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THE NEW YORK
AITOR, LENOX AND
PRINTED BY METCALFE AND PALMER, TRINITY-STREET.
TO THE COMPILER'S PUPILS,
WHO HAVE BEEN ENTRUSTED TO HIS GUIDANCE FOR THE IMPORTANT
"Incumbite igitur ad hanc tantam tam præclaram laudem, ut facitis, meque, si tanti videar, studiorum vestrorum vel ducem capite, vel adjutorem."-Ruhnk. Orai. Inaug. de Græc. Art. et Doctrin. invent. p. 34, Lugd. Bat. 1757.
Though the present generation may possess many
valuable Expositions of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England, yet it is an object of frequent complaint, among both teachers and students, that they are not furnished with a work sufficiently elementary, as well as free from the bias of individual opinions. It is a matter of urgent importance that the study of the Articles, which were “prepared at first by Protestant Reformers, and some of them Protestant Martyrs,” should form an essential item in the education of all professing members of the Church, in order that the rising generation especially may be firmly established in its doctrines, preserved in communion with it, and furnished with weapons to repel the objections of gainsayers. Means then ought surely to be supplied and employed so thoroughly to inform the minds of young members concerning the subject-matter, composition, dates, and alterations of the Articles, and to attach their affections to its doctrines and discipline, that they may stand fast, and hold the things which they have been taught, not only because they respect the power and authority of the Church, but because they also find that these, and no other, are the ordinances and doctrines of Holy Writ. Equally necessary is it that candidates for Holy Orders should not depend solely upon expositions and commentaries, but endeavour for themselves to ascertain
what are the tenets of the Church, and how far such tenets agree or disagree with the word of God. It is not denied but that set treatises on the Articles are of great use and benefit to the already well-read divine, but they certainly tend to supersede the necessity of diligent examination to the young.
I am conscious to myself that my humble desire has been not to seek my own honour in the following work, but to supply a book on the Thirty-Nine Articles suitable to the purposes of education, and to the wants of students in Theology. What may be thought of this attempt by the Christian public, and especially by the friends of the Church of England, I presume not to conjecture. I know and am persuaded that it partakes, in no ordinary degree, of the imperfections of all human compilations. I have bestowed upon it the little leisure allowed me from my hitherto laborious avocations. Having been incessantly engaged for many years in superintending the studies of candidates for Holy Orders, I have deeply felt the want of a fundamental work of this kind; and in endeavouring to supply this deficiency to my pupils, I have found my papers increase to such an extent, as to prompt me to set them in the order in which they have been committed to the press. They have no claim to anything like originality. Having formed my plan many years ago, I have from time to time availed myself of assistance wherever it could be obtained. I have not presumed to put my own sense or comment to be the meaning of the Articles, and have studiously avoided a declaration of my own individual opinions. I have not sought to establish any particular class of sentiments, or to flatter and gratify any of those parties into which the members of our Church have been