Socinianism Unmask'd. A DISCOURSE Shewing the Unreasonableness Of a Late Writer's OPINION Concerning the Necessity of only One Article of Christian Faith; And of his other Assertions in his late Book, Entituled, The Reasonableness of Christianity as deli­ver'd in the Scriptures, and in his Vin­dication of it. With a Brief Reply to another (pro­fessed) Socinian Writer.

By IOHN EDWARDS, B. D. and sometime Fellow of S. Iohn's College in Cambridge.

LONDON: Printed for I. Robinson at the Golden Lyon, and I. Wyat at the Rose in S. Paul's Church­yard. MDCXCVI.

THE INTRODUCTION.

THE following Discourse (which was finish'd above two months ago, but by reason of some Intervening Occur­rences found not its way to the Press) is design'd against the under­taking of a late Author in his book which bears the Title of the Rea­sonableness of Christianity, &c. But the Writer himself is wonderfully pleased with his Lying hid, and being No Body. I grant there may be Reasons why a man may sometimes conceal his Name, and not prefix it to the Book he is Au­thor [Page] of. But there are some Rea­sons that are proper and peculiar to this Writer's circumstances, for this is perfectly after the Mode of our late English Racovian Writers, who constantly appear Nameless, and accordingly herein he shews himself to be of the right Racovian breed. And another good reason is this (which indeed argues some­thing of Modesty) he would not set a Christian Name before that book wherein he so grosly abuses Christianity, and renounces the great­est part of it.

I will not wast time, and trou­ble the Reader and my self about guessing who this Writer is. Out of Christian good will and chari­ty I am backward to believe that he who is vogued to be the Father of these Extravagant Conceits, is really so. I will still perswade my [Page] self that there is an Error of the Per­son; upon which account I shall be more free than otherwise I should have been.

But to come to the Book it self; there was (to express it in the most Learned and Rhetorical Stile of our Author himself) a great flutter, noise and buz raised about it, even while it was yet under the Printers hands. There were cer­tain Factors and Emissaries who extravagantly extolled it, and it was observ'd this Applause came from the Racovian quarter. Those of that way knew before it came out that it was in favour of their Cause: whence it was that they so mightily raised the Expectati­ons of those they convers'd with, and highly magnified this Piece be­fore the world had seen it. And as soon as it was blessed with the [Page] sight of it, their language ran to an exorbitant heighth: as if Chri­stianity had been never known be­fore the time of the compiling of this book. All that went before this Author were deluded Crea­tures, and were perfect Strangers to the Articles of the Christian Faith, and to Christianity it self. Now is risen up an Infallible Teacher: all must obsequiously repair to this Great Oracle. Now the Socinians have another Champi­on, now they look brisk upon it, and the day is their own. Now Converts come in apace, and the Youth begin to have a Polonian As­pect: and in a short time we shall have a Brood of Socinians, we shall be stock'd with Young Racovians.

And to let you into the whole Project, this is the short account of it, Socinianism was to be erected [Page] at this time (they can stay no lon­ger) and in order to that all hands are to be employed, i. e. all that they can get. Among others they thought and made choice of a Gen­tleman, who they knew would be extraordinarily useful to them; and he it is probable was as for­ward to be made use of by them, and presently accepted of the Office which was assigned him. Now, thinks he, I had best to make use of this opportunity, and to set up for a Divine. Not only the Illiterate bulk of mankind, but their Reverences and Right Reverences (to use the words of a * Writer of our own Brotherhood) shall come to Me to have their understandings in­form'd, [Page] for we have but a sorry unthinking sort of Teachers now a-days, whether they be Conformists or otherwise: I could never ap­prove of their Systematick genius, their doating upon Creeds and Con­fessions, and rendring our Faith cumbersom and burdensom. It may be even these men will give ear to what a Thoughtful Musing Man dictates to them, though they ne­ver think themselves, but take all upon trust, and swallow Epistles and Gospel together. I have at­tained to such a heighth and per­fection of knowledg that I am able to instruct these people after an­other rate. I must tell them (which I know they will look ve­ry strangely upon) that the Apo­stles, when they wrote the Epi­stles to their Christian Converts, designed not to trouble their heads [Page] with any Articles or Truths that were necessarily to be believed, they only dropt a few Occasional Documents. And it may be now and then that One Article which I have propounded to the world may be hook'd in by the by: but that is no place to look for any Ne­cessary and Fundamental Truth of Christianity, which is absolutely to be believ'd by us.

This seems to be Novel Do­ctrine, and so indeed it is, for I have the honour to be the first famous Inventer of it; but I doubt not but in a short time I shall not only propagate this, but the Cause to which it is subservient, in a won­derful manner. To this purpose I will carry it cunningly: whilest the Double-Column'd Prints are open­ly and in a down-right way advan­cing the Cause, I will do as much [Page] service under-hand. They look di­rectly towards Poland or Transyl­vania, they publickly profess them­selves to be Socinus's Followers, but I'll be upon the Reserve, and so dis­guise my self that it shall be very difficult to discover me. I will make the world believe that I ne­ver heard of such a man as Socinus: and if they tell me that I speak his very language as perfectly as if I were a Native of Sienna, I'll face them down that I had it not by fingring of any Socinian Authors, but by a kind of Natural Revela­tion.

Well, this cause must be car­ried on, and I can do it as well as any man by maintaining that there is but One Article of Christian Faith necessarily to be believ'd to make a man a Christian, necessarily to be believ'd in order to salvation. For if there [Page] be but One Point necessary to be believ'd, then the doctrines con­cerning the Trinity, concerning the Incarnation and Divinity of Christ, concerning his Satisfaction, &c. are rendred unnecessary as to the mak­ing us Christians. And this I will shove on under the colour of being serviceable to the bulk of Mankind, of being obliging and merciful to the Multitude and Rabble, and Poor Peo­ple; though (to say the Truth) I shew my self to be so far from ob­liging the Multitude that I do them an infinite deal of Mischief. Yet if I compass my End, it is e­nough, and I care for no more. And my End is this, to hale in Socinianism after a new man­ner.

You see what the Musing of this Gentleman comes to: and I was so unhappy a man as to find it out, [Page] to take notice of it, and to disco­ver it to the world in a late Dis­course which I publish'd: and thereby I have extremely exaspe­rated this New Undertaker and his Adherents. I do not won­der at it, for now their In­trigues are laid open, their Racovian Plot is detected, and all their Measures are thereby broken.

But to keep up their hearts, a Vindi­cation (as it is call'd) of this Treachery is publish'd by him who was ap­pointed to be the Chief Tool in this work. Here he makes it his busi­ness to defend his New Paradox, and to shore his Notion up again with some crazy props. Through­out the whole he is pleas'd to Criticize with some Magisteri­alness and Pertness on the Re­flections which I made on his [Page] book. And now it is my turn again to be Critick, and I shall discharge the Task with all im­partiality and integrity. It is true, there is nothing of any Moment, nothing Weighty and Argumen­tative in what he hath offered, and therefore some in whose Judgment I could confide, would have prevailed with me to add no more on this Subject, which they were perswaded I had be­fore sufficiently cleared: but part­ly to shew somewhat further the great Danger and Mischief of this Writer's Opinion, part­ly to prevent the Seduction of some well-meaning persons who may be apt to be led away by his smooth Pretences, (for though his Cavils and Evasions be weak, yet they may chance to light into the Hands of some Weak [Page] Readers, such as are not well establish'd in their notions: Wherefore not on the account of his Petty Objections, but for the sake of these persons I re­assume this Argument) and part­ly to lay open the Wilful Mi­stakes and Gross Dissimulation (as I take it) of this Writer, and partly to gratifie those Gentle­mens expectations who with some impatience seem to long for a Re­ply, I have once again undertaken to employ the Press upon this occa­sion. But the Chief and Principal Design, as well as Motive, of my appearing again in this Cause is to assert and defend the Christian Faith which this Author hath misrepre­sented, maim'd and abused. To which purpose I will set before the Reader the Heads of his pre­tended Vindication, and in the face [Page] of the world make it appear how falsly and perfidiously he hath act­ed in the Cause of Religion. And may it be the Readers Prayer (as well as it is mine) that this Enter­prize may tend to the Glory and Ho­nour of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost (Three Glorious Persons in One ever to be Adored Deity) and to the Edifica­tion of the Christian Church. Amen.

ERRATA.

PAge 17. line. 1. read. World. p. 22. l. 18. for Christ. r. Iesus. p. 54. l. 20. r. Sylburgius. p. 85. l. 9. r. Racovians. p. 87. l. 23 after Iesus insert Christ. p. 116. line 3. after done make the other part of the Parenthesis. p. 117. l. 18. after if insert the truth were known, I believe it would appear that. p. 120. l. 17. r. telling. p. 125. l 8. r. him. p. 128. l. 21. after hath insert had. p. 131. l. 13. after religion insert who is so near a-kin to one that is voted a Socinian in the Brief History of the Vnitarians. p. 135. l. 11. r. Socinianiz'd.

A Late WRITER's Unreasonable Opinions CONFUTED.

CHAP. I.

The first General Charge against the Late Writer, viz. That he unwarrantably crowds all the Necessary Articles of Faith into One, with a design of fa­vouring Socinianism. He endeavours to shift off the Enditement, but is cast by his own words. His wilful mistake about the Article of the Deity. He labours in vain to split One Article into Two. It is shew'd that besides the bare believing of Jesus to be the Mes­sias, it is necessary to know and believe the Fall of Adam, whereby Sin and Death entred into the World, and were derived to his posterity. It is necessary to know and believe Who the Messias is; whether he be God or Man, or both: on [Page 2] which will follow the necessary belief of the Holy Trinity. It is requisite to have a right conception concerning our Re­covery and Restauration by the Messi­as, i. e. to know what he undertook and did for us, and to be acquainted with the Great Privileges bestow'd upon us by him. It is of necessity to believe what the Messias requires of Vs. It is un­doubted matter of our belief, that our Salvation springs from the mere Favour and Grace of God through Christ Jesus, and not from any works or merits of ours. It is indispensably requisite, that we believe the Doctrin of the Resurrecti­on, of the Final Judgment, and of Eternal Life.

I Will now betake my self to the Task which is before me, after I have told the Reader, that I intend not to imitate our Nameless Au­thor in his Childish Flourishes, in his Spruce and Starched Sentences, and in his Impotent Jestings, which are sprink­led up and down his Vindication. Nor will I follow him in his Impertinencies and Incoherencies, in his trifling Excur­sions to eke out his two sheets and a half. I will not resemble him in his [Page 3] Little Artifices of evading, in his weak and feeble Struglings with a Strong Truth. I will not personate him in the Confusion and Disorder of his Reply, for it seems he had forgot, that it is one sign of a Well-bred, a Well-taught Man, * to answer to the first in the first place, and so in order. I will not imitate him in his Dry Common Places, in his Set of Words and Phrases, of Sayings and Apothegms, which would have serv'd on any other occasion, as the Intelligent Reader cannot but take notice. Much less will I comply with him in his An­gry fits and Passionate Ferments, which, tho he strives to palliate, are easily dis­cernible, for he feels himself Wounded, and is not able to disguise it. I will be­take my self, I say, to the present Con­cern with great application and mind­fulness, fully making good my Former Charges against his Book, and clearing my own from those sorry Objections and Cavils which he hath since rais'd against it. In the whole management I will sincerely acquaint the Reader first with his own words, and then offer my Refutation of them: and all along I will [Page 4] be careful to banish all Indecent Re­flections; unless those shall be counted such which are purely grounded on his own expressions, and which his Freedom of Language necessarily and unavoida­bly administers to me.

The Main Charges are these. 1. That he unwarrantably crowded all the Ne­cessary Articles of Faith into One, with a design of favouring Socinianism. 2. That he shew'd his good will to this Cause by interpreting those Texts which respect the Holy Trinity, after the Antitrinitarian mode. 3. That he gave proof of his being Socinianiz'd by his utter silence about Christ's satisfying for us, and purchasing Salvation by vertue of his Death, when he designed­ly undertook to enumerate the Advan­vantages and Benefits which accrue to mankind by Christ's coming into the World. And in the making good of these Particular Charges, I shall (as I did before) evidence to the World that this Writer hath not only a design to cherish Socinianism, but at the same time to make way for Atheism.

I begin with the First, on which I will enlarge more than on any of the rest; because it comprehends in it se­veral [Page 5] other Particulars, and because in discussing of this, I shall have opportunity to lay open the Sophistry and Dissimu­lation of this Vindicator, and likewise to discover to the Reader how Mischievous and Pernicious his Design is. First, it is observable that this Guilty Man would be shifting off the Enditement by excepting against the formality of the Words, as if such were not to be found in his Book. But when doth he do this? In the close of it, when his mat­ter was exhausted, and he had nothing else to say, Vindic. p. 38. Then he be­thinks himself of this Salvo, whereas he had generally before pleaded to the formal Enditement, and had thereby owned it to be True. And indeed he can do no other, for it was the main work he set himself about to find but One Article of Faith in all the Chapters of the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles: and accordingly he over and over again declares, that there is but that One Truth (viz. Iesus is the Mes­siah) necessarily to be assented to by Chri­stians, or (as he sometimes words it) ab­solutely required to make a man a Christian, or a member of Christ. This is the SOLE Doctrin press'd and requir'd to be believ'd [Page 6] in the whole tenour of our Saviour's and his Apostles preaching. p. 192. of his Reason­ableness of Christianity. And again in the same place. This was the ONLY Gospel Article of Faith which was Preach­ed to them. This he often inculcates, having left out several considerable pas­sage in the very Gospels, and having thrown aside the Epistles, as if they were no part of the New Testament, hoping that some of his Readers would be bubbled by this means.

And when I told him of his One Ar­ticle, he knew well enough that I did not exclude the Article of the Deity, for that is a Principle of Natural Reli­gion; whereas, I only took notice of his passing by and wholly omitting those points which are Evangelical. Yet he willfully mistakes me in this, p. 27. of his Vindication, and saith he doth not de­ny the necessary belief of a Deity, or One only True God; and so the belief of the Messias with that makes Two Articles. Thus he would perswade the Reader, that I misunderstood him, and that I tax'd him with setting up One Article, when he acknowledges two. But the Reader sees his Shuffling; for my Dis­course did not treat (neither doth his [Page 7] Book run that way) of Principles of Natural Religion, but of the Revealed one, and Particularly the Christian. Ac­cordingly this was it which I taxed him with, that of all the Principles and Arti­cles of Christianity he chose out but One as necessarily to be believed to make a Man a Christian.

And though since he hath tried to split this One into two, p. 28. yet he labours in vain, for to believe Iesus to be the Messias amounts to the same, with believing him to be a King or Ruler, his being Anointed (i. e. being the Messias) including that in it. Yet he hath the Vanity to add in great Characters, THESE ARE ARTICLES, as if the putting them into these Great Letters would make one Article two. Such is the fond fancy and conceitedness of the Gentleman, whereas in other places he hath formally declared, that there is but One Article that is the necessary Matter of Faith. This I had just rea­son to except against; and now I will give a farther account of my doing so, by shewing that, besides that One Fun­damental Principle or Article which he so often mentions, there are Others that are as necessarily to be believed to make a [Page 8] Man a Christian, yea to give him the de­nomination of a Believer, in the sense of the Gospel. Several of these I particu­larly, but barely enumerated in my for­mer Discourse, and now I will distinctly insist on the most of them, and let the Reader see, that it is as necessary for a Convert to Christianity to give assent to them, as to that other he so frequently specifies.

This Proposition, that by one man sin entred into the World, and death by sin: and this which follows, Death passed upon all men, for as much as all men have sinned, Rom. 5. 12. and that other, that even the Regenerate (for the Apo­stle speaks of himself and the Conver­ted Ephesians) are by nature the Chil­dren of wrath, as well as others, Eph. 2. 3. these, I say, are as absolutely necessary to be known, assented to, and believed, in order to our being Christians as this Proposition, Iesus is the Messias, or Sent of God. For I ask, what was the end of his being sent? Was it not to Help Mankind, to rescue and deliver them from some Evil? And where can we be inform'd concerning the Rise and Nature of this Evil, but in the Sacred and In­spired Writings? And do not these [Page 9] foresaid Texts, which we find in St. Paul's Epistles, acquaint us with the true Source and Quality of our condition by nature? Do they not discover the Root of Mans Misery, viz. the Apo­stacy of Adam (for he is that one Man) and the dreadful Consequences of it, ex­pressed by Death and Wrath? And is this set down to no purpose in these In­spired Epistles? Is it not requisite that we should know it and believe it? Yea, is not this absolutely requisite? For it is impossible any one should firmly imbrace, or so much as seriously attend to the Doctrin of the Messias, unless he be persuaded that He stands in need of him. And can he be persuaded of this unless he be acquainted with his Dege­nerate and Miserable State, his univer­sal Depravity and innate Proness to what is Vitious, and with the true Original of it? viz. The voluntary Defection and Fall of our First Parents, and with that the loss of our Happiness. The word Messias is an insignificant term till we have a belief of this: Why then is there a Treatise published to tell the World, that the bare belief of a Messias is all that is required of a Christian?

