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“ That Jesus of Nazareth was that eminent and ex
traordinary person prophesied of long before, and “ that he was sent and commissioned by God:” which, I think, is no very hard proposition to be understood. But it is no strange thing, that that which was very easy to an unmasker in one place, should be terribly hard in another, where want of something better requires to have it so.
Another argument that he uses to prove the articles he has given us to be necessary to salvation, p. 22, is, because they are doctrines which contain things, that in their nature have an “ immediate respect to the occa
sion, author, way, end, means, and issue of men's “ redemption and salvation." And here I desire him to prove,
XII. That every one of his articles contains things so immediately relating to the “ occasion, author,
way, means, and issue of our redemption and salvation, that no-body can be saved, without understanding the texts from whence he draws
them, in the very same sense that he does; and “ explicitly believing all these propositions that he “ has deduced, and all that he will deduce from “ scripture, when he shall please to complete his 66 creed.”
Page 23, he says of his fundamentals, “ Not without good reason, THEREFORE, I called them essential and
integral parts of our christian and evangelical faith : " and why the Vindicator fleers at these terms, I know “ no reason, but that he cannot confute the application “ of them."
Answ. One would think by the word, Therefore, which he uses here, that in the preceding paragraph, he had produced some reason to justify his ridiculous use of those terms, in his “ Thoughts concerning atheism,” p. 111. But nothing therein will be found tending to it. Indeed, the foregoing paragraph begins with these words, “ Thus I have briefly set before the reader those evan
gelical truths, those christian principles, which belong
“ to the very essence of christianity.” Amongst these, there is the word Essence: but that from thence, or any thing else in that paragraph, the unmasked could, with good sense, or any sense at all, infer, as he does, “ not “ without good reason, THEREFORE I called them the
ESSENTIAL and INTEGRAL parts of our christian and “ evangelical faith ;” requires an extraordinary sort of logic to make out. What, I beseech you, is your good reason too, here, upon which you infer, “ Therefore,” &c. ? For it is impossible for any one, but an unmasker, to find one word, justifying his use of the terms essential and integral. But it would be a great restraint to the running of the unmasker's pen, if you should not allow him the free use of illative particles, where there are no premises to support them : and if
them : and if you should not take affirmations without proof, for reasoning, you at once strike off above three quarters of his book; and he will often, for several pages together, have nothing to say. As for example, from p. 28 to p. 35.
But to show that I did not, without reason, say, his use of the terms essential and integral, in the place before quoted, was ridiculous; I must mind my reader, that, p. 109 of his “ Thoughts concerning the causes “ of atheism," he having said that “ the epistolary “ writings are fraught with other fundamentals, besides “ that one which I mention ;” and then having set them down, he closes his catalogue of them thus : “ These are matters of faith contained in the epistles, " and they are essential and integral parts of the gospel “ itself," p. 111.
Now what could be more ridiculous, than, where the question is about fundamental doctrines, which are essentials of the christian religion, without an assent to which a man cannot be a christian; and so he himself calls them, p. 21, of his “ Socinianism “ unmasked;" that he should close the list he had made of fundamental doctrines, i. e. essential points of the christian religion, with telling his reader, “ These are « essential and integral parts of the gospel itself ? " i.e. These, which I have given you for fundamental, for essential doctrines of the gospel, are the fundamental and not fundamental, essential and not essential, parts of the
gospel mixed together. For integral parts, in all the writers I have met with, besides the unmasker, are contradistinguished to essential; and signify such parts as the thing can be without, but without them will not be so complete and entire as with them. Just such an acuteness, as our unmasker, would any one show, who taking upon him to set down the parts essential to a man, without the having of which he could not be a man, should name the soul, the head, the heart, lungs, stomach, liver, spleen, eyes, ears, tongue, arms, legs, hair, and nails; and, to make all sure, should conclude with these words; “ These are parts contained” in a man, “ and are essential and integral parts of a man “ himself;" i. e. they are parts, without some of which he cannot be a man; and others, which though they make the man entire, yet he may be a man without them; as a man ceases not to be a man, though he wants a nail, a finger, or an arm, which are integral parts of a man : “ Risum teneatis !” If the unmasker can make any better sense of his “ essential and integral parts of “ the gospel itself," I will ask his pardon for my laugh. ing: until then he must not be angry, if the reader and I laugh too. Besides, I must tell him, that those, which he has set down, are not the “ integral parts of the “ christian faith," any more than the head, the trunk, and the arms, hands, and thighs, are the integral parts of a man: for a man is not entire without the legs and feet too. They are some of the integral parts indeed; but cannot be called the integral parts, where any, that go to make up the whole man, are left out; nor those the integral, but some of the integral parts of the christian faith, out of which any of the doctrines, proposed in the “ New Testament,” are omitted : for whatever is there proposed, is proposed to be believed, and so is a part of the christian faith.
