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formal words in any part of that book, nor any words that are capable of that construction; provided they be considered with the relation they have to, and the manifest dependence they have on, what goes before, or what follows after them.”
But to this Mr. Edwards answers not. Whether it was because he would not, or because he could not, let the reader judge. But this is down upon his score already, and it is expected he should answer to it, or else confess that he cannot. And that there may be a fair decision of this dispute, I expect the same usage from him, that he should set down any proposition of his I have not answered to, and call on me for an answer, if I can; and if I cannot, I promise him to own it in print.
The creed-maker had said, “That it is most evident to any thinking and considerate person, that I purposely omit the epistolary writings of the apostles because they are fraught with other fundamental doctrines, besides that which I mention."
To this Mr. B-d answers, p. 5, That if by“fundainental articles, Mr. Edwards means here, all the propositions delivered in the epistles, concerning just those particular heads, he [Mr. Edwards] had here mentioned; it lies upon him to prove, that Jesus Christ hath made it necessary, that every person must have an explicit knowledge and belief of all those, before he can be a Christian."
But to this Mr. Edwards answers not. And yet, without an answer to it, all his talk about fundamentals, and those which he pretended to set down in that place, under the name of fundamentals, will signify nothing in the present case; wherein, by fundamentals, were meant such propositions which every person must necessarily have an explicit knowledge and belief of, before he can be a Christian.
Mr. B-d, in the same place, p. 6, 7, very truly and pertinently adds, “That it did not pertain to (my]
] undertaking to inquire what doctrines, either in the Epistles, or the Evangelists and the Acts, were of greatest moment to be understood by them who are
Christians; but what was necessary to be known and believed to a person's being a Christian. For there are many important doctrines both in the Gospels, and in the Acts, besides this, “That Jesus is the Messiah.' But how many soever the doctrines be, which are taught in the epistles, if there be no doctrine besides this, "That Jesus is the Messiah,' taught there as necessary to be believed to make a man a Christian ; all the doctrines taught there will not make any thing against what this author has asserted, nor against the method he hath observed : especially, considering we have an account, in the Acts of the Apostles, of what those persons, by whom the epistles were writ, did teach, as necessary to be believed to people's being Christians.
This, and what Mr. B-d subjoins, “That it was not my design to give an abstract of any of the inspired books," is so true, and has so clear reason in it, that any, but this writer, would have thought himself concerned to have answered something to it.
But to this Mr. Edwards answers not. It not being, it seems, a creed-maker's business to convince men's understanding by reason; but to impose on their belief by authority; or, where that is wanting, by falsehood and bawling. And to such Mr. Bold observes well, p. 8, “That if I had given the like account of the epistles, that would have been as little satisfactory as what I have done already, to those who are resolved not to distinguish betwixt what is necessary to be believed to make a man a Christian, and those articles which are to be believed by those who are Christians,' as they can attain to know that Christ hath taught them.”
This distinction the creed-maker, nowhere, that I remember, takes any notice of; unless it be p. 255, where he has something relating hereunto, which we shall consider, when we come to that place. I shall now go on to show what Mr. Bold has said, to which he answers not.
Mr. Bold farther tells him, p. 10, that if he will prove any thing in opposition to the Reasonableness of
Christianity, &c. it must be this: “That Jesus Christ and his apostles have taught, that the belief of some one article, or certain number of articles distinct from this, “That Jesus is the Messiah,' either as exclusive of, or in conjunction with, the belief of this article, doth constitute and make a person a Christian: but that the belief of this, that Jesus is the Messiah alone, doth not make a man a Christian.”
But to this Mr. Edwards irrefragably answers nothing.
Mr. Bold also, p. 10, charges him with his falsely accusing me in these words: “he pretends to contend for one single article, with the exclusion of all the rest, for this reason; because all men ought to understand their religion." And again, where he says, I am at this, viz. “That we must not have any point of doctrine in our religion, that the mob doth not, at the very first naming of it, perfectly understand and agree to;' Mr. Bold has quoted my express words to the contrary.
But to this this unanswerable gentleman answers nothing.
