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may be in judgment. But I wish he could have added, no representations but what, upon calm examination, he had found to be strictly just ; no reports, but what he knew to be true ; no charges upon his adversary, but what he believed to be honest and upright ; no personal reflections beyond what he had clear and sufficient grounds for. But I pass on to his book.
He has cast his work into fourteen observations; the weightiest, no doubt, that the whole compass of the controversy could afford. I shall consider what to say to them, after I have given the reader some brief hints of the past and present state of the dispute between us. It should be remembered, that this gentleman at his first setting out, and all along till now, undertook to answer queries, to satisfy objections, to assoil difficulties, to reconcile the new scheme to itself, to Scripture, to antiquity, and to reason ; that so having first cleared his own doctrine in every part, beyond any thing that could be done for the faith received, he might then with a better face disturb the peace of the Church, and plead the more earnestly (but modestly withal) for a thorough change. This was what he undertook : and had he been as able to execute, as he was forward to project, I profess sincerely, he should not have wanted any encouragement, or even thanks of mine; so far should I have been from giving him further molestation. But it bath happened to him, (as it ordinarily must to every man, who undertakes a business before he has seen into it,) that he has met with many difficulties, more than he at first apprehended, and is by no means able to surmount them.
To mention a few particulars, out of a great number :
1. He has not been able to clear his scheme of the unsupportable charge of making two Gods, one supreme and another inferiora
2. He has not been able to get over the difficulty of supposing God the Son and God the Holy Ghost two creaturesb, in direct
a See my First and Second Defence, Query v. vol. i. and ii.
opposition to Scripture and antiquity. He has indeed avoided giving them the name of creature, which yet can contribute but little satisfaction to as many as plainly see how the thing is otherwise fully and repeatedly owned under other names.
3. He has not been able to defend or excuse creature-worship, so fully condemned by Scripture, and by the ancient Jews and Christians, with one voiced.
4. Nor hath he been able to disprove or elude the proofs brought from Scripture and antiquity, of the divine worship due to Christe
5. He hath not been able to salve, or so much as to colour over a notorious flaw in his scheme, relating to the foundation of the worship of Christ; taking up principles there which can suit only with the Socinian scheme, at other times espousing the Arian, though it be impossible for both to stand togetherf.
6. He has not been able to give any tolerable account of the divine titles, attributes, and honours being ascribed to a creatures.
7. He has given no satisfaction at all about Christ being Creator and creature too; not being able to elude the proofs of the former, nor to reconcile both parts together h.
8. Though he set out with pompous pretences to antiquity, he cannot make them good: but it is proved upon him, nor can he elude the proof, that in thirteen instances of doctrine, containing the main branches of his scheme, he runs directly counter to all Catholic antiquityi.
9. He has not been able to vindicate Dr. Clarke's quotations from the ancients : which have been proved, all of them, to be
c See my Supplement to the Case, Second Defence, vol. ii. p. 676, &c. &c. vol. ii. p. 324. Second Defence, 8 First and Second Defence, Query vol. ii. p. 642, &c.
X. xi. vol. i. and ii. Sermons vii. viii. d First and Second Defence, Query vol. ii. xvi. xvii. vol. i. and ii.
h First and Second Defence, Query e See my First and Second Defence, xii. vol. i. and ii. Query xvi. xviii. vol. i. and ii.
i First Defence, vol. i. p. 497. f First Defence, vol. i. p. 434, &c. Second, vol. ii. p. 729, &c.
either not pertinent, or not justly quoted, or not fairly translated, or not rightly understood k.
The author of the Reply having thus failed in the main business, I might reasonably decline any further dispute with him. He is so sensible of the lameness of his former performances in the defensive, that he is now pleased to quit that part entirely, and to attempt it no longer. My Queries remain queries still ; and the oracle shuts up in sullen silence. All that I contended for seems to be tacitly yielded up to me; and I stand in quiet and peaceable possession of it. What room then is there for any further dispute? Yes, there is room still, this gentleman thinks, to act upon the offensive : and since he has been so unhappy as to give no satisfaction in respect of his own scheme, he hopes however to be even with us in some measure, by declaring himself still dissatisfied with ours. He had many objections formerly, which he has been pleased to drop one after another in the course of the debate: and he has some left still, which he resolves to abide by; though the force even of these few remaining have been already so broken and blunted, that were it not for the ignorance of some readers, and the convenient use of misrepresentations, misreports, flouts, and scoffs, and an assuming positiveness, in lieu of a just reply, he could do nothing with them.
For the benefit therefore of weak readers, who may be moved by weak things, and for the sake of truth and godliness, and in regard to the character of the men I am engaged with, I proceed to examine the Observations. The author has taken his own method; and so will I mine, as to me seems most proper, and most convenient for the reader. As his work is a rhapsody of independent thoughts, thrown under heads, at discretion : and as the author in the composition observes very little coherence, but jumps from thing to thing, blending matters together as it happened, or as came into his head, I shall not think it necessary to follow him all the way in his rambling chase.
k First and Second Defence, Query xxvii. vol. i. and ü.
But some method I must have too; and it shall be this, to rank his most material observations under several heads, viz. False Charges, Misrepresentations, Flouts and Scoffs, &c. And these heads shall make so many chapters.
A FURTHER VINDICATION
False and injurious Charges contained in the Observations. 1. In the list of false charges, I shall first place one that stands in page 118th, as being a very remarkable one, and proper to be first spoken to, by way of introduction to what shall come after. The words of the Observator are, “Not so much as one single writer in the three first centuries
-has presumed to teach, but, on the contrary, they would “ all have judged it the highest blasphemy either to say or think, “ (which is the very point in which Dr. Waterland's whole doc“trine centres,) that God the Father Almighty, even the one “ God and Father of all, who is above all, has no natural and “ necessary supremacy of authority and dominion at all; has no “ other supremacy of authority and dominion, than what is founded “ merely in mutual agreement and voluntary concert; but has, “ naturally and necessarily, a priority of order only."
Here is a high charge, a charge of blasphemy laid to me, and in the name too of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, whose memory will be ever precious, and whose judgment I respect and reverence. Now, that the reader may the better judge of this extraordinary paragraph of the Observator, I must take care to inform him how the case stands between him and me in regard to the supremacy. In the preface to my Second Defence, and again in the book, I intimated over and over, in as plain words