THE Safe way TO GLORY, In several EXERCISES of General use.

By WILLIAM SMYTH M. Ar. R. of Cotton in Suff.

LONDON, Printed by Eva [...] Tyler, for Ed. Dod, at the Signe of the Gunne, in Ivy Lane 1656.

Christian Exercises.
  • I. GIving directions to an holy life, with other conditions of the Gospel.
  • II. Satisfying Doubts concerning Grace, and Gods acceptance of a sincere Christian.
  • III. Answering exceptions against this Church and Ministery, with rules to discover false professions.
  • IV. Forms of Prayer of General use.
  • V. A Catechisme for children.

By W. SMYTH M. A. and R, of Cotton in Suff.

TO All those deservedly much Honoured Per­sons, whom I serve in the Education of their CHILDREN, AND To all my loving Pari­shioners of Cotton in Suff. whom I serve in the GOSPEL, Are Humbly presented these ensuing Exercises:

By their unworthy, yet Faithful Servant, in all ingagements of duty and respect,

W. SMYTH.

A PREFACE Apologetical To the READER.

A Pretence to satisfy every Reader, were as ridiculous, as his attempt, who studied to make a garment for the Moon, that might fit her in every interchange: and as unlikely to succeed, as his enterprise, who with a dish of one relish, would satisfy every Palate. I am so farre from that imagination, that I thinke it a design elegible, rather to displease some (whom I cannot gain) by de­claring the truth, then (for some politick ends) in silence to shew such a neutrality and indifferency of Spi­rit, [Page] as might indulge a vitious and factious world. I desire solemnly in this case to apply St. Pauls Expressi­on to my self, If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. I know I shall displease most, its enough if I please the best, (Principibus placuisse viris, &c.) and not dis-satisfy any mind, that is not vitiated with prophanenesse, prejudice, or faction. I account the acceptance of one good man, of weight enough to out-ballance the contempt of a thousand; and if I can administer an argument of pi­ety to one sober mind, it shall com­pensate the scorn and displeasure of ten thousand. When it was objected to a Tragedian, that Plato onely was present, his answer was, (Et hic unus Plato plus est quam Atheniensis populus,) and that one Plato is more then all the peo­ple of Athens besides: such an estimation I have of every honest pious person, though of the lowest order. Neverthelesse, lest I should [Page] seem morose or Cynical, I will en­deavour to take off the exceptions of three sorts of Readers; to whom I humbly tender this satisfaction: First, to my prudent Friendly-Rea­der. 2. To the Learned-Reader. 3. To the piously-affected, yet diffe­ring in judgement.

First, my Friendly-Reader will pre­sently question my prudence, in thus adventuring my self on the publick stage, in this sad scene of Church-affairs. He tells me, there is dan­ger in it; for though such truths be as clear and necessary as the Sun, yet like the Sun I must make my way through a Zodiack of incon­veniences: here the privy and side­pinch of a detracting Cancer, there the poysonous sting of a malicious Scorpio, every where the sharp ar­rowes, the bitter invectives of the worlds Sagittarii. For his satisfa­ction, let him turn his eye on the foregoing leafe, and that intimates my design, and reasons for it; which is to secure the beloved soules of my [Page] Parish, and the tender plants of my family, from the invasion of common errours; which like an Epidemical disease, propagate their infection every where, and do ine­vitably (without a great delive­rance from heaven) subject posteri­ty, to great departures from the faith of Christ. So my full answer will be: It is at all times the best prudence to serve God, and in this case it is truer wisdome to be admi­nistring to the salvation of soules, then to sell our duties to God, for the unsafe hope of a worldly advantage. If any soul fayles for want of any help, that is in my cae­pacity, it falls with its own infelici­ty, and my sin. The rule of the Schoole herein is without dispute, (Causa deficiens in necessariis, est efficiens) he pulls down, that holds not up. And a Christian, who declines his duty, for fear of suffering, hath in a great measure betrayed his profession of Christ. I cannot despaire, but that many [Page] in the Nation; I can hope, that ma­ny of my Parish, and I am almost assured, that many of my family and near relations, may be preser­ved in the Faith, and directed (in their judgements at least) to the right rules of holiness, by these poor exercises. Now suppose the least; If God shall please among all these to bring in but one soul by them, and that but to some improvement of his knowledge only: or if I want­ed that, yet if I have done a service acceptable to God, I am recompen­ced for the worst evils my Prudent-Reader can object to me. But my in­genious friend puts me upon another task: He fears I must passe under the just censure of doing an imperti­nent and unnecessary thing; That I have digged a p [...]t by the river ( [...]) when the streames of the former, and this present age, have run full and luxuriant in exercises of this kind. To which I answer; that such Catechismes, and institutions, as [Page] have ordinarily been dispersed among the people, have seemed to me to have pursued too great an inte­rest of private opinion, in decisions of controverted and notional points of Divinity; but to have been too loose & general in cases of conscionable wal­king with God and man. They have also generally abetted the doctrines of transmarine Churches, against the setled doctrine and discipline of their own Mother-Church: secret­ly undermining the credit of our own Apostolick determinations, rather then serenely driving at the scope of strict and severe holi­nesse. Hinc illae lachrimae, Hence our woe. For the people (through such writings and other like insinu­ations) having been corrupted with false principles, and trained up to siding and interests, many of them (I accuse not all) knew little other use of their zeal but in opposition; nor of conscience, but in scrupling in­differents. And while they were puzled with an obligation to look [Page] into the inextricable mysteries of Gods decrees and Counsels, perplex­ed with the understanding of un-edi­fying controversies, and cryed upon to the duties of getting Christ, and getting Faith, were in the interim, made strangers to the holy practises of humility, meeknesse, charity, ten­der-heartednes, deep-christian-com­passion, justice, peaceablenesse, and the like Christian graces: as by woeful experience it hath been made too evident to us. Now such A­bridgments of the doctrines of pie­ty, which have run in the Channel of our own setled doctrines, as they have been few, so have they been ei­ther long, or above the capacities of those, whose advantage I princi­pally designe. For being long, they have discouraged many (though of good capacities) who willingly would have read them, which might have been comprehended in some few hours, but were easily tem­pted to decline those, which requi­red the reading of many days: And [Page] this discouragement became an in­superable difficulty to young persons, poor servants, labourers, and ma­ny others, whose callings required continual attendance. And though some of them were short, yet being pend above the reach of ordinary capacities, they became altogether uselesse to such young and vulgar intellects. To avoyd therefore the inconveniences of both: I have truly troden in the paths of this Church, as to the first; and I have endeavoured plainnesse and brevity, as to the second. Now to contract my argument to the force of a satisfaction: There being none of the former sort, (that I have seen) which are not (in some mea­sure) chargeable with those menti­oned defects: nor any of the latter, which have not been either prolix, or too sublime: I presume I may beg the kindnesse to be beleeved, that I have done a thing both necessary and seasonable.

2. In the next place, let not the [Page] learned eye despise me, that I appear not with the embroydery of large quotations, or Chymistry of School-distinctions, or that I have not conjured the plain princi­ples of Christ, into a circle of scien­ces. Such dresses suits them that pretend to the chayre, and aspire to be inserted in the Catalogue of the Learned; or them, whose design is to court great and generous minds, to the love of Christ and his Religi­on. My businesse is of another na­ture; I come to treat the lowest of Christs School; and such, whom you may as soon nourish with stones, as edify with learned discourses, with whom I labour to make Christ to be understood, not to shew my self un­derstanding. And if after this ten­der of satisfaction to such Readers, I must yet purchase their contempt: my compensation shall be, that I ac­count it as much more blessed, to en­lighten one poor ignorant disciple of Christ, then to please the learned of all ages; as to feed one hungry [Page] soul, hath more charity in it, then to feast all the Nobles in the world. This intimation then of my design, I make my only plea against the such allegations of the learned Rea­der, to whose ingenuity I appeal.

3. Lastly, as to my Reader, that differs from me in judgement; I beseech him upon his christian charity to beleeve me, that I intend not controversie: but have made it my chief business, (concurrent with the mayn drift and scope of our Sa­viours Sermons, the Epistles of the Apostles, & indeed of the whole Gos­pel it self) to encourage men in, and to direct men to holy lives, and just, peaceable, and mercifull con­versations. And when I have been necessitated to meet any doubtfull and disputable doctrines, (as of irre­spective and absolute, or conditio­nal decrees of election and repro­bation; of universal, or particular redemption, and such like, tho de­cision of which, have administred nothing but endlesse disceptations to [Page] the learned, and terrours to the weak) I have not at all dogmati­zed, but only used them, as they have served the interest of holy li­ving: Alwayes giving this rule to my self, in those intricate contro­versies, that they are then conclu­ded and beleeved with most safety, and likelihood to truth, as their de­terminations give the best reason and encouragement of living well. In order to which, if I have unavoy­dably declared a difference from thy judgement in any such poynt, have but so much christian civility, to beleeve my former profession; and that the argument that led me to it, was not to differ from thee, but (ac­cording to my perswasion) to ad­vance the doctrines of piety in thee, and all men: and thou canst not but count me worthy of christian peace from thee. I beg of thee not to censure me hastily, nor litigious­ly, least thou over-reach a disad­vantage to piety it self; which hath never suffered more, then when the [Page] fiery combats, and unnecessary quarrels of Christians, and of Church-men especially, have run them into heats, and actions be­neath gravity, and against chari­ty; and upon such occasions disgra­cing, and undervaluing each other, have taught the people to scorn and contemn them all, and in the end religion it self, with which they tri­fled in needlesse argumentations. For it is sadly notorious, since one Clergy have bitterly inveighed against, and heavily oppressed ano­ther, about differences in Govern­ment, and Service: (which every thing might have reconciled but passion and self-interest) they have purchased a slite and contempt, not only to them, to whom they designed it, but to themselves also in the greatest portion, and to Ministery in general: and by necessary conse­quence, they have shaken the very foundations of this once renowned National profession: Which they may soon beleeve, when they behold [Page] so universal a defection from it, and that their congregations are thin, carelesse, and irregular: the Sa­craments unfrequented, and other Ordinances disregarded: their cal­lings disputed; their persons hated, their demeans tottering, and a pro­geny of illiterate men ready to pos­sesse their places; and (which is most sadly to be lamented) Religi­on it self made an amazement and a scruple. Let sad experience there­fore, and pitty to a poor languishing Church, move us to lay aside all personal and passionate dissenti­ons, and animosities, which have produced such miserable effects, and draw our contentions to this one pe­riod, that we strive together, who shall be most forward in the work of the Lord. All the satisfaction then, that I tender to this kind of Readers is, That they are obliged to think me charitable, and that what­soever point I have determined con­trary to their perswasions, was, be­cause I made it an argument of [Page] more comfort and diligence in the profession of Christ. And I thank God I look upon them, and aell men that differ from me, with no other eye, then as St. Austin did his Ma­nachees (Vivat homo, moriatur error) let their errors dye, but let themselves be happy.

Having thus dis-ingaged my self from all these exceptions; It remaines only to shew the use of these ensuing exercises: which will best appear, by discovering the gradual progresse of my intentions about them: as they became pro­ductive one of another, by necessary inferences. For I first propounded to my self, only the Catechisme for the rules of life: but then I found, that through the severity of Gos­pel-obedience many scruples might invade pious minds, concerning Gods grace to help to perform them, & concerning his acceptance of their infirm obedience to them, which occasioned the following treatise, concerning satisfactions of doubts [Page] about the doctrines of Grace. Af­ter that I considered, that many good minds, ready to ingage in a religious life, were sadly perplexed about the diversities of professions, (all strongly pretending to be for Christ) and especially about the Ministery, decryed every where, as unlawful, and Anttchristian: which (as it became necessary) oc­casioned the third part: Satisfy­ing doubts concerning the professi­on of this Church and Ministery. Then finding that a principal part of holy life, consisted in uncessant exercise of prayers to God: I thought it not enough, to invite men to the duty; but also to direct them to the right performance of it: which produced the fourth part: A Manual of Forms of Prayers. And lastly, considering of what con­sequence it is to Religion, to have children rightly seasoned with pious principles: I subjoyned for that end, A short Catechisme to be taught to them. In all which, if I may be [Page] instrumental to any persons obtain­ing the ends designed: if I may bring any soul to a right christian life, by the first: to a judicious and live­ly hope in Gods mercy, by the se­cond: to the peace and communion of the Church, by the third: to frequent addresses to the throne of grace, by the fourth: and any little ones to be disciples of Christ, by the fifth: I shall not repent my self of my adventure, nor want incourage­ment to subscribe my self,

A poor Workman
in Gods Vineyard,
W. SMYTH.

A Catalogue of some Books Printed for, and sold by Edw. Dod at the Gun in Ivie-Lane.

AN entire Commentary upon the whole Old Testament in 4. Vol. in Fol. wherein the diverse Translations and Expositions, literal and mystical, of all the most famous Commentators both Ancient and Modern are propounded, examined, and judged of, for the more full satisfaction of the studious Reader in all things, which compleateth the Au­thours Comment on the whole Bible, a Work, the like to which hath never yet been published in English by any man, written by John Mayer Doctor in Di­vinity.

The Expiation of a Sinner in a Com­mentary on the Epistle to the Hebrewes: Fol. by T. L. D. D. a learnded and Re­verend Divine.

The Justification of a sinner being the main argument of S. Pauls Epistle to the Galathians, Fol. Written by the Au­thour of the Expiation of a sinner.

Thomae Lushingtonii Logica analytica de principiis, Regulis & usu Rationis Rectae, 8o.

The Angell-Guardian proved by the light of Nature, beames of Scripture, and [Page] consent of many Ancient and Modern Writers untainted with Popery, by Ro­bert Dingley Master of Arts, la [...]e Fellow of Magdalen Colledge in Oxford; 8o.

America, or an exact description of the West-Indies, especially of those Provinces under the dominion of Spain, in which not only the Nature and Climate of the place, with the Commodities it affordeth, is fully described; but also plain and full direct [...]ons given for the right ordering of the same, so as to fit them for the use of the Inhabitant [...], and also for transportati­on, the like never yet published in English; faithfully related by N. N. Gent. in 8o.

Natures Paradox, or the Innocent Impostor, a pleasant Polonian History translated out of French into English, by Major John Wright, 4o.

Poems, Songs, and Sonets, written by Richard Lovelace Esq. 8o.

The Life and death of Mr. Carter, with other Tracts written by his son Mr. John Carter Minister of Gods Word in the City of Norwich; 8o.

Directions for writing of true English by Richard Hodges, in 8o.

The Reign of King Charles faithfully and impartially delivered and disposed in­to Annals by H. L. Esq. Fol.

Judgement and Mercy, or the plague of Frogs Inflicted, removed: delivered in nine Sermons, by that late Reverend, and Learned Divine, Mr. Josias Shute. 4o.

A CATECHISM Containing the CONDITIONS OF THE GOSPEL, AND DIRECTIONS to a HOLY LIFE,

In all Parts of GOSPEL-OBEDIENCE.

The particulars contained in the several Exercises.

In the larger Catechisme.
  • THe Conditions of the Gospel. 3
  • Of Faith. 4
  • Of Repentance. 11
  • Of Obedience. 18
  • Publick worship. 20
  • Sacraments,
    • Baptisme. 21
    • Lords Supper. 23
  • Sins against publick worship, 29
  • Private worship. 32
  • Sanctified affections. 33
  • Private prayer. 35
  • Private fasting. 38
  • Recreations. 40
  • Charity and Almes. 41
  • Duelling. 46
  • Christian justice. 48
  • Duties of Magistrates and Subjects 49
  • Ministers and People. 51
  • Duties of Family relations. 52
  • Justice in deal [...]ng. 54
  • Restitution. 55
  • Ʋsury. 57
  • Christian sobriety. 58
  • of the mind. 59
  • of the tongue. 60
  • Chastity. 61
  • [Page] Temperance. 62
  • Drunkennesse. 63
Satisfactions of doubts about the doctrine of Grace. 65.
  • ASsurance of grace, and means to it. 68
  • Whence rejection and reprobation. 71
  • About Gods decrees, 75
  • Comfort against infirmities. 77
  • What Christ hath merited for us. 79
Satisfactions about our Pro­fession and Ministery. 90.
  • PRofession by new light of the Spirit examined. 92
  • Profession by Scripture upon private inter­pretation examined. 103
  • Profession from a plea of outward holi­nesse examined. 110
  • The exceptions against the Ministery an­swered 114
  • The Calling of our Ministery proved to be lawfull. 125
  • The present sufferings no argument against the truth of our Profession. 132
Forms of Prayers. 142▪
  • [Page]FIrst Form for a child. 147
  • Second Form for a child of growth, and for servants. 150
  • Third Form for an ordinary shorter ex­ercise. 158
  • The largest form for private exercise. 168
  • For the universal Church. 185
  • For the Churches in these nations. 186
  • For the afflicted, 187
  • For Parents. 189
  • For children. 189
  • Before the Sacrament 191
  • In time of sicknesse. 193
  • For a sick neighbour. 196
  • For a woman with child. 197
  • Before a Journey. 198
  • At first entrance into the Church. 199
  • An exercise for a great humiliation for sins. 200
  • A Form for the Family offices, morning and evening. 211
The Lesser Catechisme for Children. 229
  • THe Belief. 232
  • Ten Commandements. 234
  • Lords Prayer. 239

[Page] The Reader is humbly de­sired before he reads these ex­ercises, with his pen to put out, and interline, according to this direction, lest he loseth the sence of those places.

