A Plain and Brief EXPLANATION UPON THE Church Catechisme.

Different from what hitherto hath been Extant.

Wherein the first Elements and grounds of Religion are reduced to such plain and familiar Questions and Answers, as are obvious to the meanest Capacity.

To which is added A plain and useful TRACT OF CONFIRMATION.

The second Edition corrected.

By Nathaniel Blithe, M. A. Rector of Dowesby in Lincolnshire.

London, Printed for Edw: Millington at the Bible in Little Brittain, 1674.


Samuel Parker.

The Reader is desired to take notice, that that gross Error, Page 16. line 7. with which the Author hath been divers times Charged, was a mistake of the Printer, which is now Corrected in this Second Edition, according to the Ori­ginal Copy.

The preface to the READER.

WHen I consider what care the Church of England hath ta­ken for the instruction of her Children in the mattters of Religion, both by Preaching, Catechizing, and reading of the Holy Scriptures (whereby plenti­ful provision is made for all capacities,) it is matter of very great wonder, that so considerable a number of Christians should live and dye in that Ignorance, as our own experience too sadly informs us. Many amongst us, who although they attain to the full age of Man, yet they are almost as Ignorant, even in the fun­damentals of Religion, as if they had all their time conversed amongst Pagans: Possibly they can rehearse the Creed, the Lords Prayer, and the Ten Command­ments by rote, but they are very ignorant of the true sense and meaning of them: Perhaps also they may know at large that Christ dyed for Sinners, and they h [...]pe to be saved by him, but they understand [Page]not that vow and promise they made when they were received into the number of his members, and hereby are ignorant of those conditions which must be perfor­med by all those that can receive benefit by his meritorious undertakings: this and much more, which would be too long to insist upon, is the ignorance that divers aged Christians groan under. And I know no one reason, whereto this wretched igno­rance can so justly be attributed, as ei­ther to the utter omission of that so neces­sary duty of Catechizing, or to the irre­gular and indiscreet performance of it. And to the very same cause I am apt, in a great measure, to assign that wickedness and lewdness which is so confidently and universally practised amongst us. Neither is it strange that many should walk so dis­orderly, when they understand not those Laws and Precepts that require strictness and sobriety in their Conversations: and if we do but duly consider how apt young and tender natures are to receive any impres­sions, whether ver [...]uous or vitious, we can­not [Page]not but imagine it to be a business of very great moment, by Catechizing to instruct the younger sort betimes in the grounds of Christianity: for when vitious habits are by a continued practise rooted in their na­tures, and grown customary, it will be al­most as difficult to eradicate them, as to re­move a Mountain; and we shall hear di­vers persons when they fall into daily gross miscarriages, they will presently be com­plaining of their own natural weakness, and blaming their original guilt, whereas the main cause of these their vices pro­ceeds from a corrupt and ill Education; they are so accustomed to the committance of evil, that, according to the expression of the Prophet, it is as hard for them to de­cline their vitious courses, as for the Blackamore to change his skin, or the Leopard his spots; and therefore to pre­vent these early corrupt inclinations, So­lomon adviseth us to train up a Child in the way wherein he should walk; to season his tender years with the sound knowledge of Religion, and betimes to sow [Page]the seeds of goodness and vertue in his heart, before it grows hard and impeni­trable; this is the only way to give him a right understanding of his whole Duty, whether relating to God, his neighbour, or himself; to inform him what he is to be­lieve, and what he is to do, in reference to his happiness and well living in another world: And this also is the most compen­dious way to implant in him such Ortho­dox and sound knowledge, as may fortifie him against all the Juglings and Delusions of cunning Impostors; for when they rightly understand their Baptismal vow, what they are to belive, and that duty they are to perform both towards God and Man; as also the Doctrine of both the Sacraments, which our Church Catechism plainly and fully treats of; when they have a thorough knowledge of these matters en­grafted in their minds, it will be impossi­ble for them to be imposed upon by every peevish Schismatick. As unjustly as the Papists make ignorance the Mother of Devotion, so truly may we call it the Mo­ther [Page]of Faction. It was the opinion of the learned King James, that the cause of the miscarriage of our people into Popery, and many other destructive errours, was their ungroundedness in points of Catechism: neither can it at all seem strange, that those Souls should be carried about with every wind of Doctrine, who are not well ballassed with solid information in the first principles of Religion. And upon an impartial enquiry we shall find, that the great promoters of those idle false opini­ons amongst us, are ignorant in a very great measure. I confess they may have a form of Godliness, and a mysterious form of words, by which to express it, that is stuffed with unintelligible nonsense; but they are very far to seek in the knowledge of the great intendment and design of the Christian Religion; they wholly busie them­selves in prying into the Mysteries if Hea­ven, things which neither are profitable nor possible for them to know, and in the mean time let slip the plain necessary du­ties of Religion; and this renders them [Page]unstable in all, their wayes; embracing e­very sudden fancy as an inspiration from Gods Spirit, and delightfully entertain­ing every fond opinion which a hot-head­ed Zealot shall broach. And therefore if Gatechizing was duly and rightly perfor­med, it would lay a good foundation, and implant the wholsom truths of Religion betimes in our natures; and so consequent­ly our knowledge would encrease with our years, and hereby we should be capa­ble of examining opinions before we em­brace them, rejecting whatsoever is con­trary to our Creed, or repugnant to that duty God requires of us. There is also ano­ther great advantage we shall receive by the due exercise of Catechizing; this will prepare us for the better understand­ing of Sermons, and the holy Scriptures; when by this means a good foundation is layd, then we have some Reason to hope that whatsoever is built upon it will pro­sper; when we are hereby established in the plain necessary truths of Christianity, this will give us a good insight into the more [Page]difficult mysterious truths of the Gospel, which are frequently delivered in Ser­mons. It was a complaint which the Au­thor to the Hebrews made of that Church, that they were dull of hearing the deep things of God in Christ; and the reason was, because they had not well learned the first principles of the Oracles of God, Heb. 11.12. And we read in the Acts of the holy Apostles that Apollos was first in­structed or Catechized in the way of the Lord (as the Original renders it) [...], and this made him Capable of Speaking to others diligently the Words of the Lord.

Seeing therefore these are the fruits and good effects of Catechizing, we can­not assign these disorders amongst us, viz. the ignorance of some, the debau­cheries of many, the factiousnes of not a few, to any cause so much as to the neg­lect of this weighty duty. But notwith­standing these inestimable benefits that do attend this so necessary a performance, [Page]it is too apparent that a very great neglect is made, which is occasioned not only by the default of Parents, and Masters of Familes, but also by those that are en­trusted with the care of Souls; many of those whom God hath blessed with Chil­dren are strangely careless in their Edu­cation, being far more ready to debauch their tender years, than to endeavour (by wholsome instructions) to season them with the sound principles of Religi­on: an idle story, a vain song, or a wan­ton expression they can hear repeated by them with far more delight, than those plain necessary truths contained in the Catechism; and they will on the Lords day rather enjoyn them to employ that time in following such little worldly occasions as they are capable of, or suffer them to idle it away in play and pastime, wherein they should be rehearsing their Catechism be­fore the Congregation: Nay, I fear there are some who do absolutely forbid, or at least seek occasions to hinder their Chil­dren and Servants from being publickly [Page]instructed in the Church Catechism: I would to God that those who are in this nature guilty, would seriously consider with themselves, that almighty God hath not only commanded us to know his sa­cred will, and to retain it in our memo­ries; but also to teach it to our Children, and to instruct our families therein, ac­cording to our several capacities: And certainly those to whom God hath given that great blessing of Children, will be strangely confounded, and full of terrour at the great and universal day of judg­ment, when they shall behold the fruits of their own loyns rejected with a depart from me ye cursed, occasioned princi­pally through their carelessness and neg­lect in their education. But besides these, it is too evidently manifest, that those al­so who should feed the flock of Christ are very remiss in administring such food to these tender Lambs as is most suitable to their weak appetites; and it is very strange they can be guilty of so great an omission, if they would but seriously [Page]ponder with themselves that charge, and duty that is incumbent upon them; that they are strictly bound, if they intend to be accounted good and faithful stewards, to give to every one his portion of meat in due season: what they can alleage in de­fence for this their negligence, may be re­duced to one of these heads; either they affirm that Catechism is an enemy to Preaching, or else they do not well rellish the Church Catechism. In answer to the first of these pretences, the Church of England hath not without abundance of Prudence and Wisdom enjoyned every minister under strict penalties to instruct the younger sort in the Catechism every Sunday in the afternoon; which if due­ly performed, we might hope to see a good reformation in the loose practises of the younger sort. Neither can it enter into my head, how this can possibly be an enemy to preaching, in regard it is the most use­full way of preaching; and if this was rightly exercised, no method could be more proper & seasonable to increase the know­ledge [Page]of most capacities, especially in Coun­try congregations, where all sorts are in no mean degree ignorant of those plain common truths contained in our Church Catechism. The judicious Mr. Hooker terms the publique performance of Catechi­sing in the open hearing of the Congregati­on, preaching; in reference whereto he de­scribes preaching to be the open publicati­on of heavenly mysteries, or the making known the summe and substance of the Gospel; now which way soever this is done, whether by a continued discourse, as in a Sermon, or by question and answer, as in Catechizing, it may properly enough be stiled Preaching.

But others there are who possibly may be convinced, that Catechizing may be advantagious; yet they neglect it, because they cannot affect the Church Catechism, which they are enjoyned to use. I must confess my self uncapable of giving satis­faction to this scruple, in regard I am altogether ignorant of the reasons they give in defence of it; I know but [Page]one, which is too frequently given in cases of this nature, viz. they do not like it, because it is the Church Cate­chisme, that is, because it is enjoyned by Authority; it contains no Doctrine but what is Orthodox; and it includes most, if not all the fundamentals of Christi­anity.

Three things are required in compiling a Catechisme; 1. That it be plain; 2. Me­thodical; 3. That it contains the grounds of Religion; all which are comprehended in the Church Catechism.

1. It is plain, and without much diffi­culty to be understood; all it contains is levelled to the weaker capacities.

2. It is Methodical; it begins with our Baptism, which is our initiation into Christianity, into the number and society of the Church; it shews us what we are by Gods grace and mercy, which grace is given us at our Baptism, when as we are made members of Christ, Children of God, and inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven; wherein also is implyed, our con­dition [Page]by nature, that we are in a state of misery; our Souls very much defiled, and the faculties thereof very much impaired and weakned by the guilt of Original sin; it also at large explains our Baptismal vow, by shewing us what we are to believe, and those commands we are to observe in order to the faithful discharging of that solemn promise; and then it manifests our in­sufficiency, of our selves to do these things without Gods special grace and assistance, which we are to beg of him by prayer; and here also it gives us a rule and president for our prayers, viz. the Lords prayer; and afterwards in brief it explains both the Sacraments.

From all which it appeares in the third place, that it contains the first principles & elements of Religion; so that I cannot ap­prehend what just ground of exception can be made against the use of this Catechisme; but that every Minister ought to use it, as not only being wisely and prudently compo­sed, but also as being hereto obliged by the higher Powers, to whose lawful commands we are to yield an active obedience. But

But these are not the only guilty per­ [...]; for besides these there are others to whose trust are committed some part of Christs flock, who although they do not [...]holly omit this duty of Catechizing, yet they perform it so slightly and remisly, that it is almost as good left undone: pos­sibly they will Catechise the six Sundays in Lent, that is, they will hear the younger sort by rote repeat over those arswers con­tained in the Catechism; and when they are able to rehearse them readily, they be­lieve them sufficiently instructed in the Catechistical points, although they under­stand very little of the true sense and meaning of what is contained therein; and the truth of this is plain from hence, if you do but propound to them one que­stion out of order, is it is not placed in the Catechism, or vary but a very little in the words of the question from what it is in the Book, they are not able to give an account of it. I wish these persons would heartily consider that Canonical obedi­ence they promised when entrusted with [...]


Q. VVHat is your name?

A. N. or M.

Q. Why begin you your Catechism with this Question?

A. Because this name was given me when I was made a Christian; so that whensoever I call to mind this my name, I may remember that I am a Christian, and what those duties are that this my Holy Profession binds me to observe and do.

Q. Who gave you this name?

A. My Godfathers and Godmothers in my Baptism, wherein I was made a member of Christ, the child of God, and [Page 2]an inheritour of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Q. When was this name given you?

A. At my Baptism; and therefore it is call'd my Christian name; because it was given me when I was made a Christian, a member of Christ.

Q. Was you then made a Christian?

A. Yes: this favour was not be­stowed upon me at my first birth, but at my second; when at my Baptism I was washed in the Laver of Regene­ration, then I was made a Christian, admitted into the number of Christs visible members.

Q. In what condition was you then in before your Baptism?

A. I was in a weak and infirm ca­pacity, the powers and faculties of my soul being, in no mean degree, impair­ed and corrupted.

Q. How came you into this miserable estate?

A. By the fall of the first man Adam: God made a Covenant with Adam, and in him with all mankind; where­in [Page 3]God on his part promised to con­fer on mankind divers mercies; and Adam on his part promised an exact, unsinning, unerring obedience: but Adam by eating the forbidden Fruit, contrary to the express command of his Maker, became disobedient, and so broke the bond of the Covenant, and hereby brought both himself and the whole Race of mankind into this wretched miserable estate.

Q. By what means was you raised out of this wretched estate?

A. By the meritorious sufferings of Christ the second Adam, who by taking upon him our nature, and therein performing exact unerring obedience, according to the conditions of the first Covenant, and tasting death upon the Cross for every man, hath hereby satisfied for the sins of Adam, and for the sins of all mankind; and by this means delivered me, with the rest of mankind, out of this desperate condi­tion.

