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thing that sounds like it. This, and several other things, show, that he is all over Socinianized." Which in effect is, that because I have not set down all that this author perhaps would have done, therefore I am a Socinian. But what if I should say, I set down as much as my argument required, and yet am no Socinian? Would he, from my silence and omission, give me the lie, and say, I am one? Surmises that may be overturned by a single denial are poor arguments, and such as some men would be ashamed of: at least, if they are to be permitted to men of this gentleman's skill and zeal, who knows how to make a good use of conjectures, suspicions, and uncharitable censures in the cause of God; yet even there too (if the cause of God can need such arts) they require a good memory to keep them from recoiling upon the author. He might have taken notice of these words in my book, (page 9, of this vol.) "From this estate of death, Jesus Christ restores all mankind to life." And a little lower, And a little lower, "The life which Jesus Christ restores to all men." And p. 109, "He that hath incurred death for his own transgression, cannot lay down his life for another, as our Saviour professes he did." This, methinks, sounds something like "Christ's purchasing life for us by his death." But this reverend gentleman has an answer ready; it was not in the place he would have had it in; it was not where I mention the advantages and benefits of Christ's coming. And therefore, I not having there one syllable of Christ's purchasing life and salvation for us by his death, or any thing that sounds like it: this, and several other things, that might be offered, show that I am "all over Socinianized." A very clear and ingenuous
proof, and let him enjoy it.
But what will become of me, that I have not mentioned satisfaction!
Possibly, this reverend gentleman would have had charity enough for a known writer of the brotherhood, to have found it by an innuendo, in those words. above quoted, of laying down his life for another. But every thing is to be strained here the other way. For
the author of the Reasonableness of Christianity, &c., is of necessity to be represented as a Socinian; or else his book may be read, and the truths in it, which Mr. Edwards likes not, be received, and people put upon examining. Thus one, as full of happy conjectures and suspicions as this gentleman, might be apt to argue. But what if the author designed his treatise, as the title shows, chiefly for those who were not yet thoroughly, or firmly, Christians, proposing to work on those, who either wholly disbelieved, or doubted of the truth of the Christian religion? Would any one blame his prudence, if he mentioned only those advantages, which all Christians are agreed in? Might he not remember and observe that command of the apostle, Rom. xiv. 1," Him that is weak in the faith, receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations;" without being a Socinian? Did he amiss, that he offered to the belief of those who stood off, that, and only that, which our Saviour and his apostles preached, for the reducing the unconverted world: and would any one think he in earnest went about to persuade men to be Christians, who should use that as an argument to recommend the Gospel, which he has observed men to lay hold on as an objection against it? To urge such points of controversy as necessary articles of faith, when we see our Saviour and the apostles, in their preaching, urged them not as necessary to be believed, to make men Christians, is (by our own authority) to add prejudices to prejudices, and to block up our own way to those men, whom we would have access to, and prevail upon. But some men had rather you should write booty, and cross your own design of removing men's prejudices to Christianity, than leave out one tittle of what they put into their systems. To such, I say, convince but men of the mission of Jesus Christ, make them but see the truth, simplicity, and reasonableness, of what he himself taught, and required to be believed by his followers; and you need not doubt but, being once fully persuaded of his doctrine, and the advantages which all Christians agree are received by him, such converts will not lay by the Scriptures, but by a
constant reading and study of them get all the light they can from this divine revelation, and nourish themselves up in the words of faith, and of good doctrine, as St. Paul speaks to Timothy. But some men will not bear it, that any one should speak of religion, but according to the model that they themselves have made of it. Nay, though he proposes it upon the very terms, and in the very words which our Saviour and his apostles preached it in, yet he shall not escape censures and the severest insinuations. To deviate in the least, or to omit any thing contained in their articles, is heresy, under the most invidious names in fashion, and it is well if he escapes being a downright atheist. Whether this be the way for teachers to make themselves hearkened to, as men in earnest in religion, and really concerned for the salvation of men's souls, I leave them to consider. What success it has had, towards persuading men of the truth of Christianity, their own complaints of the prevalency of atheism, on the one hand, and the number of Deists on the other, sufficiently show.
