« PreviousContinue »
SU P R E M A CY
F A T Τ Η Ε R
ASSER T E D:
Eight arguments from fcripture to prove, that
the Son is a Being inferiour and subordinate to the Father, and that the Father alone is the fupreme God.
First printed in the Year 1715.
Reverend the CLERGY,
And in Particular to the Right Reverend
GILBERT Lord Bishop of
S A RUM
Our vigilant and laborious Diocesan.
EFORE I presume to offer and coma mend to the Clergy, and in particular to your lordship's consideration and protection,
the annexed papers, I beg leave to observe a few things, in order to obviate what may be urged against me upon the account of this work, 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 baniß'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 rot original intended for publick view, much less to engage in a controversy with the
learned world, a work which I am unqualified for, and therefore would not meddle with. all that I attended, being only to lay before my neighbours, who are otherwise minded, the grounds and reafons of my diffent 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 God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and be only, exclusive of all other beings, subsistances, person, and perfons whatsoever, is this one fupreme 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 Fam. iler of our Lord Jesus Chrift, really and truly the God end Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? Here, if the answer be in the negative, then , he express testimony of Christ and his Apostles is denyed: 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 I may have happened to touch upon, is only occasionally, and as it has a relation to this impor tant Point. And this being a thing so level to the huinan understanding, and in which the scriptures are fu full and plain, the criticising upon an ori
ginal word, would not make for or against me in the present case; and Consequently there was no great need of being read in the original languages in order to this performance. But farther,
It may, fecondly, 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 laitý, as the clergy, tocxamine the rule, thegrounds, and reasons of their faith; and if they diffent from others, te publif the grounds and reasons of that diffent, in order to be restored to the truth themselves, if they be in error; or if they be in the right to reftore those to the truth who are in the wrong. This, I say, 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 fo much to himself, to the truth, and to that christian fociety to which he ftands 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 aniwer, that the practice of the church, of Rone, in obliging her lay-members to fubmit themselves blindly to the judgment of the church, without examining the rule, the grounds, and reasons of that faith, has been justly esteem'd a gross corruption by the reformed churches; and that they have dealt very hardly by the laity in this, as well as in oth respects, Butz alas, if the faity of the reformed churches, are alike obliged to submit their jndgments to the judgment of the church, and to belcive and receive things, as the church beleives and jeceives the same, without having the liberty to examine the rule, the grounds, and realons of their faith,
and if the case require it, to dissent, and to pube lish the grounds of that diffent, then the reformed churches, in this respect, are relapsed and gone back to that anti-christianism, which they once were brought out of. And likewise the laity of the reformed churches, are in a much worse cafe than the laity of the church of Rome. For tho' their christian liberty is alike invaded, and tho' the yoke is the same, 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 bitterness. 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 examạning the rule or grounds 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 declared that churches may err, and have erred; and if so, what a galling yoak muft 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 so doing has rendered their submission to the judgment of the church more easy, by taking that from them, which if they had the use of, would unavoidably lead them into temptation. That is, they would by a free use of the scriptures, be gempteto diflent in their judgments from the