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BOOK OF RELIGIONS.

LUTHERANS,

OR

THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH.

THIS denomination adhere to the opinions of Martin Luther, the celebrated reformer.

The Lutherans, of all Protestants, are those who differ least from the Romish church, as they affirm that the body and blood of Christ are materially present in the sacrament of the Lord's supper, though in an incomprehensible manner: this they term consubstantiation. They likewise represent some rites and institutions, as the use of images in churches, the vestments of the clergy, the private confession of sins, the use of wafers in the administration of the Lord's supper, the form of exorcism in the celebration of baptism, and other ceremonies of the like nature, as tolerable, and some of them useful. The Lutherans maintain, with regard to the divine decrees, that they respect the salvation or misery of men in consequence of a previous knowledge of their sentiments and characters, and not as founded on the mere will of God. See Augsburg Confession of Faith.

Towards the close of the last century, the Lutherans began to entertain a greater liberality of sentiment than they had before adopted, though in many places they persevered longer in despotic principles than other Protestant churches. Their public teachers now enjoy an unbounded liberty of dissenting from the decisions of those symbols of creeds which were once deemed almost infallible rules of faith and practice, and

of declaring their dissent in the manner they judge most expedient.

The capital articles which Luther maintained are as follow:

1. That the holy Scriptures are the only source whence we are to draw our religious sentiments, whether they relate to faith or practice. (See 2 Tim. 3:15-17. Prov. 1: 9. Isa. 8:20. Luke 1:4. John 5:39; 20:31. 1 Cor.

4:6, &c.)

2. That justification is the effect of faith, exclusive of good works, and that faith ought to produce good works, purely in obedience to God, and not in order to our justification. (See Gal. 2:21.)

3. That no man is able to make satisfaction for his sins. (See Luke 17: 10.)

In consequence of these leading articles, Luther rejected tradition, purgatory, penance, auricular confession, masses, invocation of saints, monastic vows, and other doctrines of the church of Rome.

The external affairs of the Lutheran church are directed by three judicatories, viz., a vestry of the congregation, a district or special conference, and a general synod. The synod is composed of ministers, and an equal number of laymen, chosen as deputies by the vestries of their respective congregations. From this synod there is no appeal.

The ministerium is composed of ministers only, and regulates the internal or spiritual concerns of the church, such as examining, licensing, and ordaining ministers, judging in controversies about doctrine, &c. The synod and ministerium meet annually.

Confession and absolution, in a very simple form, are practised by the American Lutherans; also confirmation, by which baptismal vows are ratified, and the subjects become communicants. Their liturgies are simple and impressive, and the clergy are permitted to use extempore prayer. Statistics of Churches.

See

CALVINISTS.

THIS denomination of Christians, of the Congregational order, are chiefly descendants of the English Puritans, who founded most of the early settlements in New England. They derive their name from John Calvin, an eminent reformer.

The Calvinists are divided into three parties,- High, Strict, and Moderate. The High Calvinists favor the Hopkinsian system. The Moderate Calvinists embrace the leading features of Calvin's doctrine, but object to some parts, particularly to his views of the doctrines of predestination, and the extent of the design of Christ's death. While they hold to the election of grace, they do not believe that God has reprobated any of his creatures. They believe that the atonement is, in its nature, general, but in its application, particular; ́and that free salvation is to be preached to sinners indiscriminately. The doctrines of the Strict Calvinists are those of Calvin himself, as established at the synod of Dort, A. D. 1618, and are as follow, viz. :

1. They maintain that God hath chosen a certain number of the fallen race of Adam in Christ, before the foundation of the world, unto eternal glory, according to his immutable purpose, and of his free grace and love, without the least foresight of faith, good works, or any conditions performed by the creature; and that the rest of mankind he was pleased to pass by, and ordain to dishonor and wrath, for their sins, to the praise of his vindictive justice. (See Prov. 16:4. Rom. 9: from ver. 11 to end of chap.; 8:30. Eph. 1: 4. Acts 13: 48.)

2. They maintain that, though the death of Christ be a most perfect sacrifice, and satisfaction for sins, of infinite value, abundantly sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world, and though, on this ground, the gospel is to be

preached to all mankind indiscriminately, yet it was the will of God that Christ, by the blood of the cross, should efficaciously redeem all those, and those only, who were from eternity elected to salvation, and given to him by the Father. (See Ps. 33: 11. John 6: 37; 10: 11; 17: 9.)

3. They maintain that mankind are totally depraved, in consequence of the fall of the first man, who being their public head, his sin involved the corruption of all his posterity, and which corruption extends over the whole soul, and renders it unable to turn to God, or to do any thing truly good, and exposes it to his righteous displeasure, both in this world and that which is to come. (See Gen. 8: 21. Ps. 14: 2, 3. Rom. 3: 10, 11, 12, &c.; 4: 14; 5:19. Gal. 3: 2 Cor. 3:6, 7.)

10.

4. They maintain that all whom God hath predestinated unto life, he is pleased, in his appointed time, effectually to call, by his word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ. (See Eph. 1: 19; 2: 1, 5. Phil. 2: 13. Rom. 3: 27. 1 Cor. 1:31. Titus 3: 5.)

5. Lastly, they maintain that those whom God has effectually called, and sanctified by his Spirit, shall never finally fall from a state of grace. They admit that true believers may fall partially, and would fall totally and finally, but for the mercy and faithfulness of God, who keepeth the feet of his saints; also, that he who bestoweth the grace of perseverance, bestoweth it by means of reading and hearing the word, meditation, exhortations, threatenings, and promises; but that none of these things imply the possibility of a believer's falling from a state of justification. (See Isa. 53: 4, 5, 6; 54: 10. Jer. 32: 38, 40. Rom. 8: 38, 39. John 4: 14; 6: 39; 10: 28; 11: 26. James 1: 17. 1 Pet. 2:25.) See Orthodox Creeds, and Hopkinsians.

HOPKINSIANS.

THIS denomination of Christians derives its name from Samuel Hopkins, D. D., formerly pastor of the first Congregational church in Newport, R. I.

The following is a summary of the distinguishing tenets of the Hopkinsians, together with a few of the reasons they bring forward in support of their sentiments:

"1. That all true virtue, or real holiness, consists in disinterested benevolence. The object of benevolence is universal being, including God and all intelligent creatures. It wishes and seeks the good of every individual, so far as is consistent with the greatest good of the whole, which is comprised in the glory of God and the perfection and happiness of his kingdom. The law of God is the standard of all moral rectitude or holiness. This is reduced into love to God, and our neighbor as ourselves; and universal goodwill comprehends all the love to God, our neighbor, and ourselves, required in the divine law, and, therefore, must be the whole of holy obedience. Let any serious person think what are the particular branches of true piety; when he has viewed each one by itself, he will find that disinterested friendly affection is its distinguishing characteristic. For instance, all the holiness in pious fear, which distinguishes it from the fear of the wicked, consists in love. Again, holy gratitude is nothing but good-will to God and our neighbor, -in which we ourselves are included, and correspondent affection, excited by a view of the good-will and kindness of God. Universal good-will also implies the whole of the duty we owe to our neighbor; for justice, truth, and faithfulness, are comprised in universal benevolence; so are temperance and chastity. For an undue indulgence of our appetites and passions is contrary to benevolence, as tending to hurt ourselves or others, and so, opposite to the general good, and the divine command, in which all the crime of such indul

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