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Socinianism ; but their success was still less considerable; nor could any of the European nations be persuaded to grant a public settlement to a sect, whose members denied the divinity of Christ.
v. The remains therefore of this unfortunate community are, at this day, dispersed through different countries, particularly in the kingdoms of England and Prussia, the electorate of Brandenburg, and the United Provinces, where they lie more or less concealed, and hold their religious assemblies in a clandestine manner. They are indeed said to exercise their religion publicly in England, not in consequence of a legal toleration, but through the indulgent connivance of the civil magistrate. Some of them have embraced the communion of the Arminians; others have joined with thát sect of the Anabaptists that
rr The Socinians in England have never made any figure as a community, but have rather been dispersed among that great variety of sects that have arisen in a country where liberty displays its most glorious fruits, and at the same time exbibits its most striking inconveniences. Beside, few ecclesiastics, or writers of any note, have adopted the theological system now under consideration, in all its branches. The socinian doctrine, relating to the design and efficacy of the death of Christ, had indeed many abettors in England during the XVIIth century; and it may be presumed, without temerity, that its votaries are rather increased than diminished in the present ; but those divines who have abandoned the Athanasian hypothesis, concerning the Trinity of persons in the Godhead, have more generally gone into the Arian and Semiarian notions of that inexplicable subject, than into those of the Socinians, who deny that Jesus Christ existed before his appearance in the human nature. The famous John Biddle, after having maintained, both in public and in private, during the reign of Charles, and the protectorship of Cromwell, the Unilarian system, erected an inde. pendent congregation in London, which is the only British church we have heard of, in which all the peculiar doctrines of Socinianism were inculcated ; for, if we may give credit to the account of Sir Peter Pett, this congregation held the following notions ; “That the fathers under the old covenant bad only temporal promises ; that saving faith consisted in universal obedience performed to the commands of God and Christ; that Christ arose again only by the power of the Father, and not his own; that justifying faith is not the pure gift of God, but may be acquired by men's natural abilities; that faith cannot believe any thing contrary to, or ahore reason; that there is no original sin ; that Christ hath not the same body now in glory, in which he suffered and rose again ; that the saints shall not bave the same body in heaven which they had on earth; that Christ was not Lord or King before his resurrection, or Priest before his ascension; that the saints shall not, before the day of judgment, enjoy the bliss of heaven; that God doth not certainly know future contingencies; that there is not any authority of fathers or general councils in determining matters of faith ; that Christ, before his death, had not any dominion over the angels; and that Christ, by dying, made not satisfaction for us." See the preface to Sir Peter Pett's Happy Future State of England, printed at London in 1688.
s The Socinians, who reside at present in the district of Mark, used to meet, some years ago, at stated times, at Koningswald, a village in the neighbourhood of Francfort on the oder. See the 'Recueil de Literature, de Philosophie et d'Histoire,' published at Amsterdam in the year 1731, in 8vo. * p. 44. They published, in the year 1716, at Berlin, their confession of faith, in the German language, which is to be found, with a refutation thereto annexed, in a book entitled 'Den Theologischen Heb. Opfern,' part x. p. 852.
* The author of this collection was one Jordan, who was pastor of a church in the neighbourhood of Berlin.
are distinguished by the name of Galenists; and in this there is nothing at all surprising, since neither the Arminians nor anabaptists require from those that enter into their communion an explicit or circumstantial declaration of their religious sentiments. It is also said, that a considerable number of this dispersed community became members of the religious society called Collegiants. Amidst these perpetual changes and vicissitudes, it was not possible that the Socinians could maintain a uniform system of doctrine, or preserve unaltered and entire the religious tenets handed down to them by their ancestors. On the contrary, their peculiar and distinctive opinions are vari-. ously explained and understood both by the learned and illiterate members of their community, though they all agree in rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity, and that also of the divinity and satisfaction of Jesus Christ."
vi. After the Sucinians, as there is a great affinity between the two sects, it is proper to mention the Arians, who had several celebrated writers in this century, such as Sandius and Biddle." Of those who also passed under the general denomination of Antitrinitarians and Unitarians, there are many that may be placed in the class of the Socinians and Arians; for the term Unitarian is very comprehensive, and is applicable to a great variety of persons, who, notwithstanding, agree in this common principle, that “there is no real distinction in the divine naiure.” The denomination of Arian is also given in general to all who consider Jesus Christ as inferior and subordi.