[Page 10] Again, it is not only necessary to know that Iesus is the Messias, but also to know and believe who this Iesus, this Messias is, viz. whether he be God or Man, or both. For every one will grant that there is a Vast Difference between the one and the other, as much as there is betwixt Infinite and Finite; and there­fore that we may have a due apprehen­sion concerning the Messias, it is absolute­ly necessary, that we should believe him to be what he is declared to be in the In­fallible Writings, viz. God, as well as Man. The Word was God, John 1. 1. The Word was made Flesh, v. 14. And this Word is the Only begotten of the Fa­ther, in the same Verse. God was mani­fest in the Flesh, 1. Tim. 3. 16. He is called not only God in these places, and in several others, but he is stil'd the True God, 1 John 5. 20. and the Great God, Tit. 2. 13. The Lord of all, Acts 10. 36. God blessed for ever, Rom. 9. 5. Hence we must conclude, that there is a necessity of believing the Messias to be the very God, of the same Essence with the Father and the Holy Ghost, for these are the two other Persons included in the Deity. So that hence it will follow, that it is requisite to believe the Holy Tri­nity, [Page 11] i. e. that there are in the God­head Three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost; which is the Doctrin that our Saviour himself taught (and he taught it, that it might be believed) Mat. 28. 19. where the Celebration of Baptism, which is a solemn part of Di­vine Worship, is commanded to be in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, who are One God, 1 John 5. 7. These Three are One, one Essence or Being, as the word [...] imports. Those words of the Apostle are obser­vable, 1 Cor. 1. 13. Were ye baptised in the name of Paul? As much as to say, Baptism is in the name of God, and not of a Man: Therefore when it is said, Go and Baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, it is included, that these Three are God, i. e. Three Per­sons of one and the same Deity. Thus it is manifest, that the believing of Ie­sus's being the Messias, or Anointed is not sufficient to make a Man a Christian Believer, but he must further believe these Propositions or Articles, viz. that the Son of God was made flesh, i. e. as­sumed our Human Nature; that Christ is True God; that He with the Father and the Spirit are One God; for these [Page 12] are not only expressed in the Gospels and Epistles (out of both which we are to gather the Fundamental Articles of Faith) and consequently are to be assen­ted to by all Christians, but the very Nature of the thing it self dictates that we ought to have a firm belief of these Truths; for otherwise when a Man pro­fesses his belief in the Messias, he is yet ignorant of the Person he pretends to believe in. He doth not know whether he believes in a God or in a Man, or to which of these he is beholding, for the Good he looks for by the Messias's com­ing. Now, Sir, you with your Reaso­nableness of Christianity, what do you think of this? Is it not reasonable that a Christian should (as the Apostle speaks of himself) know whom he hath believed? 2 Tim. 1. 12. Nay, is it not indispensa­bly necessary, that he should know whe­ther it be a Divine, or Human, or An­gelical Power that he is obliged to, that so he may accordingly proportion his Affections and Service? for (what ever the late Set of Socinians hold) there must be a difference made between the Homage which is paid to a Creature (such as they declare Christ to be) and that which is due only to the Creator. [Page 13] I will refer the Reader to the Incompa­rable Bishop Pearson on the Second Ar­ticle of the Creed, where he shews, ‘the Necessity of our believing Christ to be the Eternal Son of God, and God himself, 1. For the directing and confirming of our Faith concerning the Redemption of Mankind. 2. For the right informing of us about that Worship and Honour which are due to him. 3. For giving us a right apprehension, and consequent­ly a due value of the Infinite Love of God the Father in sending his Only-be­gotten Son into the World to die for us.’ Thus this Judicious Writer. But our Nameless Author would persuade us, that there is no necessity of believing any such thing.

Then in the next place, we are to have a right conception concerning our Recovery and Restauration by this Messias, who is God-Man. And here those se­veral Scriptures will furnish us with Ar­ticles, As by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteonsness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one mans disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous, Rom. 5. 18, 19. [Page 14] He appeared to put away sin by the sacri­fice of himself, Heb. 9. 26. Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many, Heb. 9. 28. Christ hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, 1 Pet. 3. 18. He gave himself a Ransom for all men, 1 Tim. 2. 6. Ye are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, 1 Pet. 1. 18, 19. And to it is prefix'd ye know, to let us understand that this Article is to be known and as­sented to. We are bought with a price, 1 Cor. 6. 20. and 7. 23. We are reconci­led unto God by the death of his Son, Rom. 5. 10. By him now we have recei­ved the Atonement, v. 11. By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sancti­fied, Heb. 10. 14. It behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day, Luk. 24. 46. Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead, Acts 17. 3. He was taken up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God, Mark 16. 19. These and the like places afford us such Fundamental and Necessary Doctrins as these are, that by and for the Meritorious Righteousness and Obe­dience of Christ (the Second Adam) we are accounted Righteous and Obedient in the sight of God: That Christ was a Sacrifice for us, and suffered in our [Page 15] stead: That he satisfied Divine Justice by paying an Infinite Price for us; That by vertue of that Payment all the Debts, i. e. all the Sins of Believers are per­fectly absolved: That hereby the anger of the Incensed Deity is pacified, and that we are entirely Reconciled to him: That we have an assurance of all this by Christ's rising from the dead, and ascending triumphantly into Heaven. These are Principles of the Oracles of God, Heb. 5. 12. These are part of the Form of sound words, 2 Tim. 1. 13. which are indispensable Ingredients in the Christian Faith, which you may know by this, that if a man be obliged to the belief of the Messias's Coming, it is undeniably requisite that he should know what the Messias came to do for him, and that he should firmly yield assent to it. This I think no Man of Reason will deny: and then it will follow that these Articles which I have last mentio­ned are the Necessary and Unexceptio­nable object or matter of the Faith of a Christian Man. And here likewise it were easie to shew, that Adoption, Iusti­fication, Pardon of Sins, &c. which are Privileges and Benefits bestowed upon us by the Messias, are necessary matters of [Page 16] our Belief, for we can't duly acknowledge him for our Benefactor and Saviour, un­less we believe, that these Great Pre­rogatives are confer'd upon us.

Moreover, it is of undoubted necessi­ty in order to our being Christians, that we know and believe what the Messias requires of us; which is contained in such general Texts as these, That ye being de­livered out of the hands of your enemies may serve him (Christ our Deliverer) without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life, Luke 1. 75. The grace of God which bringeth sal­vation, teacheth us, to deny ungodli­ness and worldly lusts, &c. Tit. 2. 11, 12. He gave himself for us, that he might re­redeem us from all iniquity, &c. Tit. 2. 14. This is the will of God, even your sanctifi­cation, 1 Thess. 4. 3. Without Faith it is impossible to please God, Heb. 11. 6. Without holiness no man shall see the Lord, Heb. 12. 14. Which places yield us such Propositions as these, that the Messias who vouchsafed to come into the world to redeem lost Man, requires of him universal Holiness and Righteous­ness, and the abandoning of all sin and ungodliness: That it was one grand end and design of Christ's visiting the [Page 17] would to redeem men from their iniqui­ties, to sanctifie their Natures, and to make them entirely godly, sober and righteous in their Lives: That without these there is no Salvation, no Seeing of God in the regions of Glory, no hopes of Everlasting Happiness. The disbe­lieving of these Articles hath made so many Sorry Christians as we see every where, such as lay claim to that Ho­nourable Title, but are regardless of that Holiness which should accompany it. We must not only believe that Iesus is the Messias, but we must believe this al­so that we can have no Benefit by this Messias unless we by Faith and Obedi­ence adhere to him.

Neither is this enough, it is further matter of our Belief, as we are Christi­ans, that our Salvation springs from the mere Favour and Bounty of God through his Son Iesus Christ, and that this is the only source of that Happiness which we expect. By grace we are saved, through faith, and that not of our selves: it is the gift of God, Eph. 2. 8. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but ac­cording to his Mercy he saveth us, Tit. 3. 5. Where there is not this perswasion and belief, the true notion of Christianity va­nishes, [Page 18] and the conceit of Merit comes in its room: Wherefore there is a Necessity that we believe and be perswaded aright as to this matter. We are Worthless Creatures of our selves, but there is a Worthiness derived to us from the Un­spotted and Meritorious Righteousness of him that is the Eternal Son of God. He that knows not this, he that believes not this deserves not the Name of a Chri­stian. I should have been glad to have found something of this nature in this Gentleman's Christianity. But he endea­vours to seduce his Readers by other apprehensions, he tells them that the bare assenting to this, that Iesus is the Messias, is the Summ Total of the Chri­stian Faith, and the Gospel requires no more.

Lastly, The doctrines of the Resur­rection of the Final Iudgment, and of Eternal Glory in heaven are contained in such passages of the New Testament as these, Christ will raise up his at the last day, Iohn 6. 44. The Lord Iesus Christ shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing, 2 Tim. 4. 1. Father, I will that they whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, Iohn 17. 24. And are not these [Page 19] Truths the proper Object of our Faith now under the Gospel, they so peculi­arly belonging to the doctrine and be­lief of the Messias? Can we believe in him, and yet not believe these Great things which are brought to light by his preaching the Gospel? For though they were in some measure discovered and revealed before (i. e. the General Do­ctrine concerning a Future State, and the Endless Happiness accompanying it was not unknown) yet Christ's Words and those of the Apostles do more abun­dantly assure us of the truth of them: especially Christ's Rising from the dead and ascending into Glory have irrefra­gably confirmed the reality of them, ac­cording to that of St. Peter, We are be­gotten again unto a lively hope by the resur­rection of Iesus Christ from the dead, to an Inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in hea­ven for us, 1 Pet. 1. 4. Who but the Vindicator could imagine that these Evangelical Doctrines are not Necessary Matter of Faith to Christian Men? Who but he could fancy and (which is more) publickly assert that the belief of the Messias's being sent from God, without being acquainted with his gracious ap­pointment [Page 20] as to our Future Rewards, is all that is required as necessary to con­stitute a Christian Believer? Especially, when it is said, He that comes unto God must believe that he is a Rewarder, Heb. 11. 6. Observe it, he must believe: then it is not indifferent, but a Necessary Article of faith.

CHAP. II.

The foresaid Articles and Doctrines are pro­ved to be Necessary matter of Christian Faith. Not that a man is supposed Actually to exert his Assent and Belief every moment. That we may be True Christians, All these Fundamental Truths must be imbraced, and none ex­cluded. The late Writer's forgetful­ness. It is prov'd that he grounds his notion of One Article upon the Weakness of Vnderstanding and Capacity in the Generality of people. Herein he follows the Steps of the Racovians, who submit the greatest Mysteries to the judgment of the Vulgar; and, if they will not bear that Test, reject them. The Doctrine of the Trinity how said to have no Dif­ficulty in it. It contains in it no Con­tradiction. This Proposition, Jesus is the Messias is not more intelligible than any of the Articles before mentioned.

THUS I have briefly set before the Reader those Evangelical Truths, those Christian Principles which belong to the very Essence of Christianity. I have proved them to be such, and I [Page 22] have reduced most of them to certain Propositions, which is a thing the Vindi­cator call'd for, p. 16. If what I have said will not content him, I am sure I can do nothing that will. And there­fore, if he should capriciously require any thing more, it would be as great Folly in me to comply with it as it is in him to move it. From what I have said it is evident that he is grosly mi­staken when he saith, Whatever doctrines the Apostles required to be believed to make a man a Christian, are to be found in those places of Scripture which he hath quoted in his book, p. 11. The places which he quotes are made use of by him to shew that there is but One Article of Belief, viz. that Christ is the Messiah: but I think I have sufficiently proved that there are Other Doctrines besides That which are requir'd to be believed to make a man a Christian. Why did the Apostles write these Doctrines? Was it not that those they writ to might give their As­sent to them? Nay, did they not require Assent to them? Yes, verily, for this is to be proved from the Nature of the things contained in those Doctrines, which, were such as had immediate respect to the Occasion, Author, Way, Means, [Page 23] and Issue of their Redemption and Salva­tion, as any impartial judg by examin­ing the several Particular Articles and Propositions will readily grant. So that the sum of all amounts to this. The be­lief of those things without the know­ledg of which a man cannot be saved is absolutely Necessary: but the belief of the foregoing Particulars is the belief of such things without the knowledg of which a man cannot be saved; There­fore the belief of these Particulars is ab­solutely necessary. None will be so re­fractory, I suppose, as to deny the first Proposition in this Syllogism; therefore I am to prove the Second, which is easi­ly effected thus. The belief of those things which have Immediate respect to the Occasion, Author, Way, Means, and Issue of our Salvation, and which are necessary for knowing the True Na­ture and Design of it, is the belief of such things without the knowledg of which a man cannot be saved: but such is the belief of the preceding Articles, Ergò.

Not without good reason therefore I call'd them the Essential and Integral Parts of our Christian and Evangelical Faith: And why the Vindicator fleers at these Terms (p. 18.) I know no reason [Page 24] but this that he can't confute the appli­cation of them. Surely none but this Upstart Racovian will have the confi­dence to deny that These Articles of Faith are such as are Necessary to con­stitute a Christian, as to the intellectual and doctrinal part of Christianity; such as must in some measure be known and assented to by him, such as must be ge­nerally receiv'd and imbrac'd by him. Not that a man is supposed every mo­ment to Actually exert his Assent and Be­lief, for none of the Moral Vertues, none of the Evangelical Graces are ex­erted thus always. Wherefore, that Question, p. 16. (though he saith he asks it seriously) might have been spared, Whether every one of these Fundamentals is required to be believed to make a Man a Christian, and such as without the Actual belief thereof, he cannot be saved? Here is Seriousness pretended when there is none, for the design is only to Cavil, and (if he can) to expose my Assertion. But he is not able to do it, for all his Critical Demands are answered in these few words, viz. that the Intellectual (as well as the Moral) Endowments are never supposed to be Always in Act: they are exerted upon Occasion, and [Page 25] not all of them at a time. And there­fore he mistakes if he thinks, or rather as he objects without thinking, that these Doctrine, if they be Fundamen­tal and Necessary, must be always actual­ly believed. No man besides himself ever started such a thing. And why should not every one of these Evangeli­cal Truths (which is another thing he puts into his Question) be believed and imbraced? They are in our Bibles for that very purpose, as I have proved, and therefore I need not undertake it again here. Hence it follows that a man cannot be a Christian without the knowledg and belief of these Truths which are the basis of Religion, the Standard of the Christian Faith, the ve­ry Badges and Characters of Christiani­ty. Wherefore for any man to make up Christianity without the belief of these is a Ridiculous and absurd attempt, and consequently we may guess that none would have ventured upon it but this Writer. This is he that sets up One Article with defiance of the rest, (though he is much displeased with me for saying so, p. 31.) for what is excluding them wholly but defying them? Wherefore, seeing he utterly excludes all the rest by [Page 26] representing them as Vseless to the mak­ing a man a Christian (which is the de­sign of his whole Undertaking) it is manifest that he defies them.

But let us hear what this Author pleads for himself. He founds his con­ceit of One Article partly upon this, that a Multitude of doctrines is obscure, and hard to be understood, and therefore he trusses all up in One Article, that the poor people and bulk of mankind may bear it. This is the Scope of a great part of his book. But his Memory doth not keep pace with his Invention, and thence he saith he remembers nothing of this in his book. Vind. p. 27. This Worthy Writer doth not know his own Reason­ing that he uses, as particularly thus, that he troubies Christian men with no more but One Article, because that is In­telligible, and all people high and low may comprehend it. For he hath cho­sen out (he thinks) a Plain and Easie Ar­ticle, whereas the others which are com­monly propounded are not generally agreed upon (he saith) and are dubious and uncertain. But the believing that Iesus was the Messias hath nothing of doubtfulness or obscurity in it. This the Reader will find to be the drift and [Page 27] design of several of his Pages. And the reason why I did not quote any sin­gle one of them was because he insists on this so long together, and spins it out after his way. In p. 301. of his Rea­sonableness of Christianity, where he sets down the short, plain, easie and intelligi­ble Summary (as he calls it) of Religion, couch'd in a Single Article, he immedi­ately adds, The All-merciful God seems herein to have consulted the poor of this world, and the bulk of mankind. These are Articles (whereas he had set down but One) that the labouring and illiterate man may comprehend. He assigns this as a ground why it was God's pleasure there should be but One Point of Faith, be­cause hereby Religion may be understood the better, the generality of people may comprehend it. This he represents as a Great Kindness done by God to men, whereas a Variety of Articles would be hard to be understood. This he enlarges upon, and flourishes it over after his fashion, and yet he desires to know when he said so, p. 29. Vindic.

Good Sir, let me be permitted to ac­quaint you that your Memory is as de­fective as your Judgment; for in the ve­ry, Vindication you attribute it to the good­ness [Page 28] and condescention of the Allmighty that he requires nothing as absolutely necessary to be believed but what is suited to Vulgar capa­cities and the comprehensions of illiterate men, p. 30. It is clear then that you found your One Article on this, that it is suited to Vulgar capacities, whereas the Other Articles mentioned by me are obscure and ambiguous, and therefore surpass the comprehension of the Illiterate. And yet you pretend that you have for­got that any such thing was said by you: which shews that you are Careless of your Words, and that you forget what you write. What shall we say to such an Oblivious Author as this? He takes no notice of what falls from his own pen, and therefore within a page or two he confutes himself, and gives himself the Lye.

