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larly concerning both; and to advertise the reader, that the following sheets were writ by the Bishop in his younger years, upon his first entrance into holy orders. And though they may not, perhaps, be so perfect and correct, as if he himself had lived to give the finishing stroke to them, and fit them for the press with his own hand; yet, as the roughness of a jewel doth not lessen the worth and value of it, when the brightness of its natural lustre, even under that disadvantage, outshines that of others, which are polished and refined by art; so, it is to be hoped, the candid and judicious reader will, in this well-designed piece, however unfinished, discover such singular beauties and graces, as few others, even at the highest pitch of their attainments, and with the utmost care and diligence, are able to come up to.
As to the author's design in writing these papers, it is sufficiently set forth in the title of them. He considered, that truth of doctrine, and innocency of life, were both absolutely necessary to the due exercise of the sacred function, which he had the honour and happiness to be admitted into. He knew the power of example to prevail even beyond that of precept, and was very solicitous, with the blessed apostle, to make his own calling and election sure, lest that by any means, when he had preached to others, he himself should be a cast-away. To the end, therefore, that he might both save himself, and them that heard him, that both by his life and doctrine, he might set forth the glory of God, and set forward the salvation of men, he drew
up these Articles, to settle his principles in point of faith, and formed these Resolutions upon them, to regulate his actions with regard to practice.
What great things might not the Church promise herself from a foundation so well laid? from principles settled with so much learning and judgment, and resolutions formed upon such strict rules of piety and religion? What glorious expectations in an age of that degeneracy of faith and manners, wherein he then lived, might not be justly raised from hence, for the future reformation of both?
And, indeed, this excellent person did even more than satisfy all these extraordinary hopes, which the early and ample specimens he gave of his virtue and knowledge had made the world conceive of him. For having taken this prudent and effectual care to ground and determine his own faith and practice; and being ever mindful of that injunction laid upon him, when he was ordained priest, "To consider the “end of his ministry towards the children of God, "towards the spouse and body of Christ; he never ceased his labour, care, and diligence, until " he had done all that in him lay," (as our holy Church does most admirably express the duty of that order,)" to bring all such as were com"mitted to his charge, unto that agreement in "the faith and knowledge of God, and to that ripeness and perfectness of age in Christ, "that there should be no place left among "them for error in religion, or for viciousness in life."
While his care of souls was chiefly confined to the bounds of a single parish, with what labour and zeal did he apply himself to the discharge of his ministry, in the several parts and offices of it? How powerful and instructive was he in his discourses from the pulpit? How warm and affectionate in his private exhortations? How orthodox in his doctrine? How regular and uniform in the public worship of the church? In a word, so zealous was he, and heavenly-minded, in all the spiritual exercises of his parochial function, and his labours were so remarkably crowned with blessing and success, that as he himself was justly styled, the great reviver and restorer of primitive piety; so his parish was deservedly proposed, as the best model and pattern, for the rest of its neighbours to copy after.
Nor was the Archdeacon, or the Bishop, less vigilant than the Parish-Priest: his care and diligence increased as his power in the church was enlarged; and as he had before discharged the duty of a faithful pastor over his single fold, so when his authority was extended to larger districts, he still pursued the same pious and laborious methods of advancing the honour and interest of religion, by watching over both clergy and laity, and giving them all necessary direction and assistance for the effectual performance of their respective duties.
Accordingly, he was no sooner advanced to the episcopal chair, but in a most pathetic and obliging letter to the clergy of his diocese, he recommended to them "the duty of catechis
"ing and instructing the people committed to "their charge, in the principles of the Christian "religion; to the end they might know what "they were to believe, and do, in order to "salvation:" and told them," he thought "it necessary to begin with that, without which "whatever else he or they should do, would "turn to little or no account, as to the main "end of the ministry." And to enable them to do this the more effectually, he sent them a plain and easy Exposition upon the Church Catechism; of which I need say nothing more, and can say nothing greater, than that it was drawn up by himself, in a method, which, in the opinion of so great a judge, seemed, of all others, the most proper to instruct the people,
Thus endeavouring to make himself and others every day wiser and better, labouring to establish sound principles, and settle good manners wherever he came, as it was the foundation which this holy man laid in these Articles and Resolutions; so we see it was the great work of his life to build upon it; as might easily be made appear, from a faithful and particular relation of the several stages and passages of it, during the course of his ministry; the bare enumeration of which would swell this Preface into a book. That fair portrait will, I hope, be drawn by some abler pen.
In the mean time, there is yet another instance of his great concern and unwearied endeavours for the establishing of sound doctrine, which I must not omit the mention of; because it is a work of so much affinity with these Ar
ticles, and what the reader may, with great advantage, have recourse to, for farther satisfaction upon these general heads of divinity, which he has here given us only in abridgment; it is his learned Exposition upon the Thirty-Nine Articles, which is promised in a short time to be committed to the press; and which is the more earnestly desired and expected, as being a performance, which the church, at this time, so much wants, and which he, beyond others, was, in such an extraordinary manner, qualified for.
Such discourses as these, the one giving a true exposition of the doctrine of our church, the other endeavouring to establish it by an orthodox faith, and an unspotted life, were never more seasonable, than in this age; when the very being of the church is called in question, under a pretence of maintaining her rights; and the principles of Christianity are no longer secretly undermined, but openly attacked; when books are published against all revealed religion, and deism insults and triumphs barefaced, without restraint, without reproach. In a word, when we are arrived to that dissoluteness of manners, as well as principles, that persons of the highest quality and station are addressed to in print, as patrons of libertinism; and that which has in all ages been called and esteemed the greatest wisdom, is scoffed at by false wit; and Christianity, under the notion of enthusiasm, exposed to the contempt of the meanest capacities, and hooted out of the world by the very dregs of the people.