ERRATA.

PAge 3. line 3. read desertion. p. 13. l. 25. r. deliberate. p. 37. l. 9. r. guide. p. 69. l. 21. put out (by) p. 78. l. 12. r. conscience. p. 95. l. 5. r. profession. p. 96. l. 19. r. great. p. 98. l. 23. r. profession. p. 104. l. 14. r. could. l. 15. r. envious ends. l. 25. r (it is) for (but) p. 106. l. 13. r. J [...]g­ling. p. 108. l. 21. r. grave. p. 111. l. 3. r. smooth. l. 15. r. ruining▪ p. 113. l. 1. r. appeal. l. 26. r. acci­dental. p. 122. l. 1. r. condemn. p. 123. l. 13. after (of) interline (our) p. 124. l. 3. r. Christian. p. 126. l. 6. r. seal. p. 128. l. 5. after (profession) interline (without a Ministery) p. 203. l. 8. r. duty. l. 22. r. amendment. p. 214. l. 8. r. godly. p. 173. l. 15. after (merits of) interline (thee) p. 227. l. 21. after (day past) interline (that)

THE CATECHISME For Direction of LIFE.

CAP. I.

QUESTION.

VVHat is that most consi­derable thing thou canst propound to thy desires, and about which, thou shouldest chiefly exer­cise thy self all the days of thy life?

ANSWER.

How I may obtain eternal life.

Quest. But forasmuch as no man can do any thing that may merit so great an happinesse, Whence doest thou expect it to be obtained?

[Page 2] Ans. 2 Tim. 1. 9. From no other cause,Tit. 3. 5. but the free gift of God through his undeserved mercies in Jesus Christ,Eph. 2. 5. 8. 9. for whose sake alone, I am accepted to justification,2 Cor. 5. 18 and salvation.Rom. 3. 24.

Quest. What ground hast thou, that God will vouchsafe so great a mercy to mankind?

Ans. Iohn 10. 28. His sure and infalli­ble promises, made to them every where in the Gospel:1 Ioh. 2. 25 and an honourable opinion of his goodness,Tit. 1. 2. that as he hath given them immortal soules, so he hath not left them without a meanes of being proportiona­bly blessed;1 Thes. 5. 9 nor made them for destruction; nor appointed them to wrath.

Quest. What assurance hast thou that those promises do oblige to thy particular interest in them?

Ans. Because they are ge­neral and conditional.

Quest. It is well said: For the promises being general, thou art [Page 3] secured, God hath not passed upon thee an irreversible decree, to an hopelesse dissertion: and being con­ditional, thou art encouraged to undertake the task Christ hath ap­pointed, whatsoever it is. But name to me some Texts, that signify a proof that they are generall?

Ans.1 Tim. 2. 4. Saint Paul saith, God would have all men come to the knowledge of his truth and be sa­ved. S. 2 Pet. 3. 9. Peter saith, that he would not that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. And his oath confirms me in a be­leef, That he willeth not,Ez [...]. 18. 31. nor delighteth in the death of a sin­ner.

Quest. Forasmuch then that all men shall not be saved, it followes necessarily, that the promises are conditional, that is, that eternal life shall certainly be given to all them (and none but them) that per­form the conditions. What there­fore are they?

Ans. To beleeve, to repent, [Page 4] and to obey the Command­ments of Christ.

Quest. How doth it appear to thee, that eternal life is promised on those conditions?

Ans. John 3. 15. For the first, Saint John saith, He that believeth in him, shall not perish, but have life everlasting. Luke 13. 3. For the second, our Saviour saith, except we repent, we shall all likewise perish▪ and St. Iohn saith,1 Iohn 1. 9. If we confess our sins, God is just and faithfull to for­give them. For the third, Saint P [...]ul saith,Heb. 5. 9. that Christ became an Authour of salvation to all them that obey him: and the reason of the condemnation of the wicked shall be,1 Thes. 2. 8. that they obey­ed not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

CHAP. II.

Quest. NOw conceiving thou considerest the neces­ary concernment of these conditions [Page 5] to salvation, and that without or besides them, there be no other de­clared conditions, by which to hope for mercy: It is requisit thou shouldst understand them fully, and apart: And first, what is faith?

Ans. Ioh. 5. 47. It is a cleare assent of the understanding to the whole word of God, and to all things contained therein; especially to the whole doctrine of Christ;Acts 8. 37. and in that,Io [...]. 8. 31. to all the promi­ses, to be relyed upon, and the commands, to be obeyed.

Quest. God, as he is represen­ted to us in his word, being the pri­mary object of Faith, What art thou to believe concerning God?

Ans. 1 Cor. 8. 4. That there is one on­ly God,Eph. 4. 6. who is an infinite spiri­tual essence,Ioh. 4. 24. omnipotent, omni­scient, omnipresent,1 Tim. 1. 17. and ever­lasting; who by the word of his power made,Rev. 1. 4. and by his pro­vidence governeth and dispo­seth all things,Acts 4. 24. 14. 15. both in heaven and earth.

[Page 6] Quest. In what further my­stery is God propounded in the Scri­ptures to our belief?

Ans. 1 Joh. 5. [...]. That there be three di­stinct persons of,Mat. 3. 17. and which are, the same One God, distingui­shed by the names of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, which are all coequal, coessential, and coeternal.Mat. 11. 27. The first so called, as he is Father of the Lord Iesus Christ, by an eternal, and there­fore,Psal. 2. 7▪ unconceivable generati­on; The second person called God the Son, as so begotten of the Father;Joh. 15. 26. The third, God the Holy Ghost,Gal. 4. 6. as proceeding from the Father and the Son.

Quest. God represented to us in Christ, as to the work of Redemption, being chiefly in the Gospel, propound­ed to our faith: What doest thou be­leeve concerning that?

Ans. That after the fall of Adam in Paradise,Rom. 5. 12. by which himself and his posterity fell in­to a state of death, from which [Page 7] they could never have been re­covered by any possible satisfa­ction of Gods justice,Eph. 2. 1. 3. 1 Pet. 1. 18, 19. that was offended;Gen. 3. 15. Christ being the pro­mised seed,Col. 1. 14. God sent in the ful­nesse of time, and gave to be a Redeemer for them, that by his sufferings he might satisfy his justice,Heb. 2. 9. that all they which should accept such conditions as he hath propounded, might partake of that redemption;Col. 1. 21. be delivered from death, reconci­led to God, and live for ever.

Quest. In what manner did, or doth Christ work that redem­ption?

Ans. By the exercise of his three offices, as a Prophet, a Priest, and a King. The first he performed by preaching the Gospel, and therein the con­dition of salvation. The second by offering up himself a sacrifice upon the Crosse, and now at the right hand of God by ma­king intercession for us. And the [Page 8] last by his dominion over, and government of his Church, sub­duing his enemies, and prote­cting his Saints and servants.

Quest. There being a more particular faith required of Gos­pel-beleevers, such as shall be im­puted to them for righteousnesse, and accepted to a condition of ju­stification,Rom. [...]. 3. as was the faith of Abraham: Iam. 2. 21. What is that faith?

Ans. Rom. 4. 18, 19, 20, 21. A particular reliance upon the promises of Christ without wavering, with a clear resignation of the heart to obey Christ in all his commands; which faith being tryed and ap­proved by God to be sincere, by following acts of such rely­ance and obedience,Heb. 11. 8. as was Abrahams, its then account­ed (through Gods free mercy in Christ) for righteousnesse, and accepted as a condition of ju­stification,Rom. 3. 28 excluding the works of the law,Gal. 5. 4. as circumcision and other legal performances,Phil. 3. 9. but [Page 9] [...]cluding the good works of the Gospel to a holy life,Gal. 5. 6. Ia. 2. [...]7. 20. such as make and evidence beleevers to be truly faithful,Phil. 1. 11. and their Faith to have been true and sincere.Col. 1. 10.

Quest. Iam. 2. 14. Is not a particular con­fidence in thy self, and a present assurance that thou art accepted in Christ to a justification, and infal­lible salvation, the very Gospel-faith?

Ans. No, for as there is no promise,Rom. 11. 20. that God will grant any such assurance in this life by any direct act of faith,1 Cor. 9. 27. nor any degree of perswasion,Heb. 4. 1. otherwise then may be collected from the performance of the conditions: so it necessarily follows,1 Tim. 1. 18 that whatsoever degree of assurance we may have of our present safe­estate towards God, is but an effect of faith, and our holy walking with God, in all the conditions. Now forasmuch as most of Gods servants are very defective,Iam. 3. 2. when they come to [Page 10] proportion their particular e­states by the strict rules of Go­spel-holinesse, though they may be in a very safe condition towards God, may yet (through an humble sense of their own failings) more or lesse want such applications of certitude. The assurances,Heb. 10. 22 which the Gospel mentions, signify the infallibi­lity of the object, that is, the promises to be infallibly certain upon such conditions, and not a necessity of a perpetual appli­cation of them with such cer­titude as to the subject, our selves:2 Pet. 1. 10. Though we must al­ways be endeavouring to make those promises sure to us, by our universal obedience to all Gospel-commands.1 Cor. 10. 11. But when such assurances are upon any other ground ordinarily pre­tended, they may justly be sus­pected to be but vain presum­ptions, and unreasonable confi­denci [...]s.

[Page 11] Quest. Eph. 2. 8. Faith being the gift of God, attainable by means appointed by him through our endeavour and application: What are those means that conduce to the obtaining and increasing of the same?

Ans. Rom. 10. 14. A diligent reading and hearing his word, constant prayer, frequent receiving the blessed Sacrament, religious use of such times, in which the me­mory of the things of faith are celebrated, and accompanying our selves with the faithfull di­sciples of Christ.

CHAP. III.

Quest. HAving thus passed o­ver a direction, and an account of the first condition of the Gospel, proceed (with Gods bles­ing) to the second before men­tioned. And what is Repen­tance?

Ans. It is a totall turn, and [Page 12] change of the whole man,Rom. 6. 2. 22. from a state of sin,2 Cor. 5. 17. and a departure from all iniquity.Gal. 5. 15.

Quest. Eph. 4. 22. Are not the single acts of sence of sin,Col. 2. 11. and confession of it, the sorrow for it, and present purpose against it, to be accounted the very repentance of the Gospel?

Ans. No: they are blessed preparatives to, and necessary companions of repentance, in which the penitent must be con­tinually exercised. But that espe­cially, in which the life of Gos­pel-repentance consists,Rom. 6. 12. is the forsaking of sinne,2 Tim. 2. 19. and throw­ing off the dominion of it.

Quest. Col. 3. 5. But are not those exer­cises requisite for the obtaining of pard [...]n, and acceptable services to God?

Ans. 1 Iohn 1. 9. Yes: as they conduce to that great turn and change of life, otherwise they are upon the same account with God that his state is, who may be likened to a dog returning to [Page 13] his vomit,2 Pet. 2. 32. and a sow to her wallowing in the mire.

Quest. If repentance consists in such a total forsaking of sinne, it must follow then that you make the state of repentance like the new birth in St. Iohn, 1 Ioh. 3. 6. 9. that as he that is born of God, so he that is truly penitent,2 Pet. 3. 14. cannot any more commit sin. And are there no sins consi­stent with the state of Repentance, and a new birth?

Ans. 1 Iohn 18. [...]0. 1. 3. 2. Yes: Sinnes of invin­cible ignorance, frailty, infir­mity, and the single acts of grea­ter sins by sudden surprise,Mar. 14. 71. in­to which the true penitent may fall,Ioh. 8. 7. and by the grace of God rise again.Gal. 6. 1.

Quest. Iohn 8. 11. May a man yeeld, and be-come indulgent to any sins under those notions, and give the reines to a lust or temptation to any sin, upon such an account?

Ans. No; they may then be­come wilful and deliverate sins,Gal. 5. 24. and dangerous to the state of repentance.

[Page 14] Quest. What is to be done up­on the consideration of such sins, when we have commited them, in order to repentance?

Ans. Mar. 14. ult. A sudden recalling our selves to a serious sense of them, sorrow for them, and holy pur­pose against them, using all ho­ly and prudential means to pre­vent them.

Quest. What sins are destru­ctive to the Gospel repentance, and cannot consist with it, which he that is truly penitent, cannot com­mit without ceasing to be so?

Ans. Rom. 6. 13 16. A falling into an habi­tual and customary course of sinning, with a wilful and deli­berate allowance of any known wickednesse to live in it, and in­to such a course of life, as may notify a total departure from God.

Quest. What may be said of his estate,Heb. 6. 1. who having been once en­lightened, and made a partaker of the Holy Ghost, shall fall [Page 15] from his repentance to such a course of sinning,1 Thes. 5. 19. and by resisting Gods grace,2 Pet. 3. 17. 1 Tim. 1. 19. and quenching his spi­rit, shall depart to his former un­regenerate estate?

Ans. His state is very sad and dangerous, seeing God may justly give him over (by with­drawing his Grace) never to be renewed by another repentance,Heb. 6. 6. or that there should remain for him no more sacrifice for sin; Heb. 10. 26. 27. 28. whereby it may be better for that man never to have known the way of truth, 2 Pet. 2. 21 22. then being once known, to fall from it: or that having once escaped the pollutions of the world, to be again entang­led therein and overcome. His latter end is worse then the be­ginning.

Quest. It is true, the sentence of the Gospel is very severe in that case. What therefore doth this con­sideration obligemen to?1 Cor. 10. 12.

Ans. A severe watchfulnesse over all their wayes,Eph. 6. 12. 13, 14. and in all [Page 16] temptations,Mat. 25. 28 lest they fall; a careful employing the talent of Grace,Phil. 2. 12. lest it be taken away, and a diligent working out their salva­tion with feare and trembling.

Quest▪ What may be said of them, who after an ungodly life, dye with the single acts of sorrow for sin, acknowledgment of it, and a reso­lution of change?

Ans. Their repentance is ve­ry unsafe;Heb. 2. 9. First, because the promises of mercy in the Gospel are very insecurely applyed, but upon the terms of a durable re­pentance, that shall arrive at great performances of Gospel­obedience, constant services of God, and a copious fruitfulnesse in a course of holinesse. And secondly, because the sincerity of such a repentance, is very doubtful▪ there being no oppor­tunity remaining for the experi­ence and triall of it, by bring­ing forth fruits to evidence it. Yet this hope may p [...]ssesse a [Page 17] charitable mind, that if God sees such a late repentance to be truly sincere, and such as (if there were time allowed) would proceed to a reall turne and change, it might (through Gods infinite mercy) be accepted, and the Will and Resolution of the penitent, for the following acts of holy living. But such a repen­tance as is made after presump­tions of mercy in an ungodly course, and many despites done unto the spirit of Grace,Heb. 10. [...]9 admi­nisters little hopes of accep­tance.

Quest. What considerations do best provoke an impenitent soul, (through Gods grace) to a timely undertaking this state of repen­tance?Rom. 2. 4.

Ans. Rev. 22. 17. The ignoble use of Gods goodness that invites him to it,Mat. 11. 28. of the blood of Christ that hath purchased for him a capacity to be accepted by it, and the continual despite that [Page 18] is done to the spirit of God,Rev. 3. 20. that stands and knocks at the door of his heart for his return.

Quest. What other motives may be superadded to those?

Ans. That a state of sin is a­gainst the very dictate of right reason, and contrary to all mo­rall prudence: it is rewarded with shame,Rom. 6. 21 unpeaceablenesse, and discontent in this life, a fear­ful judgement,Rom. 6. ult. and a miserable eternity in the life to come.

CHAP. IV.

Quest. 1 Iohn▪ 5. 3. THe third condition of Gospel-salvation (you said) was obedience to an holy life,Rev. 14. 2. 1 Cor. 7. 19 and keeping the Commandments of God;Eph. 5. 27. 1 Iohn 2. 6. How doth it appear that the Gospel doth necessarily require such a condition?

Ans. Because (as our Saviour saith) none shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven, but he that [Page 19] doth the will of his father, Mat. 7. 21▪ which is in heaven: Rom. 8. 1. and St. Paul saith, that a deliverance from con­demnation shall only appertain to them who live according to the Spirit, 1 Cor. 6. 9. and not according to the flesh: Gal. 5. 21. in whose fruits, whosoe­ver is exercised (whatsoever hopes of mercy may be preten­ded) is sentenced not to inherit the Kingdom of heaven: and lastly,Heb. 12. 14. because without holinesse, no man shall see the Lord.

Quest. What comprehensive Text can you name, that most summa­rily containes the doctrines and Commandments of the Gospel, as to such an holy obedience?

Ans. Where it is said, that the Gospel teacheth us to live godly, Tit. 2. 12. 13. righteously, and soberly, in this present world.

Quest. What obligation to ho­liness, do these three expressions sig­nify?

Ans. All that is required of a soul in this condition: that is, [Page 20] to l [...]ve godly to God, justly to our neighbour, and soberly to our selves.

