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Tully, in the most serious and solemn manner imaginable, that if there could but be found any one proposition, that he had maintained in all his Harmony, repugnant to the doctrine of the Catholic and primitive Church, he would immediately give up the cause, sit down contentedly under the reproach of a novelist, openly retract his error or heresy, make a solemn recantation in the face of the Christian world, and bind himself to perpetual silence ever after. He knew very well what he said; being able to shew, by an historical deduction, that his doctrine had been the constant doctrine of the Church of Christ, down to the days of Calvin, in the sixteenth century.
3. Besides this, he demonstrated very clearly, that the most ancient and valuable confessions of the Reformed Churches abroad were entirely in his sentiments. He examined them with great care and exactness, and answered the contrary pretences largely and solidly.
4. To complete all, he vindicated his doctrine further, from the concurring sentiments of our own most early and most judicious Reformers: as also from the Articles, Catechism, Liturgy, and Homilies of the Church of England : and this with great accuracy and strength of reason, without the mean arts of equivocation or sephistry.
5. I may add, fifthly, that his manner of writing was the most convincing and most engaging imaginable : acute, strong, and nervous ; learned throughout; and sincere to a scrupulous exactness, without artificial colours or studied disguises, which he utterly abhorred. The good and great man breathes in every line: a reader, after a few pages, may be tempted almost to throw off his guard, and to resign himself implicitly into so safe hands. A man thus qualified and accomplished, having true judgment to take the right side of a question, and learning, ability, and integrity, to set it off to the greatest advantage, could not fail of success ; especially considering that
< Bull. Apolog. contr. Tull. p. 50, 51.
the most judicious and learned of our Clergy, and those best affected to the Church of England, (such as Dr. Hammond, &c.), bad been in the same sentiments before ; and Bishop Bull's bitterest adversaries were mostly systematical men, (properly so called,) and such as had been bred up (during the Great Rebellion) in the Predestinarian and Antinomian tenets, as Mr. Nelsond observes. There was another circumstance which Mr. Nelson also takes e notice of, namely, his writing in Latin : which showed his thorough judgment of men and things. He would not write to the vulgar and unlearned, (which is beginning at the wrong end, and doing nothing,) but to the learned and judicious ; knowing it to be the surest and the shortest way; and that, if the point be gained with them, the rest come in of course; if not, all is to no purpose. This became a man who had a cause that he could trust to; and confided only in the strength of his reasons. By such laudable and ingenuous methods, that excellent man prevailed over his adversaries; truth over error, antiquity over novelty, the Church of Christ over Calvin and his disciples. If any man else has such a cause to defend as Bishop Bull had, and is able to manage it in such a method, by showing that it stands upon the same immoveable foundations of Scripture and antiquity, confirmed by the concurring sense of the judicious part of mankind; then he need not doubt but it will prevail and prosper in any Protestant country, as universally as the other did. But if several of those circumstances, or the most considerable of them, be wanting; or if circumstances be contrary, then it is as vain to expect the like success, as it is to expect miracles. It must not be forgot, that the same good and great Prelate, afterwards, by the same fair and honourable methods, the same strength of reason and profound learning, gained as complete a victory over the Arians, in regard to the question about the faith of the Ante-Nicene Fathers : and his determination, in that particular, was, and still is, among men of the greatest learning and judgment, as universally submitted to as the other. His admirable treatise (by which “ he being dead yet speaketh”) remains unanswered to this day, and will abide victorious to the end. But enough of this.. .
Nelson's Life of Bull, p. 98.
e Ibid. p. 94.
I am obliged to say something in defence of my general title, (A Vindication of Christ's Divinity,) because I find Mr. Potter, since deceased, was rebuked by an f anonymous hand for such a title. The pretence is, that our adversaries do not disown Christ's Divinity, as the title insinuates. But to what purpose is it for them to contend about a name, when they give up the thing? It looks too like mockery, (though they are far from intending it,) and cannot but remind us of, “ Hail, king of the Jews !” Nobody ever speaks of the Divinity of Moses, or of magistrates, or of angels, though called gods in Scripture. If Christ be God, in the relative sense only, why should we speak of his Divinity, more than of the other? The Christian Church has all along used the word divinity, in the strict and proper sense: if we must change the idea, let us change the name too; and talk no more of Christ's Divinity, but of his Mediatorship only, or at most, Kingship. This will be the way to prevent equivocation, keep up propriety of language, and shut out false ideas. I know no Divinity, but such as I have defended : the other, falsely so called, is really none. So much for the
In the work itself, I have endeavoured to unravel sophistry, detect fallacies, and take off disguises, in order to set the controversy upon a clear foot; allowing only for the mysteriousness of the subject. The gentlemen of the new way have hitherto kept pretty much in generals, and avoided coming to the pinch of the question. If they please to speak to the point, and put the cause upon a short issue, as may easily be done, that is all that is desired. I doubt not but all attempts of that kind will end
† Apology for Dr. Clarke's Preface.
(as they have ever done) in the clearing up of the truth, the disappointment of its opposers, the joy of good men, and the honour of our blessed Lord; whose Divinity has been the rock of offence to the “ disputers of this world" now for 1600 years ; always attacked by some or other, in every age, and always triumphant. To him, with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, three Persons of the same Divine power, substance, and perfections, be all honour and glory, in all churches of the saints, now and for evermore,
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