BUCK'S THEOLOGICAL DICTIONARY

Contents in “G”

  1. Revision History
  2. GAIANITAE
  3. GALILEANS
  4. GAZARES
  5. GEMARA
  6. GENERAL CALL
  7. GENERATION, ETERNAL
  8. GENEROSITY
  9. GENIUS
  10. GENTILE
  11. GENTLENESS
  12. GENUFLECTION
  13. GHOST, HOLY
  14. GIFT OF TONGUES
  15. GILBERTINES
  16. GLASSITES
  17. GLORY
  18. GNOSIMACHI
  19. GNOSTICS
  20. GOD
  21. GODFATHERS AND GODMOTHERS
  22. GODLINESS
  23. GOOD
  24. GOOD FRIDAY
  25. GOODNESS
  26. GOODNESS OF GOD
  27. GOSPEL
  28. GOSPEL CALL
  29. GOSPEL, A LAW
  30. GOVERNMENT OF GOD
  31. GRACE
  32. GRACE AT MEALS
  33. GRATITUDE
  34. GRAVITY
  35. GREATNESS OF GOD
  36. GREEK CHURCH
  37. GROWTH IN GRACE
  38. GUARDIAN ANGEL
  39. GUILT

1. Revision History

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2. GAIANITAE

  A denomination which derived its name from Gaian, a bishop of Alexandria, in the sixth century, who denied that Jesus Christ, after the hypostatical union, was subject to any of the infirmities of human nature.

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3. GALILEANS

  A sect of the Jews which arose in Judea some years after the birth of our Saviour. They sprang from one Judas, a native of Gaulam, in upper Galilee, upon the occasion of Augustus appointing the people to be mustered, which they looked upon as an instance of servitude which all true Israelites ought to oppose. They pretended that god alone should be owned as master and lord, and in other respects were of the opinion of the Pharisees; but as they judged in unlawful to pray for infidel princes, they separated themselves from the rest of the Jews, and performed their sacrifices apart. As our Saviour and his apostles were of Galilee, they were suspected to be of the sect of the Galileans; and it was on this principle, as St. Jerome observes, that the Pharisees laid a snare for him, asking, Whether it were lawful to give tribute to Caesar? that in case he denied it, they might have an occasion of accusing him.

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4. GAZARES

  A denomination which appeared about 1197 at Gazare, a town of Dalmatia. They held almost the same opinions with the Albigenses; but their distinguishing tenet was, that no human power had a right to sentence men to death for any crime whatever.

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5. GEMARA

  See TALMUD.

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6. GENERAL CALL

  See CALLING.

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7. GENERATION, ETERNAL

  Is a term used as descriptive of the Father's communicating the Divine Nature to the Son. The Father is said by some divines to have produced the Word, or Son, from all eternity, by way of generation; on which occasion the word generation raises a peculiar idea: that procession which is really affected in the way of understanding is called generation, because, in virtue thereof, the Word becomes like to Him from whom he takes the original; or, as St. Paul expresses it, the figure or image of his substance; i.e. of his being and nature.--And hence it is, they say, that the second person is called the Son; and that in such a way and manner as never any other was, is, or can be, because of his own divine nature, he being the true, proper, and natural Son of God, begotten by him before all worlds. Thus, he is called his own Son, Rom. viii. 3. his only begotten Son, John iii. 16. Many have attempted to explain the manner of this generation by different similitudes; but as they throw little or no light upon the subject, we shall not trouble the reader with them. Some, however, suppose that the term Son of God refers to Christ as mediator; and that his Sonship does not lie in his divine or human nature, separately considered, but in the union of both in one person. See Luke i. 33. Matt. iv. 3. John i. 49. Matt. xvi. 16. Acts ix. 20,22. Rom. i. 4. It is observed, that it is impossible that a nature properly divine should be begotten, since begetting, whatever idea is annexed to it, must signify some kind of production, derivation, and inferiority; consequently, that whatever is produced must have a beginning, and whatever had a beginning was not from eternity, as Christ is said to be, Is. ix. 6. Col. i. 16,17. That the Sonship of Christ respects him as mediator will be evident, if we compare John x. 30. with John xiv. 28. In the former it is said, "I and my Father are one;" in the latter, "My Father is greater than I." These declarations, however opposite they seem, equally respect him as he is the Son; but if his Sonship primarily and properly signify the generation of his divine nature, it will be difficult, if not impossible, according to that scheme, to make them harmonize. Considered as a distinct person in the Godhead, without respect to his office as mediator, it is impossible, that, in the same view, he should be both equal and inferior to his Father. Again: he expressly tells us himself that "the Son can do nothing of himself; that the Father showeth him all things that he doth; and that he giveth him to have life in himself," John v. 19,20,26, which expressions, if applied to him as God, not as mediator, will reduce us to the disagreeable necessity of subscribing either to the creed of Arius, and maintain him to be God of an inferior nature, and thus a plurality of Gods, or to embrace the doctrine of Socinus, who allows him only to be a God by office. But if this title belong to him as mediator, every difficulty is removed. And lastly, it is observed, that thought Jesus be God, and the attributes of eternal existence ascribed to him, yet the two attributes, eternal and son, are not once expressed in the same text as referring to eternal generation. See article SON OF GOD; Owen on the Person of Christ; Pearson on the Creed; Ridgley's Body of Divinity, p. 73, 76. 3d edition; Gill's Ditto; p. 205, vol. i. 8 vo. edition; Lambert's Sermons, ser. 13. text John xi. 35; Hodson's Essay on the Eternal Filiation of the Son of God; Watts's Works, vol. v. p. 77.

