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That when Almighty God dictated the firft Chapter of Genesis
I Cor. iii.
I pray God to enlighten your Eyes, that you may know at 1 Cor. xiii. least in this your Day the Things which belong to your Peace : And 12. God grant that we may meer in Communion with the Church Luke xix. of God here, and with the Saints hereafter : That beginning 42. our Praises upon Earth, we may be admitted to join with the Eph. i. 18. heavenly Choir in eternal Alleluiahs, to the Glory of God the Fa. ther, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, One God, Blessed for ever. This is the fureft Mark, I can give you, of Friendship. And chat
HERE are fome Things in your Letter relating to this have not taken notice of in the foregoing Letter, though they seem more particularly address’d to me than all the rest ; and therefore I will now tell you what you may expect from me concerning them.
You wish that I may be a happy Means of bringing all the Parts of our old genuine Christianity to such a fair, open and impartial Examination, as you have propos’d.
If you mean, as you ought, that Method, which in all Ages has been the Practice of the Church in determining Controversies, I heartily concur with you, and we have in our happy Conftitution that Method establish'd by Law: The Convocation is a Part of the Parliament, and as of Right it must be summond with the Parliament ; so that Summons will be rendred insignificant and nugatory, if they are not permitted to fit and a&t in taking care of that Flock of Christ, of which the Holy Ghost has made them Overseers, and which the Laws of the Land, have committed to them; especially at a Time when the DoEtrines of our most holy Faith, and the Apostolical Institution of the Government of our Church, are so virulently attack'd, and in so open and insolent a Manner.
It was the Advice of Mecanas to Augustus, never to suffer any Innovation in Religion ; because the Peace of the Stare depended upon it: Thar Prince had Peace in all the world; but what Disturbances, what Miseries, Innovations in Religion have cavs’d in this Nation, the History of the last Age informs us sufficiently; and how fatal the Feuds and Animosities, occafon'd by the Pretenders to Religion, in this may be, no Man can foretel, every good Man fears.
Now whatever ill Use has been made of the Text for suffering the Tures, which were sown by the Enemy, to grow up with the Weat ; yer surely we are not to lay our felves to fliep on puri je to give the Enemy an opportunity to low them. The Jews
reckon they are forbid even by the Law of Moses to revile the Gods of other Nations, which were no Gods : But that the Son of God, whom we, and all Christendom, adore as the God of our Salvation, should be revild, trampled upon, and put to open Shame by those of our own Nation, in Contempt of the Laws of the Land as well as of God, uncontrould, without any Animadversion, without giving the proper Champions of our Faith an Opportunity to refute and reclaim them from their Errors, is so unaco countable a Proceeding both in Prudence and Religion, that I will hope a speedy Remedy will be apply'd to it; and that those, who are in Authority, will free themselves not only from the Suspicion, but from the real Guilt too of being Partakers of other Men's Sins; for, qui non prohibet, cùm potest, jubet : And therefore that they will advise his Majesty to give the Fathers and Pastors of our Church Leave to speak for themselves, and indeed for the King: For Defender of the Faith is not an empty Title. The Defense of the Church of England, and the holy Religion profess’d in it, is the Foundation of the Revolution, and of His Majesty's Succession to the Throne. And, after all our Experiments, chis Church will be found to be, as was said of the Sanctuary, The Excellency of our Strength, and indeed of all the Ezekiel Protestants in Europe ; who, as much as they want our Support, xxiv. 21. will have licle Reason to think we shall be much concern'd for them, with whom, in some points we differ, if we thew but little Zeal for our common Christianity, in which we agree.
By what I have now said, and in the foregoing Letter, you may easily conclude, what my Opinion will be of your Demand of an open Toleration : If the Lord Jesus be a Creature, and you worship him, 'tis Idolatry: If he be God, and you deny him, 'tis Blasphemy. And what Punishment Almighty God ordain'd for both these Sorts of offenders you know. What Texts have you to quote for an Exemption from those Penalties; or, at least, such as the Laws of the Land inflict? What can we say in Conscience for an Indulgence, and thereby, in some Measure, establishing these Iniquities by a Lam? When the Jews affaulted the Christians, and were beaten * * i. e. By even before the Judgmenc-Seat, 'was no small Reproach to the Greeks. Gallio, that he cared for none of those Things. Shall the Stares Ats xviii. of the Realm out-do that stupid Governor, and even countenance, 17. nay authorize Affaults upon the Lord Jesus himself? Thus we should expose our selves to that levere Rebuke, These are the Z-ch. xii Wounds, which I receiv’d in the House of my friends.
