[Page] Th' ENCAENIA Of St. Ann's Chappel in Sandgate. OR, A SERMON Preached May 3. 1682. Before the Right Worshipful, the Mayor, Aldermen, Sheriff, &c. Of the Town and County of Newcastle upon Tyne, Upon their erecting a School and a Catechetical Lecture for the Instruction of poor Children, and such as are ignorant.

By JOHN MARCH, B. D. and Vicar of St. Nicholas in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Non sunt contemnenda quasi parva, sine quibus magna constare non possunt. Hierom. Ep. ad Laetam de Institut. filiae.

Sic erudienda est Anima, quae futura est Templum Dei; nihil aliud discat audire, nihil loqui, nisi quod ad timorem Dei pertinet. Ibid.

From a Child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto Salvation, through Faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2 Tim. 3. 15.

LONDON, Printed for Richard Randal and Peter Maplisden. Book sellers, at the Bridge-foot in Newcastle upon Tyne, MDCLXXXII.

TO THE Right Worshipful and Worshipful

Timothy Robson, Esq
Mayor.
Sir Robert Shafto, Knight,
Recorder.
Sir Ralph Carr, Kt.
Alderman.
Sir Ralph Jennison, Kt.
Alderman.
Sir Nathanael Johnson, Kt.
Alderman.
Henry Maddison, Esq
Alderman.
Henry Brabant, Esq
Alderman.
Timothy Davison, Esq
Alderman.
Robert Roddam, Esq
Alderman.
Matthew Jeffreyson, Esq
Alderman.
George Morton, Esq
Alderman.
Nicholas Fenwick, Esq
Alderman.
To John Squire, Esq
Sheriff.

And to the rest of the Common Council of the Town and County of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Right Worshipful and Worshipful,

THis famous Town, over which you pre­side, has always been esteemed a place of very great importance. In the year of our Lord 1139. when David King of Scots had taken it by M [...]s. bury in No­vel. Surprize; King Ste­phen, saith one of our a Historians, redeemed it with a [Page] considerable ransome: So considerable, saith Baker in Stephen. another, that he gave all Cumberland, and the Earldome of Huntingdon in exchange for it. And as it was thus con­siderable in those early days, so since that time it has grown to such an height as to receive from our great Camden. Britan. An­ti [...]ary this very honourable Character, [...]bs, portu nobilis, commerciorum frequentia, & opibus florentissima.

Now a Town of this importance, as it well de­serves, so in such times of distruction as we live in, it may justly challenge the greatest care and vigilance of those that are intrusted with the Government of it. And I do heartily rejoice, that I need not fear the least imputation of flattery, whilest I proclaim to the World, that as there is not any Town which can equal it for Trade, Populousness, and Wealth; so there is none that does surpass it, and but very few that equal it in point of Loyalty and Conformity.

This Happiness and Glory we owe in great measure to that Loyalty and Conformity which shine forth in your own Examples; partly also to that great encou­ragement you give unto the Loyal and Orthodox Cler­gy of the place, but chiefly to the due [...] your Authority, in suppressing Conventicles, those n [...]rious Seminaries of Foxes and Fire­brands. The Spee­ches of Kid, &c. Popery, Schism, and Rebellio [...] e See the Statutes made a­gainst [...].

N [...] are you only careful to preserve Loy [...] and Conformity for this present Generation, but willing [Page] also to propagate these rare Vertues to posterity, you have erected a School, and a Catechetical [...] for the instructing poor ignorant people in the principles of Piety; Loyalty and Conformity. And indeed ca­techizing is the surest foundation of future Loyalty and the best expedient to secure the Protestant Reli­gion both against Papists and Sectaries. Those of the Church of Rome, [...] long ago [...] thus much. This Age, Catechism Rom [...]. say they, is sadly sensible what mischief Protestants have done this Church, especially, by those little Books which they call Catechisms. And it is as fairly acknowledged by one of note among the Crofton. Puritans, that the shameful neglect of Catechizing gave birth to those numerous and dangerous Sects, which were spawn'd in the late times of Anarchy and Confusion.

If this plain discourse, which you have commanded to the Press, shall prove any wise serviceable to these Pious and Loyal designs, it will afford no small satis­faction to him, who is with all sincerity,

Right Worshipful and Worshipful,
Your most humble and most obliged Servant, John March.
PSALM XXXIV. xi.‘Come ye Children hearken unto me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord.’

