Copyright
Samuel M. (Samuel Mosheim) Smucker.

History of all religions; containing a statement of the origin, development, doctrines, forms of worship and government of all the religious denominations in the world online

. (page 18 of 29)
Online LibrarySamuel M. (Samuel Mosheim) SmuckerHistory of all religions; containing a statement of the origin, development, doctrines, forms of worship and government of all the religious denominations in the world → online text (page 18 of 29)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


followers of Michael Servetus, a Spaniard by birth. He
taught that the Deity, before the creation of the world,
liad produced Avithin himself two personal representations.



HISTORY OF ALL RELIGIONS. 207

or manners of existence, which were to be* the medium of
intercourse between him and mortals, and by whom, con-
sequently, he was to reveal his will, and to display hia
mercy and beneficence to the children of men. That these
twD representatives were the Word and the Holy Ghost
that the former was united to the man Christ, who wag
born of the Virgin Mary, by an omnipotent act of the di-
vine will ; and that, on this account, Christ might be
properly called God that the Holy Spirit directed the
course, arid animated the whole system of nature ; and
more especially produced in the minds of men, wise coun-
sels, virtuous propensities, and divine feelings. And
finally, that these two representations were to cease alter
the destruction of this terrestrial globe, and to be absorbed
into the substance of the Deity, whence they had been
formed.

NECESSARIANS.

LEIBNITZ, a celebrated German philosopher, who was
born in the year 1646, is a distinguished writer on this
subject. He attempted to give Calvinism a more pleasing
and philosophical aspect. He considered the multiplicity
of worlds, which compose the universe, as one system or
whole, whose greatest possible perfection is the ultimate end
of creating goodness, and the* sovereign purpose of govern-
ing wisdom. As the Leibnians laid down this great end.
as the supreme object of God's universal dominion, and
the scope to which all his dispensations were directed, they
concluded, that if this end was proposed, it must be ac-
complished. Hence the doctrine of necessity, to fulfill the
purposes of predestination founded on wisdom and good-
ness ; a necessity physical and mechanical in the motions
of material and inanimate things ; but a necessity mc-ral
and spiritual in the voluntary determinations of intelligent
beings, in consequence of prepollent motives, which pro-
duce their effects with certainty, though those effects ar



203 HISTORY OF ALL RELIGIONS.

contingent, and by no means the offspring :1 xn absolute
and essentially immutable fatality.*

Mr. Leibnitz observes, that, if it be said, that the \vorld
might have been without sin and misery, such a world
would not have been the best. For all things are linked
together in each possible world. The universe, whatever
it may be, is all of a piece, like an ocean ; the least motion
produces its effect to any distance, though the effect be-
comes less sensible in proportion to the distance. God
having settled every thing beforehand, once for all, having
foreseen good and evil actions, &c., every thing did ideally
contribute, before its existence, to his creating plan ; so
that no alteration can be made in the universe, any more
than in a number, without destroying its essence, or its
numerical individuality. And therefore if the least evil
which happens in the world Avas wanting, it would not bo
the world, which all things duly considered, the all-wise
Creator has chosen and accounted the best.

Colors are heightened by shadows, and a dissonance,
well placed, renders harmony more beautiful. We desire
to be frightened by rope-dancers who ai*e ready to fall;
and to shed tears at the representation of a tragedy.
Does any one sufficiently relish the happiness of good
health, that has never been .sick ? Is it not most times
necessary, that a little evil should render a good more
sensible, and consequently greater ?

The Edwardean scheme of moral necessity is as follows :

That the will is, in every case, necessarily determined
by the strongest motives ; and that this moral necessity
may be as absolute as natural necessity ; i. e. a moral ef-
fect may be as perfectly connected with its moral cause,
as a naturally necessary effect is with its natural cause.

President Edwards rejects the notion of liberty, as im-

* Augustine, Leibnitz, and a considerable number of modern philoso-
phers who maintain the doctrine of necessity, consider this necessity
;u mc~al actions as consistent with spontaneity and choice. Accord
ing tc them, constraint alone, and external force, destroy merit and
mputation.



HISTORY OF ALL RELIGIONS. 209

frying any self-determining power in the will, any indiffer-
ence or contingency; and defines liberty to be the power,
opportunity, and advantage, which any one has to do aa
he pleases. This liberty is supposed to be consistent with
moral certainty, or necessity.

