Imágenes de páginas

vows, even those of obedience. I tongues be not the vehicles of vain To this system he added the doc- and useless matter, but used for trines of the Arians, Carpocra- the great end of glorifying him, tians, and other denominations. and doing good to mankind. What LANGUAGE, in general, de-was the first language taught man,

is matter of dispute among the learned, but most think it was the Hebrew. But as this subject, and the article in general, belongs more to philology than divinity, we refer the reader to Dr. Adam Smith's Dissertation on the Formation of Languages; Harris's Hermes; Warburton's Divine Legation of Moses, vol. iii; Traite de la Formation Mechanique des Langues, par le President de Brosses; Blair's Rhetoric, vol. i, lect. vi; Gregory's Ess., ess. 6; Lord Monboddo on the Origin and Progress of Language.

notes those articulate sounds by which men express their thoughts. Much has been said respecting the invention of language. On the one side it is observed, that it is altogether a human invention, and that the progress of the mind, in the invention and improvement of language, is, by certain natural gradations, plainly discernable in the composition of words. But on the other side it is alleged, that we are indebted to divine revelation for the origin of it. Without supposing this, we see not how our first parents could so early hold converse with God, or the LATITUDINARIAN, a perman with his wife. Admitting, son not conforming to any partihowever, that it is of divine origi-cular opinion or standard, but of nal, we cannot suppose that a such moderation as to suppose that perfect system of it was all at once given to man. It is much more natural to think that God taught our first parents only such language as suited their present occasion, leaving them, as he did in other things, to enlarge and improve it, as their future necessities should require. Without attempting, however, to decide this controversy, we may consider language as one of the greatest blessings belonging to mankind. Destitute of this we should make but small advancements in science, be lost to all social enjoyments, and religion itself would feel the want of such a power. Our wise Creator, therefore, has conferred upon us this inestimable privilege: let us, then, be cautious that our

people will be admitted into heaven, although of different persuasions. The term was more especially applied to those pacific doctors in the seventeenth century, who offered themselves as mediators between the more violent Episcopalians, and the rigid Presbyterians and Independents, respecting the forms of church government, public worship, and certain religious tenets, more especially those that were debated between the Arminians and Calvinists. The chief leaders of these Latitudinarians were Hales and Chillingworth; but More, Cudworth, Gale, Whitchcot, and Tillotson, were also among the number. These men, although firmly attached to the church of

LAW, a rule of action; a precept or command coming from a

England, did not go so far as to look upon it as of divine institution; and hence they maintain-superior authority, which an infe

rior is bound to obey. The manner in which God governs rational creatures is by a law, as the rule of their obedience to him, and which is what we call God's

some of them kept, and have been confirmed in a state of obedience to it; but which others broke, and thereby plunged themselves into destruction and misery. He gave, also, a law to Adam, and which was in the form of a covenant, and in which Adam stood as a covenant head to all his posterity, Rom. v. Gen. ii. But our first parents soon violated that law, and fell from a state of innocence to a state of sin and misery, Hos. vi, 7. Gen. iii. See FALL.

ed, that those who followed other forms of government and worship were not on that account to be excluded from their communion. As to the doctrinal part of religion, they took the system of Epis-moral government of the world. copius for their model, and, like He gave a law to angels, which him, reduced the fundamental doctrines of christianity to a few points; and by this manner of proceeding they endeavoured to shew the contending parties that they had no reason to oppose each other with such animosity and bitterness, since the subjects of their debates were matters of an indifferent nature with respect to salvation. They met, however, with opposition for their pains, and were branded as Atheists and Deists by some, and as Socinians by others; but upon the restoration of Charles II, they were raised to the first dignities of the church, and were held in considerable esteem. See Burnet's Hist. of his own Times, vol. i, b. 11, p. 188; Mosheim's Ecc. Hist., vol. ii, p. 501, quarto edit.

