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marks to me. I think the world does not so much concern itself about him or me, that it need be told in that inventory, he has given of his own good parts, in his first paragraph, which of us two has the better hand at "flourishes, jesting, and common-places;" if I am, as he says, p. 2, troubled with " angry fits, and passionate ferments, which, though I strive to palliate, are easily discernible," &c. and he be more laudably ingenuous in the openness of that temper, which he shows in every leaf; I shall leave to him the entire glory of boasting of it. Whatever we brag of our performances, they will be just as they are, however he may think to add to his by his own encomium on them. The difference in style, order, coherence, good breeding (for all those, amongst others, the unmasker mentions) the reader will observe, whatever I say of them; and at best they are nothing to the question in hand. For though I am a "tool, pert, childish, starched, impertinent, incoherent, trifling, weak, passionate," &c. commendations I meet with before I get to the 4th page, besides what follows, as, upstart Racovian," p. 24; "Flourishing scribbler," p. 41; " Dissembler," 106; " Pedantic," 107: I say, although I am all this, and what else he liberally bestows on me in the rest of his book, may have truth on my side, and that in the present case serves my turn.
Having thus placed the laurels on his own head, and sung applause to his own performance, he, p. 4, enters, as he thinks, upon his business, which ought to be, as he confesses, p. 3, "to make good his former charges." The first whereof he sets down in these words: That "I unwarrantably crowded all the necessary articles of faith into one, with a design of favouring Socinianism."
If it may be permitted to the subdued to be so bold with one who is already conqueror, I desire to know, where that proposition is laid down in these terms, as laid to my charge. Whether it be true or false, shall, if he pleases, be hereafter examined: but it is not, at present, the matter in question. There are certain pro
positions, which he having affirmed, and I denied, are under debate between us: and that the dispute may not run into an endless ramble, by multiplying of new, before the points in contest are decided, those ought first to be brought to an issue.
To go on, therefore, in the order of his Socinianism unmasked; (for, p. 3, he has, out of the Mishna, taught me good breeding, " to answer the first, and so in order") the next thing he has against me is p. 5, which, that the reader may understand the force of, I must inform him, that in p. 105, of his Thoughts concerning the Causes of Atheism, he said, that I "give this plausible conceit," as he calls 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." This I denied. To make it good, Socinianism unmasked, p. 5, he thus argues. First, "It is observable, that this guilty man would be shifting off the indictment, by excepting against the formality of words, as if such were not to be found in his book: but when doth he do this? In the close of it, when this matter was exhausted, and he had nothing else to say," Vind. p. 113, " then he bethinks himself of his salvo," &c. Answ. As if a falsehood were ever the less a falsehood, because it was not opposed, or would grow into a truth, if it were not taken notice of, before the 38th page of the answer. I desire him to show me these formal words over and over again," in my Reasonableness of Christianity: nor let him hope to evade, by saying I would be "shifting, by excepting against the formality of the words."
To say, that "I have, over and over again, those formal words" in my book, is an assertion of a matter of fact; let him produce the words, and justify his allegation, or confess, that this is an untruth published to the world: and since he makes so bold with truth, in a matter visible to every body, let the world be judge, what credit is to be given to his allegations of matters of fact, in things foreign to what I have printed; and that are not capable of a negative proof. A sam
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 Vindication, 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
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 make 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 with; I say, it proves this as little as the former. For to say, "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,