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ther into men's thoughts, than as they appear in their books. Where you have given your thoughts vent in your words, I have not, I think, omitted to take notice of them, not wholly passing by those insinuations, which have been dropped from your lordship's pen; which from another, who had not professed so much personal respect, would have shown no exceeding good disposition of mind towards me.
When your lordship shall go on to accuse me of not believing the doctrine of the Trinity, as received in the Christian church, or any other doctrine you shall think fit, I shall answer as I would to an inquisitor. For though your lordship tells me, "I need not be afraid of the Inquisition, or that you intended to charge me with heresy in denying the Trinity;" yet he that shall consider your lordship's proceeding with me from the beginning, as far as it is hitherto gone, may have reason to think, that the methods and management of that holy office are not wholly unknown to your lordship, nor have escaped your great reading. Your proceedings with me have had these steps:
1. Several passages of my Essay of Human Understanding, and some of them relating barely to the being of a God, and other matters wholly remote from any question about the Trinity, were brought into the Vindication of the Doctrine of the Trinity, and there argued against as containing the errors of those and them; which those and them are not known to this day.
2. In your lordship's answer to my first letter, when what was given as the great reason why my Essay was brought into that controversy, viz. because in it "certainty was founded upon clear and distinct ideas," was found to fail, and was only a supposition of your own; other accusations were sought against it, in relation to the doctrine of the Trinity: viz. that "it might be of dangerous consequence to that doctrine, to introduce the new term of ideas, and to place certainty in the perception of the agreement or disagreement of our ideas." What are become of these charges, we shall see in the progress of this letter, when we come to consider what your lordship has replied to my answer upon these points.
3. These accusations not having, it seems, weight enough to effect what you intended, my book has been rummaged again to find new and more important faults in it; and now at last, at the third effort, " my notions of ideas are found inconsistent with the articles of the Christian faith." This indeed carries some sound in it, and may be thought worthy the name and pains of so great a man, and zealous a father of the church, as your lordship.
That I may not be too bold in affirming a thing I was not privy to, give me leave, my lord, to tell your lordship why I presume my book has upon this occasion been looked over again, to see what could be found in it capable to bear a deeper accusation, that might look like something in a title-page. Your lordship, by your station in the church, and the zeal you have shown in defending its articles, could not be supposed, when you first brought my book into this controversy, to have omitted these great enormities that it now stands accused of, and to have cited it for smaller mistakes, some whereof were not found, but only imagined to be in it; you had then known these great faults, which you now charge it with, to have been in it. If your lordship had been apprized of its being guilty of such dangerous errors, you would not certainly have passed them by: and therefore I think one may reasonably conclude, that my Essay was new looked into on purpose. Your lordship says, "that what you have done herein, you thought it your duty to do, not with respect to yourself, but to some of the mysteries of our faith, which you do not charge me with opposing, but by laying such foundations as do tend to the overthrow of them." It cannot be doubted but your duty would have made you at the first warn the world, that "my notions were inconsistent with the articles of the Christian faith," if your lordship had then known it: though the excessive respect and tenderness you express towards me personally in the immediately preceding words, would be enough utterly to confound me, were I not a little acquainted with your lordship's civilities in this kind. For you tell me," that these things laid
together made your lordship think it necessary to do that which you was unwilling to do, until I had driven you to it; which was to show the reasons you had, why you looked on my notion of ideas and of certainty by them, as inconsistent with itself, and with some important articles of the Christian faith."
What must I think now, my lord, of these words? Must I take them as a mere compliment, which is never to be interpreted rigorously, according to the precise meaning of the words? Or must I believe that your unwillingness to do so hard a thing to me restrained your duty, and you could not prevail on yourself (how much soever the mysteries of faith were in danger to be overthrown) to get out these harsh words, viz. that 66 my notions were inconsistent with the articles of the Christian faith," till your third onset, after I had forced you to your duty by two replies of mine?
