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an ordinary way, according to the general law of nature, and that consequently, he was no proper object of divine worship or adoration. There were also among these people several fanatics, who were desirous of introducing into the society the discipline of the enthusiastic Anabaptists; such as a community of goods, an equality of ranks, and other absurdities of the same nature. Such were the disagreeable and perilous circumstances in which the Unitarians were placed, during the infancy of their sect, and which, no doubt, rendered their situation extremely critical and perplexing. But they were happily extricated out of these difficulties by the dexterity and resolution of certain of their doctors, whose efforts were crowned with singular success, on account of the credit and influence they had obtained in Poland. These Unitarian doctors suppressed, in a little time, the factions that threatened the ruin of their community, erected flourishing congregations at Cracow, Lublin, Pinczow, Luck, Smila,' a town belonging to the famous Dudith,' and in several other places both in Poland and Lithuania, and obtained the privilege of printing their productions, and those of their brethren, without molestation or restraint." All these advantages were crowned by a signal mark of liberality and munificence, they received from Jo. Sienienius, palatine of Padolia, who gave them a settlement in the city of Racow, which he had himself built, in the year 1569, in the district of Sendomir.' This extraordinary favour was peculiarly adapted to better the state of the Unitarians, who were hitherto dispersed far and wide in the midst of their enemies. And accordingly they now looked upon their religious establishment as permanent and stable, and presumed so far upon their good fortune, as to declare Racow the centre of their community, where their distant and dispersed members might unite their counsels, and hold their deliberations.
r Vita Andr. Wissowatii in Sandii Biblioth. Antitrin. p. 226. As also Sandius in Simone Budnæo, p. 54.
s Lubieniecii Hist. Reform. Polon. lib. iii. cap. xii. p. 240.
Kau This Dudith, who was certainly one of the most learned and eminent men of the sixteenth century, was born at Buda, in the year 1533 ; and after having studied in the most famous universities, and travelled through almost all the countries of Europe, was named to the bishopric of Tinia by the emperor Ferdinand, and made privy counsellor to that prince. He had, by the force of his genius, and the study of the ancient orators, acquired such a masterly and irresistible eloquence, that in all public deliberations he carried every thing before him. In the council, where he was sent in the name of the emperor and of the Hungarian clergy, he spoke with such energy against several abuses of the church of Rome, and particularly against the celibacy of the clergy, that the pope, being informed thereof by his legates, solicited the emperor to recal him. Ferdinand complied; but, having hcard Dudith's report of what passed in that famous council, he approved of his conduct, and rewarded him with the bishopric of Chonat. He asterward married a maid of honour of the queen of Hungary, and resigned his bishopric; the emperor however still continued his friend and protector. The papa) excommunica, tion was levelled at his head, but he treated it with contempt. Tired of the sopperies and superstitions of the church of Rome, he retired to Cracow, where he embraced tho protestant religion publicly, after having been for a good while its secret friend. It is said, that he showed some inclination toward the Socinian system. Some of his friends deny this; others confess it, but maintain that he afterward changed his sentiments in that respect. He was well acquainted with several branches of philosophy and the ma. thematics, with the sciences of physic, history, theology, and the civil law. He was such an enthusiastical admirer of Cicero, that he copied over three times, with his own hand, the whole works of that immortal author. He had something majestic in his figure, and in the air of his countenance. His life was regular and virtuous, his man. pers elegant and easy, and his benevolence warm and extensive.
w Sandii Bibliotheca Antitrin. p. 201.
x. When they saw their affairs in this promising situation, the first thing that employed the attention and zeal of their doctors and spiritual rulers, was view of the a translation of the bible into the Polish language, professed. which was accordingly published in the year 1572. They had indeed before this, a Polish version of the sacred writings, which they had composed jointly with the Helvetic doctors in the year 1565, while they lived in communion with that church. But after the breach of that communion, and the order they had received to separate themselves from the reformed church, this version lost its credit among them, as it did not seem proper to answer their views. After they had finished their new version, they drew up a summary of their religious doctrine, which was published at Cracow, in the year 1574, under the title of Catechism, or Confession of the Unitarians. The system of religion
x Sandius, loc. cit. p. 201. Lubieniecus, loc. cit. p. 239.
y See a German work of Ringeltaube, entitled Von den Pohlnischen Bibeln, p. 90, 113, 142, in which there is a furtber account of the Polish interpretations of the Bible composed by Socinian authors.
