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Creed, Biskop Wilkins, Stilling fleet's Origines Sacra, Dr. Barrow, Dr. Bently, Dr. Williams, Parsons's Directory by Stanhope, &c.
In this undertaking I have not aimed at fublimity of language, being well aware of my own inability ; nor was it my wish bad I even been equalto the attempt; as I deßgned this book principally for
such of the laity who have not the opportunity of reading larger and better tracts of divinity; and who perhaps may often hear the sacred truths of religion (in the belief and practice of which they hope for salvation) called in question or ridiculed ; and not having that particular point fairly and clearly explained, their faith is fhaken, and they disqualified. For this reason, therefore, I have undertaken this work, and have attempted to handle fome even controverted points of the present day. Most of the
sentiments herein delivered are the instructions and doctrines of those pious worthies, who, for their learning and probity, were stiled the fathers of the Church, and who living near the apostolic age are more likely to understand the true meaning. of several parts of religion, than we who think ourselves refined.
Of the Doctrines of the Christian Religion.
CHAPTER 1. Of the Love of God.
2. Of the Love of our Neighbour.
Of the Sacraments.
PAR T I.
OF THE DOCTRINES OF THE CHRISTIAN
CH A P T E R I.
Of Natural Religion.
ELIGION or divine worship has been in every age,
and still continues to be, the primary concern and principal meditation of the wise and considerate : impressed with a sense of gratitude and praise for the blessings they enjoy, and anxious for their future welfare, they esteem all other things to be only of a secondary and subordinate importance.
Many and very different have been the ways invented by mankind for the discharge of this duty; and these not only among the unenlightened, where nature was their only guide, but even amongst the happier nations who are blessed with the revealed will of God. The various and whimsical ceremonies -adapted by the Gentiles, are very expressive of their ignorance of God; and
even the modes of worship practised by the wiser heathens or philosophers, plainly declare the deficiency of their knowledge in divine things. Although they were extolled, and that justly, for their morality and the management of civil affairs; for the rules established by those strict observers of honour and integrity, will always be proper examples of imitation; yet their religious institutions bear no resemblance to their renowned wisdom and dexterity in planning wholesome laws of temporal government. This observation convinces us how utterly at a loss mankind are to discharge that homage and adoration to the Deity they deem fo incumbent. The rites and ceremonies of religion performed and observed by all countries, previous to their knowledge of revelation, plainly indicate their earnestness of devotion : and the superb and beautiful temples dedicated to their imaginary Gods, shew them to be impressed with notions suitable to the majesty and excellence of the Supreme Being
Is it at all wonderful that mankind of their own accord should be led to give praise and adoration, when they contemplate the * mighty works of the visible creation, and observe the beauteous order 'of nature ? From a proper observation of such things as strike the outward senses, they are in