The plain truth is, he Socinianizes here, but will not own it, which makes him run into these Contradictions. He follows the steps of his Good Patron Crellius (one of the stiffest Racovians that we have) who throws aside several Ar­ticles of faith because they are Dark and Difficult, and not adapted to the Capa­city of the Vulgar. This very thing he alledges to set off his Arguments against [Page 29] the Holy Trinity, viz. that* the do­ctrine which he maintains is according to the understanding of the Vulgar. The Com­mon people (he saith) among the Iews, the Fishermen did not apprehend the do­ctrine of Three Persons in the Deity: nei­ther do the Vulgar Christians at this day form any such notion: therefore away with the doctrine of the Trinity. And this is the guise and practice of our Soci­nians at this day: it is known that they are wont to propound this Sacred Point to the very School-boys (very great Judges indeed) and to demand their Resolution of it, and they pretend that they give it in the Negative. All the appeal now is to Vulgar Capacities, to the judgment of the Multitude. If these please to allow of any more Articles of Belief than One, then our Author will consent to it that we shall have them: but he acquaints us that they are for no more but One, and therefore we must be content with That. This is his New Divinity. And a Socinian Brother, who undertakes the defence of his Noti­ons, seconds him in this, telling us that [Page 30] the Articles of faith which are generally pro­pounded by Divines are difficult, obscur, unintelligible, abstruse, but the One Arti­cle of Mr. Lock) is not so, but is exact­ly calculated for the Vulgar Meridian, and therefore is the only Authentick and Necessary Point in the Christian Theo­logy.

I think the Reader will bear me wit­ness that I have refuted this wild Con­ceit by giving a distinct account of the Evangelical Doctrines and Articles be­fore mentioned, and at the same time shewing how Intelligible and Plain they are, and by letting him see the Absolute Necessity of their being assented to and embraced by every Christian. No true Lover of God and Truth need doubt of any of them, for there is no Am­biguity and Doubtfulness in them. They shine with their own light, and to an unprejudiced eye are plain, evident and illustrious. And they would always continue so if some Ill-minded men did not perplex and entangle them, on pur­pose to render them contemptible, yea, to exclude them wholly from being the matter of our belief. And as to the do­ctrine of the Trinity, which is the Main Verity which these men set themselves [Page 31] against, there is not any Difficulty, much less any Absurdity or Contradicti­on (as they are wont to cry out) in that Article of our Christian Belief. Indeed there is a Difficulty in this and se­veral Other Truths of the Gospel as to the Exact Manner of the things them­selves, which we shall never be able to comprehend, at least not on this side of Heaven: but there is no Difficulty as to the Reality and Certainty of them, be­cause we know they are Revealed to us by God in the Holy Scriptures. Nay, as to the thing it self, thus far we can apprehend that it is not impossible or ab­surd that the Three Distinct Persons in the Deity should be One God, for there may be a Plurality of Persons in the same Infinite Essence. Every Person doth not require a Single Particular Essence, or if they will call the Three Numerical Sub­sistencies by the name of Essences, yet they are united in One General Substance or Essence, which is common to them all. And when they say it is a Contradiction that One should be Three, which is as much as to say, One is not One, this is soon taken off by replying (and that most truly) that One and not One in the same respect is a Contradiction, but One and [Page 32] not One in different respects is no Contradi­ction. Any smatterer in Logick know, this. And this is the case here, for tho the Three Personalities be distinguish'd, and that really, yet they agree in One Common Essence, and so the Divinity is both One and Three in different respects, on diffe­rent considerations. And this is that which is abundantly testified in Scrip­ture, in the Gospels as well as the Epistles (let our Author remember th [...]t:) there we learn that the Divine Essence or Nature is branch'd out into Three Distinct Persons,* Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and that* these three are One.

Then as to the Proposition which this New Modeller of Christianity com­mends to the World as the only Neces­sary Matter of Faith, although he pre­tends it is more Intelligible than any of those that I have named, yet any Judicious Man cannot but see the contrary, for this must be explain'd (as well as those) before his Vulgar Capacities can appre­hend it. Here first the name Iesus, which is of Hebrew Extraction, though since Greciz'd, must be expounded, and so must the Word Messias (as I said be­fore:) [Page 33] And when this is done they must be told, even according to the con­fession of a late* Socinian Writer (whom afterwards I must discourse with a little) the manner of his being the Messi­ah, such as being conceived by the Holy Ghost and Power of the most High, his be­ing anointed with the Holy Ghost, his being raised from the dead, and exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour. And then they must be told for what End and Purpose this was (or else they can have no true belief of the Messias) under which seve­ral Weighty Truths are comprehended. And if he doth not agree to this, viz. that the Words must be thus Opened and Explained, and fully understood so that Christian Souls may have the true sense of them, then he doth as good as say that the bare pronouncing of these Words Iesus is the Messias is enough to make a Christian. And we shall be apt to think that he intends this for a Charm or Spell, and that the very Syllables will suffice to make one a True Believer, especially if he be one of the Vulgar and Illiterate. But it may be he hath something else to say to an Other Rank of Men: Perhaps [Page 34] he holds that there is one Christianity for, the bulk of mankind, and another for the Finer and Better Sort of People: And then it is likely he will tell us of two Heavens, one very Spacious to hold the Multitude, and the other of a Lesser Compass to receive the rest. These are the Absurdities (which I confess I de­light not in exposing or so much as men­tioning) that this New Notion may pro­duce. Whence it appears that all his jargon and chatter about his One Article are vain and insignificant, and are ser­viceable only to gull the Unwary Rea­der, and (which is worse) to debauch Christianity it self.

CHAP. III.

The late Writer's passing by the Epistles, and not collecting any Articles of Faith out of them shew his Contempt of them. His Evasion, viz. that the Epistles were writ to those who were already Believers, is proved to be groundless. If it were true, it is nothing to his pur­pose. The Epistles teach Fundamentals. His other Evasion, viz. that the Fun­damental Articles in the Epistles are mixed without distinction with other Truths discovered to be of no force, and Retorted upon him. The true Reason why he went no further than the Gospels and the Acts. His other Excuses for rejecting the doctrines contained in the Epistles examined, and found to be Sophistical. He travels as far as China for Prudence, and there borrows it of the Missionary Jesuites. The Rom. 14. 1. which he alledges, autho­rizes him not to impose upon Weak Christians. His Evasions are inconsi­stent with themselves, and accordingly not well approved of by the Party. His Objection about the Apostles Creed fully answered. Our Church's Iudgment [Page 36] concerning the Articles of this Creed. This Profession of Faith hath several Articles in it which Socinians will not subscribe to. Whilest he is censuring, he commits a great Blunder. He mi­stakes and misrepresents the Gospel-Dis­pensation.

BUT the Gentleman is not without his Evasions, and he sees it is high time to make use of them. This puts him into some disorder, for when he comes to speak of my mentioning his ill treatment of the Epistles (which he pur­posely omitted when he made his Col­lection of Articles, or rather when after all his search he found but One Article) you may observe that he begins to grow Warmer than before. Now this Meek Man is nettled, and you may perceive that he is sensible of the Scandal that he hath given to good people by his slight­ing of the Epistolary Writings of the Ho­ly Apostles: yet he is so cunning as to disguise his Passion as well as he can. He requires me to publish to the World those passages which shew his Contempt of the Epistles, p. 19. But what need I, Good Sir, do this, when you have done it your self? I appeal to the Reader whe­ther [Page 37] (after your tedious Collections out of the Four Evangelists) your passing by the Epistles, and neglecting wholly what the Apostles say in them be not publish­ing to the World your Contempt of them.

But let us hear why he did not attempt to collect any Articles out of these Wri­tings: he assigns this as One Reason, The Epistles being writ to those who were al­ready Believers, it could not be supposed that they were writ to them to teach them Fundamentals, p. 13, 14. Vindic. Cer­tainly no man could have conjectured that he would have used such an Evasion as this. I will say that for him, he goes beyond all Surmises, he is above all Conjectures: he hath a faculty of Shift­ing which no creature on Earth can ever fathom. Do we not know that the Four Gospels were Writ to and for Believers as well as Vnbelievers? Are we not particularly and expresly told by St. Luke that he writ his Gospel to the most Excellent Theophilus? Luk. 1. 3. whom all grant to be a Believing Christian of some eminent rank. Or if this Author be so singular as to question it, he may be satisfied in v. 4. by the Evangelist himself. And so the Acts of the Apostles we find are dedicated to the same Emi­nent [Page 38] Believer, Acts 1. 1. By the same Argument then that he would perswade us that the Fundamentals are not to be sought for in the Epistles, we may prove that they were not to be sought for in the Gospels, and in the Acts, for even these were writ to those that believed. And yet it is clear that this Writer did not make use of this Argument, other­wise he would not have confined the Fundamentals to the Gospels, and the Acts. Here then is want of Sincerity in a great measure, which hath been ac­counted heretofore a good qualification in a Writer.

Again, granting that the Epistles were all of them writ to those that already be­lieved, yet what can this be to his pur­pose? Must no Believers have any Fun­damentals taught them? What is the meaning then of 1 Iohn 2. 21. I have not written unto you because you know not the Truth, but because you know it. Sup­pose they have forgot the Fundamentals, or have corrupted and perverted them? as was the case of the Galatians, who mixed the Law with the Gospal, Legal Works with Faith; and of the Disper­sed Hebrews who had received the Chri­stian Doctrine, but were falling away [Page 39] from it. Might not the Apostle, yea did he not in his Epistles to these Persons remind them of the Great Articles of the Christian Faith? Did he not, when he writ to the Galatians assert the doctrine of Justification through faith in Christ's Righteousness, without the Works of the Law? Did he not in his Epistle to the Wavering Hebrews endeavour to esta­blish them in Christianity by displaying the Excellency and Transcendency of the Priesthood of Christ, by convincing them of the Efficacy and Perfection of the One Sacrifice of the Messias on the Cross, whereby the sins of mankind are perfect­ly Expiated? So St. Iohn's first Epistle was written on occasion of the Christian Churches (converted from Judaism) being endanger'd by certain Seducers that were crept in among them, and la­bour'd to unsettle their belief concerning the Divinity as well as the Humanity of our Saviour. Whereupon this Apostle, who had clearly delivered the doctrine of the Holy Trinity in the beginning of his Gospel, now more especially urges that Principal Article of their Faith the Deity of Christ, chap. 2. v. 22, 23. and also in express words asserts the Whole Trinity, chap. 5. v. 7. Thus it is manifest that [Page 40] the Apostles in their Epistles taught Fun­damentals, which is contrary to what this Gentleman saith, that such a thing could not be supposed: and he would pre­tend That as a reason why he did not look for any Necessary Articles of Faith in the Epistles. But we see how ground­less his pretence is.

Hear another feigned ground of his omitting the Epistles, viz. because the Fundamental Articles are here promiscu­ously, and without distinction mix'd with other Truth. p. 14. But who sees not that this is a mere Elusion? for on the same account he might have forborn to search for Fundamental Articles in the Gospels, for they do not lie there toge­ther, but are dispersed up and down: the Doctrinal and Historical part are mix'd with one another: but he pre­tends to sever them; why the did he not make a separation between the Do­ctrines in the Epistles and those Other Matters that are treated of there? He hath nothing to reply to this, and there­fore we must again look upon what he hath suggested as a cast of his Shuffling faculty. Or if he should excuse himself by saying that Necessary and Fundamen­tal Principles can't be distinguish'd from [Page 41] those other Truths which occur in the Epistolary Writings, any one may dis­cover the insufficiency of such a plea, because Necessary Truths may be distin­guish'd from those that are not such by the Nature and High Importance of them, by their Immediate respect to the Author and Means of our Salvation.

Besides, I suppose this Flourishing Scribler (he knows very well why I give him that particular Title) will not de­ny that the Epistles contain divers Rules of Holy Living, several Religious Pre­cepts in order to the practise of Godli­ness; and that these are not so promiscu­ously and without distinction mixt with other Truths but that they may easily be distin­guish'd from them. Why then may we not expect to find Necessary Doctrines of Faith in these Writings as well as In­structions concerning the practise of Ho­liness, and the regulating of our Lives? And why may we not distinguish be­tween these and the Occasional Matters as well as between the Others and them? Nay, it is certain that those Necessary doctrines of Faith which were but light­ly touch'd upon in the Gospels and the Acts are distinctly and fully explain'd in these Epistles. The truth then is that [Page 42] the Gentleman was loth to go any fur­ther than the former: these latter affright­ed him, for he knew either by reading them or by hear-say, that there were se­veral Other Divine Truths in them, which have been generally thought to be Ne­cessary to be believ'd in order to making a man a Christian; but our Author had no kindness for them. He commands his Readers not to stir a jot further than the Acts. It is not in the Epistles, saith he, that we are to learn what are the Fun­damental Articles of faith, p. 295. They were written for resolving of doubts and re­forming of mistakes, (as he saith in the same place) and therefore I forbid you to seek for Fundamental doctrines there, you will but lose your labour, and more­over you will meet in these Writings with several Points which we approve not of, and therefore must not admit of, because Faustus Socinus hath given us a charge to the contrary.

But let us hear further what this Vin­dicator saith to excuse his rejection of the Doctrines contain'd in the Epistles, and his putting us off with One Article of Faith. What if the Author (meaning himself) design'd his Treatise, as the Title shews, chiefly for those who were not yet [Page 43] throughly or firmly Christians: purposing to work upon those who either wholly disbeliev'd or doubted of the Truth of the Christian Re­ligion? p. 6. Here he comes with his what if's, and gives another palpable proof of Counterfeiting, and that in Religion. Now, seeing his Book is sift­ed, and the design of it is laid open, he would make us believe that he intended his Piece for Atheists, Turks, Iews and Pagans, and a few Weak Christians; for these he must mean by those that wholly disbelieve, and those that are not firmly Christians. And he would bring in his Title to speak for him, but it saith not a word in his behalf; for how those that wholly disregard and disbelieve the Scriptures of the New Testament, (as Gentiles, Jews, Mahometans and all Atheists do) are like to attend to the Reasonableness of Christianity as deliver'd in the Scripture is not to be conceived, and therefore we look upon all this as mere Sham and Sophistry. He is put hard to it, and like one a drowning he fastens on any thing next at hand. That is his case, as any man may perceive. But I ask, Why had we not a hint (one gentle hint at least) of this in all his Book? It would have been very useful [Page 44] to the Reader to have been acquainted with his Design. No: he thinks other­wise, for in the same Page he saith, Would any one blame his Prudence if he mention'd only those Advantages, (viz. of Christ's Coming) which all Christians (especially Socinian Christians) are agreed in? He hath bethought himself better since he first publish'd his Notions, and (as the result of that) he now begins to resolve what he writ into Prudence. I know whence he had this Method (and 'tis likely he hath taken more than this from the same hands) viz. from the Missionary Iesuites that went to preach the Gospel to the people of China. We are told that they instructed them in some matters relating to our Saviour; they let them know that Iesus was the Messias, the Person promised to be sent into the World, but they conceal'd his Sufferings and Death and they would not let them know any thing of his Passion and Cru­cifixion. So our Author (their humble Imitator) undertakes to instruct the World in Christianity with an omission of its Principal Articles, and more espe­cially that of the Advantage we have by Christ's Death, which was the Prime thing design'd in his Coming into the [Page 45] world. This he calls Prudence: so that to hide from the people the Main Arti­cles of the Christian Religion, to disguise the Faith of the Gospel, to betray Chri­stianity it self, is according to this Ex­cellent Writer the Cardinal Vertue of Prudence. May we be deliver'd then, say I, from a Prudential Racovian.

He would clear himself by quoting Rom. 14. 1. Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, p. 7. as if that Text au­thorized him to deceive Novices and Weak Christians; as if because they are Infirm, therefore he must Strengthen them by Imposing upon them. It may be he will say, Children must have but few Lessons given them: but I answer, there is difference between few and only One; and there is difference between telling them that there is but One, and afterwards hinting that there are More. For that must be the meaning of his What if he design'd his Treatise chiefly for those, &c. What if he first of all tells them that nothing is absolutely requisite to be believed but this that Iesus is the Messias, and what if afterwards he in­tends to let them know that something else is requir'd of them? And yet at the same time (such is the unaccountable [Page 46] humour of the Gentleman) he declares that Nothing more is requir'd of them. Here is no bottom for any thing he saith. He contradicts himself, and imposes fal­sities upon mens minds. he would in one place (I remember) fancifully please himself by thinking that all his sins which I espie in his book are sins of Omission, p. 9. But if this be not one of Commission (and that a very Great one) it is hard to tell what is. He pretends a Design of his Book which was never so much as thought of till he was sollicited by his brethren to vindicate it. But now, (see how his Pious Frauds prosper) when he hath attempted it, they are displeased with the way he hath taken. And no wonder, because they cannot but per­ceive that his Vindication is inconsistent with his Treatise, and that by these last Evasions and Collusions he hath in a great measure betray'd their Cause, as well as that of Christianity. I find that they have only this to excuse him that he did not take Time enough to consider of what he Writ: but for my part, I think that adds to his Fault.

But this Author of the New Christianity wisely objects that the Apostle's Creed hath none of these Articles and Doctrines [Page 47] which I mentioned, p. 12, 13. Nor doth any considerate man wonder at it, for the Creed is a Form of outward Pro­fession which is chiefly to be made in the Publick Assemblies, when Prayers are put up by the Church, and the Holy Scriptures are read. Then this Abridg­ment of Faith is properly used, or when there is not generally time or opportuni­ty to make any Enlargement. But we are not to think that it expresly contains in it all the Necessary and Weighty Points, all the Important Doctrines of our Belief, it being only design'd to be an Abstract. It is with this Creed as 'tis with the Commandments and the Lord's Prayer. If a man doth not more than is expresly enjoyned in the Decalogue, he can't be said to Act as a Christian. If he prays for no more than is expresly men­tioned in the Petitions of the foresaid Prayer he can't be said to Pray as a Good Christian. So if a man believe no more than is in express terms in the Apostle's Creed, his Faith will not be the Faith of a Christian. And yet still it is to be granted that as all things to be done and all things to be prayed for are reducible to the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer, so All matters of Faith in some [Page 48] manner may be reduced to this Brief Plat­form of Belief. But when I call it an Abstract or Abbreviature, it is implied that there are more Truths to be known and assented to by a Christian, in order to making him really so, than what we meet with here.

