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of the life and ministry of our Saviour, and the exertions and sufferings of the Apostles, after his ascension into Heaven.
These two parts occupy the First Volume.
The first chapter of the third part contains a short account of the English Translations of the Bible, from the first known attempt to translate the Scriptures into the language of this country, to the Translation now in use. The second chapter is upon the Liturgy of the Church of England; and here I have noticed all the principal alterations which were made in the public service of our Church, from the first English Liturgy in the time of Henry the Eighth, to the last revisal soon after the restoration of Charles the Second. These two chapters occupy but little more than thirty pages; and the remainder of the Second Volume is devoted to an Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England. In this exposition I have not contented myself with stating the general doctrine of each article, but I have taken every sentence, and endeavoured to explain or prove it, as the
case required; so that there is not a single proposition or expression in these articles, the truth of which I have not attempted to establish. I have not only been very copious in quotations from Scripture in proof of the articles, but I have also had recourse to the antient Fathers, and have shewn that the Doctrines of our Church perfectly accord with the Faith of the early Christians.
When I consider the comprehensive nature of this plan, and the numerous avocations and interruptions which I have experienced in the execution of it, I cannot but fear that the Work will be found in some respects inaccurate and defective. I can only say that it has been my earnest wish and endeavour to be correct, to advance nothing but upon sufficient authority, and to compress as much useful information as I could within the limits to which I thought it right to confine myself. If I might presume that a second edition of this Work would ever be called for, I would add, that I shall very readily attend to any suggestion or advice which I may receive, whether it relates to error or omission.
I have designedly avoided entering into any particular discussion of the evidences for the truth of the Christian Religion, as upon that point I wish to refer the reader to the very able and excellent work of Dr. Paley. At the same time it may be observed, that whatever proves the Authenticity and Inspiration of the Scriptures, does in fact confirm the Divine origin of our Religion. And at the end of the second part, I have concisely enumerated the various proofs by which the truth of Christianity is established.
As Utility is my only object in this Work, I have not scrupled to borrow from other authors whatever suited my purpose; and every obligation of this sort I have been careful to acknowledge.
It is hoped that young Students in Divinity will remember, that these volumes are designed not only to give a general view of the subjects with which it is absolutely necessary that every Minister of the Church of England should be acquainted, but also by laying laying a foundation, to give a taste for theological pursuits. One of the great advantages of an established ministry is,
that it affords leisure for study; and I desire to remind the Clergy, that at the time of their ordination they solemnly promise to be "diligent in reading of the Holy Scriptures, and in such studies as help to the knowledge of the same." Without such diligence they cannot support the dignity of the clerical character, "be ready to give an answer to every one that asketh them a reason of the hope that is in them," or be qualified "to maintain true religion, and to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God's Word." There never was a period when professional learning was more requisite in the Clergy than at present, or when they were more loudly called upon to inculcate and enforce the genuine doctrines and duties of the Gospel.
I shall subjoin a list of books (a), which every Clergyman ought to possess; and it is greatly to be wished that the purchase of them
(a) In the former Editions of this Work, I added the prices of these books; but in the present Edition it has been recommended to me to omit the prices, as they are continually. varying, and may be always known by application to a bookseller. It may be right to mention, that the whole may be purchased for about seventy-five pounds.
should be considered as a necessary part of the expences of the education of a person designed for our holy profession. It will be remembered that I am not describing the Library of a learned Divine, but of a respectable and useful Parish Priest.
I shall divide these books into four classes; the first, containing such as relate to the Exposition of the Old and New Testaments; the second, such as serve to establish the Divine Authority of the Scriptures; the third, such as explain the Doctrines and Discipline of the Church of England, and the Duties of its Ministers; and the fourth, Miscellaneous, including Sermons and Ecclesiastical History.
CLASS THE FIRST.
/ BIBLE, with marginal references, 8vo. Cruttwel's Concordance of Parallels, 4to.
Butterworth's Concordance, 8vo.
Patrick, Lowth, and Whitby, on the Old and New Testament, 6 vols. folio, or 7 vols. 4to.
Doddridge's Family Expositor, 6 vols. 8vo.