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and worship. He must endeavour to keep united in his feelings, joy in the truth which he is examining, with knowledge of the foundation on which it rests; and he must check every tendency to the temper of mere intellectual inquiry, by beginning, continuing, and ending all his studies with prayer for guidance and illumination.

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CHAPTER VII.

The doctrines of the Church to be col

lected from the Creeds and Articles. Works to be consulted for the explanation of these, and for the application of particular truths.

It has been the object of this sketch to suggest a course of theological reading adapted to the case of those students who are preparing for the parochial ministry. It has been assumed that for this purpose a course of study, of which the Bible itself should form the substance, and which should merely he extended to other books, in order to illustrate and explain the Bible, was best suited to the

opportunities they possessed, as well as to the nature of their duties. It was hoped that in this

way

views of divine truth might be formed, more enlarged, more general, more agreeable to the greatness of the Being whose operations are contemplated, and to the infirmity of those who are engaged in the study, than any which have taken the shape of a regular system: and though it was obvious that a limited plan of study like this, must omit many things which it was very desirable to know; it seemed capable of including more of that which was absolutely essential to ministerial usefulness, than any other which it was easy to point out. But in discarding system, or in ceasing to make that the chief object of pursuit, it is not meant that there is any want of certainty in religious truth, or that it is desirable, or even possible, for the mind to be in a state of indecision on points of vital importance. The word of God is not inconsistent with itself, though we may not always be able to perceive its agreement. In the midst of the most painful inquiries, we must feel assured that the difficulties which obstruct our progress are apparent, not real; that they belong not to the subject, but to the nature of the beings who are engaged in contemplating it. And though consciousness of human ininfirmity, and of the limits of human knowledge, should induce every one who thinks upon the subject, to think with humility, and to speak with caution; it is not less true, that certainty may be gained, and that certainty must be had on points of chief importance, in order to have peace.

This degree of certainty, this species of conclusion, the church herself requires from all who undertake the office of ministers. The assent which is given at the time of ordination to the Articles of religion, assumes them as the standard of belief for every individual who sub

scribes them. What they assert, he asserts. What they deny, he denies. As far as they go, he is supposed to go; and where they stop, he does not go further. The latitude of the language in which they are drawn up, their specific disavowal of every doctrine which may not be proved from holy Scripture, show that they impose no yoke on the conscience, nor infringe the liberty of the mind. Still, nothing less can be implied from the act of subscription, than that as far as the Articles conclude, so far must the minister of the Church of England have concluded likewise ; that he must have obtained that degree of conviction which their language naturally expresses, and which enables him on this occasion to use it as

his own.

It is presumed, therefore, that a diligent and faithful study of the Bible, accompanied and assisted by much of prayer for divine guidance, will lead to such inferences on points of doctrine,

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