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makes the following remarks ; that* “ There are many, in every age, and in all places, who are so destitute of a sense of the importance of religion, that they would never attend to the sacred scriptures, with that degree of engagedness, which is necessary, to collect from them any thing like a system of doctrines. But, by the aid of a compendium of the doctrines and duties of the gospel, accurately drawn up, with scripture proofs ; they may, in a short time, arrive at the knowledge of every important truth. And, most certainly, it would greatly assist such as have an inquisitive turn of mind."
Another important benefit to be expected, from a compendiuin of the system of divine truth, is, that it greatly tends to excite those who have been most inattentive to the scriptures, and to all religious books; to read, from curiosity, those important truths, which they could never be persuaded to read, from a sense of duty. In this way, the minds of many stupid sinners may be drawn, by insensible degrees, to a solemn attention to the bible.
Another benefit of a well arranged compendium is, that it leads the mind of the reader to think and reason systematically, on religious subjects; as well as on all other subjects. It is only for want of due attention, and the proper means of aiding the minds of men, in theological enquiries, that so many people, of good natural abilities, are led to view the bible as a book of miscellanies, incoherent, if not inconsistent, in its several parts. The particular form, in which the bible is published to the world, is, indeed, somewhat miscellaneous; but not more so than might have been expected, considering the circumstances of its publication. The holy scriptures were written in different ages of the world, by about thirty
different hands, on a vast variety of different subjects and occasions, and without the least appearance of concert or combination. Under these circumstances, it was not to be expected, that the bible should be produced in exact systematic order. Yet, wonderful as it may appear,
it contains all the materials of a perfect system of doctrinal and practical religion. Now, therefore, to discover in one general view, by the aid of a well digested summary, the intimate connection of such an immense variety of important subjects, as are scattered throughout the sacred volume ; must be very profitable, as well as pleasing to the pious and contemplative mind.
Accordingly, we add, that a compendium of divine truth is calculated, not only to enlighten the ignorant, and arrest the attention of stupid and profane ; but also to increase the comforts and joys of real christians. When the foundation of all their hopes is discovered, in one comprehensive view, it is calculated greatly to excite their joy, and to confirm their faith and hope in the divine pronises. It may
be further added, that a good arrangement, and a brief discussion of the interesting subjects contained in the bible, are highly important, not only for the instruction of the ignorant, and for the edification of the saints ; but also for the conviction of sceptics and infidels. For the connection and harmony of the scriptures afford substantial proof of their divine original. And no where else, but in the bible, can be found a system of theology and religion, which is connected and consistent in all its parts. But such is the connection and harmony of the system contained in the bible, that all who candidly attend to the matter, feel constrained, either to embrace
the whole, or to reject the whole. But where is the man, who admits the being of a God, and yet dares to discard all the doctrines and precepts of the bible ? Deists and free thinkers, who generally profess to embrace a part and to reject a part of the sacred scriptures, when they are led to discern the inseparable connection of the whole; find themselves confounded. From the common ground of infidelity, they are driven, either to embrace the system of revealed truth, or the baseless doctrines of atheism. The system of divine truth needs but only to be seen, in its connection, as a system, to commend itself to every man's conscience. Pains have been taken, in forming this compendium, to address the consciences of the readers, by a simple manifestation of divine truth ; rather than to gratify their taste and fancy, by any embellishments of style.
The author is aware of the different shades of opinion on several subjects even among the orthodox; and that this should make him diffident, rather than dogmatical. His aim has been not to shun a declaration of all the counsel of God; and, at the same time, not to assume the airs of an antagonist.
If, by a laborious and prayerful discussion of all the leading subjects contained in the scriptures, this work should be thought useful, and should prove acceptable, in general, to serious and candid minds; the hopes and expectations of the anthor will be abundantly answered ; and he may cherish the rich and precious consolation, that $5 His labor has not been in vain in the Lord.”