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quisite to make a man a christian, I shall here again desire this gentleman to inform me what it is, i. e. to set down all those propositions which are so indispensably to be believed, (for it is of simple believing I perceive the controversy runs,) that no man can be a believer, i. e. a christian, without an actual knowledge of, and an explicit assent to them. If he shall do this with that candour and fairness he declares to be necessary in such inatters, I shall own myself obliged to him: for I am in earnest, and I would not be mistaken in it.
If he shall decline it, I, and the world too, must con: clude, that upon a review of my doctrine, he is con: vinced of the truth of it, and is satisfied, that I am in the right. For it is impossible to think, that a man of that fairness and candour, which he solemnly prefaces his dis course with, should continue to condemn the account I have given of the faith which I am persuaded makes a christian; and yet he himself will not tell me (when I earnestly demand it of hin, as desirous to be rid of my errour, if it be one) what is that more, which is absolutely required to be believed by every one, before he can be a believer, i. e. what is indispensably necessary to be known, and explicitly believed to make a man a christian.
Another thing which I must desire this author to examine, by those his own rules, is, what he says of me, p. 30, where he makes me to have a prejudice against the ministry of the gospel, and their office, from what I have said in my Reasonableness, &c. p. 135, 136, concerning the priests of the world, in our Saviour's time : which he calls bitter reflections
If he will tell me what is so bitter, in any one of those passages which he has set down, that is not true, or ought not to be said there, and give me the reason why he is offended at it; I promise him to make what reparation he shall think fit, to the memory of those priests whom he, with so much good nature, patronizes, near seventeen hundred years after they had been out of the world ; and is so tenderly concerned for their reputation, that he excepts against that, as said against them, which was not. For one of the three places he sets down,
was not spoken of priests. But his making my mentions ing the faults of the priests of old, in our Saviour's time, to be an “exposing the office of the ministers of the “ gospel now, and a vilifying those who are employed in “ it;" I must desire him to examine; by his own rules of love and candour; and to tell me, “ Whether I have not “ reason, here again, to mind him of his FIENDS, and 6 to advise him to beware of them?” And to show him how I think I have, I cravë leave to ask him thésé questions:
1. Whether I do not all along plainly, and in express words, speak of the priests of the world; preceding, and in our Saviour's time? Nor can my argument bear any other sense.
2. Whether all I have said of them be not true ?
3. Whether the representing truly the carriage of the jewish, and more especially of the heathen priests, in our Saviour's time, as my argument required, can exa pose the office of the ministers of the gospel now ? Or ought to have such an interpretation put upon it?
4. Whether what he says of the “ air and language I
a declaration, that he thinks some men's carriage now, had some affinity with what I have truly said, of the priests of the world, before christianity; and that therefore the faults of those should have been let alone, or touched more gently, for fear some should think these now concerned it ?
5. Whether, in truth, this be not to accuse them, with a design to draw the envy of it on me? Whether
look. This I am sure, I have spoken of none but the priests before christianity, both jewish and heathen. And for those of the jews, what our Saviour has pronounced of them, justifies my reflections from being bitter; and that the idolatrous heathen priests were better than they, I believe our author will not say: and if he were preaching against them, as opposing the ministers of the gospel, I suppose he will give as ill å character of them. But if any one extends my words farther, than to those they were spoke of, I ask
whether that agrees with his rules of love and candour ?
I shall impatiently expect from this author of the occasional paper, an answer to these questions; and hope to find them such as becomes that temper, and love of truth, which he professes. I long to meet with a man, who, laying aside party, and interest, and prejudice, appears in controversy so as to make good the character of a champion of truth for truth's sake; a character not so hard to be known whom it belongs to, as to be deserved. Whoever is truly such an one, his opposition to me will be an obligation. For he that proposes to himself the convincing me of an errour, only for truth's sake, cannot, I know, mix any rancour, or spite, or ill-will, with it. He will keep himself at a distance from those FIENDS, and be as ready to hear, as offer reason. And two so disposed can hardly miss truth between them, in a fair inquiry after it; at least they will not lose goodbreeding, and especially charity, a virtue much more necessary than the attaining of the knowledge of obscure truths, that are not easy to be found; and probably, therefore, not necessary to be known.
The unbiassed design of the writer, purely to defend and propagate truth, seems to me to be that alone which legitimates controversies. I am sure it plainly distinguishes such from all others, in their success and useful. ness. If a man, as a sincere friend to the person, and to the truth, labours to bring another out of errour, there can be nothing more beautiful, nor more beneficial. If party, passion, or vanity direct his pen, and have a hand in the controversy; there can be nothing more unbecoming, more prejudicial, nor more odious. What thoughts I shall have of a man that shall, as a christian, go about to inform me what is necessary to be believed to make a man a christian, I have declared, in the preface to my “ Reasonableness of christianity,” &c. nor do I find myself yet altered. He that, in print, finds fault with my imperfect discovery of that, wherein the faith, which makes a man a christian, consists, and will not tell me what more is required, will do well to satisfy the world what they ought to think of him,
IN D E X
plaining, and not yet understood,
177 ABRIDGMENT of faith, what Atheism, want of seriousness in it is,
275 discoursing of divine things Acts of the apostles, book so may occasion it,
304 called, the author did not
how falsely “ The Rea. charge his readers against stir sonableness of Christianity” is ring beyond it,
248 charged with promoting it, 305 how wisely as well as faith. Author of “ The Reasonableness fully written by St. Luke, 328, . of Christianity"falsely charged
329 with making one article neActual assent to fundamental ar. cessary in formal words, 194 ticles, how necessary, 223, 224
falsely accused of denyAdam, wrong notions concern- ing some articles of christianing his fall, 4, 5, &c. ity,
197 what he fell from, ibid. = falsely charged with new Allegations between contending modelling the apostles creed,
parties, to be esteemed false until proved,
the several articles made Apostles, the wisdom of the Lord necessary by him, 202, &c. in choosing such mean per
falsely charged with saysons,
83 ing “ all things in christianity - their minds illuminated “ must be level to every unby the Holy Spirit, 92, &c. “ derstanding,” 205, 214, &c. Article of faith, how the author
requires proof of his pleaded for one only, 174, making all but one article use
196 less to make a man a christian, Articles of christianity, and such
205, &c. as are necessary to make a
denies his contending for man a christian, different, 352 but one, that men may under
of religion, have been stand their religion, 205, several hundreds of years ex
Author not guilty of folly in re. Bold, (Mr.) his opponent's scur-
quiring from his opponent a rilous reflections on him, 395,
243 in him not answered, 409,
- his account of faith very Book, two ways of making one
283-285 Booksellers, stirred up against
359 answer, (John vi, 70) 56
should be judged of by sufferings, 57—Yet even then
398, &c. to the jewish rulers, 69
- how wisely he answered
his captious enemies, 74
wly, he owned himself to
17, &c. why he would not expressly
what must be believed by Pilate and Judas, 80, 86
227, &c. his destroying Jerusalem,
more explicitly of his kiogo
185 to the last he required of