Page images
PDF
EPUB

CONFESSION OF FAITH,

The LARGER and SHORTER

CATECHISMS

With the Scripture-Proofs at large.
Church

S

li Together with

The Son of SAVING Know. NATIONAL and SOLÉ MN LEDGE (contain'd in the Holy

LEAGUE. Scriptures, and held forth in ACKNOWLEDGEMENT of Sins the said Confession and Cate and ENGAGEMENT to Duchisms) and practical use there TIES. of.

DIRECTORIES. COVENANTS ;

FORM of CHURCH-GOVERN

MENT, &C.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

ACTS of Assembly and Parliament, relative to, and ap

probative of the fame.

Deut. vi. 6,7. And thefe Words which I command thee this Day, jball

be in thy Heart. And thou foalt teach them diligently unto thy Children, and shalt talk of them when thou fittest in thy Houl, and wben thou walkeft by the Way, and when thiu lieft down, and when tbou riseft up.

Printed in the Year, MDCC LXVIII.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

THE

HE Preface, by fundry English Divines.

Mr. Manton's Epistle' to the Reader.
1. The Confeffion of Faith.
II. The Larger Catechism.
Iti. The Shorter Catechism.
IV. The Sum of Saving Knowledge.
V. The National Covenant.
VI. The Solemn League and Covenant.
VII. The Acknowledgment of Sins, &c.
VIII. The Directory for Publick Worship.
IX. The Form of Presbyterial Church-Government.
X. The Directory for Family-worship.

[blocks in formation]

CH R I S T Í A N Ř E A D E R,

ESPECIALET

H E A D S OF F AM I L I É S.

As we cannot but with grief of foul lament thole multitudes of eta

rors, blafphemies, and all kinds of profaoeness, which have in this age, like a mighty deluge, overflowo this pation ; fo, among leveral other fins which have helped to open the flood-gates of all thefe impietes, we cannot but esteem the difuse of family instruction ose of the greatest. The two great pillars upon which the kingdom of Satan is erected, and by which it is upheld, are ignorance and error ; the first step of our manumillion from this spiritual thraldom confifts, in having our eyes opened, and being turned from darkness to light, As xxvi. 18. How much the ferious endeavours of godly parents and mafters might contribute to an early seafoning the tender years of such as are under their inspection, is abundantly evident, not only from their special influence upon them, in respect of their authority over them, interest in them, continual presence with them, and frequent opportunities of being helpful to them; but also from the fad effects which by woful experience we find to be the fruit of the omission of this duty. 'T were eafy to set before you a cloud of winesses, the language of whose practice hath been not only an eminent commendation of this duty, but also a serious exhortation to it. As Abel, though dead, yet speaks by his example to us for our imitation of his faith, boca Heb. xi, 4. So do the examples of Abraham, of Joshua, of the pa. tents of Solomon, of the grandmother and mother of Timothy, the mother of Augustine, whose care was as well to purse up the souls as the bodies of their little ones; and as their pains herein was great,

fo was their success no way unanswerable.

We should scarce imagine it any better than an impertinency, in this noon-day of the gospel, either to inform or persuade a duty so exprelly commanded, so frequently urged, so highly encouraged, A 2

and

and so eminently owned by the Lord in all ages with his bleffing, bue that our fad experience tells us this duty is not more needful than 'tis of late neglected. For the restoring of this duty to its due observance, give us leave to suggest this double advice.

The first concerns heads of families in respect of themselves, that as the Lord hath set them in place above the rest of their family, they would labour in all wisdom and spiritual understanding to be above them also. 'Tis an uncomely fight to behold men in years babes in koowledge; and how unmeet are they to instruct others, who need themselves to be taught which be the first principles of the oracles of God ? Heb. v. 12. Knowledge is an accomplishment fo desireable, that the devils themselves knew not a more taking bait by which to tempt our first parents, than by the fruit of the stree of • kaowledge. So shall you be as gods, knowiog good and evil.' When Solomon had that favour fhewed him of the Lord, that he was made his own chuler what to alk, he knew no greater mercy to beg than Wisdom, 1 Kings iii. 5, 9. The understanding is the guide and pilot of the whole man, that facalty which sits at the stern of the foul : But as the most expert guide may mistake in the dark, so may the understanding when it wants the light of knowledge ;' Without • knowledge the mind cannot be good,' Prov. xix. 2. Nor the life good, nor the eternal condition safe, Eph. iv. 18. "My people are

destroyed for lack of knowledge,' Hof. iv. 6. 'Tis ordinary in fcripture to iet profancoefs and all kind of miscarriages upon the fcore of ignorance. Diseases in the body have many times their rise from distempers in the head, and exorbitancies in practice from errors in judgment : And indeed in every sin there is something both of igno. sance and error at the bottom; for, did fingers truly know what they do in finning, we might say, of every fin, what the apostle {peaks concerning that great fin, 'Had they known him, they would

