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the apostles creed is only a scanty form, a brief imperfect abstract, used only to save time in the crowd of other pressing occasions, that are always in haste to be dispatched ? If she has, the unmasker will do well ta produce it. If the church has no such complete form, besides the apostles creed, any-where, of fundamental articles; he will do well to leave talking idly of this abstract, as he goes on to do in the following words:
* But,” says he, "we are not to think that it expressly « contains in it all the necessary and weighty points, " all the important doctrines of our belief; it being only
designed to be an abstract." Answ, Of what, I beseech you, is it an abstract ? For here the unmasker stops short, and, as one that knows not well what to say, speaks not out what it is an abstract of; but provides himself a subterfuge in the generality of the preceding terms, of “necessary and weighty points, and impor. 6 tant doctrines,” jumbled together; which can be there of no other use, but to cover his ignorance or sophistry. But the question being only about necessary points, to what purpose are weighty and important doctrines joined to them; unless he will say, that there is no difference between necessary and weighty points, fundamental and important doctrines; and if so, then the distinction of points into necessary and not necessary, will be foolish and impertinent; and all the does trines contained in the bible, will be absolutely necessary to be explicitly believed by every man to make him a christian. But taking it for granted, that the distincs tion of truths contained in the gospel, into points absolutely necessary, and not absolutely necessary, to be believed to make a man a christian, is good; I desire the unmasker to tell us, what the apostles creed is an abstract of ? He will, perhaps, answer, that he has told us already in this very page, where he says, it is an abridgment, of faith : and he has said true in words, but saying those words by rote, after others, without understanding them, he has said so in a sense that is not true. For he supposes it an abridgment of faith, by containing only a few of the necessary articles of faith, and leaving out the far greater part of them; and so takes a part of a
thing for an abridgment of it; whereas an abridgment or abstract of any thing, is the whole in little ; and if it be of a science or doctrine, the abridgment consists in the essential or necessary parts of it contracted into a narrower compass than where it lies diffused in the ordinary way of delivery, amongst a great number of transitions, explanations, illustrations, proofs, reasonings, corollaries, &c. All which, though they make a part of the discourse, wherein that doctrine is delivered, are left out in the abridgment of it, wherein all the necessary parts of it are drawn together into a less room. But though an abridgment need to contain none but the essential and necessary parts, yet all those it ought to contain; or else it will not be an abridgment or abstract of that thing, but an abridgment only of a part of it. I think it could not be said to be an abridgment of the law contained in an act of parliament, wherein any of the things required by that act were omitted; which yet commonly may be reduced into a very narrow compass, when stripped of all the motives, ends, enacting forms, &c. expressed in the act itself. If this does not satisfy the unmasker what is properly an abridgment, I shall refer him to Mr. Chillingworth, who, I think, will be allowed to understand sense, and to speak it properly, at least as well as the unmasker. And what he says happens to be in the very same question, between Knot, the jesuit, and him, that is here between the unmasker and me: it is but putting the unmasker in the jesuit's place, and myself (if it may be allowed me, without vanity) in Mr. Chillingworth, the protestant's; and Mr. Chillingworth's very words, chap. iv. § 65, will exactly serve for my answer: “You trifle affectedly, confounding the
apostles belief of the whole religion of Christ, as it “ comprehends both what we are to do, and what we
are to believe, with that part of it which contains not “ duties of obedience, but only the necessary articles of
simple faith. Now, though the apostles beliet be, in “ the former sense, a larger thing than that which we “ call the apostles creed: yet, in the latter sense of the “ word, the creed (I say) is a full comprehension of “ their belief, which you yourself have formerly con.
es fessed, though somewhat fearfully and inconsistently. “ And here again, unwillingness to speak the truth “ makes you speak that which is hardly sense, and call “ it an abridgment of some articles of faith. For I « demand, those some articles which you speak of, “ which are they? Those that are out of the creed, or 6 those that are in it? Those that are in it, it compre. • hends at large, and therefore it is not an abridgment “ of them. Those that are out of it, it comprehends “ not at all, and therefore it is not an abridgment of “ them. If you would call it now an abridgment of “ faith; this would be sense; and signify thus much, “ that all the necessary articles of the christian faith are “ comprized in it. For this is the proper duty of “ abridgments, to leave out nothing necessary.
