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been obliged to abandon their enterprises here. The Emperor is nominally Christian, and exercises a supremacy in the Church. The highest spiritual officer is the Abbuna, or bishop, appointed by the patriarch at Cairo. Their religion is a strange mixture of Judaism, Christianity, and the most debased superstition. Polygamy is common. The king has as many wives as his pretended ancestor Solomon. But the Abyssinian Church acknowledges but one as the lawful wife. They pay the greatest reverence to the Virgin Mary; some even declare her to be a fourth person in the Godhead. In the number of their saints, and the strictness of their fasts, they even exceed the Roman Church. About half the people can read, though they have no books excepting in the Ethiopic, which is to them a dead language. They have a great veneration for the word of God, though they have it only in an unknown tongue, and are in great darkness respecting it.
The late Abbuna was expelled for drunkenness, and the king resolving to receive no more from the Coptic Church, sent an ambassador in 1827, to the Armenian Church, to solicit a patriarch from them. At Cairo, he was met by two missionaries from the Church Missionary Society, who were on their way to Abyssinia, and whom he earnestly invited to accompany him home. From this circumstance much good is expected. The Abyssinians have Churches in Persia, Russia, and Poland.
Great efforts have been made by the Roman pontiffs, to convert the African Monophysites to their faith, but in vain. In 1634, the Abyssinians banished forever the Jesuits from their country. They have ever displayed an astonishing attachment to the religion of their ancestors. O that they had it in its purity. Here were once some of the best Churches of Christ. The north of Africa was .consecrated by the prayers, and watered by the tears of Cyprian, Athanasius, Tertullian, Augustine; but now it is the residence of every unclean bird and beast. But Ethiopia shall stretch out her hands to God.
The Armeniars inhabit the vast country east and northeast of Syria. They differ so much from the other Monophysites in faith, discipline, and worship, as to hold no communion with them.
A Church was planted among them, in the fourth century, by Gregory, called the enlightened. This Church has remained, though their country has been laid waste and subjected to the Turks, Tartars, and Persians. A vast number
of Armenian merchants have, from time to time, settled in various parts of Europe, who have remembered her with affection, and supplied her with the means of knowledge. An Armenian version of the Bible, made about the time of Crysostom, from the Greek of the Septuagint, was printed at Amsterdam in 1664, and dispersed through the country.
The Armenian Church at present embraces 42,000 individuals in the Russian provinces; 70,000 in Persia, and in Turkey 1,500,000; 100,000 reside in Constantinople. Her merchants are the bankers of the East. Her clergy are of different orders and very numerous. Their patriarch, who resides in a monastery at Ekmiazen, near Erivan in Persia, is said to have an immense income, while his food and dress are on a level with the poorest monk. He has under him three other patriarchs and fifty archbishops. Their monastic discipline is very severe. By it all their ecclesiastics are qualified for their stations. The Sultan appoints a patriarch in Constantinople and Jerusalem, who have no share in the government of the Church, and are mere instruments for enforcing his firmans, and collecting the capitation tax, for which they are responsible.
Sumptuous and unmeaning ceremonies, ridiculous traditions, lying wonders, superstitious rites, characterize this crumbling Church, while her priests and bishops are sunk in the lowest ignorance and sensuality, and are treated by her enlightened merchants with the greatest contempt. 'The Papists have made constant efforts to bring this Church under their dominion, and have persuaded about 4000 in Constantinople to acknowledge the supremacy of the Pope.
A farewell letter of Mr. King, an American missionary, *to the people of Syria, found its way, a few years since, to Constantinople, and produced great excitement. A council was immediately convened, consisting of all the Armenian monks, and priests, and bishops, and patriarchs, of whom several happened at that time to be in Constantinople, also of all the principal Armenians of the laity, together with the Greek patriarchs. The bible was produced and examined relative to the truth of statements by Mr. King, and resolutions were passed reforming the convent at Jerusalem, forbidding any additions to the monks or priests for 25 years, and suppressing pilgrimages to Jerusalem, and all attendance upon the pretended miracle of the Holy fire. There is evidently among them a strong tendency to a reformation. May some Luther rise and bring them to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus.
The MARONITES are a sect of eastern Christians who are subject to the Pope of Rome. Their principal habitation is upon Mount Libanus. They have a patriarch who resides at a monastery on the mount. They were connected with the Monothelites until the 12th century, when they united with the Roman Church on this condition, that they should retain all their ancient rites and customs, which they do to the present time. They have many monks, are very igno- . rant and wretched, and a great tax upon the Church of Rome. There are also in the same country, Greek Roman Catholics, Armenian Roman Catholics, Syrian Roman Catholics, and Latins or Frank Roman Catholics.
Divisions of the Protestants. Lutherans. Their residence, rise, system of faith, líturgy,
government. Persecutions. Internal commotions. Synergistical controversy. At tempts at a reconciliation between them and the Calvinists. Syncretistic controversy. Degeneracy of Clergy and Churches. Pietistical controversy. Liberalism. Present state of religion in their Churches. Swedenborgianism. Theological erudition.
