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ple whereof the reader has at the entrance, in his introduction, p. A. 4, and the three or four following pages. Where he affirms to the world, not only what I know to be false ; but that every one must see, he could not know to be true. For he pretends to know and deliver my thoughts. And what the character is of one that confidently affirms what he does not know, nobody need be told.
But he adds, “ I had before pleaded to the indictment, and thereby owned it to be true.” This is to make good his promise, p. 3, to keep at a distance from my “ feeble strugglings.” Here this strong arguer must prove, that what is not answered or denied, in the very beginning of a reply, or before the 11th page, “ is owned to be true.” In the mean time, till he does that, I shall desire such of my readers, as think the unmasker's veracity worth examining, to see in my Vindi. cation, from p. 174, &c. wherein is contained what I have said about one article, whether I have owned what he charged me with, on that subject.
This proposition then remains upon him still to be proved, viz.
I. “ That I have, over and over again, these formal
words in my Reasonableness of Christianity, viz. That nothing is required to be believed by any Christian man, but this, That Jesus is the Messiah.
He goes on, p. 5: “And indeed he could do no other; for it was the main work he set himself about, to find but one article of faith in all the chapters of the four evangelists, and the Acts of the Apostles;" this is to make good his promise, p. 3, “ To clear his book from those sorry objections and cavils I had raised against it.” Several of
my sorry objections and cavils” were to represent to the reader, that a great part of what is said was nothing but suspicions and conjectures, and such he could not but then own them to be. But now he has rid himself of all his conjectures ; and has raised them up into direct, positive affirmations,
which, being said with confidence without proof, who can deny but he has cleared, thoroughly cleared, that part from my “sorry objections and cavils ?' He says, “it was the main work I set myself about, to find but one article of faith.” This I must take the liberty to deny; and I desire him to prove it. A man may “set himself to find two,” or as many as there be, and yet find but one: or a man may “ set himself to find but one,” and yet find two more. It is no argument, from what a man has found, to prove what was his main work to find, unless where his aim was only to find what there was, whether more or less. For a writer may find the reputation of a poor contemptible railer, nay, of a downright impudent liar, and yet nobody will think it was his main work to find that. Therefore, sir, if you will not find what it is like you did not seek, you must prove those many confident assertions you have published, which I shall give you in tale, whereof this is the second, viz.
II. That “ the main business I set myself about, was
to find but one article of faith."
In the following part of this sentence, he quotes my own words, with the pages where they are to be found; the first time that, in either of his two books against me, he has vouchsafed to do so, concerning one article, wherewith he has made so much noise. My words in (p. 102 of) my Reasonableness of Christianity stand thus: “ for that this is the sole doctrine pressed and required to be believed, in the whole tenour of our Saviour's and his apostles' preaching, we have showed, through the whole history of the Evangelists and Acts, and I challenge them to show, that there was any other doctrine, upon their assent to which, or disbelief of it, men were pronounced believers or unbelievers, and accordingly received into the church of Christ, as members of his body, as far as mere believing could make them so; or else kept out. This was the only Gospel-article of faith which was preached to them.”
Out of this passage, the unmasker sets down these words, “ This is the sole doctrine pressed and required to be believed, in the whole tenour of our Saviour's and his apostles' preaching,” p. 129, this was the only Gospel-article of faith which was preached to them.”
I shall pass by all other observations, that this way of citing these words would suggest, and only remark, that, if he brought these words, to prove the immediately preceding assertion of his, viz. That “ to find out but one article of faith was the main work I set myself about."; this argument, reduced into form, will stand thus :
He who says, that this is the sole doctrine pressed and required to be believed in the whole tenour of our Saviour's and his apostles' preaching, upon their assent to which, or disbelief of it, men were pronounced believers, or unbelievers; and accordingly received into the church of Christ, as members of his body, as far as mere believing could maise them so, or else kept out; sets himself to find out but one article of faith, as his main work. But the vindicator did so: ergo.
