« PreviousContinue »
Opponent of Principles which aimed at the Extinction of Christianity, and of a Power which threatened to deprive the World of every Religious and Social Comfort. To your Energy and Wisdom, under the Blessing of Divine Providence, this Country owes its present State of unexampled Prosperity and Glory, and all Europe the Hope of being rescued from the Evils of Tyranny and Atheism. But your Talents and Public Measures as a Statesman, I leave to the future Historian of this eventful Period; nor will I attempt to describe that Eloquence, which is acknowledged to be unequalled both in ancient and modern times. The connexion which subsisted between us in an early part of your Life, and the uninterrupted Confidence with which you have since honoured me, may, perhaps, justify me in bearing testimony to those Qualities which adorn and dignify your private Character. Having enjoyed the singular Felicity of watching the Progress of your unrivalled Abilities, I may be allowed to declare, that the unremitting Assiduity with which you early acquired a Depth and Variety of Learning rarely attained even by
by those who devote their whole lives to literary pursuits, was as remarkable as the Fire of that Genius, and the Accuracy of that Judgment, which astonish the World by their promptitude, acuteness, and extent; and having long witnessed the daily habits of your Life, I may be permitted to mention the Excellence of your Temper and Disposition, which I have ever considered to be no less extraordinary than the Powers of your Mind: But above all, I
may state with inexpressible Satisfaction, that under the influence of Religious Principle, your Conduct has afforded an eminent Example of private as well as of public Virtue, and that you have preserved an Integrity of Heart and a Purity of Mind unshaken and unsullied by the Trials and Temptations of the most exalted Stationof a Station obtained at an Age of which there is no example, and maintained with uniform Dignity, through a Succession of Difficulties as singular in their Nature as alarming in their Tendency.
Pardon me, Sir, for addressing you in Language, which, though dictated by
Truth, I can only hope you will excuse by attributing it to the natural desire of perpetuating the remembrance of a connexion from which I have derived so much happiness and honour. It is indeed impossible for me to indulge a Sentiment of pride, on account of the literary Acquirements by which you are so highly distinguished; but I shall always esteem it as a ground of the highest Exultation, that I have been thought worthy of your Friendship and Patronage. With the warmest Feelings of Affection and Gratitude, and with the most fervent Prayers for the Preservation of your Life, so invaluable to the World at this awful Crisis, I shall ever remain,
MY DEAR SIR,
Your most sincere and devoted friend and servant,
THE great deficiency with respect to professional knowledge, which I frequently found in the Candidates for Holy Orders, suggested the idea of the following Work. In consequence of the system of education at present pursued in our Universities previous to the first Degree, and of the short interval between the admission of young men to that Degree, and their offering themselves to the Bishop for Ordination, it too often happens, that they have not applied themselves to theological studies to the extent which might be wished. It would be easy to recommend Books, provided there were time and inclination to peruse them; but it is difficult to point out such as should contain that portion of knowledge which every Minister of Religion ought to possess, and which might be read and understood within the period usually allotted to preparation for Holy Orders. I thought therefore that I could
not better employ the little leisure which the duties of this very extensive diocese allow, than in compiling a short Work, which might serve at least to convey general ideas upon some of the most important branches of Christian Theology.
In considering the plan to be adopted for this purpose, the subject appeared naturally to divide itself into three parts-The Old Testament, the New Testament, and our own Establishment. It is not necessary to adduce any arguments to prove that a person who professes himself willing to become a Minister of the Church of England, ought to be acquainted with his Bible, and that he ought to know the peculiar Doctrines which it will be his indispensable duty to inculcate these are points which will readily be granted.
In treating of the Old Testament, I have begun with proving the Authenticity and Inspiration of the Books of which it consists, and have entered into these subjects at considerable length, but I trust not more fully than their importance demands. They form a material branch in the evidences