« السابقةمتابعة »
the great affairs of religion, and the everlasting concern of souls, before all mankind, would lose his ears for it. What, therefore, this worthy gentleman alleges out of Mr. Bold, as a contradiction to himself, being only the creed-maker's contradiction to truth, and clear matter of fact, needs no other answer.
The rest of what he calls Reflections on Mr. Bold's Sermon being nothing but either rude and misbecoming language of him; or pitiful childish application to him, to change his persuasion at the creed-maker's entreaty, and give up the truth he hath owned, in courtesy to this doughty combatant; shows the ability of the man.
Leave off begging the question, and superciliously presuming that you are in the right; and, instead of that, show by argument: and I dare answer for Mr. Bold, you will have him, and I promise you, with him, one convert more. But arguing is not, it seems, this notable disputant's way. If boasting of himself, and contemning of others, false quotations, and feigned matters of fact, which the reader neither can know, nor is the question concerned in, if he did know, will not do; there is an end of him: he has shown his excellency in scurrilous declamation; and there you have the whole of this unanswerable writer. And for this, I appeal to his own writings in this controversy, if judicious reader can have the patience to look them
In the beginning of his Reflections on Mr. Bold's Sermon, he confidently tells the world, “that he
" had found that the manager of the Reasonableness of Christianity had prevailed on Mr. Bold to preach a sermon upon his reflections,” &c. And adds, “And
“ we cannot but think, that that man must speak the truth, and defend it very impartially and substantially, who is thus brought on to undertake the cause." And at the latter end he addresses himself to Mr. Bold, as one that is drawn off, to be an under journeyman-worker in Socinianism. In his gracious allowance, “Mr. Bold is, seemingly, a man of some relish of religion and piety," p. 244. He is forced also to own him to be a man of sobriety and temper,
p. 245. A very good rise to give him out to the world, , in the very next words, as a man of a profligate con
a science: for so he must be, who can be drawn off to preach or write for Socinianism, when he thinks it a most dangerous error ; who can “dissemble with himself, and choke his inward persuasions,” (as the creedmaker insinuates that Mr. Bold does, in the same address to him, p. 248) and write contrary to his light. Had the creed-maker had reason to think in earnest, that Mr. Bold was going off to Socinianism, he might have reasoned with him fairly, as with a man running into a dangerous error; or if he had certainly known; that he was by any by-ends prevailed on to undertake a cause contrary to his conscience, he might have some reason to tell the world, as he does, p. 239, “That we cannot think he should speak truth, who is thus brought to undertake the cause." If he does not certainly know, that “Mr. Bold was thus brought to undertake the cause,” he could not have shown a more villanous and unchristian mind, than in publishing such a character of a minister of the Gospel, and a worthy man, upon no other grounds, but because it might be subservient to his ends. He is engaged in a controversy, that by argument he cannot maintain ; nor knew any other way, from the beginning, to attack the book he pretends to write against, but by crying out Socinianism ; a name he knows in great disgrace with all other sects of Christians, and therefore sufficient to deter all those who approve and condemn books by hearsay, without examining their truth themselves, from perusing a treatise, to which he could affix that imputation. Mr. Bold's name, (who is publicly known to be no Socinian) he foresees, will wipe off that false imputation, with a great many of those who are led by names more than things. This seems exceedingly to trouble him, and he labours, might and main, to get Mr. Bold to quit a book as Socinian, which Mr. Bold knows is not Socinian, because he has read and considered it.
But though our creed-maker be mightily concerned, that Mr. Bąd should not appear in the defence of it; yet this concern cannot raise him one jot above that
honesty, skill, and good breeding, which appear towards others. He manages this matter with Mr. B-d as he has done the rest of the controversy ; just in the same strain of invention, civility, wit, and good sense. He tells him, besides what I have above set down, “ That he is drawn off to debase himself, and the post, i.e. the ministry he is in,” p. 245. «« That he hath said very ill things, to the lessening and impairing, yea, to the defaming of that knowledge and belief of our Saviour, and of the articles of Christianity, which are necessarily required of us,” p. 245.