Quest. Forasmuch then, that in them is contained the third great condition of salvation: It concerns thee to be well informed, what they oblige thee to, And first, what is it to live godly to God?

Ans. It binds me to perform to him all that holy worship and service,Ma [...]. 1. 10. which he hath re­quired of me.Rev. 22. 9.

Quest. Joh. 4. 23. Now because God hath appointed both publick and private worship for his faithful servants to perform. To what duties do the publick worship of God oblige thee?

Ans. To worship him in all the publick exercises of the Church, that is, First, in the administration of the Sacra­ments. Secondly, in the hear­ing the word preached; and thirdly, in adjoyning my self to the publick prayers of the Con­gregation.

[Page 21] Quest. Conceiving thy readi­ness to entertain a clear under­standing of thy duty in all these parts of his service? First, what, and how many Sacraments hath Christ ordained to be observed?

Ans. Mat. 26. 26. Two, Baptisme, and the Supper of the Lord,1 Cor. 11▪ 23. both instituted by himself to become outward and visible signs of in­ward and spirituall grace,Mat. 28. 19 ar­guments of his love to us, and actions of our service and obe­dience to him.

Quest. What is Gospel-Bap­tisme?

Ans. Joh. 3. 5. A dipping or sprinkling with water in the name of the Father, Eph. 5. 26. Son, and Holy Ghost.

Quest. With what spirituall be­nefits doth Christ bless the bap­tized?

Ans. Rom. 6. 4. With grace to die un­to sin,Acts 2. 38. and to be borne again to a life of righteousness,Tit 3. 5. 1 Cor. 12. 13. there­by to put on Christ, and to be received into the Covenant of Grace.

[Page 22] Quest. To what respective du­ties do the baptized stand obliged, by that Sacrament?

Ans. Gal. 3. 27. An engagement to give up themselves to the Kingdome of Christ, by faith and holy li­ving: with whom they then en­tered covenant to forsake what­soever is contrary to that his Kingdom, that is, the devil and all his works, the Pomps and vanites of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh.

Quest. Are not christian pa­rents bound in duty to Christ to pre­sent their infants to Baptisme?

Ans. Acts 2. 38. 39. Yes: for Parents must consider that the promises were not made to themselves onely, but to their children also; to which promises they having a right as well as themselves, are not to be debarred from, nor deprived of the seal & consig­nation of them, in that bles­sed Sacrament. Further (as [Page 23] to the right of baptizing in­fants) as it is proved by many necessary deductions from,Mat. 28. 19 so (as to the matter of fact) it is collected by many probable in­stances in Scripture:Col. 2. 11. In either of which,Acts 16. 15 33. if the scruples of an unbeleeving and quarrelling age have raised doubts and questi­ons,Acts 18 8. 1 Cor. 1. 16 the universal practice of the Churches of Christ in all a­ges and places, hath determined it:Rom. 16. 17, 18, 19. from which to depart in this or any other service of God, (that is grounded especially up­on such binding consequences of Scripture) gives a just reason for any man to be charged with private presumption, and dan­gerous singularity.

Quest. What is the Sacrament of the Lords Supper?

Ans. 1 Cor. 11. 24, 25. The receiving of bread and wine in remembrance of the death and passion of our Sa­viour; which bread and wine be­ing blessed by the Minister,1 Cor▪ 10. 16. are [Page 24] the communion of the body and blood of Christ to the pre­pared receiver.

Quest. What spiritual benefit doth God communicate to such a re­ceiver?

Ans. The strengthening and refreshing his soul with all spiri­tual graces,1 Cor. 10. 16. and the partici­pation of Christ in all the effects of his death and passion.

Quest. What preparation is re­quired of them that come faithfull receivers to that Sacrament?

Ans. 1 Cor. 1 [...]. 28. To examine themselves, whether they repent them tru­ly of their former sinnes, sted­fastly purposing to lead a new life. To have a lively faith in Gods mercy through Christ, with a thankful remembrance of his death: and be in charity with all men.

Quest. What other consideration may be added in order to the service of God in that Sacrament?

Ans. To make conscience of [Page 25] entertaining all possible oppor­tunities to receive the same,1 Cor. 11. 26. as my love to God will make it necessary,Acts 2. 42. to serve him as often as I can▪ Omitting no present occasion, lest it be the last that shall be offered to me: and to decline which, there can be no plea allowable before God, either in respect of sins or ene­mies: unless I can think it safe for me to dye (which I may the next moment) without re­pentance, or charity.

Quest. But may not the sinfull and scandalous conversation of some, that are admitted to the same Sacrament with thee, give thee a just▪ cau [...]e to decline it?

Ans. Mat▪ 26. 23 27. No, For had any detri­ment accrewed to the other Apostles by Judas his recei­ving with them,Luke 22. [...]1. Christ (who knew his unpreparednesse by his desperate designe against him,Mat. 26. 2. 14, 15. and other gross wicked­nesse,John 12. 6. and which was not likely [Page 26] to be unknown to the rest of the Apostles) would certainly (for presidents sake) have debarred him the Sacrament.1 Cor. 10. 17. And Saint Paul, Verse 14. who punctually treated his Corin [...]hians about the holy com­munion, and so fully described,1 Cor. 11. 21. & sharply reproved those scan­dalous persons,2 Cor. 12. 21. who mixed themselves in the society of the faithful receivers,1 Cor. 10. 45. would not cer­tainly have passed over so neces­sary a reproof to the Ministers of Corinth, for admitting them, and to the faithfull, for receiving with them, had an unworthy receiver eat damnation,1 Cor. 11. 29. or sin, to any other besides himself.

Quest. Heb. 10. 25. The second part of pub­lick worship being hearing of the Word preached:Act. 11. 26. How mayest thou serve God acceptably in that?Eph. 4. 11. 12.

Ans. Luke 14. 35. To hear the Sermon attentively as a religious exer­cise,Rom. 10. 17. and instrumentall to the work of Grace. To treasure up the promises to my comfort,Luke 1. 5▪. the [Page 27] reproofs for my amendment,Iam. 1. 22. and the directions for the rule of my life. Not taking offence at Religion in general,Mat. 10. 40. nor at that service in particular, by the weakness or infirmities of him that ministers those holy things unto me.

Quest. The third part of pub­lick worship, being to adjoyn thy self to the publick prayers of the con­gregation. How mayest thou dis­charge thy duty to God therein?

Ans. To oblige my self consci­o [...]ably to be present at them,Acts 1. 14. as at the hearing of the Sermon,Acts 2. 42. or the performing any other holy duties:Acts 3. 1▪ to come timely, and with a pious mind to ho­nour God, and with a charita­ble spirit, that the whole Church of Christ, and the present con­gregation, may receive the be­nefit of my prayers.

Quest. What other directions may be propounded for the more pi­ous performance of thy duty to [Page 28] God in all the publick worship?

Ans. Acts 20. 36. That I be present with an humble and awfull mind,1 Cor. 14. 25. a lowly and reverent comport­ment of my body,Eph. 3▪ 14. such as may signify decency and order; al­wayes considering the infinite majesty of that God,Heb. 12. 28. with whom I have to do, in those holy actions.

Quest. But is not the pious re­gard of the circumstance of time, conducing to the discharge of thy duty to God in the publick wor­ship?

Ans. Yes: I am bound in conscience to keep holy to the Lord his day in all religious exercises,Acts 20. 7. and not to prophane it either with secular or sinful employments;Rev. 1. 10. 1 Cor. 16. 2. to observe pub­lick fasts for such reasons, as Authority shall order them, and all other dayes set apart for the service of God, propounding such religious ends to my self,Rom. 14▪ 6 for which they were first insti­tuted [Page 29] and commanded.

Q. What sins are committed against the publick worsh [...]p of God (which thou oughtest to beware of) besides the ordinary breaches of the duties you have mentioned?

Ans. Many dangerous enter­prises that tend necessarily to the impairing & eradicating the same;Acts 12. 1. 2 Tim. 3 6 as first, all attempting by power, or seducement to hin­der the peaceable assembling of Gods servants together in those holy services.1 Cor 3. 17. Secondly, all de­facing, despising,1 Cor. 11. 22. or (especially) destroying the publick places of Gods worship:Exod. 20. 24. the preserva­tion of which,1 Kings 9. 8, 9. were alwayes ac­counted great significations of Religion in a Nation.Luke 19. 46. Third­ly, all acts that tend to the de­struction of the publick ministe­ry; it being essentially neces­sary to the execution of the of­fices of the publick worship, and without which, no national profession was ever yet preser­ved. [Page 30] Now the acts, that will certainly ruine a publick mini­stery, and by necessary conse­quence, the publick worship, are these. First, the disgracing, oppressing, and ejecting their persons from their places, in any present period of time. Secondly, the cutting off all possibility of having such a pub­lick Ministry for the future, and that will be effected by these at­tempts. 1. By disallowing or prohibiting all means of succes­sion,Tit. 1. 5. by which an outward de­signation to ministeriall offices is to be continued, and by which a Ministry hath to this day been preserved. 2. By taking away all means of education to the knowledge of the tongues, arts and sciences, by which un­derstandings are prepared (by labour and industry) to acquire gifts for finding out the myste­ries of Religion, and to be a­ble to instruct, exhort and con­vince, [Page 31] extraordin [...]ry gifts being ceased after the first planting of the Church.Rom. 2. 22. Lastly, by laying hold upon and taking away the demeans, by which a present Ministry is maintained,1 Cor. 9. 7 &c. and a future perpetuated: the most in­fallible and certain method of destroying them.

In these two last lay the pro­ject of Julian, S. Aust. l. de civ. Dei 18 c. [...]2. (the subtillest ene­my of the Church of Christ) when he attempted the over­throw of Christian Religion: which acts of his were accoun­ted most dangerous persecuti­ons of the Church. I oblige my self therefore not to do any act by my self, nor to adhere to the act of any other that shall (in a­ny of these things) impair the publick worship of my gra­cious God.

CHAP. V.

Quest. NOw because its not enough to a godly life to yeeld conformity to the pub­lick worsh [...]p, but thou art bound to enlarge thy obedience to the Gospel, by thy private performances of ho­ly services to God. What doth the Gospel require of thee respectively in order thereto?

Answ. Rom. 6. 13 A giving up the ex­ercises of all the parts and fa­culties of my soul and body to the obedience of Christ; espe­cially the affections of my heart, which being rightly ordered by the law of the Gospel, will in­fallibly carry the whole man to the service of God. 2. Con­stantly serving God with pri­vate prayers and fasting. 3. Ho­nouring him and obeying the Gospel by the use of my particu­lar talent, to the good of o­thers.

[Page 33] Quest. Now because the offices of the whole man (as you said) are guided by the disposition of the heart, and its affections: It is ex­pedient you know what those affe­ctions are, and their duties to God. What therefore are they?

Answ. These four especially, Love, Hope, Fear and Joy.

Quest. It is well ordered that thou hast put love to God in the first place, which is so necessarily and eminently requisite to a soul in a true Gospel-state, that all other services without it are nothing, and under its larger notion they are all comprehended. What is the com­mand of Christ, and thy duty, as to that affection?

Answ. Mat. 22. 37 To love God with all my heart,1 Joh. 2. 15. Soul, mind, and strength,Luke 14. 26. to love nothing that is unlawfull, and so inconsistent with him:Mat. 10. 37 and to love all other things that are lawfull in subor­dinatio [...] to him.

Quest. How may I best serv. [Page 34] God with my affection of hope?

Answ. H [...]b. 16. 19▪ 13. 16. Clearly to resign my self to a confidence in Gods promises:Rom. 4 21. living in them above all prosperous enjoyments,Heb. 11. 26. and possessing my soul with pati­ence in all dangers and adversi­ties;Rom. 8. 29. 30. hoping that as God hath fore-ordained and called me to them, he will also justifie me in them, and glorify me after them.

Quest. How may the Gospel be obeyed, and God served by the ex­ercise of thy affection of fear?

Answ. Heb. 4. 1. When in all inward motions and outward tempta­tions to sin,1 P [...]t. 1. 17 I represent the di­vine presence to my thoughts before which I stand,Mat. 10. 28. and a­gainst which I must offend,H [...]b. 4. 13. if. I consent.

Quest. Lastly, when is the pas­sion of joy made serviceable to God?Phil. 4. 4.

Answ. Rom. 5. 2. 11. When I rejoyce in the Lord, and in all spirituall com­forts; [Page 35] abandoning all pleasure in sin,1 Cor. 13. 6. and removing a too much delight,Luk. 10. 20 and over value of any present lawfull enjoyment whatsoever.

Quest. Having thus done, thou hast presented to God the best sacri­fice thou hast, which is thy heart, and by that thy self; yet is not that enough, for in the next place (as thou saidest) God must be served with private prayers. And how hath the Gospel obliged thee to that duty?

Answ. Mat. 7. 7. By absolute and in­dispensable commands,Mat. 26. 41 and by most gratious promises of Gods acceptance of them,Joh. 14. 13. and an­swering them unto me.Joh. 15. 7.

Quest. 1 Pet. 3. 12. Its true, nor hath he for any other service given clearer in­junctions or directions, hav [...]ng made a pattern of words himself, and intimated severall kinds of prayers for our Christian exerc [...]ses. And what are they?

Answ. These four as S▪ Paul [Page 36] enumerates them,1 Tim. 2. 1 Supplicati­ons, Prayers, Intercessions and giving of thanks.

Quest. What holy offices do those four sorts direct thee to?

Answ. The first signifies the acknowledgement of my sins, and an humble suit for the par­don of them.Acts 8. 22 The second peti­tioning for all spirituall and temporal supplies:Phil 4. 6. especially for the assistancies of Gods grace,Jam. 1. 5. and spirit.1 Thes. 5. 25. The third an inter­ceding for Gods mercy and blessing upon all mankind,Jam. 5. 15. the Church in generall, all gover­nours, relatives, enemies and persons whatsoever.Col. 1. 12. The last signifies an expressing my thankfulnesse to God for all his blessings to my self and others.1 Thes. 5. 18.

Quest. The Gospel being very severe and importunate in requi­ring the frequency of this duty,Rom. 12. 12. even to uncessancy. How mayest thou best discharge thy duty to God,1 Thes. 5. 17. as to that obligation?

[Page 37] Answ. Psal. 5. 3. 59. 16. 130. 6. To bind my Consci­ence without any dispensation, to sanctifie the Morning and E­vening of every day with that service: to chuse other times of the day,Dan. 6. 10. by the example of other holy men,Psa. 55. 18 119. 164. as▪ Christian prudence, zeal and opportuni­ty shall give me, and to intermix my lawfull employments, with frequent recourses to God in pi­ous ejaculations.

Quest. What are the offences a­gainst the calling upon Gods name in prayer, in this holy worship?

Answ. Ps. 53. 4. As all omissions of the duty and neglect of invocation upon God, are chargeable as sins:Exod. 20. 7 so all taking his holy name in vain,Jam. 3. 10. by useless & unsanctified interpositions of it in our vain discourses by blasphemies and bold expressions of God; by cur­sings & imprecations, and by all kinds of unnecessary and custo­mary swearing,Mat. 5. 34. not onely by the names of God,Iam. 5. 12 but by any [Page 38] thing else,Mat. 5. 34. are offences against God,Jam. 5. 12. and contrary to this Gos­pel-duty.

Quest. Together with private prayer you mentioned private fasting as a christian duty, fitly [...]onjoyned with prayer, the one being sancti­fied by the other. And doest thou suppose thou art obliged to perform such a serv [...]ce to God?

Ans. Mat. 6. 16. Yes, by the care our Sa­viour takes for the more religi­ous performance of it,Mar. 2. 20. and other frequent expressions of the exer­cise of it,Luke 2. 37 by holy persons in the Gospel.

Quest. But being a duty which ever stands in relation, or becomes instrumental, to some other holy of­fice, and ought to be designed by religious persons for various ends, as holy occasions will be admini­stred. Which be the chief ends and opportunities for the exercise of the duty of private fasting?

Ans. Mat. 17. 21 These three especially, First to excite a zeal and ferven­cie [Page 39] in prayer in pursuit of some remarkable blessing.Acts 32 3 Secondly, to assist the soul in the work of repentance and humiliation for sin.1 Cor. 7. 5. Thirdly to mortify the lust of nature,1 Cor. 9. ult. and to assist the spiri­tual part against the contentions of the flesh.

Quest. Now the times and repe­titions of this service of private fa­sting, being left to christian pru­dence and piety. How often ought a Christian to return to this service?

Ans. The more frequently, the more acceptably to God: Therefore it is religion to un­dertake it as often as the ends of the duty shall occurre.

Quest. But besides this, may not a more punctual advice be given of general concernment?

Ans. Yes; for [...]much as the life of the best Christian is full of frailties and defects, it is ex­pedient that the return of this duty be certain and determi­nate, [Page 40] and that some day or days in the week be set apart for a more strict and severe examina­tion of life and repentance,1 Cor. 11. 31. heightned with the holy exer­cise of fasting.

Quest. Whether after all these exercises, and severities of a chri­stian life, will recreations be allow­ed to be consistent with the holy yoke of Christ?