SInce 2 Tim. 3. 15, 16. all Scripture is given by Divine Inspiration, since it is profitable for Doctrine, and able to make men wise unto Salvation, it well deserves to be accounted the choicest trea­sure of Christians, and ought to be valued by them, as it was by Holy David, more than Gold, yea, than much fine Gold. But though all Scripture be of unspeakable worth and excellency, yet some parts of Scripture are more excellent than others. This Book [Page 2] of Psalms, out of which I have chosen my Text, has always been allowed precedence of the rest of the Bible. Every part of Scri­pture, saith Ambr. Pr [...]fat. in Psalm. St. Ambrose, breathes Divinity, but the Book of Psalms transcends all the rest for, sweetness. Athanasius styles it the Epitome totius Scri­ptur [...], A­than. Epi­ [...] of Scripture, and Luther Parva Biblia Luth. a little Bible. [...] [...] [...] [...] [...] [...]. Ba­sil. T. 1. St. Basil goes yet higher, when he calls it the common store-house, and treasury of Souls, out of which every Sex every Age▪ all sorts and degrees of men may furnish themselves with such instructions, such as will be most suitable to their respective conditions. These are high Titles, and very honourable Cha­racters, this excellent Book hath received from Holy men; but it is not possible for the tongues of Men or Angels to invent a greater [...], or put more honour on it, than it has already re­ceiyed from the Blessed Jesus. For as the Learned See his Learned Preface to his Anno­tations on the Psalms. Hammond observes, Christ, though he had the Spirit without measure, though he spake as never man spake, yet he chose to conclude his Life, to entertain himself in his greatest Agony, and at last to breath out his Soul, in the words of this Book of Psalms, ra­ther than his own. And as this Book of Psalms surpasses other parts of Scripture for [Page 3] its excellency, so among these Psalms themselves some are more excellent, and more useful than others. It seems it pleased the Holy Ghost, that the Sacred Pen-man of these Psalms should take more pains, and shew more Art and Skill in the composition of some, than in the composition of others; and sure where more Art is used, and more pains taken, there may we very well expect to find greater ex­cellency. Vide V [...] ­tab. & Ge­nebrard. in Poli Synops. ad Psalm. 25. Now Learned men observe, that these seven Psalms, 25, 37, 111, 112, 119, 145, and this 34, are contrived with more Pains and Art than others: They are called by August. ad Psalm. 118. St. Austin, Abecedarian Psalms, as being composed according to the Hebrew Alphabet, each Verse like Acrostick Poems, beginning with the Letters thereof. And it is a tolera­ble reason which is given by Ambr. in Psalm. 118. St. Ambrose, who tells us, they were contrived so, that they might be a better help for memory, and that Children and young Learners might with their first elements of other Learning, have an Al­phabet of Piety and Godliness taught them. I shall add further in commendation▪ of this Psalm, what the Moller. Pr [...]fat. Psal. 34. Learned Mollerus observes concerning it: It is a Psalm of that excellency, saith he, that the more we [...], the more [Page 4] we shall like it, and the oftner we meditate on it, the more honey and sweetness will it afford to us. I know not any Psalm, saith he, that has been cited so often by the Fa­thers, that has been held in greater esteem amongst Christians, or out of which the Church of God has in all Ages received more Comfort, or more Instructions. The great worth and excellency of this Psalm will, I hope, be sufficient to raise your Attention to those words I have chosen out of it, for this solemn occasion. They contain in them a serious and passionate Invitation, made by Da­ [...], one of the best and greatest of men unto s [...]ch [...] are ignorant: Come ye Children, hearken [...]nto m [...], I will teach you the fear of the Lord. For the fuller opening and handling of these words, I will endeavour to shew you,

1. The great necessity of teaching and in­structing▪ Children.

2. The Persons that are to be taught, and they are Children; Come ye Children.

3. What they are to be taught, namely, the [...]ar of the Lord.

4. The persons that should take care Chil­dren be taught the fear of the Lord. Ye see [...], a Magi [...], a King; thought it his [Page 5] duty to look after th [...]se maters. Come ye Chil­dren, hearken unto me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

5. The duties of such as are to be taught, they must come, and they must hearken: Come ye Children, hearken unto me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Of these parts in their order.

I. Let us consider the great necessity of teaching and instructing Children. These words, as I have told you already, import a solemn, serious and passionate invitation of exhortation made by King David, and we should be very injurious both to the Prudence and Piety of that Holy man, if we did not conclude from hence the great necessity of teaching and instructing Children; a larger prospect of which necessity I shall give you in these following particulars.

