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delivered to the Saints. For, when they see all the Passages of Scripture together, which refer to the fame Subject, they will be in less danger of falling into any of those Mistakes, which are manifestly founded upon single Texts considered a part by themselves: And when they have once truly learnt to speak the Language of Scripture, they will be better enabled to judge of the Force of all other Ex-prefsions, and to discern 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 summary Account of the Doctrine contained in the Sacred Writings; which, at this time more especially, I was encouraged to do, upon
a Presumption that it might be some way serviceable to those glorious Designs, which are now, with great Zeal and Success, carrying on, for the better educating Christian Youth in the Principles of their most holy Religion; and for propagating a true Knowledge of the Gospel among those that have not yet receivd the glad Tidings of Salvation, through Chrift: which Designs 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 likewise fart her to bewished, that the profeffed Enemies of Revealed Religion, would take some such way as this, of considering it all at once, in the full Extent and Simplicity of it, before they conclude any part of it to be either false or absurd: For, by so doing, they would soon find, that all the Objections they make to Divine Revelation, are levelld only against some particular Opi. nions, falsly vented by private Men, as the Word of God; and that no one Christian Doctrine can be disproved, while the Authority of the Scriptures is preferved; which hath not yet suffered any thing by all their Attempts.
After this short Account of the Reas sons that induced me to enter upon the following Work, I have these few things to acquaint my Reader with, concerning the Method observed in the Performance of it.
The Language (as I have said before) is all taken out of Scripture; there being no more of my own mixt with it, than just what was necessary for Connexion: and this is every where distinguished by
a different Character, excepting only some small Variations in the Person, Tense, or the like, such as were requisite to exprefs
. that, by way of Proposition, which the Scripture had delivered in some other Form.
All the Texts made use of are (as it appears upon the first View) disposed un . der General Heads. But, for the better avoiding too great a number of Subdivifions, and at the same time to preserve the Clearnefs aimed at by them, instead of New Titles,. I have made several Breaks under each Head, which seem'd to me to answer the same End an easier Way.. I have endeavour'd likewise so to range the particular Texts under eve. ry Division, as thy might follow one another in the most natural Order they were capable of, without making a.con-tinued Discourse; which,, considering that this is a Collection of Principles and Laws, would have carried less Weight: and Solemnity in it.
As I have taken all the Care I could to leave our no Text relating to any
my Heads, which might be lupposed to add any Force or Light to thole I have retained; fo have I avoided, as much as conveniently I could, the Repetition of
the same Texts. But because feveral of them may be thought to belong as properly to one Flead as to another; for this reason I have repeated some without any Variation, but commonly, where the fame Text comes over again, it is placed in a different View; what was delivered absolutely, as matter of Faith, or Duty, in one place, being brought in as a Proof, or Reason, of something else in another.
Under some Heads I have put several Texts, which seem to be only equivalent Expreffions of the same thing; but some of them, upon Examination, will be found to be more distinct, and some more emphatical than others, or at least the Variety. it self will serve to imprint what. is said more strongly 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 easily appear from the Dispo-. sition which I have made of them, that I have constantly had a regard to that Interpretation of the Words, which is , most generally allowed, and which they seem most naturally to bear, in the common Translation now used in our Bibles ; which I have all along preserved, except
ing only two or three places in the Psalms, where I thought the Old Translation, still kept in the publick Service of the Church, more full and expressive. I have indeed taken the liberty of applying some Texts, by way of Illustration, in fomewhat a different Sense, than what was originally intended by them; but then it is always in such a Sense, as is agreeable to the Doctrine of Scripture in other plaGes; and the Subjects they are applyed to are such, as either admit of no Dispute, or are sufficiently proved by plainer Texts before. And even these Texts, which do not by an easy Inference prove, what they are brought to explain, are, for more Exactness, distinguished by this Mark I.
But, whatever Faults there may bez either in the Choice of some Texts, or the Disposition of the whole Performance, they will,. I hope, be excused, upon the account of the great Difficulty of fuch a Work as this is; in the comporing of which I had no manner of Help from any body that had gone
before me. The only Offer at such a Design, that I have met with, is a Book printed in Quarto, 1676, Ityled the Scripture Suffisiency,, &c. which, I hoped, would have