Imatges de pÓgina

ENTERED according to Act of Congress, in the year 1841, by


in the Office of the Clerk of the District Court of the Eastern District

of Pennsylvania.

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ALTHOUGH the former Philadelphia editions of GASTON'S COLLECTIONS embraced very material corrections and revisions of the original work, yet experience has shown that it was still in want of a searching reexamination. In preparing to issue this new edition, the publishers provided for the most accurate revision; and the result has been the correction of a multitude of errors in the references and citations, that have defaced all former impressions, both British and American. It is believed to be now as perfectly correct as the most minute care can make it; and the publishers have great confidence, that the present edition of this important work will be received as the only standard one that has ever appeared; and that its hitherto acknowledged usefulness will be greatly enhanced by the labours of the present editor.

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THE sacred Scriptures, after the strictest researches of an enlightened and inquiring age, are still allowed by the wise, judicious, and thinking part of mankind, who are acquainted with them, to be the only books in the world which truly and fully show the way of salvation to all those who take any serious thought about it. The Scriptures, from the solid principles of truth contained in them, have the strongest tendency to improve and perfect human nature in every branch of personal and social duty, and to make mankind wiser and better in every station and relation of life. This effect they have produced, and will still produce, wherever they are duly attended to. An attempt, if well executed, to promote the knowledge and practice of the truths they contain, must therefore be of real service to society; and though the attempt should fail, the undertaker may, nevertheless, enjoy the pleasure of a heart ready and disposed to do good, while the candid part of mankind will, on account of the goodness of the design, make the most favourable allowances.

With these views, the author of the following work offers it to the public; confident that it will be found, upon perusal, as well as by the following account of it, to be entirely new, and different, at least in method, from any thing of the kind hitherto published.

METHOD. In this work, the several articles of revealed religion are ranged under distinct heads, or Chapters. The subject of each chapter is only mentioned at the beginning of it; and the Scripture

account of the subject is afterwards given at large, in a numerous collection of express and pertinent texts of Scripture, with which the chapter is filled up. Care is taken to insert every article of revealed religion, and every express and pertinent text upon each article, in order to make it full and complete. The several different words by which any article of religion is expressed in the Bible, are exhibited under distinct Sections; and these sections are filled up with those texts in the Bible, where the word occurs upon that subject, and introduced mostly in the order in which they lie in the sacred books: So this work, in some measure, answers the ends both of a Common-place Book, and Concordance, upon the various articles of religion. Thus, in chap. i. page 34, the ETERNITY of God is expressed by the different words, eternal, everlasting, for ever, the first and the last, which make so many distinct sections. In like manner, every doctrine or duty of revealed religion is laid down first, and the motives to the belief or practice of them are made so many distinct sections in each chapter, and generally come under the heads of threatenings, promises, rewards, punishments, examples, &c.— In this respect the work differs from any book of the kind hitherto published. So much is transcribed of the places quoted, as expresses the principal part of the text, while at the same time it directs the reader to the places themselves, as they lie in the Bible, to be consulted at large upon the subject: more would have needlessly increased the size of the book, and not have left sufficient room for inserting every express and pertinent text upon each subject.

OCCASION AND DESIGN OF THE WORK.-It might easily be made appear, that the reading of the Holy Scriptures, after a method which the nature of their composition seems to require, must be highly useful and proper, for our acquiring from the Scriptures themselves the true knowledge of every article of religion contained in them.

Every one who is acquainted with the sacred Scriptures knows, that the complete account which they contain of any one article

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