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8. GENEROSITY

  The disposition which prompts us to bestow favours which are not the purchase of any particular merit. It is different from humanity. Humanity is an exquisite feeling we possess in relation to others, so as to grieve for their sufferings, resent their injuries, or to rejoice at their prosperity; and as it arises from sympathy, it requires no great self-denial, or self-command; but generosity is that by which we are led to prefer some other person to ourselves, and to sacrifice any interest of our own to the interest of another.

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9. GENIUS

  A good or evil spirit or daemon, who the ancients supposed was set over each person to direct his birth, accompany him in his life, and to be his guard.
     Genius signifies that aptitude which a man naturally possesses to perform well and easily that which others can do but indifferently, and with a great deal of pain.

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10. GENTILE

  In matters of religion, a Pagan, or worshipper of false gods. The origin of this word is deduced from the Jews, who called all those who were not of their name gojim, i.e. gentes, which in the Greek translation of the Old Testament is rendered in which sense it frequently occurs in the New Testament; as in Matt. vi. 32. "All these things the nations or Gentiles seek." Whence the Latin church also used gentes in the same sense as our Gentiles, especially in the New Testament. But the word gentes soon got another signification, and no longer mean: all such as were not Jews, but those only who were neither Jews nor Christians, but followed the superstitions of the Greeks and Romans, &c. In this sense it continued among the Christian writers, till their manner of speech, together with their religion, was publicly, and by authority, received in the empire, when gentiles, from gentes, came into use; and then both words had two significations; viz., in treatises or laws concerning religion, they signified Pagans, neither Jews nor Christians; and in civil affairs they are used for all such as were not Romans. See HEATHEN, PAGANISM.

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11. GENTLENESS

  Softness or mildness of disposition and behaviour. Little as this disposition is thought of by many, we find it considered in Scriptures as a characteristic of the true Christian. "The wisdom that is from above," saith St. James, "is gentle," ch. iii. 17. "This gentleness, indeed, is to be distinguished from passive tameness of spirit, and from unlimited compliance with the manners of others. That passive tameness, which submits without a struggle to every encroachment of the violent and assuming, forms no part of Christian duty; but, on the contrary, is destructive of general happiness and order. That unlimited complaisance, which on every occasion falls in with the opinions and manners of others, is so far from being a virtue, that it is itself a vice, and the parent of many vices. It overthrows all steadiness of principle, and produces that sinful conformity with the world which taints the whole character. In the present corrupted state of human manners, always to assent and to comply, is the very worst maxim we can adopt. True gentleness, therefore, is to be carefully distinguished from the mean spirit of cowards and the fawning assent of sycophants. It renounces no just right from fear; it gives up no important truth from flattery: it is, indeed, not only consistent with a firm mind, but it necessarily requires a manly spirit and a fixed principle, in order to give it any real value. It stands opposed to harshness and severity, to pride and arrogance, to violence and oppression: it is properly that part of charity which makes us unwilling to give pain to any of our brethren. Compassion prompts us to relieve their wants; forbearance prevents us from retaliating their injuries: meekness restrains our angry passions; candour our severe judgments; but gentleness corrects whatever is offensive in our manner, and, by a constant train of humane attention, studies to alleviate the burden of common misery."

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12. GENUFLECTION

  The act of bowing or bending the knee, or rather of kneeling down. The Jesuit Rosweyd, in his Onomasticon, shows that genuflection, or kneeling, has been a very ancient custom in the church, and even under the Old Testament dispensation; and that this practice was observed throughout all the year, excepting on Sundays, and during the time from Easter to Whitsuntide, when kneeling was forbidden by the council of Nice. Others have shown, that the custom of not kneeling on Sundays had obtained from the time of the apostles, as appears from St. Irenxus and Tertullian; and the Ethiopic church, scrupulously attached to the ancient ceremonies, still retains that of not kneeling at divine service. The Russians esteem it an indecent posture to worship God on the knees. The Jews usually prayed standing. Baronius is of opinion that genuflection was not established in the year of Christ 58, from that passage in Acts xx. 36, where St. Paul is expressly mentioned to kneel down at prayer; but Saurin shows that nothing can be thence concluded. The same author remarks, also, that the primitive Christians carried the practice of genuflection so far, that some of them had worn cavities in the floor where they prayed: and St. Jerome relates of St. James, that he had contracted a hardness on his knees equal to that of camels.

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13. GHOST, HOLY

  See HOLY GHOST.

