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cised, Gen. xxxiv. 24; where, if it had been at ail necessary for proselytes, we might reasonably have expected the mention of it: so that our Pædobaptist brethren have not the least shadow of evidence, either in the Old or New Testament, to support this Jewish sable, on which they build so much. But, on the contrary, every thing we meet with there relating either to circumcision, or baptism, is clearly and plainly against them j and all the proofs, which they have yet been able to produce for Jewijh proselyte baptism, before and in our Saviour's, time, and for several hundred years afterwards, are no better than Dr. Berson's supposition from Nicodemuj's answer to Christ •, where the manner of expression, the circumstances of things, compared with the positive and clear expressions of the "Jewish Rabbins, in that and some following ages, are a sufficient and evident proof of the direct contrary: that they never had any such initiatory baptism, as is pretended, amongst them, and therefore if the doctor had ever thoroughly searched into these things, it may be presumed, that he would never have endeavoured to propagate, amongst his readers, the belief of Jewijh proselyte baptism, before and in our Saviour's time. But I have given a more full and particular account of this Jewish sable, in my supplement, and in my answer to Mr. Emiyn's previous question, from the writings of the learned Dr. Gale, who was as able to search into, as careful to find out the truth, and to know the foundation of this groundless conceit as any man, and whose testimonies and arguments upon that head were never yet confuted. To them I refer my readers, and shall only add here, that for any thing, which has ever yet appeared, notwithstanding all the labour and pains taken by our Pædobaptist brethren to establish this notion of Jei-ijh proselyte baptism, it stands upon the bare autiiority of ralmudical books, not composed till several hundred years after Christ, and
stuffed stuffed with blasphemies, full of stupid insatuation, and wild romance ; and upon whose credit, if it was not invalidated by what has been already published, no man, who wishes not to be imposed upon, would ever rely. And are these principles, from which to deduce duties of religion on which to found positive institutions of God? If Jeuijh legends are to b? the ground work of christian duties^ the whole sac;: o the gospel may in time be so mangled, and disfi ured, as to bare nothing at all of the aspect ot primitive, and unadulterate Christianity.'
All ih.u is between the hooks from [How Christian.1, can think p. 103. to, it 10 remarkable th.it] o 104. Anj also from [Moreover all such persons, p. 106 to, divine displeasure] p. 108 was no: in the original letters. The passages from tne apuitoiicai constitutions, and Justin Martyr, lnlcrted in the latter addition, witne s to the truth and juittit-'of my own reasoning; whereby the reader mav see, I have the best antiquity on my side, a thing not to be deipis'-ci by any wise or considerate man, when corresponding with tiie scriptures themselves.
I hive ..lo dded the word visible in some places, and an exprellion, or two besides, more clearly to determine my sense, ani' rwventany misco. ilrudtion of my words. And if any reader fh u ti funk my argument* in some places bare too hard upon such co nmunic nts, as are unbaptized; or on those, whocommuni -r.te v* th others, whom they know and believe to be so ; or upon jny other denomination of Christians, who are nut of the B-Tt>" persuasion j I nope his candour will acquit mt of unchari^r>:-'ness, when he considers my caution, in restraining my arg'i:rii its to the Ihte of the christian church her. on earth. And I am peri traded my charity is as gre.it for those, who differ in opini. i from me, as any Christian's is, or ought to be; tho' I cannoi be to complaisant to any, as to give up the interest of truth; and countenance them in a corruption, or neglect of any one of my Lord's commands or institutions. And 1 doubt not, but they would readily acknowledge this; if I should ever publish, what I wrote many years ago, upon the unlawfulness of imposing humm articles, creeds, oV explanations of scripture, or of separation for mere difference in opinion; and therefore all I have here said ought wholly to be imputed to a laudable zeal in me for the cause of truth; which God grant I may never be ashamed or afraid to appear in, according to my ability. And if I am but so happy, as to beany ways serviceable thereto; and at the fame time retain th- favourable sentiments of my readers, agreeable to what I bespoke, in my first letter, of the reverend minister, at whose request it was written, it is ail I desire.
Part the First.
PAGE 23, line 28, for them any, read, the many;
On the Several
To the Pamphlet, intitled
Christianity not founded on Argument.
'HE positive duties of our holy religion are equally sacred, and demand from us, if we are from conviction Christians, and, in decency of character, if we are only nominal, nay, if we aie hypocritical, and merely mercenary Christians, the fame outward regard and strict observation, as those which are moral and unchangeable. Tho' they are not of the same importance and intrinsic dignity, they are, and must be, equally inviolable, because there is but one enacting au
B thority thority with respect to the laws both of nature and revelation: and tho' the former may be received as sit rules of conduct, they can never be obeyed as laws of government, but upon the very fame foundation and ground of authority. For nature cannot be superior to God, because it is the constitution and creature of God; it can therefore have no pretence to controul his will fupernaturally revealed: for in both cases the wisdom is the fame, and the right of governing the fame. A Christian therefore must yield exact obedience to the positive institutions of the christian doctrine on the self-fame principle, on which he thinks it his duty to conform from motives of religion, or acknowledgment and suitable veneration of the supreme Deity, to the eternal and universal rules of virtue and morality.
When therefore any of us, acknowledging the authority of Christ, and the divinity and truth of his religion, live in the omission of any positive duty, which he, in the name of God, and as invested with his supreme authority, has enjoined upon us, we act in such a manner, as is not only absolutely inconsistent with the character we assume, and should think it our honour to-bear, of being his disciples, but in a way that is a contradiction to itself, and to all the natural principles of reason. For there is no one clearer and more certain principle of everlasting and unalterable right within the whole extent and scope of moral duty, than this, that the omnipotent creator and sovereign ruler, whose dominion is unlimited, and who is persect in wisdom, and in all moral excellence, should be reverenced, honoured, and obeyed in all his laws, in all the discoveries and declarations of his will, whether by the voice of nature, or by extraordinary methods of revelation. And in no one point can there be the least just ground to object, without supposing that he is a capricious, arbitrary, tyrannical being, who is not in the abstract propriety and truth of things sit to be obeyed, nor, consequently, without entirely dissolving, together with every instituted tie, the religion of nature and reason itself. Nor ought the base and slavish principle of public shame, or a sordid secular interest, to have any influence in an affair of such vast importance, as that of preserving an uncorrupted probity of mind, and approving our fidelity to God. They should neither suspend, nor controul and limit, the free scope of our enquiries, nor prevent our renouncing error, however popular and long establish