Q. How come you to have a right to those benefits purchased by Christ?

A. By Baptism, which is the Seal of the second Covenant; at the setting on of which Seal these three Priviledges are bestowed; to become a member of Christ, a child of God, and an in­heritor of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Q. Are all them that are Baptized members of Christ?

A. All that are Baptized in the name of Christ, and profess the Chri­stian Religion, may be term'd mem­bers of his visible Body; but those only who, both by profession and practice, are sincere Christians, belong to his mystical Body, that is, are uni­ted to him, live in him, and are infor­med by his Spirit; these are indeed Gods real Children by Adoption and Grace, and shall in the end be made inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Q. What did your Godfathers and Godmothers promise for you?

A. They did promise and vow three [Page 5]things in my name, first, that I should renounce the Devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh; second­ly, that I should believe all the Articles of the Christian Faith: And thirdly, that I should keep Gods holy will and Com­mandments, and walk in the same all the days of my life.

Q. Why are you bound, according to the first part of your Batismal promise, to re­nounce the Devil and all his works?

A. Because these are enemies to God, and hateful in his sight; and be­fore I renounce all that God hates, it is impossible that I should be so near­ly united to him, as to be his true child and member.

Q. What is the Devil?

A. The Devil is an evil Spirit, who once was an Angel of light, but for his Pride and Rebellion was thrown from Heaven, into the horrid Regions of Darkness

Q. What are the works of the Devil?

A. The works of the Devil are all manner of sin and wickedness, even whatsoever contradicts the Will and Commands of God, and defiles our own Souls.

Q. Why are these stiled the works of the Devil?

A. Because he was the first Author of Sin, Rebellion, and Disobedience; he in the beginning acted it against God, learnt it our first Parents, and makes it his whole employment daily to infuse it into the hearts of all man­kind.

Q. What do you mean by the pomps and vanities of this wicked world?

A. By these I mean all manner of secular honours, pleasures and prefer­ments, all those perishing delights, and transient vanities which this world may present unto us, to withdraw our hearts from intending the due per­formance of that promise we made at our Baptism.

Q. What are the sinful lusts of the flesh?

A. The sinful lusts of the flesh are all those abominations and impieties which our rebellious flesh lusteth after, and provoketh us to run into.

Q. The next thing which you say, that your Sureties promised for you, is to be­lieve all the Articles of the Christian Faith; what is it to believe, or what is Faith, viz. that Faith which on your be­half was promised at your Baptism?

A. Faith is such an hearty perswa­sion of the truth of Gods promises, and of every thing else that he hath spoken, as makes us obedient in all things to his commands.

Q. What is the object of this Faith? or, what is it that we are bound to believe?

A. I am to believe that Form of sound words and wholesom Doctrine, which Christ and his Apostles deli­vered to the World, and that we have epitomized, and briefly summ'd up in that Confession of Faith, com­monly [Page 8]called the Apostles Creed.

Q. Why is this Confession of Faith called the Apostles Creed?

A. It is so called, either because the Apostles were the Authors of it, it being composed by them; or else be­cause it is an abridgment of the Do­ctrine delivered by the Apostles.

Q. How must your belief of this Rule of Faith be qualified?

A. It must be intire and universal, I must neither add to, not diminish from this Confession of Faith; but I am obliged by my Baptismal vow to believe all and every Article of this Christian Faith.

Q. The last thing which your Sure­ties promised for you, was to keep Gods Holy will and Commandments, and to walk in the same all the days of your life: How or by what means come you to know the will of God?

A. He hath revealed it in his Holy Word, wherein he hath at large mani­fested how, and in what manner he will be worshipped and served.

Q. For what end and purpose hath God made known his mind unto us?

A. That we might make it the Rule of our lives, and walk according to that Rule all the days of our lives.

Q. Dost thou think that thou art bound to believe and do as they promised for thee?

A. Yes verily, and by Gods help so I will; and I heartily thank our Heaven­ly Father, that he hath called me to this state of Salvation through Jesus Christ our Saviour: And I pray unto God to give me his Grace, that I may continue in the same unto my lives end.

Q. How comes it to pass that thou art bound to perform that promise which others made?

A. Because they only made it in my behalf, when by reason of my tender Years I was uncapable of making of it in my own person; which promise I am bound actually to perform when I come to years of discretion.

Q. Are you then able to perform that promise, which was made on your behalf?

A. I am not by my own strength, but by the grace of God I am; which he hath faithfully promised to give to all those that heartily beg it.

Q. What think you of this Estate which by your Baptism you are placed in?

A. I think it is an excellent and bles­sed Estate; as far excelling my natural condition, as light doth darkness; the one being a state of death, and the other a state of life.

Q. How come you to have a right to this excellent condition?

A. By vertue of Christs sufferings, who hath purchased this condition for me by his Death and Blood-shedding, in which by the help and grace of God, I do resolve to continue unto my lives end.

Q. Rehearse the Articles of thy be­lief?

A. I believe in God, the Father All­mighty, [Page 11]maker of Heaven and Earth; and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suf­fered under Pontius Pilate; was cruci­fied, dead, and buried; he descended in­to Hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into Heaven, and there be sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholick Church, the Commu­nion of Saints, the forgiveness of Sins, the Resurrection of the Body, and the Life everlasting. Amen.

Q. What dost thou chiefly learn in these Articles of thy belief?

A. First, I learn to believe in God the Father, who hath made me and all the World. Secondly, in God the Son, who hath redéemed me and all mankind. Thirdly, in God the Holy Ghost, who [Page 12]sanctifieth me, and all the Elect people of God.

Q. In which Article do you learn to believe in God the Father?

A. This I learn in the first Article, I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth.

Q. How many Gods are there?

A. There is but one only, the true everliving and eternal God.

Q. How can that be, when you pro­fess that you believe in God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost: How sayest thou then that there is but one God?

A. In the God-head indeed there are three Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, but these three are but one God; and this great truth St. John thus expresseth: There be three that bare record in Heaven, the Father, the VVord (that is Jesus Christ the Son of God, the VVord incarnate) and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.

Q. What is God?

A. God is a Spirit, Infinite in all his Attributes and Perfections.

Q. How knowest thou that there is such a being as God?

A. Several ways: by his wonderful work of Creation, the Heavens de­clare the Glory of God, and the Fir­mament sheweth his handy work; but especially by my own Conscience, which this Infinite Being hath placed within me, to accuse me of all those Crimes I commit against his Divine Majesty.

Q. Ʋpon what grounds do you call God Father?

A. He is my Father by Creation, giving me at the first my Being; he is also my Father by Adoption, having through the Gate of Baptism received me into the number of his Servants and Members.

Q. How did God at the first create you?

A. By his Almighty and Infinite [Page 14]Power; by vertue whereof he can do whatsoever pleaseth him, both in Hea­ven and in Earth.

Q. And did he finish the Heavens and the Earth, and all the rest of his Creation, by his Power and Word alone?

A. Yes: he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and they were brought forth.

Q. In what time did God finish his Creation?

A. In the space of Six days, and rested the Seventh day.

Q. Why did God at the first give you a Being?

A. To advance his Honour, and to perform his sacred Will.

Q. Of what did God make Man?

A. He made his Body of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his Nostrils the breath of Life, and so he became a living Soul.

Q. In which Article do you learn is believe in God the Son, who redeemed you and all mankind?

A. In these: And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was Crucified, dead and buried, he descended into Hell, the third day he rose again from the dead, he ascended into Heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from thence he shall come to judge both the quick and the dead.

Q. What is this Jesus Christ in whom you believe?

A. He is perfect God, and perfect Man, equal to the Father as touching his God-head, but inferiour to the Fa­ther as touching his Man-hood.

Q. What Relation stands this Person in to God?

A. He is his only Son, begotten of the Father before the world, his first born from all Eternity.

Q. Why did this Eternal God take upon him our nature, and so become Man?

A. That he might Redeem me and all mankind.

Q. But how can this be, that God should be made Man?

A. He became Man, not by turning the God-head into the nature of Man, but by taking Mans nature into the God-head, that so one person might be both God and Man.

Q. What need was there that so ex­cellent a Person as the Son of God should thus abase himself?

A. Because there was no other per­son that could bring to pass this great work of mans Redemption.

Q. Could none of the glorious Angels or blessed Saints have come down from Heaven to mannage this charitable de­sign?

A. It was not in the power of any Angel or Saint, nay not of all the Saints and Angels, to Redeem lost Man.

Q. Why, what was the reason?

A. In regard none of them was [Page 17]able to sustain so great a burden as the sins of the whole world: He who was infinite in power, as the Son of God was, was only able to bear up under so heavy a load: besides, man, by reason of sin, was condemned to infinite tor­ments; and therefore no less than an infinite God could rescue man from those eternal torments.

Q. If none but the Son of God could effect this work, why did he not bring it to pass by vertue of that Almighty power which appertained to his Godhead, without taking any other nature?

A. The Godhead is of that infinite perfection, that it cannot possibly be subject to any passion; he therefore that had no other nature but the God­head, could not pay such a debt as this, the discharge whereof consisted in suffering and dying.

Q. Why did he not then take some more excellent nature than that of mans?

A. Because it was fit that God's [Page 18]justice should be satisfied in the same nature that had offended: Man onely had sinned, and therefore it was but just, that the same nature which had offended, should suffer before it could be restored.

Q. Did not the fallen Angels Sin?

A. Yes, they sinned, but for them Christ died not, and therefore they are reserved in everlasting chains under darkness.

Q. How comes it to pass that they an exempted from receiving benefit by his gracious sufferings?

A. In regard they beheld the utmost of their own blessedness, but not­withstanding, they fell from that glory and happiness into a rebellion against their Creator, without the least pro­vocation or temptation, either from any outward assault or inward frailty.

Q. What was it that moved God [...] send, and his Son so willingly to come from Heaven for the sake of lost undone ma [...]

A. It was their infinite love, an [...] [Page 19]never failing mercies: God so loved the world that he gave his only be­gotten Son to dye for it; and Christ Jesus had such a tender compassion for the sinful off-spring of Adam, that he came down from his everlasting ha­bitation of glory, to open the eyes of the blind, to call them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan, into his own most blessed kingdome.

Q. Did man contribute nothing to­wards the deserving so great a fa­vour?

A. No, far otherwise; he was then in an open rebellion against the King of Heaven; and instead of meriting his favour, in strict justice he deserveb the utmost of his fury and displea­sure.

Q. How did Christ bring to pass this great designe?

A. By suffering the punishment that was due unto us for sin, and by con­quering and subduing all our spiritual enemies.

Q. How did he undergoe this punish­ment?

A. By his humiliation: He took upon him our nature, was born of a pure Virgin, suffered under Pontius Pilate, by being crucified on a Cross; where his hands and his feet were pierced with Nailes, and his side with a Spear; And by this his infinite condescention and humiliation, he offered himself a Sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.

Q. How did he conquer all our spiri­tual enemies?

A. By his exaltation; he arose again the third day a compleat conquerour over Hell and Death, and all the pow­ers of the grave, and ascended into the highest Heavens, where he ever liveth to make intercession for us.

Q. Do you believe then that Christ dyed for the whole world?

A. Yes; I do believe that the eter­nal Son of God hath redeemed me and all mankind.

Q. How comes it to pass then that the greatest part of mankind shall pe­rish?

A. Because they are preverse and obstinate, they will not go unto him that they may have life, nor embrace those conditions that he offers in his Holy Gospel.

Q. In which Articles do you learn to believe in God the Holy Ghost, who sancti­fieth you and all the elect people of God?

A. In this Article, I believe in the Holy Ghost.

Q. What do you believe that the holy Ghost is?

A. I believe that he is very God, the Third Person in the holy Trinity, proceeding from the Father and the Son.

Q. What is the office of the Holy Ghost.

A. It is to sanctifie all the elect peo­ple of God.

Q. Why is he stiled the sanctifyer of all the elect people of God?

A. In regard he is the Author of all holiness and purity in them; all our inward gifts and embellishments pro­ceed from him; he is the Lord and giver of life, namely, of that spiritual life which is requisite to actuate and enform every Christian.

Q. How doth he perform this his Office?

A. Both outwardly and inwardly.

Q. How doth he perform it outward­ly?

A. By revealing the Will of God to the Prophets, Evangelists, and Apo­stles, who by his assistance and inspira­tion have made it known to the world, wherein is contained all things apper­taining both to life and Godliness.

Q. How doth he perform it in­wardly?

A. By renewing of us in all the parts and faculties of our soules, wor­king heavenly dispositions in them, whereas before they were enclined to all manner of sin and wickedness, [Page 23]As also by fearing, directing, and governing of us in our actions and conversations, so that we may actually perform those things that are accepta­ble in the sight of our heavenly Fa­ther.

Q. Is there nothing else which the Creed propounds to you as the subject of your belief?

A. It also teacheth me to believe something concerning those persons that with true Faith and obedience worship the undivided Trinity?

Q. What doth it teach you to believe concerning these?

A. It teacheth me first to believe that there is a Church Holy and Ca­tholick.

Q. What do you believe this Holy Ca­tholick Church to be?

A. By the Holy Catholick Church I mean the whole congregation of Christian people professing one and the same Faith, far and wide dispersed over the face of the whole earth.

Q. Who is the supream head and go­vernour of this Church?

A. Christ Jesus the eternal Son of God, he is the governour thereof, the Rock whereupon it is built; his holy Spirit is the preserver and sanctifier of it, and his blessed Apostles and Evan­gelists, together with those Bishops and Pastors that succeed them, do keep and maintain it in the profession of the true Christian faith and religion.