1. The great necessity of teaching and instru­cting Children may easily he concluded from those very significant and emphatical metaphors by which this duty is set forth in Scripture, you'll find it set forth by the metaphors of Heb. 5. 13. 6. 1. Milk, of Principles, and of a Foundation. Will any say, it is not necessary to give Milk to Children for the preservation of their Na­tural [Page 6] Life? and will it not then be more ne­cessary to feed them with the sincere Milk of the Word, that they may grow in Grace, till they come to the Perfect Man? Is it neces­sary that Children should learn the first rudi­ments and principles of knowledge, before they can attain any perfection in it? And will it not be necessary they should learn their Ca­techism, some form of sound words, which shall contain the principles of Religion, that so a [...] length they may arrive at the saying knowledge of the truth? Is a foundation ne­cessary to the building of an house? no less necessary is it in the judgement of the Holy Ghost, that Christians be Ephes. 2. 20. I built upon the foun­dation of the Prophets and Apostles, and on Jesus Christ, who is the chief corner-stone. These are the illustrations of this duty we find in Scripture, and they sufficiently imply the necessity of it. But,

2. This necessity of teaching and instructing Children, will further appear from the consi­deration of origina [...] sin, and mans natural avers [...]ss unto all that is good. Since the fall of Adam we are such wild Trees, as require due manuring and good husbandry to make us fruitful. In Job 11. 12. Zophar's comparison, man by [Page 7] nature is like a wild Asses Colt, an Asses Colt for rudeness, and the Colt of a Wild Ass for unruliness. Aristotle, though a Great Philo­sopher, spoke but like a Heathen, when he compared the Soul of man to a Rasa Tabula, a pair of clean Tables, or a perfect blank; for the Soul is sadly blotted and blurr'd by original sin, it is all stained and polluted by natural corruption.

As the Psal. 51 5. Psalmist speaks, we are shapen in iniquity, and conceived in sin, and therefore let us begin as soon as we can, to instruct and Catechize children, we shall find sin and Sa­tan have got the start of us; and that they stand in need of Instruction long before they are ca­pable of it. Great necessity therefore there is of timely and early instructions, if it be only to root out these weeds of corrupt Nature. But,

3. These early instructions of Children will be found necessary, if we consider that delays will make the work more difficult and dange­rous. Sin has its several ages, as well as man: At first it has only the weakness of an Infant, and may easily be master'd by Religious Edu­cation, but in a short time it will arrive at the strength of manhood: and by custome take a [Page 8] firmer possession of the Soul. To this pur­pose is that sad observation of Aug. Conf. l. 8. c. 5. St. Austin, Dum servitur libidini, facta est consuetudo; & dum confuetudini non resistitur, facta est necessitas, &c. Whilest men indulge themselves in the ways of wickedness, they easily contract an evil cu­stome, and this, if neglected, ends at last in a fatal necessity. Youth is much more capa­ble of instruction, than the inveterate sinner. Train up a Child, saith Prov. 22. 6. Solomon, in the way he should go, and he will not depart from it when he is old. But such as are harden'd in wickedness, will receive very small benefit from instruction: The Ethiopian, as the Jer. 13. 23. Pro­phet speaks, may as soon change his skin, and the Leopard his spots, as those that are ac­customed to do evil, learn to do well.

4. The necessity of teaching and instruct­ing Children will yet further appear, if we consider how necessary it is to fit and prepare the younger sort for the other ordinances of God. Milk is useful for Babes, that they may grow up unto men, and be able to digest strong­ [...]r meat. Such as are not well grounded in the rudiments of Religion, will not be much profited or edified by Preaching. Heb. 6. 1. St. Paul does more than hint this in his Epistle to the [Page 9] Hebrews, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, saith he, let us go on to perfection. Christians must first be well Catechized and instructed in the principles of Religion, and then they will more easily advance to higher degrees of saving knowledge. Nor is Cate­chizing only necessary to fit and prepare Chri­stians for the hearing of the word; but it will al­so prepare them for the due celebration of both the Sacraments. In the Primitive Church, when any Heathens were so far converted to the Faith of Christ as to desire Baptism, they were for some time publickly Catechized: And because Vide Conc. Gerund. Can. 4. Easter was a solemn time ap­pointed for the Baptizing of such Proselytes, Consuetudo apud nos e­jusmodi est, ut his qui baptisandi sunt, per 40 dies publice tradamus Sanctam & adorandam Trinitatem. Jerom. adv. Joh. Hiero­sol. Lent was a time in which Catechizing was more solemnly performed, and this is one reason why Catechizing at this day is more particularly enjoyned in Lent. But though it be a rare thing now a days to have Adults baptized, yet such as are baptized in their In­fancy, do seldome understand their Baptismal Vow, until they are well instructed in their Catechism. Hence our Church, according to her wonted prudence, begins her Catechism with Questions relating unto Baptism, such as are fit to remind the Catechumens of that [Page 10] Solemn Vow, which their God-fathers and God-mothers made at the Font in their names. And as these Catechetical instructions are use­ful for the better celebration of Baptism, so they are not less useful for the due celebra­tion of the Lords Supper. For this end, King James, of happy memory, at the request, and with the approbation of his Clergy, ap­pointed Vide Con­ference at Hampton-Court, writ­ten by Dr. Barlow. Bishop O [...]eral, then D [...]an of Pauls, to frame that very useful part of the Church-Catechism, which treats of both did Sacraments. Here Catech [...]mens are taught more fully the [...]ature and design of Baptism; here also they are instructed in the nature and design of the Lords Supper; what is represented by the Bread and Wine, what are the ends for which this Sacrament was instituted, what the bene­fits worthy Communicants receive; and what qualifications are required in worthy Commu­nicants. How necessary then must teaching and Catechizing Children be, which will thus help [...]o f [...] them for all the ordinances of Heaven.

