesus Christ was a mediator in quality of a mere man, and not in quality of Godand-Man.* This denomination took its rise in the sixteenth century. STYLITES, so called by the Greeks, and Sancti Colummarii, or Pillar Saints, by the Latins. They stood motionless upon the tops of pillars, expressly raised for this exercise
of their patience, and remained there for several years, amidst the admiration and applause of the populace. The inventor of this discipline was Simeon, a Syrian, who, in order to climb as near heaven as possible, to passed thirty-seven years of his life upon five pillars of six, twelve, twenty-two, thirty-six, and forty cubits high ; and thus acquired a most shining reputation, and attracted the veneration of all about him. Many of the inhabitants of Syria followed his example, though not with the same degree of austerity: and this practice, which was begun in the fifth, continued in vogue till the twelfth century.} SUBLAPSARIANS, anappellation given to those Calvinists who suppose that the decree of predestination regards man as fallen by an abuse of that freedom which Adam had, into a state, in which all were to be left to necessary and unavoidable ruin, who were not exempted from it by predestination.]] SUPRALAPSARIANS, [a title given to those Calvinists who suppose that God intend
# It is said that Simeon imagined he saw an angel of light coming to him in a fiery chariot to carry him to heaven, and litted up his foot in order to
enter the divine vehicle. § Mosheim, vol. i. p. 391.
History of Don Ignatius, vol. i. p. 31,
f Ibid, vol. ii. p. 561.
| Doddridge's lectures, p. 460,
edite glorify his justice in the condemnation of some, as well as his mercy in the salvation of others; and to that end decreed to permit the fall of man, by which an occasion would be furnished for the display of both. We will here subjoin the account of Supralapsarianism as given by Dr. Gill, in his body of divinity, vol. i. p. 299. The question which he proposes to discuss is, “Whether men were considered in the mind of God in the decree of election, as fallen or unfallen ; as in the corrupt mass through the fall, or in the pure mass of creatureship previous to it, and as to be created 2 There are some who think that the latter, so considered, were the objects of election in the divine mind. These are called Supralapsarians, though of these some are of opinion that man was considered as to be created, or creatable ; and others as created, but not fallen. The former seems best ; that of the vast number of individuals which came up in the divine mind, whom his power could create, those whom he meant to bring into being he designed to glorify himself by them in some way or other. The decree of election respecting any part of them may be distinguished into the decree of the
end, and the decree of the means. The decree of the end respecting some is either subordinate to their eternal happiness, or ultimate; which is more properly the end, the glory of God; and if both are put together, it is a state of everlasting communion with God, for the glorifying of the riches of his sovereign grace and goodness. (Ephes. i. 5, 6.) The decree of the means includes the decree to create men, to permit them to fall, to recover them out of it through redemption by Christ, to sanctify them by the grace of the Spirit, and completely save them; and which are not to be reckoned as materially many decrees, but as making one formal decree; or they are not to be considered as subordinate, but as co-ordinate means, and as making up one entire complete medium : for it is not to be supposed that God decreed to create man that he might permit him to fall, in order to redeem, sanctify and save him ; but he decreed all this that he might glorify his grace, mercy and justice. And in this way of considering the decrees of God they think that they suificiently obviate and remove the slanderous calumny cast upon them with respect to the other branch of predestination, which leaves men in