« PreviousContinue »
nor really ascend into heaven. They rejected the doctrine of the resurrection, affirmed that the general judgment was past, and that hell-torments were no other than the evils we feel and suffer in this life. They denied free-will, did not admit original sin, and never administered baptism to infants. They held that a man can give the holy Spirit of himself, and that it is unlawful for a christian to take an oath. * This denomination derived their name from the place where their spiritual ruler resided.* See Manicheans and Catherists. ALBANOIS, a denomination which sprung up in the eighth century, and renewed the greatest part of the Ma
nichean principles. They also
maintained that the world was from eternity.t See Manicheans. ALBIGENSES, so called from . their first increase in Albi and Albigeois. A denomination remarkable for their opposition to the discipline and ceremonies of the church of Rome. Their opinions are
similar to the Waldenses.t See Waldenses. ALMARICIANS, a denomination that arose in the thirteenth century. They derived their origin from Almaric, professor of logic and theology at Paris. His adversaries charged him with having taught that every christian was obliged to believe himself a member of Jesus Christ, and that without this belief none could be saved. His followers asserted that the power of the Father had continued only during the Mosaic dispensation, that of the Son twelve hundred years after his entrance upon earth, and that in the thirteenth century the age of the holy Spirit commenced, in which the sacraments and all external worship were to be abolished;š and that every one was to be saved by the internal operations of the holy Spirit alone, without any external act of religion.| ALOGIANS, a denomination in Asia Minor in the year one hundred and seventy-one; so called, because they denied the divine logos, or word, and the gospel and writings of St. John, attributing them to Cerinthus. * . One Theodore of Byzantium, by trade a currier, was the head of this denomination.” AMMONIANS, so called from Ammonius Saccas, who taught with the highest applause in the Alexandrian school, about the conclusion of the second century. This learned man attempted a general reconciliation of all sects, whether philosophical or religious. He maintained that the
* Broughton, vol. i. p. 31. Mosheim, vol. ii. p. 445.
§ The learned Spanheim imagines that Almaric was falsely charged with maintaining the sentiments above mentioned, in order to render his memory edious, because he had opposed the worship of saints and images.
great principles of all philo
sophical and religious truth were to be found equally in all sects, and that they differed from each other only in their method of expressing them, and in some opinions of little or no importance; and that by a proper interpretation of their respective sentiments, they might easily be united in one body. Ammonius supposed, that true philosophy derived its origin and its consistence from the eastern nations, that it was taught to the Egyptians by Hermes, that it was brought from them to the Greeks, and preserved in its original purity by Plato, who was the best interpreter of Hermes and the other oriental sages. He maintained that all the different religions which prevailed in the world, were in their original
integrity conformable to this ancient philosophy; but it unfortunately happened that the symbols and fictions under which, according to the eastern manner, the ancients delivered their precepts and doctrines, were in process of time erroneously understood, both by priests and people, in a literal sense; that in consequence of this, the invisible beings and demons whom the supreme Deity had placed in the different parts of the universe as the ministers of his providence, were by the suggestions of superstition converted into gods, and worshipped with a multiplicity of vain ceremonies. He therefore insisted that all the religions of all nations should be restored to their primitive standard ; viz. The ancient philosophy of the east : and he asserted that his project was agreeable to the intentions of Jesus Christ, whom he acknowledged to be a most excellent man, the friend of God; and affirmed that his sole view in descending on earth was to set bounds to the reigning superstition, to remove the errors which had crept into the religion of all nations, but not to abolish the ancient theology from which they were derived. Taking these principles for granted, Ammonius associated the sentiments of the Egyp
tians with the doctrines of Plato; and to finish this conciliatory scheme, he so interpreted the doctrines of the other philosophical and religious sects, by art, invention, and allegory, that they seemed to bear some resemblance to the Egyptian and Platonic systems.” With regard to moral discipline, Ammonius permitted the people to live according to the law of their country, and the dictates of nature: but a more sublime rule was laid down for the wise. They were to raise above all terrestrial things, by the towering efforts of holy contemplation, those souls whose origin was celestial and divine. They were ordered to extenuate by hunger, thirst, and other mortifications, the sluggish body, which restrains the liberty of the immortal spirit, that in this life they might enjoy communion with the supreme Being, and ascend after death, active and unincumbered, to the universal Parent, to live in his presence for ever.t AMSDORFIANS, a denomination of protestants in the sixteenth century, who took their name from Amsdorf,
their leader. It is said they maintained that good works were not only unprofitable, but even opposite and pernicious to salvation.I ANGELITES, a denomination which sprung up about the year four hundred and ninety-four; so called from . Angelium, a place in the city of Alexandria, where they held their first meetings. They were called likewise Serverites from one Serverus, who was the head of their sect ; as also Theodosians, from one among them named Theodosius, whom they made pope at Alexandria. They held that the Father, Son, and holy Ghost, are not the same; that none of them exists of himself, and of his own nature ; and that there is a common Deity existing in them all; and that each is God by a participation of this Deity. § ANOMCEANS, a name by which the pure Arians were distinguished in the fourteenth century, in contradistinction to the Semi-Arians. The word is taken from Ayouoso;, different, dissimilar. See Arians. ANTHROPOMORPHITES, a denomination in the tenth century; so denominated
* Ammonius left nothing behind him in writing; nay, he imposed a law upon his disciples not to divulge his doctrines among the multitude, which kaw, however, they made no scruple to neglect and violate.
