« PoprzedniaDalej »
whereby one that is a Christian believes the doctrines taught by our Saviour, and the ground of that differ-. ence: and therein has fully overturned this proposition, “That believing Jesus to be the Messiah is but a step, or the first step, to Christianity.”
But to this Mr. Edwards answers not. To the creed-maker's supposing that other matters of faith were proposed with this, that Jesus is the Messiah; Mr. Bold replies, That this should be proved, viz. that other articles were proposed, as requisite to be believed to make men Christians. And, p. 40, he gives a reason why he is of another mind, viz. “Because there is nothing but this recorded, which was insisted on for that purpose.
But to this Mr. Edwards answers not. Mr. Bold, p. 42, shows that Rom. x. 9, which the creed-maker brought against it, confirms the assertion of the author of the Reasonableness, &c. concerning the faith that makes a man a Christian.
But to this Mr. Edwards answers not. The creed-maker says, p. 78, “This is the main answer to the objection (or query above proposed), viz. That Christianity was erected by degrees. This Mr. Bold, p. 43, proves to be nothing to the purpose, by this reason, viz. “Because what makes one man a Christian, or ever did make any man a Christian, will at any time, to the end of the world, make another man a Christian :" and asks, “Will not that make a Christian now which made the apostles themselves Christians ?"
But to this Mr. Edwards answers not. In answer to his sixth chapter, Mr. Bold, p. 45, tells him, “It was not my business to discourse of the Trinity, or any other particular doctrines, proposed to be believed by them who are Christians; and that it is no fair and just ground to accuse a man with rejecting the doctrines of the Trinity, and that Jesus is God, because he does not interpret some particular texts to the same purpose others do."
But to this Mr. Edwards answers not. Indeed, he takes notice of these words of Mr. Bold, in this paragraph, viz." Hence Mr. Edwards takes oc
casion to write many pages about these terms (viz. Messiah and Son of God]; but I do not perceive thai he pretends to offer any proof that these were not synonymous terms amongst the Jews at that time, which is the point he should have proved, if he designed to invalidate what this author says about that matter." To this the creed-maker replies, p. 257, “ The animadverter doth not so much as offer one syllable to disprove what I delivered, and closely urged on that head.” Answ. What need any answer to disprove, where there is no proof brought, that reaches the proposition in question? If there had been any such proof, the producing of it, in short, had been a more convincing argument to the reader than so much bragging of what has been done. For here are more words spent (for I have not set them all down) than would have served to have expressed the proof of this proposition, viz. that the terms above-mentioned were not synonymous amongst the Jews, if there had been any proof of it. But having already examined what the creed-maker brags he has closely urged, I shall say no more of it here.
To the creed-maker's making me a Socinian, in his eighth chapter, for not naming Christ's satisfaction among the advantages and benefits of Christ's coming into the world; Mr. Bold replies, “1. That it is no proof, because I promised not to name every one of them. And the mention of some is no denial of others." 2. He replies, That “satisfaction is not so strictly to be termed an advantage, as the effects and fruits of it are; and that the doctrine of satisfaction instructs us
. in the way how Christ did, by divine appointment, obtain those advantages for us." And this was an answer that deserved some reply from the creed-maker.
But to this he answers not. Mr. Bold says right, that this is a doctrine that is of mighty importance for a Christian to be well acquainted with. And I will add to it, that it is very hard for a Christian, who reads the Scripture with attention and an unprejudiced mind, to deny the satisfaction of Christ: but it being a term not used by the Holy Ghost in the
Scripture, and very variously explained by those that do use it, and very much stumbled at by those I was there speaking to, who were such, as I there say, “Who will not take a blessing, unless they be instructed what need they had of it, and why it was bestowed upon them ;' I left it, with the other disputed doctrines of Christianity, to be looked into (to see what it was Christ had taught concerning it) by those who were Christians, and believed Jesus to be the Saviour promised, and sent from God. And to those who yet doubted that he was so, and made this objection, “ What need was there of a Saviour ?” I thought it most reasonable to offer such particulars only as were agreed on by all Christians, and were capable of no dispute, but must be acknowledged by every body to be needful. This, though the words above-quoted out of the Reasonableness of Christianity, &c. p. 129, show to be my design; yet the creed-maker plainly gives me the lie, and tells me it was not my design.” “ All the world are faithless, false, treacherous, hypocritical strainers upon their reason and conscience, dissemblers, journeymen, mercenary hirelings, except Mr. Edwards: I mean, all the world that opposes him. And must not one think he is mightily beholden to the excellency and readiness of his own nature, who is no sooner engaged in controversy, but he immediately finds out in his adversaries these arts of equivocation, lying, and effrontery, in managing of it? Reason and learning, and acquired improvements, might else have let him gone on with others, in the dull and ordinary way of fair arguing; wherein, possibly, he might have done no great feats. - Must not a rich and fertile soil within, and a prompt genius, wherein a man may readily spy the propensities of base and corrupt nature, be acknowledged to be an excellent qualification for a disputant, to help him to the quick discovery and laying open of the faults of his opponents; which a mind otherwise disposed would not so much as suspect ? But Mr. Bold, without this, could not have been so soon found out to be a journey. man, a dissembler, an hired mercenary, and stored with all those good qualities, wherein he hath his full share
But why would he then venture upon Mr. Edwards, who is so very quick-sighted in these matters, and knows so well what villanous man is capable of?
