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LEADING AND MOST IMPORTANT PRINCIPLES
NATURAL AND REVEALED
SIGESTED IN SUCH ORDER AS TO PRESENT TO THE PIOTS AND REFLECTING
MIND, A BASIS FOR THE SUPERSTRUCTURE OF THE ENTIRE
SYSTEM OF THE DOCTRINES OF THE GOSPEL.
BY THE REV. SAMUEL STANHOPE SMITH, D.D. L.L.D.
LATE PRESIDENT OF THE COLLEGE OF NIW-JERSET.
District of New Jersey, ss.
IT REMEMBERED, that on the twenty-fourth day of August, in the fortieth year of the Independence of the United States of America, Deare & Myer, of the said district, have deposited in this office, the title of a book, the right whereof they claim as proprietors, in the words followiog, to wit:
“A Comprehensive View of the leading and most important principles of Na“tural and Revealed Religion, digested in such order as to present to the pious “ and reflecting mind, a basis for the superstructure of the entire system of the " doctrines of the Gospel. By the Rev. Samuel Stanhope Smith, D.B. L.L.D. * late President of the College of New-Jersey."
In conformity to an act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, “An aet for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned ;'' and also to the act, entitled, “ An act supplementary to the act, entitled an act for the encouragon.ent of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts and books, to the authois and proprietors of such copies, during the times thereir mentioned, and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving and etching, historical and other prints."
No doubt can exist in the mind of a judicious christian, but that the Sacred Scriptures comprise the most complete development of the entire system of our holy religion. But the extent and variety of information which they embrace, the loose and parrative style in which a great portion of them is written, and the picturesque and poetic imagery in which others are clothed, have presented an occasion both to ingenious and to feeble minded men, to build upon them a multitude of contending opinions, each supported by detached expressious collected from these divine oracles, or by interpretations, either plausible or forced, im osed upon their language Divines, in order to correct or restrain this ambiguous diversity of sentiment, have endeavoured to reduce the whole of the doctrines of the sacred writings to certain definite principles, arranged in scientific order, so 29 mutually to illustrate and support one another. This would have been a scheme sufficiently rational, if system writers had confined their object to digesting the diffusive and expanded phraseology of the scriptures into a few simple and connected propositions, intended to present the substance of the whole to the mind, under one view. But their design has become so mingled with the discordant theories of different writers, that their extended discussions on each topic, have often destroyed the simplicity of the gospel, and led their readers, as well as disposed the writers themselves, to substitute humao reason for the word of God. lastead of presenting a brief analysis of the doctrines contained in the Bible, they have too frequently attempted to make their respective explanations of the system of divine truth an entire library of theological science :--It has occurred to the author that it would be desirable to students in that sphere of koow ledge, to have its principal subjects distinctly pointed out, and clearly illustrated, in a short compass, in order to direct their future inquiries, and so to guard their future, addresses from the pulpit, from blending discordant opinions ; that they should, in no point, err against the general system of evangelic truth. He further hoped that such a compendious view might usefully aid the private christian, in examining the sacred scriptures, and pursuing throughout the wbole, the connected thread of christian doctrine.
These are the objects to which his attention has been chiefly directed in the fol. lowing discour ses designed to embrace a very compendious scheme of the leading