LAURA, in church history, a name given to a collection of little cells at some distance from each other, in which the hermits of ancient times lived together in a wilderness. These hermits did not live in community, but each monk provided for himself in his distinct cell. The most celebrated lauras mentioned in ecclesiastical history were in Palestine; as the laura of St. Euthymus, St. Saba, the laura of the towers, &c.

Positive laws are precepts which are not founded upon any reasons known to those to whom they are given. Thus in the state of innocence God gave the law of the sabbath; of abstinence from the fruit of the tree of knowledge, &c.

[ocr errors]

Law of nature is the will of God relating to human actions, grounded in the moral differences of things, and, because discoverable by natural light, obligatory upon all mankind, Rom. i, 20. Rom. ii, 14, 15. This law is coeval with the human race, binding all over the globe, and at all times; yet through the corruption of reason, it is insufficient to lead us to happiness, and utterly unable to acquaint us how sin is to be for

given, without the assistance of revelation.

Geremonial law is that which prescribed the rites of worship used under the Old Testament. These rites were typical of Christ, and were obligatory only till Christ had finished his work, and began to erect his gospel church, Heb. vii, 9, 11. Heb. x, 1. Eph. ii, 16. Col. ii, 14. Gal. v, 2, 3.

Judicial law was that which directed the policy of the Jewish nation, as under the peculiar dominion of God, as their supreme magistrate; and never, except in things relative to moral equity, was binding on any but the Hebrew nation.

Moral law is that declaration of God's will which directs and binds all men, in every age and place, to their whole duty to him. It was most solemnly proclaimed by God himself at Sinai, to confirm the original law of nature, and correct men's mistakes concerning the demands of it. It is denominated perfect, Psal. xix, 7. perpetual, Matt. v, 17, 18. holy, Rom vii, 12. good, Rom. vii, 12. spiritual, Rom. vii, 14. exceeding broad, Psal. cxix, 96. Some deny that it is a rule of conduct to believers under the gospel dispensation; but it is easy to see the futility of such an idea; for as a transcript of the mind of God, it must be the criterion of moral good and evil. It is also given for that very purpose, that we may see our duty, and abstain from every thing derogatory to the divine glory. It affords us grand ideas of the holiness and purity of God: without attention

to it, we can have no knowledge of sin. Christ himself came not to destroy, but to fulfil it; and though we cannot do as he did, yet we are commanded to follow his example. Love to God is the end of the moral law, as well as the end of the gospel. By the law, also, we are led to see the nature of holiness, and our own depravity, and learn to be humbled under a sense of our imperfection. We are not under it, however, as a covenant of works, Gal. iii, 13. or as a source of terror, Rom. viii, 1. although we must abide by it, together with the whole preceptive word of God, as the rule of our conduct, Rom. iii, 31. Rem. vii.

Laws directive are laws without any punishment annexed to them.

Laws penal, such as have some penalty to enforce them. All the laws of God are and cannot but be penal, because every breach of his law is sin, and meritorious of punishment.

Law of honour is a system of rules constructed by people of fashion, and calculated to facilitate their intercourse with one another, and for no other purpose. Consequently nothing is adverted to by the law of honour but what tends to incommode this intercourse. Hence this law only prescribes and regulates the duties betwixt equals, omitting such as relate to the Supreme Being, as well as those which we owe to our inferiors. In fact, this law of honour, in most instances, is favourable to the licentious indulgence of the natural passions. Thus it allows of fornication, adultery, drunkenness, prodigality,

duelling, and of revenge in the extreme, and lays no stress upon the virtues opposite to these.

a secular employment, and is not in orders: opposed to a clergy


LEARNING, skill in any science, or that improvement of the mind which we gain by study, in

