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a great deal of the same strain in his book : only to show how well he understands or represents my sense, I shall set down my words, as they are in the pages he quotes, and his inferences from them.
Vindication, p. 171. Socinianism Unmasked,
I know not but it may be true that the anti-trini “ The professed divines tarians and racovians un “ of England, you must derstand those places as I “ know, are but a pitiful do; but it is more than I " sort of folks with this know, that they do so. I “ great racovian rabbi. took not my sense of those “ He tells us plainly, that texts from those writers, but “ he is not mindful of what from the scripture itself, “ the generality of divines giving light to its own “ declare for, p. 171. He meaning, by one place 6 labours so concernedly compared with another. “ to ingratiate himself with What, in this way, appears “ the mob, the multitude to me its true meaning, I (which he so often talks shall not decline, because I “ of) that he has no regard am told, that it is so un “ tothese. Thegenerality of derstood by the racovians, 66 the rabble are more conwhom I never yet read; 66 siderable with him than nor embrace the contrary, “ the generality of divines.” though the generality of divines I more converse with, should declare for it. If the sense wherein I understand those texts be a mistake, I shall be beholden to you, if you will set me right. But they are not popular authorities, or frightful names, whereby I judge of truth or falsehood.
He tells me here of the generality of divines. If he had aid of the church of England, I could have understood him: but he says, “ The professed divines of Eng
land;" and there being several sorts of divines in England, who, I think, do not every-where agree in their interpretations of scripture; which of them is it I must have regard to, where they differ? If he cannot tell me that, he complains here of me for a fault, which he himself knows not how to mend.
Vindication, p. 169. Socinianism Unmasked,
The list of materials for his creed, (for the articles • This author, as deare not yet formed,) Mr. “ mure and grave as he Edwards closes, p. 111, with
6 would sometimes seem these words : “ These are “ to be, can scoff at the o the matters of faith con. matters of faith con“ tained in the epistles; and “ tained in the apostles “ they are essential and in “ epistles, p. 169." “ tegral parts of the gospel “ itself.” What! just these, neither more nor less? If you are sure of it, pray let us have them speedily, for the reconciling of differences in the christian church, which has been so cruelly torn about the articles of the christian faith, to the great reproach of christian charity, and scandal of our true religion.
Does the vindicator here “ scoff at the matters of “ faith contained in the epistles ?” or show the vain pretences of the unmasker: who undertakes to give us, out of the epistles, a collection of fundamentals, without being able to say, whether those he sets down be all
or no ?
Vindication, p. 176. Socinianism Unmasked,
I hope you do not think, how contemptibly 'soever “ To coax the mob, he you speak of the venerable
profanely brings in that mob, as you are pleased to place of scripture; Have dignify them,p.117, that the any of the rulers believed bulk of mankind, or, in your 66 ini him?" phrase, the rabble, are not concerned in religion; or ought not to understand it, in order to their salvation. I remember the pharisees treated the common people with contempt; and said, “ Have any of the rulers, or of the pharisees, believed “ in him? But this people, who know not the law, are “ cursed.” But yet these, who in the censure of the pharisees, were cursed, were some of the poor, or, if you please to have it so, the mob, to whom the gospel
was preached by our Saviour, as he tells John's disciples, Matt. xi. 5.
Where the profaneness of this is, I do not see; unless some unknown sacredness of the unmasker's person make it profaneness to show, that he, like the pharisees of old, has a great contempt for the common people, i. e. the far greater part of mankind; as if they and their salvation were below the regard of this elevated rabbi. But this, of profaneness, may be well born from him, since in the next words my mentioning another part of his carriage is no less than irreligion.
Vindication, p. 173. Socinianism Unmasked,
He prefers what I say to him myself, to what is offer. “ Ridiculously and irreed to him, from the word of ligiously he pretends," God, and makes me this that I prefer what he saith compliment, that I begin to to me to what is offered to mend about the close, i, e. me from the word of God, when I leave off quoting of p. 173. scripture, and the dull work was done “ of going through the history of the Evan
gelists and the Acts,” which he computes, p. 105, to take up three quarters of my book.