245. “That the devout and pious,” (whereby he means himself: for one and none is his own beloved wit and argument)“ observing that Mr. Bold is come to the necessity of but one article of faith, they expect that he may in time hold that none is necessary,” p. 248. “That if he writes again in the same strain, he will write rather like a Turkish spy than a Christian preacher; and that he is a backslider, and sailing to Racovia with a side wind :" than which, what can there be more scurrilous, or more malicious ? And yet at the same time that he outrages him thus, beyond not only what Christian charity, but common civility, would allow in an ingenuous adversary, he makes some awkward attempts to soothe him with some ill-timed commendations; and would have his undervaluing Mr. Bold's animadversions pass for a compliment to him; because he, for that reason, pretends not to believe so crude and shallow a thing (as he is pleased to call it) to be his. A notable contrivance to gain the greater liberty of railing at him under another name, when Mr. B-d's, it seems, is too well known to serve him so well to that purpose. Besides, it is of good use to fill
three or four pages of his Reflections; a great convenience to a writer, who knows all the ways of baffling his opponents, but argument; and who always makes a great deal of stir about matters foreign to his subject; which, whether they are granted or denied, make nothing at all to the truth of the question on either side. For what is it to the shallowness or depth of the Animadversions, who writ them? Or to the truth or falsehood of Mr.
B-d's Defence of the Reasonableness of Christianity, whether a layman, or a churchman, a Socinian, or one of the church of England, answered the creedmaker as well as he? Yet this is urged as a matter of great weight; but yet, in reality, it amounts to no more but this, that a man of any denomination, who wishes well to the peace of Christianity, and has observed the horrible effects the Christian religion has felt from the impositions of men, in matters of faith, may have reason to defend a book, wherein the simplicity of the Gospel, and the doctrine proposed by our Saviour and his apostles, for the conversion of unbelievers, is made out, though there be not one word of the distinguishing tenets of his sect in it. But that all those, who, under any name, are for imposing their own orthodoxy, as necessary to be believed, and persecuting those who dissent from them, should be all against it, is not perhaps very strange.
One thing more I must observe of the creed-maker on this occasion : in his Socinian Creed, chap. vi. the author of the Reasonableness of Christianity, &c. and his book, must be judged of, by the characters and writings of those who entertain or commend his notions. “A professed Unitarian has defended it;" therefore he is a Socinian. The author of A Letter to the Deists speaks well of it; therefore he is a Deist. Another, as an abettor of the Reasonableness of Christianity, he mentions, p. 125, whose letters I have never seen; and his opinions too are, I suppose, set down there as belonging to me.
Whatever is bad in the tenets or writings of these men infects me. But the mischief is, Mr. Bold's orthodoxy will do me no good: but, because he has defended my book against Mr. Edwards, all my faults are become his, and he has a mighty load of accusations laid upon him. Thus contrary causes serve so good a natured, so charitable, and candid a writer as the creed-maker, to the same purpose of censure and railing. But I shall desire him to figure to himself the loveliness of that creature, which turns every thing into venom. What others are, or hold, who have expressed favourable thoughts of my
book, I think myself not concerned in. What opinions others have published, make those in my book neither true nor false ; and he that, for the sake of truth, would confute the errors in it, should show their falsehood and weakness, as they are: but they who write for other ends than truth, are always busy with other matters; and where they can do nothing by reason and argument, hope to prevail with some by borrowed
prejudices and party.
Taking therefore the Animadversions, as well as the sermon, to be his, whose name they bear, I shall leave to Mr. B-d himself to take hat notice he thinks fit of the little sense, as well as great impudence, of putting his name in print to what is not his, or taking it away from what he hath set it to, whether it belongs to his bookseller or answerer. Only I cannot pass by the palpable falsifying of Mr. B-d's words, in the beginning of his epistle to the reader, without mention. Mr. B-d's words are: “whereby I came to be furnished with a truer and more just notion of the main design of that treatise.” And the good creed-maker sets them down thus: “The main design of my own treatise or sermon :” a sure way for such a champion for truth to secure to himself the laurel or the whetstone!
This irresistible disputant, (who silences all that come in his way, so that those that would cannot answer him) to make good the mighty encomiums he has given himself, ought (one would think) to clear all as he goes, and leave nothing by the way unanswered, for fear he should fall into the number of those poor baffled wretches, whom he with so much scorn reproaches, that they would answer, if they could.
Mr. B-d begins his Animadversions with this remark, that our creed-maker had said, That “I give it over and over again in these formal words, viz. That nothing is required to be believed by any Christian man but this, *That Jesus is the Messiah."" To which Mr. B-d replies, p. 4, in these words: “Though I have read over the Reasonableness of Christianity, &c. with some attention, I have not observed those