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III. The third grand Topick of the Dialogue under Confideration is, the "Compliments he abounds in every where, and makes a Prefent of to the Clergy. Every Reader will perceive that to be one of the chief Defigns 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 exprefly makes them fo, and that Maxim with refpect to Baptifm and the Jewish Cuftom to the firft Pro felytes and their Defcendants, if the Root is holy, fo are the Branches notwithstanding, as I have elsewhere made appear against a celebrated Soci nian; he seems to appropriate Baptifm to the Phyfician of the Body, a Regimen by way of Cold Bath, 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 Confufion of what is every Bodies Bufinefs is no Bodies; Order muft arife, and fome particular Perfons muft fucceffively be appointed. So that his true Aim at the Pofitives feems to be levelled at them, to take them down, find them nothing to do, and fo kick up their Heels, and pufh them clear off the Stage of Chriftendom, as utterly useless in their Generation. For he fuppofes every Man fufficient to teach himfelf Morality (the entire Gospel of Chrift and Purport of all Revelation as he would make it) by the congenerate means of Attention in his own Hand; at that hopeful Profpect he seems to rejoice greatly, and hug
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himself very much. But is it not a very hard Cafe upon them, to make all their Sermons to be neceffary Nonfenfe, as before cited, when perhaps nine Parts in ten of the Sermons of the Clergy he fo bitterly inveighs against are really upon the Ends of Religion, the moral Subjects he fo much extols, and will only allow to fhew their Heads in any Pulpit. To rail at them of every Denomination, without Diftinction *, yet elfewhere to admit a Distinction between wife and honest, and those that are otherwife †, 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 too true, get all their Dominion by their Notion of Propitiation, because they make themfelves the efficacious Hands of Absolution: Yet without diftinguishing, he avers against Fact, that thefe Pofitives or inftituted Parts of Religion are very beneficial to the Clergy including Protef tantt. But the Queftion is, whether they could well have less than they have, fuppofe them fet a-part by the State, to preach nothing else but moral Righteoufnefs, i. e. his Gofpel. To in-. dulge his fatyrical Temper (which Theophanes who knows him well digftinguishes him for, making it," as neceffary to him as Breathing, " and that he can no more live without it, than "without daily Bread, or natural Food,) efpecially upon a fashionable Topick, may be a little excufable from his great Defire of being in the Mode with your thoughtless kind of People. But to call them Knaves, Cheats, Impoftors, &c.
Indifcriminately and from Generation to Generation, without Proof that all are fo, I wish it may not be accounted a little Wickedness in, or a very great Contradiction to, a Moral Philofopber but to judge and declare them all to be Hypocrites for not believing what they profefs to believe, is not only to rob Man of his Character, but God also of his incommunicable one of Knowing the Heart, and fo upon the Ruins of all good Mane ners to mount up to Impiety itfelf. But I pray God Almighty to forgive him all Sins against his Divine Majefty, as well as against Man and his Indigencies, whatfoever he has folded up under the Title of a Moral Philofopher, and give him a Senfe to repent of them, under a better and truer Senfe of the Nature of God, and Man. And now in Conclufion, let me a little expoftulate with this ftrange Writer, in the Name of God, and Man.
How can you justify your Book before either, in thus prefumptuously difmembring the Revelation of the one, and robbing (I wont fay feloniously) the other of bis Peace of Confcience, 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 Confolation of Mankind, as well as his Inftruction; but the Confideration of either Old, or New Covenant is fhut out of your Scheme: And fo is the Mediator of the New Covenant in all refpects, except bare naming him once under that Character*, without ever putting him to any ufe, or affigning him any thing to do in fuch a Station. This is a moft miferable, difconfolate Chafm in your System of Salvation, A Mediator between God * Page 396. E
and Man, fuppofes both Parties at variance; and in order to an effectual Reconciliation, fome real Propitiation, Atonement, or Satisfaction to be negotiated by this Mediator, fuch as is suitable, in the first Place, to the Honour of God, and becoming the Dignity of his Laws to accept; and then, in the next Place, fuch as may give the beft Affurance 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 thofe eafy Terms, and regularly applying to thofe Means, Aids, Motives, Helps and Inftruments prefcribed by the Mediator, which he has laid down for his Affiftance, and recommended to his Benefit entirely; that he may be enabled to do the Will of God, and not falling fhort of the Qualifications for his Favour, may live in folid Peace of Confcience with him in this Life, and in eternal Happiness in the next. But in your difconcerted, 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 Remiffion of them, or bring any fuch Comfort unto Man: Man does every Thing of that Kind without his Mediation. He neither fuperintends the Means, Aids, Motives, Helps and Inftruments of Reconciliation, nor has any thing to do with them, I mean by Motives in the Senfe I have already treated of them; you make nothing transferable from, or allow any Intercourfe with this Mediator, but his Inftruction and Example in the moral Law of Righteousness. His Death with you is altogether for Example of Suffering for Righteousness, or Teftimony of the Truth of his Doctrine; you fuppofe alfo his Life an Example of well-doing, that is the Ultimatum, the whole
whole of your defective Saviour, your forry, your no Mediator. You raife 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 alfo from the Dead: but you deny or diffemble the true End and Reafon of his Refurrection, viz. be rofe 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 Rifing 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 Juftice, and to have made our Peace with God. You confefs him to be a moral Means of our Salvation, but deny him to be a meritorious Cause in any refpect. But how can his Resurrection in the Body be a moral Means of our Refurrection in it, without which there is no Salvation? Who is the Raifer of the Dead, but He who is the Refurrection and the Life? He must therefore be a meritorious Caufe of that Hopes of Glory, and be invested with Power accordingly.
NEITHER can I find how you difpofe of him after his Rifing; you give him no Afcent 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. You wont have this 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 Interceffor or Advocate. And don't you thereby cruelly and wilfully deprive Mankind. of the greatest Confolations; God of the Glory of that condefcending Difpenfation; and Christ of his Right and Conqueft, Rule and Regimen, BeE 2