5. The necess [...]y of teaching and instructing Children will yet further appear, if we consi­der how much it will contribute to the good and welfare of the Kingdom. Kingdoms, as the Aristot. Pol. l. 1. Great Philosopher long ago observed, [Page 11] consist of Towns, Towns of Families, and Families of such, as either are, or were Chil­dren; so that to train up Children in the fear of the Lord is the best way to make good Fa­milies, good Families will make good Towns, and good Towns will make a good and an happy Kingdom.

By Catechizing the younger sort, Children will understand their duty to their Parents, Servants to their Masters, Subjects to their Princes, and all of them that duty which they owe to God. If Children be well grounded in the principles of Religion, they will not easily be tossed about with every wind of Do­ctrine, they will not easily be drawn into Schism and Heresie, or be so apt as many are, to di­sturb the peace both of Church and State. By such early instructions, Religion will be best preserved in the purity thereof, and more safe­ly propagated to succeeding Generations. All which do so eminently conduce to the welfare of a Kingdom, that Catechizing cannot but be acknowledged a most important duty. Hence the Plut. de Audit. Athenians, when they consul [...]d the Oracle, How they might make their Common-wealth most happy and prosperous: Were answer'd, They might make it so by hanging those things which were most preci­ous [Page 12] at their, Childrens Ears; by which was meant, instructing them in the principles of Piety and Vertue. Having now shown you at large the great necessity of Catechizing, I come in the next place

II. To enquire, who those persons are that must be taught and Catechized, and they are Children, come ye Children. This word Children is allowed some Latitude in Holy Writ, and does not only signifie those that are such in respect of their age, but such also as are Children, in respect of un­derstanding. Hence is that exhortation of 1 Cor. 14. 20. St. Paul, Brethren, be not Children in understanding, but in understanding be men. Here such as are ignorant are accounted Children by the Holy Ghost, though in respect of years they may be Men. It follows therefore that all Children as soon as they are capable of Instruction, and all that are ignorant, whether through the neglect of their Parents and Sponsors, or their own default, should diligently attend upon this most profitable ordinance of Catechizing. We find in the Primitive Church Adults, and such as were stricken in years among their Catechumens. Nay, we are told, that Arno­bius and St. Austin wrote many pieces of Divi­nity, when they were Catechumens, and [Page 13] St. Ambrose was but in his Catechism when he was chosen Bishop of Millaine. I the rather mention these great examples, that none, whe­ther young or old, rich or poor, married or unmarried, may deprive themselves of the great benefits of Catechizing, by reason of some unwarrantable bashfulness. But if there are any who will not come and answer the Questions of the Church Catechism: I know nothing should hinder them from being present at the Expli­cations of it. But if men are unwilling to go so far, I can only add, that they may be wel­come to more private Instructions, whenever they shall desire them. King David in the Text, solemnly invites such as are ignorant, to come and receive Instructions. So that it is their duty to come, and it will be a dangerous ag­gravation of their sin still to continue in ig­norance, when the means of knowledge are plentifully afforded them, and they solemnly invited to accept of them, &c. I hope they will be the more ready to come when

