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delivered to the Saints. For, when they fee all the Paffages of Scripture together, which refer to the fame Subject, they will be in lefs danger of falling into any of those Mistakes, which are manifeftly founded upon fingle Texts confidered apart by themselves: And when they have once truly learnt to fpeak the Language of Scripture, they will be better enabled: to judge of the Force of all other Ex-preffions, and to difcern how far they agree with that unerring Standard, the Word of God.
It was for their fakes, chiefly, that I undertook to draw up this fummary Account of the Doctrine contained in the Sacred Writings; which, at this timemore efpecially, I was encouraged to do, upon a Prefumption that it might be fome way ferviceable to thofe glorious Designs, which are now, with great Zeal and Succefs, carrying on, for the better educating Chriftian Youth in the Principles of their most holy Religion, and for propagating a true Knowledge of the Gospel among thofe that have not yet receiv'd the glad Tidings of Salvation, through Chrift which Defigns I am not only particularly obliged, but with the whole Weight of my Judgment and Inclina
tion, led to promote to the utmost of my Power.
It were likewife fart her to bewifhed, that the profeffed Enemies of Revealed Religion, would take fome fuch way as this, of confidering it all at once, in the full Extent and Simplicity of it, before they conclude any part of it to be either falfe or abfurd: For, by fo doing, they would foon find, that all the Objections they make to Divine Revelation, are levell'd only against fome particular Opi nions, falfly vented by private Men, as the Word of God; and that no one Chriftian Doctrine can be difproved, while the Authority of the Scriptures is pre-ferved; which hath not yet fuffered any thing by all their Attempts.
After this fhort Account of the Rea fons that induced me to enter upon the following Work, I have these few things to acquaint my Reader with, concerning the Method obferved in the Performance: of it.
The Language (as I have faid before) is all taken out of Scripture; there being no more of my own mixt with it, than juft what was neceffary for Connexion: and this is every where diftinguished by A 6
a different Character, excepting only fome small Variations in the Perfon, Tenfe, or the like, fuch as were requifite to exprefs. that, by way of Propofition, which the Scripture had delivered in fome other Form.
All the Texts made ufe of are (as it appears upon the first View) difposed under General Heads. But, for the better avoiding too great a number of Subdivi fions,, and at the fame time to preferve the Clearness aimed at by them, instead of New Titles,. I have made feveral Breaks under each Head, which feem'd to me to answer the fame End an easier Way.. I have endeavour'd likewife fo to range the particular Texts under every Divifion, as thy might follow one another in the most natural Order they were capable of, without making a con-tinued Difcourfe; which, confidering that this is a Collection of Principles and Laws, would have carried lefs Weight: and Solemnity in it.
As I have taken all the Care I could to leave out no Text relating to any of my Heads, which might be fuppofed to add any Force or Light to those I have retained; fo have I avoided, as much as conveniently I could, the Repetition of the
the fame Texts. But because feveral of them may be thought to belong as properly to one Head as to another; for this reafon I have repeated fome without any Variation; but commonly, where the fame Text comes over again, it is placed in a different View; what was delivered abfolutely, as matter of Faith, or Duty, in one place, being brought in as a Proof, or Reason, of fomething elfe in another.
Under fome Heads I have put several Texts, which feem to be only equivalent Expreffions of the fame thing; but fome of them, upon Examination, will be found to be more diftinct, and fome more emphatical than others, or at least the Variety it felf will ferve to imprint what is faid more ftrongly upon us; and in this I have followed the manner of the Sacred Writers.
As to the Sense and Meaning of all the Paffages of Scripture here brought together; it will eafily appear from the Dispo fition which I have made of them, that I have conftantly had a regard to that Interpretation of the Words, which is, moft generally allowed, and which they feem moft naturally to bear, in the common Tranflation now used in our Bibles; which I have all along preferved, except
ing only two or three places in the Pfalms, where I thought the Old Translation, ftill kept in the publick Service of the Church, more full and expreffive. I have indeed taken the liberty of applying fome Texts, by way of Illuftration, in fomewhat a different Senfe, than what was originally intended by them; but then it is always in fuch a Senfe, as is agreeable to the Doctrine of Scripture in other pla Ges; and the Subjects they are applyed to are fuch, as either admit of no Difpute, or are fufficiently proved by plainer Texts before. And even thefe Texts, which do not by an eafy Inference prove, what they are brought to explain, are, for more Exactness, diftinguished by this Mark T.
But, whatever Faults there may be, either in the Choice of fome Texts, or the Difpofition of the whole Performance, they will, I hope, be excufed, upon the account of the great Difficulty of fuch a Work as this is; in the compofing of which I had no manner of Help from any body that had gone before me. The only Offer at fuch a Design, that I have met with, is a Book printed in Quarto, 1676, styled the Scripture SuffiGiency,,&c. which, I hoped, would have