Ans. 1 The. 5. 22 Yes; if they be innocent and sinlesse, short and transient, not scandalous, not expensive of time,Jam. 5. 5. nor such as shall indan­ger a temptation to lose zeal in devotion,Luke 8. 14 or hinder the holy of­fices of serving God, in their chosen periods.

Quest. Having served God thus far, thou hast made good pro­gress in this condition of the Gospel, yet still is there a further process to be made,Mat. 25. 20 and that is (as thou saydst) by serving God with the exercise of thy talent to the good of others. And what is the command [Page 41] of the Gospel, and thy duty therein?

Ans. Col. 3. 14. To be charitable, mer­ciful, and affectionately studi­ous,Col. 3. 12. and active,Gal. 6. 10. to advance the good of all men, in whatsoever capacity of help, God (by his goodnesse) hath put me.

Quest. An example of such a course of living, the conversation of our holy Master hath presented to us, in whose steps we must walk, if ever we expect to be members of his Kingdom, here or hereafter. But because the actions of this service of God, b [...] as various as the necessities of men. What method wilt thou take to guide thy conscience therein?

Ans. To help and assist them that want me, first as to my spi­ritual, Secondly, as to my tem­poral capacity.

Quest. Instance in some parti­ticulars, that may direct thee to the understanding of all the parts, of serving God by relieving others, [Page 42] as to thy spiritual capacity?

Ans. 1 Thes. 5. 14. To admonish some in­considerate sinner,J [...]m. 5. ult. and to en­deavour to recover him from the errour of his way:1 Pet. 4. 10. to go to some ignorant understanding, to instruct some doubtful spirit,1 Thes 5. 11 to counsell and confirm some drooping afflicted,1 Cor. 1. 3, 4 soul, to com­fort, and many such like, which are called the spiritual Almes.

Qu [...]st. Blessed employments, and acceptable services to God. Yet the Commands of Christ to serve God with thy temporal capacity, are more frequent and forcible; and crowned with greater promises of reward. What are the actions of that service?

Ans. Mat. 5. 42. All supplies whatsoever to my brothers present necessity & want, and my Saviours enume­ration of some principal of them (in the description of the ac­counts that must be given at the last day) will help me to the un­derstanding of all the other ho­ly [Page 43] exercises of christian charity.

Quest. Mat. 25. 35 It is true, those acts of mercy have the honour to be men­tioned by our Saviour as the rule of his sentence of absolution or con­demnatiou to mankind. And what are they?

Ans. Heb. [...]3. 2. To relieve the hungry and thirsty, to entertain the de­stitute stranger, to clothe the naked, to visit and help poor prisoners, and sick persons, and all other actions of mercy, and doing good,Jam. 1. ult. that hold propor­tion with these.

Quest. O rich souls, that have laid down their present interests at the foot of Christ, and made ad­vantage of their earthly enjoy­ments,1 Tim. 6. 19. to prepare a foundation for the time to come. Now because there cannot be a punctual design­ment, what proportion of every mans estate may be sufficient for the dis­charge of this duty to Christ. What is the safest rule herein?

Ans. 1 Cor. 16. 2 That my almes be libe­ral, [Page 44] and plentifully distributed,2 Cor. 8. [...]. 2 Cor. 9. 6. beyond the result of a consulta­tion with flesh and blood,Eph. 4. 28. or the examination of worldly pru­dence. Considering what vain expenses of pride, revenge, and unnecessary luxuries, my carnal part would judge fit to be allow­ed,Iam. 4. 3. for the satisfaction of my lusts, and were now more nobly and religiously expended in the service of God. Again conside­ring what accidental losses, by casualty, deceits of men, extra­ordinary charges, and many other disimprovements, I have patiently borne, and otherwise provided for; which if I had be­gun to choose to have served God with, I might easily have been tempted to thoughts of ut­ter undoing, had I so bestowed them.

Quest. What other considera­tions may be added to move thee to enlarge thy heart and hand in this service, besides the bare injunction [Page 45] of it by Christ, as a Gospel-duty?

Ans. Luke 6. 36. That almes are acts of purest generosity, and most ra­tional noblenesse in themselves, and have a blessing beyond o­ther noble actions, that the very disbursements are gains,Mat▪ 6. 20. and the securing of an immutable estate, and reall treasure.Phil. 4. 18. That God is not only pleased to entertain them as acceptable sacrifices,Mat. 25. 40. but as actually done unto him­self:Mar. 10. 30. And that he hath engaged his promises for as certain an in­crease in this life,Psal. 41. 1. as any tem­poral blessing can be hoped for at his hand,Prov. 11. 4. and for an infallible reward in the life to come.Mat. 10. ult.

Quest. But are not thine ene­mies, and such as hate, injure, and offend thee, excepted from such acts of thy mercy and charity, or how far is the command of the Gospel in these cases, obliging as to them?Mat. 6. 14.

Ans. Eph. 4. ult. To forgive them what­soever they have done against me, from my very soul, even as [Page 46] I would be forgiven at the hand of God.Mat 5. 39. To chuse to suffer ten thousand evils from them,Rom. 12. 17. then to return one evill to them. Af­ter the highest provocations from them,Mat. 5. 44. to blesse them, pray for them,Rom. 12. 20. and to do good to them, in all my capacities.

Quest. Is not a justification of our right by duelling after inju­ries received, consistent with this part of Christian holiness, and what is your judgement therein?

Ans. Mat. 5. 40. 4 [...]. That duelling is di­rectly against the doctrine of Christ,Luke 6. 27 28. an unhappy custome grounded upon the mistake of true honour and valour, and the duel i [...] self, either voluntarily ac­cepted, or offered, is a sinne against this duty of charity on either part,Mat. 26. 51 both in him that ex­poseth his own,Iam. 4. [...], 2 and in him that se [...]keth anothers blood,Iohn 1. 3. 15. and the fall of either miserable.

Quest. But suppose he hath in­jured thine honour, mayest thou [Page 47] not endeavour thy reparation?

Answer. By any lawfull means I may, where neither passion nor revenge hath inte­rest:Mat. 5. 22. and if I cannot otherwise obtain it, then it is an argu­ment of the clearest noblenesse and magnanimity, to trust God with the defence of my ho­nour, and to forgive the offen­der.

Quest. Suppose thou hast inju­red a person, and offered all just sa­tisfaction to him, and yet he pur­sues thy life upon refusall of a du­ell. What is in that case safest to be done?

Answ. Mat. 5. 25. To prevent it as much as possibly I can,Mat. 22. 39. tenderly re­garding his sinne as much as mine own suffering, after which being unavoidably as­saulted, if in my pure de­fence he or I fall, my soul is safe as to his, or mine own blood.

CHAP. VI.

Quest. THe rules of the first part of obeying the Gospel of Christ by all immediate services to God being discovered; the Gospel (as you sayd) requires further holinesse of them that will live up to the institution of Christ, which is to live justly to men. What is then the obligation of the Gospel, as to that part of holy life?

Answ.Mat. 7, 12. To do to all men as I would they should do unto me.

Quest. Now because this Do­ctrine of Christ obligeth to a duty, which consists of infinite particu­lars of divers kinds. First mention how many sorts of Iustice a Chri­stian is bond to observe?

Answ. Rom. 13. 7. These two; the first is called distributive justice, which respects the allowance of all just duties from inferiours to Superiours, and back again [Page 49] from Superiours to inferiours. The se [...]ond is commutative ju­stice, which respects honest pro­ceedings in civill contracts and dealings.

Quest. The duties of the Go­spel-distributive justice being fur­ther various, according as men have publick or private relations, First, what duties of justice are re­quired of Christians, as to their publick relations?

Answ. Such as the people ought to perform to the civil Magistrate, and Spirituall Pa­stor, and such as they ought to return to their people back a­gain.

Quest. What duties are requi­red of a Christian, by the Law of the Gospel, to the Civil Magi­strate?

Answ. Mat. 22. 21 To give to Caesar the things that are Caesars: Rom. 13. 5 To yield obedience for Conscience sake:Tit. 3. 1. 1 Pet. 2. 13 14. To submit to every ordinance of man for the Lords sake, and [Page 50] not to resist their power upon peril of damnation.Rom. 13. 2 By all which a Christian stands obliged, not to do, nor consent to any act, that may impair the honour, safety, estate or power of them that God hath set over him in Government.

Quest. How may a Christian Magistrate live justly, as to his Subjects?

Answ. Rom. 13. 4 By interesting his pow­er in the maintenance of an ho­ly Religion against all its oppo­nents: by a tender regard to their peace, & quiet enjoyment of their proprieties: by taking care that Iustice be impartially distributed, and that their Sub­jects be securely protected, from enemies abroad, and from the insolencies of unquiet spirits at home.

Quest. What are the duties which justice requires to be paid to the spi­rituall Pastors of the Church?

Answ. To obey them in [Page 51] their spirituall guidances,Heb. 14. 17. 1 Cor. 16. 16. as ha­ving rule over us, justly to pay to them their allowed carnalls,1 Cor. 9. 7. ad 14. from whom we have received spiritualls,Gal. 6. 6. and to have them in esteem for their work and office sake.Heb 7. 8. 1 Tim. 5. 17.

Quest. 1 Thes. 5. 12, 13. What is in this holy ju­stice required of them to their cures?

Answ. 1 Cor. 4. 2. 1 Cor. 9 16 Faithfully to feed the flock of Christ by life and Do­ctrine, and in all parts of their offices to be ready to do,Col. 4. 17. 1 Tim. 4. 12 and administer every thing that may conduce to their salvation:Acts 20. 28 alwayes expressing a greater care of their peoples souls, then of their own advantages in their places.

Quest. Thus if thou livest, thou hast kept a good conscience, and obeyed Christ, as to thy publick relations. What are now the duties that concern private relations, where further distribitive justice is required of Christs disciples?

[Page 52] Answ. Such concern the Fa­mily, that is, the reciprocal du­ties of Husband and Wife, Pa­rent and Child, Master and Servant.

Quest. How do the Servants of Christ fulfill the righteousnesse of the Gospel, as to the first relation?

Answ. When the Husband expresseth love,Eph 5: 25. 28. respect, tender­nesse and sweet carriage to the wife,1 Pet. 3. 7. living with her, and provi­ding for her: when the wife gives meek submission, reve­rence, and tender love to him,Eph. 5. 22. 24. & both together bearing with one anothers infirmities,Col 3. 18. do live like good yoke-fellows in all re­ligious exercises,Tit. 2. 5. and imploy­ments of their callings.Gal. 6. 2

Quest. How do Christians per­form Gods will in just living, as to the second relation?

Ans. When children ho­nour and obey their Parents,Eph. 6. 1. 2 supporting their decayes,Col. 3. 20. 1 Tim. 5. 4 and protecting them in their help­lesse [Page 53] ages: when Parents go­vern them by the rules of piety,Eph. 6. 4. not discouraging,Col. 32 1. 1 Tim. 5. 8 nor provoking them by caustlesse anger, and providing for them honest e­ducations and callings, and means of livelihood.

Quest. How is the Gospel o­beyed in the third relation?

Answ. Eph. 6 5, 6. When Servants con­scionably perform their offices and labours,Col. 3. 21. 23. as in the sight of God,1 Tim. 6. 1 preserving their Masters interests and honour:Eph. 6 9. and when Masters endevour to keep them in Gods fear,Col. 4 1. 1 Tim. [...]. 2 using them mer­cifully in their labours, and re­straints, respecting their bur­thens, and rewarding their faithfulnesse and toyls.

Quest. O blessed State, where Religion and Christian justice guids all interests: and happy family where Christ rules: But (you said) the Gospel also requires commu­tative justice in all bargains, com­merces and dealings whatsoever; [Page 54] and what is that justice?

Answ. Not to make use of any mans weaknesse,1 Cor. 6. 8, 9. or neces­sity, to defraud or go beyond him in a negotiation:2 Cor. 7. 2. 1 Thes. 4. 12. not to ad­vantage my self in any matter by anothers losse: not to en­croach upon the right, or pos­sesse the estate, goods or lively­hood of another.

Quest. Its true; God is an a­venger of all such:1 Thes. 4. 6 But doth this justice prohibit the lawfull gain of them that live by commerce and trading?Prov. 11. [...]

Ans. 1 Cor. 9. 7. 1 Cor. 7. 20. No; So they use no de­ceit in the commodity, nor ex­act beyond the ordinary gain or rate allowed by the com­mon consent of honest minds,1 Thes. 4. [...] and that is proportionable to the ingagement of their stock, pains and craft.

Quest. But suppose a man, (through want of Gods grace and the true knowledge of his duty) have injured any person against this [Page 55] rule of Gospel justice; what doth then Religion oblige him to do?

Ans. Luke 19 9. To restore to him what­soever he hath unjustly taken from him,Ezek. 33. 15. making him satisfa­ction for whatsoever losse he hath suffered by him, to the ut­most farthing; and if he be not able to do it, to desire it, and expresse his willingnesse to do it, if he were in capacity.

Quest. What if the tumults and confusion of his affairs shall hinder him from the designment of the particular persons whom he hath wronged; and if (in what he knows) the persons be dead, and no heirs in being, to whom he may restore: What is then safe to be done?

Ans. Luk. 19. 8. To pay in his satisfacti­on to the great Chancery of heaven, by relieving the poor, and other acts of mercy and charity. For the retaining of that unholy possession, as it can never free his repentance to God from insyncerity,Prov. 20. 17 so it shall [Page 56] become a continuall gravell to his contentment,Prov. 10. 2 and a moth to consume his lawful injoyments,Job 27. 16. 17, 18. to him and his posterity.Job. 20. 15.

Quest. Prov. 13. 11. But is this justice of the Gospel to be observed in satisfacti­on, for noother injuries but such as are incident to trade and com­merce?

Ans. Yes; For if a man by himself, or any other, through his abetment, consent, or con­nivence, have injured anothers honour, or detracted from his credit or abilities, that lives and subsists by his reputation: or if any man shall wound, lame, or maim another, or by any other such way disadvantage him, he is bound in conscience, by the law of Christian justice, to give him satisfaction to the proportion of the wrong; if the injured person remits it not.

Quest. Is not interest or use for money lent, to be accounted an un­just gain?

[Page 57] Ans. No; there being a vo­luntary contract for it, upon consideration of profit, or at least of convenience to the bor­rower:Ex. 22. 25. and there being no law of Christ or Moses to inhibit any such contract for it,Lev. 25. 35 &c. any o­therwise than to prevent the oppression of the poore,To which is referred Deut. 23. 19 and an obligement to a free and chari­table lending to them,Ps. 15. 5. and to restrain the biting and serpen­tine usury of the rich.Prov. 28 8. The com­mand of Christ,Ezek. 18. 8 to lend, expe­cting nothing again,Neh. 5. as it was spoken by our Saviour one­ly in pursuance of the Doctrine of mercy,Luk. 6. 34. so it may be trans­gressed in requiring the princi­pal, as well as the interest, by un­mercifully oppressing him that is unable to pay either. If there­fore a mans usury exceeds not the reasonable rate provided for by lawes, as to the rich, nor of­fends charity as to the poore, it is safe as to justice.

CHAP. VI.

Quest. HAving gone along with the commands of Christ, in the two former bran­ches of the third Condition, which consisted in living godly and justly; its requisite thou shoulst now inquire into the third part of that holinesse, that concerns thy obedience to Christ, which is (as thou saidst) to live soberly as to our selves. In what therefore consists that sobrie­ty, which as a Christian thou oughtest to observe?

Ans. First in the sober use of my mind, Secondly of my body.

Quest. How mayest thou obey Christ in the sober use of thy mind?

Ans. Rom. 12. 6. In these two respects, First not to mind high things, that is,1 Cor. 4, 6, 7. not anxiously to as­pire to heights in temporalls a­bove [Page 59] my sphere;Rom. 11. 20. nor to indulge lofty conceits of my own know­ledge, nor sollicitous thoughts of a great esteem for piety,Rom. 12. 3 proudly lifting up my self a­bove other humble and holy servants of God:1 Cor. 15. 9. but to evi­dence a quiet and meek spirit in all professions and actions.1 Pet 3. 4.

Quest. What is the second re­spect in which consists the sobriety of thy mind?

Ans. 1 Cor. 10. 10. Not to torture my mind with discontents in the state and condition God hath placed me,Phil. 4. 11. 12. whatsoever it is: be­ing humbly thankfull for the portion of blessings he hath al­lowed me,1 Tim. 6. 6, 7, 8. and quie [...]ly sober and meek in all adversities,1 Cor. 10. 31. judging them best for me,2 Sam. 16 10. because the merciful providence of my God hath ordered them unto me.

Quest. What sobriety doth the Gospel oblige thee to observe,1 Co [...]. 6. ult. as to the use of thy body?

Ans. It respects first the sober [Page 60] use of my tongue, Secondly of my body as to chastity, Third­ly, as to Temperance.

Quest. Great insobrieties be­ing expressed in our discourses, and a world of evil committed by the tongue:Jam. 3. 6. What directions dost thou take, as to thy▪ holy [...]arriage towards God, in the sober use thereof?

