« ForrigeFortsæt »
how justly soever they may be imputed. Dean SHERLOCK, when he enters upon his Matter against you, begins in this common theological Way by saying, that you (n) have taken great Pains to them, that the. Argument from Propbely, for the Truth of Christianity, as managed and apply'd by the Writers of the New Teftament, is absurd and ridiculous; and that we may not flatter ourselves with Hopes of Asistance from other Arguments, you give us this Text of PETER, viz. 2 Pet. i. 19. to new, by the Authority of our own Scriptures, that Prophely, as bad an Argument as it is, is nevertheless the very best, that our Cause affords; but then he waves this Reflection in the next Words, by saying, but your Views be to yourself, what Truth there is in your Exposition, and Application of this part of Scripture, we shall foon fee; the Dean rightly judging, that his Business was only to dispute against the Things asserted by you.
Should I, for Ēxample, represent Mr. Green, as writing his Letters to you in order to get a little Credit among old Women and a small Livelihood, and to raise the Indignation of the Mob against you; and should I treat his Exposition of ISAIAH, as a most pitiful Project, and not deserving the raising his Hire or Pay, or indeed any Pay at all, and not proper to fir the Passions of the People, and fhould fay to him, “ Sir, if you would do any Thing iss to merit Credit and Pay, and to infiame the
(n) Sherlock's Use, &c. P, 3.
“People, by explaining ISAIAH, against the “ Author of the Discourse of the Grounds, “ you should give us, out of the inexhaustible “ Stock of Theology, an Exposition, that fam “ your'd of a more exalted Enthusiasm, and “ not such an Exposition, fo low and flat, and “ so obviously false, as Thews to every Body “the utmost Distress you are in to support “ what you pretend is the Cause of Christianity, “ and manifestly gives the Advantage in Point “ of Truth to an Exposition (supposed de“structive of Christianity) of the Author of “the Discourse of the Grounds, if that Excc position may be calld his, which is the most “common Expoßtion, and indeed the most “ manifest Sense of the Place.” But is such a Way of Writing to be justify'd, in any Case, except in the Way of Retorsion, to teach Men better Morality, and the true Method of Disputation?'
I proceed now to the Confideration of a Matter, which, though I have reserved for a: Conclusion of what I shall say, yet was the fole End of my writing this Letter. For I should never have troubled myself to have attack'd his Reasonings, if I had not thought fit to have attack'd his immoral Assault upon you ; which I do, not for his Sake, whom I do not pretend to make ashamed of it, but for the Sake of others, that such Persons may be noted.
After * After he has laid down these two Propofitions ; first, (6) that there is a God; secondly, that there is some Duty that we owe unto him, he adds, I say Nothing for the Confirmation of those Propositions, because I am writing to one, who has not OPENLY profess'd himself an Enemy to natural Religion.
In answer to which I observe, first, that the Insinuation contain'd therein serves no Purpose of the Controversy. Secondly, that if such Liberty be allow'd in Controversy, there is no End of Abuses ; and Controversies must be, as indeed they too commonly are, little else besides Scolding. For what Abuses may not be insinuated, if Reports and Imaginations are allow'd to be Grounds fufficient to bring in such foreign Matters ; and what are such Matters, but scolding? Thirdly, this Insinuation might, on many Accounts, have been let alone; and especially since Mr. Green could not well hope, in Virtue of his (sectarian) Credit, and under the present antihigh-church, anti-presbyterian, anti-popish, anti-hobbian, and truly christian State of Affairs among us, to set the Magistrate or Mob upon you, by his Calumnies. Why should he shew his Willingness to cut a Man's Th: oat, when he is so impotent? The Spirit of his Trade or Craft, or of his Religion or Irreligion, must needs be very predominant in him. Fourthly, that such Insinuations carry always with them greater Evidence of their Truth in
(0) Leiters, p. 26.
the Perfon, who makes them, than in the Person, on whom they are thrown, and ought ever to be retorted. The Truth of which is grounded on one of the most common Observations among Men ; which I will give you in the Words of an ingenious modern Philo sopher, who says to a reverend presbyterian Divine, “how came it into your Mind, that “a Man can be an Atheist? I know DAVID
confesseth of himself, upon the Sight of the “Prosperity of the Wicked, that his Feet had " almost slipp'd into a short Doubtfuluess of “ the divine Providence. And if any Thing "else can cause a Man to flip in the same “K nd, it is the seeing such as you, who, “ though you write nothing but what is dic
tated to you by some Doctor in Divinity, to “ break through the greatest of God's Com“ mandments, (which is Charity) in every “ Line before his Face. But how, I say, “ could you think me an Atheist, unless it “ were, because finding your Doubts of the “ Deity more frequent than other Men do, “ you are thereby the apter to fall into that “ Kind of Reproach? Wherein you are like “ Women of poor and evil Education when " they fcold ; among whom the readiest dism " graceful Word is Whore; why not Theif, si or any other ill Name, but because, when “ they remember themselves, they think that « Reproach the likeliest to be true ? ” And this Observation, I shall take Leave farther to support by a Paffage from Mr. GREEN him
self. He is pleased to say, (p)“ it is the Ob“servation of an ingenious Author, that Truth “is always near at Hand, hits upon our Lips, “ and is ready to drop from us before we are “ aware. Of This, he says, you have given “us an Instance, p. 29. where you tell us, “ that God can never be supposed OFTEN to. s permit Miracles to be done for the Confirma« tion of a false or pretended Mission."
Upon which I observe, that it seems very extraordinary to suppose such an Origin for any Truth advanced by you ; who may as justly be thought to consider what you say, and to design to speak Truth, as to speak it only before you are aware. And I think such a Reflection, so unjust with Respect to you, must proceed from one, who was well acquainted with the Character of Persons, who have not Truth in View, and if it drops from them, speak it before they are aware; and who have in View to speak and subscribe, what they are hired to speak, as some I know profess to do.
He concludes his last Letter with faying, “ that (9) it is his hearty Defire, that you " would seriously review your own Work “ and be convinced of your Mistakes, and “ fo be brought to the Acknowledgement of “ the Truth; ” That is, to what Mr. Green thinks the Truth, or what he thinks fit to say is the Truth.
I cannot in Conscience make him a Wish of the like Kind; being perswaded, that the
(0) Letters, p. 40..
(9) Letters, p. 103.