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God vouchsafes to teach by the instrumentality of men : and that the clergy have much to do, under the teaching of God, as ministers of his grace. An order of men set apart for the study of sacred things, and of eloquence requisite to display their beauty and value to the thoughtless and unfeeling, cannot but be highly useful and indeed necessary. God's fpirit will allist, but not fuperfede their endeavours in the ministry.
If men are to be taught of God, it has been asked again, whether our own efforts will not become superfluous ? I answer, by no means. I fet out in this treatise with endeavouring to fix in the mind as a maxini : “ He that will know whether “ the doctrine of Christ be true, must do his " will.” Moral and intellectual improvement must be as earnestly sought as if there were no promise of supernatural aslistance ; just as the husbandman mult plough and low diligently, though he knows that the sun and the showers are abiolutely necessary to give the due increase.
Cavils, objections, and calumnious reproach will usually arise from some quarter or other, whenever religious opinions are freely and artlessly discussed, without any attempt to court the favour of fects and parties.
The path of literary life that leads along the vale of obscurity is the path of peace. Whoever ventures to bring forward the result of studies in THEOLOGY is peculiarly exposed to the shafts of angry pamphleteers. All indeed are inte. rested in the subject, and they, whose opinion is opposed, feel displeasure and express contempt. The SILENT DIVINE, who takes things as he finds them, chooses the smootheft and readiest road to
favour. It was this view of things which induced the celebrated Bishop Hare to write his treatise on the difficulties and DISCOURAGEMENTS which attend the study of the scriptures in the way of private judgment. He has the following remarkable passage in that treatise : “ Every mean per"fon,” says he," who has nothing to recommend « him but his orthodoxy, and owes that perhaps " wholly to his ignorance, will think (if you ven“ ture to publish an unfashionable opinion) he has “ a right to trample upon you with contempt, to “ asperse your character with virulent reflections, “ to run down your writings as mean and pitiful
performances, and give HARD NAMES to opinions which he does not understand.”
Such being the case, if a man had not learned a little Christian Philosophy, he would choose to spend his time in inglorious ease, and enjoying plenty, make, according to the advice of Chester. field, the world his bubble. But though exertion for the benefit of mankind, and distinction in con. sequence of it, bring many pains and penalties, often create enemies instead of friends, and injure worldly interest, yet knowledge is delightful, beneficence a duty, and every inconvenience which may arise from the diligent pursuit or diffusion of the one, and the faithful performance of the other, should be borne with alacrity.
With respect to myself, the proud and cenforious fpirit of the self-honoured Philosopher, and self-named rational Christian, shall never disturb my complacency, so long as I find that the opinions which displease them are founded on holy writ, and maintained by the ornaments of this country and of human nature.
As one of my chief objects is to promote among mankind the gentler affections, to the exclusion or mitigation of all malice and revenge, I shall not risk the loss of my own good humour, by entering into the bitterness of controversy, however folly may misunderstand, or malevolence misrepresent me. They do no despite to me; let them beware left they do despite to the Spirit of
* Heb. X. 29.
Page 1 2. On the Sort of Evidence recommended to Notice
and attempted to be displayed in this Treatise.
15 3. On the Prejudices entertained against this Sort of
Evidence, and against all divine and supernatu.
ral Influence on the Mind of Man. 4. The proper Evidence of the Christian Religion is
the Illumination of the Holy Ghost, ihining into the Hearts of those who do not close them against its Entrance. The Opinion of Dr. Gloucester Ridley cited in Confirmation of this Doctrine.
27 5. The true and only convincing Evidence of the Re.
ligion of Christ, or the Illumination of the Holy Ghost, is offered to ALL. Historical Evidence and Argumentation adapted to few.
30 6. Opinions of Bishop Taylor respecting the Evi
dence of the Holy Spirit : “ Thewing” (as he expresses it) “ how the Scholars of the Uni.
versity shall become most LEARNED and most USEFUL.”
35 7. Paffages from the celebrated Mr. John Smith, Fel
low of Queen's College, Cambridge, corroborative of the Opinion that the belt Evidence of the Christian Religion arises from the Energy of the Holy Spirit.
45 8. The Opinion of Bishop Sanderson on the Impoffi
bility of becoming a Christian without supernatural Assistance.
48 9. Dr. Ifaac Barrow's Opinion of the Evidence of Christianity, afforded by the illuminating Ope
ration of the Holy Spirit ; and on the Holy Spirit in general.
Page 53 10. Bishop Bull's Opinion on the Influence of the
Spirit of God on the Mind of Man, and its
61 1. The Opinions of Bishop Pearson and Doctor Scott,
Author of the Christian Life, and a warm Advocate for natural Religion.
65 12. Bishop -Smalridge on the absolute Necessity of Grace.
68 13. Human Learning highly useful, and to be pursued
with all Diligence, but cannot, of itself, furnish Evidences of Christianity completely satisfactory, like those which the Heart of the good Christian feels from the Divine Influence : with
the Opinion of Doctor Ifaac Watts. 74 14. The Opinion of Dr. Lucas, the celebrated Author
of an Enquiry after HAPPINESS, on the Evi. dence of Christianity arising from divine Communication.
84 15. Passages from a well-known Book of an anonymous
Author, intitled Inward Testimony. 89 16. Dr. Townson's Opinions on the Evidence which is
in this Book recommended as superior to all
other. 17. Dr. Doddridge on the Doctrine of Divine Influ
95 18. The Opinions of Mr. Locke and Mr. Addison. 99 19. The Opinion of Soame Fenyns on the fundamental Principles of Christianity.
103 20. The Opinion of Bishop Horsley on the prevalent
Neglect of teaching the peculiar DOCTRINES of Christianity, under the Idea that Moral Duties constitute the Whole or better Part of it. Among the peculiar Doctrines is evidently included that of Grace, which the Methodists inculcate (as the Bishop intimates) not erroneously.
105 21. The