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evidences for the truth of the Christian Religion, as the Old Testament is in fact the foundation of the New. In the second chapter, I have given a very brief Account of the contents of the several Books of the Old Testament, and have mentioned their respective authors, and the times when they lived. In the historical books, I have stated the period which they comprehend, and the principal facts which they relate; and in the prophetical books, I have enumerated the prophecies they contain, and the few particulars which are known concerning the prophets themselves. The third chapter is an Abridg ment of the History of the Old Testament; and as a connexion between the Old and New Testaments, and to make the historical part of the New Testament more intelligible, the history of the Jews is continued down to the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. The fourth and last chapter of this part contains an Account of the Jewish Seets, not only of such as are mentioned in the Old and New Testaments, but also of those which were known at any period among the Jews, although their names do not occur in Scripture. I doubted for some time whether
whether this chapter ought to be placed in the first or second part; but upon consideration it appeared better to include it in the first, because all the sects here noticed originated within the period contained in the preceding chapter, and the knowledge of the principles of some of them is necessary to the right understanding of the New Testament.
The first chapter of the second part is upon the Canon and Inspiration of the Books of the New Testament, and corresponds to the first chapter of the first part. The thirty following chapters contain a separate Account of the Books of the New Testament. I have there stated the grounds for believing that each book was written by the person to whom it is usually ascribed, and have given the History of its Author. I have mentioned the place where it was published, or from which it was written; its date; the cause or design of its being written; its contents, and such other particulars as belong to the respective books. The last chapter of this part is an Abridgment of the New Testament History, in which I have related the leading circumstances
of the life and ministry of our Saviour, and the exertions and sufferings of the Apostles, after his ascension into Heaven.
These two parts occupy the First Volume.
The first chapter of the third part contains a short account of the English Translations of the Bible, from the first known attempt to translate the Scriptures into the language of this country, to the Translation now in use. The second chapter is upon the Liturgy of the Church of England; and here I have noticed all the principal alterations which were made in the public service of our Church, from the first English Liturgy in the time of Henry the Eighth, to the last revisal soon after the restoration of Charles the Second. These two chapters occupy but little more than thirty pages; and the remainder of the Second Volume is devoted to an Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England. In this exposition I have not contented myself with stating the general doctrine of each article, but I have taken every sentence, and endeavoured to explain or prove it, as the
case required; so that there is not a single proposition or expression in these articles, the truth of which I have not attempted to establish. I have not only been very copious in quotations from Scripture in proof of the articles, but I have also had recourse to the antient Fathers, and have shewn that the Doctrines of our Church perfectly accord with the Faith of the early Christians.
When I consider the comprehensive nature of this plan, and the numerous avocations and interruptions which I have experienced in the execution of it, I cannot but fear that the Work will be found in some respects inaccurate and defective. I can only say that it has been my earnest wish and endeavour to be correct, to advance nothing but upon sufficient authority, and to compress as much useful information as I could within the limits to which I thought it right to confine myself. If I might presume that a second edition of this Work would ever be called for, I would add, that I shall very readily attend to any suggestion or advice which I may receive, whether it relates to error or omission.
I have designedly avoided entering into any particular discussion of the evidences for the truth of the Christian Religion, as upon that point I wish to refer the reader to the very able and excellent work of Dr. Paley. At the same time it may be observed, that whatever proves the Authenticity and Inspiration of the Scriptures, does in fact confirm the Divine origin of our Religion. And at the end of the second part, I have concisely enumerated the various proofs by which the truth of Christianity is established.
As Utility is my only object in this Work, I have not scrupled to borrow from other authors whatever suited my purpose; and every obligation of this sort I have been careful to acknowledge.
It is hoped that young Students in Divinity will remember, that these volumes are designed not only to give a general view of the subjects with which it is absolutely necessary that every Minister of the Church of England should be acquainted, but also by laying a foundation, to give a taste for theological pursuits. One of the great advantages of an established ministry is, .that