« ElőzőTovább »
· III. The third grand Topick of the Dialogue under Consideration is, the Compliments he abounds in every where, and makes a Present of to the Clergy. Every Reader will perceive that to be one of the chief Designs of writing, and a main Turn of his Book. With this View he affirms, by virtue of his own Authority, that the Sacraments were not intended as standing Laws of Christianity *, though the Revelation exprelly makes them so, and that Maxim with respect to Baptism and the Jewish Custom to the firit Pros felytes and their Descendants, if the Root is holy, So are the Branches notwithstanding, as I have elsewhere made appear against a celebrated Socinian; he seems to appropriate Baptism to the Physician of the Body, a Regimen by way of Cold Batb, but of no fpiritual Ufet. That the Clergy, however, have no Part nor Lot in the Matter , though the Nature of Things evinces the contrary, from the Confusion of what is every Bodies Business is no Bodies'; Order must arise, and some particular Persons must fucceffively be appointed. So that his true Aim at the Positives seems to be levelled at them, to take them down, find them nothing to do, and so kick up their Heels, and push them clear off the Stage of Christendom, as utterly useless in their Generation. For he supposes every Man fufficient to teach himself Morality (the entire Gospel of Christ and Purport of all Revelation as he would make it) by the congenerate means of Attention in his own Hand ; at that hopeful Prospect he seems to rejoice greatly, and hug
+ Page 110.
I Page 104.
himself very much. But is it not a very hard Cafe upon them, to make all their Sermons to be necessary Nonsense, as before cited, when perhaps nine Parcs in ten of the Sermons of the Clergy he fo biccerly inveighs against are really upon the Ends of Religion, the moral Subjects he so much excols, and will only allow to thew their Heads in any Pulpit. To rail at them of every Denomination, without Distinction *, yet elsewhere to admit a Distinction between wife and honest, and those that are otherwise t, looks as if fury had distracted his Head, confounded his Words, betrayed him in his Genius for fcolding, and would certainly rob and disappoint him allo of the Effect of it. The Popish Clergy, it is coo true, get all their Dominion by their Notion of Propitiation, because they make themfelves the efficacious Hands of Absolution : Yet without distinguishing, he avers against Fact, that these Positives or instituted Parts of Religion are very beneficial to the Clergy including Protestani f. But the Question is, whether they could well have less than they have, suppose them fet a-part by the State, to preach nothing else but moral Righteousness, i. e. his Gospel. To indulge his satyrical Temper (which Tbeophanes who knows him well digstinguishes him for, making it, as necessary to him as Breathing, « and that he can no more live without it, than “ without daily Bread, or natural Food | espe. cially upon a fashionable Topick, may be a little excusable from his great Desire of being in che Mode with your thoughtless kind of People. But to call them Knaves, Cheats, Impostors, &c.
+ Page 431.
435. | Page 87
| Page 199, 177.
E N D I X. Indiscriminately and from Generation to Generation, without Proof chat all are so, I wifh it may not be accounted a little Wickedness in, or a very great Contradiction to, a Moral Philofopbore but to judge and declare them all to be Hypocriles for not believing what they profess to believe, is not only to rob Man of his Character, but God also of his incommunicable one of Knowing the Heart, and so upon the Ruins of all good Mano ners to mbunt up to Impiety itself. But I pray God Almighty to forgive him all Sins against his Divine Majesty, as well as against Man and his Indigencies, whatsoever he has folded up under the Title of a Moral Philosopher, and give him a Sense to repent of them, under a better and truer Sense of the Nature of God, and Man. And now in Conclusion, let me a little expoftulate with this strange Writer, in the Name of God, and Man.
How can you justify your Book before either, in thus presumptuously dismembring the Revelation of the one, and robbing (I wont fay feloniously) the other of bis Peace of Conscience, the greateft certainly that bears the Name of PEACE, or the Heart of Man can have any value for? All Revelation from Heaven is founded in a New Covenant, for the Comfort and Consolation of Mankind, as well as his Instruction, but the Consideration of either Old, or New Covenant is fhut out of your Scheme: And so is the Mediator of the New Covenant in all respects, except bare naming him once under that Character*, without ever putting him to any use, or assigning him any thing to do in such a Scacion. This is a most miserable, disconfolate Charm in your System of Salvation, A Mediator between God
* Page 396. VOL. II.
and Man, supposes both Parties at variance ; and in order to an effectual Reconciliation, some real Propitiation, Atonement, or Satisfaction to be negotiated by this Mediator, such as is suitable, in the first Plaće, to the Honour of God, and be coming the Dignity of his Laws to accept; and then, in the next Place, such as máy give the best Assurance and Pledge unto Man, that his past Sins will be forgiven, upon Condition of doing his Duty for the future, to the best of his Power, conforming to those easy Terms, and regularly applying to those Means, Aids, Motives, Helps and Instruments prescribed by the Mediacor, 'which he has laid down for his Assistance, and recommended to his Benefit entirely; that he may be enabled to do the Will of God, and not falling short of the Qualifications for his Favour, may live in solid Peace of Conscience with him in this Life, and in eternal Happiness in the next. But in your disconcerted, disfigured Scheme, the Mediator does in no Sense, that Words can bear, make our Peace with God, or become a Propitiation, or die for our Sins, for the Forgiveness or Remission of them, or bring any such Comfort unto Man: Man does every Thing of that Kind without his Mediation. He neither superintends the Means, Aids, Motives, Helps and Instruments of Reconciliation, nor has any thing to do with them, I mean by Motives in the Sense I have already treated of them ; you make nothing transferable from, or allow any Intercourse with this Mediator, but his Instruction and Example in the moral Law of Righteousness. His Deach with you is altogether for Example of Suffering for Righteousness, or Testimony of the Truth of his Dočtrine; you suppose also his Life an Example of well-doing, that is the Ultimatum, the whole of your defective Saviour, your sorry, your no Mediator. You raise him indeed from the Dead ; but that has nothing to do with your Method of faving the World, unless Man by imitating him can be able to raise himself also from the Dead: but you deny or diffemble the true End and Reafon of his Resurrection, viz. be rose again for our Juftification, that he might appear before all the World to have conquer'd our laft Enemy, Death, in our Nature (as well as to have foretold his own Rising again, neither of which any other did, befides himself, who had been raised from the Dead) to diffolve that Wages of Sin with Honour and Justice, and to have made our Peace with God. You confess him to be a moral Means of our Salvation, but deny him to be a meritorious Cause in any respect. But how can his Resurrection in che Body be a moral Means of our Resurrection in it, without which there is no Salvation? Who is the Raifer of the Dead, but He who is the Reo Jurrection and the Life? He must therefore be a meritorious Cause of that Hopes of Glory, and be invested with Power accordingly.
NEITHER can I find how you dispose of him after his Rising ; you give him no Ascent to Heaven, you place him not at the Right Hand of God, you afford him no longer Power over ús, nor impart any farther Concern for us. Your wont bave ibis Man to reign over us, you tie up his Hands : (as far as you have the Power) from being our Judge or Rewarder, our Lord or King, our Intercessor or Advocate. And don't you thereby cruelly and wilfully deprive Mankind of the greatest Consolations ; God of the Glory of that condescending Dispensation ; and Christ of his Right and Conquest, Rule and Regimen, Be