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III. “That I contend for one article of faith, with
“the exclusion and defiance of all the rest."
Two other instances of this sort of arguments, I gave in the 175th page of my Vindication, out of the 115th and 119th pages of his “ Thoughts concerning the causes 5 of atheism ;” and I here demand of him again to show, since he has not thought fit hitherto to give any answer to it, IV. " Where I urge, that there must be nothing in
" christianity, that is not plain, and exactly le“ velled to all men's mother-wit, and every com" mon apprehension."
Or, where he finds, in my “ Reasonableness of christianity," this other proposition :
V. “ That the very manner of every thing in chris
tianity, must be clear and intelligible ; every “ thing must immediately be comprehended by “ the weakest noddle; or else it is no part of re
ligion, especially of christianity."
These things he must prove that I have said ; I put it again upon him to show where I said them, or else to confess the forgery: for till he does one or the other, he shall be sure to have these, with a large catalogue of other falsehoods, laid before him.
Page 26, of his “ Socinianism unmasked,” he endeavours to make good his saying, that “ I set up onė arti* cle, with defiance to all the rest," in these words : " for “ what is excluding them wholly, but defying them?
Wherefore, seeing he utterly excludes all the rest, by
representing them as USELESS to the making a man a “ christian, which is the design of his whole under“ taking, it is manifest that he defies them.”
Answ. This at least is manifest from hence, that the unmasker knows not, or cares not what he says. For whoever, but he, thought, that a bare exclusion, or passing by was defiance ? If he understands so, I would advise him not to seek preferment. For exclusions will
happen; and if every exclusion be defiance, a man had need be well assured of his own good temper, who shall not think his peace and charity in danger, amongst so many enemies that are at defiance with him. Defiance, if, with any propriety, it can be spoken' of an article of faith, must signify a professed enmity to it. For, in its proper use, which is to persons, it signifies an open and declared enmity, raised to that height, that he, in whom it is, challenges the party defied to battle, that he may there wreak his hatred on his enemy, in his destruction. So that “ my defiance of all the rest” remains still to be proved,
But, secondly, There is another thing manifest from these words of his, viz. that, notwithstanding his great brags in his first paragraph, his main skill lies in fancy. ing what would be for his turn, and then confidently fathering it upon me. It never entered into my thoughts, nor, I think, into any body's else, (I must always except the acute unmasker, who makes no difference between useful and necessary,) that all but the fundamental articles of the christian faith were useless to make a man a christian; though, if it be true, that the belief of the fundamentals alone (be they few, or many) is all that is necessary to his being made a christian, all that may any way persuade him to believe them, may certainly be useful towards the making him a christian: and therefore here again, I must propose to him, and leave it with him to be showed where it is.
VI. “ I have represented all the rest as useless to the
“ making a man a christian?” And how it appears, that “this is the design of my whole under“ taking ?”
In his “ Thoughts concerning the causes of atheism,” he says, page 115, “ What makes him contend for one “« single article, with the exclusion of all the rest ? He “ pretends it is this, that all men ought to understand " their religion.” This reasoning I disowned, p. 174, of my Vindication, and intimated, that he should have quoted the page where I so pretended.
To this, p. 26, he tells me with great confidence, and in abundance of words, as we shall see by and by, that I had done so; as if repetition were a proof. He had done better to have quoted one place, where I so pretend. Indeed, p. 27, for want of something better, he quotes these words of mine out of p. 157, of the Reasonableness of christianity : “ The all-merciful God
seems herein to have consulted the poor of this “ world, and the bulk of mankind. THESE ARE ARTI“ CLES that the labouring and illiterate man may com
prehend.” I ask, whether it be possible for one to bring any thing more direct against himself? The thing he was to prove was, that “ I contended for one single “ article, with the exclusion of all the rest, because I
pretended, that all men ought to understand their “ religion :" i. e. the reason I gave, why there was to be “ but one single article in religion, with the exclu“ sion of all the rest,” was, because men ought to understand their religion. And the place he brings, to prove my contending upon that ground," for one single “ article, with the exclusion of all the rest,” is a passage wherein I speak of more than one article, and say, " these “ articles." Whether I said, “ these articles," properly or improperly, it matters not, in the present case (and that we have examined in another place) it is plain, I meant more than one article, when I said, “these ar“ ticles;” and did not think, that the labouring and illiterate man could not understand them, if they were more than one: and therefore, I pretended not, that there must be but one, because by illiterate men more than one could not be understood. The rest of this paragraph is nothing but a repetition of the same assertion, without proof, which, with the unmasker, often passes for a way of proving, but with nobody else.
