SPIRIT An incorporeal being or intelligence; in which sense God is said to be a Spirit, as are angels and the human soul.
SOUL That vital, immaterial, active substance, or principle, in man, whereby he perceives, remembers, reasons, and wills. It is rather to be described as to its operations, than to be defined as to its essence. Various, indeed, have been the opinions of philosophers concerning its substance. The Epicureans thought it a subtile air, composed of atoms, or primitive corpuscles. The Stoics maintained it was a flame, or portion of heavenly light. The Cartesians make thinking the essence of the soul. Some hold that man is endowed with three kinds of soul, viz. the rational, which is purely spiritual, and infused by the immediate inspiration of God: the irrational or sensitive, which being common to man and brutes, is supposed to be formed of the elements:…
HUMANITY The exercise of the social and benevolent virtues; a fellow-feeling for the distresses of another. It is properly called humanity, because there is little or nothing of it in brutes. The social affections are conceived by all to be more refined than the selfish. Sympathy and humanity are universally esteemed the finest temper of mind; and for that reason the prevalence of the social affections in the progress of society is held to be a refinement of our nature. Kaims's El. of Crit. p. 104. vol. i.; Robinson's Sermons on Christianity a System of Humanity; Pratt's Poem on Humanity.
SYNOD A meeting or assembly of ecclesiastical persons to consult on matters of religion. Of these there are four kinds, viz. 1. General, where bishops, &c. meet from all nations. These were first called by the emperors; afterwards by Christian princes; till in later ages, the pope usurped to himself the greatest share in this business, and by his legates presided in them when called.--2. National, where those of one nation only come together to determine any point of doctrine or discipline. The first of this sort which we read of in England was that of Herudford, or Hertford, in 673; and the last was that held by Cardinal Pole, in 1555.--3. Provincial, where those only of one province meet, now called the convocation.--4. Diocesan,…
MARTYR Is one who lays down his life or suffers death for the sake of his religion. The word is Greek, and properly signifies a "witness." It is applied by way of eminence to those who suffer in witness of the truth of the Gospel. The Christian church has abounded with martyrs, and history is filled with surprising accounts of their singular constancy and fortitude under the cruelest torments human nature was capable of suffering. The primitive Christians were accused by their enemies of paying a sort of divine worship to martyrs. Of this we have an instance in the answer of the church of Smyrna to the suggestion of the Jews, who, at the martyrdom of Polycarp, desired the heathen judge not to suffer…
BROWNISTS A sect that arose among the puritans towards the close of the sixteenth century; so named from their leader, Robert Brown. He was educated at Cambridge, and was a man of good parts and some learning. He began to inveigh openly against the ceremonies of the church, at Norwich, in 1580; but, being much opposed by the bishops, he with his congregation left England, and settled at Middleburgh, in Zealand, where they obtained leave to worship God in their own way, and form a church according to their own model. They soon, however, began to differ among themselves; so that Brown, growing weary of his office, returned to England in 1589, renounced his principles of separation, and was preferred to the rectory of a…