Ans. To avoid all discourses against piety,1 Pet. [...]. 10 and mixing Re­ligion, or Scripture in any vain mer [...]iments,Eph. 4. 29. 1 Co. 15. 33. andiall discourses against charity, as slandering, detracting, judging, censuring, or whatso-ever tends to the lessening of another:Tit. 3. 2. To a­void all boasting and glorying of our own worth and abili­ties,Mat. 7. 1. or insulting over another mans infirmities,Eph. 4. 25. to avoid all ly­ing, diss [...]mbling,Eph. 5. 4. foolish jesting, and superfluity of talking.2 Cor. 10. 15. All which are very inconsistent with the strict sobriety of a Christians carriage, and con­versation.

[Page 61] Quest. In the next place what is the command of the Gospel, for the sober use of thy body, as to chastity?

Ans. 2 Cor. 6. 16 2 Cor. 10. 8. Not to defile my body (which is the temple of the Holy Ghost) in the time of my virginity,1 Thes. 4. 5 with any impurity, and in my m [...]trimoniall estate to keep my bed undefiled,Heb. 13. 4. knowing, that Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

Quest, But are onely the very acts of uncleannesse forbidden by the Gospel of Christ?

Ans. Mat. 5 28. 1 Cor. 5 9 1 Cor. 7. 1 2 Pet. 2. 14 No; A l wanton looks also with lust are accounted Adultery, much more all un­chast discourses, and immodest actions,Rom. 13. 13. all cham [...]ering, wan­tonnesse, and lasciviousnesse, are sins against this Gospel holi­nesse.

Qu [...]st. What sobriety doth the Gospel oblige men to, as to tempe­rance?

Answ. Such as concern the [Page 62] temperate use of eating and drinking.

Quest. What is thy duty and Christian temperance, as to eating?

Ans. Luk. 6. 25. To make conscience of all immoderate eating with desigue of pleasure,Luk. 21. 34 or giving fuell to lusts: of all unreasonable choicenesse for varieties and de­licacies,1 Pet. 4. 3. to the su [...]fetting my body, and unfitting me for the holy exercises to God, and the offices of my calling.

Quest. How is the holinesse of the Gospel preserved, as to sobriety in drinking?

Ans. Eph. 5. 18. Not only not to be drunk with wine and strong liquours,Isa. 5. 11. but also not to drink immode­rately of them, more then is consistent with the severity of a sober and Christian carriage;Amos 6. 6 much more not to pull another mans sin upon me, by tempt­ing, or urging him to drink.

Quest. What other seasonable ad­vice may be given to prevent a com­pliance [Page 63] with this intemperate age?

Ans. 1 Cor. 6. 10. Besides that no drun­kard shall inherit the Kingdom of heaven,Gal. 5. 21. drunkennesse is a sin that is attended with a compli­cation of evils and infelicities,Isa. 28. 8. every one of which were e­nough to make it as odious to men, as it is to God.

Quest. Now because we have (with this direction) arrived at the last period of our discourse, name some of them, though you digresse to a little disproportion to the bre­vity of the method?

Ans. It is a sin, which as it certainly makes a man to be no good man, so it maketh him to be no man at all, and by its de­bauchery gives not a man the honour to be so sensible as a beast. It fills the mad society with the shame of every mans infirmity, it makes it a scene of apish gestures, brawls, mur­ders, oaths, cursings, and susts, It makes a man a fatall gover­nour, [Page 64] a loathsome husband, a shamefull parent, a disobedient child, a carelesse servant, and an untrusty friend. It turns a mans body to a deluge and marsh of humours, and an hospital of dis­eases; it shortens his dayes, he dies, and his soul that he drowned in his life, sinks into a lake of fire,Luk. 16. 24 where one drop will not be allowed to alleviate his eternall thirst.

Thus thou hast finished the third and last Condition of the Gospel, with the whole course of a Christians life, in which he ought to walk, if ever he intend to be accepted to salvation in Christ; the Lord give thee an heart to desire, & power to per­form it.Eph. 3. 20. 3 [...]. Now unto him that is a­ble to do excee [...]ing abundantly, above all that we are able to ask or think; according to the pow­er that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ J [...]sus, [...]hroughout all ages, world without end, Amen.

Satisfactions About the DOCTRINE OF GRACE, In order to the clear­ing some doubts, which may hinder the Purposes and Attempts of obeying the GOSPEL.

Satisfactions About the DOCTRINE OF Grace.

AFter these Directi­ons to a strict and severe profession of Christian ho­linesse, some un­happy, (yet too commonly received) principles, have made it necessary to ad­joyn some other Considerati­ons to remove many possible scruples, which being collected from those principles, do natu­rally impede the chearfull un­dertaking this attempt of ho­ly [Page 68] living. Now these Conside­rations will be of two sorts' First, such as concern the do­ctrine of Grace, Secondly, such as concern an outward Profes­sion in some visible Church.

Quest. As to the first, it is fit to enquire (lest thou be discoura­ged in the beginning) whence thou mayest expect ability to perform these conditions of the Gospel-Co­venant,2 Cor. 3. 5. being of thy self unable to think a good thought,Joh. 6. 65. of, or for thy self?

Ans. 1 Cor. 15. 10. Onely from the assist­ance of the Grace of God, who worketh in me to will and to do of his free mercy,Phil. 2. 13. 2 Cor. 12. 9. which grace is sufficient for me in all parts of holinesse: so that though I can do nothing of my self, yet I can do all things, through Christ that strengtheneth me.Phil. 4. 13.

Quest. What assurance hast thou, that God will vouchsafe to thee such assistance of his Grace?

Answ. I have so much assu­rance [Page 69] of it,Rom. 14. 15. as that Christ die [...] for me, which is as sure as I am a son of Adam (in Adam all dye,Rom. 5. 18 2 Cor. 5. 14, 15. in Christ are all made alive) as sure as he that hath given me Christ,1 Tim, 2. 6 2 Pet. 2. 1. will together with him, give me all things besides,Rom. 8. 32. ne­cessary to my salvation: as sure as I have an honourable belief, that that God which gave me a condition for salvation,Rev. 2, 21. will not deny me a sufficient power to perform it.Phil, 1. 6.

Quest. How dost thou expect or believe, that God will be pleased to work this Grace in thee?

Ans. Rom. 8. 11 Ordinarily by making the internall office of the Holy Ghost,Ioh. 3. 5. r Cor. 6. 11 2 Cor. 5. 19 20. the outward admini­strations of the Word and Sa­craments, and oftentimes by o­thersweet overtures of his visi­ble providence,Rom. 10. 14. to be instru­mentall to the working of it;Luk. 7. 37 Luk. 15. 17 though besides them I believe God exercises other wayes,Luk. 2 [...]. 4 [...]. means and instruments known [Page 70] onely to himself, as mens pre­sent needs and other individu­all circumstances, are seen by his wisdome, to be fitting op­portunities of mercy. But in what manner, that is, in what proportions, or order, (whe­ther in this, or that degree, or whether this Grace or that hath the priority) it is distribu­ted; or whether he gives it by irresistable impulsion, or by re­sistable swasion, whether by a Physicall or a morall impressi­on, and many such like unedi­fying curiosities, I altogether lay them aside, humbly concei­ving the work of Grace in the will of man, a mystery not to be unfolded, and a point (as to such enquiries) indeterminable: so I account such Controversies about them, not onely very un­necessary and impertinent, but very occasionall to the making of parties and factions among the learned, and of creating [Page 71] troubles and discouragements to the pious of all sorts, in their purposes and attempts of living according to Gospel-conditi­ons. I say, passing by such rid­dles of dispute, it is a sufficient argument and ground to sup­port and incourage my soul in all religious enterprises, that I am ascertained (whatsoever the manner or method of Gods working his grace in me be) that he will not be wanting to afford me such a proportion of it as shall be sufficient to begin,Phil. 1. 6. pursue, and finish the work of salvation in me.

Quest. Joh. 12. 40 But some Texts of Scri­pture seems to weaken this your as­surance;Matth. 13. 14. as, that God will blind some mens eyes, and harden their hearts, that they shall not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart.Rom. 9. 18. V. 15. And that whom he will, he hardeneth, and there be some on whom he will not have mercy. What may be said of such [Page 72] like Texts, and inferences from Scripture, that may administer comfort?

Ans. That such acts of Gods justice in taking away or deny­ing grace, in reprobating, and casting off, are only subsequent to the despising and neglecting the foregoing offers of his grace, and visitations of mer­cy. This truth is fully eviden­ced in many instances of Scrip­ture. As first St.Rom. 1. 24. 28. Paul in his Epi­stle to the Romans affirmes, that it was, because when They knew God, they worshipped him not as God, &c. Therefore he gave them up, &c. And because they changed the truth of God into a lye, &c. Therefore he gave them up to a re­probate mind, 2 Thes. 2. 10. &c. In another place he writes, that the power of Antichrist shall become effe­ctual to the destruction of ma­ny, and that they should be­lieve a lye &c. But it is of such as before received not the love of [Page 73] the truth, 1 Pet. 2. 8. that they might be saved. St. Peter tells us that they to whom Christ should become a stumbling-block, and a Rock of offence, are such, as were first disobedient to him. And this way of God is most conspicu­ous in his dealing with his peo­ple the Jewes (to whom those places in the question, chiefly referre.) For his severity upon them,Rom. 11. 22 was only unto such that first fell from him. They had a day of mercy which they de­spised, after which it was just with God to make it a time of hardening and excluding them from mercy. Which when God shall so do,Rom. 9. 20 what art thou, O man, that thou shouldst question his justice, or reply against him,V. 21. who hath pow­er as a Potter over his clay, to make some vessells to honour, and some to dishonour? when some accept, others reject and despise his grace. Therefore Gods wayes [Page 74] are [...]equal. That this truth may yet be fully signified,Luk. 8. 5, &c. we argue that the stony and other unprofitable grounds, wanted not their seed: the unfruitful tree had its husbandry,Luk. 13. 7. manu­ring, and long forbearance, be­fore it was sentenced to be cut down:Luk. 14. 17 The refusing guests at the great Supper had their invi­tation. To conclude,Luk. 19. 42 Ierusalem had a day of visitation, in which they neglected the things of their peace, before the fearful sentence was past, that they should be hid from their eyes. From all which it followes, that to want grace, to be hardened, to be a vessel of dishonour, can be no arguments to suspect God will deny such grace and suffi­cient spiritual assistancies, but ra­ther motives to beware of the abuse and neglect of grace when it is offered, lest we for­feit our peace by neglecting the day of mercy.

[Page 75] Quest. But further, may I not fear to be shut out from grace, and all hopes of salvation, by a fatal and irrevocable reprobation from eternity, the necessary consequence of an irrespective decree for the salvation of some?

Ans. I know some places of Scripture have administred oc­casion of endless dispute, where­in men have waded (as in the dark,) into an abyss of doubts of unfathomed depth, and by their passionate disceptations even to uncharitablenesse, (about that which (I am confident) is no further revealed, then what may make it necessary to be ac­knowledged a mystery, and to put reason to a trial, to sub­mit to that which it could never comprehend by any enquiries) have made conclusions about the point, which (in naturâ rei) will, have, and must hinder, and put a barre against a lively undertaking the purposes of [Page 76] strict Gospel-obediencence, and weaken the applications of Gods grace, in pressing endea­vours to work out salvation, by the performance of the conditi­ons of the holy Covenant. There­fore passing by the enumerations of the differing opinions of the divines both of the Romish and Protestant faith, & laying aside all examination of such secluse secrecies of God, and all unne­cessary disputes about them, I set up my rest in this one thing, that I am comfortably confident, that whatsoever Gods election and predestination is, it doth not contradict his promises of mercy, nor his end of giving Christ unto the world, both which (by the universal scope of the Gospel) are general and conditional. And it is the do­ctrine of the Church of England in the end of the seventeenth Article, that we must receive Gods promises in such wise, as they [Page 77] be generally set forth to us in holy Scripture: and in our doings, that will of God is to be followed, whi [...]h we have expressely declared unto us in the Word of God.

Quest. Another scruple yet oc­curres, that if salvation through Christ shall be given to them only that perform the conditions, when I consider the weakness of my faith, the defects of my repentance, and my innumerable failings in every part of the performancies of holy living, I find nothing but argu­ments of discouragement, and little hopes of being accepted to salvati­on: How may I satisfy my soul in such a discomfort?

Ans. Though (as it is evi­dent) that the faith, repentance and holinesse of Gods best ser­vants have ever been, and shall ever be defective and imperfect, they being unable, through their corruptions, perfectly to perform those Gospel-conditi­ons; yet is God pleased to ac­cept [Page 78] of their faithfull and sin­cere endeavour to fulfill them. For the state of Grace doth not necessarily suppose a soule ex­empt from all sin,1 Joh. 1. ult. but from the reigning power, rule, and domi­nion of it:Rom. 6. 12 and a safe condition towards God, is not to be ac­counted by a freedome from all sinning, (who then could ap­peare before God, and the re­flections of his own concience with comfort?) but is to be col­lected by observation, that the spiritual part hath the greatest predominancy in the thoughts, affections,Gal. 5. 24. designes, and actions; and that the lusts and carnall part are lesse, and every day les­sening, by the power of the predominant grace. In which estate the failings and defects being suddenly retracted, and the soule humbled for them,1 Io. 2. 1. are unquestionably pardoned through the blessed plea and advocation of Christs precious [Page 79] merits,Heb. 7. 25. and his never ceasing in­tercession.

Quest. Now because you have mentioned such an hope of pardon by the merits of Christ; I conceive it will tend much to thy satisfacti­on in the first attempt, and in the whole course of obeying the Gospel, rightly to understand what Christ hath merited for thee, that thy soul may know what comforts to rejoyce in, for what mercies to blesse God, and what duties stand on thy ac­count to be performed. What there­fore hath Christ as a Mediatour and Redeemer merited for thee?

Ans. Heb. 8. 6. A new Covenant of Grace,Rom. 5. 8. whereby man being at present enmity with God,Mat. 18. 11 might be reconciled to him, and being in a lost estate, might be recovered and redeemed to life and salvation. Now the whole work of Redemption may be represented in these five effects of his death, and me­diation.

[Page 80] Quest. What is the first?

Ans. Gal. 1. 14. Christ hath, by his uni­versal passion,Rom. 5. 9, 10. especially by his death and price of his blood,Ioh. 1. 29. sa­tisfied and attoned the justice of God for the sins of the world, to become effectual to the justi­fication and salvation of as ma­ny,Ioh. 1. 12. as shall by faith accept of him upon his own terms,Heb. 5. 9. re­ceive his grace, and sincerely perform the conditions of the Covenant.

Quest. What is the second?

Ans. Christ hath merited, that those conditions should not be (like the lawes imposed upon the Iewes) numerous, troublesome, full of business and attendance, to shadowie rites and ceremonies: but should be­come a light burden, Mat. 11. 29, 30. an easie and pleasant yoke; and that his Com­mandements should not be grievous, 1 Ioh. 5 3. but should become approveable to right reason, and acts in themselves of the greatest pru­dence, [Page 81] and most conducible to the peace and felicity of all so­cieties and persons.

Quest. Gal. 3. 13. You see here a most blessed progresse of mercy to man­kind: first a dreadful justice sa­tisfied (which the sacrifice of worlds could never have done) by the suffering of him that was both God and Man: then secondly, a condition propounded in a law, which man could not but have gi­ven himself, had God allowed him a capacity to have chosen one, where­by to have made himself blessed, even in this life. What is the third?

Ans. That though the con­ditions be thus pleasant in their exercise, approveable in their own nature, and so successefull in their end; yet such is natu­rally the infelicity of man, that his whole frame being corrupt­ed, and depraved, and having in all parts and faculties such a general ineptitude, and averse­nesse [Page 82] to his owne principall good, and so proclive a dispo­sition to all evill to love and pursue it, that (I say) how excellent soever those conditi­ons be, yet he is altogether una­ble to perform them (by any power in himself) as to accom­plish an impossibility.Rev. 21. 6. Therefore in the third place,Iam. 4 6. Christ hath merited that there should be gi­ven to man a new principle of life,Heb 13. 21 that is, (by Gods grace) an ability to perform those condi­tions acceptably to God, ha­ving the mercy to receive of his fulnesse Grace for Grace. Ioh. 1. 12. To cure therefore the erringnesse of our nature, the Holy Spirit is sent a Guide to direct into all truth. Ioh. 16. 13. When the darknesse of our de­praved understanding impedes the work, it is then a spirit of wisdome to enlighten.Eph. 1. 13. When our infirmities render us unable for the duties of the Gospel, then it is a Spirit of might, Eph. 3. 16. to [Page 83] strengthen us with power in the in­ner man. When our naturall aversenesse to good, hinders our comming to Christ, the work of mercy is to draw us in unto him.Ioh. 6. 44. And that which summes up all the comforts of this kind in one, is this, that these and all other spiritual assistances shall not be denied us in our wants, when by prayer we seek for Grace to help in time of need;Heb. 4. 16. especially when our addresses (in such cases) to God are made, by Him,Heb. 7. 25. who ceaseth not to make intercession for us.

Quest. Is there now after all this, a further necessity of another degree of Christs merits and medi­ation?

