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“ though it be with defiance to all the rest,” p. 118. “ Thus we see, why he reduces ail belief to that one 6 article before rehearsed," p. 120. And all this without any the least exception of the article of a Deity, as he now pretends. Nor could he, indeed, as is evident from his own words, p. 121, 122: “ To conclude, this “ gentleman and his fellows are resolved to be unita“ rians; they are for one article of faith, as well as “ One person in the Godhead :-But, if these learned
men were not prejudiced,--they would perceive, that, “ when the catholic faith is thus brought down to one
single article, it will soon be reduced to none; the “ unit will dwindle into a cypher.” By which the reader may see that his intention was, to persuade the world, that I reduced ALL BELIEF, the CATHOLIC FAITH, (they are in his own words,) “ to one single ar
ticle, and no more." For if he had given but the least hint, that I allowed of Two, all the wit and strength of argument, contained in unitarians, unit and cypher, with which he winds up all, had been utterly lost, and dwindled into palpable nonsense.
To demonstrate that this was the sense he would be understood in, we are but to observe what he says again, p. 50 of his “ Socinianism unmasked," where he tells his readers, that “ I and my friends have new-modelled
the apostles creed; yea, indeed, have presented them " with ONE article, instead of TWELVE.” And hence we may see, what sincerity there is, in the reason he brings, to prove that he did not exclude the “ article “ of the Deity.”
For, says he, p. 6, that is a prin“ ciple of natural religion.”
Answ. Ergo, he did not in positive words, without any exception, say, I reduced "all belief, the catholic “ faith, to one single article, and no more.” But to make good his promise, “ not to resemble,me in the “ little artifices of evading,” he wipes his mouth, and says at the bottom of this page, 66 But the reader sees “ his [the vindicator's] shuffling.” Whilst the article of “ One God” is a part of “ ALL belief, a part of the “ catholic faith," ALL which he affirmed I excluded, but the one article concerning the Messiah ; every one
will see where the shuffling is : and, if it be not elear enough from those words themselves, let those above quoted, out of p. 50, of his “ Socinianism unmasked," where he says, that “ I have new modelled the apostles
creed, and presented the world with ONE article in“stead of TWELVE," be an interpretation of them. For, if the article of “one eternal God, maker of hea“ ven and earth,” be one of the articles of the apostles creed, and the one article I presented them with, be not that, it is plain, he did, and would be understood to mean, that by my one article, I excluded that of the one eternal God, which branch soever of religion, either natural, or revealed, it belongs to.
I do not endeavour to “ persuade the reader,” as he says, p. 6, “ that he misunderstood me,” but yet every body will see that he misrepresented me. And I challenge him to say, that those expressions above quoted out of him, concerning “one article," in the obvious sense of the words, as they stand in his accusation of me, were true.
This flies so directly in his face, that he labours mightily to get it off, and therefore adds these words,
My discourse did not treat (neither doth his book run " that way) of principles of natural religion, but of the “ revealed, and particularly the christian : accordingly, " this was it that I taxed him with, That, of all the
principles and articles of christianity, he chose out “ but one, as necessary to be believed to make a man a " christian."
Answ. His book was of atheism, which one may
think should make his « discourse treat of natural “ religion." But I pass by that, and bid him tell me where he taxed me, “ That, of all the principles and ar“ ticles of christianity, I chose out but one :” let him show, in all his discourse, but such a word, or any thing said, like “ one article of christianity," and I will grant that he meant particularly, but spoke generally ; misled his reader, and left himself a subterfuge. But if there be no expression to be found in him, tending that way, all this is but the covering of one falsehood with another, which thereby only becomes the grosser. Though if he
had in express words taxed me, That, of all the principles and articles of the christian religion, I chose out but one, that would not at all help him, till he farther declares, that the belief of one God is not an “ar“ ticle of the christian religion.” For, of “ALL the “ articles of the christian religion,” he says, “ I chose “ but one;" which not being that of a Deity, his words plainly import, that that was left out amongst the rest, unless it be possible for a man to choose but one article of the christian religion, viz. That “ Jesus is the Mes. “ siah ;” and at the same time, to choose two articles, of the christian religion, viz. That there is one eternal God, and that Jesus is the Messiah. If he had spoken clearly, and like a fair man, he should have said, That he taxed me with choosing but one article of revealed religion. This had been plain and direct to his purpose : but then he knew the falsehood of it would be too obvious : for, in the seven pages, wherein he taxes me so much with One article, christianity is several times named, though not once to the purpose he here pretends. But revelation is not so much as once mentioned in them, nor, as I remember, in any of the pages he bestows upon me.