T This community, of which there is an account given in the beginning of the follorving chapter, called their religious meetings collegies, a Dutch word, which signifies congregation or assembly, and hence they were denominated collegiants.
u Many examples might be alleged in proof of this ; it will be sufficient to mention that of the learned Crellius, who, though he was professor of theology among the Socinians, yet differed in his opinions, about many points of doctrine, from the sentiments of Socinus and the Racovian catechism, and would not be called a Socinian, but an
Artemonite. * See the Journal Literaire, tom. xvii. p. i. p. 150, and the account I have given of this celebrated man in my Syntagm. Dissertationum ad sanctiores Disciplinas pertinentium, p. 352. Unschuld. Nachricht, 1750, p. 942. Nouveau Diction. Historique et Critique, tom. ii. p. ii. p. 88. This last citation is erroneous; there is no account of Crellius in the place here referred to.
w for an account of Sandius, father and son, see Arnold and other writers. The life' of Biddle is to be found in the Nouveau Diction. Historique et Critique, tom. i. p. ii. p. 288. Dr Dr. Mosheim places Biddle improperly among the Arians ; it is manifest that he belongs to the Socinians, since, in the third article of his confession of faith, he professeth to believe that Christ has no other than a human nature. See the Socinian Tracts, entitled “The faith of one God,' &c. published at London, in 4to. in 1691. See also above, note rr.
* After Artemon, who lived under the reign of the emperor Severus, and denied the pre-existence and divinity of Jesus Christ.
nate to the Father. But as this subordination may be understood and explained in a variety of ways, it is evident that the term Arian, as it is used in modern language, is susceptible of different significations; and that, of consequence, the persons to whom it is applied cannot be all considered in the same point of light with the ancient Arians, nor supposed to agree perfectly with each other in their religious tenets.
It will not be amiss to take notice here of a few sects
of inferior consequence and note, which we The collegiants could not mention with propriety in the history
of the larger and more extensive communities that we have been passing in review, and which nevertheless we cannot omit, for several reasons. While the disputes and tumults that the Arminian system produced in Holland, in the year 1619, were at the greatest height, then arose that religious society, whose members hold at Rhinsberg, in the neighbourhood of Leyden, a solemn assembly every half year, and are generally known under the denomination of Collegiants. This community was founded by three brothers, whose name was Vander Kodde, who passed their days in the obscurity of a rural life, but are said to have been men of eminent piety, well acquainted with sacred literature, and great enemies to religious controversy. They had for their associate Anthony Cornelius, a man also of a mean condition, and who had no qualities that could:give any degree of weight or credit to their cause. The descendants and followers of these men acquired the name of Collegiants from this particular circumstance, that they call their religious assemblies colleges. All are admitted to the communion of this sect who acknowledge the divinity of the Holy Scriptures, and endeavour to live suitably to their precepts and doctrines, whatever their peculiar sentiments may be concerning the nature of the Deity, and the truths of Christianity. Their
x See above, note t.
