« PreviousContinue »
the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power.” But the latter are to be confined in hell till the last resurrection, when these as well as the others, and all the infernals, are to enjoy the same blissful state.
These opinions were held by some of the fathers of the Christian church, among whom was Origen, “ who would have the wicked and devils to be saved."
So called from Sandeman, a member of the church of Scotland, who separated from that church about the year 1757.
The first founder of this sect, was John Glass, a minister of the kirk of Scotland: about the year 1730, his followers were called Glassites. But when Sandeman, who was an elder of this sect, published his letters against the production of James Hervey, called “ Theron and Aspasio,” he became the great pillar of the sect, and they called themselves aster him, Sandemanians.
They hold, with the followers of Novatius, who lived under the Emperor Decius, at the beginning of the third century, that no one is to consider any thing he is in possession of, as his own, so as not to be subject to the church, for the benefit of the poor: consequently, they have all things in common. They observe the sacrament of the Lord's supper weekly, at which ordinance they expect all to attend, and at which time they make a collection for the poor. They dine together in parties at each other's houses on the sabbath day. Like the followers of Novatius, they disapprove of a second marriage, which renders them ineligible to fill the offices in the church.
They adhere to the letter of scripture, abstaining from all things strangled, in which is the blood, and, in token of humility, they wash each other's feet. They define faith to be, an acknowledgment of the truths delivered by Christ, such as, that he came to redeem man, and was raised again for our justification. 66 That this kind of faith carries in itself sufficient ground of hope to every one who believes it, without any thing wrought in us, or done by us, to give it a particular direction to ourselves,” by way of merit: and that this belief, if genuine, will be manifested in a life of obedience to the commands of God. They also teach, “ that there is acceptance with God, through Christ, for sinners, while they are acting in opposition to the divine command, or before any act, or desire, manifests a determination to forsake the error of their ways.” Sandeman says, “ that it is by this passive belief of the truth, that man is justi. fied, and that boasting is excluded."
The Dunkers appeared in North America, about the year 1724. They assembled in a town, in or near Pennsylvania, called Ephrata, and formed themselves into a society. They appear to have adopted some of the customs of the Baptists and the Quakers, for like the first they baptise by immersion, and like the second, they do not go to law for the recovery of debts. They,
like some of the ancient Christians, have love-feasts, at which they eat meat, but at other times they live mostly on vegetables. They observe some of the customs which are mentioned as having been observed by the apostles, and before they receive the sacrament, they wash each other's feet.
THE KIRK OF SCOTLAND.
The established form of church government in Scotland is the Presbyterian. When Calvin separated from the church of Rome, and a great part of Germany received his doctrines, John Knox, a disciple of that celebrated reformer, began to preach in Scotland, in the year 1561. Calvin having rejected the Episcopal form of government, for that of the Presbyterian in Germany, the reformers in Scotland followed their example, both as to doctrine and church government. The character given of Knox, is, “that he possessed ardent piety, indefatigable activity, an integrity which was superior to corruption, and a courage which could not be shaken by dangers or death." Predestination, or Calvinism, is the
prevailing doctrine of the kirk of Scotland.
The kirk of Scotland is governed by the general assembly, which consists of a number of delegates sent from the different presbyteries, royal burghs, and universities, many of whom are laymen called ruling elders. This is the supreme ecclesiastical authority.
The next in authority are the provincial synods ; these are composed of a number of presbyteries, in the same province or county.
Next to the synods, are presbyteries : each presbytery consists of a number of parishes, which are in the neighbourhood of each other. These are more or less numerous in their assembly, according as the parishes are more or less populous.
A kirk session has no authority beyond its own parish ; it is therefore, the lowest ecclesiastical judicatory in Scotland. It is composed of the ministers, elders and deacons of the whole parish, sent from each respective congregation.
From these lower courts, all appeals are made to the general assembly; and from its decision in religious concerns, no appeal can be made.
DISSENTERS FROM THE KIRK OF SCOTLAND.
There are seven sorts of dissenters from the kirk of Scotland. First, the old dissenters are those who were the most active at the revolution, in 1688, in opposing the acts of the representatives in church and state. These, as a distinct body, are the old Presbyterians, who first separated from the established church.
Second, the Glassites, who afterwards took the name of Sandemanians, from Sandeman, a very popular man among them.
Third, Seceders, who separated from the established kirk in 1733.
Fourth, The Relief Kirk. They separated from the established kirk, and maintain, that they have a right to choose their own ministers.
Fifth, Scottish Baptists. They are much the same as Baptists in general.
Sixth, The Bereans, who have taken that name from the ancient Bereans, as, like them, they say they search the scriptures for themselves.
Seventh, New Independents.
The leading doctrine of all these sects is Calvinism, in which they agree with the established kirk.
These enthusiasts of the day, called Shakers, are to be found in America; they resemble in some manner the Jumpers in Wales. I have been informed by Dr. Samuel Peters, a gentleman of respectability in the church of England, and the elect bishop of Canada, who, in his travels through America, has visited them, that in their worship they will frequently rise, dance, jump about, and turn with incredible swiftness on the tip-toe of one foot, for the space of fifteen minutes, when being exhausted, they fall down, and pretend to see visions.
They believe, that the first resurrection has taken place, and that now it is the time when they are to judge themselves: that this is a new dispensation, in which they reject all the advice given in the written word. They believe, that they have power to work miracles, to heal the sick, to raise the dead, and to cast out devils, and that this is done by the preaching of the word when it is attended with power, that is, by the operation of the Spirit, which enlightens the mind, convinces of sin, and inspires the soul with holiness of life.