t Mosheim, vol. i. p. 137 to 144,
§ Broughton, vol, i. p. 49,
from arowaves, man, and of pn, shape. In the district of Vicenza, a considerable number, not only of the illiterate vulgar, but also of the sacerdotal order, fell into the notion that the Deity was clothed with a human form, and seated like an earthly monarch upon a throne of gold; and that his angelic ministers were men arrayed in white garments, and furnished with wings, to render them more expeditious in executing their Sovereign's orders. They take every thing spoken of God in scripture in a literal sense, particularly that passage in Genesis, in which it is said that Gad made man after his own Image.” ANTINOMIANS. [They derive their name from arri, against, and vogos, law, as being against the moral law; not merely as a medium of life, but also as a rule of conduct to believers. In the sixteenth century, while LUTHER was eagerly employed in censuring and refuting the popish doctors, who mixed the law and gospel together, and represented eternal happiness as the fruit of legal obedience, a new teacher arose whosename was John Agricola, a native of Isleben, and an eminent doctor in the Lutheran church. His fame began to spread in the year fifteen hun
dred and thirty-eight, when from the doctrine of Luther, now mentioned, he took occasion to advance sentiments which drew upon him the animadversions of that reformer. The doctrine of Agricola was in itself obscure, and is thought to have been represented worse than it really was by Luther, who wrote against him with acrimony, and first styled him and his followers Antinomians. Agricola defended himself, and complained that opinions were imputed to him which he did not hold. The writings of Dr. Crisp in the seventeenth century have been generally considered as favourable to antinomianism, though he acknowledges that “in respect of the rules of righteousness, or the matter of obedience, we are under the law still, or else (as he adds) we are lawless, to live every man as seems good in his own eyes, which no true christian dares so much as think.”f The following sentiments, however, among others, appear to be taught in his sermons. The law is cruel and tyrannical, requiring what is naturally impossible. (pp. 116 —119.) The sins of the elect were so imputed to Christ, as that though he did not commit them, yet they became ac. tually his transgressions, and ceased to be theirs. (269,270.) The feelings of conscience, which tell them that sin is theirs, arise from a want of knowing the truth. (ibid.) It is but the voice of a lying spirit in the hearts of believers that saith they have yet sin wasting their consciences, and lying as a burden too heavy for them to bear. (298.) Christ's righteousness is so imputed to the elect, that they, ceasing to be sinners, are as righteous as he was, and all that he was.
* Broughton, vol. i. p. 55. Mosheim, vol. ii. p. 227. t Sermons, vol. iv. p.93.
(270.) An elect person is not in a condemned state while an unbeliever; and should he happen to die before God call him to believe, he would not be lost. (363.) All signs and marks of grace are doubtful evidences of heaven: it is the voice of the Spirit of God to a man's own spirit, speaking particularly in the heart of a person, Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee, that is the great and only evidence which can determine the question. (466.) The whole essence of faith is nothing else but the echo of the heart, answering the foregoing voice of the Spirit and word of grace; the former declaring, Thy sins are forgiven thee; the latter answering, My sins are forgiven me. (493.) God sees no sin in believers, nor doth he afflict them on this account. (15, 19,
170.) God doth no longer stand offended nor displeased though a believer, after he is a believer, do sin often. (15.) God is not displeased with the believer on account of his sin, nor pleased on account of his obedience: he is neither the worse for the one, nor the better for the other. (429.) Sin doth the believer no hurt, and righteousness doth him no good, nor must he pursue it to this end. (150, 510, 51.1.) Repentance and confession of sin are not necessary to forgiveness. A believer may certainly conclude before confession, yea, as soon as he hath committed sin, the interest he hath in Christ, and the love of Christ embracing him. (213.) Some of the principal passages of scripture from whence these sentiments were defend-\ ed, were the following: He was made sin for us, who knew no sin, —Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect—Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more—All things work together for good to them that love God. 2 Cor. v. 21. Rom. viii. 33. Heb. viii. 12. Rom. viii. 28. - Many of those who in the present day adopt these principles, reject the moral law as a rule of conduct to believers, disown personal, and progressive sanctification, and hold it inconsistent for a believer to