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14. GIFT OF TONGUES

  An ability given to the apostles of readily and intelligibly speaking a variety of languages which they had never learnt. This was a most glorious and important attestation to the Gospel, as well as a suitable, and indeed, in their circumstances, a necessary furniture for the mission for which the apostles and their assistants were designed. Nor is there any reason, with Dr. Middleton, to understand it as merely an occasional gift, so that a person might speak a language most fluently one hour, and be entirely ignorant of it in the next; which neither agrees with what is said of the abuse of it, nor would have been sufficient to answer the end proposed. See Acts ii. See Gill and Henry in Loc.; Jortin's Remarks, vol. i. p. 15-21; Essay on the Gift of Tongues; Middleton's Miscel. Works, vol. ii. p. 379; Doddridge's Lect. lec. 141.

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15. GILBERTINES

  A religious order; thus called from St. Gilbert, of Sempringham, in the county of Lincoln, who founded the same about the year 1148; the monks of which observed the rule of St. Augustine, and were accounted canons, and the nuns that of St. Benedict. The founder of this order erected a double monastery, or rather two different ones, contiguous to each other; the one for men, the other for women, but parted by a very high wall. St. Gilbert himself founded thirteen monasteries of this order; viz. four for men alone, and nine for men and women together, which had in them 700 brethren, and 1500 sisters. At the dissolution, there were about twenty-five houses of this order in England and Wales.

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16. GLASSITES

  See SANDEMANIANS.

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17. GLORY

  Praise, or honour, attributed to God, in adoration or worship. The state of felicity prepared for the righteous. See HEAVEN.
     The glory of God is the manifestation of the divine perfections in creation, providence, and grace. We may be said to give glory to God when we confess our sins, when we love him supremely, when we commit ourselves to him, are zealous in his service, improve our talents, walk humbly, thankfully, and cheerfully before him, and recommend, proclaim, or set forth his excellencies to others. Josh. vii. 19. Gal. ii. 20. John xv. 8. Ps. l. 23. Mat. v. 16.

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18. GNOSIMACHI

  A name which distinguished those in the seventh century who were professed enemies to the Gnosis; i. e. the studied knowledge or science of Christianity, which they rested wholly on good works; calling it a useless labour to seek for knowledge in the Scripture. In short, they contended for the practice of morality in all simplicity, and blamed those who aimed at improving and perfecting it by a deeper knowledge and insight into the doctrines and mysteries of religion. The Gnosimachi were the very reverse of the Gnostics.