z From this little performance, and indeed from it alone, we may learn with certainty the true state of the Unitarian religion before Faustus Socinus ; and nevertheless I do not find that it has been so much as once quoted, or even mentioned, by any of the Socinian writers, by any historians who have given an account of their sect, nor yet by any of the divines that have drawn the pen of controversy against their religicus system. I am almost inclined to believe, that the Socinians, when in process of time they had gained ground, acquired more dexterity in the management of their affairs, and drawn up a new, specious, and artful summary of their doctrine, were prudent enough to desire that this primitive Catechism should disappear, that it might not furnish their adversaries with an occasion of accusing them of inconstancy in abandoning the tenets of their ancestors, nor excite factions and divisions among them selves, by inducing any of their people to complain that they had deviated from the ancient simplicity of their first founders. These reasons, very probably, engaged the Socinian doctors to buy up all the copies they could find of this original Confession, or Catechism, with a view to bury it in oblivion. It will not, therefore, be improper to give here some account of the form and matter of this first Socinian creed, which contained the doctrine of that sect before the Racovian Catechism was composed. This account will throw new light upon a period a The original title ruos tbas: Catechesis et Confessio fidei coetus per Poloniam congregati in nomine Jesu Christi, Dumini nostri, crucifixi et resuscitati, Deut. vi. Audi, Israel, Dominus Deus noster Deus unus est, Johannis viii. dicit Jesus : Quem vos dicitis vestrum esse Deum, est pater meus. Typis Alexandri Tu robini, anno nati Jesu Cbristi filii ei,' 1374, in 12m0. O ! his Testament is publisbed by Sandius, in his Bibliotheca Antitrin. p. 51.
that is contained in this Catechism is remarkable for its simplicity, and is neither loaded with scholastic terms nor
and branch of ecclesiastical history, that are highly interesting. The original Catechism, now under consideration, which is extremely rare, has the following title prefixed to it; Catechism, or Confession of faith of the Congregation assembled in Poland, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who was crucified and raised from the dead, Deuter. vi. Krear, U Israel, the Lord our God is one God, John viii. 54. It is my Father, of whom ye say that he is your God. Printed by Alexander Turobinus, born in the year of Christ, the Son of God, 1574,' in 1210.a We find, by a passage at the end of the Preface, thai tbis curious Catechism was printed at Cracow; for it is said to have been publisbed in tbat city, in the year 1574, after the birth of Christ. Now it is known that the Unitarians had at that tine a printing-house at Cracow, which was soon after re. moved to Racow. Alexander Turobinus, who is said to have been the printer of this little production, is mentioned by Sandius, in his Biblioth. Antitrin, p. 51, under the denominatiou of Turobinczyck, which he undoubtedly derived from Turobin, a town in the palatine of Chelm, in Little or Red Russia, which was the place of his nativity. The author of this Catechism was the famous George Schoman, as has been evidently proved from a piece, entitled Schomanni Testamentum ; b and other circumstances, by Jo. Adam Mollerus, in his dissertation De Unitariorum Catachesi et Confessione omnium.c The Preface, which is composed in the name of the whole congregation, begins with the following salutation; “ To all those who thirst after eternal salvation, the little and af. flicted flock in Poland, which is baptized in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, sendeth greeting: praying most earnestly that grace and peace may be shed upon them by the one Supreme God and Father, through his only begotton Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who was crucified." After tbis general salutation, the prefacers give an account of the reasons that engaged them to compose and publish this Confession. The principal of these reasons was the reproaches and aspersions that were cast upon the Anabaptists, in several places; from which we learn that, at this time, the denomination of Anabaptists was given to those who, in aster tiines, were called Socinians. The rest of this Preface is employed in beseeching the reader to be firmly persuaded, that the designs of the con. gregation are pious and upright, to read with attention, that he may judge with discernment, and “abandoning the doctrine of Babylon, and the conduct and conversation of Sodom, to take refuge in the ark of Noah," i. e. among the Unitarian Brethren.
In the beginning of the Catechism itself, the whole doctrine of Christianity is reduced to six points. The first relates to the Nature of God, and his Son Jesus Christ; the second to Justification; the third to Disciplive; the fourth to Prayer; the fifth to Baptism; and the sixth to the Lord's Supper. These six points are explained at length in the following manner: each point is defined and unfolded, in general terms, in one question and answer, and is afterward subdivided into its sereral branches in various questions and answers, in which its various parts are illustrated and confirmed by texts of Scripture. From this it appears, at first sight, that the primitive state of Socinianism was a state of real infancy and weakness, that its doctors were by no means distinguished by the depth or accuracy of their theological knowledge, and that they instructed their flock in a superficial manner, by giving them only some vague notions of certain leading doctrines and precepts of religion. In their definitions of the Nature of God, with which this Catechism begins, the authors discover immediately their sentiments concerning Jesus Christ, by declaring that he, together with all other things, is subject to the Supreme Creator of the universe. It may also be observed, as a proof of the ignorance or negligence of these authors, that, in illustrating the nature and perfections of the Deity, they make not the least mention of his infinity, his omniscience, his immensity, his eternity, his omnipotence, his omnipresence, his spirituality, nor of those other perfections of the divine nature that surpass the comprehension of finite minds. Instead of this, they characterize the Supreme Being only by his wisdom, his
The dissertation of Mollerus is to be found in a collection of pieces published by Bartbolomæus under the following title: Fortgesetzen nutzlichen Anmerkungen von allerband Materien,' part. xxi. p. 758. • d - Omnibus salulem æternam sitientibus. gratiam ac pacem ab uno illo altissimo Deo patre, per unigenitum ejus filium, Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum crucifixuni, ex animo precatur coetus erignus et af Aletus per Poloniam, in nomine ejusdem Jesu Christi Nazareni baptizatus."
