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PREFACE. . of, '-'. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-- * * * * - i , * . . - . . • * - Ft is the profession of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians in regard of himself, that “as a wise master-builder he had laid the foundation;”* whereby he would signify and declare thus much unto them; that the laying of the foundation is the work of a master-builder, as also that some skill and wisdom is both required and shewn in the right laying of it. . . . . . . . . . . . . - "This hath been eminently the care of the Réverend and Learned Author of these ensuing Discourses, who being sufficiently sensible of the defect, as well as necessity of a settled and wellgrounded knowledge in the Fundamentals of the doctrine of Christ';f hath therefore with all diligence applied himself hereunto in this treatise, which he hath left to the world. 2 * Neither was this more seasonable for the time • 1 corinthians i. 10. - + Hebrews vi. 1. - 3.
than it was proper and fitting for the place, in which at first it received its beginning, being in one of the schools of the prophets, and a principal seminary of divines, St John's College in Cambridge. Where being at that time master (and having as yet no other public employment, which might take him up) he was willing to lay himself forth so much the rather in this way of his ministry, by Catechetical Lectures in that Chapel on the evenings of the Lord's day. As Elisha when he came to Jericho, * casting salt into those springs of water, for the preserving of all savouriness and fruitfulness in them. , , i. ... Now these sermons of his he had drawn up (so far as to the preaching of them) into a complete body of divinity in thirty distinct Aphorisms, with their respective Exercitations; being also the sum, and extract of most of his former labours in the whole course of his ministry; which he had intended (if God had permitted) to have fitted, and prepared for the press. But being prevented of this his purpose by a long and tedious sickness, and much weakness growing upon him, and at last by death itself; he finished only these six, which are now presented to view; and authorized under his own hand for those which he allowed of as his, exclusively to any other besides: and committed them to our care alone for the management of the publishing of
* 2 Kings ii. 21.
them; which accordingly we have endeavoured to do with all fidelity.
... The book is not unfitly styled (and that by the author himself) A Chain of Principles. For such is the nature of the truths propounded in it; as in order to other points of divinity, which are founded upon them, so likewise to the life of a Christian, which is much regulated by them in their right improvement. Every article of Christian Religion hath somewhat in it of principle to a gracious and holy conversation to which it is carried and directed. Hence 1 Tim. iii. 16. It is said, Great is the mystery of godliness, God manifested in the flesh, &c. The incarnation, passion, resurrection, ascension of Christ and the like, are all matters of godliness; because that they tend to godliness in the nature and discovery of them, as also promote godliness in the true compliance and closing with them. It is called A Chain of Principles for sundry TeaSOnS. - ; First, From the connexion, which they have one with another. For like as in a chain there are divers, links joined together, and these in a mutual dependance, concomitance and subordination; even so is it likewise with the doc
trines and principles of Christian Religion. They are connected, and so knit together, as that there cannot be a denial of one, but more will consequently fall with it. : Look as in things
necessary to be done, there is a dependance and connection of commands, so that he, who breaketh one aw is interpreted to break all the rest, and to be guilty of a universal transgression; because he sins against that general authority, whereby all the rest were given, so also in things necessary to be believed; he that denieth one article of faith which is offered to him by God to be received, denieth the faith itself in the latitude of it;* as sinning against the general veracity of him that propounds it, and weakening all other truths, which are dependant Aupon it. Though perhaps in so doing, he may not always actually intend it. " . - .. - so . . . . . . . . . . . * * * Secondly, A chain also for that special concord and agreement which it breedeth (and ought to breed) in those that profess it, notwithstanding all collateral and circumstantial differences whatsoever. The principles of Christianity as they are united within themselves, so they do marvellously unite those who do really and cordially embrace them, and make them to speak the same
, o, . & -- - * 1 Timothy v. 8,
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