III. They are told in the third place, what Children, and such as are ignorant, are to be taught, and that, saith our Psalmist, is the fear of the Lord: The fear of the Lord is but, another name for Religion, For as our [Page 14] Psalmist tells us Psal. 111. 10. elsewhere, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, a good understanding have all they that do his commandments. Solomon, who may pass for a good Interpreter of his Fathers mind, tells us the same, Prov. 1. 7. that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdome; and as it is the begin­ning of Wisdome, so it is the end and per­fection of it too, and therefore in his Book of Ecclesiastes Eccles. 12. 13. he makes this the conclusion of the whole matter, Fear God, and (which is the proper effect of it) keep his Commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. Thus the fear of the Lord is but another name for Religion, which like a perfect circle, begins and ends with this one point. King David does not invite those that are ignorant, to come and learn the arts and methods of great Estates, or procuring wordly honours; but the fear of the Lord, which will enable them to live holily in this world, and happily in the next. He would not have them come and hearken to a few speculative notions, or some curious niceties; but he would have them acquainted with the practical truths of Religion, such as are able to make them wise unto Salvation. Wisdom is the principal thing, Prov. 4. 7. saith Solomon, and therefore get Wisdom, saith he, and with all thy getting get [Page 15] understanding. Now Job 28. 28. Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdome, and to depart from evil, that is un­derstanding. The Church of England out of her pious care of all that are in communion with her, has provided for those that are ignorant, an exact Catechism, which does contain all that is here meant by the fear of the Lord. In it you will not find any old wives fables, or endless Genealogies; in it you will not find any abstruse points concerning Election or Reprobation: Vide Ham­mon L'E­strange Al­lianc. of Liturg. p. 267. But throug [...]ut the whole frame of it, King James's golden rule is punctually observed, viz. the avoiding of all odd, eurious, deep and i [...]e Questions. It is That most excellent Ca­techism in the Liturgy. Dr. Hamm [...]nd of Id [...]l. 5. 67. a form of sound words, and an exact form too. E [...] v [...]o & Catechismum bre­vem quide [...] ill [...], sed in cujus [...] [...] [...]sideres. Bish. Andrews in oper. posth. p. 86. Add a [...] that it was ac­co [...]ted by that Parliament which first authorized it, as composed by the aid of the Holy Ghost. 2, 3 Edw. 6. c. 1. It is not so prolix as to burden the memories of the Catechumens, no [...] yet so short as to leave out any thing that is necessary to be known in order to Salvation. In the Apo­stles Creed we have all the [...]re­d [...]nda, or Articles of our Faith. In the Decalogue we have all the Agenda, or such things as are necessary to be practised by Christians; and in the Lords Prayer, that most absolute [Page 16] form of Prayer, we are taught to pray for such things as are agreeable to the will of God. If any thing yet be wanting which a Christian ought to know in order to his Souls health, it must be what relates to the two Sacraments, and yet both these Sacraments, as was shown above, are fully explained in that supplement, which was made by Bishop Overal. So that if men will not be wanting to themselves, they may out of this excellent Catechism be fully taught the fear of the Lord. I come now in the

Fourth place to enquire, who those persons are which ought to take care, Children, and such as are ignorant, be taught the fear of the Lord; and we may learn this in some measure from King David's example, which is here proposed to our imitation: Though he was a King, one who had the troublesome affairs of a whole Kingdom to exercise his parts, and employ his time; yet he is so far from think­ing it either below him, or no part of his duty to instruct others, that he passionately invites them to come and receive instruction. His Son Solomon writes after this fair Copy which was set him by his pious Father, and assumes the title of Ecclesiastes, i. e. an Instructer [Page 17] of the Ignorant: And sure if such Royal per­sons who wanted not imployment, thought it their duty thus to promote the Salvation of o­thers, I know none that can plead an exemption from it. Nay, Solomon will inform us further, That the mouth of the righteous will be a Well of Life. Bonum est sui communicativum, True Goodness, whereever it is, will be communi­cative; and none but a cursed Cain will put the Question, Am I my Brothers keeper? We know the law of God commands us to ex­tend our pity even to our Neighbours Ox, when fallen into a pit. And can we think that God does take care of Oxen, and not of the Souls of men? Sure, for their sakes he says it, and would have us extend our Christian pity and compassion towards our Neighbours Soul, when at any time we see it in danger to fall into the bottomless pit. Our Blessed Saviour has told us, that the Soul of man is of more value than the whole World, and he gave a sufficient proof of it, when for their Redem­ption he shed his own most precious blood, one drop of which was of more value than ten thousand worlds. He must therefore be a very great stranger to the worth of Souls, and that infinite love which Christ bears towards [Page 18] them, who does not employ his utmost endea­vours to promote their Salvation. We are all obliged in our respective stations Heb. 10. 24, 25. to exhort one another daily to love and to good works; and as 1 Cor. 12. 25. members of the same body, we are bound to take care one of another. But though this duty be inoumbent upon all Christians, yet some persons are more particularly obliged to promote the Salvation of others, by teach­ing and instructing them in the fear of the Lord.