Q. What number is there of these Churches?

A. There is but one holy Catho­lick Church.

Q. How [...] that he, when as in the Scripture we read of several Churches, as the Church of Rome, the Church of Corinth, the Church of Ephesus, with di­vers others?

A. These several congregations (every one of which is in some sense a Church, and may be so called,) are properly but one Church, in regard they are all subject to one and the [Page 25]same Governour, they are all built up­on the same Rock, all profess the same Faith, all receive the same Sacralments, all perform the same Devotions; which, although divers congregations, yet may they very aptly be reputed mem­bers of the same Church.

Q. But besides these several Churches, we also read of a Church Militant and a Church Triumphant; how say you then there is but one Church?

A. These are but the different state and conditions of the Holy Catholick Church, and not two Churches: In this world it is the Church Militant, and it is so termed because alwayes in a po­sture of War, continually fighting a­gainst the World, the Flesh, and the Devil; And in the world to come it shall be Triumphant, for then it shall take possession of that heavenly King­dome which the Lord Christ Jesus hath purchased for it, where it's warfare shall be ended, and it shall gloriously triumph over all its enemies.

Q. How long shall this Church con­tinue?

A. To the end of the world. Christ from the beginning had, and the end shall have a Church, against which all the powers of Hell shall not be able to prevail, in regard he hath promised to be with them always, even unto the end of the world; and then he shall receive the true members of it up into glory, to reign with him in his ever­lasting kingdom to eternal Ages.

Q. Why do you call this a Holy Church?

A. For divers reasons; as first, be­cause it is called by Christ Jesus, and therefore seperated from the rest of the world by a Holy calling. Secondly, in regard all her offices, administrati­ons and powers, are ordained to pro­duce holiness; the Religion she pro­fesseth is Holy, the laws by which she is governed are holy and good, the offices she performs are Divine. Third­ly, because whosoever is called to pro­fess [Page 27]the Faith in Christ, is hereby in­gaged to holiness of life. Fourthly, in regard the end of constituting a Church, was for the purchasing an holy and peculiar people to God, zealous of good works.

Q. Why do you call this Church Ca­tholick?

A. Catholick signifies universal or whole, under which term the large­ness of the Church is comprehended; it being extended to all places and to all persons. In former time the Jews only were the Church of God: but now the partition-wall is broken down, and all Nations, and all Persons in all Nations have a capacity to be of the Church of Christ.

Q. What benefits do those receive who are members of his Holy Catho­tholick Church?

A. There are four mentioned in this confession of Faith; the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of Sins, the resurrection of the Body, and the life Everlasting.

Q. Who do you mean by these Saints?

A. By the Saints, I mean such persons as are called by a holy calling, and are obedient to it, such as are endowed with a holy Faith, and purified there by; such as are sanctified by the Spi­rit of God, and by vertue thereof do lead an holy and unblameable life; such persons are truly and indeed Saints.

Q. What is that Communion, or wherein doth it consist, that these holy Persons enjoy?

A. The Saints on Earth enjoy Com­munion, either with those who are not of the same nature with them, as men, or with those that are of the same na­ture with them.

Q. What persons are those that are not of the same nature, with whom the Saints have Communion, and wherein doth that Communion consist?

A. First they have Communion with God the Father, they are of his Family, they are his Servants, his Sons, [Page 29]and therefore they may with boldness sue to him for his favours, who is as dear and tender over them as a Father is over the fruits of his own Loins.

Secondly, that Saints living in the Church of God, have Communion with the Son of God; he is our elder Brother, our Intercessor and Advocate, all our requests are put up to the Fa­ther in his Name; who by presenting of them before the Throne of Grace, makes them available for such things as we beg.

Thirdly, the Saints in the Church of Christ have Communion with the Holy Ghost; they become Saints and holy men by partaking of this Divine Spirit of life, and by being sanctifyed by him; he inhabits in them, enlivens and actuates them to the performance of every good and Religious Duty.

Fourthly, The Saints in the Church of Christ have Communion with the blessed Angels: these are those Mini­string Spirits, who are sent abroad to [Page 30]Minister for their sakes who are heirs of Salvation: yea, the holy Jesus hath assur'd us that they have a particular sense of our condition, enforming of us that there is joy in the presence of the Angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Q. What Persons are those that are of the same nature with the Saints, with whom they enjoy fellowship, and what Communion is it?

A. These are of two sorts.

Q. which is the first sort with whom they Communicate?

A. With those who partake not of the same holiness with them. There was a Judas amongst the holy Apostles, and there ever was and will be to the end of the World, some Hypocrites in the Church of God; the Tares must must grow up with the Wheat, least by plucking up the one, they destroy the other.

Q. What Communion have they with these?

A. They communicate in the same Water, being both externally bapti­zed; they communicate in the same Creed, both making the same open confession of Faith; both agree in the acknowledgement of the same Princi­ples of Religion; both communicate in the same word; both hear the same Doctrine preached; they communicate at the same Table; both eat the same Bread and drink of the same Cup which Christ hath appointed to be re­ceived.

Q. If then the Saint and the Hypocrite communicate in the same benefits, how then doth the Saint differ from a Hypo­crite; or what priviledges doth the one enjoy more that the other?

A. Although the Hypocrite doth communicate in the same externals with the Saint, yet he doth not com­municate with him in the same saving Grace, nor in the same Faith working by love, nor in the same renovation of mind and spirit.

Q. Are there no other matters where­in they do not communicate?

A. They do not communicate with the Hypocrite in the same sins, in the same accursed infidelity, in the same barrenness under the means of Grace, in the same false pretence and empty form of Godliness.

Q. What are the other sort of persons of the same nature, with whom they communicate?

A. The Saints of God living in the Church, have communion one with another.

Q. Wherein doth this Communion consist?

A. They all communicate of the same Ordinances, all partake of the same promises, are all endowed with the Graces of the same mutual love and affection, keeping the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace, all en­grafted into the same Stock, and all receive life from the same Root.

Q. What is the second benefit that be­long [Page 33]to be Members of the Church?

A. Forgiveness of Sins.

Q. What is Sin?

A. Sin is the transgression of the Law of God.

Q. What is the punishment due unto sin?

A. Eternal death: the wages of sin is death.

Q. Is not all mankind lyable to this punishment, in regard, as the Scripture affirms, all have sinned, and come short of the Glory of God?

A. All mankind was once in a state of death and dammnation.

Q. How then came this benefit of the forgiveness of sins to be made over to them?

A. The Son of God, by his active o­bedience, fulfilling every title of the Law, and by his passive obedience suffering the wrath of God due to us for the breach of the Law, hath made full satisfaction on our behalf, recon­ciled us to God, by vertue of which [Page 34]reconciliation our sins are forgiven.

Q. To whom doth this favour belong?

A. To the Members of the Church.

Q. Shall all those that are Members of the Church, partake of this benefit?

A. All those that by Baptism are re­ceived into the Church, by that Sa­crament, receive the remission of those sins which they were guilty of before they were baptized; and hence it is that in the Nicene Creed we profess to believe one Baptism for the remissio [...] of sins: & also after they be thus made Members of Christ, they receive remis­sion of their future sins by repentance

Q. What is the third benefit that b [...] longs to the Members of this Church?

A. The Resurrection of the Body.

Q. Can the body then arise out of th [...] Grave, when as it is mouldred in crumbs and dust?

A. It shall most certainly arise [...] gain, and he re-united to the So [...] when together they shall render an account of all their actions performed i [...] this life.

Q. Shall the very same bodies arise that now we bare about with us?

A. They shall be the same for sub­stance, but not for qualities; where­as they are now Earthly, Mortal, and Corruptible bodies, they shall then be Spiritual, Immortal, and incorruptible.

Q. How can this possibly be, that the same body which is devoured by Worms should again be raised?

A. This is performed by Gods infinite and unlimited power, who shall call to the dead, arise ye dead and come away to judgement; and the dead shall hear his voice, and obey it.

Q. VVhat necessity is there that the same body should arise?

A. The same body must arise, and no other, to magnifie Gods justice, that so the same individual body that was a co­partner in sin, may be punished; that which did partake in righteous actions and sufferings, may be rewarded.

Q. Shall all bodies in general arise?

A. The bodies both of the Godly [Page 36]and wicked, of the just and unjust, all that ever lived shall arise, and live again to eternal Ages.

Q. When shall this general resurrecti­on be?

A. At the last and great day of ac­counts, when the Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout; and with the voice of the Arch-angel, and with the Trumpet of God.

Q. What is the fourth benefit that be­longs to the Members of this Church?

A. The life everlasting.

Q. To whom doth this belong?

A. To all in general; for although the life everlasting is frequently used to signifie that reward, which in ano­ther life is bestowed upon the righte­ous; yet the wicked shall live eternal­ly.

Q. What shall then be the difference betwixt the godly and the ungodly in this respect?

A. The godly shall live to all eterni­ty in unspeakable joys, and never fa­ding [Page 37]glories; and the wicked shall live eternally, or they shall remain alive in Soul & Body, to endure the Torments to be inflicted upon them by the ju­stice of God, for all the sins committed by them whilst they were in the body.

Q. Do you think that it is enough barely to believe all these Articles of your Faith?

A. As I am bound to believe them, so it is my duty to frame my practice answerable to this my belief; so that I must not only know what these words signifie, but likewise I must perform such actions as are agreeable thereto.

Q. Is this all that your Baptismal vow and promise requires from you?

A. No, it not only enjoyns me to believe all the Articles of the Christian Faith, but also I am thereby bound to keep Gods holy Will and Command­ments, and to walk in the same all the dayes of my life.

Q. When was these Commandments given?

A. God speak them to Moses upon Mount Sinai, who wrote them upon Tables of Stone, & made them known to the people of Israel for the regula­ting of their manners.

Q. If these Commandments are part of Moses his Law, then certainly they were abrogated by the coming of Christ?

A. This Law was before Moses was, although not literally recorded; and it shall continue after him to the end of the World: and therefore it is cal­led the Moral Law, because it is to be a perpetual rule of good manners to mankind.

Q. To whom did God make it known before Moses?

A. He did implant it in mans nature by Creation; and for this reason St. Paul calls it the Law of Nature: but when mans light and knowledge was decayed and impaired by the fall of Adam, God again renewed this Law [Page 39]to his Servant Moses; and likewise our blessed Lord in his first Sermon, that most excellent Sermon he prea­ched on the Mount, reinforces this Law, and rescues it from those cor­rupt glosses the Scribes and Pharises had put upon it.

Q. How many Commandements doth this moral law contain?

A. Ten.

Q. Which be they?

A. The same which God spake in the twentieth Chapter of Exodus, saying, I am the Lord thy God which brought thee out of the Land of Aegypt, out of the house of Bondage.

1. Thou shalt have none other gods but me.

2. Thou shalt not make to thy self any graven Image, nor the likeness of any thing that is in Heaven above, or in the Earth beneath, or in the waters un­der the Earth, thou shalt not how down to them, nor worship them; For I the [Page 40]Lord thy God am a jealous God, and visit the iniquities of the Fathers upon the Children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and shew mercy unto thousands, unto them that love me and keep my Command­ments.

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

4. Kemmember that thou keep holy the Sabbath-day: six dayes shalt thou labour, and do all that thou vast to do, but the Seventh day is the Sabboth of the Lord thy God, in it thou shalt do no manner of work, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant, the Cattel and the Stranger that is within thy Gates; for in six dayes the Lord made Heaven and Earth, the Sea, and all that in them is; and rested the Seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Seventh day, and hallowed it.

5. Honour thy Father and thy Mo­ther, that thy dayes may be long in the Land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

6. Thou shalt do no Murther.

7. Thou shalt not commit Adultery.

8. Thou shalt not Steal.

7. Thou shalt not bare false witneses against thy Neighbour.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy Neigh­bours house, thou shalt not covet thy Neighbours Wife, nor his Servant, nor his Maid, nor his Ox, nor his Ass, nor any thing that is his.

Q. What dost thou chiefly learn by these Commandments?

A. I learn two things, my duty towards God, and my duty towards my Neigh­bour.

Q. In which of these Commandments do you learn you duty towards God?

A. In the four first, commonly cal­led the first Table.

Q. In which of them do you learn your duty towards your Neighbour?

A. In the six last, commonly called the second Table.

Q. What is your duty towards God?

A. My duty towards God is to believe in him, to fear him, and to love him with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul, and all my strength, to wor­ship him, to give him thanks, to put my whole trust in him, to call upon him, to honour his holy name, and his word, and to serve him truly all the dayes of my life.

Q. In which of the four first Com­mands, do you learn to believe in God, to fear him, and to love him with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength?

A. This part of my duty towards God, I learn in the first of the Com­mandements, [Page 43] Thou shalt have no other Gods but me: in which precept I am bound, first, to believe that there is a God; secondly, I am to believe that there is but one God; thirdly, I am to believe in the true everliving God, and to have him for my God; and when I have thus chosen him to be my God, it can be no less than my duty to stand in awe of so glorious a Majesty, and to be fearful of displeasing him: and also to love him above all things, and for himself alone; and to love him not faintly or languidly, but sincerely and cordially, with my whole mind, with all my soul, and with all my strength.

Q. Is this all that you learn from this Command?

A. No, every Command, besides that duty, it positively enjoyns, also forbids the contrary vice, as likewise that command which forbids a vice, also en­joyns the contrary vertue; so that by this command, I not only learn to be­lieve in God, to fear him, and to love [Page 44]him, but also I am forbidden infideli­ty, not to believe the one true God, or those Laws he hath delivered to the world; careless presumption, not fearing to offend him; hatred of him, or of whatsoever he commands.

Q. In which of these four first com­mands do you learn to worship this true everliving God, to give him thanks, to put your whole trust in him, and to call up­on him?

