To the most Reverend Fathers in God, Willi­am Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England and Metropolitan, and John Lord Archbishop of York, Primate of England and Metropolitan.


MOST Reverend Fathers in God, We Greet you well.

Whereas the bold abuses & extravagan­cies of Preach­ers in the Pul­pit, have not only by the experience of former Ages been found to tend to the Dishonour of God, the Scandal of Religion, and Disturbance of the Peace both of Church and State but did also (through the Licentiousness of the late Rebelli­ous times) much increase, to the Infla­ming [Page 4] Fomenting, and Heightening of the sad Distempers and Confusions that were then among us: And whereas even at this present (notwithstanding the merciful Providence of God, so signally manifested in Restoring Our Royal Family, and the Lawful Go­vernment of these Realms, and put­ting an end to the great Rebellion, and notwithstanding the Pious care and endeavours of Our late Dear Bro­ther, and Our Self ever since, to Go­vern Our Realms in Peace and Tran­quility) it may justly be feared that in sundry parts of this Realm, there want not men of unquiet and Factious Spirits, who instead of Preach­ing the pure Word of God, and build­ing up the People in Faith and Holi­ness, will (if they be not restrained) make it a great part of their Business to beget in the minds of their Hear­ers, an evil Opinion of their Gover­nours, by insinuating Fears and Jealou­sies, [Page 5] to dispose them to Discontent, and to season them with such unsound and dangerous Principles as may lead them into Disobedience, Schism, and Rebellion: And whereas also sundry young Divines, and Preachers, either out of a Spirit of Contention and Con­tradiction, or in a vain ostentation of their Learning, take upon them in their popular Sermons, to handle the deep Points of God's Eternal Councils and Decrees, or to meddle with the Affairs of State and Government, or to wrangle about Forms and Gestures, and other fruitless Disputes and Con­troversies, serving rather to amuse than profit the Hearers; which is done for the most part, and with the greatest Confidence, by such persons as least understand them: We out of Our Princely Care and Zeal for the Ho­nour of God, the Advancement of Piety, Peace, and true Religion, and for the preventing for the future, as [Page 6] much as lieth in Us, the many and great inconveniencies and mischiefs that will unavoidably ensue, if a timely stop be not given to these and the like growing Abuses; Do, according to the Examples of several of Our Predeces­sors of Blessed Memory, by these Our special Letters straitly Charge and Command you, to use your utmost Care and Diligence that these Directi­ons, which upon long and serious Con­sideration, Our late Dear Brother thought good to give concerning Preachers,Anno 1662. and which we upon like Consideration have Approved and caused to be Reprinted, and here with sent unto you, be from henceforth duly and strictly observed by all the Bishops and others concerned therein within your Provinces. And to this end Our Will and Pleasure is, That you forth­with send them Copies of these Our Directions, to be by them speedily Communicated to every Parson, Vicar, [Page 7] Curate, Lecturer, and Preacher in eve­ry Cathedral, Collegiate, and Parish-Church within their several Diocesses: And that you earnestly Require them to imploy their utmost endeavour for the due Observation of the same, whereof We shall expect a strict Ac­count, both of you, and every one of them: And these our Letters shall be your sufficient Warrant and Discharge in that behalf.

By His Majesties Command, SƲNDERLAND P.


I. THat no Preachers in their Sermons presume to meddle with Mat­ters of State, to Mo­del new Governments, or take upon them to Declare, Limit, or Bound out the Power and Authority of So­vereign Princes, or to State and Determine the Differences between Princes and the People; But that upon all good Occasions they faithfully Instruct [Page 10] the People in their Bounden Duty of Subjection and Obedience to their Governours, Superiour and Sub­ordinate of all sorts, and to the Established Laws according to the Word of God, and the Doctrine of the Church of England, as it is contained in the Ho­milies of Obedience, and the Articles of Religion set forth by Publick Authority.

II. That they be Admonished not to spend their Time, and Study in the Search of Abstruse and Speculative Noti­ons, especially in and about the deep points of Election and Reprobation, together with the Incomprehensible manner of the Concurrence of Gods free Grace, and Mans free Will, and such other Controversies as depend thereupon: But howsoever that they presume not Posi­tively, and Doctrinally to Determine any thing concerning the same.

III. That they forbear in their Sermons ordinarily and causlesly to enter upon the Handling of any other Contro­versies of less Moment and Difficulty: But whensoever they are occasioned vp Invitation from the Text they Preach upon, or that in regard of the Auditory they Preach unto, it may seem Requisite or expedient so to do; That in such cases they do it with all Modesty Gravity and Can­dour, Asserting the Doctrine and Discipline of the Church [Page 11] of England, from the Cavils and Objections of such as are Adversaries to either, without Bitterness, Flailing, Iear­ing, or other unnecessary or unseemly Provocation.

