« PreviousContinue »
seem obscure to you ; not to slide over any Difficulty, but to be impatient after a Solution of it ; and (if possible) not to give your self Rest till you have met with it.
Sixthly, That when you have gone Sixthly, The Student multe through any considerable Branch of recollect and Divinity (for Instance, the Controverdigeft what he fy with the Atheists about the Being reads upon as
and Attributes of God; that about Nanoy Branch of Divinity. tural Religion ; that of the Authority
of the Scriptures, and the Truth of Christianity, with respect to the Hypothesis of the Deifts; or the like) you would bestow so much Time and Pains in Reflection upon it, as to digest what you have read, into a regular Scheme in your own Head, to state the Questions truly, to range the Arguments pro and con, with the respective Answers, and, in a word, make your self so far a Master of the Whole, as to be able with a little Recollection to talk of it extempore in a good Method, and to lay it before another Person in a convenient Order. This, I confess, may appear a laborious Task; but I'll promise you, 'twill abundantly reward your Labor. For the Advantages of this Practice are unspeakably great ; and when once you are a little accustom'd to it, 'twill be for the future extremely easy, and (what is more) throughly delightful to you. Besides, 'twill really spare you a vast deal of Pains ; considering that you'll make infinitely greater Improvements by this Means in one Year's Study, than you will otherwise probably do in three, four, or five.
Seventhly, That the best way Seventhly, He must join
to study succesfully, is to pray Devotion with Study.
frequently and fervently for the Guidance and Affistance of God's Holy Spirit, to
remove your Prejudices, and prepare you for theReception of Truth, to quicken your Faculties, and bless you in the Exercise of them, &c. Fly to your heavenly Instructor, when any thing perplexes you, Implore and depend upon his Aid in the Solution of Difficulties. Consider also, that when you search after Truth, you are always in the Presence of that God who is Truth it felf, and who hates those who inquire with a proud or a double Heart; who either rely upon their own Strength, or are willing to impose upon themselves, or to be impos’d upon by others. Study therefore with the greatest Humility and Impartiality. Be not forward to imbrace the Notions of those Men whom you have receiv'd a good Opinion of; or to rejcct the Notions of those whom you do not love and admire. But call every thing to the Bar of right Reason and divine Revelation ; judge by that Rule ; and let nothing but Evidence, drawn from Reason or Revelation, influence or determin you. But upon these Heads I need not inlarge. For I am writing, I hope, to a very good Christian.
These things being premis’d, I shall now proceed, according to my Promise, to select a small Number of Books, written by English Men, which, with fome Helps borrow'd of the Foreiners before men tion'd, will furnish you with a Body of Divinity ; and to prescribe such a Method of reading them, as, I hope, may be useful to you.
You begin then with the Foundation of all Religion, both natu
Of the Being and ral and reveld, I mean the Being and of Natural Re
Attributes of God, and Attributes of God. For this I ligion. refer
you to Dr. Clarke's Demonstration. Which when you have read, 'twill be fit for you to inquire into the Law of Nature, or Natural
Religion. Religion. For this I refer you to the same Author's Discourse concerning the unchangeable Obligations of Natural Religion, and the Truth and Certainty of the ChriAtian Revelation, from the Beginning of the Book (omitting the Preface) to the end of the Fourth Proposition.
In the next Place you are to exaof the Truth of min the Authority of the Holy Scrip. Christianity.
tures, and the Truth of Christianity; and that with respect to the different Hypotheses of Deists, Jews, Mahometans and Pagans.
First, With respect to the Hypothesis First, With of the Deists; who grant that there is a respect to the God, and profess to believe and praHypothesis of the Deists.
