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nuating pretenfions to divine affistance, from the grant of which it might be inferred, that my cause had the particular favour of heaven, I hope to evince the divinity of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and, in oppofition to all the human authority convened by Mr. Lindsey, to fhew that God himself has borne teftimony to it; and if, from his revelation, it be clearly fet forth that Jefus Chrift is both God and Man, I hope and believe the position will be acceded to, however unable reafon may be to comprehend it, or how numerous foever the voices may be which have lifted themfelves up against it.
Before I enter upon the fubject propofed, I think it neceffary to remove fome prejudices which favour Mr. Lindley's caufe, prejudices fo natural to the mind of man, that he has been aware of their use, and, with fuperfluous diligence, beftowed near half his book to inftill them. The influence of these upon my readers I muft, however, try to avert before I can hope for an impartial hearing; for I have refigned no vicarage; I have pushed from me no worldly advantages; I have given no proofs that a little, with a settled conscience, is preferable, in my eyes, to great riches retained by acquiefcence in that which I do not believe; all of which he has done, and for which let me freely pay him the tribute of my praise; let me declare that I honour the fincerity which fuch a conduct demonstrates; but let me never say that, from the rectitude of his heart, I can deduce the rectitude of his opinions, Such proofs of my fincerity, it is true, I have it not in my power to produce; but even Mr. Lindsey has borne fuch teftimony to the troubles of an unquiet spirit, that no man will conceive that I fhould seek to incur them by a voluntary engagement in the cause of falsehood, or look upon the falvation of my immortal foul as a matter of
fo little importance to me, that I fhould maintain a doc trine, connected as this is with the felicity of a future ftate, if I were not clearly convinced of its truth.
Unless then I am to confider it written with a view to prejudice the Reader, the aim of the long chapter of fufferers for the maintenance of Mr. Lindley's doctrine is altogether inexplicable to me, because I am unable to deduce the truth of a fyftem from any other fource than that of reafon or fair argument. Submiffion to mifery, in preference to the conceffion of an opinion, does indeed prove the fincerity of the fufferer, but by no means the opinion for which he has fuffered; it may prove the weakness of his understanding, but by no means the ftrength of his caufe. In India the distortions of the Bramin are the teftimony of the divinity of his Ixora; in the holy office, the fubmiffion of the Jew to the extraneft tortures, is the teftimony that our Saviour had not even divine affiftance; and now in England we find a number of unhappy wretches fuffering under equally unjust and cruel inflictions, to prove a negation of our Saviour's divinity; and this lift of miferable creatures is held out to the public by a Gentleman who has voluntarily added himfelf to the number. I have already faid that I confidered fuch a conduct as a proof of fincerity, but I cannot fubmit to allow it the name of martyrdom, or in the leaft degree a proof of the juftice or truth of the opinion for the maintenance of which it is fuftained; doctrines the moft contradictory would elfe be true. Papal fupremacy and regal fupremacy have almost mingled their blazing testimonies, and were they both truly to be maintained ? What horrible proofs have been given to the world that flour and water are flesh and blood; and will any man declare that the contrary doctrine has derived validity from equal, nay greater, ftreams of blood poured out
to testify that they were flour and water ftill? No man, furely; because this is a position, the proofs of which are fubmitted to all men, and a stronger degree of teftimony, than my ftedfaftnefs, may be and is borne to it by the fenfes of all mankind. Both fides of this question have had their bleeding advocates, and are they therefore both true? I will go yet farther and fay, that were I to undergo the sharpest afflictions for entertaining the oppofite doctrine to that of Mr. Lindsey, (and I would undergo them rather than depart from the belief for which I think I have fo fufficient grounds) yet I fhould not conceive that I had added even the flightest proof of the truth of it. My fincerity the world would, I believe, allow, but what could my fincerity evince? I fuffer for a position, and because I have believed it upon arguments feeming fufficient to me; if they be in fact fufficient, I have done well to adhere to