He supports his scheme by the connection between cause
nl effect by God's certain foreknowledge of the volitions
of moral agents, which is supposed to be inconsistent with
such a contingence of those volitions, as excludes all neces-
sity. He shows that God's moral excellence is necessary,
yet virtuous and praise-worthy that the acts of the will
of the human soul of Christ are necessarily holy, yet virtu-
ous, praise-worthy, and rewardable and that the moral
inability of sinners, consisting in depravity of heart, instead
of excusing, constitutes their guilt.

Lord Kames has the following idea of necessity :

That, comparing together the moral and material world,
every thing is as much the result of established laws in the
one as in the other. There is nothing in the whole uni-
verse, which can properly be called contingent ; but every
motion in the material, and every determination and action
in the moral world, are directed by immutable laws ; so
that while those laws remain in force, not the smallest link
in the chain of causes and effects can be broken, nor any
one thing be otherwise than it is.

That as man must act with consciousness and spontane-
ity, it is necessary that he should have some sense of things
possible and contingent. Hence the Deity has wisely im-
planted a delusive sense of liberty in the mind of man ;
which fits him to fulfill the ends of action to better advan-
tage, than he could do, if he knew the necessity which
really attends him.

Lord Kames observes, that in the material world, it is
found, that the representations of external objects, and
their qualities, conveyed by the senses, differ sometimes
from what philosophy discovers these objects and their
qualities to be. Were man "endowed with a microscopic
the bodies which surround him would appear as differ
14



210 HISTORY OF ALL RELIGIONS.

ent from what they do at present, as if he was transported
into - other world. His ideas, upon that supposition,
would ue more agreeable to strict truth, but they would bo
far less serviceable in common life.

Analogous to this, in the moral world, the Deity has
implanted in mankind the delusive notion of liberty or indif-
ference, that they may be led to the proper exercise of that
activity, for which they were designed.

The Baron de Montesquieu, in his Persian Letters, ob-
serves, that as God makes his creatures act just according
to his own will, he knows every thing he thinks fit to know.
But though it is in his power to see every thing, yet he
does not always make use of that power. He generally
leaves his creatures at liberty to act, or not act, that they
may have room to be guilty or innocent. In this view he
renounces his right of acting upon his creatures, and direct-
ing their resolutions. But when he chooses to know any
thing, he always does know it ; because he need only will
that it shall happen as he sees it ; and direct the resolu-
tions of his creatures according to his will. Thus he
fetches the things, which shall happen, from among those
which are merely possible, by fixing by his decrees the fu-
ture determinations of the minds of his creatures; and
depriving them of the power of acting, or not acting, which
he has bestowed upon them.

If we may presume to make comparison of a thing,
which is above all comparison, a monarch does not know
what his ambassador will do in an affair of importance. If
he thinks fit to know it, he need only give him directions
to behave so and so ; and he may be assured he will follow
his directions.

President Edwards makes the following distinction be-
tween his, and Lord Kame's ideas of necessity :

I. Lord Kames supposes, that such a necessity takes
place with respect to all men's actions, as is inconsistent
ith liberty. Edwards maintains, that the moral neces-
sity, which universally take's place, is not inconsistent



HISTORY OF ALL RELIGIONS. 21J

with the utmost liberty, which can be defined, or con-
ceived.

II. Kames seems every where to suppose, that neces-
sity, properly so cahed, attends all men's actions ; and that
the terms "unavoidable," "impossible," &c., are equally
applicable to the case of moral and natural necessity.

Edwards maintains, that such a necessity as attends the
nets of men's wills, can with more propriety be called cer-
tainty; it being no other, than the certain connection be-
tween the subject and predicate of the proposition, which
affirms their existence.

III. Kames supposes, that if mankind could clearly see
the real necessity of their actions, they would not appear
to themselves, or others, praiseworthy, culpable, or ac-
countable for their actions.

Edwards maintains, that moral necessity, or certainty, is
perfectly consistent with praise and blame, rewards and
punishments.

Lord Karnes agrees with president Edwards, in suppos-
ing, that praise or blame rests ultimately on the disposi-
tion, or frame of mind.

