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seem obfcure to you; not to flide over any Difficulty, but to be impatient after a Solution of it; and (if poffible) not to give your felf Rest till you have met with it.
Sixthly, That when you have gone through any confiderable Branch of Divinity (for Inftance, the Controverfy with the Atheifts about the Being and Attributes of God; that about Natural Religion; that of the Authority of the Scriptures, and the Truth of Chriftianity, with refpect to the Hypothefis of the Deifts; or the like) you would bestow fo much Time and Pains in Reflection upon it, as to digeft what you have read, into a regular Scheme in your own Head, to ftate the Queftions truly, to range the Arguments pro and con, with the refpective Anfwers, and, in a word, make your felf fo far a Mafter 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 Perfon in a convenient Order. This, I confefs, may appear a laborious Task; but I'll promife you, 'twill abundantly reward your Labor. For the Advantages of this Practice are unspeakably great; and when once you are a little accuftom'd to it, 'twill be for the future extremely eafy, and (what is more) throughly delightful to you. Befides, 'twill really fpare you a vaft deal of Pains; confidering that you'll make infinitely greater Improvements by this Means in one Year's Study, than you will otherwife probably do in three, four, or five.
Sixthly, The Student must recollect and digeft what he reads upon a ny Branch of Divinity.
Seventhly, That the best way Seventhly, He must join to ftudy fuccesfully, is to pray frequently and fervently for the Guidance and Affiftance of God's Holy Spirit, to
Devotion with Study.
remove your Prejudices, and prepare you for theReception of Truth, to quicken your Faculties, and blefs in the Exercife of them, &c. Fly to your heavenly Instructor, when any thing perplexes you, Implore and depend upon his Aid in the Solution of Difficulties. Confider alfo, that when you search after Truth, you are always in the Prefence 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 impofe 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 thofe Men whom you have receiv'd a good Opinion of; or to reject the Notions of thofe 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 fhall now proceed, according to my Promife, to felect a fmall Number of Books, written by English Men, which, with fome Helps borrow'd of the Foreiners before mention'd, will furnish you with a Body of Divinity; and to prescribe fuch a Method of reading them, as, I hope, may be useful to you.
You begin then with the Foundation of all Religion, both natural and revel'd, I mean the Being and Attributes of God. For this I refer you to Dr. Clarke's Demonftration. Which when you have read, you to inquire into the Law of Nature, or Natural
'twill be fit for
Of the Being and
and of Natural Re
Religion. For this I refer you to the fame Author's Difcourfe concerning the unchangeable Obligations of Natural Religion, and the Truth and Certainty of the Chriftian Revelation, from the Beginning of the Book (omitting the Preface) to the end of the Fourth Propofition.
In the next Place you are to exaof the Truth of min the Authority of the Holy Scrip. Christianity. tures, and the Truth of Chriftianity; and that with refpect to the different Hypothefes of Deifts, Jews, Mahometans and Pagans. First, With refpect to the Hypothesis of the Deifts; who grant that there is a God, and profefs to believe and praetife the Law of Nature, or Natural Religion; but deny what we call Revelation, or God's having declar'd his Will to Mankind by Infpir'd Perfons. Now the Scheme of the Deifts is effectually destroy'd by proving, First, That 'tis extremely agreeable to Reason, that God fhould revele himself to Mankind, See the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Propofitions of Dr. Clarke's aforefaid Difcourje. Secondly, That God did actually revele his Will to Mankind by Jefus Chrift and his Apoftles. For, First, The Books of the New Teftament were written by those Perfons whofe Names they bear. See the Seventeenth Chapter of the Second Part of the First Volume of Dr. Jenkin's Reasonableness and Certainty of the Chriftian Religion, Dr. Whitby's Prefatory Discourse concerning the Four Gospels, and his Prefaces to the Gofpels of St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John (omitting his Poftfcript to that on St. John) all which are in his Firft Volume of Annotations. See alfo the Seventh Section of his General
First, With refpect to the Hypothefis of the Deifts.
That the Books of the New Teftament were written by thofe Perfons whofe Names they bear.
General Preface to the Second Volume. the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Author of which is not yet agreed on, See Dr. Whitby's Preface to that Epiftle.
Secondly, The Matters of Fact related in the Books of the New Teftament are unquestionably true. 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 Apoftles, 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, fee the Fourteenth Propofition of Dr. Clarke'sDifcourfe, from the Beginning of it down to the Paragraph which begins thus, Secondly, The Divine Authority of the Chriftian Revelation, &c. in the Margin of which Paragraph are these Words, Of the fulfilling the Prophefies, as an Evidence of our Savior's Divine Commiffion. And that our Savior, his Apostles, and the Primitive Chriftians did actually work Miracles, and were endued by God with diverse Supernatural Gifts, fee the Thirteenth and Sixteenth Chapters of the Second Part of the First Volume of Dr. Jenkin's Reasonableness and Certainty of the Chriftian 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 fame; and his General Preface to his Second Volume, from the Beginning of the Second, to the End of the Sixth Se ction; and alfo from the Beginning of the Eighth, to the End of the Fifteenth Section. Secondly,
That the Matters of Fact related in the New Teftament
That our Savior did most certainly rife from the Dead. See Bishop Pearfon on the Fifth Article, beginning at He rofe again. See alfo the Fourteenth Chapter of the Second Part of the First Volume of Dr. Jenkin's Reasonableness and Certainty of the Chriftian Religion, the Twenty eighth Chapter of the Second Volume of the fame Book, and the Eleventh Section of Dr. Whitby's General Preface to his First Volume of Annotations.
Thirdly, Our Savior and his Apoftles were Teachers fent from, and infpir'd by, Almighty God; and confequently the Holy Scriptures are of Divine Authority, and the Christian Religion is undoubtedly true. See the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Propofitions of Dr. Clarke's Difcourfe; the Eighteenth Chapter of the Second Part of the First Volume of Dr.Jenkin's Reasonableness and Certainty of the Chriftian Religion; the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Propofitions of Dr. Clarke's Difcourfe, the firft 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 Cer¬ tainty of the Christian Religion.
That our Savior and his Apofles from, and infpir'd by, Almighty God.
were Teachers fent
And because the Scriptures of the Of the Scriptures Old Teftament are alfo to be reof the Old Teflaceiv'd by Chriftians, therefore the divine Authority of them must be eftablish'd. See the Eleventh and First Chapters of the Second Part of the First Volume of Dr. Jenkin's Reasonableness and Certainty of the Chriftian Religion, and alfo from the beginning of the Third, to the end of the Tenth Chapter of the fame Book,