them, and they were as valid before my fuffering as afterwards; and if they are defective, my miferies cannot alter the conclufions following from them. Their truth or falfehood, the juftice or injuftice of the inference are pre-exiftent to my teftimony, and fo abfolutely independent of my belief, or any proofs that I may give of the fincerity of my belief, and are fo far from deriving ftrength from my fuffering in behalf of them, that they would have been precifely the fame though I had never been born, as if I had made my exit at a ftake. I am anxious to establish this point, and therefore dwell upon it, for I fear that too eafy credit may be yielded to a doctrine held forth by a claimant to martyrdom; the feal of blood has given a feeming validity to many a pofition, from which the affertors had before derived no glory; the stake, where it has been the only argument, has fometimes been confidered as a very convincing one; and a departure in flames has been thought to have revealed the angel, where the precepts for which
which they are sustained had perhaps only fhewed forth the contemptible man. But martyrdom is not now to be deduced from fincerity, which is all that can be concluded from ftrenuous fuffering. The apoftles indeed were martyrs, they bore teftimony to facts fubmitted to their fenfes, and had even a fenfible percep→ tion of divine affiftance, of which alfo they gave proofs to the world: They bore teftimony, and they would not recede from it; what they teftified they knew, and promulgated by extraordinary aid, of which they were eminently conscious; what they knew, not what opinions they formed without divine affiftance, was their doctrine; and from the testimony of what they knew they would not be deterred; they fuffered, and their conftancy was a proof of their fincerity: But they were fincere, not in the maintenance of dubious controvertible doctrines, but in having teftified, that what they had preached they had known. As then they were fincere, and had proved themfelves fo, we must conclude that they did know what they had preached, and confider their ftedfast adherence to what they had fet out with as an exceedingly ftrong teftimony borne to the truth of it; and fuch a teftimony as this, is what is properly called martyrdom. I hope that this may be fufficient to warn my readers from looking upon fincerity as a proof of the opinion fincerely believed; let it recommend the heart, but by no means the head, the errors of which may be as fincerely believed as the best established maxims.
The prodigious number of names, only pretending to human authority, which are produced by Mr. Lindfey to support his doctrines, might perhaps be well oppofed by citing as great a multitude of eminent men, who have agreed with the church of England, and afcribed divinity to our bleffed Saviour. Were it only to
fatisfy this Gentleman, with whom, I fear, the authority of the fcriptures will fignify but little, I would pursuė this course of argument (if argument it may be called); but I fcorn any other foundation than that of God himself, whofe written word, not feen through the medium of a comment, is alone evidence to me; let it not, therefore, be inferred, that I am unable to meet him upon his own ground, because I choose that which is better; for I could, to him, oppofe as good human authority to maintain my belief as any ten Dutch women in Europe, however ftrenuously they might have fuftained and fuffered for the doctrines of Anabaptifm.
The difpofitions of mankind lean toward those who flatter their reason, and endeavour to reduce all things to her comprehenfion, or to those who abet that pride with which the is defirous of rejecting whatsoever she cannot comprehend; from this principle it is that they who familiarly illuftrate the most unfamiliar difficulties, or flatly deny the existence of that which transcends the faculties of man, are heard with partial ears. Against this prejudice alfo, in favour of Mr. Lindsey, I am obliged to guard; for he has declared, that "our Saviour Chrift teacheth no myfterious doctrines." As I have already faid, that the fcriptures fhall be my only appeal; to this denial of a mystery, nay to that ridicule with which the word Mystery is treated throughout Mr. Lindfey's book, I fhall oppofe the ferious declaration of St. Paul, who, fpeaking of the gospel of Jefus Chrift and him crucified, and that not with enticing words of Man's wifdom, but in demonftration of the Spirit, that our faith might ftand not in the wifdom of Man, but the power of God, declares, "we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery;" and this he fays he does by the Spirit of God, by which alone the deep things of God are fearched;" and he farther declares,