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85

Chapter I.

Mr Biddle’s first chapter examined — Of the Scriptures.

Mr Biddle having imposed upon himself the task of insinuating his abominations by applying the express words of Scripture in way of answer to his captious and sophistical queries, was much straitened in the very entrance, in that he could not find any text or tittle in them that is capable of being wrested to give the least colour to those imperfections which the residue of men with whom he is, in the whole system of his doctrine, in compliance and communion, do charge them withal: as, that there are contradictions in them, though in things of less importance;153153   Socin. de Author. Sac. Scrip. cap. i. Racov. anno 1611, p. 13; Socin. Lect. Sacr. p. 18; Episcop. Disput. de Author. Scrip. thes. 3; Volkel. de Vera Relig. lib. v. cap. v. p. 875. “Socinus autem videtur rectius de SS. opinari.” — Ep. ad Radec. 8, p. 140. “Ego quidem sentio, nihil in Scriptis, quæ communiter ab iis, qui Christiani sunt dicti, cepta, et pro divinis habita sunt, constanter legi, quod non sit verissimum: hocque ad divinam providentiam pertinere prorsus arbitror, ut ejusmodi scripta, nunquam depraventur aut corrumpantur, neque ex toto, neque ex parte. that many things are or may be changed and altered in them; that some of the books of the Old Testament are lost; and that those that remain are not of any necessity to Christians, although they may be read with profit. Their subjecting them, also, and all their assertions, to the last judgment of reason, is of the same nature with the other. But it not being my purpose to pursue his opinions through all the secret windings and turnings of them, so [as] to drive them to their proper issue, but only to discover the sophistry and falseness of those insinuations which grossly and palpably overthrow the foundations of Christianity, I shall not force him to speak to any thing beyond what he hath expressly delivered himself unto.

This first chapter then, concerning the Scriptures, both in the Greater and Less Catechisms, without farther trouble I shall pass over, seeing that the stating of the questions and answers in them may be sound, and according to the common faith of the saints, in those who partake not with Mr B.’s companions in their low thoughts of them, which here he doth not profess; only, I dare not join with him in his last assertion, that such and such passages are the most 86affectionate in the book of God, seeing we know but in part, and are not enabled nor warranted to make such peremptory determinations concerning the several passages of Scripture, set in comparison and competition for affectionateness by ourselves.


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