1. This duty is in a peculiar manner incum­bent upon Ministers: It is the very end and design of their office to promote the Salvation of others by teaching those that are ignorant, the fear of the Lord. Deut. 31. 11, 12. We find under the Jewish Oeconomy, the Priests enjoyned to teach the Law of God to children in the publick Assem­bly: For this end and purpose the 48 Cities of the Levites were dispersed abroad through all their Tribes, that they might have (as Ioseph. Antiq. lib. 4. c. 8. Josephus tells us they had) in every Village one that was called the Instructer of Babes; and to this practice of theirs St. Paul fairly alludes Rom. 2. 18. in his Epistle to the Romans, where he aggravates the sin of the Jew upon this account, because he [...]ad been instructed, or (as the [...] ­ [...] Greek word [Page 19] properly signifies) Catechized out of the Law. And as God commanded his Priests under the Law, so Christ under the Gospel commands his Ministers to teach and instruct such as are ignorant. Hence is that solemn and passio­nate charge which our Saviour gives St. Peter, and in him all Ministers in St. John's Joh. 21. 15, &c. Gospel, Peter lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea Lord, thou knowest that I love thee; He saith unto him, feed my Lambs. These words of our Saviour are very remarkable, for he does not only command his Ministers in this place to feed his Sheep, but also his Lambs; nay, he first commands them to take care of his Lambs; nay further, he charges them as they have any love for him, to take care of these. And we find the Apostles were very observant of this passionate command of Christ; for we read in Scripture of 1 Cor. 3. 2. Heb. 5. 12. milk which they had for Babes; of the Rom. 12. 6. See Dr. Ham. ad locum. Analogy of Faith, and 2 Tim. 1. 13. a form of sound words. Nay further, we have several heads of the Apostles Cate­chism expressly set down by Heb. 6. 1, 2. the Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection, saith he, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith towards God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of i. c. Con­firmation, as Dr. Ham. de Confirm. laying on [Page 20] of hands, and of the Resurrection of the dead, and of eternal Judgement. And to this practice of the Apostles did the practice of the Church exactly agree in succeeding Ages. For Eusebius lib. 5. c. 10. St. Pe­ter ordained St. Mark to be the first Catechist at Alexandria, and Eusebius notes that in the year 181. when Pantaenus was Catechist there, this office had flourished for a long time; to Ibid. l. 6. cap. 3. 12. 22. Pan­taenus succeeded Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, Heraclas, and Dionysius. At Carthage, Cypr. Ep. 24. St. Cy­prian ordained Optatus Catechist. St. Cyril bore this office Hieron. de Scriptor. Ec­clesiast. at Jerusalem in his youth, and then wrote those expositions of the Catechism which are extant at this day. August. de Catech [...]s. Rudib. St. Austin also menti­ons one Deogratias a Deacon, that had this of­fice in his time. I might add many more te­stimonies of this nature, but these, I hope, will be sufficient to remind both my self and my Brethren of that duty our Lord and Ma­ster hath laid upon us in a peculiar manner. If we shall neglect a duty so necessary, so im­portant, a duty commanded by Christ, and recommended by the practice of the Church of God in all Ages, we shall be very unlike the Holy man in the Text, a man after Gods own heart, who though he had another employ­ment, and that a very difficult and troublesome one; yet invites such as are ignorant to come [Page 21] unto him, and professes his readiness to teach them the fear of the Lord. Nay, I will add, that we must also forget that obedience which we owe the [...]hurch of England, for Can. 59. she has enjoyned this office upon the Curates of every Parish under the heaviest penalties that are in her power to inflict, viz. a sharp reproof for the first offence, a suspension for the second, and excommunication for the third.

2. This duty of teaching and instructing Children is a duty peculiarly incumbent on School-masters: Our Church therefore requires of all School-masters that they have a Licence before they undertake a School; and before they can get a Licence they must subscribe the Articles of our Church, and thereby solemnly engage themselves to teach their Scholars sound doctrine, as well as good literature. School-masters are, as I may speak, Ministers Ushers, and must prepare their Youth for the higher Instructions of the Temple. Hence it was a very good Inscription which was written on the Walls of Pauls School in London, Schola Ca­techisationis in optima fide Christi. Intimating that this famous School (as all others ought to be) was designed by the Founders of it, for a nursery of Piety, and for the Catechizing [Page 22] Children in the True Faith of Christ. Lib. 3. 23. Nice­phorus reports of Constantine and Theodosius, that they took more than ordinary care in the choice of fit Masters for Children. Magdeb. in vita. One great cause of Julian's Apostasie was his having two Pagan School-masters, Libanius and Iamblichus: Such School-masters therefore as do not instruct the youth committed to their charge in the true Religion; they forget the very end for which Christian Schools were erected, they transgress the Canon. 77. & 79. Canons of the Church, and sadly disap­point religious Parents of their pious hopes, and choicest comforts. All other learning without this fear of the Lord availeth nothing; nay, it will only qualifie men to do more mis­chief in this world, and be more miserable in the next.

3. Parents also must take care their Chil­dren be taught the fear of the Lord. St. Paul lays this injunction on them, and commands them Eph. 6. 4. to bring up their Children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. As they have been instruments in making them Children of Wrath by Natural Generation, so must they endeavour to make them the Children of Grace by Spiritual Regeneration. St. Austin has left this character of his Mother Monica, that she [Page 23] travelled with greater care, and stronger pain for his Spiritual birth, than she had done before for his Natural.