A. This part of my duty towards God I learn in the second Command­ment, Thou shalt not worship any graven Image; wherein, as I am ex­pressly forbidden, the making any graven Image, or the worshipping of them when made, so also I am implici­tely enjoyned to worship that supream infinite Majesty of Heaven and Earth uprightly and sincerely, with all bodily worship and external forms of ad­dress; to adore him with all humility and reverence, in all my wants to call upon him, who is a ready help in time [Page 45]of need; and when he hath fulfilled my desires, to give him hearty thanks for his mercies: in all straits and dan­gers, to put my whole trust in him, who is a sure rock of defence; in a word, in all respects to pay him that homage, reverence, and adoration, as his great­ness and goodness requires from me.

Q. Wherefore are you bound to wor­ship no Idol, nor any representation of God, but onely the true God?

A. Because he is a jealous God, and will not suffer the least contempt that is offered to his honour to pass by un­punished?

Q. In which of these commands dost thou learn to honour his Holy name?

A. This part of my duty towards God I learn in the third command; Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: wherein I am bound to honour Gods Holy Name, by not abusing of it in my daily com­munication, not using it rashly, foolish­ly or vainly in my common discourse; [Page 46]not cursing either my neighbour or any of his possessions in Gods name, not swearing by his name falsly, or at all, unless it be in a just cause, before [...] lawful Magistrate, for the deciding of some controversie: As also by this pre­cept I am obliged to honour Gods name, by esteeming highly of it, and speaking of it with reverence and so­briety; and at all times, and upon all occasions, praising, magnifying, exal­ting, and honouring the most holy and reverend name of God, his Attributes, or any thing whereby he hath made himself known unto us.

Q. What punishment do you incur if you are failing in your duty in this re­spect?

A. God will proceed against me as against a malefactor, or guilty person; and although possibly in this life I may escape without chastifinent, yet in another I cannot but expect to be se­verely punished.

Q. In which command do you learn to serve. God truly all the dayes of your life?

A. This part of my duty towards God, I learn in the last of these four commands, Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath Day; wherein I am bound to devote that time to the wor­ship and service of God, which the Church by her authority hath set apart for that purpose.

Q. Are you not then bound to observe the Sabboth day, that is, the seventh day, on which God rested from the works of his creation?

A. I am bound to observe one day in seven as a Sabboth, that is, a day of rest; but the primitive Christians, in­stead of the Jewish Sabboth, which was to be abolished after the Resur­rection of Christ, made choice of the first day of the week on which he arose from the grave, to be observed as the Christian Sabboth, and also honoured it with the title of the Lords day.

Q. What are the duties required for the right observation of this day?

A. They are two, Sanctification and Rest.

Q. How must this day be Sancti­fied?

A. In must be sanctified by setting it apart to the Worship and service of God.

Q. What is that service of God which on this day must be performed?

A. It may be reduced to these three heads, either that publique service we are obliged to perform in the Church; or that charitable service we are to do towards our neighbour; or that pri­vate service we are to perform at our own houses.

Q. Wherein consists that publique service of God we are bound to perform on this day?

A. It consists in meeting together at the house of Prayer, the Church, and unanimously joyning together in the publick prayers of the Church, in hea­ring [Page 49]the word of God read and prea­ched, in Catechising, and in receiving the Holy Sacrament of Christs most precious body and blood; and in all these offices behaving our selves with all reverence, decency, and humi­lity.

Q. Wherein consists that service we are on this day bound to performe towards our neighbour?

A. It consists in forgiving offences, reconciling such of them as are at va­riance, exhorting and edifying one another in love, giving of alms, and vi­siting the sick.

Q. What is that private service we are bound to performe to God on this day?

A. Reading good and profitable books, meditating, instructing our fa­milies in the principles of religion, to­gether with the performance of our private devotions, which is every dayes duty.

Q. What is that rest which on this is required?

A. It is a rest from our common affairs, and all servile works and la­bours, unless of charity and necessity.

Q. Is this all the rest required on this day?

A. No, we must not onely rest our selves, but also we must suffer our Ser­vants, our Cattel, and all that belongs unto us to rest on this day.

Q. What is your Duty towards your Neighbour, which you learn in the second Table, or in the sixth following com­mand?

A. My Duty towards my Neighbour is to Love him as my self, and to do to all men as I would they should do unto me: to Love, Honour, and Succour my Father and Mother: to honour and obey the King, and all that are put in Autho­rity under him: to submit my self to all my Governours, Teachers, spiritual Pa­stors and Masters: to order my self lowly [Page 51]and reverently to all my betters: to hurt no body by Word or Deed: to be true and just in all my Dealings: to bear no ma­lice nor hatred in my Heart; to keep my Hands from picking and stealing, and my Tongue from evil speaking, lying, and slandering; to keep my Body in tempe­rance, soverness, and chastity; not to covet nor desire other mens goods; but to learn and labour truly to get my own living, and to do my Duty in that state of life into which it shall please God to call me.

Q. Who is your Neighbour?

A. Every man, without exception; unless the Church of God, by its pow­er, hath for some notorious offence, cut him off from her communion.

Q. Are we then bound to love our ene­mies, those that hate us and persecute us?

A. These we are also to love, and hereto we are strictly bound by our Blessed Saviours express command: But I say unto you, love your Enemies, [Page 52]bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.

Q. In which of these six commands do you learn to love your neighbour as jour self?

A. This general duty I learn in all of them, wherein is contained that kindness, mercy, and compassion, which one man ought to entertain towards another; it being the great design of this Table to maintain amity & friend­ship amongst brethren.

Q. In which of these commands do you learn to do unto all men as you would they should do unto you?

A. This duty towards my neigh­bour, I likewise learn from them all in general, which teach me to give to all their just due and right; not to detract from my neighbour by word nor deed, neither to injure him either in body, goods, or name.

Q. In which of these commands dost thou learn to love, honour, and succour [Page 53]thy Father and Mother, to honour and obey the King, and all that are put in au­thority under him, to submit your self to all your teachers, governours, spiritual pastors and Masters, to order your self lowly and reverently to all your betters.

A. This part of my duty towards my neighbour, I learn in the first pre­cept of this Table, or of the fifth in order; honour thy Father and thy Mother.

Q. How can you learn thus much by this precept, when as it onely enjoyns you to honour your father and mother?

A. These terms Father and Mother are very comprehensive; under which are included all that are above us, in what relation soever, whether natural, civil, or Ecclesiastical.

Q. What is that duty which this com­mand requires from you towards your na­tural relations, that is, your parents?

A. It is first to love them with so cordial an affection, as so near a relation requires. Secondly, to honour them [Page 54]as those from whom I received my be­ing, who take care and provide for me in all respects next under my Crea­tor. Thirdly; to succour them, if pro­vidence should ever cast them into distress, in every respect, according to the best of my ability.

Q. What is that duty which this com­mand requires from you towardes your civil relations, that is, the King, who is the Father of his Country, and all that are put in authority under him?

A. It is to give them that honour which is due unto them, such as their eminent places and qualities require; heartily to obey all their just com­mands; patiently to suffer the penalties of their Laws when inflicted; never up­on any account whatsoever to rebell against them, but quietly to submit my self to every ordinance of man for the Lords sake.

Q. What is that duty which this command requires from you towards your Ecclesiastical relations, that is, towards [Page 55]your Teachers, spiritual Fathers, Pa­stors?

A. It is to obey those good instructi­ons they give me, to follow their good examples, patiently submitting to all those censures, which for my extrava­gancies they inflict upon me, and to en­deavour by my true penitency to be absolved from them.

Q. So then, I perceive there is a ge­neral duty by this command required of you towardes all your Superiours?

A. Yes, this Law enjoyns me to or­der my selfe lowly and reverently to all my betters, that is, to give unto them that due subjection, reverence, honour, and respect, that their seve­ral qualities and employments chal­lenge from me.

Q. In which of these commands dost thou learn to hurt no body by word nor deed, to be true and just in all thy deal­ings, to beare no malice nor hatred in thy heart?

A. This part of my duty towards my-Neigbour, [Page 56]I learn in the second com­mand of this Table, or in the sixth of them all; thou shalt do no murther: wherein I am forbidden to offer any violence to my Neighbour, either by word or deed: not to take away his life, either by open force or private treachery, or any other way; neither to harbour any murtherous, malicious, or envyous thoughts against him, nor to utter any reviling, railing, bitter speeches: In general, here is forbidden all cruelty or unmercifulness either to men or beast.

Q. In which of these commands: dost thou learn to keep thy hands from picking and stealing?

A. This part of my duty towards my Neighbour, I learn in the fourth command of this second Table, or in the eighth of them all; thou shalt not steal: wherein I am forbidden picking, stealing, secret purloyning, open robberies, violence, plundering and rapacity, or any other way where­by [Page 57]I endeavour to encroach upon the goods and estate of my Neighbours: as also I am hereby strictly enjoyned to be content with that portion of worldly goods which God hath given me, to use justice in all mydealings, to preserve my Neighbours goods, and to suffer every man to enjoy his own propriety quietly and peaceably.

Q. In which of these commands dost thou learn to keep thy tongue from evil speaking, lying and slandering?

A. This part of my duty towards my Neighbour, I learn in the fifth command of this second Table, or in the ninth of them all; thou shalt not bear false witness against thy Neighbour: in which I am forbidden all lying, slandering, backbiting, evil speaking, bearing false witness, and all other vices of this nature, whereby the Re­putation or good Name of my Neigh­bour, or his goods and life may be impaired or wronged. As also by this Law I am enjoyned the contrary ver­tues, [Page 58]that is, to set so sure a guard o­ver my tongue, as nothing may pro­ceed out of my mouth, that may in­jure my brother.

Q. In which of these commands dost thou learn to keep thy body in tempe­rance, soberness and chastity?

A. This I learn in the third com­mand of this Table, or in the seventh of them all; Thou shalt not commit Adultery: wherein I am forbidden all manner of sensuality, lasciviousness, wantonness, or uncleanness; as also by this Law I am enjoyned to keep my body chast and clean from the sinful lusts of the flesh, and to make use of all means conducing hereunto; such are sobriety and temperance: and if by a high and full diet my body should grow wanton and unruly, then to bring it into subjection by prayer, watching and fasting.

Q. In which command dost thou learn not to covet nor desire other mens goods, but to learn and labour truly to get thy [Page 59]own living, and to do thy duty in that state into which it shall please God to call thee?

A. Thus much I learn both in the last command of this Table, and of them all, wherein I am forbidden all covetous desires towards my Neigh­bour, the envying his wealth or pro­sperity, all carking over-solicitous di­stracting thoughts in the purchasing this worlds goods; as also, I am by this Law commanded to be content with mine owne, to labour honestly in that employment wherein divine pro­vidence hath placed me, without har­bouring one evil thought against my brothers welfare.

Q. Are you able to keep these com­mands, and hereby to make good that part of your promise you made at your Baptism?

A. In some measure I am able to observe them; otherwise God would be unjust in exacting that obedience I am uncapable of performing.

Q. How are you able, whether by your own strength, or must you have the assistance of some higher power?

A. I am not able by my own innate power to observe these Laws: but that God who commands me to keep them, hath promised to assist my hearty en­deavours in the observation of them.

Q. What means must you use to procure the assistance of your heavenly Father?

A. The only way to gain his aid, is by earnestly and affectionately begging it by prayer; and hence it is that my Catechism warns me at all times to beg Gods special Grace by prayer.

Q. How are you assured that God will help you when you pray unto him?

A. In regard that he hath faithfully promised, that all such as ask shall have; and his blessed Son hath passed his word, that whatsoever we ask the Father in his Name it shall be given unto us.

Q. How comes it to pass then, that all [Page 61]the requests, even of the faithful, are not granted?

A. Possibly they may beg such fa­vours as may not be convenient for them, at least not expedient, to be bestowed upon them at that present.

Q. By what means may we know how to pray as we ought?

A. Our blessed Lord hath left us a form or president for the composure of our prayers, and therefore it is that we call it the Lords Prayer.

Q. But what warrant have we to justifie our so frequent using the Lords Prayer?

A. We have the Authority of Gods holy word. St. Matthew bids us when we pray, to pray after that form; and St. Luke enjoyns us to pray the very same words; from whence we may gather, that when we do not use the very words, yet at least we ought to compose our prayers answerable to that most excellent pattern.

Q. Let me hear if thou canst say the Lords Prayer?

A. Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy Kingdome come, thy will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven; give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our tres­passes, as we forgive them that tres­pass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the Kingdome, the Power and the Glory, for ever and ever, Amen.

Q. What desirest thou of God in this Prayer?

A. I desire my Lord God, our heaven­ly Father, who is the giver of all good­ness, that he will send his Grace unto me, and unto all people; that we may worship him, serve him, and obey him, as we ought to do: and I pray unto God, that he will send us all things that be needful both for our Souls and Bodies; and that he will he merciful unto us, and forgive us our Sins; and that it will [Page 63]please him to save and defend us from all dangers, ghostly and bodily; and that he will keep us from all sin and wickedness, and from our ghostly Enemy, and from everlasting Death: and this I trust he will do of his Mercy and Goodness, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there­fore I say, Amen, so be it.

Q. Why do you invoke God after this manner, call him your heavenly Fa­ther?

A. Because when I consider him as my Father, this gives me confidence to approach his sacred presence; and also gives me assurance that he will supply my wants according as my ne­cessities require.

Q. But why do you say, our Father & not my Father and also put up all the following petitions in generall terms?

A. In regard I am bound not only to pray unto him for my selfe, but also for all those who have God for their Father.

Q. But why do you call him your Fa­ther which is in Heaven?

A. To distinguish him from my temporal Father, and to acknowdedge my being and well-being solely to de­pend upon this my everliving and e­ternal Father.