But if he be such a mighty disputant, that nothing can stand in his way; I shall expect his direct answer to it among those other propositions which I have set down to his score, and I require him to prove, if he can.
The creed-maker spends above four pages of his Reflections, in a great stir who is the author of those Ani. madversions he is reflecting on. To which I tell him, it matters not to a lover of trụth, or a confuter of errors, who was the author; but what they contain. He who makes such a deal of do about that which is nothing to the question, shows he has but little mind to the argument; that his hopes are more in the recommendation of names, and prejudice of parties, than in the strength of his reasons, and the goodness of his cause. A lover of truth follows that, whoever be for or against it; and can suffer himself to pass by no argument of his adversary, without taking notice of it, either in allowing its force, or giving it a fair answer. Were the ereedmaker capable of giving such an evidence as this of his love of truth, he would not have passed over the twenty first pages of Mr. Bold's Animadversions in silence. The falsehoods that are therein charged upon him would have required an answer of him, if he could have given any; and I tell him, he must give an answer, or confess the falsehoods.
In his 255th page, he comes to take notice of these words of Mr. Bold, in the 21st page of his Animadversions, viz. “That a convert to Christianity, or a Christian, must necessarily believe as many articles as he shall attain to know that Christ Jesus hath taught.” “Which, says the creed-maker, wholly invalidates what he had said before, in these words,” viz. “ That Jesus Christ and his apostles did not teach any thing as necessary to be believed to make a man a Christian, but only this one proposition, That Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah.” The reason he gives to show that the former of these propositions (in Mr. Bold) invalidates the latter, and that the animadverter contradicts himself, stands thus: “For, says he, if a Christian must give assent to all the articles taught by our Saviour in the Gospel, and that necessarily; then all those propositions reckoned up in my late discourse, being taught by Christ, or his apostles, are necessary to be believed.” Ans. And what, I beseech you, becomes of the rest of the propositions taught by Christ, or his apostles, which you have not reckoned up in your late discourse ? Are not they necessary to be believed, “if a Christian must give an assent to all the articles taught by our Saviour and his apostles ?"
Sir, if you will argue right from that antecedent, it must stand thus: “If a Christian must give an assent to all the articles taught by our Saviour and his apostles, and that necessarily;" then all the propositions in the New Testament, taught by Christ, or his apostles, are necessary to be believed. This consequence I grant to be true, and necessarily to follow from that antecedent, and pray make your best of it: but withal remember, that it puts an utter end to your select number of fundamentals, and makes all the truths de
livered in the New Testament necessary to be explicitly believed by every Christian.
But, sir, I must take notice to you, that if it be uncertain whether he that writ the Animadversions be the same person that preached the sermon, yet it is very visible that it is the very same person that reflects on both; because he here again uses the same trick, in answering in the Animadversions the same thing that had been said in the sermon, viz. by pretending to argue from words as Mr. Bold's, when Mr. Bold has said no such thing. The proposition you argue from here is this: “If a Christian must give his assent to all the ar
a ticles taught by our Saviour, and that necessarily.” But Mr. Bold says no such thing. His words, as set down by yourself, are:“ A Christian must necessarily” “believe as many articles as he shall attain to know that Christ Jesus hath taught.” And is there no difference between “all that Christ Jesus hath taught, and as many as any one shall attain to know that Christ Jesus hath taught?” There is so great a dif. ference between these two, that one can scarce think even such a creed-maker could mistake it. For one of them admits all those to be Christians, who, taking Jesus for the Messiah, their Lord and King, sincerely apply themselves to understand and obey his doctrine and law, and to believe all that they understand to be taught by him: the other shuts out, if not all mankind, yet nine hundred ninety-nine of a thousand, of those who profess themselves Christians, from being really so. For he speaks within compass, who says there is not one of a thousand, if there be any one man at all, who explicitly knows and believes all that our Saviour and his apostles taught, i. e. all that is delivered in the New Testament, in the true sense that it is there intended. For if giving assent to it, in any sense, will serve the turn, our creedmaker can have no exception against Socinians, Papists, Lutherans, or any other, who, acknowledging the Scripture to be the word of God, do yet oppose his system.
But the creed-maker goes on, p. 255, and endeavours