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believe them of Jesus of Nazareth, was in effect the same, as to believe him to be the Messiah, and so are put to express it. The principal of these is his resurrection from the dead; which being the great and demonstrative proof of his being the Messiah, it is not at all strange, that the believing his resurrection should be put for believing him to be the Messiah; since the declaring his resurrection, was declaring him to be the Messiah. For thus St. Paul argues, Acts xiii. 32, 33, “ We de“ clare unto you good tidings, or we preach the gospel “ to you [for so the word signifies], how that the pro“ mise, that was made unto the fathers, God hath ful6 filled the same unto us their children, in that he hath “ raised up Jesus again.” The force of which argument lies in this, that, if Jesus was raised from the dead, then he was certainly the Messiah: and thus the promise of the Messiah was fulfilled, in raising Jesus from the dead. The like argument St. Paul useth, 1 Cor. xv. 17, “ If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain, you are yet “ in your sins;" i. e. if Jesus be not risen from the dead, he is not the Messiah, your believing it is in vain, and you will receive no benefit by that faith. And so, likewise, from the same argument of his resurrection, he at Thessalonica proves him to be the Messiah, Acts xvii. 2, 3. “ And Paul, as his manner was, went into the sy
nagogue, and three sabbath-days reasoned with the
jews out of the scriptures, opening and alleging, that “ the Messiah must needs have suffered and risen again “ from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach “ unto you, is the Messiah.”
The necessary connection of these two, that if he rose from the dead, he was the Messiah; and if he rose not from the dead, he was not the Messiah; the chief priest and pharisees, that had prosecuted him to death, understood very well: who therefore “ came together unto
Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver
said, whilst he was yet alive, After three days I will “ rise again. Command, therefore, that the sepulchre . “ be made sure unto the third day, lest his disciples
come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, “ He is risen from the dead :" “ so the last
errour shall be worse than the first.”. The errour they here speak of, it is plain, was the opinion, that he was the Messiah. To stop that belief, which his miracles had procured him amongst the people, they had got him put to death; but if, after that, it should be believed, that he rose again from the dead, this demonstration, that he was the Messiah, would but establish what they had laboured to destroy by his death; since no one, who believed his resurrection, could doubt of his being the Messiah.
It is not at all therefore to be wondered, that his resurrection, his ascension, his rule and dominion, and his coming to judge the quick and the dead, which are characteristical marks of the Messiah, and belong peculiarly to him, should sometimes in scripture be put alone, as sufficient descriptions of the Messiah ; and the believing them of him put for believing him to be the Messiah. Thus, Acts x. our Saviour, in Peter's discourse to Cornelius, when he brought him the gospel, is described to be the Messiah, by his miracles, death, resurrection, dominion, and coming to judge the quick and the dead,
These, (which in my “ Reasonableness of christiani
ty,” I have upon this ground taken the liberty to call concomitant articles,) where they are set alone for the faith to which salvation is promised, plainly signify the believing Jesus to be the Messiah, that fundamental article, which has the promise of life; and so give no foundation at all for what the unmasker says, in these words: “ Here one article of faith, viz. the belief of “ Christ's resurrection (because it is of so great import
ance in christianity) is only mentioned; but all the “ rest must be supposed, because they are mentioned “ in other places.”
Answ. If all the rest be of absolute and indispensable necessity to be believed to make a man a christian, all the rest are, every one of them, of equal importance. For things of equal necessity, to any end, are of equal importance to that end. But here the truth forced its way unawares from the unmasker: Our Saviour's resurrection, for the reason I have given, is truly of great
importance in christianity; so great, that his being, or not being the Messiah, stands or falls with it: so that these two important articles are inseparable, and in effect make but one. For, since that time, believe one, and you believe both; deny one of them, and you can believe neither. If the unmasker can show me any one of the articles in his list, which is not of this great importance, mentioned alone, with a promise of salvation for believing it, I will grant him to have some colour for what he says here. But where is to be found in the scripture any such expression as this : if thou shalt believe with thy heart “ the corruption and degeneracy “ of human nature,” thou shalt be saved ? or the like. This place, therefore, out of the Romans, makes not for, but against his list of necessary articles. One of them, alone, he cannot show me any-where set down, with a supposition of the rest, as having salvation promised to it: though it be true, that that one, which alone is absolutely necessary to be superadded to the belief of one God, is, in divers places, differently expressed.
