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THEOLOGICAL DICTIONARY.

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ABB

BBA, a Syriac word, signifying Fa-mission a priest to act for them. They

in the Syriac, Coptic, and Ethiopic churches, as a title given to the bishops. The bishops themselves bestowed the title Abba more eminently on the bishop of Alexandria, which occasioned the people to give him the title of Baba or Papa; that is, Grandfather: a title which he bore before the bishop of Rome. It is a Jewish title of honour given to certain Rabbins called Tanaites: it is also used by some writers of the middle age for the superior of a monastery. St. Mark and St. Paul use this word in their Greek, Mark xiv. 36. Rom. viii. 15. Gal. iv. 6. because it was then commonly known in the synagogues and the primitive assemblies of the Christians. It is thought by Selden, Witsius, Doddridge, and others, that Saint Paul alluded to a law among the Jews which forbade servants or slaves to call their master Abba, or Father; and that the apostle meant to convey the idea that those who believed in Christ were no longer slaves to sin; but being brought into a state of holy freedom, might consequently address God as their Father.

ABBE. The same with ABBOT, which see. Also the name of curious popular characters in France; who are persons who have not yet obtained any precise or fixed settlement in church or state, but most heartily wish for and would accept of either, just as it may happen. In the mean while their prívileges are many. In college they are the instructors of youth, and in private families the tutors of young gentlemen.

ABBESS, the superior of an abbey or convent of nuns. The abbess has the same rights and authority over her nuns that the abbots regular have over their monks. The sex, indeed, does not allow her to perform the spiritual functions annexed to the priesthood, wherewith the abbot is usually invested; but there are instances of some abbesses who have a right, or rather a privilege, to com

even a

tion, as well as some abbots who are exempted from the visitation of their diocesan.

ABBEY, a monastery, governed by a superior under the title of Abbot or Abbess. Monasteries were at first nothing more than religious houses, whither persons retired from the bustle of the world to spend their time in solitude and devotion: but they soon degenerated from their original institution, and procured large privileges, exemptions, and riches. They prevailed greatly in Britain before the reformation, particularly in England; and as they increased in riches, so the state became poor, for the lands which these regulars possessed could never revert to the lords who gave them. These places were wholly abolished by Henry VIII. He first appointed visitors to inspect into the lives of the monks and nuns, which were found in some places very disorderly; upon which the abbots, perceiving their dissolution unavoidable, were induced to resign their houses to the king, who by that means became invested with the abbey lands; these were afterwards granted to different persons, whose descendants enjoy them at this day; they were then valued at 2,853,000l. per annum; an immense sum in those days. -Though the suppression of these houses, considered in a religious and political light, was a great benefit to the nation, yet it must be owned, that, at the time they flourished, they were not entirely useless. Abbeys were then the repositaries as well as the seminaries of learning: many valuable books and national records have been preserved in their libraries; the only places wherein they could have been safely lodged in those turbulent times. Indeed, the historians of this country are chiefly beholden to the monks for the knowledge they have of former national events. Thus a kind Providence overruled even the institutions of superstition for good. See MONASTERY.

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ther including the whole system of the Ignicold, or worshippers of fire.

ABILITY. See INABILITY.

ABLUTION, a ceremony in use among the ancients, and still practised in several parts of the world. It consisted in washing the body, which was always done before sacrificing, or even entering their houses. Ablutions appear to be as old as any ceremonies, and external worship itself. Moses enjoined them, the heathens adopted them, and Mahomet and his followers have continued them. The Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Jews, all had them. The ancient Christians had their ablutions before communion, which the Romish church still retain before their mass, and sometimes after. The Syrians, Copts, &c. have their solemn washings on Good Friday; the Turks also have their ablutions, their Ghast, their Wodou, Aman, &c.

ABBOT, the chief ruler of a monastery or abbey. At first they were laymen, and subject to the bishop and ordinary pastors. Their monasteries being remote from cities, and built in the farthest solitudes, they had no share in ecclesiastical affairs; but, there being among them several persons of learning, they were called out of their deserts by the bishops, and fixed in the suburbs of the cities, and at length in the cities themselves. From that time they degenerated, and, learning to be ambitious, aspired to be independent of the bishops, which occasioned some severe laws to be made against them. At length, however, the abbots carried their point, and obtained the title of lord, with other badges of the episcopate, particularly the mitre. Hence arose new distinctions among them. Those were termed mitred abbots who were privileged to wear the mitre, and exercise episcopal authority within their respective precincts, being exempted from the jurisdiction of the bishop. Others were called crosiered abbots, from their bearing the crosier, or pastoral staff. Others were styled ecumenical or universal abbots. in imitation of the patriarch of Constantinople, while others were termed cardinal abbots, from their superiority over all other abbots. At present, in the Roman catholic countries, the chief distinctions are those of regular and commendatory. The former take the vow and wear the habit of their order; whereas the latter are seculars, though they are obliged by their bulls to take" of thy sins." According to this, no orders when of proper age.

