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should show the world where, amongst all I had published, there were any passages that expressed contempt of the epistles: for it was not expected he should quote passages of mine, that I had never published. And this acute unmasker (to this) says, I had published them myself. So that the reason why he cannot find them, is, because I had published them myself. But, says he, “ I appeal to the reader, whether (after your • tedious collection 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?” I demand of him to publish to the world those passages, which show my contempt of the epistles: and he answers, “He need “ not, I have done it myself.” How does that appear? I have passed by the epistles, says he. My passing them by then, are passages published against the epistles ? For “ publishing of passages” is what you said, you “ need not do," and what “I had done.” So that the passages I have published containing a contempt of the epistles, are extant in my saying nothing of them? Surely this same passing by has done some very shrewd displeasure to our poor unmasker, that he so starts whenever it is but named, and cannot think it contains less than exclusion, defiance, and contempt. Here therefore the proposition remaining to be proved by you, is,
XIV, “ That one cannot pass by any thing, without
contempt of it."
And when you have proved it, I shall then ask you, what will become of all those parts of scripture, all those chapters and verses, that you have passed by, in your collection of fundamental articles? Those that you have vouchsafed to set down, you tell us, “are in “ the bible, on purpose to be believed.” What must become of all the rest, which you have omitted ? Are they there not to be believed? And must the reader understand your passing them by, to be a publishing to the world your contempt of them? If so, you have unmasked
yourself: If not, but you may pass by some parts of scripture, nay, whole epistles, as you have those of St. James and St. Jude, without contempt; why may not I, without contempt, pass by others; but because you have a liberty to do what you will, and I must do but what you, in your good pleasure, will allow me? But if I ask you, whence you have this privilege above others; you will have nothing to say, except it be, according to your usual skill in divining, that you know my heart, and the thoughts that are in it, which you find not like yours, right orthodox, and good; but always evil and perverse, such as I dare not own ? but hypocritically either say nothing of or declare against : but yet, with all my cunning, I cannot hide them from you; your allknowing penetration always finds them out: you know them, or you guess at them, as is best for your turn, and that is as good : and then presently I am confounded. I doubt, whether the world has ever had any two-eyed man your equal, for penetration and a quick sight, The telling by the spectator's looks, what card he guesses, is nothing to what you can do. You take the height of an author's parts, by numbering the pages of his book; you can spy an heresy in him, by his saying not a syllable of it; distinguish him from the orthodox, by his understanding places of scripture, just as several of the orthodox do; you can repeat by heart whole leaves of what is in his mind to say, before he speaks a word of it; you can discover designs before they are hatched, and all the intrigues of carrying them on, by those who never thought of them. All this and more you can do, by the spirit of orthodoxy; or, which is as certain, by your own good spirit of invention informing you. Is not this to be an errant conjurer ?
But to your reply. You say, “ After my TEDIOUS o collection out of the four evangelists, my passing by “ the epistles, and neglecting wholly what the apostles
say,” &c. I wondered at first why you mentioned not the Acts here, as well as the four evangelists: for I have not, as you have in other places observed, been sparing of collections out of the Acts too. But there was, it seems, a necessity here for your omitting it: for that
would have stood too near what followed, in these words; and “neglecting wholly what the apostles say. For if it appeared to the reader, out of your own confession, that I allowed and built upon the divine authority of what the apostles say in the Acts, he could not so easily be misled into an opinion, that I contemned what they say in their epistles. But this is but a slight touch of your leger-de-main.
And now I ask the reader, what he will think of a minister of the gospel, who cannot bear the texts of scripture I have produced, nor my quotations out of the four evangelists? This, which in his “Thoughts of the
causes of atheisin," p. 114, was want of “ vivacity " and elevation of mind,” want of “a vein of sense “ and reason, yea, and of elocution too;” is here, in his “ Socinianism unmasked," a “ tedious collection “ out of the four evangelists.” Those places I have quoted lie heavy, it seems, upon his stomach, and are too many to be got off. But it was my business not to omit one of them, that the reader might have a full view of the whole tenour of the preaching of our Saviour and his apostles, to the unconverted jews and gentiles; and might therein see, what faith they were converted to, and upon their assent to which, they were pronounced believers, and admitted into the christian church. But the unmasker complains, there are too many of them : he thinks the gospel, the good news of salvation, tedious from the mouth of our Saviour and his apostles: he is of opinion, that before the epistles were writ, and without believing precisely what he thinks fit to cull out of them, there could be no christians; and if we had nothing but the four evangelists, we could not be saved. And yet it is plain, that every single one of the four contains the gospel of Jesus Christ; and, at least, they altogether contain all that is necessary to salvation. If any one doubt of this, I refer him to Mr. Chillingworth for satisfaction, who hath abundantly proved it.