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19. GNOSTICS

  (from knowing,) ancient heretics, famous from the first rise of Christianity, principally in the east. It appears from several passages of Scripture, particularly 1 John ii. 18; 1 Tim. vi. 20; Col. ii. 8; that many persons were infected with the Gnostic heresy in the first century; though the sect did not render itself conspicuous, either for numbers or reputation, before the time of Adrian, when some writers erroneously date its rise. The name was adopted by this sect, on the presumption that they were the only persons who had the true knowledge of Christianity. Accordingly they looked on all other Christians as simple, ignorant, and barbarous persons, who explained and interpreted the sacred writings in a low, literal, and unedifying signification. At first, the Gnostics were the only philosophers and wits of those times, who formed for themselves a peculiar system of theology, agreeable to the philosophy of Pythagoras and Plato; to which they accommodated all their interpretations of Scripture. But Gnostics afterwards became a generical name, comprehending divers sects and parties of heretics, who rose in the first centuries; and who, though they differed among themselves as to circumstances, yet all agreed in some common principles. They corrupted the doctrine of the Gospel by a profane mixture of the tenets of the origin of evil and the creation of the world, with its divine truths. Such were the Valentinians, Simonians, Carpocratians, Nicholaitans, &c.
     Gnostics sometimes also occurs in a good sense, in the ancient ecclesiastical writers, particularly Clemens Alexandrinus, who, in the person of his Gnostic, describes the characters and qualities of a perfect Christian. This point he labours in the seventh book of his Stromata, where he shows that none but the Gnostic, or learned person, has any true religion. He affirms, that, were it possible for the knowledge of God to be separated from eternal salvation, the Gnostic would make no scruple to choose the knowledge; and that if God would promise him impunity in doing of any thing he has once spoken against, or offer him heaven on those terms, he would never alter a whit of his measures. In this sense the father uses Gnostics, in opposition to the heretics of the same name; affirming, that the true Gnostic is grown old in the study of the holy scripture, and that he preserves the orthodox doctrine of the apostles, and of the church; whereas the false Gnostic abandons all the apostolical traditions, as imagining himself wiser than the apostles.
     Gnostics was sometimes also more particularly used for the successors of the Nicholaitans and Carpocratians, in the second century, upon their laying aside the names of the first authors. Such as would be thoroughly acquainted with all their doctrines reveries, and visions may consult St. Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, and St. Epiphanius; particularly the first of these writers, who relates their sentiments at large, and confutes them. Indeed he dwells more on the Valentinians than any other sect of Gnostics; but he shows the general principles whereon all their mistaken opinions were founded, and the method they followed in explaining Scripture. He accuses them of introducing into religion certain vain and ridiculous genealogies, i. e. a kind of divine processions or emanations, which had no other foundation but in their own wild imagination. The Gnostics confessed, that these aeons, or emanations, were no where expressly delivered in the sacred writings; but insisted that Jesus Christ had intimated them in parables to such as could understand them. They built their theology not only on the Gospels and the epistles of St. Paul, but also on the law of Moses and the prophets. These last were peculiarly serviceable to them, on account of the allegories and allusions with which they abound, which are capable of different interpretations; though their doctrine concerning the creation of the world by one or more inferior beings of an evil or imperfect nature, led them to deny the divine authority of the books of the Old Testament, which contradicted this idle fiction, and filled them with an abhorrence of Moses and the religion he taught; alleging, that he was actuated by the malignant author of this world, who consulted his own glory and authority, and not the real advantage of men. Their persuasion that evil resided in matter, as its centre and source, made them treat the body with contempt, discourage marriage, and reject the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, and its re-union with the immortal spirit. Their notion, that malevolent genii presided in nature, and occasioned diseases and calamities, wars and desolations, induced them to apply themselves to the study of magic, in order to weaken the powers, or suspend the influence of these malignant agents. The Gnostics considered Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and inferior to the Father, who came into the world for the rescue and happiness of miserable mortals, oppressed by matter and evil beings; but they rejected our Lord's humanity, on the principle that every thing corporeal is essentially and intrinsically evil; and therefore the greatest part of them denied the reality of his sufferings. They set a great value on the beginning of the gospel of St. John, where they fancied they saw a great deal of their xons, or emanations, under the terms the word, the life, the light, &c. They divided all nature into three kinds of beings, viz. hylic, or material; psychic, or animal; and pneumatic, or spiritual. On the like principle they also distinguished three sorts of men; material, animal, and spiritual. The first, who were material, and incapable of knowledge, inevitably perished, both soul and body; the third, such as the Gnostics themselves pretended to be, were all certainly saved; the psychic, or animal, who were the middle between the other two, were capable either of being saved or damned, according to their good or evil actions. With regard to their moral doctrines and conduct, they were much divided. The greatest part of this sect adopted very austere rules of life, recommended rigorous abstinence, and prescribed severe bodily mortifications, with a view of purifying and exalting the mind. However, some maintained that there was no moral difference in human actions; and thus confounding right with wrong, they gave a loose rein to all the passions, and asserted the innocence of following blindly all their motions, and of living by their tumultuous dictates. They supported their opinions and practice by various authorities: some referred to fictitious and apocryphal writings of Adam, Abraham, Zoroaster, Christ, and his apostles; others boasted that they had deduced their sentiments from secret doctrines of Christ, concealed from the vulgar; others affirmed that they arrived at superior degrees of wisdom by an innate vigour of mind; and others asserted that they were instructed in these mysterious parts of theological science by Thendas, a disciple of St. Paul, and by Matthias, one of the friends of our Lord. The tenets of the ancient Gnostics were revived in Spain, in the fourth century, by a sect called the Priscillianists. At length the name Gnostic, which originally was glorious, became infamous,by the idle opinions and dissolute lives of the persons who bore it.

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20. GOD

  The self-existent, infinitely perfect, and infinitely good Being, who created and preserves all things that have existence. As the Divine Being possesses a nature far beyond the comprehension of any of his creatures, of course that nature is inexplicable. "All our knowledge of invisible objects is obtained by analogy; that is, by the resemblance which they bear to visible objects; but as there is in nature no exact resemblance of the nature of God, an attempt to explain the divine nature is absurd and impracticable. All similitudes, therefore, which are used in attempting to explain it must be rejected." Yet, though we cannot fully understand his nature, there is something of him we may know. He hath been pleased to discover his perfections, in a measure, by the works of creation and the Scriptures of truth; these, therefore, we ought to study, in order that we may obtain the most becoming thoughts of him. For an account of the various attributes or perfections of God, the reader is referred to those articles in this work.
     There are various names given to the Almighty in the Scriptures, though properly speaking, he can have no name; for as he is incomprehensible, he is not nominable; and being but one, he has no need of a name to distinguish him; nevertheless, as names are given him in the Scriptures, to assist our ideas of his greatness and perfection, they are worthy of our consideration. these names are, El, which denotes him the strong and powerful God, Gen. xvii. 1. Eloah, which represents him as the only proper object of worship, Psal. xlv. 6,7. Shaddai, which denotes him to be all-sufficient and all-mighty, Exod. vi. 3. Hheeljon, which represents his incomparable excellency, absolute supremacy over all, and his peculiar residence in the highest heavens, Psalm l. 11. Adoni, which makes him the great connector, supporter, lord, and judge, of all creatures, Psal. cx. 1. Jah, which may denote his self-existence, and giving of being to his creatures, or his infinite comeliness, and answerableness to himself, and to the happiness of his creatures, Exod. xv. 2. Ehjeh, I am, or I will be, denotes his self-existence, absolute independency, immutable eternity, and all-sufficiency, to his people, Exod. iii. 14. Jehovah, which denotes his self-existence, absolute independence, unsuccessive eternity, and his effectual and marvellous giving of being to his creatures, and fulfilling his promises. Gen. ii. 4, &c.
     In the New Testament, God is called Kurios, or Lord, which denotes his self-existence, and his establishment of and authority over all things; and Theos, which represents him as the maker, pervader, and governing observer of the universe.

