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but the name of anabaptists, and in some ancient opinions that have been unanimously embraced by all the members of that sect. All the refined anabaptists are the rigid followers of Simon Menno, and steadfastly maintain, though not all with the same degree of severity and rigour, the sentiments of their chief on the following points: the human nature of Christ; the obligation that binds us to wash the feet of strangers in consequence of our Saviour's command; the necessity of excommunicating and of avoiding, as one would do the plague, not only avowed sinners, but also those who depart, even in some light instances, from the simplicity of their ancestors, and are tainted with any appearance of evil; the contempt that is due to human learning, and other matters of less moment. It is however to be observed that, in our times, some of the congregations of this refined sect have been gradually departing from this austere system, and are proceeding, though with a slow pace, toward the opinions and discipline of the more moderate anabaptists.
I. All these anabaptists adopt a form of ecclesiastical The external government and discipline, that is administered by
three distinct orders of persons. The first order
is that of the bishops or presbyters, who always preside in the consistory, and are alone invested with the power of administering the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper. The second is that of the teachers, who are set apart for the purposes of public instruction, and the celebration of divine worship. The third comprehends the deacons, who are chosen out of both sexes. These three orders compose the consistory, or council, by which the church is governed. All matters of importance are proposed, examined, and decided, in the meetings of the brethren. The ministers are elected to their holy office by their suffrages, and are all, the deacons excepted, installed by public prayers, attended with imposition of hands.
v. Among the inferior sects of the rigid anabaptists, the The Uckowal. most considerable is that which passes under the
denomination of Uckewallists, and is so called after its founder Uke Walles, a native of Friesland. This rustic, rigid, and ignorant sectary, not only exhorted his
form of the Mennonite church.
i See a German work, entitled Nachrichten von dem gegenwardigen Zustande der Menoniten, by Rues, 1743,
followers to maintain the primitive and austere doctrine of Menno, without suffering it to be softened or altered in the smallest degree, but also took it into his head to propagate, jointly with another innovator, named John Leus, in the year 1637, a singular opinion concerning the salvation of Judas, and the rest of Christ's murderers. To give an air of plausibility to the favourable opinion he entertained concerning the eternal state of this arch apostate, he invented the following odd hypothesis, “ That the period of time that extended from the birth of Christ to the descent of the Holy Ghost, and was, as it were, the distinctive term that separated the Jewish from the Christian dispensation, was a time of deep ignorance and darkness, during which the Jews were void of light, and entirely destitute of divine succour; and that of consequence, the sins and enormities that were committed during this interval were in a great measure excusable, and could not merit the severest displays of the divine justice.” This idle fiction met with no indulgence, either from the Mennonites on the one hand, or from the magistrates of Groningen on the other; for the former excluded its inventor from their communion, and the latter banished him from their city. He fixed his residence in the adjacent province of East Friesland, and there drew after him a considerable number of disciples, whose descendants still subsist in the neighbourhood of Groningen, Friesland, and also in Lithuania and Prussia, and have their own religious assemblies, separate from those of the other Mennonites. As they have little intercourse with any but those of their own communion, it is not an easy matter to know, with certainty, whether they persevere in the singular opinion that proved so detrimental to the interest of their leader. It is at least certain, that they follow scrupulously the steps of their original founder Menno, and exhibit a lively image of the primitive manners and constitution of the Mennonites. They rebaptize all those who leave other Christian churches to embrace their communion. Their apparel is mean beyond expression, and they avoid every thing that has the most distant appearance of elegance or ornament. They let their beards grow to an enormous length; their hair, uncombed, lies
in a disorderly manner on their shoulders ; their countenances are marked with the strongest lines of
dejection and melancholy; and their habitations and household furniture are such as are only fitted to answer the demands of mere necessity. Such, moreover, is the severity of their discipline, that any member of their community, who departs in the smallest instance from this austere rule, is immediately excluded froni the society, and avoided by all the brethren as a public pest. Their inspectors or bishops, whom they distinguish from the ministers, whose office is to preach and instruct, are chosen by an assembly composed of all the congregations of the sect. The ceremony of washing the feet of strangers, who come within the reach of their hospitality, is looked upon by them as a rite of divine institution. We shall not enlarge upon the other circumstances of their ritual, but only observe, that they prevent all attempts to alter or modify their religious discipline, by preserving their people from every thing that bears the remotest aspect of learning and science; from whatever, in a word, might have a tendency to enlighten their devout ignorance.