Bot have crucified the Lord of glory;' did they truly koow that every fin is a provoking the Lord to jealousy, a proclaiming war against hea. ven, a crucifying the Lord Jesus afresh, a treasuring up wrath unto

themselves against the day of wrath,' and that, if ever they be pare doned, it must be at no lower a rate than the price of blood, it were scarce posible but fin, instead of alluring, should affright, and instead of tempting, scare. 'Tis one of the arch devices and principal methods of Satan to deceive men ioto fin: thus he prevailed against our first parents, not as a lion but as a serpent, a&iog his enmity under a pretence of friendship, and tempting them to evil. under an appearance of good; and thus hath he all along carried on his deGgns of darkness, by transforming himself into an angel of light, making poor deceived men in love with their miferies, and hug their own destruction. A most fovereigo antidote agaiost all kind of errors, is to be grounded and fettled in the faith : Persoas, ganixed in the true religion, are very receptive of a false ; and they who

arc

we nothing in spiritual knowledge, are easily made any thing. Clouds without water are driven to and fro with every wind, and ships without ballant liable to the violence of every tempeft. But yet the knowledge we especially commend, is not a brain knowledge, a mere fpeculation; this may be in the worst of men, pay, in the worst of creatures, the devils themselves, and that ia such eminency, as the best of laints cannot attaid to in this life of imperfection : But an inward, a favory, an hcart-knowledge, such 3: was in that martyr, who, tho' fhe could not dispute for Chrilt, could die for him.. This is that spiritual sense and feeling of divine truths, the apostle speaks of Heb. v. 14. "Having your senses exercised, &c.

But, alas, we may say of the most mens religion what learned Rivet * fpeaks concerning the errors of the Fathers, they were not so much

their own errors, as the errors of the time wherein they lived.” Thus do mot men take up their religion upon no better an account than Turks and Papists take up theirs, because 'tis the religion of the times and places wherein they live ; and what they take up thus slightly they lay down as easily. Whereas an ioward taste and relich of the things of God, is an excellent preservative to keep us settled in the most unset. dled times. Corrupt and unsavory principles have great advantage upon us above those that are spiritual and found; the former being suit. able to corrupt nature, the latter contrary ; the former sprioging up of themselves, the latter brought forth not without a paioful industry. The ground Deeds no other midwifry in bringing forth weeds, than only ihe neglect of the husbandman's hand to piuck them up;

the air Deeds no other cause of darkness, than the absence of the fuo ; nor water of coldoefs, than its distance from the fire, because thefe are the geo heine products of nature : Were it fo with the foul (as some of the phi. losophers bave vainly imagined) to come into the world an “ab rasa Fabula," a mere blank or piece of white paper, on which neither any thing written, por any blots; it would then be equally receptive of good and evil, and no more averse to the one than to the other : But how much worfe its condition indeed is, were fcripture silent, every man's experience does evideptly manifeft. For who is there that koows any thing of his owo heart, and knows not thus much, that the suggestions of Satan have fo easy and free admittance into our hearts, that our utmost watchfulness is too little to guard us from them ? whereas the motions of God's Spirit are lo unacceptable to us, that our utmost diligence is too little to get our hearts open to entertain them. Let therefore the excellency, Decefsity, difficulty of true wisdom ftir up endeavours in you, fomewhat proportiooable to fuch an accomplishment ; * Above all getting, get onderstanding,' Prov. iv. 7. • Aud fearch for wisdom as for hidden treasures,' Prov.iv. 4. It much concerns you in respect of yourselves. Our second advice concerns heads of families, in respect of their fa•

milics • Rivet, Crit. Sacr.

A 3

« PreviousContinue »