Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

the punishment cannot be corrective, because no man was ever put to death, either to convince his judgment or to 'reform his conduct; that if the wicked receive a punishment apportioned to their crimes, their deliverance is neither to be attributed to the mercy of God, nor the mediation of Jesus Christ, but is an act of absolute justice; and finally, that the mediatorial kingdom of Jesus Christ will never be delivered up, since the Scripture asserts, that of his kingdom there shall be no end. Those who maintain these sentiments respecting the destruction of the wicked, are accused of espousing the doctrine of annihilation; but this accusation they repel, alledging, that, philosophically speaking, there can be no annihilation, and that destruction is the express phrase used in the New Testament. Of this sen timent there have been many advocates distinguished for their erudition and piety*.

SABBATARIANS. THE, Sabbatarians are a body of Christians who keep the seventh day as the Sabbath, and are to be found principally, if not wholly, among the Baptists. The common reasons why Chris

[ocr errors]

* This account of the Destructionists was sent the author of the Sketch for insertion.

tians observe the first day of the week as the Sabbath, are, that on this day Christ rose from the dead; that the apostles assembled, preached, and administered the Lord's Supper ; and that it has been kept by the church for several ages, if not from the time when Christianity was originally promulgated. The Sabbatarians, however, think these reasons unsatisfactory, and assert that the change of the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week, was effected by Constantine, upon his conversion 10 the Christian -religion. The three following propositions contain a summary of their principles as to this article of the Sabbath, by which they stand distinguished: Ist, That God hath required the observation of the seventh, or last day of every week, to be observed by mankind universally for the -weekly sabbath ; 2dly, That this command of God is perpetually binding on man till time shall be no more ; and 3dly, That this sacred rest of the seventh-day sabbath is not (by divine authority) cbanged from the seventh and last to the first day of the week, or that the Scripture doth no where require the observation of any other day of the week for the weekly sabbath, but the seventh day only. There are two congregations of the Sabbatarians in London, one among the General Baptists meeting in Mill-yard, Goodman's Fields, the other among the Particular

Baptists meeting in Red-Cross-street, Cripplegate. There are also a few to be found in different parts of the kingdom.

Mr. Morse informs us that there are many Sabbatarians in America. “ Some (says he) in Rhode Island observe the Jewish or Saturday sabbath, from a persuasion that it was one of the ten comunandments, which they plead are all in their nature moral, and were never abrogated in the New Testament. Though, on the contrary, others of them believe it originated at the time of the creation, in the command given to Adam by the Creator himself.” See Genesis, chap. ii. 3. “At New Jersey also there are three congregations of the Seventh-Day Baptists; and at Ephrata, in Pennsylvania, there is one congregation of thens, called Tunkers. There are likewise a few Baptists who keep the seventh day as holy time, who are the remains of the Keithean or Quaker Baptists."

This tenet has given rise to various controversies, and writers of ability have appeared on both sides of the question. Mr. Cornthwaite, à respectable minister among them, about the year 1740, published several tracts in support of it, which ought to be consulted by those who wish to obtain satisfaction on the subject. The reader should also have recourse to Dr. Chand. ler's two discourses on the Sabbath, Mr Amner's

Dissertation on the Weekly Festival of the Christian Church, Dr. Kennicott's Sermon and Dialogue on the Sabbath, the Rev. S. Palmer's publication on the Nature and Obligation of the Christian Sabbath, and Estlin's Apology for the Sabbath-all of which are worthy of attention. But whatever controversy may have been agitated on this subject, certain it is, thai were there no particular day set apart for the purpose of devotion (for which some in the present day con tend) our knowledge of human nature authorizes us to say, that virtue and religion would be either greatly debilitated or finally lost from among mankind.

The Sabbatarians hold in common with other Christians, the distinguishing doctrines of Chris: tianity, and though much reduced in number, deserve this distinct mention, on account of their integrity and respecialility*.

MORAVIANS TIE Morarians are supposed to have arisep under Nicholas Lewis, Count of Zinzendorf, a German nobleman, who died 1760. They were

* Most of the above particulars respecting the Sabbatarians were communicated to the author by some worthy individuals of that persuasion,

also called Hernhuters, from Hernhuth, the name of the village where they were first settled. The followers of Count Zinzendorf are called Moravians, because the first converts to his system were some Moravian families: the society themselves however assert, that they are descended from the old Moravian and Bohemian Brethren, who existed as a distinct sect sixty years prior to the Reformation. They also style themselves Unitas Fratrum, or the United Brethren; and, in general, profess to adhere to the Augsburgh confession of faith. When the first Reformers were assembled at Ausburgh in Germany, the Protestant princes employed Me. lancthon, a divine of learning and moderation, to draw up a confession of their faith, expressed in terms as little offensive to the Roman Cathò. lics as a regard for truth would permit. And this creed, from the place where it was presented, is called the Confession of Augsburgh. It is not easy to unravel the leading tenets of the Moravians. Opinions and practices have been attributed to them of an exceptionable nature, which the more sensible of them disavow. They direct their worship to Jesus Christ (addressing hymns even to the wound or hole in the side of the Saviour); are much attached to instrumental as well as vocal music in their religious services; and discover a predilection for forming them

« ZurückWeiter »