When the Catholics saw the Reformers contending about points of faith and practice, they derided them for forsaking the infallible head. But time has proved that the decisions of the Pope were of all others the most preposterous and absurd.
· All would see " eye to eye,” while the terrors of the inquisition were held over the least variation from fixed establishments. Such a motionless ocean, however, would breed putrefaction and death; not a social state of free enquiry. To elicit the truth which had been buried deep for ages, it was necessary for wave to dash against wave, and billow to roll over billow.
As it had been for centuries in the East, so was it now to be in the West. Those bold spirits who had bid defiance to the thunders of the Pope, and had opened the eyes of half the nations, were to be leaders or heads of vast portions of the reformed Church, and to dash one against another perhaps until the millenium. To enumerate all the different sentiments advanced by the Protestants, would be almost impossible. The great mass of those who came out from the Church of Rome, enlisted under Luther and Melancthon, Zuingle and Calvin.
LUTHERANS. The followers of Luther and Melancthon have resided chiefly in the north of Germany, in Prussia, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. They have spread also to some extent in Russia, France, Holland, North America, and the Danish West India Islands. In honor of the great Reformer, they have assumed the name of Lutherans.
The Lutherans date the rise of their Church from the excommunication of Luther by the Pope; but do not view it as completely established until the peace of Passau, 1552.
Their system of faith, is the confession of Augsburg. Its capital articles are, The sufficiency of the scriptures as a rule of faith and practice; justification by faith in the Son of God, and the necessity and freedom of divine grace. It was the common faith of the reformers. That which gave them distinction as a separate denomination, was the favorite opinion of Luther, that though, according to the papists, the bread and wine in the sacrament, are not converted into the body and blood of Christ, yet the body and blood of Christ are materially present with them, though in an incomprehensible manner. A wide breach was early made with Zuinglius and the Helvetic Churches, who considered the bread and wine only as symbolical of the body and blood of Christ, broken and shed for us.
This breach was increased by a pertinacity on the part of the Lutherans, to retain in their worship some of the forms of the Catholics;-exorcism in baptism; the use of wafers in the Lord's supper; private confession of sin; images, incense, and lighted tapers in their Churches, crucifix on the altar;also to observe many of the festivals of the Roman Church, and days of saints and martyrs.
Luther drew up for his followers, a liturgy or form of divine service; but they have not been confined to that, nor any particular form of government. In Germany the superior power is vested in a consistory, which has a president, with a distinction of rank and privilege. Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, acknowledge episcopacy; but their bishops have not that pre-eminence which is enjoyed in England. The supreme ruler of the state is ever acknowledged as head of the Church.
This portion of the reformed Church has suffered no persecution since the peace of religion, except in 1618, when the Catholics made war upon it through the bigoted house of Austria, under pretence that it had departed from the confession of Augsburg. Their sufferings for thirty years were very great, but they were relieved by the friendly interposition of Gustavus of Sweden, and in the peace of Westphalia in 1648, had all their rights and privileges secured to them.
Her internal commotions upon points of faith and practice, have often been violent. To the Sacramental contro. versy, succeeded a dispute among her own members upon the Interim, or propriety of yielding to the Emperor and Church of Rome in things indifferent. The pacific spirit of Melancthon, was disposed to yield points in the article of justification and in the papal ceremonies and jurisdiction, for which Luther had most strenuously contended. He met with warm opposition from Flaccius, professor of divinity at Jena. In 1552, arose a warm controversy upon the necessity of good works; and soon after another called the synergistical controversy, upon the co-operation of the human will with divine grace in conversion.
Before the death of Melancthon, a considerable defection had taken place from the doctrines of absolute predestination, irresistible grace, and man's moral impotence, in which Luther agreed with Calvin. Men seemed to be wearied with the bold efforts and the astonishing advancement which they had made in the discovery of truth, and as is natural to the human mind, to repose and go backward. Some things, however, were favorable.
A large body grew dissatisfied with consubstantiation, and endeavored to extirpate it from their Churches. To check their progress, a standard of doctrine was adopted by the civil and ecclesiastical authorities in 1576, at Torgau, called the Form of Concord, and imposed upon the Churches as a term of communion. It occasioned great disturbances. Some of the Churches refused to adopt it. Many of the opposers of Luther's sentiment upon the sacrament, were imprisoned. The Landgrave of Hesse, and the elector of Brandenberg, renounced Lutheranism, and embraced the communion of the Genevan Church, which was a severe stroke to the Lutheran cause.
The separation which was continually widening between the followers of Luther and Calvin, filled the minds of all the Protestant world with deep concern. Many attempts were made to reconcile them. James I., king of Great Britain interposed by an embassy, in 1615. Many conferences were held, but all in vain. The Lutherans were always unyielding