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ftrengthened by Mathematical Researches; the limits of his understanding may have been in fome degree afcertained by the study of Natural Religion; in a word, he may have been admi-> rably fitted to become a Divine; but, if, after this preparation, he ftops fhort, giving himself up to rural amusements, miffpending his time in idle avocations, blunting his faculties by fenfual indulgencies, indolently or arrogantly acquiefcing in the knowledge he has acquired, he will never be one.

I am far from wishing to divert the attention of the Undergraduates from that course of studies which is established in this? place. There is no University, I believe, in Europe, where the degree of Bachelor of Arts is more honorably obtained than in the University of Cambridge: the fedulity with which the young men, in general, purfue the plan of ftudy which is prescribed to them is highly commendable; and, if I recommend it to them to let Theology make a part of that plan, it is not from an opinion, that Theological ftudies are more proper for their time of life than any of thofe in which they are engaged; but from an ap prehenfion, that if they do not make fome progrefs in Divinity, during the first years of their Academical Education, they will have no opportunity of doing it before they will be placed in fituations, which require a great proficiency in it. The Statutes indeed of the University, and of many private Colleges, though they point out Theology, as the ultimate End of all our ftudies, do not order us to ftudy Divinity till we have studied almost every other branch:of Science: but it ought to be remembered that, at the time these Statutes were made, young men were admitted into the Univerfity about the age of fourteen, and consequently commencing Mafters of Arts about the age of twenty-one, they had a confiderable interval, even after taking their second degree in Arts, in which they might prepare themselves for entering into holy Orders.

It is not the reading many books which makes a man a Divine, but the reading a few of the best books often over, and with attention; thofe at least who are beginning their Theological studies should follow this rule. I have no fcruple therefore in recommending it to the Students in the Universities to read this Collection twice or thrice over before they take their first degree; the doing this will give little interruption to their other studies, and if it should give a great deal, their time will not be mifemployed. Let them dedicate a fmall portion of every day, or the whole of every Sunday to this occupation, and, in the course of three or four years, they will eafily accomplish the task, and, when

it is accomplished, they may offer themselves to the Bishops to be erdained with a becoming confidence, that they are not wholly unprepared; and they may undertake the most important of all human Duties the Cure of Souls without being alarmed by a consciousness of their inability to discharge it as becometh the fervants of the most high God. When I thus express myself concerning the fruits which may be expected from the course of ftudy here pointed out, I am far from infinuating, that it will fuperfede the neceffity of studying the Scriptures themselves, with the beft affiftance which can be obtained from Commentators. On the contrary, I am perfuaded that one part of Scripture is beft interpreted by another, and that no fort of reading can contribute fo much to the producing of a steady faith, a rational piety, a true Christian charity of mind (the great ends of all our studies and all our pursuits!) as the frequent reading of the Scrip


But the ftudents who are defigned for the Church are not the only ones to whom I would recommend the practice of setting apart fome portion of their time for religious inquiries; I would prefs it with the greatest earneftnefs and fincerity on the young men of rank and fortune. I would especially intreat them to peruse with unprejudiced minds, the whole of this Collection; but particularly, and with the stricteft attention, the Firft, Fourth, and Fifth Volumes of it: they will there find fuck convincing proofs of the Christian Religion, as will preserve them; I trust, from that contagion of Infidelity which is the difgrace of the age. It is a very wonderful thing that a being fuch as man, placed on a little globe of earth in a little corner of the univerfe, cut off from all communication with the other fyftems which are dispersed through the immenfity of space, imprisoned as it were on the spot where he happens to be born, almoft utterly ignorant of the va riety of fpiritual exiftencies, and circumfcribed in his knowledge of material things, by their remotenefs, magnitude, or minutenels, a ftranger to the nature of the very pebbles on which he treads, unacquainted, or but very obscurely informed by his natural faculties of his condition after death; it is wonderful that a being fuch as this, fhould reluctantly receive, or faftidiously reject the inftruction of the Eternal God! Or, if this is faying too much, that he should haftily, and negligently, and triumphantly conclude, that the Supreme Being never had condefcended to inftruct the race of man. It might properly have been expected, that a rational being, fo circumftanced, would have fedulously inquired into a fubject of fuch vaft importance; that he would not

have fuffered himself to have been diverted from the investiga tion, by the pursuits of wealth, or honour, or any temporal concern, much less by notions taken up without attention, arguments admitted without examination, or prejudices imbibed in early youth from the profane ridicule, or impious jeftings, of fenfual and immoral men. It is from the influence of fuch prejudices that I would guard that part of the rifing generation which is committed to our care, by recommending to them a ferious perufal of the tracts which are here prefented to them. Let them not refuse to follow this advice, because it is given to them by a churchman; he can have no poffible interest in giving it, except what may refult to him from the conscioufnefs of endeavouring to discharge his duty, and the hope of being ferviceable to them in this world and the next. They need not queftion his veracity, when he speaks of religion as being ferviceable to them in this world; for it is a trite objection, and grounded on a misapprehenfion of the defign of Chriftianity, which would represent it as an intolerable yoke, fo oppofite to the propenfities, as to be utterly deftructive of the felicity of the human mind. It is in truth, quite the reverse; there is not a fingle precept in the Gospel, without excepting either that which ordains the forgiveness of injuries, or that which commands every one to poffefs his vessel in fanctification and honour, which is not calculated to promote our happiness. Chettianity regulates, but does not extinguish our affections and: in: the due regulation of our affections confists our happiness as reafonable beings. If there is one condition in this life more happy than another, it is, furely, that of him, who founds all his hopes of futurity on the promises of the Gospel who carefully endeavours to conform his actions to its precepts; looking upon the great God Almighty as his Protector here, his Rewarder hereafter, and his everlafting Preferver. This is a frame of mind fo perfective of our nature, that if Chriftianity, from a belief of which it can only be derived, was as certainly falfe, as it is certainly true, one could not help wishing that it might be univerfally received in the world. Unbelievers attempt to make profelytes to Infidelity, by preffing upon the minds of the unlearned in Scripture knowledge, the authorities of Bolingbroke, Voltaire, Helvetius, Hume, and other Deiftical writers. It is proper that young men fhould be furnished with a ready anfwer to arguments in favour of Infidelity, which are taken from the high literary characters of those who profess it; let them remember then, that Bacon, Boyle, Newton, Grotius, Locke, Euler

