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Difficulties and Discouragements
Which attend the
In the way of
In order to show, That, since such a Study of the Scriptures is Mens
indispensible Duty, it concerns all Chrilliin Societies to remove (as much as possible) thote Discouragements. By a Presbyter of the Church of England.
To which is annexed, The CENSURE of the
Lower House of Convocation upon this Book.
From the Seventh EDITION.
First printed in the Year 1716.
The Difficulties and Discouragements which attend the Study of the Scriptures in the way of Private Judgment ; &c.
In a Letter to a Young Clergyman.
SIR, Y Do not wonder at the surprize with which
you received, when we were last together,
the advice I ventured to give you in relation to the Study of the Scriptures. For one who is a clergyman himself, to seem to dissuade those of his own order, from a study that has so many arguments to recommend it; and which, in the opinion of all good men, ought to be their chief business; has, I confess, the appear. ance of a strange paradox, and that of the worst fort. It looks like popery and priest-craft; and therefore young and tender minds may easily be forgiven, if they startle at the first proposal of it ; those especially, who have a just sense of the excellency and inspiration of the Scriptures, and are eagerly bent on the pursuit of such truths, as more immediately tend to the ad
vancement of virtus and religion. As you are . 'of that number, and weot into orders with no - A 4
i other view, but that you might the better Audy the Scriptures yourself, and advance the knowledge of them in the world; it was not to be expected you should prefently come into other sentiments. Which I am fo far from laking amiss, that I think it to your commendarion, that neither the affection or efi cem you so often express for an old friend could prevait with you to act a part that might have the appearance of levity in a matter of fo much consequence. Nor is it less for your credit, that you can retain your opinion, without lofing your temper, or shewing a backwardness to hear what is to be said against it. Molt tempers run into extremes: They are either too volatile to be fixed; or else so fixed, that no force of argument can move them. But 'is pour happiness, that you can adhere without obftinacy, and change without levity, and therefore I fall think it no trouble to resume the subject, and lay before you in the best manner I can, the reasons that seem to make against the fludy of the Scriptures in the way of private judgement ; which I hope will not upon cooler thoughts appear so strange to you. You will coosider they come from one, who is not more a friend to you, than he is to the church. And, if examples be of any weight, I can assure you this side of the question is by no means desti