That which he subjoins, as a consequence of what he had said, is a farther proof of this: “And consequently, says
he, if we would give an impartial account of our belief, we must consult those places : and they are
not altogether, but dispersed here and there. Where“fore we must look them out, and acquaint ourselves “ with the several particulars, which make up our be“ lief, and render it intire and consummate."
Answ. Never was a man constanter to a loose way of talking. The question is only about articles necessary to be believed to make a man a christian: and here he talks of the “ several particulars which make up our “ belief, and render it intire and consummate;" confounding, as he did before, essential and integral parts, which, it seems, he cannot distinguish. Our faith is true and saving, when it is such as God, by the new covenant, requires it to be: but it is not intire and consuinmate, until we explicitly believe all the truths contained in the word of God. For the whole revelation of truth in the scripture being the proper and intire
object of faith, our faith cannot be intire and consummate, until it be adequate to its proper object, which is the whole divine revelation contained in the scripture ; and so, to make our faith intire and consummate, we must not look out those places, which, he says, are not altogether. To talk of looking out, and culling of places, is nonsense, where the whole scripture alone can “ make up our belief, and render it intire and consum“ mate :" which no one, I think, can hope for, in this frail state of ignorance and errour. To make the un. masker speak sense and to the purpose here, we must understand him thus: “ That if we will give an impar“ tial account" of the articles, that are necessary to be believed to make a man a christian, “ we must con“ sult those places where they are; for they are not all
together, but dispersed here and there; wherefore we p must look them out,” and acquaint ourselves with the several particulars, which make up the fundamental articles of our belief, and will render a catalogue of them intire and consummate. If his supposition be true, I grant his method to be reasonable, and upon that I join issue with him. Let him thus“ give an
impartial account of our belief; let him acquaint us “ with the several particulars which make up a 's christian's belief, and render it intire and consum66 mate."
Until he has done this, let him not talk thus in the air of a method, that will not do: let him not reproach me, as he does, for not taking a course, by which he himself cannot do, what he reviles me for failing in. “ But our hasty author," says he, “ took “ another course, and thereby deceived himself, and
unhappily deceived others.” If it be so, I desire the unmasķer to take the course he proposes, and thereby undeceive me and others; and “ acquaint us with the “ several particulars which make up a christian's be“ lief, and render it intire and consummate;" for I am willing to be undeceived: but until he has done that, and shown us by the success of it, that his course is better, he cannot blame us for following that course we have done.
I come now to his fourth and last particular, p. 78,
which, he says, is the main answer to the objection; and therefore I shall set it down in his own words, intire, as it stands together. This,” says he, “must “ be born in our minds, that christianity was erected “ by degrees, according to that prediction and promise “ of our Saviour, that “the Spirit should teach them “ all things."
John xiv. 26. and that “ he should guide them into all truth.” John xvi. 13. viz. “ after his departure and ascension, when the Holy “ Ghost was to be sent in a special manner, to en
lighten men's minds, and to discover to them the great mysteries of christianity. This is to be noted by
us, as that which gives great light in the present case. “ The discovery of the doctrines of the gospel was
gradual. It was by certain steps that christianity “ climbed to its height. We are not to think then, “ that all the necessary doctrines of the christian re
ligion were clearly published to the world in our 66 Saviour's time. Not but that all that were necessary “ for that time were published, but some which were
necessary for the succeeding one, were not then dis“ covered, or, at least, not fully. They had ordinarily “ no belief, before Christ's death and resurrection, of “ those substantial articles, i. e. that he should die and “ rise again : but we read in the Acts, and in the
epistles, that these were formal articles of faith after
wards, and are ever since necessary to complete the o christian belief. So as to other great verities, the gospel increased by degrees, and was not perfect at
Which furnishes us with a reason why most “ of the choicest and sublimest truths of christianity are “ to be met with in the epistles of the apostles, they
being such doctrines as were not clearly discovered “ and opened in the Gospels and the Acts. Thus far the unmasker.
I thought hitherto, that the covenant of grace in Christ Jesus had been but one, immutably the same : but our unmasker here makes two, or I know not how many. For I cannot tell how to conceive, that the conditions of any covenant should be changed, and the covenant remain the same; every change of conditions,