subtile discussions ; but it nevertheless breathes, in several places the spirit of Socinianism, and that even in those parts
immortality, his goodness, and unbounded dominion and empire over the creatures. By this it would seem, that even in this early period of Socinianism, the rulers of that sect had adopted it as a inaxim, that nothing incomprebensible or mysterious was to be admitted into their religious system. Their erroneous notion concerning Jesus Christ is expressed in the following terms: “ Our mediator before the throne of God is a man who was formerly promised to our fathers by the prophets, and in hese latter days was born of the seed of David, and whom God the Father has made Lord and Christ ; that is, the most perfect prophet, the most holy priest, and the most triumphant king, by whom he created the new world,a by whom he has sent peace upon earth, restored all things, and reconciled the in to himself; and by whom also he has bestowed eternal life upon his elect; to the end that, aster the Supreme God, we should believe in hiin, adore and invoke him, hear bis voice, imitate his example, and find in him rest to our souls." It is here worthy of note, that, although they call Christ a most holy priest, and justify this title by citations from Scripture, yet they nowhere explain the nature of that priest. hood, which they attribute to him. With respect to the Holy Ghost, they plainly deny his being a divine person, and represent him as nothing more than a divine quality, or virtue, as appears from the following passage : “ The Holy Ghost is the energy or perfection of God, whose fulness God the Fatber bestowed upon his only begotten Son, our Lord, that we, becoming his adopted children, might receive of his fulness." They express their sentiments concerning justification in the ensuing terms: “ Justification consists in the remission of all our past sins, through the mere grace and mercy of God, in and by our Lord Jesus Christ, without our merit and works, and in consequence of a lively faith, as also in the certain hope of life eternal, and the true and unfeigned amendment of our lives and conversations, through the assistance of the divine spirit, to the zlory of God the Father, and the edification of our neighbours."d As by this inaccurate definition, justification comprehends in it amendment and obedience, so in the explication of this point our authors break in upon the following one, which relates to discipline, and lay down a short summary of moral doctrine, which is contained in a few precepts, and expressed, for the most part, in the language of Scripture. There is this peculiarity in their moral injunctions, that they prohibit the taking of oaths, and the repelling of injuries. As to what regards ecclesiastical discipline, they define it thus : “Ecclesiastical discipline consists in calling frequently to the remembrance of every individual, the duties that are incumbent upon them; in admonishing, first privately, and afterward, if this be ineffectual, in a public manner, before the whole congregation, such as have sinned openly against God, or offended their neighbour: and lastly, in excluding from the communion of the church the obstinate and impenitent, that, being thus covered with shame, they may be led to repentance, or if they remain unconverted, may be damned eternally."e By their further explication of the point relating to ecclesiastical discipline, we see how imperfect and incomplete their notions of that matter were. For they treat, in the first place, concerning the government of the church and its ministers, whom they divide into bishops, deacons, elders, and widows. After this they enumerate, at length, the duties of husbands and wives, old and young, parents and children, masters and servants, citizens and magistrates, poor and rich, and conclude with what relates to the admonishing of offenders, and their exclusion from the communion of the church, in case of obstinate impenitence. Their sentiments concerning prayer are, generally speaking, sound and rational. But in their notion of baptism they differ from
mThis expression is remarkable, for these doctors maintained that these declarations of Scripture, which represent the world as formed by Christ, do not relate to the visible world, but to the restoration of mankind to virtue and happiness by the Son of God. They invented this interpretation, to prevent their being obliged to acknowledge the divine glory and creating power of Christ.
b"Est bomo, mediator noster apud Deum, patribus olim per propbetas promissus, et ultimis tandem temporibus ex Davidis semine natus, quein Deus pater fecit Dominum et Christum, hoc est, perfectissimum prophetam, sanctissimum sacerdotem, invictissimum regem, per quem mundum creavit, omnia restauravit, secun reconciliavit, pacificavit, et vitam æternam electis suis donavit; ut in illum, post Deum altissimum, credamus, illum adoremus, invocemus, audiamus, pro modulo nostro imitamur, et, in illo, requiem animabus nostris inveniamis."