And yet I must take leave to tell our Vindicator that this Creed hath more in it than he and his brethren will subscribe to. If he were not above Catechisms as well as Creeds, I might remind him of Our Church's judgment concerning the Articles of this Creed. Qu. What dost thou chiefly learn in these Articles of thy Be­lief? Answ. First, I learn to believe in God the Father, who had made me and all the world: Secondly, in God the Son, who hath redeemed me and all mankind: Third­ly, in God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth me and all the Elect People of God? These are killing words to a Disciple of Socinus, who acknowledges neither the God-head of the Son, nor of the Holy Ghost, nor the Redemption or Sanctification by either. Yet our Church, with all the Christian Churches in the world, owns these Truths to be contained in the Apostles Creed. And there are other Articles of this Symbol (let them palliate it as they [Page 49] please,) which the Racovian Gentlemen are unwilling to give their assent to. They faulter about Christ's Iudging the quick and the dead, they partly deny the Resurrection of the body, they deny Life Everlasting as it respects wicked men, for they hold that these shall be Annihi­lated, of all which I may have occasion to speak another time. At present I on­ly take notice of their lopping off several Articles from this Creed.

But was it not judiciously said by this Writer that it is well for the Compilers of the Creed that they lived not in my days? p. 12. I tell you, Friend, it was im­possible they should, for the Learned * Usher and Vossius and others have proved that that Symbol was drawn up not at once, but that some Articles of it were adjoyned many years after, far be­yond the extent of any man's life; and therefore the Compilers of the Creed could not live in my days, not could I live in theirs: but I let this pass as one of the blunders of our Thoughtful and Musing Author. Nor had he reason to [Page 50] think that those that made the Apostles Creed would have been censured by me, for I have vindicated and asserted their Articles, whereas he and his friends have new-modell'd the Creed, yea in­deed have presented us with One Article instead of Twelve, and in order to that have sunk the Epistles, because they are not Socinianized, all over Sociniani­zed.

If this Gentleman had said that the belief of Iesus's being the Messias was one of the first and leading acts of Christian Faith, he had said right, and none would have opposed it. If he had said that the knowledg of the Gospel, and consequently of the Doctrines of it, ad­vanc'd at first by degrees, and shone brighter after our Saviour's Ascension than before, he had spoken truth; but when he positively and peremptorily de­clares that neither at first nor afterwards there was any Necessity of believing more than this that Iesus is the Messias, he misrepresents the Gospel-Dispensati­on, and mistakes the nature of Christia­anity. To stop here, and go no further is unsufferable. This is as if a Breeder up of Children and Youth should carry them [Page 51] no further than the A B C. He is wholly for reducing of Christianity, whereas he should have given it in its Full and Ample Extent; especially he should not have kept back any thing of the Foundation.

CHAP. IV.

The Christian Faith which this Gentleman describes is of the same scantling with that of the Mahometans. The Affinity between the Turks and Anti-trinitari­ans. The Devils are capable of a higher degree of Faith than that which he saith makes a Christian. A brief Idea of the Compleat Faith of a Christian. The Danger of asserting that there is but One Article of Christian belief necessary to be assented to. This is the way to in­troduce Darkness and Blindness into Christendom; and to promote the designs of that Church which cherishes Ignorance as the Mother of Devotion and Religion. How far this Writer is instrumental in it. What care he hath of mens Souls, and of their Salvation. It is the pra­ctise of Socinian Writers to curtail Chri­stianity, and to cut off as many Funda­mental Articles from it as they can. This Writer had his Platform from Crellius. He is approved of and applauded by the English Socinians. Three Reasons as­sign'd why the Socinians agree to maim the Heads of Christianity, and to reduce all into One Article. The Office of Ca­techizing [Page 53] was not instituted for the teach­ing of One Article of Faith only.

IT is likely I shall further exasperate this Author when I desire the Read­er to observe that this Lank Faith of his is in a manner on other than the Faith of a Turk. For the* * Alcoran acknowledges that the Spirit of God bore witness to Christ the Son of Mary: a Divine Soul was put into him. He was the Messenger of the Spi­rit, and the Word of God. And in ano­ther place God is brought in declaring that he had sent Christ the Son of Mary, &c. And in other places he is mention'd as a Prophet, as a Great Man, one Com­mission'd by God, and sent by him into the world. This is of the like import with what our good Ottoman Writer the Vindicator saith of our Saviour, and this he holds is the sum of all that is Necessary to be believ'd concerning him. The Ma­hometans call themselves Musselmen, of rather (according to the true account of the Arabick word) Moslemim, i. e. Be­lievers; and what difference is there be­tween [Page 54] one of them and our Author's Be­liever? The former believes that Christ is a Good Man, and not above the na­ture of a Man, and sent of God to give Instructions to the world: and the Faith of the latter is of the very same scant­ling. Thus he confounds Turky with Christendom; and those that have been reckon'd as Infidels are with him Christi­ans. He seems to have consulted the Mahometan Bible, which saith,* Christ did not suffer on the cross, did not die; for he and his Allies speak as meanly of these Articles as if there were no such thing. The Alcoran often talks (particularly see the Last Chapter of it) against Christ's being the Son of God by Generation. It is one of the First Principles of Mahometism that there is but One God neither begetting nor begot. See Sulburgius's Saracenica. This is it which our Author drives at when he labours to prove the Messias and the Son of God are terms synony mous, as you shall hear by and by. This reminds me of that Affinity and Correspondence which hath been between the Turks and this Gentleman's Party. Servetus con­ferr'd notes with the Alcoran, when he [Page 55] undertook to fetch an Argument out of it to disprove the Deity of our Saviour. It is observable that those Countreys of Europe which border on the Sultan's do­minions, as Hungary, Transilvania, &c. abound with Socinians and Antitrinitari­ans. The inhabitants of these places ac­commodate themselves to their Potent Neighbours, they make some approach to the Conquerer's Creed. Some of these men have lately got footing in England, and because they and the Great Turk dis­believe the Trinity, therefore we must all be Proselytes to their opinion. They are making way for this by taking away all the Articles of the Christian Faith but One. And our late Writer is the Instrument they make use of for this purpose. This Great Mufti hath given us a Hopeful Draught of Christianity; and it was fit the English Reader should know that a Turk according to him is a Christian, for he makes the same Faith serve them both.

Nay, in the last place, let us take no­tice that this Gentleman presents the world with a very Ill notion of Faith, for the very Devils are capable of all that Faith which he saith makes a Chri­stian man, yea of more, for we read that [Page 56] they believed Iesus to be the Son of God, Mat. 8. 29. They cried out to him, Thou art Christ the Son of God, Luke 4. 41. which latter words in both places denote his Divinity, as I shall shew afterwards. But besides this Historical Faith (as it is generally call'd by Divines) which is giving credit to Evangelical Truths as barely reveal'd, there must be something else added to make up the True Substan­tial Faith of a Christian. With the As­sent of the Understanding must be joyn'd the Consent or Approbation of the Will. All those Divine Truths which the In­tellect assents to must be allow'd of by this Elective power of the Soul. True Evangelical Faith is a hearty Accepting of the Messias as he is offer'd in the Gospel. It is a sincere and impartial submission to all things requir'd by the Evangelical Law, which is contain'd in the Epistles as well as the other Writings. And to this Practical Assent and Choice there must be added likewise a firm Trust and Reliance in the Blessed Author of our Salvation. But this late Undertaker, who attempted to give us a more per­fect account than ever was before of Christianity as it is deliver'd in the Scrip­tures, brings us no tidings of any such [Page 57] Faith belonging to Christianity, or dis­cover'd to us in the Scriptures. Which gives us to understand that he verily be­lieves there is no such Christian Faith, for in some of his Numerous Pages (es­pecially 191, 192, &c.) where he speaks so much of Belief and Faith, he might have taken occasion to insert one word about this Compleat Faith of the Gospel.

Having thus represented how Defe­ctive, how Narrow, how Erroneous, how Mistaken this Unknown Writer's Christi­anity, and especially his Faith is; I will now proceed to shew how Dangerous and Pernicious this sort of Doctrine is. Here is a Contrivance set up for the bringing in of Darkness and Barbarism into the Christian world. The only Necessary Point of Belief that the Old Testament delivers, is, according to these Gentle­men, that there is One God: and all the New Testament affords us as matter of Necessary Faith is this, that Iesus is the Messias. Carry but these Two Articles along with you, and you are a True Christian. There is no Necessity at all of being acquainted with the Reveal'd Do­ctrine concerning the Cause of Mankinds Degeneracy and Corruption, which gave occasion to the Messias's Coming into the [Page 58] world. There is no Necessity of know­ing whether this Messias be God or Man, or both: there is no Necessity of under­standing whether he came to suffer and dye in our stead, and to satisfie the Di­vine Justice, and to purchase Salvation for us by his Blood: There is no Neces­sity of believing that without Faith and Evangelical Obedience we cannot have any Benefit by the Messias: There is no Necessity of being perswaded that our Salvation springs from the mere Grace and Bounty of Heaven: There is no Necessity of believing the Privileges and Rewards (both here and hereafter) which are entail'd on Christianity. There is but a Single Article of Belief, and this is a very Short one too, viz. that Iesus is the Messias; and if you as­sent to This you are as Sound a Christian and as Good a Believer as this Gentleman can make you. One would think that seeing there are so many Branches of the Evangelical Faith commended to us and urged upon us by the Apostles in their Epistles (some of which our Saviour himself in the Gospel, had made menti­on of) one would think, I say, that a man that hath a True Sense of Christia­nity, and is a Lover of Souls should en­deavour [Page 59] to display before the world these Several Parts of the Christian Be­lief, and should be earnest with men to embrace them All, and not to omit or neglect any of them, seeing they all so nearly concern their Everlasting Well­fare. But here comes One that makes it his great business to beat men off from taking notice of these Divine Truths, he represents them as wholly Unneces­sary to be believed, he cries down all Articles of Christian Faith but One. He at this time of day, when Christianity is so bright, strives to darken and eclipse it; he hides it from the faces of mankind, draws a thick Veil over it, will not suf­fer them to look into it, takes the Holy and Inspired Epistles (which are as much the Word of God as the Gospels) out of their way, and tells them again and again that a Christian man or Member of Christ need not know or believe any more than that One Individual Point which he mentions.

Hear O ye Heavens, and give ear O Earth, judg whether this be not the way to introduce Darkness and Ignorance into Christendom, whether this be not blinding of mens eyes, and depriving them of that Blessed Light which the [Page 60] Writings of the Evangelists and Apo­stles should illuminate mens minds with. Which makes me think sometimes (and perhaps the Reader doth so too) that this Writer and the other Confede­rates are Under-hand-Factors for that Communion (though they would seem to be much against it) which cries up Ignorance as the mother of Devotion and Religion. If they had not some such design, why do they labour so industri­ously to keep the people in Ignorance, to tell them that One Article is enough for them, and that there is no Necessity of knowing any other doctrines of the Bible? Thus by following their Italian Master Socinus, they trade for that Coun­trey. And this Vindicator among the rest trafficks very visibly for it whilest he blasteth so substantial a part of the New Testament as the Epistolary Writings are. Would not one be apt to suspect that (as their Roman Masters have done) they would afterwards not only keep a part, but the Whole Scripture from the peo­ple? And so we shall travel to Rome by the way of Racovia.

And here you may see now what his Pretences of Love to the bulk of mankind come to. See how Sincere he [Page 61] is in taking care of the Salvation of their Souls, which is a thing that he more than once mentions, and with some re­flection (p. 9. Vindicat.) on me as if I disregarded that Great Concern. But I hope I have in some measure faithfully discharged that part, though the Great Iudg of heaven and earth knows my ma­nifold desiciencies and failings in it; but I am well satisfied that this Inferior In­quisitor cannot charge me with a noglect in that Great and Important Work, which I have made the business of my life. But behold how this Censorious Gentleman himself manifests his regard to the Salvation of peoples Souls when he puts out their Eyes, when he studies how to nurse them up in Ignorance and Blindness, and thereby to Ruine their Souls for ever. He can afford them but One Article out of the Whole New Te­stament. That must suffice them now, and perhaps afterwards it will be thought too much.

Here, before I proceed any further, I would take notice that the Project of the Necessity of but One Article of Christian Belief is the direct Spawn and Product of Socinianism, but improved by this Au­thor. He that hath convers'd with the [Page 62] Unitarian Writers is sensible how they endeavour to cramp our Belief and Knowledg, and cut off as many Funda­mental Articles of Religion as they can. * They insist upon this, that the Points necessary to be known are but Few: they interpret those places of Scripture which directly speak of Knowing of God, i. e. of knowing his Nature and Attri­butes, and other matters in Religion that are to be believed, concerning a Practical Knowledge. * Socinus leads the way, undervaluing the former sort of Knowledge, and interpreting Acts 17. 27. seeking the Lord, if haply they may feel af­ter him, and find him, concerning a Holy Life; whereas the plain scope of the place will convince any unprejudiced man that it is spoken of those who being ignorant of God, labour to throw off that Ignorance, and to attain to a Know­ledg of him, in order to their right wor­shiping and serving him. The rest fol­low this Ring-leader, and accordingly you may observe that in their Definitions of Religion they seldom (or never) in­sert Knowledg as any part of it, but they wholly define it to be a Living according [Page 63] to the Divine Precepts and Promises, or to be the Way to Eternal Life and Hap­piness. Some of them seem to restrain that place, Iohn 17. 3. that they might know thee the only true God, &c. unto a Practi­cal Knowledg. And in other particu­lars it might be shewed that they very much disparage the Doctrinal Part of Christianity, and more especially take care to abbreviate and cut off the Fun­damentals of it. Crellius is much for di­minishing and reducing the knowledg and belief of the Articles of Faith. The Sacred Writers (saith* he) when they speak of that knowledg in which Religion, or the way to eternal life consists, speak not of that knowledg whereby any Attribute that is Essential to God or Christ is known. Here is the Platform of our Gentleman's De­sign, and thence let the Reader guess whose part he takes. Crellius hath gi­ven him his Kue, and he very strictly observes it: No Attribute that is Essen­tial to God the Father (as Father) or Christ the Second Person in the Deity must come into his Creed, i. e. to be made a Necessary Article of it. And that the World may know that this is [Page 64] acceptable to the Party, one of them is chosen out to vindicate this Attempt of setting up One Article. A* Professed Socinian Writer (and no Alien, but true English Breed) undertakes it, and ap­plauds the Author, and defends his Work: that it may publickly appear that this is the doctrine of the Racovians or Anti-Trinitarians, and that it was not only begun to be entertained by the An­cient and Outlandish Socinians, but that now, when it is fully improved, it is vouched by the Modern and Native ones.

But what may be the Reason why both the Exotick and English Unitarians agree to maim the Heads of Christiani­ty, to contract its Articles, and to re­duce it into so small a compass? Seeing there are Several Fundamental Truths appertaining to the Christian Religion, why are they not all pronounced Neces­sary to be believed and assented to? They have several reasons for this; first, they are compell'd to do it because other­wise they can't maintain that which so many of them profess to believe, viz. the Salvation of all men, of whasoever [Page 65] Perswasion they are. This is an extra­vagant Principle which they have taken up, and it is the Modish Opinion at this day, but if they should hold that there is a Necessity of believing a considerable number of Articles in Christianity, they could not possibly entertain this Fashionable Notion. Secondly, they cun­ningly keep up this Conceit of the neces­sity of but One Article, because it makes for their own Preservation and Safety, that neither the Magistrate nor Ecclesi­astical Power in any Country may take occasion to animadvert upon them: for why should they trouble and molest them for holding such doctrines as are not of the Foundation of Religion, as are of no Necessity to be believed? This makes them forward to propagate their Noti­on. And hence also we see what is the reason of their talking so warmly for Li­berty: This is done to Secure them­selves that though they broach never so Pernicious Opinions they may not fall under the lash of the Magistrate. In brief, they would not be Punish'd here, and they think they have made sure of hereafter by another Tenent of theirs. Thirdly, by vertue of this Expedient they can throw off any Doctrine when [Page 66] they please, especially those Main Arti­cles of the Holy Trinity, of Christ's Sa­tisfaction, &c. for it is but saying that they are not necessary to be believed, (there being a Necessity of believing but One) and the business is done. Thus you see how it is their Concern to hold up their One Article.

But who sees not that hereby they de­press Christianity, and unspeakably in­jure the Faith of the Gospel? What is the meaning of Catechizing, which hath been so universally commended and practised by the Ancients? There were in the Primitive Church particular persons that made it their business to instruct and in­form the ignorant in a Catechetical Way: yea, it was a Distinct Office among the Christians of old. Saint Mark in the Church of Alexandria was a Catechist, Pantaenus succeeded him, then Origen had the same Employment there, and Heraclius after him. What! was this only to teach One Article of Faith? Who but a Socinian can believe this? Is it not enough to rob us of our God, by denying Christ to be so, but must they spoil us of all the Other Arti­cles of Christian Faith but One? Who would think that the Popular Man, [Page 67] who pretends to take such care of the Multitude, should do them the greatest Mischief imaginable, whilest he makes a shew of being extraordinarily kind to them? for a greater Mischief there can­not be than to put them off with One Article of Christian Belief, when there are Many others of absolute necessity.