Ans. Yes: For though (as you even now said) the Command­ments are not grievous, and the spiritual assistance powerful, to enable the soule to performe them, yet still (such is the cor­ruption of nature, and the direct [Page 84] opposition of our carnal part to Christ,Gal. 5. 17. and his government) that no man can perform the conditions without innume­rable and intolerable imper­fections (as was also even now intimated) Therefore in the fourth place (see the ex­ceeding riches of Grace, and persuancy of mercy) he hath merited, that though our obe­dience be defective, yet if it be sincere, (upon our humiliati­on for those failings,1 Joh. 2. 1. and endea­vours, to withstand them in fu­ture) it should be accepted, the sins pardoned, and the soul de­livered from the hell, that was the due,Rom. 6. ult. and proper wages of every one of those sins.

Quest. Though the mercies you have already mentioned, reach unto the clouds, and (by a just ac­knowledgement of their greatnesse) have out stript wonder, and silenced even hope it self: yet because you mentioned a fifth effect of the me­rits [Page 85] and mediation of Christ; where is the the necessity, and blessednesse of that to be discovered?

Ans. That forasmuch as whatsoever degree of holinesse, a soul (by Gods grace) may ar­rive unto, and how accepta­ble soever the performancies of a sincere heart may be to that God,Es. 42. 3. who will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoak­ing flax, upon termes of mercy, yet cannot that soul by any such holinesse or obedience,Luk. 17. 10 deserve or merit the least of mercies,Rom. 11. 6 for its future well-being. Woe to the holiest person that ever ser­ved Christ, if he should have no more comfort to come, then what he himself hath merited, or could challenge in justice,Mat. 10. 22 at the hands of God.Rom. 2. 7. In the last last place therefore Christ hath merited and mediated,Rom. 1 [...]. 22 that so many as shall truly persevere, in such faithful and sincere per­formance of all the conditions, [Page 86] and continue their ingagement to him, to obey him in all his commands, unto their lives ends: shall not only be delive­red from hell and destruction, but shall also (O unsearchable treasures of Grace, and stupen­dous love!) inherit a portion of the greatest felicity, which is to see God as he is,1 Ioh. 3. 2. and to possesse a mansion of immutable rest,Ioh. 14. 1. of his own preparing, & that man­sion to be a Kingdom,Mat. 18. 3. and that a Kingdom of glory;Rom. 2. 7. & that glory of an exceeding weight:2 Cor. 4. 17. where every subject (having been here an heir,Rom. 8. 17 and co-heir with Christ) shall be a spirituall King,Rev. 1. 6. his reign and honour immortal,2 Tim. 4. 8. and crown eternall.

By this discourse I finde my self fully satisfied in all my scru­ples about the particulars con­tained in the questions, and all my discouragements removed, that might hinder the underta­king a life according to those [Page 87] strict rules of holinesse. And now as I cannot but glorify God, for a work of so infinite a mercy in his servants, having made the promises, rules, and arguments, to be religious, and consequently blessed; as evident as the light, and as certain as a demonstration: so I cannot but justify him in the condemnati­on of the wicked; That he should make the Gospel to be­come a milstone, to fall upon, and grinde them to powder, because they despised it;Mat, 10. 15 and that the case of Sodom and Go­morrah should be more tolera­ble at the day of judgement,Mat. 11. 23 then theirs.Heb. 2. 3. For how shall they escape that have neglected so great salvation? Let every evil man therefore that despiseth the grace of God offered in Christ, and that chuseth rather to satisfy his vain lusts, then to give up his soul to his domini­on, (I say, let every such person) [Page 88] know, that there is no true peace for him in this life, no­thing but horrour at his dying houre, a curse at the great judg­ment, and after that an hell to all eternity. And all this justly, because he despised so tender a love of a merciful God, so dear a suffering of a gracious Jesus, so importunate swasions of the holy Spirit: and with all these, rejected such sweet precepts, upon promises of infinite re­wards.

Satisfactions OF DOUBTS About the Visible Profession OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND, And its MINISTERY.

Satisfactions of Doubts about the visible Profession of the Church of England, and its MINISTERY.

FOrasmuch as there be many outward differ­ing professions of Chri­stianity in the world, and as many (if not more) in this nation, as in all the world be­sides; so that many pious spirits may stand amazed, and doubt­full, which way to take, in such various and inconsistent tracts; and by that amazement are dis­couraged to adjoyn themselves to any, and unconfident in that way they have assumed: I have thought it necessary, thou shouldst account some short di­rections, (proportionable to the businesse in hand) that may [Page 92] best establish, and quiet the re­volutions and doubts of thy mind, the more cheerfully to undertake a religious life, and to confirme thee in the professi­on in which thou standest: What therefore are such di­rections?

Ans. First to beware of such a Profession, and Religion, that hath no other ground, but the pretence of the light and imme­diate gifts, and inspirations of the Spirit, to guide men to, and in it. For such a profession must be very unsafe and dangerous, for these reasons.

First,1. Reas. because there hath been no succession of any such imme­diate light or revelations, since the Apostles age: when they were necessary, that the whole way of Christs first planting his Church, might, in all circum­stances, be purely miraculous. Since which time, no Church of Christ in any place, or at any [Page 93] time have made profession upon that ground, till the late Enthu­siasts in Germany, and England. For certainly, if that had been the ground of professing Christ, that Church which is a City on a hill, and that Gospel which is the Mountaine of the Lord, would not have left us without all evidence and president, in such a long space of time. But if they please to conclude the whole Christian world in dark­nesse, from the Apostles times to this period, though they think it nothing to condemn so many ages, to uphold their own phantasmes, yet I ask them how the promise to the Church was effected, when Christ engaged to send the Spi­rit of truth, to guide them into all truth; if fourteen or fifteen hundred years together, the whole Church so foully er­red, by a false, unlawful, and Antichristian profession? But [Page 94] because they lay clayme to such immediate gifts of the Spirit, (without the subministration of learning, education in Sciences and Tongues, and such like preparations of the understand­ing for spirituall knowledge) from the examples of the Apo­stles, I further require of them, why they pretend to some of those miraculous gifts, and not to all, as gifts of tongues, heal­ing, and the like, which were the significations and proofs, that the other gifts and them­selves were of God. When therefore their ordinary dis­courses, pretended raptures, prayings, and preachings are delivered by them, & owned to be the inspirations of the Spirit, which may proceed from other naturall dexterities, and acqui­red helps, and having no other miraculous gifts, as of tongues and healing, and the like; as the Apostles had, to prove [Page 95] them to be so, their own asser­tions are very fallible, and the profession dangerous and un­safe.

Secondly,2. Reas. such a professinn is unsafe, because upon that ground, the devill hath the most certain advantage of de­ceiving men indiscoverably, when they shall once be per­swaded to follow the voyce and dictate of an indemonstrable spirit, in themselves, or others. Whence is that seasonable inhi­bition of the Apostle;1 Joh. 4. 1. Beleeve not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God; for many false Prophets are gone out into the world. From which Scrip­ture I inferre these observations, to strengthen the argument against such a profession. First, Beleeve not every spirit, because there be several sorts of spirits, all false, but one: There is a lying spirit,1 Chro. 18. 20. and a perverse spirit, or the spirit of errour, [Page 96] as the Septuagint renders it,Es [...]y 19. 14. A mans own spirit, [...]. which is his opinion and fancy, there is also the spirit of the world, which is the common humour and bent of every present time.1 Cor. 2. 11 V. 12. These and many of this sort will be pretenders to guide, as the Spi­rit of God. Therefore when I am tempted to beleeve any thing, upon the bare pretence of the Spirit, in what great dan­ger am I in, to be guided by a false spiitit, there being many to one true Spirit of God? Second­ly, But try the spirits, that is, those false spirits shall be so likened to the true Spirit of God, in so grear an assimulation, that they are not to be distinguished without trial and examination. And this is no wonder,2 Cor. 11., 13, 14. when Satau himself can transform him­self into an Angel of light, and his deceitful agents to be like the true Apostles of Christ. Now as the difficulty of discerning [Page 97] and consequently the danger of such a profession) of the true Spirit from the false, ariseth from their similitude; so also much more in respect of what reason I have to suspect my self, as unable to try and examine them aright. First, because when I consider how easily my judgement is deceived in things obvious to sense, as in civil diffe­rences, and outward affaires, how much more fallible must that my judgement be, in discri­minating secret and invisible spirits, lying under the cunning artificies of devils and evil men, who, by them, attempt to se­duce weak soules? Secondly, when I consider how easily I may be prejudicated, and if fo, how soon, and certainly decei­ved. When a prejudgement hath once passed upon the mind, in the worst cause that ever was, how doth every like­lyhood make an argument, eve­ry [Page 98] fallacious argument growes into a demonstration, and eve­ry mans discourse of the same judgement, shall have an indul­gence and a beleefe: But every argument and advising person to the contrary, shall be suffici­ently answered with nothing, but a suspicion and a con­tempt. Therefore when I am tempted to a religion or pro­fession upon the pretence of the Spirit, to what dangers do I expose my self? lest I should not (through the want of, or a pre­judicated judgement) distin­guish the true Spirit from the false, when they are both made as like, as light to light. Third­ly, because many false Prophets, &c. which inferres, that false Prophets when they come, (be­cause their [...]ofession is against the ground of all visible eviden­ces) must pretend a Spirit: It being the common artifice of seducers, to muffle up the un­derstandings [Page 99] of their followers, by alledging something that is high and undiscernable: like some Astronomers, who betray their disciples to a ditch or a cheat, by causing them to look up with wonder, to some ima­ginary Scheme of nothing. So that still fuch a profession must needs be unsafe, because it is forewarned and prophesied, that false Prophets when they come, shall have this mark up­on them, they shall pretend a Spirit.

Lastly, if the pretended ground of being directed by an immediate light of the Spirit were true, (and consequently safe) there could be no professi­on more regular and certain; the same Spirit will alwayes di­ctate the same thing. But we see that the pretenders to the Spirit, are divided into Legions of factions, Anabaptists, Cata­baptists, Antitrinitarians, Anti­scripturists, [Page 100] Ranters, Quakers, and many such of like sort; among which, not one Sect agrees with another, nor two Congregati­ons of the same Sect among themselves, nor scarcely the members of the same Congrega­tion one with another, and very seldome the same member at any one time, with what he was himself a little before. And yet all pretend the Spirit of God for their guide, from whence their several opinions are as unlikely to proceed, as that the two Poles should center in one point, or that contradictions might be reconciled. How then canst thou be safe? with what Sect wilt thou joyn profession? with what Congregation of that Sect? with what part of that Congre­gation? and then in what opini­ons wilt thou joyn? such as they maintained last year, or those they now hold, or such as they are like to take up the next? [Page 101] Now to strengthen the argu­ment, it is observed that such divisions and subdivisions a­mong those that fall from the Churches unity, are significant marks of their falsity, and that they are not of the true Spirit of God. Irenaeus reports of the Valentinians, Lib. 1. c. 5. that when they were very numerous, scarce two or three agreed in the same opinions. And S. Austin of the Donatists, Lib. 1. de Bapt. c. 6. that in his time they were cut asunder, and divided into very many small pieces & factions: and the same may be observed by almost all the ancient remarkable here­sies: And how much of this ob­servation falls upon such as have departed from us, I leave to the impartial Reader to judge.

Qu. But do you follow no directi­ons of the Spirit in your profession?

Ans. Yes; in these foure wayes or respects. First, I fol­low the guidance of the holy Scriptures, as they were given [Page 102] by inspiration of the holy Spirit.2 Tim. 3. 16. Secondly, I follow the examples, pattern,2 Thes. 3. 6 and Doctrines of the first Churches which were planted by the Apostles, and Apostolick men of the first age, who were directed by the ex­traordinary gifts of the Spirit, as of prophesying, tongues, and miraculous healing, as was then expedient for the conviction of the world, that they were from God. Thirdly, I follow that light of truth, which the univer­sall Church of Christ have kept and preserved, as to all times and places: which I beleeve to be the effect of Christs pro­mise of sending his Spirit of truth,Ioh. 16. 13. to guide into all truth. Fourthly, I follow the direction of the holy Spirit,Ioh. 6. 45. whereby I am taught of God, that is, in­structed and inabled by his pre­venting and assisting grace, to lead a holy life,1 Cor. 2. 15 and to have my judgement spiritualized, that I [Page 103] may mind, desire, discern, and design spiritual things. Now whatsoever new light is preten­ded inconsistent with the holy Scriptures so interpreted, by the common judgement of the first planters, and the Churches nearest them; or that shall de­stroy the All-truth of the Spirit in fundamentals maintained and confirmed by universal professi­on: or that consists not with godlines, and the Gospel-rules of a holy life, mercy, charity, peace­ablenesse, justice, and the like; I dare not embrace any new light upon the grounds fore­mentioned.

Quest. What is your second di­rection or caveat?

Ans. To beware of such a profession, that hath no other ground then a plea from Srip­ture, upon private interpretati­on: which ground (though it hath not produced such mon­strous effects of errour, as the [Page 104] former, yet hath been more dangerous, and destructive to the Churches peace and unity. Now the unsafetinesse of such a profession in the first place ap­peares, because the most absurd hereticks of the ancient Church, in bringing in their then novel errours, (as plainly and unde­niably appeares by the practi­ces and histories of the Mani­chees, Arians, Sabellians, Pela­gians, Donatists, and others) when they would no otherwise accomplish their enviousnesse against the then present Church, departed from its communion upon new principles of dange­rous consequence, and cried up Scripture for their cause. A te­stimony or two I may instance in,Lib. de praes. adv. Herit c. 15. consule to­tum caput. from the Ancients instead of many. Tertullian speaking of hereticks, saith, That when they perswade of matters of faith, but out of the writings of faith, they pretend the Scriptures, and by such [Page 105] boldnesse move many to them. To the same purpose Athanasius. Orat cont. Arian. Endure not those that perswade you to new things, contrary to the faith received, although they antho­rize them from the holy Scriptures. In the next place, I shall fur­ther adde as a reason to suspect the unsafetinesse of such a pro­fession, the fatall infelicities and irreconcileable differencies, that have alwayes befallen the Church, but especially in these last ages, upon the presumption of private interpretation; where­by every man, as he hath been indulgent to his own opinion (which either education, preju­dice, advantage or ignorance, hath inclined his spirit to) so hath he decided and determi­ned the controversies of the Church, or made new ones, worse then the former. And I am confident, were there a thousand cells, and so many of our pri­vate Interpreters in them, obli­ged [Page 106] to passe their judgements to determine the controverted doctrines, to make a confession of faith, to marshall a Church-government, to form a service and worship of God from the Scriptures by their private in­terpretations, and they all supposed to lay aside those few principles, which they have con­tinued from the received do­ctrines and practices of the Church, and no singling of prin­ciples one to another; we should soon and certainly find a proge­ny of a thousand several religi­ons and professions. Now the main reason is this; though the holy Scriptures be in themselves most perspicuous and plain, as to the direction of life and man­ners, for which cause David calls them, a light to his feet, and lan­thorn to his paths; yet, as to the deep mysteries of faith, and the determination of many conside­rable emergent controversies of [Page 107] doctrine and government; God hath pleased to deliver his truths in so dark and abstruse a man­ner, that they that want humi­lity to hear the common judge­ment of the Churches of Christ, and their received interpretati­ons, may easily be delivered over by God, to find argu­ments enough in Scripture, to captivate and satisfy a private and prejudicate spirit in any er­rour of religion, wresting the Scripture to their own destru­ction. 2 Pet. 3. 16.

Quest. In what manner do you hold the direction of the Scriptures, and their interpretation, as to your profession?

Ans. First, I acknowledge the Blessed Scriptures to be the rule of faith, the end and deci­sion of all controversies; and where they are clear and evi­dent, I submit my soul to them, as to the final end of all my en­qu [...]ries and doubts.

[Page 108] Secondly, in the things that God hath pleased should be doubtfully delivered, (which is occasioned, either from some difficulty in the Idiome, or from seeming difference with other places, requiring curious distin­ctions; or when the expres­sions are clad and darkened, with tropes and figures, which are frequent in Scriptures; or Lastly, when the Scriptures are occasionall, and a due conside­ration of the time when, and the persons to whom they were spoken, or written, is necessary to the understanding of them) I say in things so doubtfully de­livered, as to doctrine or go­vernment, I submit my private reason, and opinion, to the grand interpretation, and common consent of the first Churches, for these reasons.

First, because they were unin­terested in our present controver­sies, & so without danger of be­ing [Page 109] byassed by passion; and they ordinarily lying under persecu­tions, were not likely to gratify an errour, for any private or worldly regards. Secondly, be­cause they had most reason to know what were the practices of the Apostles, and Apostoli­cal men, most certain guides to follow, in controverted and doubtful points of Government, and the circumstantial parts of religion. Their footsteps, which had so lately planted the Chur­ches of Christ, could not be so soon worn out, but that they left discernable tracts, for their im­medate successors, to walk in. Thirdly, they knew better the occasions of the Apostles wri­tings, and other co-incident cir­cumstances, of the then present times; to which many passages of great concernment do refer, which a private person laying aside Antiquity, would be farre enough from discerning, and so [Page 110] most likely to mistake the mean­ing of them, being ignorant of the scope and drift of such holy expressions. For these reasons it is, that the learned professors of this Church, have offered the trial of the established professi­on by Scripture, so interpreted, against all its adversaries. And I will instance onely in that yet unanswered appeal of the Authour against Fisher the Jesuit in these words.Page 53. That all the po­sitive Articles of the Church of England, Sect. 15. are grounded upon Scrip­ture, we are contented to be judg­by the joynt and constant beleef of the Fathers which lived within four or five hundred years after Christ, when the Church was at the best; and by the Councels held within those times, and to submit to them in all those points of doctrine.