I should not here, in this my Vindication, have given the reader so much of Mr. Bold's reasoning, which, though clear and strong, yet has more beauty and force as it stands in the whole piece in his book; nor should I have so often repeated this remark upon each passage, viz, « To this Mr. Edwards answers not;" had it not been the shortest and properest comment could be made on that triumphant paragraph of his, which begins in the 128th page of his Socinian creed; wherein, among a great deal of no small strutting, are these words: “By their profound silence they acknowledge they have nothing to reply.” He that desires to see more of the same noble strain, may have recourse to that eminent place. Besides, it was fit the reader should have this one taste more of the creed-maker's genius, who, passing by in silence all these clear and apposite replies of Mr. Bold, loudly complains of him, p. 259, « That where he [Mr. Bold] finds something that he dares not object against, he shifts it off.” And again, p. 260, “That he does not make any offer at reason; there is not the least shadow of an argument-As if he were only hired to say something against me (the creedmaker), though not at all to the purpose: and truly, any man may discern a mercenary stroke all along; with a great deal more to the same purpose. For such language as this, mixed with scurrility, neither fit to be spoken by, nor of, a minister of the gospel, make up the remainder of his postscript. But to prevent this for the future, I demand of him, that if in either of his treatises there be any thing against what I have said in my Reasonableness of Christianity, which he thinks not fully answered, he will set down the proposition in direct words, and note the page of his book where it is to be found : and I promise him to answer it. For as for his railing, and other stuff besides the matter, I shall hereafter no more trouble myself to take notice of it. And so much for Mr. Edwards.
There is another gentleman, and of another sort of make, parts, and breeding, who, (as it seems, ashamed of Mr. Edwards's way of handling controversies in religion) has had something to say of my Reasonableness of Christianity, &c. and so has made it necessary for me to say a word to him, before I let those papers go out of my hand. It is the author of the Occasional Paper, numb. 1. The second, third, and fourth pages of that paper gave me great hopes to meet with a man who would examine all the mistakes which came abroad in print, with that temper and indifferency, that might set an exact pattern for controversy to those who would approve themselves to be sincere contenders for truth and knowledge, and nothing else, in the disputes they engaged in. Making him allowance for the mistakes that self-indulgence is apt to impose upon human frailty, I am apt to believe he thought his performance had been such; but I crave leave to observe, that good and candid men are often misled, from a fair unbiassed pursuit of truth, by an over-great zeal for something, that they, upon wrong grounds, take to be so; and that it is not so easy to be a fair and unprejudiced champion for truth as some, who profess it, think it to be. To acquaint him with the occasion of this remark, I must desire him to read and consider his nineteenth page; and then to
1. Whether he knows, that the doctrine proposed in the Reasonableness of Christianity, &c. was_borrowed, as he says, from Hobbes's Leviathan? For I tell him, I borrowed it only from the writers of the four Gospels and the Acts; and did not know those words, he quoted out of the Leviathan, were there, or any thing like them. Nor do I know yet, any farther than as I believe them to be there, from his quotation.
2. Whether affirming, as he does positively, this, which he could not know to be true, and is in itself perfectly false, were meant to increase or lessen the credit of the author of the Reasonableness of Christianity, &c. in the opinion of the world ? or is consonant with his owr rule, p. 3, "of putting candid constructions on