The Rev. Mr. Dawson in a late pamphlet entitled, The
Necessarian, or the Question concerning Liberty and
Necessity stated and discussed, endeavors to prove, that
the will is determined by motives. He accounts, however,
every act, which proceeds not from mechanical force, a
voluntary act. Every voluntary act he calls a free act,
because it proceeds from the will, from the man himself.
But calls that voluntary act necessary, in conformity to
their idea of necessity, who, on supposition of the will's
being determined by motives, will not allow it to be free,
though voluntary. Having established this species of
necessity, he endeavors to show that free will leaves no
foundation for attributing merit, or demerit, to the agent.
And, that on the contrary, the doctrine of necessity does
that, which the doctrine of free will does not. By leaving
the foundation of morality secure, it leaves a foundation
for merit and demerit, viz., the moral nature of actions.



212 HISTORY OF ALL RELIGIONS.

The morality of an action is its motive. That, whict:
gives the action its moral quality, gives it at the same
time its worth, or merit. But on the doctrine of free will
there can be no foundation for attributing merit, or demerit,
to the agent, because it destroys all distinctions between
actions ; good and bad being terms without a meaning,
when applied to actions without a moral motive.

As in the account of Dr. Priestley's sentiments, the
manner in which that celebrated author distinguishes his
scheme of philosophical necessity from the Calvinistic doc-
trine of predestination is inserted, perhaps those, who are
fond of speculating on this subject, will be gratified, by
being presented, on the other hand, with the following
distinction, which the Rev. Mr. Emmons of Franklin has
made between the Calvinistic idea of necessity, and Dr.
Priestley's.

It has long been a subject of controversy among Armin-
ians and Calvinists, whether moral agents can act of neces-
sity. Upon this subject, Dr. Priestley takes the Calvin-
istic side, and labors to prove the doctrine of necessity
upon the general principle, that no effect can exist without
a cause. His train of reasoning runs very much in this
form : Every volition must be an effect ; every effect must
have a cause; every cause must necessarily produce its
effect ; therefore every volition, as well as every other
effect, must be necessary. But though he agrees with
Calvinists in their first principle,, and general mode of
reasoning ; yet, in one very capital point, he differs from
them totally. For he maintains, that motives, which are
the cause of volitions, must operate mechanically, which,
they suppose, totally destroys the freedom of the will.
He is obliged to maintain the mechanical operation of
motives, by his maintaining the materiality of the soul.
If the soul is material, the natural conclusion is, that mo-
tives must act upon it, by a mechanical operation. This
conclusion, he owns, he means to draw from the doctrine
of materialism. In the preface to his illustrations of
philosophical necessity, he says, "Every thing belonging



HISTORY OF ALL RELIGIONS. 213

to the doctrine of materialism is, in fact, an argument fcr
the doctrine of necessity; and, consequently, the doctrine
f necessity is a direct inference from materialism."

JANSEN1STS.

A DENOMINATION of Roman Catholics in France, which
was formed in the year 1640. They follow the opinions
of Jansenius, bishop of Ypres, from whose writings the
following propositions are said to have heen extracted :

I. That there are divine precepts, which good men, not-
withstanding their desire to observe them, are, nevertheless,
absolutely unable to obey ; nor has God given them that
measure of grace, which is essentially necessary to render
them capable of such obedience.

II. That no person, in this corrupt state of nature, can
resist the influence of divine grace, when it operates upon
the mind.

III. That in order to render human actions meritorious,
it is not requisite that they be exempt from necessity, but
that they be free from constraint.

IV. That the Semi-Pelagians err greatly in maintain-
ing that the human will is endowed with the power of
either receiving, or resisting the aids and influences of
preventing grace.

V. That whoevei affirms, that Jesus Christ made expia-
tion, by his sufferings and death, for the sins of all man-
kind, is a Semi-Pelagian.

This denomination was also distinguished from many of
the Roman Catholics, by their maintaining that the Holy
Scriptures and public Liturgies should be offered to the
perusal of the people in their mother tongue. And they
look upon it as a matter of the highest moment to persuade
all Christians, that true piety does not consist in the per-
formance of external acts of devotion, but in inward holi
ness and divine love.



214 HISTORY OF ALL RELIGIONS.



JESUITS.

A FAMOUS religious order in the Romish church, estab-
lished in the year 1540, under the name of the company
of Jesus.

Ignio, or Ignatius Loyola, a Spanish gentleman of illus-
trious rank, was the founder of this order, which has made
a most rapid and astonishing progress through the world.