Q. Is their any thing else you learn from this comfortable title?

A. Yes, when I consider that he is in Heaven, and I on Earth, that there is so great a distance and disparity be­twixt us; this teacheth me to use all reverence and humility, when in his presence; to have clean hands and a pure heart, when I appear before so great, so infinite a Majesty.

Q. In which petition dost thou beg of God to send his grace unto you and unto all people, that ye may worship him and serve him?

A. Thus much I beg of him in the two first Petitions, hallowed be thy Name, thy Kingdom come; wherein I desire that Satans Kingdom may be a­bolished; [Page 65]and the kingdom of grace daily increased, and therefore I pray unto God to send his grace unto me, and to all people, that so the Devil may lose ground; and there may daily be ad­ded unto the Church such as shall be saved: that so all may both in word and deed serve and worship the true God, and reverently sanctifie and hollow his glorious Name.

Q. In which petition dost thou beg that we may obey him as we ought to do?

A. This I ask in the third petition, Thy will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven; wherein I desire that both my self, and all people, may know what is that good, that acceptable will of God, and then make it the rule of our actions; & that his heavenly will maybe performed by us, as it is by the blessed Angels in Heaven, that is, chearfully, without grudging or murmuring; rea­dily, without delay or procrastination; sincerely, without guile or hypocrisie; constantly, without intermission; and [Page 66]universally, without picking & chusing.

Q. In which Petition do you pray un­to God, that he will send us all things that be needful both for our Souls and Bo­d [...]s?

A. This I beg in the fourth petition, Give us this day our daily bread; where­in I entreat God to take us into his fatherly care and tuition, to provide for our subsistence, to give us daily, or day by day, our bread, that is all man­ner of food and sustenance that is re­quisite for us; and withall to fend along with it his heavenly blessing, that so it may nourish our bodies, and make them fit for their several em­ployments.

Q. Herein indeed you desire God to give you necessaries for your bodies; but wherein do you desire him to give you necessaries for your soules?

A. The Holy Scripture, besides this ordinary bread, enformes us of bread that came down from Heaven, that is, Christ and his benefits represented in [Page 67]the holy Sacrament of the Lords Sup­per; and this is that bread wherewith we desire God to feed out Soules, which most certainly will nourish them to life eternal.

Q. In which Petition do you desire God to be mercifull unto us, and forgive us our sins?

A. This I beg of him in the fifth Pe­tition, Forgive us our Trespasses; where­in I beseech God to pardon unto me and all his servants, all those crimes, offences, and trespasses, what ever we are guilty of.

Q. But wherefore is that clause adjoy­ned to this Petition, as we forgive them that trespass against us?

A. For very good reason; to teach us how we must be qualified before we can be capable of Gods pardon; we must be in charity with our brethren, otherwise God will not be in charity with us; for if we forgive not men their trespasses, neither will our heaven­ly father forgive us our trespasses.

Q. In which petition do you desire God to save and defend us from all dan­gers, ghostly and bodily, and that he will keep us from all sin and wickedness, and from our ghostly enemy, and from ever­lacting death?

A. This I beg of him in the sixth petition, And lead us not into temptati­on, but deliver us from evil?

Q. Doth God then lead his servants into temptation?

A. There are temptations of trial or probation, and God doth lead his servants into these temptations, either to exercise their graces, or to chastize them for some miscarriage, or to pre­vent them from some gross fall; but besides these, there are temptations of seduction and ruine; which the Devil offers, and God by withdrawing his grace suffers us to fall into them; and therefore in this Petition I beg of God, that he will continually defend us with his grace, as with a sheild, that so temptations may make no impres­sion [Page 69]upon; and that he will deliver us from all those spiritual evils and dan­gers that our soules are lyable unto, howsoever occasioned, whether by the treachery of Satan, by the enticements of this world, or by the provocation of our own lusts; as also from the horrid danger that followes our complyance with these, the evill of eternal death.

Q. Wherefore is it that you have so great confidence and trust that God will grant all these things that you have here prayed for?

A. First, because his is the king­dom, he is the King of all the earth, a loving tender King, willing to hear and relieve the wants of his subjects. Secondly, because his is the power, he is a powerful King, and thereby able to give plentiful and suitable returns to the requests of his humble suppli­ants. Thirdly, because his is the glory, he is a glorious King; and it is a clear manifestation of his glory and good­ness, to hear from Heaven a company [Page 70]of miserable wretches that deserve no­thing of kindness at his hand; and there­upon I say Amen, so be it; resting fully satisfied that God both hears me, and will answer my requests, as my neces­sities require.

Q. How many Sacraments hath Christ ordained in his Chrurch?

A. Two onely as generally necessary to Salvation; that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.

Q. When did Christ ordain these Sa­craments?

A. The first of them, namely, Bap­tism, he hallowed in his own person, by passing through the Waters of it; and also immediately before his ascen­sion he enjoyned his Disciples to Bap­tize all Nations: And the other Sa­crament he celebrated with his Disci­ples presently before his Passion; and withal charged his Disciples, and in them his whole Church, to do it in re­membrance of him.

Q. What is meant by Baptism?

A. It is derived from a Greek word which signifies to wash, dip, dive, or sprinkle.

Q. Why is the other Sacrament called the Lords Supper?

A. Because it was instituted by the Lord of Glory, at or after supper.

Q. How or in what sense are these Sacraments generally necessary to Salva­tion?

A. They are the Instruments, or the means whereby the merits of Christ are conveyed and made over to us, and by which God hath commanded us to receive them; and therefore those that wilfully refuse and neglect them when they may be had, do neglect the ordinary means of Salvation.

Q. What do you mean by this. word Sacrament?

A. I mean an outward visible sign of an inward spiritual grace, given unto us, ordained by Christ himself as a means [Page 72]whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof.

Q. What is the end or final cause why Christ ordained Sacraments?

A. He ordained them as a means whereby great blessings and graces are conveyed to us, and as a pledge to as­sure us of his favour and loving kind­ness.

Q. What is that grace which by Sa­craments is conveyed unto us?

A. The whole obedience, merit, death and passion of our Saviour, and the benefits that flow from thence.

Q. Is Christ alone the ordainer of Sacraments?

A. He onely hath right to institute a Sacrament, in regard he is the sole Author of those graces, that by Sacra­ments are made over to true belie­vers.

Q. How many parts are there in a Sacrament.

A. Two, the outward visible sign, and the inward spiritual grace.

Q. Why are the one part in these Sa­craments, namely, water in Baptism, and bread and wine in the Lord Supper, ter­med outward and visible signs?

A. They are termed outward and visible, in regard they are apparent to our senses, no eye but seeth them; and they are called signs, because they are resemblances of some higher things, signifie or specifie some favours that by them are conferred upon mankind.

A. Wherefore is the other part of these Sacraments stiled an inward and spiri­tual Grace?

A. It is termed inward invisi­ble, because it is not to be discerned by the eye of men, but it is represen­ted to us by these signs; and therefore it is called a grace, because the bene­fits that by these Sacraments are made over unto us, proceed from the meer grace and mercy of God through Je-Christ our Lord.

Q. What is the outward visible form or sign in Baptism?

A. Water, wherein the person Bap­tized is dipped, or sprinkled with it, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Q. What Analogy or proportion doth this outward Sign, Water, bear to the thing signified?

A. Very much, Baptism is the wa­shing away of sin; and therefore the outward washing in water doth very fitly represent the inward washing of our Souls, both from the guilt and spot of sin in the blood of Christ.

Q. Wherefore is Baptism administred in the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the holy Ghost?

A. This is done for divers weighty reasons. First, that the congregation may know that what the Minister doth, he doth not of or from himself, but by commission and good authority, even by the authority of the whole Trinity. Secondly, This is done for the com­fort [Page 75]of the Baptized, in regard they may be assured, that the whole Tri­nity do ratifie and confirm what is promised in Baptism, viz. remission of Sins, and acceptance into Fa­vour.

Thirdly, This is done to lay a strict obligation on the party Baptized, to ac­knowledge and believe in these three persons, and to deliver up himself to follow the instructions of these, and no other, in the mysteries of Religion; to be obedient to their injunctions, and to ascribe all honour and glory to the whole Trinity.

Q. What is the inward spiritual grace in Baptism?

A. A death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness; for being by nature born in sin, and the children of wrath, we are hereby made the children of grace.

Q. What do you mean by a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righ­teousness, which you say is the inward [Page 76]grace given you in baptism?

A. By a death unto sin, I mean, a get­ting out of the power, and from under the guilt and punishment of sin: And by a new birth unto righteousness, I mean a denying all our former un­godliness and worldly lusts, and a li­ving soberly righteously and godly in this present evil world.

Q. But how is baptism a means of working this in us, and a pledge to assure us thereof?

A. In regard in Baptism there is that measure of strength given us by Christ as will enable us to get out of that ser­vile dangerous condition, notwithstan­ding before the administration of this Sacrament we were in a state of sin, and children of wrath, that is, had strong inclinations and violent propensions to evil; yet hereby we are made chil­dren of grace, that is, are endowed with a sufficiency of power and strength to walk as children of light.

Q. What is required of persons to be baptised.

A. Repentance, whereby they forsake sin; and faith, whereby they stedfastly be­lieve the promises of God made to them in that Sacrament.

Q. Why is Repentance a necessary qualification to baptism?

A. In regard we then change our condition, we are received from an estate of wrath into an estate of grace and favour; and therefore it is requisite we should change our minds, after their dispositions & inclinations, as also this grace is necessary, because it dispo­seth us, and makes us capable of the mercies in Baptism.

Q. What is Repentance?

A. Repentance is a turning from sin to God, and it is such a sincere re­pentance as this that is required before Baptism.

Q. The other qualification is faith; wherein lyeth the necessity of this grace to dispose us for Baptism?

A. It lies in this, because the pro­mises of God have not their effect up­on us, unless they are accepted by us, and it is Faith only that can apply them; and therefore it is necessary that those who partake of this Sacra­ment should by Faith believe the pro­mises of God made to them in that Sacrament.

Q. Why then are Infants Baptized, when by reason of their tender years they cannot perform these conditions, that is, they cannot Repent and Be­lieve?

A. Because they promise the perfor­mance of both these by their sureties; which promise, when they come at age themselves are bound to perform.

Q. But what power hath the Church of God to administer this Sacrament to Infants, meerly upon the engagement of others for the performance of these con­ditions?

A. Herein the Church follows the [Page 79]example of our Saviour Christ; who commanded young children to be brought unto him, when by reason of their tender years they were uncapa­ble of coming themselves; and although they could not in that capacity, by any act of their own, dispose themseves for his favors, yet he took them up in his arms, as Ministers do Infants; laid his hands upon them, as the Minister doth water; and blessed them, as his Mini­sters pray over them, and for them; and our Saviour affirms that of such is the kingdome of Heaven, that is, those who do not receive it as little chil­dren, that is, with innocence, without any let or hinderance, cannot enter in­to it: and in conformity to this great exemplar, the Church admits Infants (in regard they are part of the king­dom of Heaven, that is, to them it be­longs) into the Covenant of the Gos­pel, by setting on the seal of it, Bap­tism, when they are not in a capacity themselves actually to repent and be­lieve.

Q. But suppose infants do not per­form this promise made on their behalf when they come at age?

A. Then they forfeit that grace gi­ven in Baptism: For Baptism is a Cove­nant, wherein God makes over to man­kind divers favours; and man on his part promises an entire forsaking of sin, a stedfast believing of Gods word, and a hearty obedience to his com­mands; now man by breaking his part of the Covenant, forfeits his right to those favours by it held forth.

Q. Why was the Sacrament of the Lords Supper ordained?

A. For the continual remembrance of the Sacrifice of the death of Christ, and of the benefits we receive there­by.

Q. Why do you call the death of Christ a Sacrifice?

A. In regard he freely offered up himself upon the Cross, as a Sacrifice, to make explation and satisfaction for the sins of the World.

Q. How is this Sacrament a remem­brance of this Sacrifice?

A. In regard in this Sacrament we have as it were Christ crucified before our eyes, represented lively before us on the Cross: when the bread is bro­ken, it calls to mind how his sacred body was broken with the Crown of Thorns, the scourges, the nails, the spear; and when the wine is poured out, it remembers us how his precious blood issued forth out of his hands, feet, head and side.

Q. What other end was thereof Christs instituting this holy Sacrament?

A. For the remembrance of those benefits we receive by the sacrifice of his death and passion; that is, that we should continually, that is, frequent­ly remember and commemorate with joy and thanksgiving before God and man, those benefits purchased by his death.

Q. What is the outward part or sign of the Lords Supper?

A. Bread and Wine, which the Lord hath commanded to be received.

Q. Why are these two Elements ra­ther than any other used in this Sacra­ment?

A. Because these do very fitly re­present the inward spiritual grace, which is the body and blood of Christ. As Bread and Wine is the cheif nou­rishment of our Bodies, the great pre­servatives of life and health, so the Bo­dy and Blood of Christ is the onely food of our Soules, which must hourish them to life eternal.

Q. Where hath the Lord commanded these elements to be received?

A. At his first institution of it, he gave this command to his holy Apo­stles, and in them to his whole Church; when he had broke the bread, he gave it unto them, and said, take, eat, this is my body; and when he had blessed the cup, he gave it them, saying, drink ye all of this.