Law Remedial, a fancied law which some believe in, who hold that God, in mercy to mankind, has abolished that rigorous consti-struction, observation, &c. An attution or law that they were un- tentive examination of ecclesiastider originally, and instead of it has cal history will lead us to see how introduced a more mild constitu- greatly learning is indebted to tion, and put us under a new law, christianity, and that christianity, which requires no more than im-in its turn, has been much served perfect sincere obedience, in com- by learning. "All the useful learnpliance with our poor infirm impo-ing," says Dr. Jortin, "which is tent circumstances since the fall. now to be found in the world is in a I call this a fancied law, because it great measure owing to the gospel. exists no where except in the ima- The Christians, who had a great ginations of those who hold it. veneration for the Old Testament, See NEONOMIANS, and JUSTI- have contributed more than the Jews themselves to secure and explain those books. The Christians in ancient times collected and preserved the Greek versions of the


agint, and translated the originals into Latin. To Christians were due the old Hexapla; and in later

Laws of nations, are those rules which by a tacit consent are agreed upon among all communities, at least among those who are reckon-scriptures, particularly the Septued the polite and humanized part of mankind. Gill's Body of Div., vol. i, p. 454, oct. 425, vol. iii, ditto; Paley's Mor. Phil., vol. i,times Christians have published the p. 2; Cumberland's Law of Nature; Grove's Mor. Phil., vol. ii, p. 117; Booth's Death of Legal Hope; Inglish and Burder's Pieces on Moral Law; Watts's Works, vol. i, ser. 49, 8vo. ed.; and vol. ii, p. 443, &c.

[blocks in formation]

Polyglots and the Samaritan Pentateuch. It was the study of the holy scriptures which excited Christians from early times to study chronology, sacred and secular; and here much knowledge of history, and some skill in astronomy, were needful. The New Testament, being written in Greek, caused Christians to apply themselves : lso to the study of that language. As the Christians were opposed by the Pagans and the Jews, they were excited to the study of Pagan and Jewish literature, in order to expose the absurdities of the Jewish traditions, the weakness of paganism, and the imperfec

tions and insufficiency of philoso-whom for chronology, and the phy. The first fathers, till the continuation of history through third century, were generally many centuries?-to Christians. Greek writers. In this third centu-To whom for rational systems of by the Latin language was much morality, and improvements in naupon the decline, but the Chris-tural philosophy, and for the aptians preserved it from sinking in-plication of these discoveries to reto absolute barbarism. Monkery, ligious purposes?—to Christians. indeed, produced many sad ef- To whom for metaphysical refects; but Providence here also searches, carried as far as the subbrought good out of evil; for the ject will permit?-to Christians. monks were employed in the tran- To whom for the moral rules to scribing of books, and many valu- be observed by nations in war able authors would have perished and peace?-to Christians. To if it had not been for the monas- whom for jurisprudence, and for teries. In the ninth century the political knowledge, and for setSaracens were very studious, and tling the rights of subjects, both contributed much to the restora- civil and religious, upon a proper tion of letters. But, whatever foundation?-to Christians. To was good in the Mahometan reli- whom for the reformation?-to gion, it is in no small measure in- Christians." debted to christianity for it, since Mahometanism is made up for the most part of Judaism and Christianity. If Christianity had been suppressed at its first appearance, it is extremely probable that the Latin and Greek tongues would have been lost in the revolutions of empire, and the irruptions of barbarians in the east and in the west; for the old inhabitants would have had no conscientious and religious motives to keep up their language; and then, together with the Latin and Greek tongues, the knowledge of antiquities and the ancient writers would have been destroyed. To whom, then, are we indebted for the knowledge of antiquity, for every thing that is called philosophy, or the litera humaniores?-to Christians. To whom for grammars and dictionaries of the learned languages?-to Christians. To


"As religion hath been the chief preserver of erudition, so erudition hath not been ungrate ful to her patroness, but hath contributed largely to the support of religion. The useful expositions of the scriptures, the sober and sensible defences of revelation, the faithful representations of pure and undefiled christianity, these have been the works of learned, judicious, and industrious men.' thing, however, is more common than to hear the ignorant decry all human learning as entirely useless in religion; and what is still more remarkable, even some, who call themselves preachers, entertain the same sentiments. But to such we can only say what a judicious preacher observed upon a public occasion, that if all men had been as unlearned as themselves, they never would have had a text on which to have displayed their ig

« AnteriorContinuar »