CHAP. V.

This Writer's doctrine tends to Irreligion and Atheism. In what terms we may suppose the Atheists congratulate him. The clipping of the Articles of the Creed is a preparatory to the diminishing of the Precepts of the Decalogue, and the Pe­titions of the Lord's Prayer. Obj. Doth not the frequent mentioning of this Ar­ticle [Jesus is the Messias] in the New Testament; yea, the sole mentioning of it in some places argue that there is no other Article of Faith which is neces­sarily to be believed but this? Answ. No: because 1. the believing of Jesus to be the promised Messias was the first step to Christianity, and therefore is so often propounded in the Evangelical Writings. 2. Though this One Article be mentioned alone in some places, it is to be supposed that other matters of Faith were at the same time proposed, though they are not recorded. 3. We must supply those places of Scripture where this One Article is set down alone from others which make menti­on of Other Necessary Points of Belief. 4. The clear discovery of the doctrines of the Gospel was gradual; and therefore [Page 69] we must not think that in the Four Evangelists and Acts are specified all the Necessary Articles of Faith, but we must look for some of them in the Epistolary Writings, when the Spirit of God had further enlightned the Apostles and other Christians.

AND now, to prove yet further the Pernicious Nature of his Writings, doth any man doubt of their Tendency to Irreligion and Atheisin? I charge him not with any such thing as a formal de­signing of this. (No: I will not en­tertain such a thought) but I only take notice how serviceable his Papers and Opinions are to this purpose. He hath mightily gratified the Atheistical Rabble by this his Enterprize, and accordingly we may suppose them in such Words as these to express their great Obligations and Thankfulness to him on this occasi­on; ‘We are beholding to this Worthy Adventurer for ridding the world of so Great an Encumbrance, viz. that huge Mass and unweildy Body of Christianity which took up so much room. Now we see that it was this Bulk, and not that of Mankind which he had an eye to when he so often menti­on'd [Page 70] this latter. This is a Physician for our turn indeed: we like this Chy­mical Operator that doth not trouble us with a parcel of Heavy Drugs of no value, but contracts all into a Few Spi­rits, nay doth his business with a Sin­gle Drop. We have been in bondage a long time to Creeds and Catechisms, Sy­stems and Confessions, we have been plagued with a tedious Beadroll of Ar­ticles which our Reverend Divines have told us we must make the matter of our Faith. Yea so it is, both Con­formists and Nonconformists (though disagreeing in some other things) have agreed in This to molest and crucifie us. But this Noble Writer (we thank him) hath set us free, and eas'd us by bringing down all the Christian Faith into One Point. We have heard some men talk of the Epistolary Composures of the New Testament, as if Great Mat­ters were contain'd in them, as if the great Mysteries of Christianity (as they call them) were unfolded there: but we could never make any thing of them; and now we find that this Writer is partly of our opinion. He tells us that these are Letters sent upon occasion, but we are not to look for our Religi­on [Page 71] (for now for this Gentleman's sake we begin to talk of Religion) in these places. We believe it, and we believe that there is no Religion but in those very Chap­ters and Verses which he hath set down in his Treatise. What need we have any other part of the New Testament? That is Bible enough, if not too much. Happy, thrice happy shall this Au­thor be perpetually esteemed by us, we will Chronicle him as our Friend and Benefactor. It is not our way to Saint people: otherwise we would certainly Canonize this Gentleman, and, when our hand is in, his pair of Booksellers for their being so benefici­al to the World in Publishing so Rich a Treasure. It was a Blessed Day when this hopeful Birth saw the light, for hereby all the Orthodox Creed-makers and Systematick Men are ruined for ever. In brief, if we be for any Christianity, it shall be this Author's, for that agrees with us singularly well, it be­ing so short, all couch'd in four words, neither more nor less. It is a very fine Compendium, and we are infi­nitely obliged to this Great Reformer for it. We are glad at heart that Chri­stianity is brought so low by this Wor­thy [Page 72] Pen-man, for this is a good presage that it will dwindle into Nothing. What! but One Article, and that so Brief too! We like such a Faith, and such a Re­ligion because it is so near to None.’

And is not the Reader satisfied that such language as this hath real Truth in it? Doth he not perceive that the discar­ding of all the Articles but One makes way for the casting off that too? And may we not expect that those who deal thus with the Creed will use the same method in reducing the Ten Command­ments and the Lord's Prayer, abbrevia­ting the former into One Precept, and the latter into One Petition? So that not only our Faith but our Practice and De­votion shall be crampt. There is as much reason to do one as the other: and they that have done the former will in time, it is no doubt, use the same disci­pline towards the latter, i. e. lop off some of the Precepts of the Decalogue, and diminish that Form and Pattern of Prayer which our Saviour hath left us.

Thus this Writer sees how sitly his book of the Reasonableness of Christiani­ty, &c. was brought into my Discourse about the Causes and Occasions of Atheism, which he seems to wonder at, p. 2. It [Page 73] appears also that if I gave his book an Ill Name (as he complains,) it doth deserve it, and that it hath not only a Socinian but an Atheistick Tang. I have proved (and shall yet further do it in this present Undertaking) that he hath corrupted mens minds, depraved the Gospel, and abused Christianity. And is there no Atheism in this? To conclude, if after all he will stand to his Proposition, and assert there is but One Article of Faith (just one and no more, and it is sure there can be no less) ne­cessarily to be assented to, he may enjoy his Confident Humour, but it is to be hoped that there is not any considera­ble number of men in the world that will admit of such an Unaccountable Para­dox, and forfeit their Reasons merely to please their Fancy.

But because I design'd these Papers for the satisfying of the Readers Doubts about any thing occurring concerning the mat­ter before us, and for the establishing of his wavering mind, I will here (before I pass to the Second General Head of my Discourse) answer a Query or Objection which some, and not without some shew of Ground, may be apt to start. How comes it to pass, they will say, that this [Page 74] Article of Faith, viz. that Iesus is the Messias or Christ, is so often repeated in the New Testament? Why is this some­times urged without the mentioning of any other Article of Belief? Doth not this plainly shew that this is All that is requir'd to be believ'd as Necessary to make a man a Christian? May we not infer from the frequent and sole repetiti­on of this Article in several places of the Evangelist and the Acts that there is no other Point of Faith of absolute necessi­ty, but that this alone is sufficient to con­stitute a man a True Member of Christ?

To clear this Objection, and to give a full and satisfactory Answer to all doubts in this affair, I offer these ensuing Par­ticulars, which will lead the Reader to the right understanding of the whole case.

1. It must be consider'd that the be­lieving of Iesus to be the promised Mes­sias was the first step to Christianity; and therefore This rather than any other Article was propounded to be believ'd by all those whom either our Saviour or the Apostles invited to imbrace Christi­anity. If they would not, if they did not give credit to This in the first place, viz. That Iesus of Nazareth was that [Page 75] Eminent and Extraordinary Person pro­phesied of long before, and that he was Sent and Commission'd by God, there could be no hope that they would attend unto any other Proposal relating to the Christian Religion. This is the true rea­son why that Article was constantly pro­pounded to be believ'd by all that look'd towards Christianity, and why it is mention'd so often in the Evangelical Writings. It was that which made way for the embracing of all the other Arti­cles, it was the passage to all the rest. But our Anonymous Author not thinking of this, but observing that this One Article was usually required to be assented to in the Gospel-Writings, he thence incon­siderately concludes that this is the Whole of the Christian Belief, and that there is nothing else to be necessarily assented to, to make a man a Christian. I am sorry to see that a person of some Sense can have so little a feeling of the True Na­ture and Import of Christianity, that he can harbour such a thought as this, that all the necessary part of our Belief is summ'd up in a bare giving assent to this Proposition, Iesus is the Messias. He mistakes a part of Christian Faith for All, and the Entrance and Beginning [Page 76] of it for the full Consummation of it.

2. It is to be remembred that though this One Proposition or Article be men­tion'd alone in some places, yet there is reason to think and be perswaded that at the same time other Matters of Faith were proposed. For it is confess'd by all Intelligent and Observing men that the History of the Scripture is concise, and that in relating of matter of Fact many passages are omitted by the Sacred Pen­men. Wherefore though but this One Article of belief (because it is a Leading one, and makes way for the rest) be expresly mention'd in some of the Go­spels, yet we must not conclude thence that no other matter of Faith was re­quir'd to be admitted of. For things are briefly set down in the Evangelical Re­cords, and we must suppose many things which are not in direct terms related. The not attending to this hath been one occasion of the present mistake. Hence it was that this Narrow-minded Writer shuts up all in belief of Iesus's being the Christ.

3. This also must be thought of, that though there are Several parts and mem­bers of the Christian Faith, yet they do not all occur in any One place of Scrip­ture. [Page 77] This is well known to those that are conversant in the Writings of the New Testament, and therefore when in some places only One single part of the Christian Faith is made mention of, as necessarily to be imbrac'd in order to Salvation, we must be careful not to take it alone, but to supply it from several other places, which make mention of other Necessary and Indispensable Points of Belief. I will give the Reader a plain Instance of this, Rom. 10. 9. If thou shalt believe in thy heart that God hath rais'd him (i. e. the Lord Jesus) from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Here One Article of Faith, viz. the belief of Christ's Resurrection (because it is of so great importance in Christianity) is only mention'd; but all the rest must be sup­posed, because they are mention'd in o­ther places. And consequently, if we would give an impartial account of our Belief, we must consult those places: and they are not all together, but di­spers'd here and there: wherefore we must look them out, and acquaint our selves with the Several Particulars which make up our Belief, and render it entire and consummate. But our hasty Author took another course, and thereby de­ceiv'd [Page 78] himself, and unhappily deceives others.

4. This (which is the Main Answer to the Objection) must be born in our minds that Christianity was erected by degrees, according to that prediction and promise of our Saviour, that the Spirit should teach them all things, John 14. 26. and that he should guide them into all truth, John 16. 13. viz. after his De­parture and Ascension, when the Holy Ghost was to be sent in a special manner to enlighten mens minds, and to disco­ver to them the great Mysteries of Chri­stianity. This is to be Noted by us, as that which gives great light in the pre­sent case. The discovery of the Do­ctrines of the Gospel was Gradual. It was by certain steps that Christianity climb'd to its heighth. We are not to think then that all the Necessary do­ctrines of the Christian Religion were clearly publish'd to the world in our Sa­viour's time. Not but that all that were necessary for that time were published: but some which were necessary for the succeeding one were not then discover'd, or at least not fully. They had ordinarily no belief before Christ's Death and Resurrection of those Substantial Articles, i. e. that he [Page 79] should die and rise again: but we read in the Acts and in the Epistles that these were Formal Articles of Faith afterwards, and are ever since necessary to compleat the Christian Belief, so as to other Great Verities, the Gospel increased by de­grees, and was not Perfect at once. Which furnishes us with a reason why most of the Choicest and Sublimest Truths of Christianity are to be met with in the Epistles of the Apostles, they being such doctrines as were not clearly discover'd and open'd in the Go­spels and the Acts.

Thus I have, I conceive, amply sa­tisfied the foregoing Objection, and I hope the Reader is convinc'd of the True Grounds why we must not ex­pect all Necessary Points of Christiani­ty in the Writings of the four Evan­gelists. If our present Writer had thought of this, and had distinguish'd of Times, he had not formed such an Ill Notion of Christianity as we find he hath done. But it is not only upon Mistake that this Author proceeds: his fault is much worse. It is too appa­rent that by this Abbreviating of Chri­stianity, and by his voluntary neglecting what the Epistolary Writings deliver, he [Page 80] designs to exclude those Fundamental Doctrines which have been owned as such in the Church of Christ. So much for the First General Head which I propounded to insist upon.

CHAP. VI.

The next General Charge against him is, that the Texts of Scripture which re­spect the HOLY TRINITY are disre­garded by him, or interpreted after the Anti-Trinitarian Mode. This is proved from plain Instances. The latter more especially is evidenced from his in­terpreting the Messias and the Son of God to be the very same as to significati­on, and that no more is denoted by one term than by the other. The Weakness of the Socinian Arguing on this occasion fully laid open: and the Texts where these terms are mentioned plainly cleared. A Text produced and urged that confutes the vain surmises of the Racovians about those expressions, and that reduces them to an unavoidable Absurdity. The Messi­as is a Title of Christ's Office: The Son of God is the Title of his Divinity. The former is founded on his Mission from the Father: The latter on his Peculiar Property as he is the Second Person in the Sacred Trinity; and consequently they are not synonymous terms. The Gentleman would wind in two Learned Prelates, but his attempt proves inef­fectual [Page 82] He is given to Shuffling. He abuses Scripture by quoting it.

MY next Charge against this Gentle­man was this, that those Texts of Scripture which respect the Holy Trini­ty were either disregarded by him, or were interpreted by him after the Anti­trinitarian Mode. And this he is so far from denying, that he openly avows it, Vindic. p. 22, 23. By which he hath made it clear that he espouses that do­ctrine of the Socinians. When I had of­fer'd those two plain Texts, Mat. 28. 19. Iohn 1. 1. to prove the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity, he takes no care to give any Resolution about them, though he was absolutely oblig'd to do it, because those Texts are not in the Epistles, but in the Gospels, out of which latter he saith he made his Collection of Articles, but he should rather have said (and that with Truth) out of which he drew One Article. Nay, which is more strange, though he particularly menti­ons, p. 9. my taking notice of his omit­ting these Texts in his Treatise, nay though he sets them down at large in his Vindication, yet he hath the confidence to run presently to another thing, and [Page 83] he shifts it off by one impertinent mat­ter or other, and faith not one syllable with reference to those Famous Texts which are such remarkable testimonies to the doctrine of the Trinity. Who could do this but a Socinianiz'd Writer? And who could do this but a man that was wholly careless of his Credit, and did not care how he acted? And this ve­ry thing doth moreover shew that this Author (let him pretend what he will) is as great a despiser of the Gospels (when any thing in them doth not serve his turn) as he is of the Epistles. This will perpetually stick upon him, and he will never be able to wipe it off. If ever he accounts for this, he must at the same time make an acknowledgment of his crazy memory, and of something worse.

Again, as it is evident that he rejects the Doctrine of the Blessed Trinity, so more especially and particularly he waves that of the Deity of our Saviour. Which appears from this that he justifies the Charge against him, viz. that he made these terms [the Messias] and [the Son of God] the very same as to Signifi­cation, p. 23. Vindic. Which is the ve­ry [Page 80] [...] [Page 81] [...] [Page 82] [...] [Page 83] [...] [Page 82] [...] [Page 83] [...] [Page 84] thing that* Slichtingius and other Ra­covians insist upon, and make a great stir about. And herein they write after their Master, who largely pursues this Argument (for so he reckons it to be,) viz. that there is no difference between the Name Christ or Messias and that other the Son of God. He alledges the very same Text that our Vindicator doth, and some others. He argues from Matt. 16. 16. compared with Luk. 9. 20. Thou art Christ the Son of the living God, saith the former place: Thou art the Christ of God, faith the latter: therefore Christ and the Son of God are not only the same person, but these two expressions signi­fie the very same thing and no more. What a weak and pitiful Consequence is this? For it is grounded on this absurd bottom, namely, that when any of the Evangelists speak about the same matter, if one of them adds some words, yea, some material Passages which are not in the other, these must be reckoned to be the very same with what the other said, though they were utterly omitted by him. Then we may argue thus, St. Matthew saith, Christ began to preach, [Page 85] and to say, Repent, Mat. 4. 17. St. Mark saith, He preach'd the Gospel, saying, Re­pent ye, and believe the Gospel, Mark 1. 14, 15. therefore Repenting and Be­lieving are the same, and there is no dif­ference between them. Would not a Man be hooted at for such Arguing as this? Yet this is the very Reasoning of our Racovian, and of this late Proselyte of theirs. In one Evangelist he saith, our Saviour is called Christ, in another the Son of God, therefore the denominations of the Son of God and Christ are identifi­ed. Again, they endeavour to prove it from comparing Mat. 26. 63. Mark 14. 61. with Luk. 22. 67. In the former places 'tis related that the High Priest asked our Saviour whether he was the Son of God, the Son of the Blessed: in the latter, whether he was the Christ. Whence they roundly conclude that those Names Christ and the Son of God are synonymous. But they do this without any shew of reason, because they cannot (as* Slichtingius himself confestes) sim­ply from an Omission infer the identity of the things which are expressed and which are left out, viz in the Writings [Page 86] of the Evangelist: and consequently their Arguing is vain and groundless. The plain and satisfactory Answer to it is this, that St. Luke (guided by the Holy Ghost in giving the Narrative of what was done relating to our Lord) omitted the particular words which the other Evangelists have: and this is usual with all the Evangelists at one time or other. But a man can't infer thence that the words and expressions which are used by them are of the same import and signification. After this rate, when I read that Christ fell upon his face, Mat. 26. 39. and that he fell on the ground, Mark 14. 35. and that he fell on his kness for so 'tis in the Greek) Luk. 22. 41. I may con­clude that face and ground and kness are the very same thing, and one of them signifies no more than the other. This is the wild Logick of these men. Can there be a more extravagant way of talking than this? Especially if we remember what Pretences to Reason and Good Sense these men make above the rest of man­kind. There are other Texts quoted by our Author to prove that there is no dif­ference between Christ and the Son of God as to the signification of the words, but they may easily be answered from what [Page 87] I have said concerning the interpretation of the foregoing Texts.

