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Unm. This he enlarges upon, and flourishes it "oyer, after his fashion : and yet desires to know, " When he said so?" p. 175 Vind.
Answ. And if I did, let the world here take a sample of the unmasker's ability, or truth, who spends above two whole pages, 26, 27, in repetitions of the same assertion, without the producing any but one place for proof; and that too against him, as I have shown. But he has not yet done with confounding me by dint of repetition; he goes on.
Unm. “ Good sir, let me be permitted to acquaint you, " that your memory is as defective as your judgment.”
Answ. I thank you for the regard you have had to it; for often repetition is a good help to a bad memory. In requital, I advise you to have some eye to your own memory and judgment too. For one, or both of them, seem a little to blame, in the reason you subjoin to the foregoing words, viz.
Unm. “For in the very Vindication, you attribute it " to the goodness and condescension of the Almighty, “ that he requires nothing, as absolutely necessary to be
believed, but what is suited to vulgar capacities, and “ the comprehension of illiterate men."
Answ. I will, for the unmasker's sake, put this argument of his into a syllogism. If the vindicator, in his vindication, attributes it to the goodness and condescension of the Almighty, that he requires nothing to be believed, but what is suited to vulgar capacities, and the comprehension of illiterate men; then he did, in his “ Reasonableness of christianity," pretend, that the reason, why he contended for One article, with the exclusion of all the rest, was because all men ought to understand their religion.
But the vindicator, in his vindication, attributes it to the goodness and condescension of Almighty God, that he requires nothing to be believed, but what is suited to vulgar capacities, and the comprehension of illiterate men.
Ergo,” in his “ Reasonableness of christianity,' he pretended, that the reason why he contended for one
article, with the exclusion of all the rest, was, because all men ought to understand their religion.
This was the proposition to be proved, and which, as he confesses here, p. 26, I denied to remember to be in my “Reasonableness of christianity." Who can but admire his logic!
But, besides the strength of judgment, which you have showed in this clear and cogent reasoning, Does not your memory too deserve its due applause ? You tell me, in your “Socinianism unmasked,” that in p. 175 of my Vindication, I desired to know when I said so. To which desire of mine, you reply in these words before cited : “Good sir, let me be permitted to acquaint “ you, that your memory is as defective as your judg“ ment; for, in the very Vindication, you attribute it “ to the goodness and condescension of the Almighty, " that he requires nothing, as absolutely necessary to be “ believed, but what is suited to vulgar capacities, and “ the comprehension of illiterate men,” p. 30.
Sure the unmasker thinks himself at cross questions. I ask him, in the 29th page of my Vindication, WHEN I said so? And he answers, that I had said so in the 30th page of my Vindication; i. e. when I writ the 29th page, I asked the question, When I had said, what he charged me with saying? And I am answered, I had said in the 30th page; which was not yet written : i. e. I asked the question to-day, WHEN I had said so? And I am answered, I had said it to-morrow. As opposite and convincing an answer, to make good his charge, as if he had said, To-morrow I found a horse-shoe. But, perhaps this judicious disputant will ease himself of this difficulty, by looking again into the 175th page of my Vindication, out of which he cites these words for mine: « I desire to know, When I said so ?” But my words in that place are, “ I desire to know, WHERE I said so ?" A mark of his exactness in quoting, when he vouchsafes to do it. For unmaskers, when they turn disputants, think it the best way to talk at large, and charge home in generals : but do not often find it convenient to quote pages, set down words, and come to particulars. But,
if he had quoted my words right, his answer had been just as pertinent. For I ask him, WHERE, in my “ Reasonableness of christianity,” I had said so? And he answers, I had said so in my Vindication. For where, in my question, refers to my “Reasonableness of chris
tianity,” which the unmasker had seen, and charged with this saying; and could not refer to my Vindication, which he had not yet seen, nor to a passage in it, which was not then written. But this is nothing with an unmasker; therefore, what is yet worse, those words of mine, Vindication, p. 175, relate not to the passage he is here proving, I had said, but to another different from it; as different as it is to say, “ That, because all men “ are to understand their religion, therefore there is to “ be but one article in it;" and to say, “that there “ must be nothing in christianity that is not plain, and
exactly levelled to all men's mother-wit:" both which he falsely charges on me; but it is only to the latter of them, that my words, “I desire to know, where I said “ so ?” are applied.