But, that I may keep that distance, which he boasts, there is betwixt his and my way of writing, I shall not say this without proof. One instance of his repetition, of which there is such plenty in his book, pray take here. His business, p. 26, is to prove, that “ I pre“ tended that I contended for one single article, with “ the exclusion of all the rest, because all men ought to
" understand their religion :" p. 174, of my Vindication, I denied that I had so pretended. To convince me that I had, thus he proceeds:
Unmasker. “ He founds his conceit” of one article, “ partly upon this, that a multitude of doctrines is ob
scure, and hard to be understood.”
Answer. You say it, and had said it before: but I ask
you, as I did before, Where I did so ? Unm. “And therefore he trusses all up in one article, “ that the poor people and bulk of mankind may ¢ bear it."
Answ. I desire again to know where I made that inference, and argued so, for “ one article ?”
Unm. “ This is the scope of a great part of his 66 book."
Answ. This is saying again, show it once.
Unm.“ But his memory does not keep pace with his “ invention, and thence he says, he remembers nothing “ of this in his book," Vind. p.
174. Answ. This is to say that it is in my book. You have said it more than once already; I demand of you to show me where.
Unm. “ This worthy writer does not know his own “ reasoning, that he uses."
Answ. I ask, Where does he use that reasoning ?
Unm.“ As particularly thus, that he troubles chris$ tian men with no more, but one article: BECAUSE " that is intelligible, and all people, high and low, may “ comprehend it."
Answ. We have heard it affirmed by you, over and over again, but the question still is, “ Where is that way 55 of arguing to be found in my book ?”
Unm. “ For he has chosen out, as he thinks, a plain “ and easy article. Whereas the others, which are com" monly propounded, are not generally agreed on, (he “ saith,) and are dubious and uncertain. But the be
lieving that Jesus is the Messiah, has nothing of “ doubtfulness or obscurity in it.”
Answ. The word “ For," in the beginning of this sentence, makes it stand for one of your reasons; though it be but a repetition of the same thing in other words,
If any thing else be Reasonableness of Christianity, 8c. 209 Umm. « This the reader will find to be the drift and design of several of his pages."
Answ. This must signify “that I trouble men with no “ more but one article, because only one is intelligible," meant by the word This, it is nothing to the purpose. For that I said, that all things necessary to be believed are plain in scripture, and easy to be understood, I never denied ; and should be very sorry, and recant it, if I had.
Unm. “And the reason why I did not quote any sin
gle one of them, was, because he insists on it, so long “ together : and spins it out after his way, in p. 156 of “ his “ Reasonableness of Christianity,” where he sets “ down the short, plain, easy, and intelligible summary
(as he calls it) of religion,” couched 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 il“ literate man may comprehend."
Answ. If“ my insisting on it so long together" was “ the cause why, in your thoughts of the causes of
atheism,” you did not quote any single passage; methinks here, in your “Socinianism unmasked,” where you knew it was expected of you, my “insisting on it,” as you say, "so long together,” might have afforded, at least, one quotation to your purpose.
Unm. “He assigns this, as a ground, why it was “ God's pleasure, that there should be but ONE POINT “ of faith, BECAUSE thereby religion may be under“ stood the better; the generality of people may com
Answ. I hear you say it again, but want a proof still, and ask, “ where I assign that ground ?"
Unm. “This he represents as a great kindness done
by God to man; whereas the variety of articles would “ be hard to be understood.”
Answ. Again the same cabbage; an affirmation, but no proof. YOL, VI.