Another thing laid to my charge, p. 105 and 107, is my "forgetting, or rather wilful omitting, some plain and obvious passages," and some "famous testimonies in the evangelists;" namely Matt. xxviii. 19, “Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." And John
i. 1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." And verse 14," And the Word was made flesh." Mine, it seems, in this book, are all sins of omission. And yet, when it came out, the buzz, the flutter, and noise which was made, and the reports which were raised, would have persuaded the world, that it subverted all morality, and was designed against the Christian religion. I must confess, discourses of this kind, which I met with, spread up and down, at first amazed me; knowing the sincerity of those thoughts, which persuaded me to publish it (not without some hope of doing some service to decaying piety, and mistaken and slandered Christianity. I satisfied myself against those heats, with
this assurance, that, if there was any thing in my book against what any one called religion, it was not against the religion contained in the Gospel. And for that, I appeal to all mankind.
But to return to Mr. Edwards, in particular, I must take leave to tell him, that if " omitting plain and obvious passages, the famous testimonies in the evangelists," be a fault in me, I wonder why he, among so many of this kind that I am guilty of, mentions so few. For I must acknowledge I have omitted more, nay, many more, that are "plain and obvious passages, and famous testimonies in the evangelists," than those he takes notice of. But if I have left out none of those passages or testimonies," which contain what our Saviour and his apostles preached, and required assent to, to make men believers, I shall think my omissions (let them be what they will) no faults in the present case. Whatever doctrines Mr. Edwards would have to be believed, if they are such as our Saviour and his apostles required to be believed, to make a man a Christian, he will be sure to find them in those preachings and "famous testimonies," of our Saviour and his apostles, that I have quoted. And if they are not there, he may rest satisfied, that they were not proposed by our Saviour and his apostles, as necessary to be believed, to make men Christ's disciples.
If the omission of other texts in the evangelists (which are all true also, and no one of them to be disbelieved) be a fault, it might have been expected that Mr. Edwards should have accused me for leaving out Matt. i. 18-23, and Matt. xxvii. 24, 35, 50, 60, for these are plain and obvious passages and famous testimonies in the evangelists;" and such, whereon these articles of the Apostles' Creed, viz. " born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried," are founded. These, being articles of the Apostles' Creed, are looked upon as "fundamental doctrines" and one would wonder, why Mr. Edwards so quietly passes by their omission; did it not appear, that he was so intent on fixing his imputation of So
cinianism upon me, that, rather than miss that, he was content to drop the other articles of his creed. For I must observe to him, that if he had blamed me for the omission of the places last quoted out of St. Matthew (as he had as much reason as for any other) it would plainly have appeared, how idle and ill-grounded his charging Socinianism on me was. But, at any rate, he was to give the book an ill name; not because it was Socinian; for he has no more reason to charge it with Socinianism for the omissions he mentions, than the Apostles' Creed. It is therefore well for the compilers of that creed, that they lived not in Mr. Edwards's days: for he would, no doubt, have found them "all over Socinianized," for omitting the texts he quotes, and the doctrines he collects out of John i. and John xiv. p. 107, 108. Socinianism then is not the fault of the book, whatever else it be. For I repeat it again, there is not one word of Socinianism in it. I, that am not so good at conjectures as Mr. Edwards, shall leave it to him to say, or to those who can bear the plainness and simplicity of the Gospel, to guess, what its fault is.
Some men are shrewd guessers, and others would be thought to be so: but he must be carried far by his forward inclination who does not take notice, that the world is apt to think him a diviner, for any thing rather than for the sake of truth, who sets up his own suspicions against the direct evidence of things; and pretends to know other men's thoughts and reasons better than they themselves. I had said, that the epistles, being writ to those who were already believers, could not be supposed to be writ to them to teach them fundamentals, without which they could not be believers.
And the reason I gave, why I had not gone through the writings in the epistles, to collect the fundamental articles of faith, as I had through the preachings of our Saviour and the apostles, was, because those fundamental articles were in those epistles promiscuously, and without distinction, mixed with other truths. And, therefore, we shall find and discern those great and ne