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s primitive Fathers, as to the faith and practice of “ the primitive Church upon the Divinity of our " Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ -- upon the Divinity r of the Holy Ghost-upon the Articles of the Chrif" tian Faith, as comprehended in the Apostles' and § Nicene Creeds. "
" Also I direct that thirty copies of the eight Di66 vinity Lecture Sermons Thall be always printed, «c within two months after they are preached, and “ one copy shall be given to the Chancellor of the “ University, and one copy to the head of every Col" lege, and one copy to the Mayor of the city of “ Oxford, and one copy to be put into the Bodleian « Library; and the expence of printing them shall “ be paid out of the Lands or Estates given for esta« blishing the Divinity Lecture Sermons; and the « Preacher shall not be paid, nor be entitled to the “ revenue, before they are printed.
66 Also I direct and appoint, that no person shall " be qualified to preach the Divinity Lecture Ser" inons, unless he hath taken the Degree of Master " of Arts at least, in one of the two Universities of 66 of Oxford or Cambridge; and the same perfon “ Thall never preach the Divinity Lecture Sermons 66 twice."
I HE appointment, which produced the following Discourses, will in some degree fanction my ambition to present them to the public under the protection of your Lordship’s Name. It originated with the University of Oxford: and interested as your Lordship is in whatever may
claim the least relation to a place, where you passed many of your early years with a Propriety of Conduct, that hath marked your Character through life, you will I am sure accept with Condescenfion the efforts thus excited, to elucidate the Truth and Purity of that Religion, of which you have ever discovered yourself in Heart and Practice a warm and consistent Friend.
I am well aware, that I have ventured on ground already taken ; and that many valuable Treatises have appeared on the subject of the following sheets. But there is a mode of writing peculiar to different pe
riods : and the Folios of the last age are ill relished by the desultory readers of this. Hence it is, that some of those publications alluded to have fallen into disesteem; as being too diffuse, and appearing tedious: digressing into extraneous matter on some points not very material, and treating with a degree of languor others of more importance. Those on the other hand, which are comprised in the narrow limits of one or two Sermons, I conceive to be in substance too compressed, to afford general fatisfaction; the Brevity requiring too many assumptions, to obviate the doubts of Sceptical enquirers. Others again, though recommending, and enforcing founded . b 2
Truths with Elegance and Perpicuity, seem rather calculated to impress the mind already persuaded; than to obviate the Exceptions of Cavil, and fatisfy Scruple and Doubt.
· Thefe observations have long in
duced me to think something further · wanting : fomething on the fubject in
form and matter clear, yet close and argumentative ; fuch as adverting to Objections as they rose, and thus clearing the way to Truth, might command afsent on the assured Ground of Conviction. Pursuant of such design, I have, in the subsequent investigation, taken nothing for granted : proceeding gradually from proof to proof, and