vi. The more moderate, who are called the grosser, or The Water. less scrupulous anabaptists, are composed of cer
tain inhabitants of Waterland, Flanders, Friesland, and Germany, who entered into an association, as has been already observed, and commonly pass under the denomination of Waterlandians. This community have abandoned the severe discipline and singular opinions of Menno, whom nevertheless they generally respect as their primitive parent and founder, and have advanced a step nearer than the other anabaptists to the religious doctrines and customs of other Christian churches. They are however divided into two distinct sects, which bear the respective denominations of Frieslanders and Waterlandians, and are both without bishops, employing no other ecclesiastical ministers than presbyters and deacons. Each congregation of this sect is independent on all foreign jurisdiction, having its own ecclesiastical council or consistory, which is composed of presbyters and deacons. The supreme spiritual power is nevertheless in the hands of the people, without whose consent nothing of importance can be carried into execution. Their presbyters are, generally speaking, men of learning, and apply themselves with success to the study of physic and philosophy. And there is
a public professor supported, at present, by the sect at Amsterdam, for the instruction of their youth in the various branches of philosophy and sacred erudition.
VII. One of these Waterlandian sects was divided, in the year 1664, into two factions, of which the one were called Galenists,and the other Apostoolians, The Apostów from their respective leaders. The founder of the former was Galen Abraham Haan, a doctor of physic, and pastor of a Mennonite congregation at Amsterdam, who has received the applause even
of his enemies, on account of his uncommon penetration and eloquence. This eminent anabaptist, in imitation of the Arminians, considered the Christian religion as a system that laid much less stress upon faith than upon practice ; and he was for receiving into the communion of the Mennonites all those who acknowledged the divine origin of the books of the Old and New Testament, and led holy and virtuous lives. Such, in his judgment, were true Christians, and had an undoubted right to all the rights and privileges that belong to that character. These comprehensive terms of communion were peculiarly favourable to his own theological sentiments, since his notions concerning Christ's divinity, and the salvation of mankind by his death and merits, were very different from those of the Mennonites, and coincided a good deal with the Socinian system.
Several persons opposed the sentiments of this latitudinarian, and more especially Samuel Apostool, an eminent pastor among the Mennonitesat Amsterdam, who not only defended, with the utmost zeal, the doctrine generally received among the Mennonites, in relation to the divinity of Christ and the fruits of his death, but also maintained that ancient hypothesis of a visible and glorious church of Christ upon earth, that was peculiar to this sect. Thus a controversy was kindled, which produced the division now mentioned; a division which the zealous efforts of several of the wisest and most respectable members of this community have hitherto proved insufficient to heal. The Galenists are not less disposed than the Arminians to admit, as members of their community, all those who call
k For a more particular account of these two Mennonites, see Schyn's Deductio plenior Histor. Mennonit. cap. xv. p. 318, and xviii. p. 237.
themselves Christians; and they are the only sect of the anabaptists who reject the denomination of Mennonites. The Apostoolians, on the contrary, admit to their communion those only who profess to believe all the points of doctrine which are contained in their public confession of faith.
CONCERNING THE SOCINIANS AND ARIANS.
1. About the commencement of this century, the sectof
the Socinians seemed to be well established, and The fourishing their affairs were even in a flourishing situation.
In Transylvania and Lucko they enjoyed the liberty of holding, without molestation, their religious assemblies, and professing publicly their theological opinions. The advantages that attended their situation in Poland were still more considerable; for they had at Racow a public seminary of learning, which was furnished with professors eminently distinguished by their erudition and genius, together with a press for the publication of their writings; they had also a considerable number of congregations in that district, and were supported by the patronage of several persons of the highest distinction. Elated with this scene of prosperity, they began to form more extensive views, and aimed at enlarging the borders of their community, and procuring it patrons and protectors in other countries. There are in being authentic records, from which it appears, that they sent emissaries with this view, about the commencement of this century, into Holland, England, Germany, and Prussia, who endeavoured to make proselytesto Socinianism in these countries, among men of learning and men in power. For it is remarkable that the Socinians, in propagating their religious principles, have always followed a quite different method from that which has been observed by other sects. It has been the general practice of sectaries and innovators to
I Casp. Commelini Descriptio Urbis Amstelodami, tom. i. p. 500. Stoupa's Religion des Hollandois, p. 20. Benthem's Hollandischer Schulund Kirchen Staat, p. i. ch. xix. p. 830.