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Eight arguments from scripture to prove, that the Son is a Being inseriour and subordinate to the Father, and that the Fatlier alone is the supreme God.
First printed in the Year 1715.
keveiend the CLERGY,
And in Particular to the Right Reverend
GILBERT3 Lord Bishop of S A RU Iks,'
Our vigilant and laborious Diocesan,
My LOR D,
BEFORE I presume to offer and commend to the Clergy, and in particular to ycur lordship's consideration and protection* the annexed papers, I beg leave to observe a sew things, in order to obviate what may be urged against me upon the account of this wolk, viz. first, my inability in general for such a performance; and in particular my not being read in the original languages. To the first part, viz. my inability in general, I answer, that I have done' my best. And as there are degrees of usefulness, if this mean performance becomes useful in the least degrees ("which I hope it will) towards the bringing home: the banish'd truths of christianity; this, I think, will be sufficient apology for me, and a sufficient answer to the objection.
To the latter part of the objection, viz. my not being read in the original languages; I answer, first; what I have done in this affair, was not original intended for publick view, much less to engage in a controversy with the
learnlearned World; a work which I am unqualified for i and therefore would not meddJe with. all that I attended, being only to lay before my neighbours, who are otherwise minded, the grounds and reasons of my dissent from them, and to answer their objections, in order to prevent their uncharitable and thereby unchristian censures and reproaches; and (if it might be) to bring them over to what appears to me to be the truth. But when these papers had been view'd by some friends, it was judged they might be of more publick use; and so requested that they might be printed. Wherefore* in submission both to the judgment and request of those friends, I have given way to their being offered to more publick consideration. But, secondly, I answer, what I have attempted in this work, is to vindicate and restore the first great article of primitive christian faith,, viz. that there is but one supreme God; and that the G^and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and he only, exclusive of all other beings, subfistances, person, and persons whatsoever, is this one supreme God. This is a controversy which may be reduced into a very narrow compass, viz. the answering directly yes, or no, to this plain question: Is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, really and truly the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? Here, it the answer be in the negative, then ,he express testimony of Christ and his Apostles is derived: if in the - affirmitive, then what I am pleading for is yielded up, viz. the supremacy of the Father. This, and this only, is what I have principally design'd to make good; and therefore whatever else J may have happened to touch upon, is only occasionally, and as it has a relation to this impor-j tant Point. And this being a thing so level to the human und'-rfranding, a nd in which the scriptures . 4re so full and plain, the criticising upon an orik Bj ginaL
ginal word, would not make for or against: me Itt the present case; and Consequently there was nor great need of being read in the original languages in order to this performance. But farther,
It may, seconMy, be objected, that I am not of the clergy, but only a laymember of the christian church; to which I answer, first, that it is the duty of every christian, as well the laity, as the clergy, taexamhuthe rule, the grounds, and reasons of their faith; and if they dissent from others, to* publijh the grounds and reasons of that distent, ir> order to be restored to the truth themselves, if they be in error; or if they be in the right to restore those to the truth who are in the wrong. This, I fay, is not only the right, but the duty of every private christian, as far as-it properly^ and decently, comes within the compass of his power; because every private christian. owes so much to himself, to the truth, and to that christian society to which he stands related. And this being all that I have done, I think my being only a lay-member of the christian church, is no just exception to this performance. But.
Secondly, I answer, that the practice of the church, of B/mie, in obliging her lay-members to submit themselves blindly to the judgment of the church, without examining the rule, the ground's, and reasons of that faith, has been justly esteem'd Agrcss corruption by the reformed churches-. and that they have dealt very hardly by the laity in this, as well as in other respects. But, alas, if the laity of the reformed churches, are alike obliged to submit their judgments to the judgment of the church, and to bekive and receive things, as the church beleives and jeceives the fame, without having the liberty to examine the rule, the grounds, and realbns ot their faith,
and if the case require it, to dissent, and to pub* }ish the grounds of that dissent, then the reformed churches, in this respect, are relapsed and gone back to that anti-christianism, which they one* were brought out of. And likewise the laity of the reformed churches, are in a much worse case than the laity of the church of Rome. For tho' their christian liberty is alike invaded, and tho' the yoke is the lame, which is put upon the neck of either; yet the church of Rome, has taken care to make it sit easy upon her members, whilst the reformed churches have left this yoke to gall the necks of their people, even unto bitterneis. For,
First, the church of Rome, has taught her people to beleive, that infallibility is lodged in and with their church; and consequently all who are fatisfied of the truth of this point, can comfortably submit their judgments to the judgment of the church, without examining the rule orgrounds of their faith, because the church is infalliable, and therefore cannot err. Whereas on the other side, the reformed churches have made no such provision, but on,the contrary have de clared that churches may err, and have erred; and if so, what a galling yoak must it be upon our neck to be obliged to submit (not blindly but with our eyes open), our judgments to the judgment of a fallible church, in those things wherein it plainly appears to us, that the church has departed from the truth? Again,
Secondly, the church of Rome has forbid her lay-members the use of the scriptures, and in sq doing has rendered their submission to the judgment of the church more easy, by taking that from them, which if they had the use os, would unavoidably lead them into temptation. That is, fhey would by a free use of the scriptures,. be fempte^ to dissent in their judgments from the