ABELIANS, or ABELONIANS, a sect which arose in the diocese of Hippoo in Africa, and is supposed to have begun in the reign of Arcadius, and ended in that of Theodosius. Indeed, it was not calculated for being of any long continuance. They regulated marriage after the example of Abel, who, they pretended, was married, but lived in a state of continence: they therefore allowed each man to marry one woman, but enjoined them to live in the same state. To keep up the sect, when a man and woman entered into this society, they adopted a boy and a girl, who were to inherit their goods, and to marry upon the same terms of not having children but of adopting two of different sexes.

ABRAHAMITES, an order of monks exterminated for idolatry by Theophilus, in the ninth century. Also the name of another sect of heretics who had adopted the errors of Paulus. See PAULICIANS.

ABSOLUTION signifies acquittal. It is taken also from that act whereby the priest declares the sins of such as are penitent remitted. The Romanists hold absolution a part of the sacrament of penance: and the council of Trent and that of Florence declare the form or essence of the sacrament to lie in the words of absolution. "I absolve thee

one can receive absolution without the privity, consent and declaration of the priest; except, therefore, the priest be willing, God himself cannot pardon any man. This is a doctrine as blasphemous as it is ridiculous. The chief passage on which they ground their power of absolution is that in John xx. 23: "Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them, and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained." But this is not to the purpose; since this was a special commission to the apostles themselves, and the first preachers of the Gospel, and most probably referred to the power he gave them of discerning spirits. By virtue of this power, Peter struck Ananias and Saphira dead, and Paul struck Elimas blind. But, supposing the passage in question to ABESTA, the name of one of the sa- apply to the successors of the apostles, cred books of the Persian Magi, which and to ministers in general, it can only they ascribe to their great founder Zoro import that their office is to preach aster. The Abesta is a commentary on pardon to the penitent, assuring those two others of their religious books, call-who believe that their sins are forgiven ed Zend and Pazend; the three toge-through the merits of Jesus Christ; and

that those who remain in unbelief are in a state of condemnation. Any idea of authority given to fallible, uninspired men to absolve sinners, different from this, is unscriptural; nor can I see much utility in the terms ministerial or declarative absolution, as adopted by some divines, since absolution is wholly the prerogative of God; and the terms above-mentioned, may, to say the least, have no good influence on the minds of the ignorant and superstitious.

ABSTEMII, a name given to such persons as could not partake of the cup of the eucharist, on account of their natural aversion to wine.

on all days commonly called fish days. The like injunctions were renewed under queen Elizabeth; but at the same time it was declared, that this was done not out of motives of religion, as if there were any difference in meats, but in favour of the consumption of fish, and to multiply the number of fishermen and mariners, as well as to spare the stock of sheep. See FASTING.

ABSTINENTS, a set of heretics that appeared in France and Spain about the end of the third century. They are supposed to have borrowed part of their opinions from the Gnostics and Manichæans, because they opposed marriage, condemned the use of flesh meat, and placed the Holy Ghost in the class of created beings.

which in our version is rendered the seas, and elsewhere the great deep. Abyss is likewise used to denote the grave or common receptacle of the dead, Rom. x. 7: also hell, or the bottomless pit, Luke viii. 31. Rev. ix. 1.

ABSTINENCE, in a general sense, is the act of refraining from something which we have a propension to or find pleasure in. It is more particularly ABYSS, in a general sense, denotes used for fasting or forbearing of neces- something profound; in its literal sense sary food. Among the Jews, various it signifies without a bottom; in a more kinds of abstinence were ordained by particular sense it denotes a deep mass their law. Among the primitive Chris- or fund of waters. In this last sense the tians, some denied themselves the use of word is used in the Septuagint for the such meats as were prohibited by that water which God created at the beginlaw; others looked upon this abstinence ning with the earth, which our translawith contempt; as to which Paul gives tors render by deep. Thus it is that his opinion, Rom. xiv. 1. 3. The council darkness is said to have been on the face of Jerusalem, which was held by the of the abyss, Gen. i. 2. Abyss is also apostles, enjoined the Christian converts used for an immense cavern in the earth, to abstain from meats strangled, from wherein God is supposed to have colblood, from fornication, and from idola-lected all those waters on the third day, try, Acts xv. Upon this passage, Dr. Doddridge observes, "that though neither things sacrificed to idols, nor the flesh of strangled animals, nor blood, have or can have any moral evil in them, which should make the eating of them absolutely and universally unlaw-Rev. xi. 7. See DELUGE. ful, yet they were forbidden to the Gen- ABYSSINIAN CHURCH, that tile converts, because the Jews had such which is established in the empire of an aversion to them, that they could not Abyssinia. They are a branch of the converse freely with any who used them. Copts, with whom they agree in adThis is plainly the reason which James mitting only one nature in Jesus Christ, assigns in the very next words, the 21st and rejecting the council of Chalcedon; verse, and it is abundantly sufficient. whence they are also called MonophyThis reason is now ceased, and the sites and Eutychians, which see. The obligation to abstain from eating these Abyssinian church is governed by a things ceases with it. But were we in bishop styled abuna. They have calike circumstances again, Christian cha-nons also, and monks. The emperor rity would surely require us to lay our-has a kind of supremacy in ecclesiastical selves under the same restraint."-The spiritual monarchy of the western world introduced another sort of abstinence, which may be called ritual, and consists in abstaining from particular meats at certain times and seasons, the rules of which are called rogations. If I mis-meats take not, the impropriety of this kind of abstinence is clearly pointed out in 1 Tim iv 3-In England, abstinence from flesh has been enjoined by statute, even since the reformation; particularly on Fridays and Saturdays, on vigils, and