Q. What is the inward part, or thing signified in this Sacrament.

A. The Body and Blood of Christ, which are verily and indeed taken and received by the Faithful in the Lords Supper.

Q. How can it possibly be that the very body and blood of Christ can be re­ceived in the Lord Supper?

A. In this Sacrament there is a true and real participation of Christ, for as verily as every worthy communicant eats the Bread, and drinks the Wine, so verily God in heaven bestows on him, and communicates unto him the body and blood of his Saviour; and also makes over unto him all the bene­fits and advantages that proceed from the sufferings of his body, and the effu­sion of his Blood.

Q. By whom is it that the body and blood of Christ are verily and indeed re­ceived in this holy Sacrament?

A. It is onely by the faithful; that [Page 84]is, such as worthily prepare themselves before they adventure to present themselves, that behave themselves de­voutly and reverently in the time of the administration of it, and also after the receiving of it, walk as becometh such who are united to Christ by so near a tye.

Q. Do not all then that come, receive his body and blood?

A. This holy Sacrament is offered to all that judge themselves worthy of it; but those onely receive benefit from it, who are worthy in deed and in truth.

Q. But suppose others do adventure to come who are unworthy, what do they receive?

A. They receive their own destru­ction, being guilty of the body and blood of Christ.

Q. Certainly then it is far better to abstain from this sacred banquet?

A. There is a necessity lyes upon all Christians to come, as also to come [Page 85]prepared, in regard this is the food of our soules, without which nourishment they will starve and perish; and also by neglecting this weighty concern, we shall disobey the command of our dear Saviour, who hath solemnly en­joyned us to keep this feast in remem­brance of him.

Q. What are the benefits whereof we partake by receiving the Lords Supper?

A. The strengthning and refreshing of our souls by the body and blood of Christ, as our bodies are by the Bread and Wine.

Q. How many are these benefits in number?

A. They are two, first to strength­en, and secondly, to refresh our Soules.

Q. In what measure are soules hereby strengthned?

A. In the very same degree as out bodies are by bread, for as bread is the staffe of life, without which the bo­dy is not able to subsist, but grows fee­ble and weak, and at length drops [Page 86]into the grave, even so the body of Christ doth nourish and strengthen our soules, enable them to the performance of good works, without which they have no power to decline the ways of sin and death.

Q. In what measure are our soules refreshed in this Sacrament?

A. In the same degree as our bodies are refreshed by Wine; for as Wine re­freshes the body, not only when it is thirstly, but also when it is faint and feeble, so doth the blood of Christ re­fresh our Souls, wash them from the guilt of Sin, which exposed them to the wrath of God, which is the greatest refreshment, the most powerfull cordi­al that can be administred to them.

Q. But how is it possible for so small a piece of Bread, or one spoonful of Wine to produce such rare effects?

A. These proceed not from these outward elemens, but from the will and power of Christ, who was pleased to ordain these Elements as means and [Page 87]instruments to conveigh these graces unto us.

Q. What is required of those that come to the Lords Supper?

A. To examine themselves whether they repent them truly of their former fins, stedfastly purposing to lead a new life to have a lively faith in Gods mercy through Christ, with a thenkfull remem­brance of his death; and to be in charity with all men.

Q. What is the general duty here re­quired?

A. Examination; which is not only enjoyned by the Catechism, but the very same duty St. Paul requires of every one that come to this Table: let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that Cup.

Q. What are those matters about which every Christian is not enquioe, or examine himself before this Feast?

A. They are principally four; Re­pentance, [Page 88]Faith, Thankfulness, Cha­rity.

Q. What is the first thing his exami­nation must spend it self upon?

A. The first matter must be Repen­tance.

Q. What kind of repentance must a man find in himself, before he partakes of these Viands?

A. It must consist of these two parts; First, there must be an entire renoun­cing and forsaking of sin, of every evil way; and Secondly, a stedfast pur­pose and resolution by Gods grace and assistance for the time to come to lead a new and innocent life.

Q. What is the second matter he must bring under examination?

A. His Faith.

Q. How must this Faith be quali­fied?

A. It must be a lively Faith; which life it must show forth by well doing; and it must also be a Faith in Gods mercy through Christ, that is, sted­fastly [Page 89]believing, that it is God alone, who, through the merits and sufferings of his Son, hath given to mankind so great blessings as are bestowed in this Sacrament?

Q. What is the third thing we must examine.

A. That is, our thankfulness.

Q. What is it we must be thankful for?

A. We must thankfully remember the death of Christ, what great things he hath done and suffered for us; and also with heart and voice we must make our returns of thanks unto this our compassionate Redeemer for this his infinite goodness and loving kind­ness.

Q. What is the last duty we must exa­mine our selves about?

A. It must be concerning our cha­rity. As by repentance we must recon­cile our selves to God, so by charity we must reconcile our selves to our neighbours, before we dare come to this love-feast.

Q. Wherein consists this Christian duty of Charity?

A. It consists of to parts; first, in giving to, and relieving the necessities of our poor distressed brethren; Se­condly in forgiving and pardoning those injuries and affronts which are offered to us by our neighbours.

Q. How must this our Charity be qua­lified?

A. It must be entire and universal, we must be in Charity with all men. And those who come to this holy communion thus disposed and prepa­red, their Souls shall be strengthned and refreshed by the body and blood of Christ, as their bodies are by the Bread and Wine.


THE Church of England en­joyns Godfathers and God­mothers, to take care that those Children for whom they engage be brought to the Bishop to be con­firmed by him, so soon as they are well instructed in the Church Catechism; that is so soon as they can readily re­hearse it, and give a reasonable ac­count of the principles therein con­tained. But how remiss and careless Sureties are in discharging this trust which is reposed upon them in the pre­sence of God and the Congregation, our own experience too badly enforms us; by which means this holy Rite of Confirmation is almost quite disused: and it is to be feared, that it will in [Page 92]a short space of time be laid aside, (notwithstanding the pious care of our Reverend Father in God, not only by their Articles requiting all Ministers in their several charges to prepare the younger sort for the receiving of this divine Rite by Catechizing, and to bring them unto them, when by this means duly prepared, but also in their triennial visitations confirming all such as are brought unto them) if Mini­sters and Sureties are not more dili­gent in instructing Children in the E­lements of Religion; and, when by that means fitly quallified, in bringing them to receive this blessing from the hands of the Bishop. And if we do but duly consider the necessity of this Rite, and those great blessings that do at­tend upon it (as hereafter I shall manifest) it will then appear strange, it should be so generally slighted and omitted. The main causes of this neg­ligence are either faction or ignorance. There are a generation of men in the [Page 93]world, who being possessed with the Spi­rit of contradiction, disuse it, because the higher Powers enjoyn it; they are heady, high-minded, despising domi­nion, and speaking evil of dignities: and the great character of their Saint­ship consists in their opposition to the lawful Powers in those matters which themselves cannot prove to be illegal; and therefore because confirmation is enjoyned by the Canon Law, because it cannot be received but by the Mi­nistry of the Bishops (which they a­bominate as the members of Anti-Christ, and sworn servants to the Pope of Rome) they resolve to reject it (notwithstanding the most evident reason that can be given to the con­trary) as a superstitious innovation, and a Popish Relique; and indeed so strangely perverse many of this rude hard are, that I am apt to perswade my self, should the Supream Magistrate strictly enjoyn those fond opinions, which they do so zealously entertain, [Page 94]they would forthwith Cashiere them, to prevent the Powers from infring­ing their Christian Liberty; and this that Rebellious Principle which is ge­nerally entertained amongst them, doth too evidently declare, viz. That those things which in themselves are lawful, become unlawful when en­joyned by a lawful Authority: and as for these it will (I say) be a vain attempt to endeavour their conver­sion; indeed their own obstinacy gives me reason to say, that it will prove almost as easie a task to wash the Blackamore white, as to perswade these zealous sons of Korah, to enter­tain that against which they are pre­possessed with too much prejudice and passion.

But besides these, there are another sort of persons who neglect this primi­tive institution, out of pure ignorance; they understand little or nothing of the true meaning of it, and hence pro­ceeds their omission; neither can it at [Page 95]all seem strange that so considerable a number of Christians should be al­together ignorant of the true notion of Confirmation, in regard it hath been generally disused for so many years; so that they have scarce heard so much as the name of it until of late years, since the establishment of E­piscopacy; since which time they have possibly seen the name of it either in the Common Prayer Book, or in the Bishop or Archdeacons Articles of En­quiry, and that is all the knowledge they have of it; and therefore to re­move their Ignorance, I principally design this short Treatise: neither am I altogether without hopes, but that it may have some good success upon those who propound to themselves no other reason for their omission, but their ignorance; for the removal wherefore, and the improving of their knowledge in a matter of so great weight (as hereafter I shall prove this to be,) I shall endeavour with as much [Page 96]clearness and plainness and brevity as may by, to show, 1. What Confir­mation is. 2ly. The lawfulness of it. 3ly. The necessity that all Christians have to receive it.

1. As to the true notion of Confir­mation, it is very well expressed in the word it self, which is very full and significant, for then we do confirm and are confirmed; from whence we may infer, that Confirmation consists of two main Branches.

1. It is an Act of Confirmation on our part, in regard we do hereby farther ratifie and establish that con­tract or covenant which formerly, viz. at our baptism, was made betwixt God and us; and by confessing of it to be valid and Good, and by personally undertaking the strict performance of it, we do profess our selves Gods faith­ful servants, and bind our selves faster still unto him, whose we were before; we do at the performance of this holy Rite, confirm what others, in our mi­nority [Page 97]acted on our behalf; we do then profess our selves bound both to believe and to do what our Godfa­thers and Godmothers promised for us; we do publickly own our Chri­stian profession, professing that we will be faithful in the discharge of our Baptismal vow.

And it is very meet and convenient, that every Christian should personally resume & ratifie those solemn engage­ments, that charitable persons made for him in his infancy; neither can a­ny man be reputed a true and com­pleat member of the Church, until he do publickly own and profess, that he will faithfully stand to those con­ditions and terms that were made in his Name, when through the gate of Baptism he was graciously received into the number of Christs Holy Ca­tholick Church; that he will not be a­shamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, but couragiously continue & persevere in that high calling, where­in [Page 98]he is called, magure all opposi­tion to the contrary, and manfully fight under Christs Banner against sin, the world, and the Devil; and con­tinue Christs true and faithful Servant and Souldier to his lives end.

And that this is the Church of Eng­lands sense of confirmation, is very plain from the office which is then to be u­sed; which requires, that all persons who are confirmed, shall audibly and publickly in the presence of God and of the Congregation, renew that so­lemn promise and vow that was made in their names at baptism, ratifying and confirming the same in their own persons; and acknowledging them­selves bound to believe and do all those things which their Godfathers and Godmothers then undertook for them; She only hereby intends that we should be in reality and truth, what we out­wardly profess our selves; that as we at large bear the name of Christians, Because of the number, and living a­mongst [Page 99]the Society of them, and in communion with them, so likewise we should specifie as much by our actions; having our Conversation such as becometh the Gospel of Christ denying all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and behaving our selves so­berly, righteously, and godlily in this present evil world: which is no more than that duty which the Grace of God that hath appeared unto all men, and bring­eth salvation, hath taught us; It is no more than what we have strictly obli­ged our selves to perform, when we took upon us the honourable name of Christians; for then we faithfully en­gage to renounce the Devil and all his works, that is, to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to keep Gods holy will and Commandements, walking in the same all the dayes of our lives; whose sacred Laws teach us to behave our selves soberly, righteously, and god­lily in this present evil world. So that the Churches design is very good and [Page 100]pious in continuing this wholsome In­stitution; and as clearly opposite from either Superstition or Will-worship, as light is from darkness; it is only the spiritual good of her sons that she would advance by the administration of this Rite; cause them openly to ac­knowledg themselves Gods faithful Servants; that they are resolved by his assistance so to continue, chearful­ly and heartily performing his sacred pleasure; stopping up their cares, and barring up their hearts against all cor­rupt and wicked insinuations that may tempt them to the contrary.

2ly. It is an Act of Confirmation on Gods part, who confers a new Grace to strengthen in those persons that are confirmed, those holy principles and that good resolution, of which they have made a faithful profession, and to enable them to continue and per­sist in it; so that God doth confirm our confirmation, that is, he doth by the assistance of his good Spirit, con­firm [Page 101]and corroborate our resolutions and purposes in performing our vow made at Baptism.

The Reverent Bishop of Down en­forms us in his Epistle before his Trea­tise writ upon this very subject, that some wise and good men have piously believed (which is no small addition to the honour of this Ministration) that when baptized persons are con­firmed and blessed by the Bishop, that then it is, that a special guardian Angel is appointed to keep their souls from the assaults of the Spirits of darkness: And all that he adds to it of his own sentiments, is this, that the piety of this supposition is not at all disagreeable to the intention of this Rite: for since by this, the holy spirit of God (the Father of all spirits) is given, it is not unreasonably thought by them, that the other good Spirits of God, the Angels, who are ministring spirits, sent forth to minister for their sakes who are heirs of Salvation should [Page 102]pay their kind offices in subordination to their Prince and Fountain. Nei­ther can I discover any thing in this o­pinion which is Heterodox, but that it may be very safely entertained; for if these glorious Angels (as the Scrip­ture enforms us) minister for the good of mankind, namely, that part of it as are obedient to the divine Laws of the great Soveraign of the Universe, then certainly there cannot be a more proper season for them to enter upon this charitable employment, than a­bout that age as it is requisite for con­firmation to be administred; and it is very agreeable both with the good­ness & wisdom of Almighty God, then to place the securest guard over his Servants, when they are the most vi­gorously assaulted by their spiritual e­nemies, which is at the publick own­ing of themselves to be Christs real members, and declare a profest en­mity against the Devil and all his works: when we openly profess Chri­stianity, [Page 103]and acknowledge out Bap­tismal vow, then it is that the rage of the Devil is most furious and violent, imagining if ever he can seduce us it will be at the first hand, before we are well settled and throughly groun­ded in our holy resolutions: But how­soever, as the above mentioned Bishop very well observes, there are greater and stranger things than this that God does for the soul of his Servants, and for the honour of the Ministries which himself hath appointed: and in this very Ministry will have the powerful assistance of the spirit of all spirits; the eternal spirit of God is our guide and our coadjutor to assist our own abili­ties and undertakings, in abiding in that high calling whereunto we are called at our Baptism; he now by his gracious influence and blessed aid, helpeth our infirmities, and supplies our natural imperfections, making us able to do that which is good, and what the Lord requires of us. As in Bap­tism [Page 104]the Holy Ghost was conveyed as a sanctifyer, so herein as a comforter and strengthener, now that the person is entring upon a great contest and con­flict with himself, his own unruly lusts, the world, and principalities, and pow­ers, and spiritual wickednesses in high places. It is true, in Baptism we receive the Spirit of God, by it we are then regenerated, made members of Christ Children of God, and shall in the end be made inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven, that is, if we continue con­stant in the profession of the Faith of Christ crucified, performing our part of the Covenant made in Baptism; to do which it requires a greater and more powerful assistance of the Holy Ghost, which is given in confirmation.