It will not become me, my lord, to make myself a compliment from your words, which you did not intend me in them. But, on the other side, I would not willingly neglect to acknowledge any civility from your lordship in the full extent of it. The business is a little nice, because what is contained in those passages cannot by a less skilful hand than yours be well put together, though they immediately follow one another. This, I am sure, falls out very untowardly, that your lordship should drive me (who had much rather have been otherwise employed) to drive your lordship to do that which you were unwilling to do. The world sees how much I was driven for what censures, what imputations must my book have lain under, if I had not cleared it from those accusations your lordship brought against it; when I am charged now with evasions, for not clearing myself from an accusation which you never brought against me! But if it be an evasion not to answer to an objection that has not been made, what is it, I beseech you, my lord, to make no reply to objections that have been made? Of which I promise to give your lordship a list, whenever you shall please to call for it.
I forbear it now, for fear that if I should say all that I might upon this new accusation, it would be more
than would suit with your lordship's liking; and you should complain again that you have opened a passage which brings to your mind Ramazzini and his springs of Modena. But your lordship need not be afraid of being overwhelmed with the ebullition of my thoughts, nor much trouble yourself to find a way to give check to it: mere ebullition of thoughts never overwhelms or sinks any one but the author himself; but if it carries truth with it, that I confess has force, and it may be troublesome to those that stand in its way.
Your lordship says, "you see how dangerous it is, to give occasion to one of such a fruitful invention as I am, to write."
I am obliged to your lordship, that you think my invention worth concerning yourself about, though it be so unlucky as to have your lordship and me always differ about the measure of its fertility. In your first answer you thought I too much extended the fertility of my invention, and ascribed to it what it had no title to; and here, I think, you make the fertility of my invention greater than it is. For in what I have answered to your lordship, there seems to me no need at all of a fertile invention. It is true, it has been hard for me to find out who you writ against, or what you meant in many places. As soon as that was found, the answer lay always so obvious and so easy, that there needed no labour of invention to discover what one should reply. The things themselves (where there were any) stripped of the ornaments of scholastic language, and the less obvious ways of learned writings, seemed to me to carry their answers visibly with them. This permit me, my lord, to say, that however fertile my invention is, it has not in all this controversy produced one fiction or wrong quotation.
But, before I leave the answer you dictate, permit me to observe that I am so unfortunate to be blamed for owning what I was not accused to disown; and here for not owning what I was never charged to disown. The like misfortune have my poor writings: they offend your lordship in some places, because they are new; and in others, because they are not new.
Your next words, which are a new charge, I shall pass over till I come to your proof of them, and proceed to the next paragraph. Your lordship tells me, "you shall wave all unnecessary repetitions, and come immediately to the matter of my complaint, as it is renewed in my second letter."
What your lordship means by unnecessary repetitions here, seems to be of a piece with your blaming me in the foregoing page, for having said too much in my own defence; and this, taken all together, confirms my opinion, that in your thoughts it would have been better I should have replied nothing at all. For you having set down here near twenty lines as a necessary repetition out of your former letter, your lordship omits my answer to them as wholly unnecessary to be seen; and consequently you must think was at first unnecessary to have been said. For when the same words are necessary to be repeated again, if the same reply which was made to them be not thought fit to be repeated too, it is plainly judged to be nothing to the purpose, and should have been spared at first.
It is true, your lordship has set down some few expressions taken out of several parts of my reply; but in what manner, the reader cannot clearly see, without going back to the original of this matter. He must therefore pardon me the trouble of a deduction, which cannot be avoided where controversy is managed at this rate; which necessitates, and so excuses the length of the answer.
My book was brought into the Trinitarian controversy by these steps. Your lordship says, that,
"1. The Unitarians have not explained the nature and bounds of reason.
"2. The author of Christianity not mysterious, to make amends for this, has offered an account of reason. "3. His doctrine concerning reason supposes that we must have clear and distinct ideas of whatever we pretend to any certainty of in our mind.
"4. Your lordship calls this a new way of reasoning. "5. This gentleman of this new way of reasoning," in his first chapter, says something which has a con