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(pos'a by one and the same Perion Hotever, I am persuaded, that if you will give your lil the A Predische prodhi Trouble of reading them in that Order which I fhall prescribe, you will reap very near as considerable Advantages thereby; as if you had spent your time in fuch a System, as (tho? we dearly want it, yee) perhaps we must despair of ever feeing. I do
Secondly, That diverse of the Books Secondly,Some or Parts of Books, which I shall re. TiRepetitions are summond Ador Darufal ha unavoidable 'in this method, written on the same Subject, thepe
must of Neceflity bel diverse Repeti. tions of the famë Matters. This could not be pre- vented, unless the Substance of 'em all were blendred into one intire Discourse; the Task of doing - which I have neither Time nor Inclination to un
dertake. I hope therefore, you'll bear with this un. -avoidable Inconvenience; especially since, tho’the ? fatigue of Reading is thereby a little increas?d; yet e perhaps each distinct Treatise will afford you fome.
thing considérable, which is not in the rest. .. i 1. i Thirdly, That in some Parciculars, 1. Thirdly, The : diverse of those
he diverse of those Books' or Parts of Author Some times différ's in Books, which I Thall recommend to - his Judgment you, are not written exactly accor
from the Pere ding to my own Mind. I cou'd with fons whose Bookshop berecommends.
that some points were handled, some *
Thister explained: !
Texts explained, fome Arguments vurg'd, bc, after a Manner a little different from
that which those Authors there use. This all PerTons who have spent any Time in the Study of
Divinity, cannot but frequently experience in - their Reading, and 'tis accordingly my own Case.
Wherefore I hope you will not conclude, that what I recommend to you does, in all respects, fully and truly express my own Sentiments. In the
main I heartily approve what I recommend to you: and I am persuaded, your reading according to my Directions,i will not lead you to any such: Mistakes, as you will have Reason to repent of, or be in any Danger of retaining, when farther Light is offer'd to you. it ?' si - Fourtbly, That whenfoever you meet! with a Text of Scripture allegd to Fourthly, All. prove or disprove any. Proposition, In: the Texts that: would by all means advise you to turn are alleg d, 1*
must be examia to it in the Original, and perufe ir ned in the orie carefully with the Context, not for: ginal. getting to confult such Commentators! . ; upon the Place, as you have then by you. For 'tis impoflible for you, till you are well versid. in these Studies, to imagin, how easily you may otherwise be led into great Errors by the mere Sound of Words, by plausible Glosses, &c. And let me pere fuade you also, when the Books you read, do want Indexes of the Texts explain'd in them, to make them for your own Ufe. These Indexes will be of considerable Service to you in the Prosecution of your Studies afterwards.
Fifthly, That you must be extremely cautious, left you read too fast. I hope
Student must you'll excuse my Freedom, and think it no Reproach to you. For I have not faft. the least Reason to suspect your being a guilty of the Fault I warn you against. But I assure you, reading too fast has done a great deal of Mischief, and spoiled a great Number of Scholars. Be persuaded therefore to ruminate upon what you read ; to lay aside your Book sometimes, and think over the Contents of it ; to digest it throughly, and make it perfectly your own; to search and examin, and advise with a Friend, if any thing
feem obscure to you ; not to lide over any Difficulty, but to be impatient after a Solution of it; and (if possible) not to give your self Reft till you have met with it. .
....Sjxthly, That when you have gone Sixthly, The
through any considerable Branch of Student must
į Divinity (for Instance, the Controverdigelt what he fy with the Atheists about the Being reads upon an and Attributes of God ; that about Nany Branch of tural Religion ; that of the Authority Divinity... .. of the Scriptures, and the Truth of
of Chriftianity, with respect to the Hypothesis of the Deists; or the like) you would bestow so much
Time and Pains in Reflection upon it, as to digeft 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 Ana fwers, and, in a word, make your self so far a Mafter of the Whole, as to be able with a little Recole lection to talk of it extempore in a good Method, and to lay it before another Person in a convenient Order... This, I confefs, 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 co 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 Meáns in one Year's Study, then you will otherwife probably do in three, four, or five.
.. : Seventhly, That the best way Seventhly, He must join to study succesfully, is to pray Dérvation with Study. ..
frequently and fervently for the Guidance and Afiftance of God's Holy Spirit, tu
lwers, Suments Itate that a regulpon it, w ro.
les of the who a word, ms with the uly, to
remove your Prejudices,and prepare you for the Reception 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 Trụth it self, 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 Imparciality. Be not forward to imbrace the Notions of those Men whom you have receiv'd a good Opinion of; or to reject 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 some Helps borrow'd of the Foreiners before mention'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 sal. and reveld, I mean the Being
inc Attributes of God,
§ and of Natural and Attributes of God. For this I Relig refer you to Dr. Clarke's Demonstration. Which when you have read, 'cwill be fit for you to inquire into the Law of Nature or Natural
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 Chrifian Revelation, from the Beginning of the Book fomitting 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 ScriChriftianity.
• ptures, and the Truth of Christiani ty; and that with respect to the different Hypotheses of Deists, Fews, Mahometans and Pagans.
Firft, With respect to the Hypothefis Firft, Witle of the Deists; who grant that there is a respect to the God and profers to
God, and profess to believe and praHypothesis of be Deiits. ctise the Law of Nature, or Natural Re
ligion ; but deny what we call Revelation, 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 Discourse. 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 Testament Persons whose Names they bear. were written by
See the Seventeenth Chapter of Names they bear. the Second part of the First Vo
lame of Dr. Fenkin'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