very considerable in the provinces of Holland, Utrecht, Friesland, and Westfriesland. They meet twice every week, namely, on Sundays and Wednesdays, for the purpose of divine worship; and after singing a psalm or hymn, and addressing themselves to the Deity by prayer, they explain a certain portion of the New Testament. The female members of the community are not allowed to speak in public; but all others, without any exception founded on rank, condition, or, incapacity, have a right to communicate the result of their meditations to the assembly, and to submit their sentiments to the judgment of the brethren. All likewise have an unquestionable right to examine and oppose what any of the brethren has advanced, provided their opposition be attended with a spirit of Christian charity and moderation. There is a printed list of the passages of Scripture, that are to be examined and illustrated at each of their religious meetings ; so that any one who is ambitious of appearing among the speakers, may study the subject beforehand, and thus come fully prepared to descant upon it in public. The brethren, as has been already observed, have a general assembly twice a year at Rhinsberg, where they have ample and convenient houses for the education of orphans and the reception of strangers; and there they remain together during the space of four days, which are employed in hearing discourses that tend to edification, and exhortations that are principally designed to inculcate brotherly love and sanctity of manners. The sacrament of the Lord's
supper also administered during this assembly; and those adult persons, that desire to be baptized, receive the sacrament of baptism, according to the ancient and primitive manner of celebrating that institution, even by immersion. Those of the brethren that reside in the province of Friesland, have at present an annual meeting at Lewarden, where they administer the sacraments, as the considerable distance at which they live from Rhinsberg renders it inconvenient for them to repair thither twice a year. We shall conclude our account of the Collegiants by observing, that their community is of a most ample and extensive kind; that it comprehends persons of all ranks, orders, and sects, who profess themselves Christians, though their sentiments concerning the person and doctrine of the divine founder of Christianity be extremely different; that
it is kept together, and its union maintained, not by the authority of rulers and doctors, the force of ecclesiastical laws, the restraining power of creeds and confessions, or the influence of certain positive rites and institutions, but merely by a zeal for the advancement of practical religion, and a desire of drawing instruction from the study of the Holy Scriptures.'
11. In such a community, or rather amidst such a mul titude as this, in which opinion is free, and every one is permitted to judge for himself in religious matters, dissensions and controversies can scarcely have place. However, a debate, attended with some warmth, arose, in the year 1672, between John and Paul Bredenburg, merchants of Rotterdam, on the one side, and Abraham Lemmerman and Francis Cuiper, merchants of Amsterdam, on the other. John Bredenburg had erected a particular society, or college, in which he gave a course of lectures upon
the religion of nature and reason; but this undertaking was highly disapproved of by Lemmerman and Cuiper, who were for excluding reason altogether from religious inquiries and pursuits. During the heat of this controversy, Bredenburg discovered a manifest propensity toward the sentiments of Spinoza; nay, he even defended them publicly, and yet, at the same time, professed a firm attachment to the Christian religion. Other debates of less con
y See the 'Dissertation sur les usages de ceux qu'on appelle en Hollande Colligiens et Rhinobourgeois,' in the 'Ceremonies Religieuses des tous les Peuples du Monde,' tom. iv. p. 323. As also a Dutch book, containing an account of the collegiants, and published by themselves, under the following title : 'De Oerspronck, Natuur, Handelwyz en Oogmerk der zo genaamde Rynburgsche Vergadering,' at Amsterdam, in 4to, in the year 1736.
z The names of John Bredenburg and Francis Cuiper are well known among the followers and adversaries of Spinoza; but the character and profession of these two disputants are less generally known. Bredenburg, or as he is otherwise called, Breitenburg, was a collegian!, and a merchant or Rotterdam, who propagated in a public inanner the doctrine of Spinoza, and pretended to demonstrate mathematically its conformity to the dictates of reason. The same man not only professed Christianity, but moreover explained, recommended, and maintained the Christian religion in the meetings of the collegiants, and asserted, on all occasions, its divine original. To reconcile these striking contradictions, he declared, on the one band, that reason and Christianity were in direct opposition to each other ; but maintained, on the other, that we were obliged to believe, even against the evidence of the strongest mathematical demonstrations, the religious doctrines comprehended in the Holy Scriptures ; this indeed was adding absurdity to absurdity. He affirmed that truth was twofold, theological and philosophical; and that those propositions, wbich were false in theology, were true in philosophy. There is a brief but accurate account, of the character and seutiments of Bredenburgh, in the learned work of the Jew, Isaac Orobio, entitled Certamen Philosophicum propugnatæ veritatis, divinæ et naturalis adversus Jo. Bredenburgii principia, ex quibus, quod religio ra. lioni repugnat, domonstrare nititur.' This work, which contains Bredenburg's "pretended demonstrations of the philosophy of Spinoza, was first published in Sro, at