By Baptism we are Heirs, and are adopted to the inheritance of Sons, admitted to the Covenant of Repen­tance, and engaged to live a Godly life: yet, as the judicious Prelate learn­edly observes, this is but the Solemni­ty [Page 105]of the Covenant, which must pass into other Acts, by other influences of the same Divine Principle, untill we receive the Spirit of Obsignation and Confirmation; we are but Babes in Christ, in the meanest sense, Infants that can do nothing, that cannot speak, that cannot resist any voilence, exposed to every rudeness, and peri­shing by every temptation: But there­fore, as God at the first appointed us a Ministry of a new birth in Baptism, so also hath he given to the Church the consequent Ministery of a new strength in Confirmation. The spirit moved a little upon the waters in Bap­tism, by vertue of which motion it is made the Laver of Regeneration; so that by vertue of this Sacrament we receive the first Principles of life, are adopted into Christ's family, made his living members, who before were dead in sins and trespasses. But in Confirmation he makes us able to move our selves; he so bountifully [Page 106]assists us, and so powerfully supplies our manifold infirmities, that we are able to work out our own Salvation with fear and trembling: In the first, he is the Spirit of life; but in this, he is the Spirit of strength and motion: Bap­tisma est nativitas, unguentum vero est actionis instra & motus, as a learned Author observes; At the adminstra­tion of Baptism we are born again, we are received into the Congregation of Christ's Flock, and are entitled to the glorious inheritance which he by his bloodsheding purchased for mankind; but in Confirmation we are enabled to move and act as becometh those who are redeemed with so high a price. As in our natural birth we are first In­fants unable to help our selves, and are assisted by Nurses or others, who take the charge of us, to feed us and to lead us, and to assist us in every respect: but after some years our strength encreases, and we are able to move and help our selves. Even so it [Page 107]is in our spiritual birth; first we are Babes in Christ, unable to move one step in the paths of holiness; and there­fore the Church in her wisdom pro­vides Sureties, who receive the charge of us, to feed us with such food as is convenient for us, to nourish us, to assist and advise us in the weighty af­fairs of our souls; but when we are at age to help our selves, then we take their care and trust upon our own shoulders, stand upon our own legs, publickly promising to live the lives of Christians, strictly performing our solemn engagements which in time past was covenanted on our behalf: and to preserve us from slipping and falling, the Spirit of God is given to assist our pious undertakings, and to strengthen us in the encountring of those raging enemies which we must expect to be assaulted with: and when good Christian people had this no­tion of Confirmation, rightly under­stood the true nature of it, they were [Page 108]then very zealous for it, and flocked in great multitudes to receive this di­vine ministry from the hands of the Bishop. And time was in England (as Bishop Taylor relates) even since the first beginnings of Reformation, when Confirmation had been less carefully ministred for about six years, when the people had the first oppor­tunities of it restored, they ran to it in so great numbers that Churches and Church-yards would not hold them, insomuch that the Bishop of Chester was forced to impose hands on the people in the fields, and was so op­pressed with the multitudes, that he had almost been trod to death by the people, and had died with the throng, if he had not been rescued by the ci­vil Power: And it might have been hoped, that the disuse of it of late for so considerable a number of years, might have made it more highly pri­zed now that it is again restored; but alas our own experience finds it far [Page 109]otherwise, it continues still too much neglected, not only for want of a right understanding of this holy Rite, but also by entertaining a belief that it is unlawful: many are deterred from desiring this ministry, in regard that they are enformed that not one tittle of this is to be found in Gods word; and hereupon supposing it hath no Divine Warrant, they pre­sently condemn it as an Innovation, a piece of Will-worship, and so con­sequently sinful. VVherefore I shall in the next place prove the lawfulness of this Discipline; it is a plant of our Heavenly Fathers planting, and so no Innovation or VVill-worship; it is a Primitive and Apostolick Rite, and hath been continued in the Church in all Ages as a wholsom Discipline; and so no upstart invention, or new de­vice, to raise the Power, or advance the Grandeur of proud Prelates: and when I have cleared these two, then the lawfulness of this Rite will appear [Page 110]as clear as the Sun at the Noon day.

This Divine Rite of Confirmation proceeds from above, it is warranted unto us by no meaner a person than the Eternal Son of God, who in his own person hath instituted and hallowed this Rite by submiting unto it: no sooner came he out of the waters, where he had been baptized by John, but immediately he is confirmed by the Spirit, which in the shape of a Dove descended upon him. He is now to enter upon the stage of the world, and to conflict with divers enemies; he is forthwith to be led into the VVil­derness to be assaulted by the Prince of darkness, who now exercises all his cunning and malice to make a prey of this tender Lamb of God: But before he undertakes these hard tasks, the Spi­rit of the living God rests upon him; not that he had any need of the de­scent of the Holy Ghost, or of his power­ful assistance, in regard that infinite [Page 111]power that appertained to his God­head was able to repel the greatest rage of the Devil, and all his accursed instruments; but all this was done for our sakes, to instruct us in this solem­nity of our Religion: he submitted to this Rite, that we might follow his ex­ample, and work out our Salvation by the same graces in the like solem­nities; which St. Augustine hath very well expressed, affirming, Christi in Baptismo Columbam unctionem nostram presigurasse, the Dove in Christ's Bap­tism did represent and prefigure out unction from above, that is, the de­scent of the Holy Ghost upon us in the Rite of Confirmation. And therefore to this and other external ministrati­ons, we must believe our selves obli­ged to submit, and make use of them in the working out our own Salvati­on, being encouraged thereto by the president of this great Captain of our Salvation. Christ was Baptized and so must we; but after Baptism he had a [Page 112]new ministration for the reception of the Holy Ghost; and because this was done upon our account, therefore we must follow so good an example: And this being done immediately before his combate with that proud infernal Spirit, it plainly describes unto us both the time when it ought to be received, as also that great advantage that attends the ministration of it.

After we are baptized, when we are capable of understanding the solemn engagement of our Baptism, and en­ter upon the personal performance of it, we have then great need to be con­firmed in those holy resolutions and good purposes, and also strengthened against those fierce batteries and de­sperate assaults that will be made upon us: We are now actually to renounce the Devil, the VVorld, and the Flesh, to bid a bold and open defiance to all the works of Hell and Satan; and therefore we must receive the assi­stance of the good Spirit of God, which [Page 113]is the design and proper work of Con­firmation. And this doth evidently manifest, not only the lawfulness but likewise the necessity of this Divine Rite; in imitation of the excellent pattern of our Saviour Christ, who is the head of the Church, he entred this way upon his Duty and Work, not being thereto urg'd by necessity, but only to point out to us, which is the most proper and compendious way to gain a competency of strength and power to enable us to perform our Christian duty: him whom we are strictly charged to follow as dear Chil­dren, was over shadowed with the Holy Ghost, just when he was entring upon the performance of that weighty work about which he came down from Heaven. Neither is this useful ministry only warranted unto us, by the president of the Holy Jesus, the great exemplar to all succeeding ages, but also we find it diligently observed and duly practised in the first and pu­rest [Page 114]ages of Christianity. The blessed Apostles in imitation of their great Lord and Master, and by vertue of that Authority they received from him, confirm their converts, after that, by Baptism they are admited into the number of Christs Flock. After the Disciples were endowed with power from on high, by being miraculously inspired with the gifts of the Holy Ghost, they communicate of the same Spirit to their Proselytes to help their imperfections; and for this we have the plain express words of Scripture, the relation whereof is recorded, Acts 8.14, 15, 16, 17. when the Disciples that were at Jerusalem heard that Sa­maria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John, who when they were come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost; for as yet he was fallen upon none of them, only they were bap­tized in the name of the Lord Jesus; then laid they their hands on them, and [Page 115]they received the Holy Ghost. Now if we do but duly observe these words, they give us a clear and full account of the whole order of this Divine Ritu­al.

1. Here are the Persons that are ca­pable of this ministry, those that are baptized; and it is to such only that the great blessing of the Holy Spirit doth belong: it is only those that through the Gate of Baptism are re­ceived into the number of Christs flock, upon whom he will power down the gifts and graces of his holy Spirit by the ministration of his Embassadors.

2. Here is the time when this Apostolick Rite is administred, after Baptism. When by this holy Sacrament they had engaged themselves in the practise of the true Christian Religi­on, then was the season that the holy Apostles by the laying on of hands, com­municated unto them a larger measure of the holy Spirit, to strengthen them in the performance of those Solemn [Page 116]engagements they then made.

3. Here was the manner how Confirmation was by these devout Persons administred; it was by Prayer and laying on of hands.

4. Here are the only Ministers of this Rite, two of the select Apostles, Peter and John: Philip the Evangelist who converted and baptized them, gave not the Holy Ghost, for he had not power so to do, for this gift was proper only to the Apostles, to none of the inferiour Pastors or Teach­ers.

And this very order doth the Church of England punctually observe in the administration of this Primitive Disci­pline; she confirms none but those that are baptized; and the time when she administers it, is after baptisme: and here indeed she something varies from the primitive practise, who con­firmed their converts presently after Baptism, but she not until a conside­rable time afterwards, until the bap­tized [Page 117]are grown to years of discretion to understand their Baptismal vow; but there is very good reason for it, in regard those Heathens which in the be­ginning were converted to the Chri­stian Faith, were at age, when bapti­zed, to understand that promise they then made, and so were in a fit capa­city to be confirmed at that very in­stant. She likewise administers this Rite by prayer, and the laying on of hands; as also the Administers here­of are the Bishops, who succeed in the place and ordinary office of the Apo­stles: So that the same thing that is now done in imposition of hands, is no other than what was done by the first publishers of the Gospel, such as were inspired and miraculously assisted by an infallible Spirit; all deriving from the very same Authority. Our Church doth no more than what was practised in the first and purest ages of Christia­nity, even by those whose president is a very good Authority in this case.

And now I am not able to conje­cture what can be said against the law­fulness of confirmation, unless it should be objected, that it was only ordained for a time, viz. for the Apostles time, and after it was to expire. But if I can prove that this ministry was not tem­porary and relative only to the Apo­stles time, but was to descend to the Church, and to continue with it for ever, and hereby to become a per­petual and never-ceasing Ministry, I cannot then conceive what there is farther to be objected against the just­ness and lawfulness of this Rite. And first in order to this performance, let it be observed, that confirmation is e­stablished and passed by St. Paul (if he may be supposed to be the Au­thor or the Epistle to the Hebrewes) into a Christian doctrine; in that ve­ry Epistle we shall find the Apostle to make imposition of hands, namely, that which is the Ceremony in Con­firmation, by which it was usually [Page 119]known, a fundamental point, Heb. 6.1, 2. I shall set downe the very words, as tending very much to my present purpose. Therefore leaving the principles of the Doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection, not laying again the founda­tion of repentance from dead works, and of Faith towards God, of the Do­ctrine of Baptism, and of laying on of hands, and of the Resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

Here are six fundamental points of St. Pauls Catechism, which he laid as the foundation or beginning of the institution of Christianity; and amongst these, imposition of hands is reckoned as a part of the foundation: and it ap­pears very plaine to me, that the Apo­stle intends the very same imposition of hands as was used in confirming the baptized, in regard it is placed imme­diately after baptism, as being a disci­pline which was to follow upon it in order to the building up of a Christian; now this being a ground work of Chri­stianity, [Page 120]it must of necessity follow, that it must have the very same continu­ance with it; the shallowest capacity easily apprehending, that when the foundation is rooted up, the whole Fabrick must be thrown down.