Quest. What is the third dire­ction?

Ans. Not to embrace a reli­ligion, that is taken up contrary [Page 111] to a received profession, upon the credit of the plausible beha­viour, and smoorh conversa­tion of the promoters and lea­ders of it. The unsafetinesse of such a profession may be easily observed, and concluded. First, because it is observable, that when our Saviour gives a caveat concerning false Prophets, he foretels them not distinguisha­ble by their outward behaviour: For though they shall be rave­ing wolves inwardly, Mat. 7. 14. that is, in their designes of turning the Church of Christ, yet shall they cover their villany with sheeps cloathing, that is, so great a proportion of framed sanctimo­ny and formed piety, outward innocency and humility, or so much of either, or all of them, as may advance a reputation of their new doctrines, to a discon­tented or prejudicated people. This St. Paul calls the form of godlinesse, to uphold the credit of [Page 112] such as forsaking publick Assem­blies, shall creep into houses, 2 Tim. 3. 5 and lead captive silly women. And for such ends,2 Cor. 1 11 14. it is as easy a mat­ter for false Apostles to transform themselves into the Apostles of Christ, as for the devill himself to appear an Angel of light, as St. Paul argueth. And secondly, it is not only possible, for the grea­test enemies of Christ, in pursu­ance of their designes to put on such deceitful habits of outward holinesse, and therefore a new profession taken up upon that ground, very unsafe: But it is also necessary (and therefore the more dangerous) that such bringers in of new lights, and principles, must pretend to more then ordinary sanctity, having no other just or sembla­ble plea, to perswade or attract men to their misguidances. Now, though many sad expe­riences in these times may clearly evince this assertion, yet [Page 113] I appear to an universal observa­tion of the ancient enemies to truth in propagating their er­rours for a confirmation of it. Among which I may instance in one or two. St. Austin men­tioning the artificies of the Ma­nichees to deceive their follow­ers, the main was,Lib. de mo. Eccl. Cath. 1 Tom. 1. That they car­ried before them an appearance of a pure life, and memorable conti­nence. The next is of St. Basil, who affirmes of the Arrians, That for their fictitious holinesse, Epist. 82. they got a general beleef of their way. Now the great stratagem, in their design of personating such degrees of holinesse, zeal, & piety, is to take advantage, to check the imperfections and im­prudencies, into which the true Pastours of the Church, by time, and peace, have been betrayed: and to raise a repute to them­selves, by their odium, and acci­desital disgrace, which by such arts, they have attempted to [Page 114] put upon them with the people. Therefore such a profession, that is entertained onely upon the argument of outward sancti­ty, must needs be very unsafe, because the greatest enemies to Christian truth, have, will, and must palliate their notable changes in religion, by such pretences.

Quest. But what can you say for the defence of your profession, that may satisfy them that object against you, the corruptions of the lives of your Ministers, and Pro­fessors?

Ans. First, (we know, and can prove) that no profession in it self, containes doctrines of more universal submission to all the commands of Christ, nor principles more obliging to uni­ty, peace, or purity, to greater reverence, or more solemn wor­ship of God, to faithfuller subje­ction to authority, or purer cha­rity to man; then the received [Page 115] doctrines of the Church of Eng­land. Examine but this poore shadow of its religion, in this preceding Catechisme, and I challenge any man to an obje­ction, to shew what impieties to God, injustice to men, or unso­briety in our selves, in body, or mind, we allow.

That our Professors and Mi­nisters have not universally lived up to the purity of its doctrine, is as certainly true, as that all outward Professors of Christ, and alwayes have been a mixt company of good and bad, which the [...]et in the Gospel in­timates, to which the Kingdom of God (that is,Mat. 13. 47. the state of the Gospel) is likened: or, as that the very Apostles and first fol­lowers of Christ were so; or, as that St. Paul in most, if not in all his Epistles, especially to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 11, 21. and that in the very societies admitted to the Sacra­ment, clearly evinceth to be so: [Page 116] or Lastly, as certainly true, as that all the Churches of Christ have been so, in all ages and places. Now in this mixture, the numbers of hypocritical and loose Professors, and their deviations from the holiness of the Gospel, have been more or less, with respect to the times in which they lived, as they were more or lesse courted with peace and prosperity, or oppres­sed with adversities and perse­cutions. It often falling out, that the true Churches of Christ have at some times made the lesse visible progresse up the stream of piety, as the stronger torrents, and winds of contrary temptations, have borne them downe, and opposed them. So that to take offence and quarrel against a religion, or profession, upon the argument of the mixture of the professors, when the doctrines be pure and holy, is most unjust and unrea­sonable, [Page 117] and might be evineing against the best Churches of Christ that ever were, or will be, to the end of the world. It is true, it is a great felicity, and glory to a profession, when the numbers of Saints increase, and are predominant, when Gods honour is more generally pre­ferved, and his worship main­tained, godlinesse encouraged, and sin shamed, and strictly corrected: but, if in a corrupt age, it becomes otherwise, so loug as the established profession be holy in it self, there is no ar­gument to forsake her commu­nion, and much lesse to pursue a destruction, to the religion it self. They should rather con­tinue in it, take off the offence from it, and make it better by their exemplary living, then to make the offence worse, by de­parting from it, or to take the task of an enemy, to ruine and overthrow it. Now the result [Page 118] is this, the mixture of all the best Churches of Christ being chari­tably weighed, and the circum­stances of a long continued peace (which alwayes contracts the rust of corruption) and all other accidents of present tem­ptations considered, I am confi­dent no one period of time, ever presented a Church, that ever declared greater effects of piety, or produced a more numerous progeny of better Christians, then the Church of England hath done. And I challenge all the adversaries of this affli­cted Church, to evince my asser­tion, by any former president, or present example. As to the loud clamour of corruptions, in the lives of the Ministers of this Church, (by which they pre­tend to satisfy the world about their unparallel'd and unchristi­an usages of them, and indulge their own cruelties, by thinking they serve God while they de­vour [Page 119] them, as our Saviour pro­phesied) we are as willing to acknowledge and lament them, as they can be to suggest them. But that I may clearly take off the offence that is used as an ar­gument against the profession of this Church, by the allegation of such corruptions in the lives of its Ministers, I desire that these particulars may be charitably and impartially considered.

First,1. That the religion of this Church doth as little allow such corruptions, and gives as strong an obligation to the con­trary holinesse, and is as capa­ble of entertaining all possible se­curities for any present reform­ing, or future preventing such evils, as any Christian profession ever was, or any other can be. And if the loose reines of offi­cers, and the temptations of a corrupt and prosperous age, have occasioned much more er­rours of life in Ministers, then [Page 120] was suitable to so holy a calling, yet is not the lawfulnesse of their call to be justly impeached, nor the religion and Church it self chargeable with such corrup­tions.

Secondly, consider that in all the purest ages of Christian pro­fession, the Ministers did always evidence they had their honour in earthen vessels, that is, were men of common imperfections,Act. 14. 15. and subject to the same frailties which are coincident to other men. To prove which, I need not exceed my design of brevity, by making historical narrati­ons, through the several times of the Church, of the common failings of the Ministery in them. Account but the Apo­stles themselves,Ioh. 12. 6. and you may observe Judas to have been a thief and a devill;Mat. 26. 74 St. Peter to have not onely denied, but also to have forsworne our Saviour; St. Thomas grossely disbeleeved [Page 121] him, and they all once forsake him: who had they lived in this age, would have been ex­posed to Articles enough, to have ejected them from their Apostolical offices, called their standings in question, and to have given arguments to a ma­licious adversary, to have scru­pled their profession. Now if the fountains were defective, how could the streams of their successors be expected to be pure, and free from all corrup­tions? And because our adver­saries have exposed us to con­tempt for our imperfections, of which though we justly accuse our selves, and from our soules desire an universal amendment, yet we are willing to be tried by the state of the Ministery in any time, that our cunningest enemy can name for general de­fence, all circumstances consi­dered.

Thirdly, consider what an [Page 122] easie thing it is to contemne, when men are resolved to ac­cuse, and what an hard thing it is to be innocent, when a man layes at the foot of every fro­ward, and unreasonable distaste, and humour.

This evidently appears by the usage of our Blessed Saviour, who though he was the onely person that was purely innocent, yet there wanted not them,Joh. 9. 16. to make him guilty of great and high misdemeanours;Mat. 11. 19 he was accused as,Joh. 8. 48. and reputed a wine­bibber, a friend of Publicans and sinners,Joh. 10. 20. a Beelzebub, and Prince of devils;Mat. 12. 24. and when he came upon the Articles of his life,Mat. 26. 65. he was found guilty by te­stimony of blasphemy, and ma­ny other things as Pilate told him.Mat. 27. 13. And certainly were the lives of Gods best servants (sup­pose a Ministery) searched to the bottom of their times, and their single falls recorded, and [Page 123] that by malicious accusers (stu­dious to find defects, and resol­ved to quarrel) and so presented in the multiplying glass of dis­affection, to the view of the peo­ple already prejudicated by an ill opinion, who could be ac­counted innocent? or where would be found a Ministery or a person, which might not be called corrupted? How much of this case is ours, let the con­sciencies of adversaries attest.

Lastly, let our adversaries cool their fury, and consider what security they have above other men, to have their own next succeeding Clergy exemp­ted from corruptions after their enjoyments of peace, and the heats of opposition be digested, whether they can secure a pri­viledge for them above all ex­amples and common, inciden­cies to errour; or whether they would willingly have them suf­fer such a condemnation, which [Page 124] an ill-affected enemy, disposed to accuse, would fasten upon them. I think it not a noble or Christi-thing to search for mens faults or frailties, otherwise I might upon a good ground affirm, the Ministery of the newest stamp, and latest shift, guilty of as great failings in themselves, and to have been the occasion of as great offences in others, (though of another nature) as those for which we suffer so many indig­nities and uncivil usages. And I beleeve could the people see (and I wish they could) what the new Ministery would do in some few yeares of peace and power; I say I beleeve, they would think they had lost a Ministery.

Qnest. This discourse, though fully satisfying the scruples that may be objected concerning the lives of Ministers, yet leaves ano­ther knot untyed, which the ene­mies of our profession have cast [Page 125] upon the consciences of many weak, though well-disposed spirits, and that is concerning the lawfulnesse of their calling, as the Ministery of this Church now stands. In which I desire to see your satisfaction.

Ans. As to that point, though I might acquiesce in the various Treatises, with which many lear­ned persons have enlightned the world, against all the cxceptions of the adversaries to Ministery; yet for the satisfaction of every present Reader, I will subjoyn these two arguments, in their defence.

The first is from the effect of Ministery;1. Arg. an argumentation, which our Saviour intimates, ought to be used in this very case, to discriminate true Mini­stery from false Prophets;Mat. 7. 20. Ye shall know them by their fruits. And blessed St. Paul, that could have brought Angels, and men, and the plea of an immediate send­ing from God, to the proof of [Page 126] his high and miraculous separa­tion, is pleased to argue for his Apostleship, with his Corinthi­ans, from the effect of the same among them.1 Cor. 9. 2. For (saith he) the zeal of my Apostleship are ye in the Lord. Now whatsoever effects, and fruits, are judged producible from the true Mini­stery of Christ, to demonstrate them such, have been eminently brought forth by the Ministery of this national Church. What grace was there ever eminent in any Christian Church, that hath not as apparently been demonstrable in this? what heavenly members of Christs Kingdome, have shined in every part of this nation, no way infe­riour to the most renowned Saints of ancient times, but that the frequency of professors, and (as it were) familiarity of piety, have eclipsed their own excel­lencies? And without doubt weighing those extenuating ex­pressions [Page 127] of Christs Kingdom, (as,Luk. 12. 32. the little Flock, few that find it, Mat. 7. 14. and the like) we might with facility observe in this nation, plentiful additions of souls to the Church, above any nation in the world, proportion of places considered. Whence then these effects, and demonstrations of religion, but from Gods pleasure to preserve a never­failing succession of Ministery, who disserninated in every part of the nation, have laboured in Word and Doctrine among us? for it canuot be supposed that this Church have received these grapes of thornes, or figges of thistles, or that a corrupt tree, that is, a false or Anti-christian Ministery, should bring forth such good fruit,Ma [...]. 7. 17. as our Saviour argues in this very case. And after all this, lest these eminent graces, and blessed effects, should still be attributed to any other, either immediate, or mediate, [Page 128] proceediug of God; I desire any of our adversaries to shew, that ever any nation was converted to, or continued in a Christian profession, or that ever the Re­ligion of a Nation hath not ver­ged to a Period, with the fall of its Ministery, and then I may be induced to suspect, this Church received such graces from some other instrument then the Mi­nistery. And for further confir­mation, it is no hard mat­ter to observe, how much the interest of Religion, is concern­ed in this Ministeries preservati­on, by considering, how piety, peace, charity, reverence to Gods worship, and the whole frame of religion have declined, and the contrary evils of pro­phanenesse, sacriledge, blas­phemy, Atheisme, oppression, violence, and injustice, have ge­nerally improved by their fall. Now the force of the argument is this; There being these effects [Page 129] of piety, and salvation, as unpa­ralel'd consequences of the work of the Ministery of this Natio­nal Church, and there being no other ordinary means (the me­hod of grace under the Gospel) from whence otherwise they should proceed, we therefore cunclude them lawful instru­ments of Gods work, and a blest and truly Christian Ministery to this Church.

The fecond argument for brevity sake I make as general and comprehensive as I can,3. Arg. and thus it is. If the Ministers of the Churches of Christ in all ages and places through the whole succession of Christian Religi­on had the same separation to their offices, that we of this Church of England have, then by necessary consequence either the universal Ministery of Christ were alwayes Antichristian, (which would be next to blas­phemy to assert) as well as we, [Page 130] or we Christian and lawful, as well as they. Now let our ene­mies shew, that in any age of that great space of time, or in any place, where Christs Name was ever professed, that the re­ceived Ministery thereof were otherwise in substance ordain­ed; (whereby to raise any plea to their new, or rather, no call,) we will acknowledge the law­fulnesse of our calling to be just­ly questioned. This argument hath its foundation upon a pro­mise of Christ to his universal Church, in the name of his Apo­stles. Howbeit when the Spirit of truth is come, Ioh. 16. 13 he will guide you into all truth. Which promise had apparently, in a considerable point, been unaccomplished, had the universal Church of Christ, so many hundred years successively, erred by an Anti­christian and unlawful Ministe­ry, and by consequence all the Christian world, all that great [Page 131] while had been deprived of law­full ordinances, (the outward means of grace,) which depend upon the lawful Mission of the Ministery: How shall they hear to a success of beleefe, but by their preaching,Rom. 10. 15. who are lawfully sent?

Quest. These arguments are convincing, and now as it seems to me, a man may as soon, and upon as good ground question a great part of his Christian Religion, as the lawfulnesse of the Ministery of this Church, being inferred from those premisses, which conclude and prove one, as well as the other. I desire therefore rather to venture my soule with all the Churches of Christ, and under a Ministery that have been received as lawful by them, and of whom we have had experience in this national Church, in excellent effects of all spirituall blessings, then to embrace the judge­ment of a few, who study new things, such as the Churches of [Page 132] Christ never knew before; and to submit to such a Ministery as de­scend in no succession, and without any character, either extraordina­ry or ordinary, to demonstrate their mission, and of which, in a short time, we have had sad experiences, as appears by the divisions, blasphe­mies, fond opinions, and great im­pieties, that have prospered under them.

There remaines one scruple more. What canst thou say to satisfy them, that urge the present fall of this Church, and sufferings, and con­tempt of its Ministery, as an argu­ment against the truth of the pro­fession, and Religion?