6. But if this were not the Case, with what Face can Arians ask such Favour from any who have ever read the Hinory of their Barbarities? I might say, They have taught us a Lesson against themselves ; but I am far from inferring from thence a Retaliation ; but surely ’ris a prudent, and, in this loose Age, a necessary Caution, not to admic such Enemies F 2
within our Walls, nor make it possible for them ever to be in
As for that wonderful Book, as you call it, p. 40. The
Discipline, Government, Worship and Canons of the Church a. • mended; or rather char it might be admitted entirely as an • Original Rule and Standard in these Matters: I am not learned enough to argue from Authorities thar This is not genuine ; but I have some Things against the Use Tou have made of it, and
defire others and the whole Church of God to do coo. P. 40, 41.
self say, p. 41. That you believe it to be genuine, and for the main úncorrupt. I cannor well reconcile these Two : For if there be any known Corruptions in it, then it is not genuine and Authentick; or at least it must be purg'd of those Corruptions, before it can be of any Authority: And how shall we distinguish them? I know you have a fhort Rule for it, viz. Whatever does not suit with your Opinion is corrupt; and by the same Reason, whatever does not suit with your Adversaries Opinion, must be judg'd by them to be corrupt : And at this Rate the whole must be laid aside ; and indeed it is very fit it should be so.
For how can This be a Rule and Standard, which must it felf
be try'd by some other Rule, before it can in Reason be admitAtts xx.
ted to be lo ? And if in the Scriptures the whole Counsel of God 27. hath been made known to us ; if, as in the 6th Article of our
Church, they contain All Things necessary to Salvation, or as 2 Tim, iii.
St. Paul says, are able to make us wise unto Salvation, What need 15.
have we to seek for another Rule ? Or to heap to our selves 2 Tim. iv. Teachers, having itching Ears? For 'tis, as St. Paul tells us, an g.
Evidence, that we will not endure Sound Do&trine.
But I will suppose your Quotations our of this Book, ( for I have not compar'd them) are, not like your other Quotations, but, in all Respects, right and fair: Then if these are inconsi Atent with the avow'd Writings of the Apostles, as most certainly chey are ; Which of the Two Thall a Man, that is to form his Faith, be guided by? Those Writings which are acknowledg'd by Both to be genuine, and written by Inspiration ; or those, which are controverted? The Choice is Easy; and besides
the genuine Scriptures being first written, St. Paul says, tho'an Gal. i. 8. Angel from Heaven should preach any other Gospel than that which
we have preach'd unto you, Let him be accursed.
But suppose you could answer every Objection to this wonderful Book, (which I am confident you cannot as a Scholar; and I am sure you cannot reconcile or maintain the Contradictions in it to the true Scriptures) ! pray you to consider the Consequence of it, and the Mischief you do to Religion by the Attempe of it; for the genuine Scriptures and this Book cannor both be true; buc if both be asserted and made out to be of equal Authority, the Consequence must be (and vicked men, Atheists
and Deists will not fail to infer it ) chat we must believe neither ; for cho'one Part of a Contradi&tion must be true, yer a Witness, who affirms both Parts, is never believ'd, but is sec a fide as a false one in all Courts of the World ; because one Part of what he says must be false ; and there can be no Reason or Obligacion from him to believe one Pare of what he says more than che other: So that if the Apostles have really writ or di&tated boch che sacred Books and the Constitutions, they must lose all Crediс of Inspir'd Writers, and consequently you have furnish'd a fufficient Argument to ser aside all reveald Religion: So that I may justly say of this Book, as the Roman Prætor Liv. l. 400 Petillius did of that of the Laws of Numa Pompilius ; which, like This, was dug out of Rubbish; that it was fired only to dissolve all Religion; or rather that This forms a Religion that is it self fic to be disolu’d, and therefore should be burnt, as That was by the Senace, rather than brought into the Canon of the Scriptures, which we are sure are the Word of God.
The Jesuits in China have form’d a new Gospel, representing our Saviour only in his most exalted State, concealing his Crucifixion: On the other Hand, you are depreffing him into a Creature, nor concealing, but denying his Deity. They might have learnt a better Lesson from St. Paul, of glorying only in the Cross of Christ; and St. John hath cold you, that he who denies Gal.vi. 14. the son is Antichrift: They take away the Means of our Salvation, 1 John ii. You cake away the Power, by which he can bestow and give it to us : They speak Some Truch, but nor the whole Truch: You deny the Truth, which, St. John says, is no less than making God 1 John v. A Liar, by not believing the Record which God gave of his Son.