There is one place (to name no more) which confutes all the foresaid surmises of the Socinians about the identity of those Terms: it is that famous Confessi­on of Faith which the Ethiopian Eunuch made when Philip told him that he might be baptized if he believed; Acts 8. 37. I believe, saith he, that Iesus Christ is the Son of God. This without doubt was said according to that appre­hension which he had of Christ from Philip's instructing him, for it is said he preached unto him Iesus, v. 35. He had acquainted him that Jesus was the Christ, the Anointed of God, and also that he was the Son of God, which includes in it that he was God. And accordingly this No­ble Proselyte gives this account of his Faith, in order to his being baptiz'd, in order to his being admitted a Member of Christ's Church, I believe that Iesus is the Son of God, or you may read it ac­cording to the Greek, I believe the Son of God to be Iesus Christ. Where there are these two distinct Propositions, 1. That Iesus is the Christ, the Messias, 2. That he is not only the Messias, but the Son of God. If you do not own these two Propositi­ons [Page 88] included in his words, you must say that the Eunuch (though instructed by Philip) spoke Non-sense, for it to be Christ and to be the Son of God are of the same signification, then his words sound thus, I believe that Iesus Christ is Christ, I believe the Messias is the Messias. This absolutely follows from the foresaid No­tion, that the Messias and the Son of God are synonymous. So then here is an Absurd Tautology instead of a Sober confession of Faith from this Eminent Convert: and Philip accepts of it as a good and right profession of his Belief. This you must grant, or else you must acknowledg that the Messias and Son of God are not of the same signification, but are distinctly attributed to Iesus. These words will force you to acknowledg this, for in say­ing he believes Christ to be the Son of God, or that the Son of God is Christ, he lets us know that these two, viz. to be the Mes­sias and to be the Son of God are different things (though they meet in the same Person) and consequently that in all those places (which are very many) where the Son of God is added to the Messias, we must understand it as an addition to the Sense: whereas according to this Wri­ter and his Complices these two are iden­tified: [Page 89] and consequently here is a Non­sensical Reiteration in the words, for they amount to no more than this, I believe Iesus Christ to be Christ. This is that Absurdity which they are reduced to.

But yet I will subjoyn this, that we are not unwilling to grant that our Savi­our is sometimes call'd the Son of God be­cause of his* Miraculous Conception, also because of the Dignity of his Mis­sion, and sometimes because of his Re­surrection. But then we say that these do not exclude another, and higher cause of this Appellation, viz. his** Eternal Filiation: he was begotten from Eter­nity of the substance of the Father by an ineffable Generation. If then we will speak of these two Denominations distinct­ly and properly, we must say that one is the Name of his Office, the other of his Divinity, and consequently that Christ and the Son of God are not expressions of the same latitude and import. And how indeed can they be? For they have dif­ferent foundations, the one hath its rise from the Divine Mission, viz. that of the Father, who sent and anointed him [Page 90] to be a Saviour: the other is grounded in the singular and peculiar Property of the Second Person in the Sacred Trinity, and so is the Name of his Person. Where­fore it is most irrationally and absurdly done of our Late Convert, in a fond Imi­tation of his Brethren, to confound these two which are really Distinct. I men­tion'd this as a proof of his being a Soci­nian, and he lets it remain a Proof, and so do I. But here I would only ob­serve that he and they proceed in a Pre­posterous manner when they tell us that Christ is called the Son of God, because of his Office and its Dignity, whereas it is evident that he had the Office and Digni­ty, because he was the Son of God, and because none could perform the Office but he that was so. He was not God (a Metaphorical God, as the Socinians some­times make him) because he was Christ or the Messias: but he was the Messias because he was God, even the True God. He was the Christ of God because he was the Son of God: And this Filiation, in its strictest and properest sense, implies his Divine Nature, and his Coessentiality with the Father.

He would here wind in (p. 23.) the late Archbishop of Canterbury, as if he [Page 91] understood the foregoing Terms as the Socinians do. But his words that are cited do not necessarily import any such thing, for Nathanael might own our Savi­our to be the Messias, and call him the Son of God, and yet it doth not follow thence that the signification of both these Appellations is the same, or that the Archbishop thought so. And he would make use of the Authority of an Other Prelate, now living, of extraordinary Worth and Learning, who speaking on­ly in a general way represents these two as the same thing, viz. that Iesus is the Christ, and that Iesus is the Son of God, because these expressions are applied to the same Person, and because they are both comprehended in one general Name, viz. Iesus. Yet it doth not follow thence but that if we will speak strictly and closely we must be forced to confess that they are of different significations; for we have different Ideas and notions of them, the one being the Name of our Saviour's Office, the other of his Person and Eternal Filiation. But our Gentle­man adheres to his good Patrons and Friends the Racovians, and pronounces them the very same. And we may, for this as well as other reasons, pronounce [Page 92] him the same with those Gentlemen. Which you may perceive he is very ap­prehensive of, and thinks that this will be reckon'd a good Evidence of his being what he denied himself to be before. The Point is gain'd, saith he, and I am openly a Socinian. p. 23. He never utter­ed truer words in his life, and they are the Confutation of all his Pretences to the contrary. This Truth, which unwari­ly dropt from his pen, confirms what I have laid to his charge, that he did read the foresaid Texts with Socinian Spectacles, that he interpreted them after the Racovian Mode, that he pas­sed by Other Texts, yea, the Whole Epistles themselves, because he was sen­sible how many Illustrious Attestations to the doctrine of the ever to be Adored Trinity are contained in them.

It is true, he tells us that he never read the Socinian Writers, p. 22. but we know his Shuffling is such that there is no de­pending on his word. But suppose he did not read those Authors, yet he doth not deny that he hath Convers'd with some of them, and hath heard their No­tions and Arguments: and this indeed he intimates to us when he lets us know that the generality of Divines he more con­verses [Page 93] with are not Racovians, p. 22. which intimates that there are some Par­ticular Divines he less converses with that are of another way. What shall we say? The Gentleman is a Racovian, and yet pretends he doth not know it. So we must number him among the Ignoramus-Socinians (as they tell us in their late Pa­pers of Ignoramus Trinitarians) which is one sort of those folks it seems.

I will only further take notice here of what was truly said, before he was aware, that it was a dull work with him to quote Scripture, p. 25. He hath sufficiently con­vinced the world, in his numerous Quo­tations of Scripture, that it was so. He might have added, it is a diabolical work, for in quoting Scripture after that rate which he is guilty of, he doth but follow his Pattern in Mat. 4. 6. His handling of Scripture, and making that use of it which he doth, is an Abusing of it. Such treating of the Holy Book is desecrating it; and whilest he talks Scripture, he pro­phanes it. So that a Socinian begins to mend when he leaves this work off, (p. 25.) in comparison of what he did before. So much for the Second Charge.

CHAP. VII.

The last General Charge against him is, that when he professedly enumerates the ADVANTAGES of our Saviour's Com­ing, he hath not one syllable of his SATISFYING for us. Hence it is ratio­nally inferr'd that he favours Racovia­nism. He endeavours to evade this by pretending that in other places he uses such terms as import Satisfaction. Herein he is refuted. His Dissimulation discover­ed. Even whilest he proclaims himself a Socinian, he labours to disguise it. Which argues his Weakness and Insincerity. His Book is unworthy of the specious Ti­tle which he prefixes to it. The Author's Conclusion of the foregoing debates.

ANother Proof, or rather Demon­stration of our Author's being a Disciple of Socinus is this, that when he mentions the Advantages and Benefits of Christ's Coming into the world, he hath not one syllable of his Satisfying for us, or by his Death purchasing life and salvation, or any thing that sounds like it. He makes no­thing of the force of this Evidence, wherefore it will be proper now to set it [Page 95] before the Reader in its true and native light. He that was giving an Account of the Reasonableness of Christianity, and was more particularly making it his busi­ness to shew for what End and Purpose Christ appear'd in the flesh, and to let his Readers know what Good and Advan­tage were brought to them by the Messias, he (I say) when he was about this work, and Designedly undertook it in this part of his book, was obliged to declare that one great Advantage of the Messias's Coming was to take away our sins by Expiating them, that one Main End of his Coming was to make Satisfaction for us, and thereby to purchase life and glory. But this New Convert hath not any thing that sounds like it in this place, where he professedly took upon him to acquaint us what are the Advantages which accrue to us by the Messias. Though he hath the confidence to struggle with many other parts of the Charges against him, yet here he submits, and grants (p. 5. Vind.) he hath no such thing in the place where the Advantages of Christ's Coming are pur­posely treated of. And if by his own acknowledgment he hath no such thing when he reckons up the Advantages and Blessings of Christ's appearing in the [Page 96] world, then every intelligent man knows what Inference to make, viz. that this Author was of opinion that Christ came not to Satisfie for us, and to purchase life for us by vertue of his Death, which is one of the Grand Points of Socinianism.

The force of this Inference is unavoid­able, and it will attack our Adversary, be he never so cunning at Evasions, be he never so closely intrench'd in his Equivo­cations. For where should we expect this to be mention'd, if it be not expresly taken notice of in that part or division of his Treatise where he Purposely sets forth the Benefits of the Messias's Arrival? If he doth not make express mention of it here, it is either because he forgot it, (but he owns no such thing) or because he was careless (but he doth not think him­self, whatever others do, to be such a Wri­ter) or because he wilfully left it out, and this indeed is the true Reason: for all the world cannot but see (notwithstanding his Shifts) that his Subject engag'd him to reckon This in the number of the Be­nefits accruing by the Coming of Je­sus Christ, if he had thought it to be one. When he was enumerating of those, this could not possibly have been omitted, because by all Writers that are not Soci­nians [Page 97] this is always put into the Cata­logue of those Blessings which we share in by the Undertakings of our Blessed Sa­viour. Hence it appears how imperti­nent and ridiculous that is, It was not in the place he (meaning me) would have it in, p. 5. He should have said, it is not in the place where every one might reasonably have look'd for it, it was not in the place where his matter necessarily oblig'd him to insert it, so that he was both faithless to his Subject, and false to the True Cause: in brief, it was not in that place where, if he had not been a Pupil of Socinus, it would certainly have been found: for no man but such a one did ever designedly undertake the Enumeration of those Benefits which we are partakers of by our Lord's Com­ing, and yet omit at the same time his Re­deeming and Purchasing us by his Blood.

He pretends indeed, p. 5. that in an other place of his book he mentions Christ's restoring all man kind from the state of death, and restoring them to life, and his laying down his life for an other, as our Saviour professes he did. These few words this Vindicator hath pick'd up in his book since he wrote it. This is all thro' his whole Treatise that he hath dropt concerning that Advantage of Christ's [Page 98] Incarnation which I was speaking of: and they are general terms too, and such as every Racovian will subscribe to; for they are not backward to own that Christ some way or other (but not That before specified) restored us to life, and they can­not gainsay the express words of Christ concerning his laying down his life for his sheep, Iohn 10. 15. but it is well known that (notwithstanding this) they deny the Satisfaction of Christ, and his purchasing life and salvation by vertue of his Meri­torious Passion and Death. There is not a­ny thing that sounds like this in that part of his Discourse where he peculiarly made it his employment and task to let the Rea­der know what Advantages we reap by our Saviours assuming our humane nature.

But he deridingly cries out What will become of me, that I have not mention'd SATISFACTION? p. 6. I will tell you, Sir, (seeing you would know) what will become of you; you will ever here­after be reckon'd by all understanding men an Egregious Whiffler, or in plain­terms a Notorious Dissembler. For the case stands thus, (and I doubt not but the Reader will perfectly agree with me in it) you believe Christ's Satisfaction, or you do not: if you believe there is [Page 99] such a thing, and this was one of the Advantages we have by Christ's Coming, then you were false and treacherous in o­mitting it: if you believe it not, you are as false and hypocritical in vouching your self to be no Socinian, seeing this is one known Badg of a person of that Character.

Let him take which of these ways he will, he forfeits his Truth and Integrity. Was it not enough to make use of the Chief Soci­nian Arguments, and to expound Texts in the Racovian way, and to leave out plain and direct places even in the very Gospels that assert the Holy Trinity, and moreover to throw off all the Famous Testimonies to this doctrine in the Apostolical Epistles, and to balk the Satisfaction of Christ for us even when he was purposely telling the Reader what are the Advantages which flow to us from Christ's Coming? Was it not enough, I say, to do all this (which loud­ly proclaims him a Socinian) but must he al­so hold the world in hand that he is none? Can this Writer himself consider this, and not blush? Who doth not wonder at his Weakness, that he should manifestly take the part of these Gentlemen and yet endeavour to perswade us that he is not of their number? But who doth not wonder more at his Insincerity, that he [Page 100] should act thus? Must not this then be his Lasting Character that he hath in his Writings demonstated himself to be not only a Socinian, but a False hearted one?

There are other Passages in his book which I might produce to confirm this Character of him, but those may be ta­ken notice of at another time. At pre­sent let it suffice that I have shew'd that he hath not said one word in his Vindi­cation that clears him of this imputation. And as for his book it self of the Reasona­bleness of Christianity, let it suffice to say that though there have been many Trea­tises concerning that Subject, yet none ever could imagine that this which he offers could possibly be brought under that Title. He saith some body is good at Conjecturing, but if a man had the best faculty in the world that way, it were impossible to guess and surmise that such a Title should be prefix'd those Pa­pers which are an Unreasonable and False Representation of Christianity, a Lame and Shatter'd Account of the Principles of the Gospel, and, in short, a kind of Libel against the New Testament. Fi­nally, let it suffice that I have demon­strated to the Reader that this Gentleman acts a Part in what he writes; by which [Page 101] he hath gained this, that he must never be believed for the future. He that is such an Under-hand dealer can't be trusted: there is no heed to be given to what he saith.

Thus I thought my self obliged to set before the Reader the state of the Case between this Gentleman and my self, and to give an impartial account of our Sentiments. I am satisfied in my Un­dertaking, for (whatever my defects in it otherwise be) I'm sure I have aimed aright, at the vindicating the Glory of the Great Majesty of heaven and earth. I have faithfully asserted our Holy Religi­on, and the Divinity of the Blessed Au­thor and Founder of it. I have maintain­ed the Authority and Honour of the Ho­ly Scriptures. To the pursuing of which Glorious Designs I shall dedicate my whole life: and I hope from what I have written, and shall hereafter write, the World will bear me witness that I do so.

CHAP. VIII.

The Gentleman insinuates that the Author would represent every one as an Atheist that thinks not as he doth. This Calum­ny is baffled. He laughs at Orthodoxy, and cries down Systems and Creeds. This Indifferent Writer blames the Au­thor [Page 102] for his Zeal. Is angry with him for penetrating into his Thoughts and Inten­tions. The Party inure themselves to Sophistry, and yet make a shew of Sim­plicity and Plainness. The Gentleman's Uneven Temper observ'd. What is meant by a known Writer of the bro­therhood. He is himself of an other Fraternity. Though he pretends to be Grave, he Scosss and Ieers. He cannot be brought to confess himsef to be a Re­tainer to Socinianism, though he hath gi­ven such evident proofs of his being one. The Author shuts up all with seasonable Advice to him, giving him some account of the Freedom which he hath used to­wards him in the preceding Discourse.

HAving now dispatch'd my Main Business, and found the Bill a­gainst the Criminal, not by Innuendo's but by Plain Express Proof, I am at lei­sure to account with him for some Other Passages in his Vindication. He insinuates that I would represent every one as an Atheist, or a Promoter of Atheism that doth not think as I do, doth not just say after me, p. 1, 2. Which is a groundless Ca­lumny, and might be confuted from that Freedom which I professed, p. 77. even [Page 103] in that Discourse which he excepts a­gainst. I have always been averse to Bigotism, I never shew'd my self a Dog­matizer, but always declar'd for an In­genuous Liberty, such as doth not auda­ciously encroach upon the Necessary and Fundamental Points of our Religion. Therefore this Vindicator's wilful mistak­ing of what I said, thereby to represent me as extremely Censorious and Uncha­ritable, looks like Spleen. But I need say no more than this, that the Reader is convinc'd (I question not) from what hath been premised that this Writer will say any thing that comes into his head. This seems to be natural to him every where: and he can be no more without it than a Spaniard without his Guittar.

To be Orthodox is a great Scandal, it seems, and he often objects it to me: which, as the Learned know, was the very language and idiom of the Arrians of old, and of that sort of men who are since known by the name of Socinians. He speaks in the very Stile of the Old An­titrinitarians; though it may be he will say he doth not know it. He publickly prides himself in his Heterodoxy, and hates even with a deadly hatred all Cate­chisms and Confessions, all Systems and Mo­dels, [Page 104] p. 8. He laughs at Orthodoxy, p. 17, 20. and derides Mysteries, which are in­fallible marks of a Racovian Brother. And O how he grins at the Spirit of Creed­making? p. 18. Vindic. the very thoughts of which do so haunt him, so plague and torment him that he cannot rest till it be conjured down. And here, by the way, seeing I have mention'd his ran­cour against Systematick books and writings, I might represent the Misery that is com­ing upon all Booksellers if this Gentleman and his Correspondents go on successful­ly. Here is an effectual Plot to under­mine Stationers Hall; for all Systems and Bodies of Divinity, Philosophy, &c. must be cashier'd: whatever looks like System must not be bought or sold. This will fall heavy on the Gentlemen of St. Paul's Church-yard, and other places.

