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no farther in this tedious and disagreeable employment; except it be to observe to you one peculiar piece of management, which I leave you to reflect on. The learned Examiner labours, for 9 two pages together, to show that Clemens of Rome was far from speaking or thinking so highly of our blessed Lord, as St. Paul did. A little after, The proposes Clemens to us as a very good interpreter of Scripture; and commends him highly, for laying Christianity before us in its naked simplicity. What can we think of this? The best construction I can make of it is, that he intended in p. 14, 15, not St. Paul himself, but St. Paul as now generally understood: and so he was to insinuate something, which was not fit to be expressed. But a man of art would have conducted better; would not have discovered himself so soon, but have trusted more to the sagacity of his reader. This manner of proceeding, in an important cause, is what I cannot account for. It seems to me, that if there be not reasons of conscience obliging a good man to speak out, there are always reasons of prudence which should make a wise man hold his tongue.
You may perceive, by this time, that Bishop Bull's book is like to stand, till something much more considerable appears against it. Several attempts of this kind have been made before; but to as little purpose : and if there be ever so many more, by ever so good hands, I will venture to say, they will succeed no better. The book will stand as long as clear sense, sound reasoning, and true learning have any friends left. The main substance of it is not to be confuted; any more than you can
Modest. Disquisit. Bull's Def. F.
Page 77, 78.
169. — - 293. 9 Aliter plane D. Paulus loquitur:- Argumento potius est Clementem de Christo aliter plane quam Paulum sensisse magnam suspicionem inji. cit, eadem Clementem cum Paulo minime docuisse. Whitb. Disq. p. 14, 15.
- Solus Clemens Christianæ Fidei simplicitatem præ oculis lectoris ponit. Whitb. Disq. p. 19.
extinguish truth, or put out the light of the sun. The Fathers have been tried, and are found faithful: what they defended while living, the divinity of our blessed Lord, against the insults of Jews, Pagans, and Heretics, they still maintain in their works : and their works will be held in great esteem and veneration, while every weak attempt to blast their credit will meet with what it' justly deserves- I was going to say what, but it may sound severe : I proceed to another Query.
QUERY XXVII. Whether the learned Doctor may not reasonably be sup
posed to say, the Fathers are on his side, with the same meaning and reserve as he pretends our Church forms to favour him; that is, provided he may interpret as he pleases, and make them speak his sense, however contradictory to their own : and whether the true reason, why he does not care to admit the testimonies of the Fathers as proofs, may not be, because they are against him?
IN answer to this, you tell me, that it contains only an invidious suggestion, not any argument. The suggestion, I do assure you, is just, and argumentative too; and was kindly intended towards you; that you might not take things implicitly and upon trust from others, but might examine them first yourself, and then pass a judgment of them. As to the invidious appearance of it; had I ever intended, or in the least thought of making the Queries public, you might, with a better grace, have told me of it. But as I had not the liberty of revising my papers, nor so much as any previous apprehension of your design, (presuming all along the very contrary, as I reasonably might,) these things considered, I hope the invidious part you will take to yourself; the argument (for an argument it is, in its kind) you may leave to me. It is of some moment to us, not only to have the primitive writers on our side, (as we plainly have,) but to have them thought so too. The learned Doctor has made some pre
tences that way; and they are of weight with such readers as are not duly apprehensive of the Doctor's uncommon manner of setting things off, with great advantage to his cause, and as great detriment to truth. Two reasons are intimated, in the Query, why his claim to antiquity ought to have the less force with considering men: first, because he lays claim to our Church's forms; which every common reader may see are directly against him; and secondly, because, notwithstanding his appeal to antiquity, he is wiser than to put the matter upon that issue. He endeavours to lessen the esteem of the ancients, all the while that he presumes they are on his side, (a sure mark that he suspects them,) and is securing a retreat when they fail him; as they certainly will, whenever strictly inquired into. I would leave it with any discerning man (who cannot examine farther into the merits of the cause) to judge, whether it be at all likely, that those who speak always contemptibly of the ancients, and endeavour to the utmost to abuse and expose them, can reasonably be presumed to have a greater interest in them, than they who speak honourably and handsomely of them; who defend their character, and have, as it were, an affectionate tenderness and concern for them. Thus much for the second reason intimated in the Query. As to the first reason suggested, the import of it is this. If the learned Doctor can espy Arianism in our Liturgy or Articles, where it certainly is not; he may reasonably be supposed to mistake as much among the Fathers. He sees, in our Liturgy, the doctrine of one God the Father, inclusive of Son and Holy Ghost; but does not see one God exclusive of both; which is his doctrine. He finds a subordination of order taught in our public forms; but does not find any subordination or inferiority of nature; which is his principle. And yet, upon these slight grounds, he scruples not to say, that the s main branches of his own doctrine are expressly affirmed in our Liturgy; meaning,
• Script. Doctr. p. 379. first ed.