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matters. The Abyssinians have at divers times expressed an inclination to be reconciled to the see of Rome; but rather from interested views than any other motive. They practise circumcision on females as well as males. They eat no

prohibited by the law of Moses. They observe both Saturday and Sunday sabbaths. Women are obliged to the legal purifications. Brothers marry brothers' wives, &c. On the other hand, they celebrate the Epiphany with peculiar festivity; have four Lents; pray for

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the dead; and invoke angels. Images in principles of religion and wisdom. Jepainting they venerate; but abhor all sus Christ, therefore, is with great prothose in relievo, except the cross. They priety called the Day Spring from on admit the apocryphal books and the High, the Sun of Righteousness, that canons of the apostles, as well as the arose upon a benighted world to dispel apostolical constitutions, for genuine. the clouds of ignorance and error, and They allow of divorce, which is easily discover to lost man the path of happigranted among them, and by the civil ness and heaven. But, as we do not judge; nor do their civil laws prohibit mean to enlarge much upon these and polygamy. They have, at least, as some other sects, which belong rather many miracles and legends of saints as to philosophy than theology, we shall the Romish church. They hold that the refer the reader to Buddeus's Introsoul of man is not created; because, say || duction to the History of Philosophy; they, God finished all his works on the Stanley's Lives; Brucker's History of sixth day. Thus we see that the doc- Philosophy; or (which is more modern) trines and ritual of this sect form a Enfield's Abridgment. strange compound of Judaism and Chris- ACCLAMATIONS, ecclesiastical, tianity, ignorance and superstition. Some, were shouts of joy which the people exindeed, have been at a loss to know whe-pressed by way of approbation of their ther they are most Christians or Jews: preachers. It hardly seems credible to it is to be feared, however, that there is us that practices of this kind should ever little beside the name of Christianity have found their way into the church, among them. Should the reader be de- where all ought to be reverence and sosirous to know more of this sect, he may lemnity. Yet so it was in the fourth cenconsult Father Lobo's Voyage to Abys-tury. sinia; Bruce's Travels; Ludolph's Hist. of Ethiopia; and Dict. of Arts and Sciences, vol. i. p. 15.

ACACIANS, a sect of heretics in the 4th century; so named from Acacius, bishop of Cæsarea, who denied the Son to be of the same substance with the Father, though some of them allowed that he was of a similar substance. Also the name of another sect, named after Acacius, patriarch of Constantinople, in the fifth century, who favoured the opinions of Eutychus. See EUTYCHIANS.

The people were not only permitted, but sometimes even exhorted, by the preacher himself, to approve his talents by clapping of hands, and loud acclamations of praise. The usual words they made use of were, "Orthodox," "Third apostle," &c. These acclamations being carried to excess, and often misplaced, were frequently prohibited by the ancient doctors, and at length abrogated. Even as late, however, as the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, we find practices that were not very decorous; such as loud humming, frequent groaning, strange gestures of the body, &c. See articles DANCERS, SHAKERS.

ACCOMMODATION OF SCRIP TURE is the application of it, not to its literal meaning, but to something analagous to it. Thus a prophecy is said to be fulfilled properly when a thing foretold comes to pass; and, by way of accommodation, when an event happens to any place or people similar to what fell out some time before to another. Thus the words of Isaiah, spoken to those of his own time, are said to be fulfilled in those who lived in our Saviour's,

ACADEMICS, a denomination given to the cultivators of a species of philosophy originally derived from Socrates, and afterwards illustrated and enforced by Plato. The contradictory systems which had been successively urged upon the world were become so numerous, that, from a view of the variety and uncertainty of human opinions, many were led to conclude that truth lay beyond the reach of our comprehension. The consequence of this conclusion was absolute scepticism: hence the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, the preferableness of virtue to vice, were all held as uncertain. This sect, with that of the Epicureans, were the two chief that were in vogue at the time of Christ's appearance, and were embraced and supported by persons of high rank and wealth. A consideration of the principles of these two sects [see EPICUREANS] will lead us to form an idea of the deplorable state of the world at ACCURSED, something that lies unthe time of Christ's birth; and the ne-der a curse or sentence of excommunicessity there was of some divine teacher cation. In the Jewish idiom, accursed to convey to the mind true and certain and crucified were synonymous: among

"Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy," &c.: which same words St. Paul afterwards accommodates to the Jews of his time, Is. xxxix. 14. Matt. xv. 8. Acts xiii. 41. Great care, however, should be taken by preachers who are fond of accommodating texts, that they first clearly state the literal sense of the passage.

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