This Author often finds fault with me for my Zeal, p. 5, 18, 37. It is likely he hath heard that when the Gospel was heretofore read in the Churches in Poland (before it was Socinianized,) it was usu­al to draw their Swords, to shew that they would defend it against all that op­posed it. I do but draw my Pen in de­fence of the Gospel, yea and the Epistles, and I am censur'd as a Zealot by him. [Page 105] And it is not strange, for he must needs declare against Zeal that is Indifferent. Besides, according to this Judicious Ca­suist there is but One Point of Christiani­ty that a man can be zealous for, if he would. Queen Mary's Martyrs foolish­ly threw away their lives, for neither Bonner nor any of their Persecutors did so much as desire them to renounce this Article Iesus is the Messias: and as for all the rest, this Gentleman tells us that they are not necessarily to be believ'd, and consequently not to be acknowledg'd and profess'd; and then who will shew any Zeal for them, especially such as will carry a man into the Flames?

He often talks of my being in his bosom, and knowing his heart and thoughts, p. 14, 15, 24. (which by the by is more than his Brethren will allow God himself to know, for Free Acts being uncertain they can't be certainly understood by God (as the Gentleman whom I shall speak a word with anon tells us.) This sort of Talk argues that he is much troubled that I have penetrated into his Thoughts, and have discovered to the world what his Intention and Design is. And yet he in­timates also by this way of speaking that it is an Impossible thing to do this. How [Page 102] [...] [Page 103] [...] [Page 104] [...] [Page 105] [...] [Page 106] impossible then is it for himself to know his heart? for this is a certain Maxim, It is the Punishment of a Dissembler to deceive himself, for his endeavouring to do so to others. I wish this Writer would consider of it, and learn for the future to be free, open and fair, and then others (as well as himself) would have a window into his breast, and see that which they are sorry they find no appearance of now.

And I wish this were not too common a fault of the Party, at least of many of them. They inure themselves to So­phistry, Cunning, and Artifice, when they either interpret Texts, or Argue in favour of their Darling Opinions. They then too palpably impose upon other mens minds, as well as upon their own. And yet at the same time they pretend to great Simplicity and honest dealing. Thus you find them applauding them­selves in their late Prints:* the Vnitari­ans (say they of themselves) are plain fellows, and have Countrey Consciences, and do not like juggling. You Gentlemen of the City, look to it: these Vnitarians, these Socinians have a very bad opinion of you, for here they would have it be­liev'd that City-Consciences are false and [Page 107] perfidious, deceitful and juggling. It is a course Complement, and Rustick enough which these Plain Fellows put upon you. It is not the first time they have struck at you: London must be dis­ciplin'd by Racovia. And the Vindicator is one of these Plain Fellows, for as he hath shew'd himself an Vnitarian, so he makes it appear that he hath a Country-Conscience in the sense that these men ul­timately mean it in, viz. a knack of Cheating in a Rustical plain way, as when he pretends to make a Religion for the Rabble, an Easie Plain Religion, a Creed with One Article, and no more; pre­tending thereby to gratifie them, but un­der hand subverting Christianity.

Nor have I yet done with him. I find him to be a Man of a very Uneven Tem­per: sometimes he is very Low and Whining, and will be asking pardon, and desiring me, &c at other times he is Impe­rious and Magisterial, and requires me, &c. Sometimes he talks very demurely, as about being in earnest, p. 9. being serious and grave, p. 24, 25. and in a Pedantick Humour he undertakes to censure and correct my Stile, p. 24. But this fit of Gravity doth not last long; he every where shews himself Light and Freakish, [Page 108] Ironical and Abusive as far as he is able, and nibbles at Wit according to his mean Talent. He inveighs forsooth against Declamatory Rhetorick, Wit and Iest, &c. p. 24. Vindic. and yet at the same time is Wanton and Frolick, Starting any thing to sport himself with. In that very place before mention'd where he seems to put on his Gravity, he hath not forgot the Merry time of Rope-dancing and Puppet-Plays, at which he was good in the days of yore. It is likely he had been a little before conducting some of his Young Brood to Bartholomew Fair, and thence this precious idea came into his head.

Without doubt he thought he was not a little Ingenious in that waggish expres­sion, p. 6. a Known Writer of the brother­hood: which is meant of the Brethren of the Clergy who have writ against the Socinian Cause, the same with the Popu­lar Authorities and Frightful Names which he speaks of, p. 23. The professed Di­vines of England you must know are but a pitiful sort of folks with this great Ra­covian Rabbi. He tells us plainly that he is not mindful of what the Generality of Divines declare for, p. 22. He labours so concernedly to engratiate himself with the Mob, the Multitude (which he so of­ten [Page 109] talks of) that he hath no regard to these. The generality of the Rabble are more considerable with him than the gene­rality of Divines, the Writers of the bro­therhood. Though truly a Wise Man that hears any one judg thus, will think he deserves as well to be rewarded with a pair of Ears of the largest size as he did who judg'd on Pan's side against Apollo. But there is more yet in this term of bro­therhood than this, for here it is implied (and his thoughts may be suppos'd to be upon it when he wrote) that he him­self is a Writer of an Other Fraternity; and truly this Stile is very proper, for the men of that Party (as 'tis well known) have labour'd to signalize themselves (in the Writings that they have publish'd) by the Title of Brethren. It is agreed then; we will for the future take him for a Polonian Brother. And I ask the Reader whether this Brother be not of kin to the Order of Friers in Italy who were call'd Fratres Ignorantiae, viz. be­cause, they professed to teach the people as little as possibly they could, as suppose One Article of Religion, and no more.

I might proceed further, and shew that this Author, as Demure and Grave as he would sometimes seem to be, can [Page 110] scoff at the Matters of Faith contain'd in the Apostles Epistles, p. 18. l. 4. &c. To coakse the Mob he prophanely brings in that place of Scripture, Have any of the Rulers believ'd in him? p. 33. Ridicu­lously and Irreligiously he pretends that I prefer what he faith to me to what is offer'd to me from the Word of God, p. 25. What is there that this Gentleman will not turn in­to Ridicule or Falsity? What is there that he will not take hold of to be Spor­tive and Gamesome? We may further see how Counterfeit his Gravity is whilst he condemns frothy and light discourses, p. 26. Vindie. and yet in many pages toge­ther most irreverently treats a great part of the Apostolical Writings, and throws aside the Main Articles of Religion as unnecessary. From all which it is clear that he contradicts and opposes himself. Whence by the by we may gather that when he saith he is no Socinian, we must take his meaning to be that he is one, for he is made up of Contradictions. I obser­ved before that the Dissenting Ministers consfess'd to him (if you will believe* him) that they understood not the difference in de­bate among them: but this Gentleman can't be brought to confess any thing, he [Page 111] will not own that he is a Writer of the brotherhood. No: there is some great Reason (if it may be call'd so) for this, that he would not be thought to be of Sozzo's side: though the Marks and To­kens are so plain that he may be appre­hended without a Hue and Crie.

Come, Good Sir, do not act a part any longer: They have been desirous to put you upon service, and you were as willing to be employ'd in it: but now at last Confess it. Appear no more in Masquerade: away with this Mumme­ry, and shew your self what you are. You have let the world see (and so far we are beholding to you) that Socinian is a Reproachful Title; that any one may gather from your being so backward to own it. You would never have taken so much pains to shift off this Character if it were not a very Scandalous One. Throw off your Vizour then, and speak out like a Man. Be free and ingenuous, and dissemble not with Heaven as well as Men. I have, Sir, been very free with you, which you may impute to your not being so with your self. You know the Rule among the Men of Art, The Heart is known by the Pulse. I have made bold to usurp upon the Faculty, I have been [Page 112] feeling your Pulse, and I have found that it strongly beats after the Racovian tone. This I have told you with some plainess, and you are obliged to me for represent­ing you to your self. I know you did not expect an Assault, for it was your self (however you apply it to me) that was thought to be one of* the most Pri­viledged sort of men. But, Sir, in the Reign of Truth Protections are not of any use. It is a laudable way sometimes to fight the Enemy in his Trenches. There are some Criminals that must be snatch'd from the horns of the Altar, especially when they injure the Altar it self, when they abuse that which is Holy, and tram­ple upon our Sacred Faith and Religion.

To conclude, I have said nothing out of prejudice or disgust, much less out of bitterness and ill will, for I am in Entire Charity with you, and the more so be­cause I have spoken so freely. If you com­plain now (as you did before) that you are hardly dealt with, I have only this to say, A Plain Down-right Adversary might perhaps have met with another usage, but such a Stubborn Dissembler could not expect fairer quarter.

A Brief REPLY To Another SOCINIAN Writer, Whose Cavils bear this Title, [The Exceptions of Mr. Edwards in his Causes of Atheism against the Reasonableness of Christianity, &c. Examin'd.]

A Brief REPLY To another SOCINIAN Author.

THERE came lately to my hand this Writer's Sheets in the true Racovian Print: but I having been so large upon the Vindica­tor, this Double-Column'd Gentleman, who pretends to be an Examinator, cannot ex­pect I should spend much time about him. In the first place we are to observe that he most humbly and reverentially dedicates his Papers to the New Patron of the Cause, and takes upon him the Defence of what he hath said in his Rea­sonableness of Christianity. He highly ap­plauds him for his being so serviceable to the Socinian and Antitrinitarian Inte­rest. And it is part of his Panegyrick that he hath happily provided for the quiet and satisfaction of the minds of the honest [Page 116] multitude, p. 3. That is, he hath not trou­bled and molested them (as some have done with propounding Several Articles of Christian Belief) but hath told them that One is enough for them, and bids them rest contented with that, like good honest Ignorant Souls. Thus he hath provided (but how happily let the Rea­der judg) for their quiet and satisfaction. But though the Examinator heaps great Commendations on the Vindicator, yet he professes i [...] (you'll believe him, you may) that he knows him not, p 4. Only at a venture he takes his part, he now being become one of the Brotherhood, and may prove a very Substantial Tool and Engine in the great Work they are now about, viz. the subverting of our Savi­our's Divinity, the laying aside the Apo­stolical Epistles, the shutting out the Ne­cessary Matters of Faith contain'd in them, and the setting up and idolizing of One Article, with defiance of all the rest as any ways Necessary to be believ'd. This is the New DIANA that is set up by our Ephesians, especially by their late De­metrius.

Then he hath a fling at my Booksellers, p. 5. wherein he follows the steps of the Vindicator, p. 37. And in this and other [Page 117] things they jump, which discovers their Correspondence, though he had but just before said he knew him not. And so this gives us an account of the truth of what the Vindicator said, that he knew not that the Socinians interpreted such and such Texts after such a manner. This is said to im­pose upon the world, and make them be­lieve that he and the Racovians have not been Confederates. But he confutes this in another place, where he owns that he hath particular knowledg of that Gentle­man, and knew the circumstances of his Life, p. 13. Col. 2. for he could not say of him that he overcame the prejudices of Education unless he had been acquainted with his Education and manner of life. And if this is the Gentleman of no ordinary judgment, from whom he saith he hath seen a Letter, &c. p. 17. Here still you see is Juggling and sleight of hand, and it is natural and proper it seems to the Party. And further to shew their Con­ferring of Notes together, it might be observ'd that both agree to say that what I write was writ in hast and in a fit, Examin. p. 5. Vindicat. p. 19. And let it be so, if they will, for thence it will appear that a man need not take up much time to confute either the Vindica­tor or this Gentleman.

[Page 118] But what is this that he hath to say of my Booksellers? Some great matter with­out doubt. He put me upon making Excep­tions against that Treatise, that so the sale of his own Tract might be the more promoted, p. 5. The Reader may guess from this what is their own Trade; they and their Booksellers joyntly club to cheat the poor bulk of mankind. That is their practice we may learn from their fastning it upon others. Any man may see that the Rationalist went snips with his Pater-Noster-Men, they fully understood one an­other, as appears from their not denying him to be the Author of the Reasonable­ness of Christianity, &c. all the time it was in the Press: but when they saw the Sale of it was not according to their High Expectations, they, to buoy up the Gentleman's Credit, be­gan to disown him to be the Author. This was done by the two Shrine­men that before cried aloud for Diana. Now then, I think it appears at last that these people are extremely beholding to my Booksellers if they did any such thing as they surmise, for by this means the sale of their Book was promoted.

After the Booksellers, I must be taken to task by the Reverend Examinator, who [Page 119] having flutter'd a little about the formal words which I had said were to be found in the Reasonableness of Christianity (which no Creature that hath once read it will once doubt of) he fixes on this (p. 5.) as the Vindicator's true sense, yea his own words, that all that was to be believed for justification, or to make a man a Christian, by him that did already believe in, and wor­ship one True God, maker of heaven and earth, was no more than this Single Proposi­tion, that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ or the Messias. This man makes a Mise­rable Entrance to his work, for though he saith these are the Vindicator's words (for thus he brings them in, It is true he saith) yet no man alive can find them in his book: and he knew this himself, else he would have set down the page, as we find him paging it afterwards. What shall we say then to such men as these who will vouch any thing? They can be trusted with no book, no not with one of their own Tribe, for we see here that this Writer's stile is, he saith, and yet this Express Saying no where occurs in the book he refers to. And here by the way, we may observe the bold Parti­ality of this Writer; he (as well as the Vindicator, p. 38.) would charge me [Page 120] with not quoting the formal words which are in the Reasonableness of Christianity, whilest he is not sensible of his plain mis­quoting the same Author. Yet here we may observe this, that it is but a Single Proposition (and no more) which is to be believ'd, to make a man a Christian. This is the sense of the Vindicator's friend, thus he understands him; and so indeed every one must, and yet it may be re­membred that the Vindicator himself would evade this, and pretends that he means more than a Single Proposition or Article.

Now next let us see how this Exami­nator licks over the Vindicator's Article, and tells us that the belief of Iesus's being the Messias comprehends and implies several other things, p. 3. Here he sweats to bring off his Brother handsomly and with credit by letting us know that his Bold Asserti­on which runs through his whole book is to be qualified after this manner, 1. All sy­nonymous expressions, &c. and so he sets them down one, two and three. But I ask him this Question (and let the Rea­der be pleas'd to observe the issue of it) Why did not the Gentleman himself make use of these Qualifications when he vented the Proposition, and insisted upon it in [Page 121] the bulk of his book, yea why did he not mention these Qualifications in his Answer to my Exceptions against his book? He knew what he had asserted, and he defends (as well he can) his doing so, but you will find in no part of his Vindication that he betakes himself to these Evasions, though he hath enough of Others of a different sort. How then come you, Mr. Examinator, to invent these things for him? Do you not here­by proclaim to the world that you will put off the Reader with any idle and groundless Conceit of your own?

When he repeats my words, p. 6, 7. wherein I took notice of the Gentleman's willful omitting of plain and obvious passa­ges in the Evangelists (out of whose Wri­tings he had drawn a Whole Article) which contain the belief of the Holy Trinity, he saith not a word to excuse his Omission, but by his silence (for he would have spoken without doubt if he had had any thing to say in his Friends defence) he owns it to be wilful and blameable. On­ly he comes with the Trite and Common Answer of the Party to those Texts; but before he enters upon the Second of them, viz. Iohn 1. 1. he declares there is no such Text in the whole Bible, p. 9. He [Page 122] said rightly that he was bold to say it, for a man shall scarcely hear a more Audaci­ous word, though 'tis true he endea­vours to mollifie it with an if.

As to what he saith about my taking notice of the Gentleman's slighting the Epistolary Writings, I have fully answer­ed it in the foregoing Papers, and there­fore shall add no more here.

He proceeds next to those Socinan Au­thors, whose undue Notions concerning God I glanc'd upon. The Author of the Con­siderations, &c. in reply to the Right Reve­rend Bishop who had from the notion of God's Eternity inferr'd that he was Self-ex­istent or from himself, hath these words, What makes him (viz. the Bishop) say, God must be from himself, or self-originated? for then he must be before he was, which this Writer concludes to be a Contradiction. Therefore he would make this Conclusi­on that God's Self-existence is a Contra­diction. I know it will be pretended that this is the Consequence only of the Bishops Notion of Eternity, but it is plain that that Writer makes use of this Argu­ing to shake the belief of the Eternity and Self-Existence of the Allmighty, and that will appear from what he further adds in way of Exception to what that [Page 123] Reverend Person saith afterwards con­cerning God's Eternity. This Exami­nator talks of a false notion of Self-existence, but doth not say what it is. If I have mistaken the Considerer, let him write plainer another time.

As to the Examinator's question. How the Second and Third Persons can be Self-existent? I answer, They are Self-exi­stent as they are eternally from the Self-same Deity. Though according to the Nicene Creed Christ be God of God, yet that doth not infring his Self-Existence, because those words are not spoken of the Essence of Christ which is common to him with his Father, but of his Perso­nality. He being the same with the Fa­ther as to the former hath his Existence of himself; but differing from the Fa­ther as to the latter, he is rightly said to be from him, or of him as he is the Second Person in the Trinity. This is easily re­conciled with what he saith an Other Bi­shop asserts, if this Vnitarian hath not a mind to quarrel.

In the next Paragraph he is quite non­plus'd, for I had charg'd the Sacinian Au­thors with their denial of God's foreknow­ing future Contingencies, and consequent­ly denying the Omniscience of God, which [Page 124] is an inseparable Attribute of the Deity; and he having nothing to reply to the purpose, first tells us he is not concern'd in it, p. 18, whereas every one knows that he being one of the Party is concern'd. Secondly, assoon as he had as it were re­nounced the Socinian doctrine by saying he was not Concern'd in it, he presently owns it for Truth, as those words im­port, p. 18.—to deny his foreknowledg of the certainty of that which is not certain, &c. which is as much as to say that there are some things that are Uncertain and therefore Unknowable, and these God can have no knowledg of. And yet thirdly, he would seem to hint that it is a dishonourable thing to God (those are his words) that he should not have a fore­sight of these things. Thus Confused is our Author, which shews he is not fit to be an Examiner of other mens Writings, when he can't write Consistently himself, but in three or four lines hath as many Blunders.

