Imágenes de páginas

N. B. When I firft wrote the 8th Difcourfe here fet down, I paffed by Atherston, a Market Town in Warwickshire, where I ftayed all Night, with a very valuable Friend of mine, Mr. Shaw, who was then a Schoolmafter there; and whofe worthy Son was lately his Succeffor. I left the Paper with him for his Perufal, that we might difcourfe of it in the Morning: When he came to me, with a good deal of Surprize, that I therein had declared I did not believe the proper Eternity of Hell Torments: Which he faid was a Subject he had written upon, for the Satisfaction of a neighbouring Gentleman, who made the Doctrine of their Eternity an almost infuperable Argument against the Chrif tian Religion. But my Friend, faid I, you wrote for that Doctrine, I believe, because you thought it was contained in the New Teftament; he confeffed it was fo; but Sir, faid I, fuppofe I can fhew you that this Doctrince is not contained in the New Teftament, will not that alter the Cafe? He confefs'd it would: Upon which we got Dr. Hammond's Difcourse for that Eternity, with a Greek New Teftament, and the Septuagint for the Old Testament; When, in about two Hours Time, I demonftrated to him, that the Words ufed about the Duration of thofe Torments in the New Testament, all over the Septuagint, whence the Language of the New Teftament was taken, did no where mean a proper Eternity: Which he confeffed before I left him and acknowledged that I had given him a Freedom of Thought in that Matter, which he had not be fore. Of all which Matters, fee my own larger

[blocks in formation]


Pamphlet upon thatSubject; of which hereafter. Ialfo once talked with him about the Athanafian Doctrine of the Trinity, and its Abfurdity: He told me he had not ventured to think upon that Subject; and whether he afterward ventured to do it, I do not know. He was a very confiderable Man; and had he not been depreffed by his Confinement to the paftoral Care, in two fmall neighbouring Villages, Badgly and Baxterly, where I used sometimes to preach for him, together with the Business of a School; I always thought him capable of being a confiderable Man in the learned World.

N. B. When the 10th Difcourfe, or Directions for the Study of Divinity, came to be perused by Mr. Hallet, a Diffenter, who kept an Academy at Exeter, he was prodigiofly pleased with them, and with the highest Complements desired some farther Directions in that Matter; but he withal cautioned me not to direct my Anfwer to himself; for, as he intimated to me, if it were known that he kept • Correfpondence with me, he fhould be ruined. Such it seems, was the Zeal of our diffenting Brethren at that Time at Exeter: (of which my old Friend Mr. Peirce partook plentifully afterward.) However, I having kept a Copy of my Reply, I fhall give it the Reader prefently, for his own Inftruction, as it was then written; tho' fome few Things might be still corrected and improved.

(11.) To thefe 10 was added at first Incerti Au&toris, de regula Veritatis, Ave Fidei: Vulgo Novatiani


de Trinitate Liber. But fince my learned Friend Mr. Jackson published, 1728, this excellent Treatife, with very large and useful Notes, while my Edition had no Notes at all; I defire this may be omitted in all future Editions.


Camb. May 1, 1710.

HO' I received your very kind Letter fome Time ago, yet have I not been at full Leifure to answer it till now. I am very glad that any of my Books have given you, or any other honeft Chriftian, any Light and Satisfaction in your facred Enquiries. As I fully and thankfully own the Goodness of God to me in bleffing my Studies, fo far as any of his facred Truths are illuftrated by them; fo do I heartily defire that all other well difpofed Perfons, would themselves go to the fame Fountains that I have recommended, and correct any occafional Errors and Miftakes I may have fallen into in Matters of fuch Importance. The ancient Christian Doctrine is plainly the fame which the Body of the Chriftian Chruch, even fo low as the fourth Century, maintained against the Athena fian Herefy; and which the Athanafians would needs call Arian: Without any other juft Occasion for fuch a Title, but that fhe would not defert any Christian Truths, because Arius and his particular Followers afferted them; nor would she peremptorily condemn the Arians, ftrictly fo called, for fome novel Expreffions, which yet fhe did not approve nor juftify, because she was not fully fatisfy'd of L 2


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

their being falfe. As to the Method of your Stu dies Varenius's Geography will be very proper to be read for the Doctrine of the Sphere, and other Things, before you come to my Aftronomy. After which Bishop Beveridge's Chronology will be proper. After which Archbishop Uber's Chronology and Annals come in order, with my own Chronology of the Old Teftament, and Harmony of the Evangelifts. For Geography get the best Scripture Maps by you, particularly that in Lamy, and travel along the fame all the Way; and then alone read the Descriptions and fearch for the Teftimonies, when you nicely examine that Geography; which will not be neceffary the first Time. You are right as to the Bishop of Worcester's Bible: 'Tis now grown the common Bible in the larger Editions. As to the Method of common-placing in an interleav'd or interlin'd Bible, 'tis not difficult, Thus upon Daniel's Weeks, Dan. IX. refer to tenth Hypothesis of my New Theory, where you have my learned Friend Mr. Allin's Proofs that the old Year was 360 Days, which Year I then thought to be us'd in those Weeks, and to be the very Key of that Prophecy. Thus alfo upon Gen. iii. 15. Note all the Places whence it appears that the Meffias was to have a Mother but not a Father; as I have noted them in my Boyle's Lectures, page 92, 93. A little Use will make you ready at this Way: Tho' I myself rather wish I had, than really have pursu'd it all along my Studies, But if I were to begin again I should certainly do it. The original Doxology, Glory be to the Father, through the Son, in


the Holy Ghoft, feems to mean thus, Glory be now, and ever given to the fupreme God the Father, by the Mediation of the Son, and Affiftance of the Holy Spirit.

I have now anfwer'd your particular Questions, and hope that these small Additions, join'd to my former larger Directions, will be of Ufe to you in your Studies, and fufficient to fet you in the right. Way in general, which, when you have made fome Progrefs in, you will be able to be your own Guide in fuch Matters. As to the Dangers and Perfecutions I have expofed myfelf to by my late Writings, I knew my Duty as a Christian, and did refolve to hazzard all in the World, rather than be unfaithful to the Truths of Christ, or fuffer the Church to be any longer fo groly impos'd upon,. as fhe has long been, by the Writers of Controversy, and the Tyranny of Antichrift. Yet, bleffed be God, I have been all along fo providentially directed and preserved in this perilous Undertaking, that my Loffes have been none at all from the Publick, and my Dangers foon over: So that I now efteem these facred Truths paft Danger of being fupprefs'd, and myself in great Part past the Danger of Violence on their Account. Tho' if God fee fit, ftill farther to try me, bis Will be done. The Apoftolical Conflitutions, in Greek and in Englib, are now in the Prefs; as will my Essay upon them foon be alfo. But my Account of the Primitive Faith will, I hope, come to a publick Examination before it is printed. I fuppose you have feen my imperfect Effay on the Epiftles of Ignatius, which

L 3

« AnteriorContinuar »