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21. GODFATHERS AND GODMOTHERS

  Persons who, at the baptism of infants, answer for their future conduct, and solemnly promise that they will renounce the devil and all his works, and follow a life of piety and virtue; and by these means lay themselves under an indispensable obligation to instruct them, and watch over their conduct.

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22. GODLINESS

  Strictly taken, is right worship or devotion; but in general it imports the whole of practical religion, 1 Tim. iv. 8. 2 Pet. i. 6. It is difficult, as Saurin observes, to include an adequate idea of it in what is called a definition. "It supposes knowledge, veneration, affection, dependence, submission, gratitude, and obedience; or it may be reduced to these four ideas; knowledge in the mind, by which it is distinguished from the visions of the superstitious; rectitude in the conscience, that distinguishes it from hypocrisy; sacrifice in the life, or renunciation of the world, by which it is distinguished from the unmeaning obedience of him who goes as a happy constitution leads him; and, lastly, zeal in the heart, which differs from the languishing emotions of the lukewarm." The advantages of this disposition, are honour, peace, safety, usefulness, support in death, and prospect of glory; or, as the apostle sums up all in a few words, "It is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come," 1 Tim. iv. 8. Saurin's Serm. vol. v. ser. 3. Eng. trans.; Barrow's Works, vol. i. p. 9.; Scott's Christian Life: Scougall's Life of God in the Soul of Man.

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23. GOOD

  In general, is whatever increases pleasure, or diminishes pain in us; or, which amounts to the same, whatever is able to procure or preserve to us the possession of agreeable sensations, and remove those of an opposite nature. Moral good denotes the right conduct of the several senses and passions, or their just proportion and accommodation to their respective objects and relations.
     Physical good is that which has either generally, or for any particular end, such qualities as are expected or desired.

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24. GOOD FRIDAY

  A fast of the Christian church, in memory of the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ. It is observed on the Friday in Passion Week, and it is called, by way of eminence, good; because of the good effects of our Saviour's sufferings. Among the Saxons it was called Long Friday; but for what reason does not appear, except on account of the long fasting and long offices then used. See HOLY DAYS.

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25. GOODNESS

  The fitness of a thing to produce any particular end. Perfection, kindness, benevolence.

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26. GOODNESS OF GOD

  Relates to the absolute perfection of his own nature, and his kindness manifested to his creatures. Goodness, says Dr. Gill, is essential to God, without which he would not be God, Exod. xxxiii. 19. xxxiv. 6,7. Goodness belongs only to God, he is solely good, Matt. xix. 17; and all the goodness found in creatures are only emanations of the divine goodness. He is the chief good; the sum and substance of all felicity, Ps. cxliv. 12, 15. lxxiii. 25. iv. 6,7. There is nothing but goodness in God, and nothing but goodness comes from him, 1 John i. 5. James i. 13,14. He is infinitely good; finite minds cannot comprehend his goodness, Rom. xi. 35,36. He is immutably and unchangeably good, Zeph. iii. 17. The goodness of God is communicative and diffusive, Ps. cxix. 68. xxxiii. 5. With respect to the objects of it, it may be considered as general and special. His general goodness is seen in all his creatures; yea in the inanimate creation, the sun, the earth, and all his works; and in the government, support, and protection of the world at large, Ps. xxxvi. 6. cxlv. His special goodness relates to angels and saints. To angels, in creating, confirming, and making them what they are. To saints, in election, calling, justification, adoption, sanctification, perseverance, and eternal glorification. Gill's Body of Civ. v. 1. p. 133. 8 vo. ed.; Charnock's Works, v. 1. p. 574; Paley's Nat. Theol. ch. 26; South's admirable Sermon, on this Subject, vol. viii. ser. 3.; Tillotson's Serm. ser. 143-146; Abernethy's Serm. vol. i. No. 2.

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27. GOSPEL

  The revelation of the grace of God to fallen man through a mediator. It is taken also for the history of the life, actions, death, resurrection, ascension, and doctrine of Jesus Christ. The word is Saxon, and of the same import with the Latin evangelium, which signifies glad tidings or good news. It is called the Gospel of his Grace, because it flows from his free love, Acts xx. 24. The Gospel of the kingdom, as it treats of the kingdoms of grace and glory. The Gospel of Christ, because he is the author and subject of it, Rom. i.16. The Gospel of peace and salvation, as it promotes our present comfort and leads to eternal glory, Eph. i. 13. vi. 15. The glorious Gospel, as in it the glorious perfections of Jehovah are displayed, 2 Cor. iv. 4. The everlasting Gospel, as it was designed from eternity, is permanent in time, and the effects of it eternal, Rev. xiv. 6. There are about thirty or forty apocryphal Gospels; as the Gospel of St. Peter, of St. Andrew, of St. Barnabas, the eternal Gospel, &c. &c. &c. : but they were never received by the Christian church, being evidently fabulous and trifling. See CHRISTIANITY.

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28. GOSPEL CALL

  See CALLING.

