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tions: not looking for such as are perfect in virtu wisdom, for there are no such perfons; and if we to wait for them, no business could go forward. best author in the world, from the iniperfect vie have of some things, may be wanting in fome o reasonings: but if it be neither his interest nor hi clination to deceive; we may 'fafely admit him teacher. If his principles are good and true, they fufficient for our purpose; and he that follows t] may be able to improve them, and carry them on greater effect. We think it proper thus far to expl our intention, in order to obviate any objections whi may be raised against particulars, with design to preciate the present collection.
We begin with an excellent sketch of the Chriftia plan, by the masterly hand of the great Lord Chancello Bacon; who, with his other high qualifications, was on of the best divines of the age in which he flourished.
This is succeeded by the Rev. Charles Leslie's Short Method with the Deifts; a tract which has gone through many editions, and contains an unanfwerable proof of Chriftianity from the evidence of its facts *.
Human reason, under the fpecious name of philosophy; having been magnified, to the detriment of the Chriftian religion, and of late to the total overthrow of its doctrines and worship, it is neceffary to fee that matter
The late Dr. Ellis, of Dublin, who saw how fat the encroachments of reason and nature were
* Priestley is a witness to the value of this work. In his late Address to the Infidels of France, he took his arguments from it, without mentioning a word of the author. It is probable he did not know to whom they belonged: but borrowed them from somebody who had bor. Towed them before,
advancing, composed å learned and elaborate treatise on the Knowledge of divine Things from Revelation, not from Reason and Nature. The treatise itself is too long to be inserted in this Collection; but the author afterwards threw the fubftance of it into a single discourse, which is here published; and we beg the Reader to confider it with attention and impartiality. To this we add, as an auxiliary, a fermon on the true sense of the famous text of Rom. II. 14. so often turned against us by the Deists, in favour of a Religion without Revelation.
To obviate the errors of the time concerning the origin and ufe of civil government, we have given the preference to two Discourses; of which the first is extracted from the works of Roger North, Efq; and the second from the late Bishop Horne; who has treated this subject as it ought always to be treated by Christian writers. : /
The use of the church, with the fin and danger o fchifm, ought to be better understood by the learned, and more diligently taught among the people, than hath been the custom of late years. Nothing can be more effectual for this purpose than the three Letters of the Rey. William Law against Bishop Hoadley : which, though incomparable for truth of argument, brightness of wit, and purity of English, and honoured with the highest admiration at their first appearance, are now in a manner forgotten* In what was called the Bangorian Controversy, (Hoadley being then Bishop of Bangor) the cause of the church was defended by Mr. Law, and other eminent men, against the Sectaries and Socinians, of whom
* We know, and lament, that the excellent Mr. Law afterwards adulterated his Christian doctrines with many novel and unfound specu. lations ; but when he composed these Letters, his mind was in its purest ftate ; and they have no tincture of the errors he afterwards fell into, during a life of too much abstraction and folitude.
Dr. Hoadley then stood forth as the patron and chạm. pion; and he is the oracle of that party to this day. To these letters is added a later Elay on the Nature and Constitution of the Church: and as it is necessary to see what arguments the Sectaries make use of against the establishment of the church of England, they are collected and stated at the end of this work. The Reader
ri will also find, in the course of the compilation, fome valuable extracts from Mr. Leslię on the same fubject,
Socinianism, under the name of Unitarianism, denies the doctrines of the incarnation, redemption, &c. and is endeavouring daily to increase the number of its pros felytes. The Rev. Mr. Norris struck at the root of these errors, in a decisive treatise on the true Distinction be tween Faith and Reason; of which he has given the sum and substance in the last chapter of the work, which we here present to the Reader, and wish he may
be tempted to make himself better acquainted with the whole book. To this we subjoin two tracts, adopted by the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge: the first a Prefer. rative against the Publications of the Socinians; the second the Catholic Doctrine of the Trinity; of which this is the eighth edition,
In the last century, when fanatical Christianity was the peftilence of the age, it was little suspected that we of the present century should be witnesses to such an alarming approach towards the doctrines and ways of Heathen idolatry. It should make us more earnest to guard against false religion, when we see how foon it ends in infidelity. The folly of this increasing partiality to Heathenism was boldly censured in an anonymous publication, intitled, Remarks on the Growth of Heathenisin among Modern Christians; which we have inserted in the
Collection, and recommend it to the confideration of every Christian scholar.
No divine of this church ever studied his profession with better opportunities, or with more diligence and fuccess than the late Dr. Horne, Bishop of Norwich; of whose mind the superior powers and abilities are abundantly witnessed by his printed works; and whose mild and excellent fpirit: shone forth in his manners and conversation. In the many papers he has left behind him, some of those rules and directions are found, which appear by their effects to have been of eminent service to himself at an early period of his life; and which cannot fail to be of like service to all young students in divinity, who have entered on the same course, and wish to be followers of fo bright an example. Of these a specimen is extracted; and we have obtained permission to publish it. The pieces, short as they are, will be found to compihend more inatter than many large volumes, We do not enquire how far what we have printed was his own, or how far it was taken from others, to be applied to his own use. The improvement to be derived from it, is still the same. But as he is not now alive to explain to us the meaning of fome of his notes, we are obliged to take things as we find them, and to bespeak the candour of the Reader on that account. Had we been aware of it sooner, we might have taken advantage of a very interesting note in the second volume of his Sermons, and have added the piece there'spoken of, which cannot be extolled beyond its merits *. If this work should be
* The note is as follows: “ Bishop TAYLOR's Moral Demonstration of the Truth of Christianity, re-published since this Discourse was written, by a learned and amiable prelate of our church, (Bishop Hurd), May it meet with the success it deserves; for no tract ever came from the pen of man, better calculated to dispel those doubts and difficulties which may arise in the mind of a believer, of to work conviction and conver,
carried on farther, no tract can be more worthy of a place in a subsequent volume.
We have nothing father to say, but that we humbly and earnestly entreat all lovers of Christian truth and useful learning, who wish to see this church and nation preserved under the dangers and teinptations which now threaten it, to give their kind encouragement, and use their influence, in behalf of the present well-intended compilation: assuring them they will here find a great store of valuable truth, and perhaps also a fund of entertainment, at a very reasonable price. If the work should happily be found to answer the intention of the SOCIETY, one or more volumes may hereafter be added. But if any evil habits of the age, or the influence of the enemies of this Church, and of the truth which it maintains, thould fo 'far prevail as to render such a seasonable undertaking abortive, corruption must in that are be farther advanced than we are willing to beliv, e. Be it more or less, may the great Physician of souls affift and prosper us in thus contributing to the cure of it!
fion in that of an unbeliever, who can bring himself to give it a fair and attentive perasal. This has ever appeared to me to be its true character, fince the hour when, with equal furprize and pleasure, I first met with it, where it so long lay hidden from the fashionable world, in the Ductor Dubitantium."--Horne's Sermons, Vol. II. p. 3, 3d edit,