Perhaps the well-meaning man sees no difference between these propositions, yet I shall take the liberty to ask him again, Where I said either of them, as if they were two? Although he should accuse me again, of “ excepting against the formality of words,” and doing so foolish a thing, as to expect, that a disputing unmasker should account for his words, or any proposition he advances. It is his privilege to plead, he did not mean as his words import, and without any more ado he is assoiled; and he is the same unmasker he was before. But let us hear him out on the argument he was upon, for his repetitions on it are not yet done. His next words are,
Unm, “ It is clear then, that you found your ONE 6 article on this, that it is suited to the vulgar capa“ cities: whereas the other articles mentioned by me,
are obscure and ambiguous, and therefore surpass the “ comprehension of the illiterate.”
Answ. The latter part, indeed, is now the first time imputed to me; but all the rest is nothing but an un,
proved repetition, though ushered in with “it is clear “ then;" words that should have a proof going before them.
Unm." But yet you pretend, that you have forgot “ that any such thing was said by you.”
Answ. I have indeed forgot, and notwithstanding all your pains, by so many repetitions, to beat it into my head, I fear I shall never remember it.
Unm. “ Which shows that you are careless of your “ words, and that you forget what you write."
Answ. So you told me before, and this repeating of it does no more convince me than that did.
Unm. “ What shall we say to such an oblivious au66 thor?”
Answ. Show it him in his book, or else he will never be able to remember that it is there, nor any body else be able to find it.
Unm. “ He takes no notice of what falls from his own pen.”
Answ. So you have told him more than once. Try him once with showing it him, amongst other things which fell from his own pen, and see what then he will say : that perhaps may refresh his memory.
Unm. “ And therefore, within a page or two, he “ confutes himself, and gives himself the lye.”
Answ. It is a fault he deserves to be told of, over and over again. But he says, he shall not be able to find the two pages wherein he“ gives himself the lye,” unless you set down their numbers, and the words in them, which confute, and which are confuted.
I beg my reader's pardon, for laying before him so large a pattern of our unmasker's new-fashioned stuff; his fine tissue of argumentation not easily to be matched, but by the same hand. But it lay all together in p. 26, 27, 28; and it was fit the reader should have this one instance of the excellencies he promises in his first paragraph, in opposition to my impertinencies, “ incoherences, weak and feeble strugglings.” Other excellencies he there promised, upon the same ground, which I shall give my reader a taste of in fit places : not but that the whole is of a piece, and one cannot miss
some of them in every page; but to transcribe them all, would be more than they are worth. If any one desires more plenty, I send him to his book itself.
But saying a thoạsand times, not being proved once, it remains upon him still to show,
VII, Where, in my "Reasonableness of christianity,”
“ I pretend that I contend for one single article, “ with the exclusion of all the rest, because all
men ought to understand their religion.”
And in the next place, where it is that I say,
VIII. “ That there must be nothing in christianity
" that is not plain and exactly level to all men's s mother-wit."
Let us now return to his 8th page: for the bundling together, as was fit, all that he has said, in distant places, upon the subject of One article, has made me trespass a little, against the jewish character of a well bred man, recommended by him to me, out of the Mishna. Though I propose to myself to follow him, as near as I can, step by step as he proceeds.
In the 110th and 111th pages of his “ Thoughts con“ cerning the causes of atheism,” he gave us a list of his “ fundamental articles :" upon which, I thus applied myself to him, Vind. p. 168, &c. “Give me leave
now to ask you seriously, Whether these you have “ here set down under the title of " fundamental doc“ trines,” are such (when reduced to propositions) that
every one of them is required to make a man a chris“ tian, and such as, without the actual belief thereof, “ he cannot be saved? If they are not so, every one of " them, you may call them “ fundamental doctrines, “ as much as you please, they are not of those doctrines “ of faith I was speaking of; which are only such as
are required to be actually believed, to make a man
a christian.” And again, Vind. p. 169, I asked him, “ Whether just these, neither more nor less,” were those necessary articles ?