"Spiritus sanctus est virtus Dei, cujus plenitudinem dedit Deus pater filio suo unigenito, Domino nostro, ut ex ejus pleniitudene pos adoptivi acciperemus."
d“ Justificatio est ex mera gratia, per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, sine operibus et meritis nostris, omnium præteritorum peccatorum nostrorum in viva fide remissio), viiaque æternæ indubitata expectatio et auxilio spiritus Dei vitae nostræ non simulata, sed vera correctio, ad gloriam rei patris nostri et ardificationem prosinorum nostrorum."
¢ " Disciplina ecclesiastica est officii singulorum frequens commemoratio et peccantium contra eum vel proximum primum privata, deinde etiam publica. coram toto coetu, commonefactio, denique pertinaciam a communione sanctorum alienatio, at pudore safrasi con vertantur, aut, si id nolint, æteroum damneatur."
of it which its authors look upon as most important and fundamental. Nor will this appear surprising to those who consider that the papers of Lælius Socinus, which he undoubtedly left behind him in Poland, were in the hands of many; and that by the perusal of them, the Arians who had formerly the upper hand in the community of the Unitarians, were engaged to change their sentiments concerning the nature and mediation of Christ. It is true indeed that the denomination of Socinian was not as yet known. Those who were afterward distinguished by this title, passed in Poland, at the time of which we now speak,
other Christian churches in this, that they make it to consist in immersion or dipping, and emersion or rising again out of the water, and maintain that it ought not to be administered to any but adult persous. “Baptism," say they, “is the immersion into water, and the emersion of one who believes in the gospel, and is truly penitent, performed in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, or in the name of Jesus Christ alone ; by which solemn act the person baptized publicly acknowledgeth, that he is cleansed from all his sins, through the mercy of God the Father, by the blood of Christ, and the operation of the Holy Spirit ; to the end that, being ingrafted into the body of Christ, he may mortify the old Adam, and be transformed into the image of the new and heavenly Adam, in the firm assurance of eternal life after the resurrection."a The last point handled in this performance is the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, of which the authors give an explication that will be readily adopted by those who embrace the doctrine of Zuingle on that head. At the end of this curious Cate. chism there is a piece, entitled Oeconomia Christiana, seu Pastoratus Domesticus, which contains a short instruction to heads of families, showing them how they ought to proceed in order to maintain and increase, in their houses, a spirit of piety ; in which also their devotion is assisted by forms of prayer, composed for morning, evening, and other occasions.
The copy of this Catechism, which is now before me, was given, in the year 1630, by Martin Chelmius, one of the most eminent and zealous Socinian doctors, to Mr. Christopher Heiligmier, 18 appears by a long inscription, written by the donor, at the end of the book. In this inscription Chelmius promises his friend other productions of the same kind, provided he receives the present one kindly, and concludes with these words of St. Paul: “God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the strong."
a This appears evidently from the following passage in Schoman's Testamentum, published by Sandius, in his Biblioth Antitrin, p. 194, 195. “Sub id fere tenrpus, A. 1566, ex Rhapsodiis Lælii Socini quidam fratres didicerunt, Dei filium non esse secundam Trinitatis personam, patri coessentialcm et coæqualem sed hominum Jesum Christum, ex Spiritu Sancto conceptum, ex Virgine Maria natum, crucifixum, et resuscitatum ; a quibus nos commoniti, sacras literas perscrutari, persuasi sumus." These words show plainly that the Unitarians, or Pinczovians, as they were sometimes called, had, before their separation from the reformed church, in the year 1565, believed in a Trinity of some kind or other; and had not gone so far as totally to divest Jesus Christ of his divinity. Schoman, now cited, was a doctor of great authority in this sect; and be tells us himself, that, at the diet of Petricow, in the year 1565, he defended the unity of God the Father against the reformed, who maintained the existence of a threefold Deity. We learn, nevertheless, from himself, that it was not till the year 1566 that a perusal of the papers of Lælius Socinius had engaged him to change bis sentiments, and to deny the divine personality of Christ. What then are we to conclude from hence ? The conclusion is plainly this; that, before the year last mentioned, he and his Pinczovian Rock were not Socinians but Arians only.
a“Baptismus est honiinis Evangelio credentis et poenitentiam agentis in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, vel in nomine Jesu Christi in aquam immersio et emersio, qua publice profitetur, se gratia Dei Patris, in sanguine Christi opera Spiritus Sancti, ab omnibus peccatis ablutum esse, ut, in corpus Cbristi insertas, mortificet veterem Adamum et transtormetur in Adamum illum coelestem, certus, se post resurrectionem consequatorum esse vitam æternam."