-that Addifon, Hartley, Haller, West, Jenyns that Lords


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Nottingham, King, Barrington, Lyttleton with an hundred other
laymen, who were furely as eminent for their literary attainments,
in every kind of fcience as either Bolingbroke or Voltaire, were
profeffed believers of Chriftianity. I am quite aware that the
truth of Christianity cannot be established by authorities, but
neither can its falfehood be fo established, Arguments ad vere-
cundiam have little weight with those who know how to use
any others, but they have weight with the lazy and the ignorant
on both fides of the queftion. But though I have here fuggefted
to young men, a ready answer to fuch of their profligate acquain-
tance as may wish to work upon their prejudices in favour of In-
fidelity; yet I hope they will not content themselves with being
prejudiced even in favour of Chriftianity; they will find in this
Collection, fuch folid arguments in fupport of its truth, as can-
not fail to confirm them, on the most rational grounds, in the
belief of the Gofpel Difpenfation. They may wonder, perhaps, if
religion be fo useful a thing as is here reprefented, that their pa-
rents should have seldom or never converfed with them on the
fubjectif this should be the fact, I can only fay, That it is
a neglect of all others the most to be regretted. And indeed our
mode of education, as to religious knowledge, is very defective;
the child is inftructed in its catechism before it is able to compre
hend its meaning, and that is usually all the, domeftic inftruc-
tion which it ever receives. But whatever may be the negli
gence of
parents in teaching their children.Chriftianity, or how
forcibly foever the maxims and cuftoms of the world may. con-
fpire in confirming men in infidelity, it is the duty of thofe to
whom the Education of youth is intrufted not to defpair; their
diligence will have its ufe; it will prevent a bad matter from be-
coming worse: and if this foolishness of preaching into which I
have been betrayed on this occafion, has but the effect of mak-
ing even one young man of fortune examine into the truth of the
Christian Religion, who would not otherwife have done it, I
fhall not repent the having been inftant out of feafon.

Difcite, O Miferi, et caufas cognofcite rerum
Quid fumus, et quidnam victuri gignimur: ordo
Quis datus ;
-quem te Deus effe

These were queftions which even the Heathen Moralifts thought it a fhame for a man never to have confidered. How much more cenfurable are thofe amongst ourselves who waste their days in


folly or vice, without ever reflecting upon the providential difpenfation under which they live, without having any fublimer piety, any purer morality, any better hopes of futurity than the Heathens had?

In recommending this Collection to the careful perusal of the younger Clergy, I would not be understood to vouch for the truth of every opinion which is contained in it; by no means; there is no certainty of truth but in the word of God. Their Bible is the only fure foundation upon which they ought to build every article of the faith which they profefs, every point of doctrine which they teach. All other foundations, whether they be the decifions of councils, the confeffions of churches, the prescripts of popes, or the expofitions of private men, ought to be confidered by them as fandy and unfafe, as in no wife fit to be ultimately relied on. Nor, on the other hand, are they to be faftidiously rejected as of no ufe; for though the Bible be the one infallible rule by which we must measure the truth or falfehood of every religious opinion, yet all men are not equally fitted to apply this rule, and the wifeft men want on many occafions all the helps of human learning to enable them to understand its precise nature, and to define its certain extent. These helps are great and numerous, they have been fupplied in every age, fince the death of Christ, by the united labours of learned men in every country where his religion has been received. Great Britain has not been backward in her endeavours to establish the truth, and to illuftrate the doctrines of Chriftianity: fhe has not abounded fo much in fyftematic Divines as Germany and Holland have done; yet the most difficult points of Theology have been as well difcuffed by our English Divines as by thofe of any other nation. In proof of this, I might mention the works of Pearson, Mede, Barrow, Burnet, Chillingworth, Stillingfleet, Clarke, Tillotson, Taylor, Benson, Jortin, Secker, and an hundred others; but the fermons preached at Boyle's Lecture, and the Collection of Tracts against Popery, render every other argument in fupport of the Obfervation wholly unneceffary. The freedom of enquiry too, which has fubfifted in this country during the prefent century, has eventually been of great fervice to the caufe of Chriftianity. It must be acknowledged that the works of our Deistical writers have made fome few converts to Infidelity at home, and that they have furnished the Efprits forts of France, and the Frey-Geifters of Germany, with every material objection to our Religion, which they have of late years displayed with much affectation of originality: but at the fame time we must needs allow,


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