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as the handmaids of revelation.' Several important steps have since been taken to accomplish these ends. With many

fears that he was but little qualified to fulfil the task, yet knowing how much such a work is needed, and being persuaded that he should be doing an acceptable service to many who have desired such aid, he has given various lists of books adapted, as he conceives, to persons in different stations of life. Much valuable time may unquestionably be saved to the Student, by pointing out the best authors on each subject; but to do this perfectly is a matter rather to be wished than expected, and whatever may be done, there will still remain in this imperfect world different opinions. It is by no means his intention to furnish complete lists of books for an academy or a college. A bare list would occupy a large volume, as may be seen in lists already published of large libraries. A select list of books has therefore been his aim. But selection implies preference, and calls for the exercise of judgment and discretion; and here all who have considered the subject will see the extreme difficulty of forming a competent and unexceptionable opinion. A sound judgment in all cases calls for an extent of reading and reflection to which the author can make no pretences. In all extended lists some books must be inserted from a judgment and recollection formed at a considerable distance of time, and with less maturity of judgment.

The lists of books, in reference to the object of this work, have respect to two classes of society, -Christians in general, and those in the ministry, or preparing for it. If some think that he has greatly exceeded in the number of books mentioned; he would say the excess furnishes the larger

scope for the Student's choice. If others think that he has fallen short, he would advert to the impossibility of including all good books. If any find peculiarly valuable and favourite authors omitted, he is obliged to mention either inadvertence or ignorance as the only excuses which he can offer.

The Author desires thankfully and joyfully to acknowledge what is good in other communions that differ from his own.

Unhappily divided as is the present state of the Church of Christ, it will yet be generally admitted, that no particular body of Christians has the main truths exclusively. Much even as he fears and dislikes the system of the Romanist, against which he would ever protest, there are admirable writers in the Roman Church as well as among Protestants. And in the different denominations of Protestants, there are holy and excellent authors among Churchmen and Dissenters, among Presbyterians and Independents, among Baptists and Quakers, among Wesleyans and Moravians, among Lutherans and Reformed. Let none be rejected that have the spirit of the Bible, because the writers differ in external communion. Though necessarily more acquainted with writers in the Established Church, as far as his knowledge extended he has not been biassed in the lists given by the denomination of the writer. His object has been to mention the best works with which he was acquainted. He has inserted, with equal pleasure, Owen and Hall, Doddridge and Beveridge, Watts and Hopkins. As the immortal spirits of these holy men, notwithstanding minor differences, are now doubtless together in heaven, so their works, a kind of visible image of their spirits, may well stand in peace and harmony in the same lists, communicating in their respective proportions light and joy to the Christian Student.

It is highly gratifying to know that much is done by pious persons in the upper ranks of life, in pure chasing and widely distributing Religious Works. А very considerable portion of these works is purchased to be given away, and thus the good done by them has been much occasioned by the liberal zeal and love of those who have freely circulated them. The Author will rejoice if his lists furnish any assistance to such benevolent persons in the selection of works for distribution.

Another part of this work, to which he has already adverted, the outlines of the History of Divinity, was entered on with much fear. He thought that it might materially facilitate the studies of the young, if such an outline could be accomplished, but has felt utterly incompetent to present more than an outline, in which he is sensible that there must be many deficiencies. He has considered it best, with all openness, but he trusts in the spirit of love, freely to mention what he feels to be objectionable in any author. It may encourage such a candid statement of objections to look forward to the period, when, if they are really well founded, the authors of the objectionable sentiments will be the very first to thank one who may have helped to neutralize anything of an injurious tendency. But he could often speak only in general terms. A complete history of theological literature by one competent to give it from mature knowledge both of the scriptures and of human authors, would indeed be a valuable accession to the cause of truth. There will ever be a serious difficulty while attaining knowledge, in preserving the mind free from the bias

of human opinions, and giving to the scriptures alone that entire confidence, that full and unbounded authority which they ought ever to have as the infallible umpire of Divine Truth.

When we consider the extensive range of theology, it is morally impossible that any one can have both personally and fully studied all its various branches. On subjects which he felt peculiarly delicate or difficult, or with which he felt less acquainted, he has given the sentiments of the best authors that he knew as likely to give a scriptural judgment. But feeling how defective all human judgment must be, he cannot but be conscious that he has often probably failed both in his discrimination and decision. The great day is at hand and will soon disclose all. But in the mean time, if he can in some feeble measure subserve the progress of divine knowledge, and of that holiness, without wbich, no man shall see the Lord, he shall not have laboured in vain.

With reference to courses of study, as the variety of men's minds makes it impossible that one plan can be suitable or satisfactory to all, so different plans may yet tend to the same result. He has not the smallest idea of setting up his judgment as the only just standard, or that his plans are free from errors and omissions ; it is merely the opinion of an individual.

Indeed, in the Treatise throughout, the Author desires to keep far from assuming the office of a master, and to send it forth with the feeling that he is a scholar, and not a master; a scholar in that school, where there is but one master, even Christ, and where all his disciples are brethren. Though he has been careful not to state opinions adopted hastily, or without


reflection, yet he will strive against that corrupt principle of our hearts which leads us because we have given an opinion, to refuse under sufficient evidence to retract it. He will endeavour thankfully to avail himself of any remarks that may be kindly, or even unkindly, made on the present work, and should future editions be called for, he will try to correct any thing that he shall be convinced is incorrect.

The little time which he could spare for such a work has led him to far more frequent quotation than he should otherwise have felt justified in giving. At the risk of making the work less original, but in the hope that it may not be lest useful, he has freely availed himself of the sentiments of others, whenever he could in their words express his

He has thus been able often to give, not only a valuable sentiment, but a weighty authority for that sentiment at the same time.

*He has generally taken his extracts from the original works, and referred to them; but in a few instances he has not, and, having omitted to notice at the time to whom he was indebted for the quotation, he cannot now supply the deficiency; he has also often been indebted to others for ideas which he has expressed in his own words. He is anxious to make these acknowledgements lest he should have credit for originality of thought where he is not entitled to it.

May that gracious Saviour in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, be more and more revealed by his Spirit and through His word to every Christian Student, till the time arrive when all shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest.

Islington, April 22, 1829.

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