4. All Masters of Families must take care, that their Servants be taught this fear of the Lord. We find God Almighty highly com­mending Abraham, and thinking him worthy to be acquainted with the secrets of Heaven upon this very account. Gen. 18. 19. I know him, saith God, that he will command his Children, and his houshold after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord. Holy Joshua engages not only for him­self Jos. 24. 15., but for all his Family, as for me, and my house, we will serve the Lord, saith he. I can­not pass by a remarkable saying of Lewis the Ninth, that pious King of France, who being found Catechizing a Scullion-boy that belong­ed to his Kitchen; and being asked the reason, he returned this most Christian answer, I know there is not the meanest person in my Family, but he has a Soul as precious as mine own, and such as was bought by the precious blood of the Son of God. Thus ye see Parents and Masters of Families must take care their Children and Servants be taught this fear of the Lord. And if they will discharge a good Conscience in this particular, they must teach their Children and Servants, by their holy [Page 24] examples and wholsome instructions at home; and, as they have opportunity, they must send them to the Church to be Catechized by the Minister; and because most Parents and Ma­sters of Families are too apt to sleight this most useful ordinance of Christ. I shall set down the words of that Can. 59. Canon which our Church has provided in this particular: If Parents, and Masters of Families do not send their Children, Ser­vants and Apprentices, to be instructed in the Cate­chism, for the first offence they shall be punished by the Ordinary with Suspension, and after a months obsti­nacy, with Excommunication.

5. This duty is in a peculiar manner in­cumbent upon God-fathers and God-mothers; these are ordinarily called Sureties, because they have bound themselves by a sacred obli­gation to secure God and his Church, that their God-children shall be brought up in the fear of the Lord: And in order hereunto they solemnly promise to instruct them concerning their Baptismal Vow, to see they be vertu­ously brought up, and learn all such things as a Christian ought to know and believe in or­der to his Souls health. These must remem­ber therefore, that as their Charity is great in undertaking so important a trust, so Mat. 5. 33. their Sin [Page 25] will be as great, if they deal falsely with God, and prevaricate with his Church.

6. This duty is also incumbent upon Ma­gistrates, and such as are in Authority, they must take care that such as are committed to their trust, be taught the fear of the Lord. This was the practice of King David in the Text; and it will be the honour, as it is the duty of all Magistrates to follow his example. 1 Tim. 2. 1, &c. St. Paul commands us to pray for Kings, and all that are in Authority, that under them we may live quiet and peaceable lives in all God­liness and Honesty. Magistrates must not on­ly secure the publick peace and quiet of the Kingdom, but they must take care of Honesty, and promote Godliness and Religion in the World. This is so plain a truth, that Pol. l. 2. c. 8. Aristo­tle learned it in the School of Nature, for when he comes to reckon up those things which most conduce to the happiness of a Common­wealth, he names these six, Food, Arts, Arms, Money, Justice, and (which I should have na­med first) the care of Divine things. Now this they must do by the lustre of their Exam­ple, and the influence of their Authority: They are styled Psal. 82. 6. Gods in Scripture, to denote they should be holy, as God is holy: They [Page 26] are styled Is. 44. 48. Shepherds, and if they will be faith­ful, they must secure Christs flock from the fury of Wolves, and the subtilties of Foxes: they are further called Is. 49. 23. Nursing Fathers, and must take care their Children be fed with the sincere milk of the Word. Indeed they must not usurp the Pulpit, or invade the Ministerial of­fice, Heb. 5. 4. no man taketh this honour upon him, but he that is called as Aaron was; but yet it is their duty to defend the Faith, to encourage Gods Ministers, by 1 Tim. 5. 17. 3. 2. 1 Cor. 9. 13, 14. allowing them an honou­rable maintenance, and 2 Chron. 30. 22. speaking comforta­bly unto them so long as they teach the good knowledge of the Lord: nay lastly, they must build Churches, and make the best provisions they can for the publick service and worship of God, and Salvation of Souls. These matters, as they well deserve, so they would require a uery large discourse; but as the time will al­low me to do no more than name them, so I need nor in this place insist any longer on them. For we are all witnesses this day of that pious [...]a [...]e which has been taken by our Godly Ma­gistrates in this particular. This handsome Fabrick they have built, and those other pro­visions they have made to promote Piety and Godliness in this part of the Parish, will be a [Page 27] much better, and more lasting monument of their Piety towards God, and their Charity to­wards the Souls of men, than any I am able to erect for them. I pray God reward these their labours of love into their own bosomes; and give his Grace to those for whom these charitable provisions are made, that they may make a right use, and a due improvement of them. Now if they would not have all this Charity lost upon them, but are indeed willing to improve it to the advantage of their Souls, they must be serious in the performance of those two duties King David requires of them, they must come, and they must hearken. Come ye Children, [...]earken unto me.

