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cessary points best in the preachings of our Saviour and the apostles, to those who were yet ignorant of the faith, and unconverted. This, as far as I know my own. thoughts, was the reason why I did (as Mr. Edwards complains, p. 109) " not proceed to the epistles, and not give an account of them, as I had done of the Gospels and Acts." This, I imagined, I had in the close of my book so fully and clearly expressed (particularly p. 152, of this vol.) that I supposed nobody, how willing soever, could have mistaken me. But this gentleman is so much better acquainted with me than I am with myself; sees so deeply into my heart, and knows so perfectly every thing that passes there; that he, with assurance, tells the world, p. 109, " That I purposely omitted the epistolary writings of the apostles, because they are fraught with other fundamental doctrines, besides that one which I mention." And then he goes to enumerate those fundamental articles, p. 110, 111, viz." The corruption and degeneracy of human nature, with the true original of it (the defection of our first parents) the propagation of sin and mortality, (our restoration and reconciliation by Christ's blood, the eminency and excellency of his priesthood, the efficacy of his death, the full satisfaction made, thereby, to divine justice, and his being made an all-sufficient sacrifice for sin. Christ's righteousness, our justification by it, election, adoption, sanctification, saving faith, the nature of the Gospel, the new covenant, the riches of God's mercy in the way of salvation by Jesus Christ, the certainty of the resurrection of human bodies, and of the future glory."

Give me leave now to ask you seriously, whether these, which you have here set down under the title of "fundamental doctrines," are such (when reduced to propositions) that every one of them is required to be believed to make a man a Christian, and such as, without the actual belief thereof, he cannot be saved. If they are not so, every one of them, you may call them "fundamental doctrines" as much as you please, they are not of those doctrines of faith I was speaking of, which

are only such as are required to be actually believed to make a man a Christian. If you say, some of them are such necessary points of faith, and others not, you, by this specious list of well-sounding, but unexplained terms, arbitrarily collected, only make good what I have said, viz. that the necessary articles of faith are, in the epistles, promiscuously delivered with other truths, and, therefore, they cannot be distinguished but by some other mark, than being barely found in the epistles. If you say, that they are all of them necessary articles of faith, I shall then desire you to reduce them to so many plain doctrines, and then prove them to be every one of them required to be believed by every Christian man, to make him a member of the Christian church. For, to begin with the first, it is not enough to tell us, as you do, that "the corruption and degeneracy of human nature, with the true original of it (the defection of our first parents) the propagation of sin and mortality, is one of the great heads of Christian divinity." But you are to tell us, what are the propositions we are required to believe concerning this matter: for nothing can be an article of faith, but some proposition; and then it will remain to be proved, that these articles are necessary to be believed to salvation. The Apostles' Creed was taken, in the first ages of the church, to contain all things necessary to salvation; I mean, necessary to be believed: but you have now better thought on it, and are pleased to enlarge it, and we, no doubt, are bound to submit to your orthodoxy.

The list of materials for his creed (for the articles are not yet formed) Mr. Edwards closes, p. 111, with these words: "These are the matters of faith contained in the epistles, and they are essential and integral 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.

Mr. Edwards, having thus, with two learned terms of "essential and integral parts," sufficiently proved the

matter in question, viz. That all those he has set down are articles of faith necessary to be believed to make a man a Christian, he grows warm at my omission ofthem. This I cannot complain of as unnatural: the spirit of creed-making always rising from a heat of zeal for our own opinions, and warm endeavours, by all ways possible, to decry and bear down those who differ in a tittle from us. What then could I expect more gentle and candid, than what Mr. Edwards has subjoined in these words? "And therefore it is no wonder that our author, being sensible of this," (viz. That the points he has named were essential and integral parts of the Gospel) "would not vouchsafe to give us an abstract of those inspired writings [the epistles]; but passes them by with some contempt." Sir, when your angry fit is over, and the abatement of your passion has given way to the return of your sincerity, I shall beg you to read this passage in page 154, of this vol. "These holy writers (viz. the penmen of the Scriptures) inspired from above, writ nothing but truth, and, in most places, very weighty truths to us now, for the expounding, clearing, and confirming of the Christian doctrine; and establishing those in it who had embraced it." And again, p. 156, "The other parts of divine revelation are objects of faith, and are so to be received. They are truths, of which none that is once known to be such, i. e. revealed, may or ought to be disbelieved." And if this does not satisfy you, that I have as high a veneration for the epistles as you or any one can have, I require you to publish to the world those passages, which show my contempt of them. In the mean time, I shall desire my reader to examine what I have writ concerning the epistles, which is all contained between pp. 151 and 158 of this vol. and then to judge, whether I have made bold with the epistles in what I have said of them, or this gentleman made bold with truth in what he has writ of me. Human frailty will not, I see, easily quit its hold; what it loses in one part, it will be ready to regain in another; and not be hindered from taking reprisals, even on the most privileged sort of men. Mr. Edwards, who is intrenched

