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in my apprehension, makes a new and another covenant. We are not to think, says the unmasker, “ That all the “ necessary doctrines of the christian religion were
clearly published to the world in our 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 discovered, or, at least, “ not fully."
Answ. The unmasker, constant to himself, speaks here doubtfully, and cannot tell whether he should say, that the articles necessary to succeeding times, were discovered in our Saviour's time, or no; and therefore, that he may provide himself a retreat, in the doubt he is in, he says, “ They were not clearly “ published; they were not then discovered, or, at “ least, not fully.” But we must desire him to pull off his mask, and to that purpose,
1. I ask him how he can tell, that all the necessary doctrines were obscuredly published, or in part discovered ? For an obscure publishing, a discovery in part, is opposed to, and intimated in, “not clearly published,
not fully discovered.” And, if a clear and full discovery be all that he denies to them, I ask,
XXXVII. Which those fundamental articles are,
“ which were obscurely published,” but not fully discovered in our Saviour's time?
And next I shall desire him to tell me,
XXXVIII. Whether there are any articles necessary
to be believed to make a man a christian, that were not discovered at all in our Saviour's time: and which they are ?
If he cannot show these distinctly, it is plain he talks at random about them; but has no clear and distinct conception of those that were published, or not published, clearly or obscurely discovered in our Saviour's time. It was necessary for him to say something for those his : pretended necessary articles, which are not
to be found any-where proposed in the preaching of our Saviour and his apostles, to their yet unbelieving auditors; and therefore, he says, We are not to think all “ the necessary doctrines of the christian religion were
clearly published to the world in our Saviour's time.' But he barely says it, without giving any reason, why
we are not to think so." It is enough that it is necessary to his hypothesis. He says, “ we are not to think so," and we are presently bound not to think so. Else, from another man, that did not usurp an authority over our thoughts, it would have required some reason to make them think, that something more was required to make a man a christian after, than in our Saviour's time. For, as I take it, it is not a very probable, much less a self-evident proposition, to be received without proof, that there was something necessary for that time to make a man a christian, and something more, that was necessary to make a christian in the succeeding time.
However, since this great master says, we ought * to think so," let us in obedience think so as well as we can; until he vouchsafes to give us some reason to think, that there was more required to be believed to make a man a christian, in the succeeding time, than in our Saviour's. This, instead of removing, does but increase the difficulty: for if more were necessary to be believed to make a man a christian after our Saviour's time, than was during his life; how comes it, that no more was proposed by the apostles, in their preaching to unbelievers, for the making them christians, after our Saviour's death, than there was before ; even this one article, “ that he was the Messiah ?" For I desire the unmasker to show me any of those articles mentioned in his list, (except the resurrection and ascension of our Saviour, which were intervening matters of fact, evidencing him to be the Messiah,) that were proposed by the apostles, after our Saviour's time, to their unbelieving hearers, to make them christians.
This one doctrine, " That Jesus was the Messiah," was that which was proposed in our Saviour's time to be believed, as necessary to make a man a christian: the same
doctrine was, likewise, what was proposed afterwards, in the preaching of the apostles to unbelievers, to make them christians,
I grant this was more clearly proposed after, than in our Saviour's time : but in both of them it was all that was proposed to the believers of one God, to make them christians. Let him show, that there were any other proposed in, or after our Saviour's time, to be believed to make unbelievers christians. If he means, by“ necessary articles published to the world,” the other doctrines contained in the epistles ; I grant, they are all of them necessary articles, to be believed by every christian, as far as he understands them. But I deny, that they were proposed to those they were writ to, as necessary to make them christians, for this demonstrative reason; because they were christians already. For example, Many doctrines proving, and explaining, and giving a farther light into the gospel, are published in the epistles to the Corinthians and Thessalonians. These are all of divine authority, and none of them may be disbelieved by any one who is a christian; but yet what was proposed or published to both the Corinthians and Thessalonians, to make them christians was only this doctrine, " That Jesus was the 66 Messiah:
as may be seen, Acts xvii. xviii. This, then, was the doctrine necessary to make men christians, in our Saviour's time; and this the only doctrine neces-. sary to make unbelievers christians, after our Saviour's time. The only difference was, that it was more clearly proposed after, than before his ascension: the reason whereof has been sufficiently explained. But any other doctrine but this, proposed clearly or obscurely, in or after our Saviour's time, as necessary to be believed to make unbelievers christians, that remains yet to be shown.
