Cyclopædia or an universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences
ABRACADABRA PDF Print E-mail
Religion - Theology
Written by Ephraim Chambers   
Thursday, 01 January 1728 09:00
an Inscription, antiently used as aCharm or Spell, for the curing of several Diseases, and driving out Devils. See CHARM, PHYLACTERY, &C.
The Author of this piece of Superstition, who is said tohave lived under the Emperor Adrian, form'd the Namefrom that of the Deity he adored, Abrasax, or Abraxas;whom he made God-paramount; having several petty Divinities under him, and particularly seven Angels who presidedover the seven Heavens ; and to whom he attributed 365Virtues or Powers, the Number of Days in the Year, withother idle Reveries.

This ABPAΕAΣ S. Jerom will have to be the same Godwhom the Persians and other Heathens worship'd underthe Name Mitra ; which is warranted by some antientGrave-stones. 'Tis added, that moft of the Fathers ascribethe Fable of the God GREEK, to Basilides and his Followers, a Branch of Gnostics. See BASILIDIANS.
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ABJURATION PDF Print E-mail
Religion - Theology
Written by Ephraim Chambers   
Thursday, 01 January 1728 09:00
a solemn Renunciation, or Recantation of an Error, Heresy, or false Doctrine. See RECANTATION.

The Word is form'd of the Latin Abjurare ; which in Cicero, and other Roman Writers, signifies the denying a thing upon Oath. Thus, Abjurare creditum, was to forswear a Debt, or to deny the owing it upon Oath, &c.

So, in our own Laws, To abjure a Person, is to renounce all Authority or Dominion of such a Person. Thus, by the Oath of Abjuration, a Person binds himself not to own any Regal Authority in the Person call'd the Pretender, nor ever to pay him the Obedience of a Subject. See OATH, ALLEGIANCE, &c.
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ABSTEMIOUS PDF Print E-mail
Religion - Theology
Written by Ephraim Chambers   
Thursday, 01 January 1728 09:00
is properly understood of such Persons as refrain absolutely from Wine. Pliny more expresly says, Vini abstemius ; and Apuleius, Invinius.

In the Religious Sense of the Word, they are said to be Abstemious, who in the Sacrament of the Supper cannot partake of the Cup, by reason or some natural Aversion to the Liquor. The Bishop of Meaux pleads the Example of the Abstemious, in behalf of excluding the Laity from Communion under that Kind.

The Roman Ladies, in the first Ages of the Republick were all enjoin'd to be Abstemious ; and that it might appear whether or no they kept up to the Injunction, it was one of the Laws of the Roman Civility, that they should kiss their Freinds and Relations whenever they accosted them.
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ABACTOR PDF Print E-mail
Religion - Law
Written by Ephraim Chambers   
Thursday, 01 January 1728 09:00
a barbarous Latin Word, retain'd in our Dictionaries as a Law-Term, tho never yet naturaliz'd, nor its Idea agreed on.

Literally, it imports the same with Abigeus, or as others write it, Abigevus, or Abigens ; form'd of Abigo, I drive away, q. d. a Driver of Cattle.

Technically, it is us'd to denote a Thief ; but with something particular in the manner of his Crime, to distinguish it from Furtum, or common Theft. 'Tis generally suppos'd to be one who steals, or drives off Cattel by Herds, or great Numbers : Thus Bracton, L. iii. c. 6. Si quis suem surripuit, fur erit ; & si quis gregem, Abigevus. See THEFT.
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A PDF Print E-mail
Grammar - Grammar
Written by Ephraim Chambers   
Thursday, 01 January 1728 09:00
A Vowel, and the first Letter of the English Alphabet. See LETTER, VOWEL, and ALPHABET ; where what relates to A, consider'd in each of those Capacities, is delivered. The Grammarians will needs have A the first Letter in all Languages ; and some of 'em assign a natural Reason for it, viz. that it is the most simple, and the easiest pronounc'd of all articulate Sounds. To confirm this, Jul. Scaligcr observes, that A is the first Sound Nature puts forth at the crying or smiling of Infants ; and that it needs no other Motion to form it, but a bare opening of the Lips. See VOICE.

Covarruvias, refining on this Sentiment of Scaliger, observes, very gravely, that the first Sound put forth by Boys is A ; but that Girls first put forth E ; each pronouncing the initial Letter of the Name of the first Parent of its respective Sex, Dr. Littleton, setting Adam aside, makes the one speak the final, and the other the initial Letter of the Name of the Mother of Mankind, EvA.
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