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strate, that all men must be good, who have sufficient arguments propounded to them, when experience tells us the contrary. Nay, it is in reason impossible, that moral arguments should be of a necessary and infallible efficacy; because they are always propounded to a free agent, who may chuse whether he will yield to them or not. Indeed it is always reasonable, that men should, yield to them; and if they be reasonable, they will: but so long as they are free, it can never be infallibly certain that they will. And if men be not free, it is no virtue at all in them to be wrought upon by these arguments. For what virtue can it be in any man, to entertain the Christian doctrine, and adhere to it, and live accordingly, if he does all this necessarily; that is, whether he will or no; and can no more chuse whether he will do so or not, than whether he will see the light when the sun shines upon his open eyes, or whether he will hear a sound when all the bells in the town are ringing in his ears; or (to use Mr. S.'s own fimilitudes, P:53.) whether he will feel heat, cold, pain, pleasure,
or any other material quality that affects his senses ?" We see then how unreasonable his suppositions are; and yet, without these grounds, his demonstration falls : for, if it be possible that Christians may
mistake or forget the doctrine of Christ, or any part of it, or be defective in diligence to instruct others in it; or if it be possible that the will of man, which is free, may not be necessarily and infallibly swayed by the arguments of hope and fear; then it is posible that tradition
may fail. And is not this a good demonstration, which fupports itself upon such principles, as do directly affront the constant experience and the clearest reason of mankind?
§ 3. And here I cannot but take notice, how inconsistent he is to himself in laying the grounds of tradition's certainty; In one part of his book he tells us, P: 53. that “ tradition hath for its - basis the best na
ture in the universe, that is, man's; not according
to his moral part, defectible by reason of original “ corruption; nor yet his intellectuals, darkly groping “ in the pursuit of science, &c.; but according to " those faculties in him, perfectly and necessarily sub
ject to the operations and strokes of nature, that is,
“ his eyes, ears, handling, and the direct impression of “ knowledge, as naturally and necessarily ifluing from “ the affecting those fenfes, as it is to feel heat, cold,
pain, pleasure, or any other material quality.” So. that, according to this discourse, the basis of tradition is not man's nature considered as moral, and capable of intellectual reflexion; for in this consideration, it is dark Land defectible: but man's nature, considered only as capable of direct sensitive knowledge, as acting naturally and necessarily : which is to say, that tradition is founded in the nature of man, considered not as a man, but a brute; under which consideration, I see no reafon why he should call it the best nature in the universe.' But now, how will he reconcile this discourse with the grounds of his demonstration, where he tells 115, that the stability of tradition is founded in the arguments of hope and fear ; the objects of which being future and at a distance, cannot work upon a man immediately by direct impreslions upon his senses, but must work upon him by way of intellectual reflexion and consideration ? For I hope he will not deny, but that the arguments of hope and fear work upon man according to his moral and intellectual part, elfe how are they arguments? And if man, according to his moral part, be (as he says) defectible, how can the indefectibility of tradition be founded in those arguments which work upon man only according to his moral part ? I have purposely all along, both for the reader's eafe and mine own, neglected to take notice of several of his inconfistencies; but these are such clear and transparent contradictions, that I could do no less than make an example of them.
SECT. V. The third answer to his demonstration. $1. THirdly, This demonstration is confuted by clear
and undeniable instances to the contrary. I will mention but two.
ift, The tradition of the one true God, which was the easiest to be preserved of any doctrine in the world, being short and plain, planted in every man's nature, and perfectly suited to the reason of mankind. And yet
this tradition, not having paffed through many hands, by reason of the long age of man, was so defaced and corrupted, that the world did lapse into polytheism and is dolatry. Now, a man that were so hardy as to demonstrate against matter of fact, might, by a stronger demonstration than Mr. S.'s, prove, that though it be certain this tradition hath failed, yet it was impossible it should fail : as Zeno demonstrated the impossibility of motion, against Diogenes walking before his eyes. For the doctrine of the one true God was settled in the “ heart of Noah, and firmly believed by him to be the “ way to happiness; and the contradicting or deserting " of this, to be the way to misery.” And this doEtrine was by him so taught to his children ; who were “ encouraged by these motives, to adhere to this do“ erine, and to propagate it to their children, and “ were deterred by them from relinquishing it. And “ this was in all ages the persuasion of the faithful.” Now, the “ hopes of happiness, and the fears of mi“ fery, strongly applied, are the causes of actual will. “ Besides, the thing was feasible, or within their power; " that is, what they were bred to, was knowable by
'» and that much more easily than any other doctrine whatsoever, being short, and plain, and natu. ral. “ This put, it follows as certainly, that a great num“ ber in each age would continue to hold themselves, " and teach their children as themselves had been “ taught, that is, would follow and stick to this tra“ dition of the one true God, as it doth, that a cause
put actually causing, produceth its effect. Actually, I fay; for since the cause is put, and the patient dif
posed, it follows inevitably, that the cause is put “ still actually causing.”. This demonstration, which concludes an apparent falfhood, hath the whole strength of Mr. S.'s, and several advantages beyond it. For the doctrine conveyed by this tradition, is the most important, being the first principle of all religion ; the danger of corrupting it as great, the facility of preserving it much greater, than of the Christian doctrine, for the causes before mentioned : and yet, after all, it signifies nothing against certain experience, and unquestionable matter of fact; only it fufficiently shews the vanity of
66 them ;
Mr. S.'s pretended demonstration, built upon the same or weaker grounds.
