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PRE FACE.

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In presenting my reasons to the public for having undertaken and published this work, I may remark, in the first place, that it has long been my opinion, (which I persuade myself has been formed upon observation and some experience,) that the Study of the Scriptures, and hence a deep and accurate acquaintance with Theology, is in this country in a state far beneath what it ought to be ; and that we have, therefore, occasionally witnessed among our Divines a want of simplicity, cordiality, and efficiency, in the discharge of their clerical duties, and of forbearance towards one another, to a considerable extent; and, in society, a lamentable disregard to the national Church, a relaxation in morality, an increase in dissent, and a prurient and insatiable desire for novel and speculative doctrines, in a degree no less extensive. There has, indeed, of late years, been considerable effort made for the purpose of meeting and remedying these evils; and, it must be confessed, the improvement effected has in every case corresponded with the efforts made. Churches have been multiplied; and, I believe, these have in every instance been well filled, and a due attachment been evinced both to Religion as by law established, and also to the Clergy, where a due anxiety has been shewn to promote the spiritual welfare of the people. There are many things in the constitution of our national Church which must ever recommend it, and indeed insure its success and preference with the great majority of this country. The depth and soundness of its piety, in conjunction with the catholic and liberal spirit of its Articles and Liturgy, are certainly unparalleled in every other ecclesiastic institution which has yet come to my knowledge. The bright examples too of piety and learning, which have from time to time adorned its Prelacy and Priesthood, have been such as to afford proof sufficient that the system is itself worthy of all praise. There are, moreover, within its precincts, provisions made for the cultivation of sound learning, and for a truly religious education, such in extent and character as are to be found in no other : and, in every respect, I think we may say, a kind Providence has so co-operated with the wisdom of our forefathers, as to have left us in want of no requisite suited to promote His glory, and to advance the spiritual good of the millions which have been committed to our pastorship and care.

It may be doubted, however, whether our efforts have, as a nation, been at any period commensurate with these means, and particularly within the last hundred, or hundred and fifty, years. I am of opinion, that there is one subject at least, and that a very important one, to which a due attention has not been paid, -I mean the Education of the National Clergy. It shall not be my business here to dwell upon the defects which I see, or think I see, in the systems pursued; because this would, perhaps, tend more effectually to increase the evil than to remedy it. I will take for granted, what I

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