But then again, this Ministry will appear to be of a larger continuance than the Apostles time, in regard that blessing which by this Ministry is con­ferred, is to abide with the Church for ever, viz. The benigne influence and assistance of the Holy Ghost. When Our Saviour made this gracious pro­mise at the first to his Disciples, to give them the comforter, he was to abide with them to the end of the world, John 14.16. And I will pray the Fa­ther, and he shall send you another Com­forter, that he may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of Truth. And we shall find, that when this gift was so miraculously bestowed upon the holy Apostles at the day of Penticost, insomuch that those who were Eye­witnesses [Page 121]were strangly amazed, and marvelled to hear them speaking in divers languages, at that very same time St. Peter, to take off the strange­ness of the wonder, and the envy of the power, tels them in plain terms, that upon condition they would Repent and be baptized, they should e­very one of them receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost; not the meanest, the most inconsiderable amongst them but should receive that great thing which they observed in them; and not on­ly themselves, but their Children also: For the promise is to you and to your Chil­dren, and to all that are afar off, even to as many as the Lord our God shall call, Acts 2.38, 39. Now it is very unrea­sonable to suppose, that the Rite (which is partly moral and partly cere­monial, the first is prayer, the other is laying on of hands) that this should be transient only for a short time, when as the promise it selfe is to con­tinue for ever. It cannot but seem [Page 122]very strange, that a solemn Rite an­nexed to a perpetual promise should be transient and temporary. The pro­mise is of a blessing to endure for ever, the Ceremony or Rite was annexed to the promise, and therefore this al­so must be for ever. And as this Mi­nistry was to continue for ever, so was it duly observed and actually practised by the succeeding Ages of the Church, as the Reverent Bishop of Down in his Treatise upon this sub­ject hath very learnedly proved: And certainly, next after the plain words of Scripture, the universal tradition of the Church is the best argument for the probation of Rituals; And what I have hitherto discoursed of, the law­fulness of this Rite, is certainly suffici­ent to satisfie every reasonable person of the necessity of it: for that which is Authorized by no meaner a Person than the Eternal Son of God, which was practised by the Holy Apostles, was observed in the purest ages of [Page 123]Christianity, and is a never-ceasing Ministry, must of necessity both be lawful to be done, and very meet and convenient to be retained in practise.

But in regard there is nothing more powerfully prevailes with mankind than their interests, I shall in the last place (in order to the proving the ne­cessity of this wholsom Discipline, and to encourage all to the due observati­on of it,) endeavour to manifest those great graces and excellent privi­ledges which are consequent to the worthy reception and due Ministry of it. When Confirmation is rightly performed and worthily received, it will be highly advantagious to us, and will greatly promote the Spiritual good and interest of every Christian, and therefore ought not by any means to be neglected: And in this respect the Scripture hath spoken so fully & plain­ly, as is abundantly sufficient to prove that great blessing that waits upon us.

It is recorded by St. Luke in the Acts [Page 124]of the Holy Apostles, that at the first ministration of this Rite they received the Holy Ghost, that is, according to the expression of the Holy Jesus to his Disciples, when he commanded them to tarry at Jerusalem in expectation of the accomplishment of his glorious promise; they are endowed with ver­tue from on high, that is, with strength to perform their duty, to persevere in their Christian profession, notwith­standing all the opposition of Satan and his accursed instruments. So that this power from on high, which is the proper blessing of Confirmation, was expressed, not only with speaking of Tongues and doing Miracles, but it was effected in spiritual and inward strengths; They were not only ena­bled for the service of the Church, to speak in a languages for the benefit of all nations, and to do mighty works to convince Gain-sayers, but also they were endowed with courage and wis­dom, and Christian fortitude, and bold­ness, [Page 125]openly to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and manfully to fight under his Banner, against Sin, the World, and the Devil, and to continue Christs faithful Servants and Souldiers to their lives end.

And if we do but duly consider how apt we are to erre out of the way of Gods Commandments, to start a­side like a broken Bow, and what great opposition we meet with in run­ning the Race that is set before us, we shall find abundance of reason to make use of all lawful means to gain a great­er measure and assistance of Gods good Spirit, That Body of death which St. Paul so earnestly desired to be delive­red from, that old man of Sin, our Rebellious Wills and Affections, do fatally resist all good motions and in­clinations within us.

This Law in our members is conti­nually warring against the Law in our minds, and bringing us into cap­tivity to the law of sin, that is in our [Page 126]members; but when this Allmighty Spirit descends upon us, he supplies us with such a measure of strength as enables us to mortifie all our earthly Members, to keep them under subje­ction, to vanquish all those proud lusts of the flesh which lead us Captive to the committance of evil.

But besides these inward, we have also outward enemies, the Devil and his accursed Retinue, which bandy to­gether their Forces to overcome us, and draw us into their snares and Vas­salage; these exercise all their malice and cunning to provoke us to renounce our solemn Baptismal engagements, and to walk in a down-right opposition to that duty our Maker expects from us. When we are once engaged in a holy profession, and have faithfully covenanted to forsake every evil pra­ctise that is unworthy this our high cal­ling, then is the time that our grand adversary, fearing that he shall lose a prosellyte, will violently oppose us, [Page 127]he will make us promises as large as heart can either wish or desire; nay he will not stand out for any thing, ra­ther than lose a Disciple; he will out of design court us at an exceeding high rate, telling us, as he did our Saviour, that all the kingdoms of the world, with their glory, are at his disposal; so that nothing shall be wanting to compleat our desires, that this world can afford, will we but throw off the yoak of our dear Saviour, and list our selves under his accursed banner: And we shall find these such prevailing temptations as flesh and blood cannot easily resist. But when we are endow­ed with vertue from on high, it will enable us both to discover his delusions and to resist his greatest force and fury. That infinite power which at the first threw the Prince of darkness from his primitive estate of happiness and perfection, is able to guard us from all his assaults, that we may pass on cheerfully in the performance of what [Page 128]the Lord requires of us. And indeed this is the principal blessing of Confir­mation; our spiritual strength here­by is augmented; that new life which we receive at Baptism, is now so heightned and improved, that we are able to live the lives of good Christi­ans, and in a very good measure to perform what our Sureties promised for us. So that Confirmation is the consummation and perfection, the corroboration and strength of Baptism and baptismal grace; for in baptism we undertake to do our duty, but in con­firmation we receive a new supply of strength for the doing of it; in baptism others promise for us, in confirmation we undertake for our selves; we ease our Godfathers and Godmothers of their burden, and taken it upon our own shoulders: In Babtisme we give up our names to Christ, but in con­firmation we put our seal to the pro­fession and God puts his Seal to the promise; we enter then upon the actual [Page 69]performance of our Baptismal vow, which includes the whole of our Chri­stian duty; and then it is that God poures down his holy Spirit upon us, to direct and guide us in those weighty things that relate to our eternal peace, so that in confirmation we receive an encrease of the Spirit of grace where­by we are strengthned unto battel, prepared to recieve the desperate as­saults and fierce encounters of our mercyless adversaries: to which I shall only add what St. Cyrill argues from the descension of the holy Ghost upon Christ after his baptism, whose words I shall set down as I find them quoted by the Bishop of Down: When he was baptized in the River Jordan, he ascended out of the Waters, and the holy Ghost substantially descended upon him, like resting upon like: And so you also, in like manner, after ye have ascended from the waters of bap­tism, the unction is given which bears the image or similitude of him by [Page 72]whom Christ was anointed; that as Christ after Baptism and the coming of the holy Spirit upon him, went forth to battel in the wilderness, and over­came the adversary; so ye also after holy Baptism and the mystical unction (or confirmation) being vested with the armour of the holy Spirit, are ena­bled to stand against the opposite powers so that certainly were this ex­cellent favour duely considered that attends confirmation, it would be strict­ly observed by all those who in any competent measure intend their own eternal good and happiness.

But besides all this, many benefits will accrue to us by performing our parts in confirmation, that is, by pub­lickly in our own persons under­taking those solemn engagements that was by others made on our behalf at Baptism: It is the opinion of a very learned person, That there could ne­ver be a well constituted Church without this practise; nor can we tell [Page 65]that men are not Heathens and Pagans, and have not revoked their word, unless they will openly acknowledge that they understand what they then did, and will not stir from it. VVill any man be ashamed (saith the same Author) to make such a profession, and to tread in the way of Christs Church, because it hath been of late disused or turned into another thing? VVhy shouldest thou blush to own holiness, to say before Christ's Church, thou art resolved to lead a Christian life, and renounce the Devil and all the ways of wickedness? why shouldest thou be ashamed of thy Religion, as if it were fit to be professed only in a private corner, where none should hear thee? VVhy should it be accounted a strange thing to protest love to God? it is an honour and glory unto us that we may be Christians, and so should we esteem it: we should be right glad of an opportunity, wherein we may do our selves so much honour, as to tell the [Page 68]world that we are and resolve to be the real disciples and faithful fol­lowers of the eternal King of Glory. We shall also find divers great be­nefits to ensue upon the renewing of our vow in the presence of the Con­gregation.

1. This will be a means to make us more strictly and conscientiously ob­serve the rules and duties of Christia­nity: when we consider, that we have acquainted the world with our good resolutions, that they know what a so­lemn profession we have made to lead a virtuous and a Christian life in all godliness and honesty, then we cannot for shame but practice what we have so openly professed, our own credit will make us afraid to commit a sin against which we have so solemnly and publickly professed; and we shall easily believe that every one will up­braid us with the breach of promise, when they see us to act contrary to what we once told the congregation; [Page 77]we shall hereby force the world to believe us false and perfidious, not our words Master; neither can we imagine that any person that under­stands his own interest will take our word, or trust to our promise in any matter that relates to these temporal affairs, when as we dare break those so­lemn promises, upon every slight occa­sion, every inconsiderable temptation that is offered, that we make in the presence of God and a whole congre­gation: so that our credit will ingage us, when we have once made a publick engagement, to stand by it, not to shrink from it, but to be diligent in the observation of every part of it. Secondly, This renewing our Baptis­mal vow in the presence of the con­gregation, will be a soveraign antidote against the allurements of Satan; nei­ther can we have a better preserva­tive against his force and fury, than to tell him what we told the congregati­on, that now we are resolved (having [Page 80]passed our word for it) that we will re­nounce him, and all that appertains unto him, and be Gods faithful ser­vants to our lives end. When we are able confidently to tell this bold temp­ter, that we have no room to enter­tain him, having engaged our selves in the face of the world to wage a con­tinual war against him, and also vowed Loyalty & Fidelity to our eternal Ma­ker, we need not doubt but that this will drive him away from us, and also for the time to come discourage him from making such frequent attempts upon us. Neither will this only be a means to preserve us from the daring onsets of the Prince of Darkness, but also it will very much secure us from the insinuation of his agents, the pro­phane sons of Belial. Wicked men certainly cannot have the con [...]ence to ask us to sin, when we have so pub­liquely professed against it; evill company will shun and avoid us, when they know that we are not of their [Page 73]foot-marks, but have publickly disow­ned their ungodly practises, and prin­ciples. You complain of lewd society, of friends and acquaintance that draw you into many inconveniences; do but let them know that you intend to be religious, and they will let you alone. The Philosophers openly professed a severe and unusual life, that all men might let them live Philosophically, and not be a disturbance unto them. Let but us do so, and be professedly re­ligious, and they will have the less boldness for to trouble us. Our work is half done when we are heartily re­solved; and more than half done, when we publickly profess these our good re­solutions.

Thirdly, This open renewing of our Baptismal engagements wil very much lead to the bringing of Religion into fashion, and to make it a thing very creditable and honorable: When men openly appear for it, and are not ashamed publiquely to confess and [Page 76]acknowledge it, then the perverse sons of Belial, will be discouraged from scoffing and reproaching of it; it will stop the mouths of all gainsayers, when they behold the greatest and soberest part of mankind to countenance it, by professing seriously to practise it. And this certainly will mightily prevail with all those as have any kindness or honour for Religion, openly to re­new their vows, especially in this care­less age, wherein Atheism and pro­phaneness have joyned forces to dis­countenance, yea, utterly to banish all Religion from amongst us.

Fourthly, The open owning of our Baptismal vow, wil be a great prepara­tory, in order to the receiving the holy Sacrament of Christs most precious body and blood; neither is it meet that any should be admitted to so neer a communion with Christ, who will not openly acknowledge and promise fealty and obedience to his Sacred commands And therefore what our [Page 67]Church enjoyns in this case, is very rea­sonable, viz. that none should be ad­mitted to the holy Communion, un­till such time as he be confirmed, or be ready and desirous to be confirmed: and therefore if we intend to receive Christ in the Sacrament, to feed upon his body and blood, which is such ex­cellent food, as most certainly will nourish our souls to life eternal, it is but very meet and convenient that we should first openly profess our selves his members and servants, and that we resolve so to continue; this will reduce us into a fit capacity to feed at the Lords Table, whereby we may encrease in strength, & enjoy a more intimate com­munion with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And indeed, until this is done, I may justly say, men are but imperfect members, babes and infants in Christ, and not to be admitted (in the judgment of all ages) to tast of the meat of men, until they shew themselves to be men by speaking for themselves.

And to all this I shall only add the misery that in the end shall attend those that will not make an open pro­fession of Christ; as also the priviledge that they shall enjoy who are free to perform this so reasonable a duty; and this I shall give you in our Savi­ours own words, Mat. 10.72. Whoso­ever shall confess me before men, him will I confess before my Father which is in Heaven; That is, will confess him to be one of my flock, my true disciple and member, and accordingly will re­ward him; but whosoever shall deny me before men (and certainly he that is a­shamed openly to profess Christ, will not be afraid to deny him, if moved thereto either by fear or advantage) him will I also deny before my Father which is in Heaven. And it is not within the power of any man to imagine how dreadful and insupportable their doom will be, who are denyed and disowned by the great Judg of Heaven and Earth. So that now I cannot see what there is [Page 66]to deter men from submitting to this wholsome discipline, it being not only necessary, but also highly reasonable, that we should openly promise to be his faithful servants, who both created us, and redeemed us. Why should we not as freely and readily promise in the face of the congregation, obedience to Gods sacred pleasure and commands, as we do allegiance and loyalty to our Prince before a Court of Justice? If it is reasonable that we should be obedi­ent to the laws of our Maker, which no Christian will deny; what harm is their in making an open profession that we will be so? and therefore it would be very happy, and cannot but be earnestly desired by all good Christians, that all animosities and vain janglings might be quite layed aside, and that we may all joyn together in practising whatsoever may advance us forward towards the end of our hopes, the Salvation of our Souls.


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