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29. GOSPEL, A LAW

  It has been disputed whether the Gospel consists merely of promises, or whether it can in any sense be called a law. The answer plainly depends upon adjusting the meaning of the words Gospel and law: if the Gospel be taken for the declaration God has made to men by Christ, concerning the manner in which he will treat them, and the conduct he expects from them, it is plain that this includes commands, and even threatenings, as well as promises; but to define the Gospel so, as only to express the favourable part of that declaration, is indeed taking the question for granted, and confining the word to a sense much less extensive than it often has in Scripture: compare Rom. ii. 16. 2 Thes. i. 8. 1 Tim. i. 10,11.; and it is certain, that, if the Gospel be put for all the parts of the dispensation taken in connection one with another, it may well be called, on the whole, a good message. In like manner the question, whether the Gospel be a law or not, is to be determined by the definition of the law and of the Gospel, as above. If law signifies, as it generally does, the discovery of the will of a superior, teaching what he requires of those under his government, with the intimation of his intention of dispensing rewards and punishments, as this rule of their conduct is observed or neglected; in this latitude of expression, it is plain, from the proposition, that the Gospel, taken for the declaration made to men by Christ, is a law, as in Scripture it is sometimes called, James i. 25. Ron. iv. 15. Rom. viii. 2. But if law be taken in the greatest rigour of the expression, for such a discovery of the will of God, and our duty, as to contain in it no intimation of our obtaining the Divine favour otherwise than by a perfect and universal conformity to it, in that sense the Gospel is not a law. See NEONOMIANS. Witsius on Cov. vol.iii. ch. 1; Doddridge's Lect. lect. 172; Watts's Orthodoxy and Charity, essay 2.

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30. GOVERNMENT OF GOD

  Is the disposal of his creatures, and all events relative to them, according to his infinite justice, power, and wisdom. His moral government is his rendering to every man according to his actions, considered as good or evil. See DOMINION and SOVEREIGNTY.

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31. GRACE

  There are various senses in which this word is used in Scripture; but the general idea of it, as it relates to God, is his free favour and love. As it respects men, it implies the happy state of reconciliation and favour with God wherein they stand, and the holy endowments, qualities, or habits of faith, hope, love, &c., which they possess. Divines have distinguished grace into common or general, special or particular. Common grace, if it may be so called, is what all men have; as the light of nature and reason, convictions of conscience, &c., Rom. ii. 4. 1 Tim. iv. 10. Special grace is that which is peculiar to some people only; such as electing, redeeming, justifying, pardoning, adopting, establishing, and sanctifying grace, Rom. viii. 30. This special grace is by some distinguished into imputed and inherent: imputed grace consists in the holiness, obedience, and righteousness of Christ, imputed to us for our justification; inherent grace is what is wrought in the heart by the Spirit of God in regeneration. Grace is also said to be irresistible, efficacious, and victorious; not but that there are in human nature, in the first moments of conviction, some struggles, opposition, or conflict; but by these terms we are to understand, that, in the end, victory declares for the grace of the Gospel. There have been many other distinctions of grace; but as they are of too frivolous a nature, and are now obsolete, they need not a place here. Growth in grace is the progress we make in the divine life. It discovers itself by an increase of spiritual light and knowledge; by our renouncing self, and depending more upon Christ; by growing more spiritual in duties; by being more humble, submissive, and thankful; by rising superior to the corruptions of our nature, and finding the power of sin more weakened in us; by being less attached to the world, and possessing more of a heavenly disposition. M'Laurin's Essays, essay 3.; Gill's Body of Div. vol. i. p. 118.; Doddridge's Lec., part viii. prop. 139.; Pike and Hayward's Cases of Conscience; Saurin on 1 Cor. ix. 26,27. vol. iv.; Booth's reign of Grace.

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32. GRACE AT MEALS

  A short prayer, imploring the divine blessing on our food, and expressive of gratitude to God for supplying our necessities. The propriety of this act is evident from the divine command, 1 Thess. v. 18. 1 Cor. x. 31. 1 Tim. iv. 5. From the conduct of Christ, Mark viii. 6,7. From reason itself; not to mention that it is a custom practised by most nations, and even not neglected by heathen themselves. The English, however, seem to be very deficient in this duty.
     As to the manner in which it ought to be performed, as Dr. Watts observes, we ought to have a due regard to the occasion, and the persons present; the neglect of which hath been attended with indecencies and indiscretions. Some have used themselves to mutter a few words with so low a voice, as though by some secret charm they were to consecrate the food alone, and there was no need of the rest to join with them in the petitions. Others have broke out into so violent a sound, as though they were bound to make a thousand people hear them. Some perform this part of worship with so slight and familiar an air, as though they had no sense of the great God to whom they speak: others have put on an unnatural solemnity, and changed their natural voice into so different and awkward a tone, not without some distortions of countenance, that have tempted strangers to ridicule.
     It is the custom of some to hurry over a single sentence or two, and they have done, before half the company are prepared to lift up a thought to heaven. And some have been just heard to bespeak a blessing on the church and the king, but seem to have forgot they were asking God to bless their food, or giving thanks for the food they have received. Others, again, make a long prayer, and, among a multitude of other petitions, do not utter one that relates to the table before them.
     The general rules of prudence, together with a due observation of the custom of the place where we live, would correct all these disorders, and teach us that a few sentences suited to the occasion, spoken with an audible and proper voice, are sufficient for this purpose, especially is any strangers are present. Watts's Works. oct. edit. vol. iv. p. 160. Law's Serious Call, p. 60. Seed's Post. Ser. p. 174.