The matter of fact is as I relate it, and so is beyond pretence; and for this I refer the reader to the 105th and 114th pages of his “ Thoughts concerning the “ causes of atheism.” But had I mistaken, I know not how he could have called it irreligiously. Make the worst of it that can be, how comes it to be irreligious ? What is there divine in an unmasker, that one cannot pretend (true or false) that he prefers what I say, to what is offered him from the word of God, without doing it irreligiously ? Does the very assuming the power to define articles, and determine who are, and who are not christians, by a creed not yet made, erect an unmasker presently into God's throne, and bestow on him the title of Dominus Deusque noster, whereby
offences against him come to be irreligious acts ? I have misrepresented his meaning; let it be so: Where is the irreligion of it? Thus it is: the power of making a religion for others (and those that make creeds do that) being once got into any one's fancy, must at last make all oppositions to those creeds and creed-makers irreligion. Thus we see, in process of time, it did in the church of Rome; but it was in length of time, and by gentle degrees. The unmasker, it seems, cannot stay, is įn haste, and at one jump leaps into the chair. He has given us yet but a piece of his creed, and yet that's enough to set him above the state of human mistakes or frailties; and to mention any such thing in him, is to do irreligiously.
“ We may further see,” says the unmasker, p. 110, “ how counterfeit the vindicator's gravity is, whilst he “ condemns frothy and light discourses," p. 173, Vindic. And "yet, in many pages together, most irreverently “ treats a great part of the apostolical writings, and “ throws aside the main articles of religion as unneces
sary." Answ. in my Vindic. p. 170, you may remember these words: “I require you to publish to the world " those passages, which show my contempt of the epis“tles,” Why do you not (especially having been so called upon to do it) set down those words, wherein " I most
irreverently treat a great part of the apostolical writ
ings ?” At least, why do you not quote those many pages wherein I do it ? This looks a little suspiciously, that you cannot: and the more because you have, in this very page, not been sparing to quote places which you thought to your purpose. I must take leave, therefore, (if it may be done without irreligion) to assure the reader, that this is another of your many mistakes in matters of fact, for which you have not so much as the excuse of inadvertency: for, as he sees, you have been minded of it before. But an unmasker, say what you will to him, will be an unmasker still.
He closes what he has to say to me, in his Socinianism unmasked, as if he were in the pulpit, with an use of exhortation. The false insinuations it is filled with make the conclusion of a piece with the introduction.
As he sets out, so he ends, and therein shows wherein he places his strength. A custom of making bold with truth is so seldom curable in a grown man, and the unmasker shows so little sense of shame, where it is charged upon him, beyond a possibility of clearing himself, that nobody is to trouble themselves any farther about that part of his established character. Letting therefore that alone to nature and custom, two sure guides, I shall only intreat him, to prevent his taking railing for argument, (which I fear he too often does,) that upon his entrance, every-where, upon any new argument, he would set it down in syllogism; and when he has done that (that I may know what is to be answered) let him then give vent, as he pleases, to his noble vein of wit and oratory.
The lifting a man's self up in his own opinion, has had the credit, in former ages, to be thought the lowest degradation that human nature could well sink itself to. Hence, says the wise man, Prov. xxvi. 5, “ Answer a “ fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own “ conceit:" hereby showing, that self-conceitedness is a degree beneath ordinary folly. And therefore he there provides a fence against it, to keep even fools from sinking yet lower, by falling into it. Whether what was not so in Solomon's days be now, by length of time, in ours, grown into a mark of wisdom and parts, and an evidence of great performances, I shall not inquire. Mr. Edwards, who goes beyond all that ever I yet met with, in the cominendation of his own, best knows why he so extols what he has done in this controversy. For fear the praises he has not been sparing of, in his Socinianism unmasked, should not sufficiently trumpet out his worth, or might be forgotten; he, in a new piece, intitled, “ the Socinian creed," proclaims again his mighty deeds, and the victory he has established to himself by them, in these words : “ But he and “ his friends (the one-article men) seem to have made “ satisfaction, by their profound silence lately, whereby " they acknowledge to the world, that they have nothing “ to say in reply to what I laid to their charge, and fully
proved against them, &c.” Socinian creed, p. 128. This fresh testimony of no ordinary conceit, which Mr.