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Man in his own Language and Method.
Now, for the better removing any false Opinions we may have received from those different Accounts which are given us of Scripture by other Men, as well as preventing any wrong Judgments we might be disposed to make of the Word of God, when we tread it our felves; I have often thought, that it would be a Work of great Use, to colled out of the Writings of the Old and New Testament, all the Do&trines and Precepts therein dispersed; to lay them together in such an Order and Method, as to give the Christian Reader a full and diftin&t View of his whole Faith and Duty at once; and by keeping all along the Language of Scripture, to leave no room for Misrepresentation. ... This is what I have endeavour'd to do in the following Treatise, as being fully satisfied of the Truth of what a great Writer observes *, That we cannot
* Chillingworth, p.152.
Speak Speak of the Things of God better than the the Words of God. 1 17.7101
It is not to be expe&ed, that the get neral Draught here given of ScriptureReligion, should have that influences up on Persons "nourished up in the Words of unfound Doctrine, as to make them lay by all the false Opinions, and improper Language, which they have long beeh used to; but, since it contains nothing elfe but the pure Word of God, there is reason to hope, that Men of all Perfúáfions will be easily prevailed upon to look into it, without fear of being mifled; and that, if any of them Thould from hence be enabled to discover their Mistakes, the Authority of what is faid will dispose them to yield niore willingly to their Convictions.
But whatever Effect this Method may have with such as are already fix'd in Error, those that have not yet taken a wrong Bent, will, in all likelihood, find it of some Advantage to them in their earliest Enquiries into the Christian Religion, to take a general View of the Whole,
in the most simple manner in which it was first delivered to the Saints. For, when they fee all the Passages of Scrip. ture together, which refer to the same Subject, they will be in less danger of falling into any of those Mistakes, which are manifestly founded upon single Texts considered apart by themselves : And when they have once truly learnt to speak the Language of Scripture, they will be better enabled to judge of the Force of all other Expreslions, and to difcern how far they agree with that unerring Standard, the Word of God.
It was for their fakes, chiefly, that I undertook to draw up this Summary Account of the Do&rine contained in the Sacred Writings ; which, at this time more especially, I was encouraged to do, upon a presumption that it might be some way serviceable to those glorious Designs, which are now, with great Zeal and Success, carrying on, for the better educating Christian Youth in the Principles of their most holy Religion,
and for propagating a true Knowledge of the Gospel among those that have not yet receiv'd the glad Tidings of Salvation, through Christwhich Designs I am not only particularly obliged, but with the whole Weight of my Judgment and Inclination, led to promote to the utmost of my Power.
It were likewise farther to be wished, thát the professed Enemies of Revealed. Religion, would take some such way as this, of considering it all at once, in the full Extent and Simplicity of it, before they conclude any part of it to be either . false, or absurd: For, by so doing, they would soon find, that all the Objections they make to Divine Revelation, are leveľd only against some particular Opinions, fallly vented by private Men, as the Word of God; and that no one Christian Doctrine can be disproved, while the Authority of the Scriptures is preserved; which hath not yet suffered any thing by all their Attempts.
After this short Account of the Rea fons that induced me to enter upon the following Work, I have thefe few Things to acquaint' my Reader with, concerning the Method observed in the Performance of it. tge
The Language ( as I have said be. fore ) is all taken out of Scripture ; there being no more of my own mixt with it, than just what was neceffary for 'Connexion : and this is every where distinguished by a different Character, excepting only fome small Variations in the Perfon, Tense, or the like, such as were requisite to express that, by way of Proposition, which the Scripture had delivered in fome ther Form.
All the Texts made use of are (as it appears upon the first View) disposed under General Heads. But , for the better avoiding too great a number of Subdivisions, and at the same time to preserve the Clearness aimed