The doctrinal points which are ascrihed to the Jesuits,
in distinction from many others of the Roman communion,
are as follows :

I. This order maintain, that the pope is infallible
that he is the only visible source of that universal and
unlimited power which Christ has granted to the church
that all bishops and subordinate rulers derive from him
alone the authority and jurisdiction with which they are
invested ; and that he alone is the supreme law-giver of
that sacred community ; a law-giver whose edicts and com-
mands it is, in the highest degree, criminal to oppose, or
disobey.

II. They comprehend within the limits of the church,
not only many who live separate from the communion of
Rome, but even extend the inheritance of eternal salva-
tion to nations that have not the least knowledge of the
Christian religion, or of its divine author; and consider
as true members of the church, open transgressors who
profess its doctrines.

III. The Jesuits maintain, that human nature is far
from being deprived of all power of doing good that the
succors of grace are administered to all mankind in a mea-
sure sufficient to lead them to eternal life and salvation
that the operations of grace offer no violence to the fac-
ulties and powers of nature, and therefore may be resisted
and that God from all eternity has appointed everlast-
ing rewards and punishments, as the portion of men in a
future world, not by an absolute, arbitrary, and uncondi-
tional decree, but in consequence of that divine and un



HISTORY OP ALL RELIGIONS. 215

limited prescience by which he foresaw the actions, merits,
and characters of every individual.

IV. They represent it as a matter of perfect indiffer-
ence from what motives men obey the laws of God, pro-
vided these laws are really obeyed. And maintain, that
the service of those who obey from the fear of punishment,
is as agreeable to the Deity, as those actions which pro-
ceed from a principle of love to him and his laws.

V. They maintain, that the sacraments have in them-
selves an instrumental and efficient power, by virtue of
which they work in the soul (independently of its previous
preparation or propensities) a disposition to receive the
divine grace.

VI. The Jesuits recommend a devout ignorance to such
as submit to their direction, and think a Christian suffi-
ciently instructed, when he has learned to yield a blind
and unlimited obedience to the orders of the Church.

The following maxims are said to be extracted from the
moral writings of this order :

I. That persons truly wicked, and void of the love of
God, may expect to obtain eternal life in heaven, provided
that they be impressed with a fear of the divine anger,
and avoid all heinous and enormous crimes, through the
dread of future punishment.

II. That those persons may transgress with safety, who
have a probable reason for transgressing, i. e. any plausi-
ble argument or authority in favor of the sin they are in-
clined to commit.

III. That actions intrinsically evil, and directly con-
trary to the divine law, may be innocently performed by
those who have so much power over their own minds as to
join, even ideally, a good end to this wicked action.

IV. That philosophical sin is of a very light and trivia)
nature, and does not deserve the pains of hell.

V. That the transgressions committed by a person
blinded by the seductions of tumultuous passions, and des-
titute of all sense and impression of religion, however de-
testable and heinous they may be in themselves, are not



216 HISTORY OF ALL RELIGIONS.

irnputable to the transgressor before the tribunal of God ;
and that such transgressions may be often as involuntary
as the actions of a madman.

VI. That the person who takes an oath, or enters intc
a contract, may, to elude the force of the one and obliga
tion of the other, add to the form of the words that es
press them certain mental additions and tacit reservation.

This entire society is composed of four sorts of members
viz. Novices, Scholars, spiritual and temporal CoadjutorSj
and professed Members. Beside the three ordinary vows
of poverty, chastity, and obedience, which are common to
all the monastic tribes, the professed Members are obliged
to take a fourth, by which they solemnly bind themselves
to go, without deliberation or delay, wherever the Pope
shall think fit to send them. They are governed by a
General, who has four Assistants.

SHAKERS.

THE first persons who acquired this epithet were Europe-
ans ; a part of whom came from England to New York, in
the year 1774, and being joined by others, they settled at
Niskyuna, above Albany ; whence they have spread their
doctrines, and increased to a considerable number.

Anne Lee, whom they styled the Elect Lady, was the
bead of this party. They assert, that she was the woman
spoken of in the twelfth chapter of Revelation ; and that
she spoke seventy-two tongues : and though those tongues
are unintelligible to the living, she conversed with the
dead, who understood her language. They add further,
that she was the mother of all the elect ; that she travailed
for the whole world ; and that no blessing, can descend
to any person, but only by and through her, and that in
the way of her being possessed of their sins, by their con-
fessing and repenting of them, one by one, according to
her direction.