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33. GRATITUDE

  Is that pleasant affection of the mind which arises from a sense of favours received, and by which the possessor is excited to make all the returns of love and service in his power. "Gratitude," says Mr. Cogan (in his Treatise on the Passions,) "is the powerful re-action of a well-disposed mind, upon whom benevolence has conferred some important good. It is mostly connected with an impressive sense of the amiable disposition of the person by whom the benefit is conferred, and it immediately produces a personal affection towards him. We shall not wonder at the peculiar strength and energy of this affection, when we consider that it is compounded of love placed upon the good communicated, affection for the donor, and joy at the reception. Thus it has goodness for its object, and the most pleasing, perhaps unexpected, exertions of goodness for its immediate cause. Thankfulness refers to verbal expressions of gratitude. " See THANKFULNESS.

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34. GRAVITY

  Is that seriousness of mind, united with dignity of behaviour, that commands, veneration and respect. See Dr. Watts's admirable Sermon of Gravity, ser. 23. vol. i.

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35. GREATNESS OF GOD

  Is the infinite glory and excellency of all his perfections. His greatness appears by the attributes he possesses, Deut. xxxii. 3,4. the works he hath made, Ps. xix. 1. by the awful and benign providences he displays, Ps. xcvii. 1,2. the great effects he produces by his word, Gen. i. the constant energy he manifests in the existence and support of all his creatures, Ps. cxlv. 3. not diminished by exertion, but will always remain the same, Mal. iii. 6. The considerations of his greatness should excite veneration, Ps. lxxxix. 7. admiration, Jer. ix. 6,7. humility, Job xlii 5,6. dependence, Is. xxvi. 4. submission, Job i. 22. obedience Deut. iv. 39,40. See ATTRIBUTES, and books under that article.