§ 2. 2dly, The other instance shall be in the Greek church, who received the Christian doctrine as entire from the Apostles, and had as great an obligation to propagate it truly to pofterity, and the fame * fears and
hopes strongly applied, to be the actual causes of “ will;” in a word, all the same arguments and causes to preserve and continue tradition on foot, which the Roman church had : and yet, to the utter confusion of Mr. S.'s demonstration, tradition hath failed among them. For, as fpeculators, they deny the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Son; and, as testifiers, they disown any such doctrine to have been delivered to them by the precedent age, or to any other age of their church, by the Apostles, as the doctrine of Christ.
$ 3. To this instance of the Greek church, because Mr. White hath offered something by way of answer, I thall here consider it. He tells us, ( Apology for tradition, p.51.), that “the plea of the Greek church is non* tradition; alledging only this, that their fathers did
not deliver the doctrine of the procession of the Holy “ Ghost; not that they say the contrary : which clear“ ly demonstrates there are no opposite traditions be
tween them and us.' But this was not the thing Mr. White was concerned to do, to demonstrate there were no opposite traditions between the Greeks and the Latins, but to secure his main demonstration of the impossibility of tradition's failing, against this instance. For that the Greeks have no such tradition as this, “ that the “ Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son," is as good evidence of the failure of tradition, as if they had a positive tradition, “ that he proceeds only from the Father ; especially if we consider, that they (Phoc. ep. 7.) charge the Latin church with innovation in this matter; and fay, that the addition of that clause,“ of the procession
from the Son also,” is a corruption of the ancient faith, and a devilish invention. Why then does Mr. White
about to bafie so material an objection, and I fear his own conscience likewise, by a pitiful evalon, instead of a solid answer? What though there be no oppolite traditions between the Greek and Latin church?
yet if their faith be opposite, will it not from hence follow that tradition hath failed in one of them? I wonder that Mr. White, who hath fo very well confuted the infallibility of Popes and councils, and thereby undermi. ned the very foundation of that religion, fhould not, by the same light of reason, discover the fondness of his own opinion concerning the infallibility of oral tradition, which hath more and greater absurdities in it than that which he confutes. And, to Thew Mr. White the absurdity of it, I will apply his demonstration of the infallibility of Christian tradition in general, to the Greek church in particular; by which every one will see, that it does as strongly prove the impossibility of tradition's failing in the Greek church, as in the Roman Catholick, as they are pleased to call it. His demonstration is this: (De fid. & theolog. traft I. $ 4.) “ Christ commanded
his Apostles to preach to all the world, and left any
one should doubt of the effect, he sent his Spirit into “ them, to bring to their remembrance what he had
taught them ; which Spirit did not only give them a
power to do what he inclined them to, but did cause “ them actually to do it.” I cannot but take notice by the way of the ill confequence of this; which is, that men may doubt whether those who are to teach thc doctrine of Christ will remember it, and teach it to others, unless they have that extraordinary and efficacious affiítance of the Holy Ghost, which the Apostles had. If this be true, his demonstration is at an end; for he cannot plead that this assistance hath been continued ever since the Apostles. He proceeds, “ The Apostles preached this doctrine; " the nations understood it, lived according to it, and “ valued it as that which was necessary to them and “ their posterity incomparably beyond any thing “ else.” . All this I fuppofe done to and by the Greeks, as well as any other nation. “ These things being put, “ it cannot enter into any man's understanding, but «« that the Christian [Greeks] of the first age, being the “ scholars of the Apostles, could and would earnestly “ commend the Christian doctrine to their posterity; if
fo, it is evident that they did. So that the continu
ance of purity of the faith in the [Greek] church, is “ founded upon this, that fathers always delivered the