When the unmasker speaks of the doctrines that were necessary for the succeeding time after our Saviour, he is in doubt, whether he should say they were, or were not discovered, in our Saviour's time; and how far they were then discovered: and therefore he says, “ Some of them were not then discovered, or at least,
“ not fully." We must here excuse the doubtfulness of his talking, concerning the discovery of his other necessary articles. For how could he say, they were discovered, or not discovered, clearly or obscurely, fully or not fully; when he does not yet know them all, nor can tell us, what those necessary articles are ? If he does know them, let him give us a list of them, and then we shall see easily, whether they were at all published or discovered in our Saviour's time. If there are some of them that were not at all discovered in our Saviour's time, let him speak it out, and leave shifting : and if some of those that were “not necessary for our Sa• viour's time, but for the succeeding one only,” were yet discovered in our Saviour's time, why were they not necessary to be believed in that time? But the truth is, he knows not what these doctrines, necessary for succeeding times, are: and therefore can say nothing positively about their discovery. And for those that he has set down, as soon as he shall name any one of them to be of the number of those, “ not necessary for our Sa“ viour's time, but necessary for the succeeding one,” it will presently appear, either that it was discovered in our Saviour's time; and then it was as necessary for his time as the succeeding; or else, that it was not discovered in his time, nor to several converts after his time, before they were made christians; and therefore it was no more necessary to be believed to make a man a christian in the succeeding, than it was in our Saviour's time.
However, general positions and distinctions without a foundation serve for show, and to beguile unwary and inattentive readers.
2. Having thus minded him, that the question is about articles of faith, necessary to be explicitly and distinctly believed to make a man a christian ; I then, in the next place, demand of him to tell me,
XXXIX. Whether or no all the articles, necessary
now to be distinctly and explicitly believed, to make any man a christian, were distinctly and explicitly published or discovered in our Saviour's time?
And then I shall desire to know of him,
XL. A reason why they were not.
Those that he instances in, of Christ's death and resurrection, will not help him one jot; for they are no new doctrines revealed, new mysteries discovered; but matters of fact, which happen to our Saviour in their due time, to complete in him the character and predictions of the Messiah, and demonstrate him to be the Deliverer promised. These are recorded of him by the Spirit of God in holy writ, but are no more necessary to be believed to make a man a christian, than any other part of divine revelation, but as far as they have an immediate connexion with his being the Messiah, and cannot be denied without denying him to be the Messiah; and therefore this article of his resurrection, (which supposes his death,) and such other propositions as are convertible with his being the Messiah, are, as they very well may be, put for his being the Messiah ; and, as I have showed, proposed to be believed in the place of it.
All that is revealed in scripture has a consequential necessity of being believed by all those, to whom it is proposed; because it is of divine authority, one part as much as another. And, in this sense, all the divine truths in the inspired writings are fundamental, and necessary to be believed.
But then this will destroy our unmasker's select number of fundamental articles; and “ the choicest and sublimest truths of christianity," which, he tells us, " are to be met with in the Epistles," will not be more necessary to be believed than any, which he may think the commonest or meanest truths in any of the Epistles or the Gospels. Whatsoever part of divine revelation, whether revealed before, or in, or after our Saviour's time; whether it contains (according to the distinction of our unmasker's nice palate) choice or common, sublime or not sublime truths, is necessary to be believed by every one to whom it is proposed, as far as he understands what is proposed. But God, by Jesus Christ, has entered into a covenant of grace with man