in orthodoxy, and so is as safe in matters of faith almost as infallibility itself, is yet as apt to err as others in matters of fact.


But he has not yet done with me about the epistles : all his fine draught of my slighting that part of the Scripture will be lost, unless the strokes complete it into Socinianism. In his following words you have the conclusion of the whole matter. His words are these: "And more especially, if I may conjecture," (by all means, sir; conjecturing is your proper talent: you have hitherto done nothing else; and I will that for you, you have a lucky hand at it)" he doth this (i. e. pass by the epistles with contempt) because he knew that there are so many and frequent, and those so illustrious and eminent attestations to the doctrine of the ever to be adored Trinity, in these epistles." Truly, sir, if you will permit me to know what I know, as well as you do allow yourself to conjecture what you please, you are out for this once; the reason why I went not through the epistles, as I did the Gospels and the Acts, was that very reason I printed, and that will be found so sufficient a one to all considerate readers, that I believe they will think you need not strain your conjectures for another. And, if you think it to be so easy to distinguish fundamentals from non-fundamentals in the epistles, I desire you to try your skill again, in giving the world a perfect collection of propositions out of the epistles, that contain all that is required, and no more than what is absolutely required to be believed by all Christians, without which faith they cannot be of Christ's church. For I tell you, notwithstanding the show you have made, you have not yet done it, nor will you affirm that you have.

His next page, p. 112, is made up of the same, which he calls, not uncharitable conjectures. I expound, he says, "John xiv. 9, &c. after the anti-Trinitarian mode:" and I make "Christ and Adam to be Sons of God, in the same sense, and by their birth, as the Racovians generally do." I know not but it may be true, that

the anti-Trinitarians and Racovians understand those places as I do but it is more than I know, that they

do so. I took not my sense of those texts from those writers, but from the Scripture itself, giving light to its own meaning, by one place compared with another: what in this way appears to me its true meaning, I shall not decline, because I am told that it is so understood by the Racovians, whom I never yet read; nor embrace the contrary, 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. You will now, no doubt, applaud your conjectures; the point is gained, and I am openly a Socinian, since I will not disown, that I think the Son of God was a phrase, that among the Jews, in our Saviour's time, was used for the Messiah, though the Socinians understand it in the same sense; and therefore I must certainly be of their persuasion in every thing else. I admire the acuteness, force, and fairness of your reasoning, and so I leave you to triumph in your conjectures. Only I must desire you to take notice, that that ornament of our church, and every way eminent prelate, the late archbishop of Canterbury, understood that phrase in the same sense that I do, without being a Socinian. You may read what he says concerning Nathanael, in his first "Sermon of Sincerity," published this year: his words are these, p. 4, "And being satisfied that he [our Saviour] was the Messiah, he presently owned him for such, calling him the Son of GOD, and the king of Israel."

Though this gentleman knows my thoughts as perfectly as if he had for several years past lain in my bosom, yet he is mightily at a loss about my person: as if it at all concerned the truth contained in my book, what hand it came from. However, the gentleman is mightily perplexed about the author. Why, sir, what if it were writ by a scribbler of Bartholomew-fair drolls, with all that flourish of declamatory rhetoric, and all that smartness of wit and jest about captain Tom, Unitarians, units, and cyphers, &c. which are to be found between pages 115, and 123 of a book, that came out

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