His following words (were he not the same unmasker all through) would be beyond parallel : “But let us hear
why the vindicator 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. 167, Vindic. “ Certainly no man would have con
jectured, that he would have used such an evasion as " this. I will
I will say that for him, he goes beyond all surmises, he is above all conjectures, he hath a faculty 6 which no creature on earth can ever fathom.” Thus far the unmasker, in his oratorical strain. In what fol. lows, he comes to his closer reasoning, against what I have said. His words are, “ do we not know, that the “ four gospels were writ to, and for believers, as well
as unbelievers ?" Answ. I grant it. Now let us see your inference; therefore what these holy historians recorded, that our Saviour and his apostles said and preached to unbelievers, was said and preached to believers. The discourse which our Saviour had with the woman of Samaria, and her townsmen, was addressed to believers; because St. John writ his gospel (wherein it is recorded as a part of our Saviour's history) for believers, as well as unbelievers. St. Peter's preaching to Cornelius, and St. Paul's preaching at Antioch, at Thessalonica, at Corinth, &c. was not to unbelievers, for their conversion : because St. Luke dedicates his history of the Acts of the apostles to Theophilus, who was a christian, as the unmasker strenuously proves in this paragraph. Just as if he should say, that the discourses, which Cæsar records he had upon several occasions with the Gauls, were not addressed to the Gauls alone, but to the Romans also; because his commentaries were writ for the Romans, as well as others; or that the sayings of the ancient Greeks and Romans in Plutarch, were not spoken by them to their contemporaries only, because they are recorded by him for the benefit of posterity.
I perused the preachings of our Saviour and his apostles to the unconverted world, to see what they taught and required to be believed, to make men christians : and all these I set down, and leave the world to judge what they contained. The epistles, which were all written to those who had embraced the faith and were all christians already, I thought would not so distinctly
show, what were those doctrines which were absolutely necessary to make men christians; they being not writ to convert unbelievers, but to build up those who were already believers, in their most holy faith. This is plainly expressed in the epistle to the Hebrews, chap. v. 11, &c.
« Of whom (i. e. Christ) we have many things “ to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are all dull “ of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be “ teachers, ye have need that one teach you again, which “ be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are 66 become such as have need of milk, and not of strong 66 meat.
For every one that useth milk is unskilful in “ the word of righteousness; for he is a babe: but
strong meat belongeth to him that is full of age, even “ those who by reason of use have their senses exercised,
to discern both good and bad. Therefore leaving “ the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on “ unto perfection, not laying again the foundation of “ repentance from dead works, and of faith towards
God, and of the doctrine of baptism, and of laying on “ of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of “ eternal judgment.” Here the apostle shows, what was his design in writing this epistle, not to teach them the fundamental doctrines of the christian religion, but to lead them on to more perfection ; that is, to greater degrees of knowledge, of the wise design, and wonderful contrivance, and carrying on of the gospel, and the evi. dence of it; which he makes out in this epistle, by showing its correspondence with the Old Testament, and particularly with the economy of the mosaical constitution. Here I might ask the unmasker, Whether those many things which St. Paul tells the Hebrews, he had to say of Christ, (hard to be uttered to them, because they were dull of hearing,) had not an “ imme“ diate respect to the occasion, author, way, means, or “ issue of their redemption and salvation ?” And therefore, “ whether they were such things, without the
knowledge of which they could not be saved ?” as the unmasker says of such things, p. 23. And the like I might ask him, concerning those things which the apostle tells the Corinthians, 1 epist. chap. iii. 2, that they