IV. That for the more Edifying of the People in Faith and Godliness (the aforesaid abuses laid aside) all Ministers and Preachers in their several respective Cures shall not only diligently apply themselves to Catechise the Younger fort according as in the Book of Common Prayer is ap­pointed; But also shall in their ordinary Sermons Insist chiefly upon Catechetical Doctrines (wherein are contain­ed all the necessary and undoubted Verities of Christian Religion) Declaring withal unto their Congregations what Influences such Doctrines ought to have into their Lives and Conversations, and stirring them up Effectually, as well by their Examples, as their Doctrines, to the Pra­ctice of such Religious and Moral Duties, as are the proper Results of the said Doctrines, as Self-denial, Contempt of the World, Humility, Patience, Meekness, Temperance, Iustice, Mercy, Obedience, and the like; And to a Dete­station and Shunning of Sin, especially such Sins as are so rife among us, and common to the Age we live in; such are those usually Stiled the Seven Deadly ones, in short, all kind of Debauchery, Sensuality, Rebellion, Profaness, Ath [...]ism, and the like. And because the late Licentious Times have Corrupted Religion even in the very Roots and Foundations. That where there is an Afternoons [Page 12] Exercise, it be especially Spent either in Explaining some part of the Church-Catechism, or in Preaching upon some such Text of Scripture, as will Properly and Naturally lead to the Handling of some thing Contained in it, or may Conduce to the Exposition of the Liturgy, and Prayers of the Church (as Occasion shall be offered) the only cause They grew into Contempt amongst the People being this, that they were not Vnderstood, That also the Minister as often as Conveniently he can, Read the Prayers himself; and when he cannot so do, he Procure or Provide some fit Person in Holy Orders, who may do it with that Gravi­ty, Distinctness, Devotion, and Reverence as becomes so Holy an Action: And whensoever by Reason, of his Infir­mity or the Concurrence of other Offices, the Time may seem too short, or he unable to Perform the Office of both Prayers and Sermon at length, he rather shorten, his Discourse or Sermon, then Omit any thing of the Pray­ers, lest he Incur the Penalty of the Act for Vniformity, Requiring them to be Read according as the Book Directs.

V. And further Our Will and Pleasure is, That all Mi­nisters within their several Cures, be enjoyed publickly to read over unto the People, such Cannons as are or shall be in force, at least once, and the Thirty nine Articles twice every year, to the end they may the better understand, and be more throughly acquainted with the Doctrine and Dis­cipline of the Church of England, and not so easily drawn away from it as formerly they have been.

[Page 13] VI. Since Preaching was not Anciently the work of every Priest, but was restrained to the choicest Persons for Gravity, Prudence and Learning; the Archbishoys and Bishops of this Kingdom are to take great care whom they Licence to Preach, and that all Grants and Licences of this kind heretofore made by any Chancellor, Offieial, Commissary, or other Secular Person (who are presumed not to be so Competent Iudges in matters of this nature) be accounted Void and Null, unless the same shall likewise be allowed by the Archbishop or the Bishop of the Dio­cess, and that all Licences of Preachers hereafter to be made or granted by any Archbishop or Bishop, shall be only during Pleasure, otherwise to be void to all intents and puryoses as if the same had never been made nor granted.

VII. Lastly, That for the better observing of the Lords-Day too much neglected of late, they shall, as by often and se­rious Admonitions and sharp Reproofs, endeavour to draw off People from such Idle, Debauched and Profane courses as dishonour God, bring a Scandal on Religion, and Contempt on the Laws and Authority Ecclesiastical and Civil, so shall they very earnestly perswade them to frequent Divine Service on the Lords-Day, and other Festivals appointed by the Church to be kept Solemn; And in case any Person shall resort unto any Taverns or Ale-houses, or use any unlawful Sports & Exercises on [Page 14] such days, the Minister shall Exhort those which are in Authority i [...] their several Parishes and Congregations, care [...]ly to took after all such Offenders in any kind whatsoever, together wich all those that Abett, Receive, or Entertain them, that they may be Proceeded against ac­cording to the Laws, and quality of their Offences, that all such Disorders may for the time to come be prevented.

By His Majesties Command. Sunderland P.

Re-printed by Joseph Ray, for Robert Thornton at the Leather-Bottle, in Skinner-row, 1686.

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