If this were the use he would make of those words of mine cited, I must desire him to prove the major. But he talks so freely, and without book every where, that I suppose he thought himself, by the privilege of a declaimer, exempt from being called strictly to an account for what he loosely says, and from proving what he should be called to an account for. Rail lustily, is a good rule; something of it will stick, true or false, proved or not proved.
If he alleges these words of mine, to answer my demand, Vind. p. 175, where he found that “ I contended for one single article of faith, with the exclusion and defiance of all the rest,” which he had charged me
it this as little as the former. For
“ That I had showed through the whole history of the Evangelists, and the Acts, that this is the sole doctrine, or only Gospel-article pressed and required to be believed in the whole tenour of our Saviour and his apostles' preaching ; upon their assent to which,
with; to say,
or disbelieving of it, men were pronounced believers or unbelievers, and accordingly received into the church of Christ, or kept out;" is the simple assertion of a positive matter of fact, and so carries in it no defiance, no, nor exclusion of any other doctrinal, or historical truth, contained in the Scripture : and therefore it remains still on the unmasker to show, where it is I express any defiance of any other truth contained in the word of God; or where I exclude any one doctrine of the Scriptures. So that if it be true, that “ I con
, tend for one article," my contention may be without any defiance, or so much as exclusion of any of the rest, notwithstanding any thing contained in these words. Nay, if it should happen that I am in a mistake, and that this was not the sole doctrine which our Saviour and his apostles preached, and, upon their assent to which, men were admitted into the church : yet the unmasker's accusation would be never the truer for that, unless it be necessary, that he that mistakes in one matter of fact should be at defiance with all other truths; or, that he who erroneously says, that our Saviour and his apostles admitted men into the Church, upon the believing him to be the Messiah, does thereby exclude all other truths published to the Jews before, or to Christian believers afterwards.
If these words be brought to prove that I contended “ for one article," barely “ one article," without any
, defiance or exclusion annexed to that contention ; I say neither do they prove that, as is manifest from the words themselves, as well as from what I said elsewhere, concerning the article of one God. For here I say,
. this is the only Gospel article, &c. upon which men were pronounced believers; which plainly intimates some other article, known and believed in the world before, and without the preaching of the Gospel.
To this the unmasker thinks he has provided a salvo, in these words, Socinianism unmasked, p. 6,
“ And when I told him of this one article, he knew well enough that I did not exclude the article of the Deity, for that is a principle of natural religion.” If it be fit for an unmasker to perceive what is in debate, he would know, that the question is not, what he excluded, or excluded not, but what articles he charged me to have excluded.
Taking it therefore to be his meaning (which it must be, if he meant any thing to the purpose), viz. That when he charged me so often and positively, for contesting for “one article,” viz. that “ Jesus was the Mes. siah," he did not intend to accuse me for excluding “the article of the Deity.” To prove that he did not so intend it, he tells me, that “I knew that he did not.”
Ans. How should I know it? He never told me so, either in his book, or otherwise. This I know, that he said, p. 115, that, “ I contended for one article, with the exclusion of all the rest.” If then the belief of the Deity be an article of faith, and be not the article of Jesus being the Messiah, it is one “ of the rest ;' and if “ all the rest” were excluded, certainly that being one of “ all the rest,” must be excluded. How then he could say, “ I knew that he excluded it not,” i. e. meant not that I excluded it, when he positively says, I did “exclude it,” I cannot tell, unless he thought that I knew him so well, that when he said one thing, I knew that he meant another, and that the quite contrary.
He now, it seems, acknowledges that I affirmed, that the belief of the Deity, as well as of Jesus being the Messiah, was required to make a man a believer. The believing in “one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth,” is one article; and in " Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord,” is another article. These, therefore, being “ two articles," and both asserted by me, to be required to make a man a Christian, let us see with what truth or ingenuity the unmasker could apply, besides that above-mentioned, these following expressions to me, as he does without any exception: “ Why then must there be one article, and no more ?” p. 115. “ Going to make a religion for his myrmidons, he contracts all into one article, and will trouble them with no more," p. 117. with systems, away with creeds ; let us have but one ar