So that in Mr. Chillingworth's judgment of an abridgment, it is not sense to say, as you do, p. 47, That
we are not to think, that the apostles creed expressly “ contains in it all the necessary points of our belief, it
being only designed to be an abstract, or an abridg66 ment of faith:” but on the contrary, we must conclude, it contains in it all the necessary articles of faith, for that very reason; because it is an abridgment of faith, as the unmasker calls it. But whether this that Mr. Chillingworth has given us here, be the nature of an abridgment or no; this is certain, that the apostles creed cannot be a form of profession of the christian faith, if any part of the faith necessary to make a man a christian, be left out of it: and yet such a profession of faith would the unmasker have this abridgment of faith to be. For a little lower, in the 47th page, he says in express terms, That “if a man believe no more “ than is, in express terms, in the apostles creed, his 66 faith will not be the faith of a christian.” Wherein he does great honour to the primitive church, and particularly to the church of England. The primitive church admitted converted heathens to baptism, upon the faith contained in the apostles creed: a bare profession of that faith, and no more, was required of them to be received into the church, and made mem
bers of Christ's body. How little different the faith of the ancient church was, from the faith I have mentioned, may be seen in these words of Tertullian : • Regula fidei una omnino est, sola, immobilis, irre“ formabilis, credendi, scilicet, in unicum Deum omni“ potentem, mundi conditorem, & filium ejus Jesum “ Christum, natum ex virgine, Maria, crucifixum sub “ Pontio Pilato, tertia die resuscitatum à mortuis, re
ceptum in coelis, sedentem nunc ad dextram Patris, * venturum judicare vivos & mortuos, per carnis etiam $ resurrectionem. Hâc lege fidei manente, cætera jam
disciplinæ & conversationis admittunt novitatem cor“ rectionis :" Tert. de virg. velan. in principio. This was the faith, that in Tertullian's time sufficed to make a christian. And the church of England, as I have remarked already, only proposed the articles of the apostles creed to the convert to be baptized; and upon his professing a belief of them, asks, Whether he will be baptized in this faith; which (if we will believe the unmasker) “ is not the faith of a christian.” However, the church, without any more ado, upon the profession of this faith, and no other, baptizes him into it. So that the ancient church, if the unmasker may be believed, baptized converts into that faith, which is “ not the faith of a christian.” And the church of England, when she baptizes any one, makes him not a christian. For he that is baptized only into a faith, that “is not the faith of a christian," I would fain know how he can thereby be made à christian? So that if the omissions, which he so much blames in my book, make me a socinian, I see not how the church of England will escape that censure; since those omissions are in that very confession of faith which she proposes, and upon a profession whereof, she baptizes those whom she designs to make christians. But it seems that the unmasker (who has made bold to unmask her too) reasons right, that the church of England is mistaken, and makes none but socinians christians; or (as he is pleased now to declare) no christians at all. Which, if true, the unmasker had best look to it, whether he himself be
a christian, or no; for it is to be feared, he was baptized only into that faith, which he himself confesses " is not the faith of a christian."
But he brings himself off, in these following words: “ all matters of faith, in some manner, may be reduced “ to this brief platform of belief.” Answ. If that be eviough to make him a true and an orthodox christian, he does not consider whom, in this way, he brings off with him; for I think he cannot deny, that all matters of faith, in some manner, may be reduced to that abstract of faith which I have given, as well as to that brief platform in the apostles creed. So that, for aught I see, by this rule, we are christians or not christians, ortho. dox or not orthodox, equally together.
But yet he says, in the next words; when he calls it an abstract, or abbreviature, it is implied, that there are
more truths to be known and assented to by a christian, “ in order to making him really so, than what we meet " with here.” The quite contrary whereof (as has been shown) is implied, by its being called an abstract. But what is that to the purpose? It is not fit abstracts and abbreviatures should stand in an unmasker's way. They are sounds men have used for what they pleased ; and why may not the unmasker do so too, and use them in a sense, that may make the apostles creed be only a broken scrap of the christian faith? However, in great condescension, being willing to do the apostles creed what honour he could, he says, That “ all matters of faith, “ in some manner, may be reduced to this brief plata “ form of belief." But yèt, when it is set in competition with the creed, which he himself is making, (for it is not yet finished,) it is by no means to be allowed as sufficient to make a man a christian : “ There are more ** truths to be known and assented to, in order to make
a man really a christian.” Which, what they are, the church of England shall know, when this new reformer thinks fit; and then she may be able to propose to those who are not yet so, a collection of articles of belief, and baptize them a-new into a faith, which will really make them christians : but hitherto, if the unmasker may be credited, she has failed in it.