1. Children and such as are ignorant, must come and learn this fear of the Lord. It is their duty to attend upon this important ordi­nance of Catechizing, and repair to such places where these wholsome instructions are to be had. Prov. 8. 34 Blessed is the man, saith Wisdom, that heareth me, watching daily at my Gates, and wait­ing at the posts of my doors. These words, saith [...] Aben Erra, import a diligent and constant stand­ing in the Church, or House of Wisdom: And it is a good comment which is added by Videsis [...]stos. RR. ci­ [...]at. ap D. Iermin in Proverb. R. Solomon, Beatus ille, qui primus ingreditur, [Page 28] exeatque postremus: That man is Blessed, saith he, who useth to be one of the first that cometh to Church, and goeth out with the last, always tarrying to take the Ministers Blessing along with him. And if men would but seriously reflect on the great evils and mischiefs of Ignorance, a very sleight In­vitation would be sufficient to bring them to Church, and make them willing to be instru­cted in the fear of the Lord. For Ignorance is that stain and blemish of the Soul which de­prives it of the Image of God, which is said to consist in Coloss. 3. 10. Knowledge. As Diog. Laert. Socrates of old observed it is [...], the only evil in the world, as being the beginning and cause of all others. So far is it from being the mo­ther of Devotion, as the Papists vainly fansie, that it is the mother of all Sin, and the unhap­py Parent of all misery. Mala mens, malus Ani­mus; Without knowledge, saith Prov. 19. 2. Solomon, the mind cannot be good. Strait is the Gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and he that wants eyes will not be able to find it, or if he stumble on it, be able to walk long in it. Knowledge is that Pilot which must guide and conduct us in our course towards Heaven; and since in this world we are exposed to so many damnable Errors, and deadly Sins, we [Page 29] shall undoubtedly make shipwrack of Faith and a good Conscience, if we want our Pilot. And as Ignorance is thus dangerous in it self, so it will be more dangerous to continue in it, when we are solemnly invited to the means of Knowledge. Joh. 3. 19. This is the condemnation, saith our Saviour, that light is come into the world, but men love darkness rather than light. To be in a state of Ignorance is matter of pity, and justly accounted a calamity; but to be in love with it, and reject Knowledge is the height of wick­edness, and brings the heaviest condemnation along with it; who will not tremble at those comminations which are thundered in the Book of Proverbs against such who hate knowledge, and chuse not the fear of the Lord? God he tells them plainly, Prov. 1. 26, 29. He will laugh at their calamity, and even mock when their fear cometh: Nay, Heb. 3. 18. he swears, They shall not enter into his rest. Such therefore as are ignorant have all the reason in the world to accept King David's Invitation, and thankfully imbrace all opportunities of learning the fear of the Lord. But

2. They must not only come, but they must hearken to their Instructers. As the first insi­nuations of sin were conveyed by the ear into our first Parents, so the first inspirations of [Page 30] Grace must have the same entrance. Auris est os Animae; The Ear is the mouth of the Soul, by which she receives Spiritual nourishment. Hence is that of the Apostle, Rom. 10. 17 Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But it is not enough to come to Church, it is not enough to hear; we must hearken too, if we would perform that duty which is here injoined in the Text. Now it is a known Maxime in Divinity, Verba sensus connotant Affectus: To hearken therefore imports no less than to re­ceive the truth in the love of it, to entertain it with meekness and due reverence, and to Tu tamen sic audias ista praece­pta, quomo­do, si tibi praeciperem qua ratione bonam vale­tudinem in Ardeatino tuereris. Sen. Ep. 105. pra­ctise it with all seriousness and conscientious obedience. You'll find this duty thus ex­plained, and a considerable motive to enforce it in the Book of Deuteronomy, Deut. 7. 12. Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these Judgements, and keep, and do them, that the Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the Covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy Fathers, and he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee, &c. Here ye see bles­sedness is intailed on hearkening, and not on bare hearing. Knowledge must issue into action, otherwise it will not save us. The Egyptians of old painted a Tongue and a Hand under it: Now the Hand is the great instru­ment [Page 31] of Action, and so this pretty Hierogly­phick denotes thus much, viz. That it is not enough to know, it is not enough to talk of Religion, but we must practise it. John 13. 17. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. I shall conclude with that excellent Collect of our Church: Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Collect for the Second Sunday in Advent. Scriptures to be written for our learning, grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and com­fort of thy Holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.

FINIS.

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