Etise the Law of Nature, or Natural Re
ligion ; but deny what we call Revela. tion, or God's having declar'd his Will to Mankind by Inspir'd Persons. Now the Scheme of the Deists is effectually destroy'd by proving, First, That 'tis extremely agreeable to Reason, that God should revele himself to Mankind, See the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Propositions of Dr. Clarke's aforesaid Difcourse. Secondly, That God did actually revele his Will to Mankind by Jesus Christ and his Apostles. For,
First, The Books of the New That the Books of Testament were written by those the New Teftament Persons whose Names they bear. were written by those Persons whole See the Seventeenth Chapter of Names they bear. the Second Part of the First Va
lume of Dr, Jenkin's Reasonableness and Certainty of the Christian Religion, Dr. Whitby's Prefatory Discourse concerning the Four Gospels, and his Prefaces to the Gospels of St, Mark, St. Luke, and St. John (omitting his Postscript to that on St. John) all which are in his First Volume of Annotations. See also the Seventh Section of his
General Preface to the Second Volume. As for the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Author of which is not yet agreed on, See Dr. Whitby's Preface to that Epistle.
Secondly, The Matters of Fact related in the Books of the New Te- That the Matters ftament are unquestionably true. the New Testament
of Fact related in See the Fifteenth Chapter of the Second Part of the First Volume of Dr. Jenkin's Reasonableness and Certainty of the Chriftian Religion. From whence it follows, First, That our Savior, his Apostles, and the Primitive Chriftians, did certainly work Miracles in Confirmation of their Doctrin, and were endued by God with diverse Supernatural Gifts. As for the nature of Miracles, see the Fourteenth Proposition of Dr. Clarke'sDiscourse, from the Beginning of it down to the Paragraph which begins thus, Secondly, The Divine Authority of the Christian Revelation, &c. in the Margin of which Paragraph are these Words, Of the fulfilling the Prophesies, as an Evidence of our Savior's Divine Commission. And that our Savior, his Apostles, and the Primitive Christians did actually work Miracles, and were endued by God with diverse Supernatural Gifts, see the Thirteenth and Sixteenth Chapters of the Second Part of the First Volume of Dr. Jenkin's Reasonableness and Certainty of the Christian Religion ; the Tenth Section of Dr.Whitby's General Preface to his First Volume of Annotations, down to that Paragraph which begins with In Answer to what, &c. and the Twelfth and Thirteenth Sections of the same ; and his General Preface to his Second Volume, from the Beginning of the Second, to the End of the Sixth Se. ction; and also from the Beginning of the Eighth, to the End of the Fifteenth Section. Secondly,
That our Savior did most certainly rise from the Dead. See Bishop Pearson on the Fifth Article, beginning at He rose again. See also the Fourteenth Chapter of the Second Part of the First Volume of Dr. Jenkin's Reasonableness and Certainty of the Christian Religion, the Twenty eighth Chapter of the Second Volume of the same Book, and the Eleventh Section of Dr. Whitby's General Preface to his First Volume of Annotations.
Thirdly, Our Savior and his ApoThat our Savior ftles were Teachers fent from, and and his Apoflles inspir’d by, Almighty God; and from, and inspird consequently the Holy Scriptures by, Almighty God. are of Divine Authority, and the
Christian Religion is undoubtedly true. See the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Propositions of Dr. Clarke's Discourse; the Eighteenth Chapter of the Second Part of the First Volume of Dr.Jenkin's Reasonableness and Certainty of the Christian Religion ; the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Propositions of Dr. Clarke's Discourse, the first Eight Sections of Dr.Whitby's General Preface to his First Volume of Annotations, and the Fourth Part of the First Volume of Dr. Jenkin's Reasonableness and Cera tainty of the Christian Religion.
And because the Scriptures of the of the Scriptures Old Testament are also to be reof the old Tesla
ceiv'd by Christians, therefore the
divine Authority of them must be establish'd. See the Eleventh and First Chapters of the Second Part of the First Volume of Dr. Jenkin's Reasonableness and Certainty of the Christian Religion, and also from the beginning of the Third, to the end of the Tenth Chapter of the fame Book,