To conclude, the several passages above quoted out of him, concerning one sole article, are all in general terms, without any the least limitation or restriction; and, as they stand in him, fit to persuade the reader, that I excluded all other articles whatsoever, but that one, of “ Jesus the Messiah :” and if, in that sense, they are not true, they are so many falsehoods of his, repeated there, to mislead others into a wrong opinion of me. For, if he had a mind his readers should have been rightly informed, why was it not as easy once to explain himself, as so often to affirm it in general and unrestrained terms? This, all the boasted strength of the unmasker will not be able to get him out of. This very well becomes one, who so loudly charges me with shuffling. Having repeated the same thing over and over again, in as general terms as was possible, without any the least limitation, in the whole discourse, to have nothing else to plead when required to prove it, but that it was
meant in a limited sense, in an unmasker, is not shuf . fling. For, by this way, he may have the convenience to say, and unsay, what he pleases ; to vent what stuff he thinks for his turn; and, when he is called to account for it, reply, He meant no such thing. Should any one publish, that the unmasker had but “one article of faith, “ and no more,” viz. That the doctrines in fashion, and likely to procure preferment, are alone to be received ; that all his belief was comprised in this “ one
single article :” and when such a talker was demanded to prove his assertion, should he say, he meant to except his belief of the apostles creed : would he not, notwithstanding such a plea, be thought a shuffling lyar ? And, if the unmasker can no otherwise prove those universal propositions above cited, but by saying, he meant them with a tacit restriction, (for none is expressed,) they will still, and for ever remain to be accounted for, by his veracity.
What he says in the next paragraph, p. 7, of my
splitting one article into two,” is just of the same force, and with the same ingenuity. I had said, That the belief of one God was necessary; which is not denied : I had also said, “ That the belief of Jesus of Na“ zareth to be the Messiah, together with those con-, “ comitant articles of his resurrection, rule, and com
ing again to judge the world, was necessary, p. 151. “ And again, p. 157, That God had declared, whoever " would believe Jesus to be the Saviour promised, and “ take him now raised from the dead, and constituted. “ the Lord and Judge of all men, to be their King and “ Ruler, should be saved.” This made me say, “ These, “ and those articles." (in words of the plural number) more than once; evidence enough to any but a caviller, that I “contend not for one single article, and no “ more.” And to mind him of it, I, in my Vindication, reprinted one of those places, where I had done so; and, that he might not, according to his manner, overlook what does not please him, the words, THESE ARE ARTICLES, were printed in great characters. Whereupon he makes this remark, p. 7,“ And though since “ he has tried to split this one into two, p. 28, yet
“ he labours in vain: for to believe Jesus to be the “ Messiah, amounts to the same with believing him to “ be King and Ruler; his being anointed, (i. e. being " the Messiah,) including that in it: yet he has the va“ nity to add in great characters, THESE ARE ARTICLES; " as if the putting them into these great letters, would “ make one article two."
Ans. Though no letters will make one article two; yet that there is one God, and Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who rose again from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, shall come to judge the quick and the dead, are, in the apostles creed, set down as more than one article, and therefore may, very properly, be called THESE ARTICLES, without splitting one into two.
What, in my “ Reasonableness of christianity,” I have said of one article, I shall always own; and in what sense I have said it, is easy to be understood; and with a man of the least candour, whose aim was truth, and not wrangling, it would not have occasioned one word of dispute. But as for this unmasker, who makes it his business, not to convince me of any mistakes in my opinion, but barely to misrepresent me; my business at present with him is, to show the world, that what he has captiously and scurrilously said of me, relating to one article, is false; and that he neither has, nor can prove one of those assertions concerning it, above cited out of him, in his own words. Nor let him pretend a meaning against his direct words : such a caviller as he, who would shelter himself under the pretence of a meaning, whereof there are no footsteps ; whose disputes áre only calumnies directed against the author, without examining the truth or falsehood of what I had published ; is not to expect the allowances one would make to a fair and ingenuous adversary, who showed so much concern for truth, that he treated of it with a seriousness due to the weightiness of the matter, and used other arguments, besides obloquy, elamour and falsehoods, against what he thought errour. And therefore I again positively demand of him to prove these words of his to be true, or confess that he cannot; viz.