« IndietroContinua »
the second century, in the third century by the followers of Paul of Samosata, who were called Samosatenians, in the fourth century by Photinus a bishop of Galatia, and lastly, by Socinus in the sixteenth century.
Were so called from Sabellius, bishop of Pentapolis, in Africa. These professors believe, that Jehovah, the incomprehensible, unsearchable, and incommunicable principles of Deity, was manifested in a visible human form: that there was but one person in the Godhead, and that this was the Father. Thus, by personifying1 the divine essence, they were called
Who taught that the Father, or the divine essence suffered. Thus they totally excluded the person of Christ, arid the operation of the Holy Spirit. They were the highest order of Unitarians, but it will appear to the intelligent reader, that if finite beings attempt to personify the eternal, infinite and incomprehensible Jehovah, they greatly err: such pretenders convict themselves in point of possibility; it is a contradiction in plain terms, for that which is finite to comprehend the infinite.! the created, the creator! man cannot sketch his ideas beyond the finite line which is marked by the infinite; were this possible, he would be equal with God. By personifying the Deity, it is an attempt to comprehend him who is incomprehensible, infinite, and uncreated..
It is expressly said, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." John, i. 18.
Believe that there are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: that the Son came forth from the substance of the Father, and that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son: that the Father is the fountain of Deity, but that the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in all other respects are equal to him, and are united with him, by what is called by the ancient Nicene fathers, Emperichoresis, viz. a reciprocal penetration of each other's substance. This would have been much better expressed, easier of comprehension, and more consistent with the perfections of Deity; if it had been said by those venerable fathers, that by the Ubiquity of the divine nature, i. e. omnipresence, existing at the same time in all places; which, however inconceivable to man, must be necessarily admitted; the three Persons in the Trinity must always be present to each other.
THE ANCIENT ARMENIAN CHURCH.
The history of the Armenian Greek church is very interesting. Of all the Christians in central Asia, they have withstood the persecutions of the Mahometans, even when the seven churches, who had the immediate
communication with the apostle, almost exhausted by suffering and death, had at length been compelled to receive the religion of the impostor at the point of the sword. "The Armenians have maintained their independence, their ancient scripture, doctrines and worship, to this day."* Their proper country is Armenia, from which they are called Armenians.
Armenia is under the Persian government, and professes to be of the ancient patriarchal church, which first received the New Testament^ translated into the Greek after the dispersion of the Jews. Dr. Buchanan in his Christian Researches in Asia, says, " The Bible was translated into the Armenian language in the fifth century, under very auspicious circumstances. It has been allowed, by competent judges of the language, to be a most faithful translation: La Croze calls it, queen of versions.1'
The modern Arminians have been sometimes mistaken for the people of Armenia, who are of the Greek church, and have their own patriarchs; but Christian sects do not take their denomination from the country they inhabit.
They were a sect so called from Arminius, who was a divine of Leyden, and in 1605, he caused a separation from the Calvinists. They believe in free-will; they believe that man has a power to resist the offers of mercy, and that election to eternal life is grounded in the will of God to save such, as he knows about to believe
* Christian Researches, p. 339
and continue in obedience; consequently, that reprobation is only the result of his foreknowledge concerning those, who live and die in violation of the precepts of the sacred scriptures: that though Christ by his temptations, sufferings and death, made an atonement for all mankind, yet none but those, who were foreseen would be faithful to death, can possibly obtain everlasting life. That, "as every good and perfect gift cometh from the Father of light," so they say that this divine grace is a gift, that man cannot have any merit, and that good works are of God only. But they likewise hold, that this grace may be so resisted, and rejected by man, as to be ineffectual in procuring for him the salvation of his soul. They also believe, that those " who have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come," who have been regenerate in heart and life, may finally fall from this state of grace and die in sin; agreeably to those words of the apostle, " But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."
Also believe in the doctrine of predestination. They are the most rigid of all those, who profess to receive the doctrine of election.
They hold, that God had no other view than to magnify his attributes; by the salvation of some, his mercy; and by the condemnation of others, his justice; and therefore, that he ordained the fall of man from eternity. But as this was also the belief of the ancient sect called the Predestinati, and as it is consistent with the belief of the modern professors of Calvinism, to that head I refer fhe reader.
Believe in the doctrine of predestination. But they hold, that Adam was created in full liberty to stand or fall; that by an abuse of that liberty, God permitted him to fall, and that all men, having thus fallen in Adam, are eternally lost, except such, as by the determinate council of God were predestinated to eternal life.
About the same time that the Socinians began to form themselves into a body, a sect arose in England, called Puritans. But this was only a new name for an old profession. They were Calvinists, and the name Puritan was given, because, like them, they pretended to be purer than the professors of the day. Nevertheless, they are said by respectable writers to have been an upright, and a sincere people.
Are so named, because, as to their church government, every congregation is independent of each other.