by a tacit consequence of his own making. And since this consequential, that is, imaginary, countenance is all that he can claim from our Liturgy, and all that he really means, when he says the Church's forms are on his side; possibly he may mean no more, when he speaks of the Fathers. The generality of readers, it may be, understand him, as if he had intended to say, that the AnteNicene writers especially had declared against the coeternity and consubstantiality of the Son, the points in question: but I humbly conceive he intended no more than this; that the Ante-Nicene writers have declared something, which, he really believes, does by consequence destroy the consubstantiality, &c. though, at the same time, those writers admitted no such consequence; but expressly and constantly disowned it. This is all that he can mean, with respect to our Liturgy; and therefore, probably, all he does mean, in respect of the other; or however, certain I am, that it is all he should mean. Now you see the full of my argument. If it look invidious, I cannot help it; I am persuaded it is just; and I think it of as much importance to our readers to have the matter fairly stated, as it is that truth may not be smothered; nor any stress laid upon the Doctor's citations, beyond what they do really bear. The learned Doctor owns, as to Post-Nicene Fathers, that they are, in the whole, against him. And he should have owned as much of the generality, at least, of the Ante-Nicene Fathers too; and then he has no claim to any thing but concessions ; of which he endeavours to make the utmost advantage three ways. First, by making more concessions than there really are: secondly, by representing those concessions in so promiscuous and confused a light, that a common reader cannot readily distinguish when or where the Doctor intended the full and entire meaning of an author, or a concession only: thirdly, by slipping his own conclusion upon those concessions, as if they were the same thing; though there really is no connection between them, no just consequence from one to the other. I would not be knowingly guilty of charging the Doctor falsely, in these or in any other particulars, for any consideration; and therefore it may be expected of me, that I explain myself more at large; which accordingly I shall do, in the order and method which I have already laid down.
1. The learned Doctor has taken several passages for concessions, which are really none : but only as he has given them such a particular air and aspect; either by prefacing them, and holding out a false light to the reader; or by commenting upon them; or by ill translating of them. I shall proceed to particulars; and you must not take it amiss, if we call upon you to return us back what you have unfairly wrested from us. i
Scripture Doctrine, page 3. the Doctor produces a passage of Athanasius, part of which, so far as concerns us, you see in the t margin; with so much farther as is necessary to clear the sense of the author. The Doctor's version runs thus: “ For he (the Father) is the one God, " and the only one, and the first. And yet these things “ do not destroy the divinity of the Son.” This rendering is flat and low; and neither answers the intent nor letter of the author. Oủx eis avaiperi, literally, is, not to exclude the Son: plainly meaning not to exclude him from being the one God, and the only one, and the first, together with the Father. And so Athanasius interprets himself in the words immediately following: for he (the Son) also is apãros, the first, the fulness of the Godhead of him who is the first, and only God. You will observe that the Doctor renders απαύγασμα, as if it had been απαύγασμα της 86gns, brightness of glory: which is again concealing and stifling the sense of the author. Athanasius intended to signify the Son's issuing or streaming forth, as it were, from the Father's substance, as light from the sun; which
• Είς γάρ Θεός και μόνος και πρώτος έστιν ουκ εις αναίρεσιν δε του υιέ λέγεται με γένοιτο. έστι γαρ και αυτός εν τη ενί, και πρώτα, και μόνο, ώς του ενός και μόνου και πρώτου και μόνος λόγος, και σοφία, και απαύγασμα ών· έστι δε και πρώτος και autòs, thúgwpa tñs tū a párov xai kóvou J:ÓTATOS © 205 xai raugns ar Osós. Athanas. 3. Orat. contr. Arian. p. 556. ed. Bened.