The tenets which are peculiarly distinguishing to this
denomination, are comprised in seven articles. To whicb



HISTORY OF ALL RELIGIONS. 217

IB added a short specimen of their manner of defending
their religious sentiments :

I. That the first resurrection is already come, and now
is the time to judge themselves.

II. That they have power to heal the sick, to raise the
dead, and to cast out devils.

This, they say, is performed by the preaching of the
word of God, when it is attended with the divine power,
the wonderful energy and operation of the Holy Spirit ;
which performs those things, by healing the broken-hearted,
by raising up those, who are dead in trespasses and sins,
to a life of holiness and righteousness, Avhich causes the
devils to be cast out. Matt. x. 8.

III. That they have a correspondence with angels, the
spirits of the saints, and their departed friends.

This they attempt to prove, from 1 Cor. xii. 8, 10. " There
are diversities of gifts, but the same spirit. To some is
given the, word of wisdom, to some prophecy, to some the
discerning of Spirits."

IV. That they speak with divers kind of tongues in
their public assemblies.

This, they think, is done by the divine power and in-
fluence of the Holy Spirit.

V. That it is lawful to practice vocal music with dan-
cing, in the Christian churches, if it be practiced in prais-
ing the Lord.

VI. That their Church is come out of the order of na-
tural generation, to be as Christ was ; and that those who
have wives be as though they had none. That by these
means heaven begins upon earth, and they hereby lose
their earthly and sensual relation to Adam the first, and
come to be transparent in their ideas in the bright and
heavenly visions of God.

They suppose, that some of their people are of the num-
ber " of the one hundred and forty-rfour thousand who
were redeemed from the earth, that were not defiled with
women."

VII. That the word "everlasting," when applied to tha



218 HISTORY OF ALL RELIGIONS.

punishment of the wicked, refers only to a limited space
of time, excepting in the case of those who fall from their
Church ; hut for such " there is no forgiveness, neither in
this world, nor in that which is to come."

They quote Matt. xii. 32, to prove this doctrine.

This denomination maintain, that it is unlawful to swear,
game, or use compliments to each other ; and that water-
baptism and the Lord's Supper are abolished.

They deny the imputation of Adam's sin to his poster-
ity, and the doctrine of election, and reprobation.

The discipline of this denomination is founded on the
supposed perfection of their leaders. The mother, it is
said, obeys God through Christ. European elders obey
her. American laborers, and the common people obey
them, while confession is made of every secret in nature,
from the oldest to the youngest. The people are made to
believe that they are seen through and through in the gos-
pel glass of perfection, by their teachers, who behold the
state of the dead, and innumerable worlds of spirits good
and bad.

From the shaking of their bodies in religious exercises,
they were called Shakers, and some gave them the name
of Shaking Quakers. This name, though used in deri-
sion, they acknowledge to be proper, because they are botli
the subjects and instruments of the work of God in this
latter day.

" Thus the Lord promised, that he would shake the
earth with terror:" Lowth's translation of Isaiah ii. 19,
21. " That, in that day, there should be a great shaking
in the land of Israel:" Ezck. xxxviii. 19, 20. "That he
would shake the heavens and the earth:" Isaiah xiii. 13 ;
Joel iii. 16 ; Hag. ii. 6, 7, 21. " That he would shake
all nations, and that the desire of all nations should come."
And according to the apostle : " That yet once more, he
would shake not the earth only, but also heaven :" Heb.
xii. 2o. Signifying the removing of things that are
shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which
cannot be shaken may remain. All which particularly



HISTORY OF ALL RELIGIONS. -19

to the latter day, and HOAV in reality began to be
fulfilled ; of which the name itself was a striking evidence, 1
und much more the nature and operations of the work

This work went on under Wardley, till the year 1770,
when the present Testimony of Salutation and Eternal
Life was fully opened according to the special gift and
revelation of God through Anne Lee. She was born
about the year 1736 ; her father, John Lee, lived in Toad
Lane, Manchester, and was a blacksmith ; with him she



Online LibrarySamuel M. (Samuel Mosheim) SmuckerHistory of all religions; containing a statement of the origin, development, doctrines, forms of worship and government of all the religious denominations in the world → online text (page 18 of 29)