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"Hold fast the form of sound words."-2 Tim. i. 13.

PHILADELPHIA:

FOURTH PHILADELPHIA EDITION: CAREFULLY COMPARED WITH AN
EARLY AND CORRECT SCOTCH IMPRESSION.

WILLIAM S. YOUNG-No. 173, RACE STREET.

Wm. S. Young, Printer.

gift
Vit Russell

6-13-33

PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.

THE Shorter Catechism, composed by the Assembly of divines at Westminster, with assistance of Commissioners from the church of Scotland, being approved by the General Assembly of the said church 1648, and ratified by the Estates of Parliament in the year following, is above any recommendation of ours; having its praises already in all the churches of CHRIST, abroad and at home, among whom it has been justly admired as a master-piece of its kind, both for the fulness of its matter, and the compendious and perspicuous manner in which it is expressed.

Although it is only a human composure, yet being a form of sound words, agreeable unto, and founded on the word of God, it ought to be held fast, and earnestly contended for, by all the lovers of truth, in opposition to the contrary errors that are revived and raging in our day; and, in order hereto, it ought to be considered, that a divine faith is due to the words of the HOLY GHOST supporting it, as the evident proofs thereof.

Nothing tends more to the advantage and well-being of the church, than sound standards of doctrine, worship, and government, established by ecclesiastic and civil authority as ours are; because, as they are a strong bulwark against contrary errors and opinions, so they tend to preserve truth in its purity, and the professors of it in unity and harmony among themselves. On the other hand, there is nothing more galling to the adversaries of truth, than such public standards, because they are a very severe check and curb upon their unbounded and licentious liberty, being directly levelled against their erroneous schemes, and plainly discovering the harmonious chain of scripture-truth, in -opposition to them.

The divine warrant for such composures, is abundantly clear from 2 Tim. i. 13, where we read of the form of sound words wherein Paul instructed Timothy; and Heb. v. 12, of the first principles of the oracles of God; and chap. vi. 1, of the principles

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