Before I leave his catalogue of the “ essential and in“ tegral parts” of the gospel, which he has given us, instead of one, containing the articles necessary to be believed to make a man a christian, I must take notice of what he says, whilst he is making it, p. 9: Why " then is there a treatise published, to tell the world,
“ that the bare belief of a Messiah, is all that is required 66 of a christian ?” As if there were no difference between believing a Messiah, and believing Jesus to be the Messiah; no difference between “ required of a chris“ tian,” and required to make a man a christian. As if
you should say, renouncing his former idolatry, and being circumcised and baptized into Moses, was all that was required to make a man an israelite; therefore it was all that was required of an israelite. For these two falsehoods has he, in this one short sentence, thought fit slily to father upon me, the “humble imitator of the
jesuits,” as he is pleased to call me. And, therefore, I must desire him to show,
XIII. Where the “ world is told, in the treatise that
“ I published, That the bare belief of a Messiah is “ all that is required of a christian.”
The six next pages, i. e. from the twenty-eighth to the end of his second chapter, being taken up with nothing but pulpit oratory, out of its place; and without any reply, applied, or applicable to any thing I have said, in my Vindication ; I shall pass by, until he shows any thing in them that is so.
In page 36, this giant in argument falls on me, and mauls me unmercifully, about the epistles. He begins thus : “ The gentleman is not without his evasions, and “ he sees it is high time to make use of them. This puts 66 him in some disorder. For, when he comes to speak
of my mentioning his ill treatment of the epistles,“ you may observe, that he begins to grow warmer than 66 before. Now this meek man is nettled, and one may
perceive he is sensible of the scandal that he hath
given to good people, by his slighting the epistolary “ writings of the holy apostles; yet he is so cunning as
to disguise his passion as well as he can." Let all this impertinent and inconsistent stuff be so. and cannot disguise it, I am cunning and would disguise it, but yet, the quick-sighted unmasker has found me out, that I am nettled. What does all this notable
prologue of “ hictius doctius,” of a cunning man, and in
I am angry
effect “no cunning man, in disorder, warmed, nettled, « in a passion,” tend to? but to show, that these following words of mine, p. 170, of my Vindication, viz. “ I require you to publish to the world those passages “ which show my contempt of the epistles,” are so full of heat and disorder, that they need no other answer : “ But what need I, good sir, do this, when you have “ done it yourself?” A reply I own, very soft; and whether I may not say, very silly, let the reader judge. The unmasker having accused me of contemning the epistles, my reply, in my Vindication, ibid. was thus: “Sir, when your angry fit is over, and the abatement “ of your passion has given way to the return of your
sincerity, I shall beg you to read this passage in the “ 154th page of my book: These holy writers (viz. the
penmen of the epistles) inspired from above, writ no
thing but truth; and in most places very weighty “ truths to us now; for the expounding, clearing and
confirming of the christian doctrine, and establishing " those in it, who had embraced it.” And again, p. 156, “ The other parts [i. e. besides the gospels and the
Acts] of DIVINE REVELATION are objects of faith, “ and are so to be received; they are truths, of which “ none that is once known to be such, i. e. revealed,
may, or ought to be disbelieved. And if this does not “ satisfy you, that I have as high a veneration for the
epistles as you, or any one can have, I require you to publish to the world those PASSAGES which show my
contempt of them.” After such direct words of mine, expressing my veneration for that part of divine revelation, which is contained in the epistles, any one, but an unmasker, would blush to charge me with contempt of them; without alleging, when summoned to it, any word in my book to justify that charge.
If hardness of forehead were strength of brains, it were two to one of his side against any man I ever yet heard of. I require him to publish to the world, those passages, that show my contempt of the epistles; and he answers me, “ He need not do it, for I have “ done it myself.”
Whoever had common sense, would understand, that what I demanded was, that he