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Originally entitled: A Body of Divinity: Wherein the Doctrines of the Christian Religion are Explained and Defended. Being the Substance of Several Lectures on the Assembly's Larger Catechism, we have re-titled it to better reflect its contents for contemporary readers. Consisting of over 1300 pages, this massive and extensive two-volume commentary on the Westminster Larger Catechism is unrivaled in scope or extensiveness.
Ridgeley himself notes, in "The Author's Preface" (p. ix),
The work is large, but the vast variety of subjects will render it more tolerable.... especially since it is rather designed to be read in families than committed to memory...
The editor of this edition, John Wilson, pronounces Ridgeley's work as "the best book of its class," stating,
no book in the English language, or, so far as I know, in any other, will serve so efficiently the purposes of a daily companion to a reflecting Christian in his inquiries into Divine truth, or a guide to a candidate for the Christian ministry in introducing him to his theological studies (p. xi)... In 1731 appeared the first edition of Mr. Ridgeley's great work -- that in connection with which chiefly his name lives in history, and whose influence, as an instrument of good, will probably render him celebrated and useful for generations to come... (p. xxii).
Moreover Wilson writes,
a taste, however, for the racy and substantial theological writings of the days of Britain's moral giants has of late revived; and it will scarcely fail to adopt, as one of the richest dishes of its multifarious banquet for the intellect and the soul, Dr. Ridgeley's Body of Divinity (p. xxi).
Additionally, Wilson concludes his "Life of the Author" with these words,
His method of reasoning he has adapted to the capacities of those who are unacquainted with the abstruse terms made use of by metaphysicians and schoolmen, and when introduced into subjects of theology, have a tendency rather to perplex than to improve the mind. His scheme of divinity is evidently Calvinistic; but; then, he has explained his subjects with so much moderation and latitude, as to obviate many of the objections raised against the system of doctrines that passes under that name. Upon the whole, it is probable that the English language does not furnish a work of this nature that, for perspicuity of language, extent of research, accuracy of judgement, and judicious description of the numerous subjects that fall under examination, any way equals this work of Dr. Ridgeley... he was accounted one of the most considerable divines of his age (emphasis added, p. xxiii).
Contains Thomas Ridgeley's exposition of questions 1 through 60 of the Westminster Larger Catechism.
Contains Thomas Ridgeley's exposition of questions 61 through 196 of the Westminster Larger Catechism.
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