In the next words and what follows he perfectly gives up the Cause, p. 18. for I had laid this to the charge of the Racovians that they denied the Immensity or Omnipresence of God, which is a Pro­perty or Perfection never to be disjoyn'd [Page 125] from the Deity; whereupon he tamely acknowledges that Crellius and the rest of the Fraternity are of this perswasion. Only, because the Gentleman must be wagging his tongue, he gives us a scrap out of a Latin Poet, and just names a Greek Father, who never said any thing to that matter, and so we are rid of them.

But he comes on again, and goes off assoon, for he barely mentions the Spiri­tuality of God, which I had asserted to be another Divine Excellency: and it is such an Attribute of God that we can't conceive of him without it, and therefore it is made the short and comprehensive Definition of him that he is a Spirit, Iohn 4. 24. In my Discourse which this Ex­aminator calls in question I took notice that the Socinians denied this Property of the Deity, which I justly tax'd as an Atheistick Tang: and I think it was a mild term, for it is a Rank Sign of a great tendency to Atheism to deny that God is a Spirit, i. e. an Immaterial Incorporeal Being. But our present Author resolves himself into the opinion of those modest Divines (who by their Blushing can be no other than Socinus's Scholars) who determine nothing about the Point; which is as much as to say, he and they [Page 126] deny it. But you must know they are now a little upon their Credit: this Gentleman (who speaks in the name of the rest) had before given up the Im­mensity and Omniscience of God, and therefore it is high time now to be upon the Reserve, and to pause a little, that the world may not see that they reject All those Properties of the Deity which I mention'd. But notwithstanding this cunning practice of theirs, the world may see, yea, it cannot but plainly see that they deny every one of these Divine Attributes more or less, and this parti­cularly which I mention'd last, viz. that God is a Spirit properly so call'd. For whereas I quoted Socinus and Crellius (their Grand Patriots) to prove this de­nial, this Writer takes no notice of my doing so, which lets us see that the opi­nion of those Great Masters is humbly submitted to by all the rest.

So now I hope the Reader is convinc'd that I was not Vnjust to the Socinians, that I did not highly injure them (as they have cried out) when I charg'd them with Atheism or a Strong Tendency to it in some Points. I tax'd them with de­nying these four Attributes, the Self-Ex­istence, the Omniscience, the Omnipotence, [Page 127] the Spirituality of God, and lo! this pro­fessed Son of Socinus (who was chosen out with great deliberation and judgment without doubt from the rest of his bre­thren to undertake the Cause, to refute what I had alledg'd against them, and who questionless hath said all that he could in the Case) lo! I say, this pro­fessed and known Writer of the Brotherhood confirms and ratifies what I have laid to their charge. For he produces the words out of their own Author which I referr'd to, whence it appears that he had a mind to distort the Right Reverend Bishop of Worcester's words, and to argue against the Self-Existence of God. This Exami­nator without any more ado rejects the Second and third Attributes, and by his boggling at the fourth we know what must be the fate of that. Thus he and his fellow-Criminals being conscious to the truth and Justice of the Charge, con­fess themselves Guilty. They are so far from clearing themselves of the Imputa­tion and Enditement that they Aggra­vate it. I leave the Reader to give the Sentence. They deserve a Severe one at his hands, but I desire him to be Mer­ciful for the sake of our Lord JESUS CHRIST, who forgave and pray'd for [Page 128] his greatest Opposers. May the All­Merciful God forgive them, and enligh­ten their minds, that they may be con­vinc'd of their Errors, and heartily re­nounce them. The Lord give them Re­pentance to the acknowledging of the truth, that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil.

Then he runs to their Common Place, which hath help'd to fill up their papers many a time, and he thinks he doth great feats. But he only epitomizes Crel­lius de Vno Deo Patre, and offers a great many Texts which have been answered a hundred times, as he (but untruly) saith on another occasion, p. 8. This takes up 18 or 19 whole Pages: and why? Because this costs him nothing, he bor­rows it all (and he might have borrow'd a great deal more) from the same Au­thor. Here he can afford to be very long and large, but when he undertakes the Examination of what I had particularly objected against the Socinians, he is like the dog at Nilus, he is presently gone: he is not furnish'd with any Answer that he dares insist upon, or trust to.

Next, I will observe to the Reader that this Author meddles not with my Argument which I drew from their own [Page 128] Professed Principle, viz. that nothing is to be believed but what is exactly adjusted to Reason, and thence prov'd that upon the same account that they reject the do­ctrine of the Holy Trinity they may like­wise quit the belief of a Deity. This I enlarg'd upon in seven pages together, it being (as I then conceiv'd, and am more confirm'd in it since) an Unanswer­able Proof of what I laid to their Charge. He only grazes on it a little, p. 19. but wheels off presently, and fixes upon that subject before mentioned, God's Vnity, because he knew where to have e­nough of it, but did not know how to take off the force of that Argu­ment which I propounded and insisted upon.

In the next place he will turn Critick, and see whether he can thrive in this em­ployment, seeing he hath so ill success in his former attempts. His nice palate disgusts the word birth, as applyed to Adam, p. 38. but thereby he only shews his want of skill in the Denotation of words. He is so poor a Dabbler in Gram­mer and Criticism that he knows not that by the Hebrew jalad, and the Greek [...] and [...], and the Latin nasci, and accordingly our English [to be born] are [Page 130] signified in a general way the Origin, Rise, or Beginning of things or persons, and consequently Birth or Nativity is not to be taken always in the Vulgar Sense. He might have read in Genethliack Wri­ters that the word is applied even to Ci­ties and Houses. But I need not go so far to defend the Expression. The use of it, and that in the very way that I have applied it, is to be found in Scrip­ture: Art thou the first man that was born? Iob 15. 7. Or we may read it, if we please, more exactly according to the Original, Art thou born as the first man, or Adam, i. e. (as the Context will shew it) art thou as understanding as the man that was first born, viz. as our First Parent Adam? By reason of this birth Adam is call'd the son of God, Luk. 3. 38. Whence the Socinians would ga­ther that Christ hath that name upon the like account, because of his Extraordina­ry Original, because of his Miraculous Birth. Thus we have found that this Gentleman is ignorant of the true mean­ing of words in Common Authors, that he doth not know the acception of them in Holy Scripture, nay that he doth not know what his own Authors say, which evinces him to be triply a Blunderer, and [Page 131] that he deserves no more to be call'd an Examinator.

Then he thinks he doth mighty things, p. 39. by quoting Limborch a very Learn­ed Foreigner (a System-maker, for he hath compiled a Large System of Divini­ty, though he gives it another Name; and why then doth this Gentleman talk so reproachfully of Systems? p. 44. &c.) but this his Author is a Second Episcopius; and therefore it was wisely done to bring him in to tell us what are the Fundamen­tals of Religion.

But it was more cunningly done in the next Paragraph to fetch in the Sixth Ar­ticle of the Church of England in favour of the Vindicator's Conceit. Surely this his Patron, at whose feet he lays his Papers, will give him little thanks for this, for he jeers him rather than defends his Cause. Thus though they are agreed, and under­stand one another so far as to Impose up­on the world, yet they cannot (and ne­ver will) agree to speak Truth. And in­deed this Worthy Writer foresignified something of this nature. He is a boding sort of man, you may perceive, for thus he speaks in his Humble Dedicatory to the Vindicator, If I have mistaken your sense, or used weak reasonings in your de­fence [Page 131] (and behold! here he doth both) I crave your pardon. And so you may, and I will tell you for your comfort, he will soon forgive you, for he knows that your heart is right, i. e. for the Good Cause, and therefore a little Mistaking of him out of weakness is pardon­able.

Then he hales in Mr. Chillingworth by head and shoulders, p. 40. pronouncing him very definitively the ablest defender of the Religion of Protestants that the Church ever had; which is too high a Character for him, though he was a person of Great Parts and Learning. Why must he be said to be the Ablest Defender when we can name so many Eminent Writers in other Countreys that have perform'd this task? Or, if he means the Church of England, why must he have the absolute Preference to Others that we can name here, especially that Great Ornament and Glory of our Church, whom I had occasion to men­tion before, who hath so Learnedly de­fended the Religion of Protestants? I, but he writ against Crellius, and there­fore he must not be the Ablest Defender. Again, there is a reason well known to the world why Mr. Chillingworth hath [Page 132] the Preheminence in the opinion of this Writer and his Confederates, but of that at some other time perhaps. Let us now go on, and see what this Gentleman gets by his producing of Mr. Chilling­worth; and it is no other than this, a plain confutation of the Vindicator's Project con­cerning the reducing of Religion to a Point, and no more. For these are that Worthy Man's words, The Bible, the Bi­ble, I say the Bible only is the Religion of Protestants. And I say so too, but this Gentleman and the Author of the Reason­ableness of Christianity are of another opi­nion, for according to them it is not the Bible, but a very Small Portion of it that is the Religion of Protestants. They ac­knowledg that Some few Verses in seve­ral Chapters of the Four Evangelists and the Acts are matter of Faith or Religion, but they do not cry the Bible, the Bible, the Bible, they do not think that All and Eve­ry one of the Fundamental Truths in the Whole Scripture are the necessary mat­ter of our Belief. Thus I think this Re­verend Scribe might have spared the quoting of Mr. Chillingworth, unless he delights in confuting himself and his New Convert.

[Page 134] Afterwards he nibbles at some other passages in my Discourse, but flies off in­to Impertinencies. Only one thing I meet with that is very Remarka­ble, and I request the Reader to attend to it. There are (saith he) some that-of Deists have been reconciled to the Christian faith by the Vnitarian books, and have pro­fess'd much satisfaction therein, p. 42. You may perceive that they are making of Proselytes as fast as they can, and a­mong the rest some Deists come in to them, and so (as the Apostle speaks of Seducers and those that are Seduced, 2 Pet. 2. 20.) the latter end is worse with them than the beginning: for whereas be­fore they owned a Natural Religion, now they become guilty of perverting and prophaning a Revealed one. They are so far from being reconciled to the Christi­an Faith, that they oppose and contra­dict it, and even defie the Main Articles of this Religion which is owing to Di­vine Revelation. Such Converts as these have no reason to profess much satis­faction in the Vnitarian books, unless Cor­rupting the Christian saith be to be chosen before plain Theism. To speak the plain truth (and it is the design of these Papers to do so) and that which every Think­ing [Page 135] and Considering Man cannot but discern, the Socinians are but the Jour­ney men of the Deists, and they are set on work by them, for these latter hope to compass their Design, which is to im­pair the Credit of the Christian Religion and of those Inspired Writings which give us an account of it, they hope (I say) effectually to compass this design by the help of such Good Instruments as they find the Socianiz'd Men to be. You see then what ground this Gentleman hath to think that the Deists are Proselytes to the Vnitarians.

Then he proceeds to make a long ha­rangue about the Obscurity of Systematical Fundamentals, p. 44. &c. but never was poor Creature so bewildred as he is. Only he happily lights upon the Quakers, p. 44, 45. where it is worth observing that the man doth not know his Friends from his Foes, nor these from them. He rails against this sort of men (who he saith would be counted the only People of God) and yet it is certain that they are his brethren-Socinians. They utterly dis­own the Scripture as the Rule of Faith, he saith: and doth not our late Socinian Writer symbolize with them when he declares that the Divine Truths con­tained [Page 134] in the Epistles of the Holy Apo­stles (which are a considerable part of Scripture) are not the Necessary matter of Faith? He complains that the Quakers turn the Gospel into an Allegory; but the foremention'd Author doth much worse, for he represents the greatest Part of the Gospel-discoveries as Superfluous and Needless. In giving us the farther Cha­racter of the Quakers, he in lively colours represents the Socinians, for these are his words concerning them, Retaining still the words wherein the Christian Faith is ex­pressed, though in an Equivocal Sense, they have made a shift to be reputed generally Chri­stians. Certainly there could not be a better Pourtraiture of the Racovian Wri­ters, for it is known that they are crafty and sophistical, and quote Scrip­ture only to pervert it. They acknow­ledg Christ to be God, and an Expiatory Sacrifice, but they mean it Equivocally; they quit the true sense of Scripture though they retain the words, and by rea­son of this latter have made a shift (as this Author speaks) to pass for Christians. These men (whatever some few English Writers of the Racovian way hold of late) exactly side with the Quakers in crying down of Water-Baptism (for so [Page 135] they both call it in derision.) In the Grand Point of the Trinity they both con­cur, i. e. to reject it, witness W. Pen's Sandy Foundation, by which he means the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity. In a quibbling manner, wherein he shews both his Ignorance and Blasphemy, he thus speaks,* If God, as the Scriptures testifie, hath never been declared or believed but as the HOLY ONE, then it will fol­low that God is not an HOLY THREE. Neither can this receive the least prejudice from that frequent, but impertinent distin­ction, that he is One in Substance, but Three in Persons or Subsistencies. To which all Socinus's followers say Amen. The same Gentleman derides the doctrine of Satisfaction, and scoffingly calls the Asserters of it Satisfactionists: and who knows not that Transylvania agrees here with Pensylvania? The Man that suf­fer'd at Ierusalem is the Socinian as well as the Quakers Stile: And generally as to the main things that relate to our Savi­our, they perfectly accord, viz. in mak­ing nothing of them. If Quakerism then be no Christianity, as this our Writer re­ports [Page 138] it in the same place, then we may with much more reason conclude that Socinianism is none. By this it appears that Socinus and Fox are well met, and that they are very Loving Friends. But they must seem to disagree, as here in this Gentleman's Papers.

Lastly, let us see the wonderful hand of God in suffering this Unthoughtful Writer to produce a Paper written by a Iesuite in the late Reign, entituled an Ad­dress, &c. And in this Address, he saith, he goes about to shew that the Scriptures com­monly alledg'd for the Trinity, admit of ano­ther sense. He goes the same way in the Ar­ticle of the Incarnation. What! had he not enough of the Quaker but he must bring in the Iesuite? And must he tell the world that the Iesuitical Writers take the part of the Socinians? must he pub­lickly give notice that they both carry on the same work, and joyntly conspire to pervert the Scriptures in order to it? For the credit of the Cause, it had been better to have placed this under a for­mer head, and to have told the Reader that some Iesuites (as well as some De­ists) are Converts to Socinianism. But he hath blurted it out that Ignatius Loyo­la and Faustus Socinus were of kin. Sure­ly [Page 139] this Author must not be employ'd any more to write in defence of the Cause. He must be no longer a Double-Column'd Writer: they must look out for a man that is not so Open-hearted, one that can handle his Weapon with more Cun­ning, for this man hath stabb'd his own Cause.

But because this Writer in the begin­ning and towards the end of his Papers is pleas'd to use some words of Deference and Respect, I will not be backward to return his Civility in the same kind by letting him know that I suppose him to be a Person of Ingenuity and Learning (only I wirh he had shew'd it in his late Undertaking) and that I would not have made opposition to him in any other Points but These which are the Foundation, Basis and Ground-work of Christianity, and the very Life and Soul of our Religion, and therefore none is to be permitted to treat them irreverently and scoffingly, as he and his Associates have lately done. But I entertain some hope that this Unsavoury Tang will wear off in time.

And thus I have finished both my Re­plies to the Gentlemen's Writings against me: and I have wholly confined my [Page 138] self to these, and not ventured to guess at their Persons, or make any Reflecti­ons of that kind, for that is a thing which I abhor. Nay, though the Vin­dicator by his reflecting upon my Degree, p. 24. and 36. and Calling, p. 36, and before, p. 26, and before that, p. 9. had given me occasion to enquire in­to his Quality and Character, yet I purposely forbore to meddle with any such Considerations. And so as to the Examinator, I could easily have traced his Person and Station, and offer'd some Remarks upon either, but I made it not my business to observe Who they were that wrote, but what they had written. And it was necessary to do this latter with some Salt and Keenness, that the levity of their Arguments might be the better exposed, and that I might in a lawful and innocent way retaliate that Liberty which they had taken. And indeed the Socinian Gentlemen must shew themselves very Disingenuous (which I will not presume of them) if they be dissatisfied with me for my Freedom of discourse, when in all their Writings they profess to use it. And it is plain that they make use of it: for [Page 139] who sees not that* they have been very sharp upon some of the most Eminent and Venerable Persons of our Church? They have handled the late Archbishop and some of his Reve­rend Brethren (who in their Wri­tings shewed their dislike of the Soci­nian doctrines) with no excess of Respect: And they represent them and the whole Clergy as Mercenary, Timerous, and False hearted: They would perswade the world that the doctrine of the Trinity is defended by them merely because they are bribed or forced to it. And others of their Writers have been very severe upon the Trinitarians in their late Prints. And therefore with good reason some of These have been free with them again, especially that Worthy Person who undertook the Defence of the Archbishop and the Bishop of Worcester, and hath with great Vivacity and Sharpness reflected on the Socinian Errors, and with as great Solidity and Composedness establish'd the con­trary Truths, and hath not spared [Page 142] that Socinian Author whom he grap­ples with, no not in the least. I suppose none will grudg me that Freedom which this Gentleman and others have taken in their Replies to the Racovian Writers, especially see­ing I have not (as I conceive) made ill use of it. But of that let the Rea­der judg.

FINIS.

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