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36. GREEK CHURCH

  Comprehends in its bosom a considerable part of Greece, the Grecian Isles, Wallachia, Moldavia, Egypt, Abyssinia, Nubia, Libya, Arabia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Cilicia, and Palestine, which are all under the jurisdiction of the patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. If to these we add the whole of the Russian empire in Europe, great part of Siberia in Asia, Astracan, Casan, and Georgia, it will be evident that the Greek church has a wider extent of territory than the Latin, with all the branches which have sprung from it; and that it is with great impropriety that the church of Rome is called by her members the catholic or universal church. That in these widely distant countries the professors of Christianity are agreed in every minute article of belief, it would be rash to assert; but there is certainly such an agreement among them, with respect both to faith and to discipline, that they mutually hold communion with each other, and are, in fact, but one church. It is call the Greek church, in contradistinction to the Latin or Romish church; as also the Eastern, in distinction from the Western church. We shall here present the reader with a view of its rise, tenets, and discipline.
     I. Greek church, rise and separation of. The Greek church is considered as a separation from the Latin. In the middle of the ninth century, the controversy relating to the procession of the Holy Ghost (which) had been started in the sixth century) became a point of great importance, on account of the jealousy and ambition which at that time were blended with it. Photius, the patriarch of Jerusalem, having been advanced to that see in the room of Ignatius, whom he procured to be deposed, was solemnly excommunicated by pope Nicholas, in a council held at Rome, and his ordination declared null and void. The Greek Emperor resented this conduct of the pope, who defended himself with great spirit and resolution . Photius, in his turn, convened what he called an aecumenical council, in which he pronounced sentence of excommunication and deposition against the pope and got it subscribed by twenty-one bishops and others, amounting in number to a thousand. This occasioned a wide breach between the sees of Rome and Constantinople. However, the death of the emperor Michael, and the deposition of Photius, subsequent thereupon, seem to have restored peace; for the emperor Basil held a council at Constantinople in the year 869, in which entire satisfaction was given to Pope Adrian; but the schism was only smothered and suppressed a while. The Greek church had several complaints against the Latin; particularly it was thought a great hardship for the Greeks to subscribe to the definition of a council according to the Roman form, prescribed by the pope, since it made the church of Constantinople dependent on that of Rome, and set the pope above an aecumenical council; but, above all, the pride and haughtiness of the Roman court gave the Greeks a great distaste; and as their deportment seemed to insult his imperial majesty, it entirely alienated the affections of the emperor Basil. Towards the middle of the eleventh century, Michael Cerularius, patriarch of Constantinople, opposed the Latins, with respect to their making use of unleavened bread in the eucharist, their observation of the sabbath, and fasting on Saturday, charging them with living in communion with the Jews. To this pope Leo IX. replied; and, in his apology for the Latins, declaimed very warmly against the false doctrine of the Greeks, and interposed at the same time, the authority of his see. He likewise, by he legates, excommunicated the patriarch in the church of Santa Sophia, which gave the last shock to the reconciliation attempted a long time after, but to no purpose; for from that time the hatred of the Greeks to the Latins, and of the Latins to the Greeks, became insuperable, insomuch that they have continued ever since separated from each other's communion.
     II. Greek church, tenets of. The following are some of the chief tenets held by the Greek church:-- They disown the authority of the pope, and deny that the church of Rome is the true catholic church. They do not baptize their children till they are three, four, five, six, ten, nay, sometimes eighteen years of age: baptism is performed by trine immersion. They insist that the sacrament of the Lord's supper ought to be administered in both kinds, and they give the sacrament to children immediately after baptism. They grant no indulgences, nor do they lay any claim to the character of infallibility, like the church of Rome. They deny that there is any such place as purgatory; notwithstanding they pray for the dead, that God would have mercy on them at the general judgment. They practise the invocation of saints; though, they say, they do not invoke them as deities, but as intercessors with God. They exclude confirmation, extreme unction, and matrimony, out of the seven sacraments. They deny auricular confession to be a divine precept, and say it is only a positive injunction of the church. They pay no religious homage to the eucharist. They administer the communion in both kinds to the laity, both in sickness and in health, though they have never applied themselves to their confessors; because they are persuaded that a lively faith is all which is requisite for the worthy receiving of the Lord's supper. They maintain that the Holy Ghost proceeds only from the Father, and not from the Son. they believe in predestination. They admit of no images in relief or embossed work, but use paintings and sculptures in copper or silver. They approve of the marriage of priests, provided they enter into that state before their admission into holy orders. They condemn all fourth marriages. They observe a number of holy days, and keep four fasts in the year more solemn than the rest, of which the fast in Lent, before Easter, is the chief. They believe the doctrine of consubstantiation, or the union of the body of Christ with the sacrament bread.
     III. Greek church, state and discipline of. Since the Greeks became subject to the Turkish yoke, they have sunk into the most deplorable ignorance, in consequence of the slavery and thraldom under which they groan; and their religion is now greatly corrupted. It is, indeed, little better than a heap of ridiculous ceremonies and absurdities. The head of the Greek church is the patriarch of Constantinople, who is chosen by the neighbouring archbishops and metropolitans, and confirmed by the emperor or grand vizier. He is a person of great dignity, being the head and director of the Eastern church. The other patriarchs are those of Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria. Mr. Tournefort tells us, that the patriarchates are now generally set to sale, and bestowed upon those who are the highest bidders. The patriarchs, metropolitans, archbishops, and bishops, are always chosen from among the caloyers, or Greek monks. The next person to a bishop among the clergy, is an archimandrite, who is the director of one or more convents, which are called mandren; then comes the abbot, the arch-priest, the priest, the deacon, the under-deacon, the chanter, and the lecturer. The secular clergy are subject to no rules, and never rise higher than high-priest. The Greeks have few nunneries, but a great many convents of monks, who are all priests; and (students excepted) obliged to follow some handicraft employment, and lead a very austere life.
     The Russians adhere to the doctrine and ceremonies of the Greek church, though they are now independent of the patriarch of Constantinople. The Russian church, indeed, may be reckoned the first, as to extent of empire; yet there is very little of the power of vital religion among them. The Roskolniki, or, as they now call themselves, the Starovertzi, were a sect that separated from the church of Russia, about 1666: they affected extraordinary piety and devotion, a veneration for the letter of the Holy Scriptures, and would not allow a priest to administer baptism who had that day tasted brandy. They harboured many follies and superstitions, and have been greatly persecuted; but, perhaps, there will be found among them "some that shall be counted to the Lord for a generation." Several settlements of German Protestants have been established in the Wolga. The Moravians also have done good in Livonia, and the adjacent isles in the Baltic under the Russian government. See Mocheim, Gregory, and Hawies's Church History; King's Rites and Ceremonies of the Greek Church in Russia; The Russian Catechism; Secret Memoirs of the court of Petersburgh; Tooke's History of Russia; Ricaut's State of the Greek Church; Enc. Brit.

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37. GROWTH IN GRACE

  See GRACE.

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38. GUARDIAN ANGEL

  "Some," says Dr. Doddridge, "have thought, that not only every region but every man has some particular angel assigned him as a guardian, whose business it is generally to watch over that country or person; for this opinion they urge Matt. xviii. 10. Acts xii. 15. But the argument from both these places is evidently precarious; and it seems difficult to reconcile the supposition of such a continued attendance with what is said of the stated residence of these angels in heaven, and with Heb. i. 14, where all the angels are represented as ministering to the heirs of salvation: though, as there is great reason to believe the number of heavenly spirits is vastly superior to that of men upon earth, it is not improbable that they may, as it were, relieve each other, and in their turns perform these condescending services to those whom the Lord of Angels has been pleased to redeem with his own blood; but we must confess that our knowledge of the laws and orders of those celestial beings is very limited, and consequently that it is the part of humility to avoid dogmatical determinations on such heads as these." See ANGEL; and Doddridge's Lectures, lect. 212.

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39. GUILT

  The state of a person justly charged with a crime; a consciousness of having done amiss. See SIN.

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