Ans. It is true, I cannot de­ny, there be a great many that follow the disingenuous practice of that sort of people, of which the holy Psalmist complaines,Psal. 69. 27 that love to persecute him whom God hath smitten, and to talk how to vex him whom he hath wounded: Crying out against us like ano­ther [Page 133] untoward generation, God hath forsaken them, Psal. 70. 11 persecute and take them, for there is none to deli­ver them. But it is a wonder to me that persons pretending light in Religion, and an under­standing in the Scriptures, should make outward provi­dences the guidance of their judgement, in determining the justice or unjustice of Cau­ses. Conclusions by events prove nothing but the folly of a vulgar judgement, that is byassed by them. When most frequent it is, that the wicked prosper in their way, Ier. 12. 1. 2. 12. and they are happy that deale very treacherously: yea; God plants them, till they take root. God suffers oft­times evill men to flourish like a green bay-tree in worldly successes; Psal. 3. 7. when he permits them to blast the honour and safety of the just. If prosperous providence gives the sentence of justice, The Turk that sets up his trophies in the most renowned parts of [Page 134] Christendome already, and if he should poure in his forces to the overthrow of all the Christi­an nations that remain, could never want an argument to ju­stify his usurpations, and Ty­rannies. Nor doth the Chur­ches unsuccesseful attempts for its preservation, disprove its truth and being: But rather (if it were lawful, or indeed possi­ble, to determine from exteriour providences) the frequent tra­gedies of its continual snfferings, might induce us to a beleef, that Truth and persecution have gone hand in hand. Hence the worthy observers of the Churches instability in worldly safety, have found out a reason of its happinesse, from its mise­ries. The Church hath increa­sed with persecutions, and is crowned with martyrdomes,Epist 62. ad▪ Theoph. saith St. Hierome. Then it con­quers when it is oppressed, and obtaines, when forsaken, saith [Page 135] St. Hilary: Lib. 1. de Trin. For if its truth should have depended upon worldly successes, and prosperity, what advantages should its enemies have had, and with what poor comforts should its members have been supported, when it lay so long under the bloody persecutions of the Roman Em­perours, Nero, Domitian, Trajan, &c? Now if any just cause that is oppressed, if any part of Christs Church that is afflicted, may plead no disadvantage to them, by Gods permitting them to bee outwardly miserable, much more the Ministery; whose, of all just causes, and who of all parties in the Church have been ever exposed to the saddest providences, as to the worlds eye. We shall find there­fore, as if the cross had been the Label of the Apostles Commissi­on, Our Saviour tells them when he sends them forth, it should be as sheep in the midst of Wolves. Mat. 10. 16 [Page 136] From whom, what entertain­ment they were likely to re­ceive, he expresseth more fully in a sollowing passage,V. 22. They should be hated of all men for his Names sake. And as if they had received with their commis­sions a commonpasse of trou­ble, they must be persecuted from one City to another. V. 23. All which, as they were infallibly to be­come true in our Saviours predi­ction, so were they as evidently accomplished in the following tragedies of the Churches mise­ries; when the Apostles were set forth as men appointed to death, when they were made a theatre, [...]. a common spectacle, a people shewen forth for mocke­ry and misery,1 Cor. 4. 9. to Angels and to men. For they hungred and thir­sted, and were naked, and buffe­ted, and had no certain dwelling place. Afterward followed the violent deaths of all the Apo­stles, under the hands of their [Page 137] Persecutors, St. John ouely ex­cepted; and of the first renown­ned Fathers os the Church, Ig­natius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Justin, &c. which paid their lives to the prevailing enemies of the Gospel of Christ; all which to relate, would rather require some large Martyrolygy, then a digression in a small Tractate. But were all these forsaken of God, because they had not prosperity, and present successes? What pro­vidence should then have been followed, the prosperous, or the adverse? If their scornes, trou­bles, and oppressions under the hands of their prosperous ene­mies, had disproved the truth of their calling, or cause, the very Gospel it self might as justly, upon the same argument, have been called in question. By all which it appeares, that the charge against this Church for its adversities and miseries is most unjust, especially by them, [Page 138] who have themselves been in­strumental to them. It is a hard case first to be made miserable, and forlorne, and then to be quarrel'd with, and disputed against, for being so. But I leave this to their own consci­ences, and timely repentance; only I desire to mind them of a notable prediction by learned Hooker, of them and of the ru­ines of this Church by them, even at a determinate period of time, which is directly this present age. Which, becauso it fell from so grave and delibe­rate a pen,Lib. 5. I will set down in his own words.num. 79. By these or the like suggestions (meaning our adver­saries endeavours to overthrow the Ministery in their main­tenance and otherwise) received with all joy, and with like sedulity practised in certain parts of the Christiag world, they have brought to passe, that as David doth say of a man, so it is in hazard to be veri­fied [Page 139] concerning the whole Religion ond Service of God. The time thereof may peradventure fall out to be threescore and ten years, or, if strength do serve, unto fourscore, what followeth is likely to be small joy for them, whatsoever they be that behold it.

By these considerations I find all my scruples answered, and doubts satisfied, that I can with all clearnesse of judgement assert the truth of the visible Church of England. Now I desire to recline my soul in her bosome, and most cheerfully undertake and exercise the whole course of those foremen­tioned Rules of Christian living in its profession, as the safest in the world.

FORMES OF PRAYER For private PERSONS AND FAMILIES.

To the READER.

WHosoever thou art, I beseech thee; but if thy soule stands upon my account to God, (I mean, if thou beest one of my care and charge) then I earnestly beg of thee; that when thou readest and ownest these plaein directions for Devotion, thou obligest thy self upon as strong purposes to follow them, or at least the duties intended by them, as the interest of saving a soule requires: That thou take care by making it a part of thy duty to Christ, to sea­son thy children, as with the first elements of religious knowledge, so with suitable practices of prayer, as soon as they shall be capable of these little formes. And that thou thy self accont no busines so necessa­ry, which should betray thee to for­get to sanctify (at least) the morn­ing [Page 144] and evening of every day, in thy privacy and family, with pray­ers and praises: considering that the houres spent in this, or other religious exercises, will be of more concernment and eomfort to thee at thy dying hour, then all the plea­sures, profits, and present advanta­ges whatsoever, thou canst obtain, by the engagement of the rest of thy time.

I desire thee, that before thou enterest upon these exercises, or in the midst of them, (where I have directed thee) thou readest part of holy Davids Psalmes, by cer­tain periods, that thou mayest imi­tate Davids spirit in thy addresses to God. And do not read them as an history meerly to affect thy understanding, but as acts of ser­vice, with affection, reverence, and piety; befitting such com­munions with God, as most of the Psalmes perport. Do thou al­so before thou departest from ser­ving God in any of these offices, [Page 145] read some part of she holy Scrip­tures, in such order, as thy pru­dence shall direct thee; and digest the same by meditation, to particu­lar application to thy self, that thou mayest live in the strength of it, in all thy actions to God and man.

I have divided (as thou shalt observe) the prayers into several parts, according to the most consi­derable periods of the duty. First, because they will be the more fit, and methodical, to be taught to children, servants, and such as cannot read. Secondly, that after the end of any one part of the devo­tion the supplicant may stay and collect his spirit to a frame, fit for the next: considering (as to in­stance) that confession and thanks­giving, and so the rest do require different carriages of the Spirit▪ Thirdly, because the pious soule may more fitly stay in any part, and poure out it self to God, as spiritual necessity will be administred, and yet not break the order of the de­votion. [Page 146] Lastly, because such a partition, will alleviate the weari­ness that is apt to be contracted, by one long continued form.

Now having rigg'd this little ship ef devotion, The Lord give thee an heart to venture thy soul in its bottome, and grant thee a pros­perous gale of his Spirit to drive thee forward to the port of rest, which is desired, designed, and sin­cerely endeavoured, by

Thine in all the offices
of his holy Calling,
W. S.

THE First Forme.

Thy child having been baptized, and thereby made a member of Christ; as soon as thou perceivest the eye of its rea­son to open, direct it to that Kingdom of Christ, to which its name was given up by Baptisme. Begin to instruct it in the lesser Catechisme, and as it maketh progresse in it, morning and evening let it use such little services to God, as this.

A Morning PRAYER for a Childe.

Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name, &c.

ALmighty God and merci­ful Father, who hast kept me this night in all safety, pre­serve [Page 148] me likewise this day from all sad accidents. Keep my mind from evill thoughts, my tongue from swearing, lying, and all evill speakiug, and let all my actions be such as please thee. And as I grow in age, let me enerease in grace and good­nesse, through Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour. Amen.

An Evening PRAYER.

Our Father, which, &c.

LOrd, I Blesse thee, that thou hast defended me this day from all evills and dangers. I beseech thee, forgive me where­in I have offended thee, in thought, word, or deed. Keep me this night in safety; let me rest in the armes of thy provi­dence, that no evill spirits do violence to me, nor any sad ac­cident befall me, through Jesus Christ my Saviour. Amen.

As thou perceivest an improve­ment in capacity, so adde this short intercession to both these Prayers.

O Lord, protect thy Church, be mercifull to this nati­on, comfort all afflicted spi­rits, return my Parents cares and love into their bosomes; Blesse my brothers and sisters, my friends, and all thy peo­ple with grace and salvation, for Jesus sake. Amen.

THE Second Form.

When thou observest the former office to be too little for thy childes capacity, be carefull according to its increase in knowledge, that it may be obliged to larger services. For that purpose I have prepared these following prayers.

Now supposing by this time that thy childe is made per­fect in the lesser Catechisme, I desire that first it rehearseth the Articles of its Christian Faith, that so they may be ac­customed upon its spirit, and by prayer fastened upon the soul, that it may never de­part from that faith upon any temptation.

I beleeve in God the Father Al­mighty, maker of heaven and earth, &c.

[Page 151] After which let it be taught to say this short PRAYER.

O Lord, preserve my soul in this faith: let me not de­part from it through any temp­tation; but give me grace to continue in the profession of it, to my lives end; for thy mer­cies sake in Christ my Savi­our. Amen.

After which it will be expedient, that thy childe should recite all or some of the Commandments by several periods, that it may understand, that it is necessary Christ should be obeyed, as well as be­leeved.

After which whole or part re­hearsed, let it be taught this short PETITION.

O Lord, which hast made known thy will, and poin­ted out thy wayes unto me, wherein I should walk. O let thy holy Spirit incline my affe­ctions [Page 152] to love them, and streng­then my soule to keep them, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Morning PRAYER.

Our Father, which art, &c.

Confession of sin, and Prayer for Pardon and Grace.

O Lord God, dreadful in thy justice and power, Gracious in thy mercies and loving kindnesse; I that am thy poor and sinful creature, do present my self, my soul, and body, to thy divine Majesty; trusting in thy tender mercies, and acknowledging my unwor­thinesse to appear before so ho­ly a presence. For, Lord, I am thine enemy by nature, the imaginations of my heart are evill continnally: and as thou [Page 153] hast added years to my life, so have my corruptions increased. My sins do multiply every day; my own lusts, and the worlds temptations do more and more prevaile upon me. O Lord, be merciful unto me, forgive me what is past, and for the time to come prevent me with thy grace, restrain my lusts, suffer me not to be ingaged in the sin­ful courses of the world, nor be betrayed to any gross sins, by the ill examples of men. Lord, make me to love, and to sub­mit to the holy Religion of Christ, and in the strength of thy grace, to lead a godly, righ­teous, and sober life, through Jesus Christ my Saviour. Amen.

The thanksgiving.

Lord, I blesse thee for all the expressions of thy love and sweet providence to me. Prai­sed, and for ever praised be thy Name, for the Redemption of [Page 154] Mankind by Iesus Christ, and for the particular work of thy grace upon my soul: for all thy temporal blessings, my health, peace, plenty, friends, and safe­ty: for that thou hast kept me this night from every evill, due in justice to my sins. O Lord, preserve me this day, under the protection of thy providence; keep me, that I may not offend thee in thought, word, or deed; nor fall into any danger of soul or body, through the might of Iesus Christ my Saviour. Amen.

The intercession.

Lord, be mercifull unto all men, preserve thy universal Church from the enemies of the Gospel: Be gracious to thy Churches planted in these nati­ons, in all these present dangers, and departures from the faith: Blesse all Christian Magi­strates, and preserve the Mini­sters of the Gospel, that thy [Page 155] people may lead a godly and quiet life. Blesse my Parents and near relations; Releeve all in affliction, hear their cry, and help them. Forgive mine enemies, and give thy Grace to all people: through Iesus Christ our Lord, and blessed Savi­our. Amen.

Evening PRAYER.

Our Father, &c.

Confession of sin, and Petition for Grace and Pardon.

O Lord, I, that am but dust and ashes, a finful, and therefore miserable creature, do again in confidence of thy goodness, and my Iesus, address my poor soul unto thee: and lay my selfe at the foot of thy grace and mercy. I confess I may justly be ashamed to appear be­fore that holy presence, which I have so often, and so heinously [Page 156] offended this day, in thought, word, and deed; had I not a blessed Advocate, that sitteth at thy right hand, to make inter­cession for me. O my dear Ie­sus, have mercy upon me, have mercy upon me, receive me in­to the armes of thy compassion: who like a lost sheep have this day ssrayed from thee, into many errors, and vanities. Lord, lay them not to my charge, but put them upon the account of thy sufferings, that I may never suffer thy vengeance for them in this world, nor the world to come. And now I commit my self to the protection of thy mercy this night, defend me from all those miseries my sins have deserved; and so hereafter direct me with thy Grace, that I may live to thy glory all the dayes of my life, through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Thanksgiving.

O Lord, the heavens declare [Page 157] thy glory, and all the creatures blesse thee: O my soul, do thou also praise the Lord, and let all that is within me, blesse his holy Name. For thou only, O Lord, art the light of my countenance, and my God. Thou hast crea­ted me by thy power, redeemed me by thy Christ, sanctified me by thy Spirit, and preserved me by thy watchful providence, through the whole course of my life. Lord, I praise thee for the safety of my soul and body this day, that thy grace hath kept me from grosse sins, and thy protection from sad accidents. O keep me this night by the co­vert of the same fatherly good­ness, through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

Let the intercession be the same that was used for the morning Service.

Now I commend this office as the fittest to be taught to servants in families, and to be used by children before they come to mens and womens estate.

THE Third Form.

This third office I have here inserted for the benefit of those who usually accu­stoming themselves to the next and lar­gest formes, shall sometime be necessita­ted to shorten their service: and may be ordinarily used by those, who are not yet come up to so great designs of zeal for longer formes.

Morning PRAYER.

Our Father, which art in, &c.

Confession of sin.

O Lord God Almighty, the God of all Glory, Majesty and Power, and the fountain of mercies; I confesse I am unwor­thy to appear before thy holy [Page 159] presence, having sinned against heaven and before thee, and in thought, word, and deed, con­tinually rebelled against thee. I have too much followed my lusts and desires, and have not endeavoured to bring under my affections to the yoak of Christ. I have loved the vanities of the world, but too much underva­lued thy Kingdom and promises. I have not been so sincere and frequent in thy services, so dili­gent in my calling, so just and merciful in my carriage to others, nor so sober and tempe­rate in the use of my mind, bo­dy, and thy blessings, as the strict holinesse of the Gospel hath required of me [here make con­fession of particulars] For which I stand here guilty of the breach of thy righteous command­ments, and lie lyable to the ef­fects of thy wrath, and displea­sure.

Prayer for Pardon and Grace.

But O thou preserver of men, for thine own compassion sake, and for thy Iesus sake, pity the troubles of a burthened soul, and pardon all those sins I have committed against thee. Let the blood of Christ satisfy thy justice, and his intercession ob­tain thy mercy, for a peace and reconciliation with thee; that my sins may not separate from thy grace here, nor thy glory hereafter. And, O Lord, stren­then my weak soul, with the graces of thy Spirit, that I may hereafter overcome all the tem­ptations of the devil, the world, and the flesh; and may lead a new and holy life before thee; Turn the stream of my affecti­ons to thee, and take possession of my soul, that all my thoughts, words, and actions, may be sub­ject to the law of Christ. And having kept the faith, and fini­shed [Page 161] my conversation in holines, I may at last through thy mer­cies in Christ, obtain the crown of eternal glory. Amen.

The Thanksgiving.

O merciful and Gracious Lord, as I acknowledge my de­pendence upon thee for every part of my being, so I desire to bless thy holy Name for all thy mercies to me: especially for the redemption of my soul by the blood of thy Son, and for the portion of thy grace, that thou hast given me. I praise thee, O Lord, for all temporall bles­sings, as my health, provision of food and rayment, friends, un­derstanding, senses, and limbs; and that I enjoy any thing that I have seen any others to want. Blessed be thy Name for the safety of my soul and body this night past. O keep me under the shadow of thy wings this day, that I may fall into no sad [Page 162] accidents, nor dangers: and so defend me with thy grace, that I may do nothing that may displease thee, or that may occasion sin in others, or give offence to the holy profession of Christ; for his merits sake, who is my blessed Jesus. Amen.

Intercession.

Lord, defend thy universall Church, from all enemies, perse­cutions, and factions. Preserve thy Churches in these nations, restore them to their former peace, and keep them from the dangers of their own divisions, and enmities.

Grant that Magistrates, and Ministers, may concurre to the upholding thy truth, and wor­ship, in this needful time. Blesse my Parents, children, and all my near relationss, with all spi­ritual blessings in Christ, and all temporall comforts. Re­lieve, and comfort all that are [Page 163] in distresse, all prisoners, cap­tives, sick and poor persons, di­stressed widowes, and friend­less children, with every oppres­sed and sorrowful soul. Con­vert the impenitent, confirm the weak, turn into the way of truth all that have crred, and forgive and bless all mine ene­mies. Lord, hear these my pray­ers, and grant me my requests; for the mediation of Jesus Christ my Saviour; to whom with thee and the holy Spirit, be gi­ven all Glory, Honour, and Praise, this day, and for ever­more. Amen.

Evening PRAYER.

Our Father, which, &c.

O Most infinite Majesty, and gracious Father; in mercy thou hast added another day to my age; O wretch that I am, I [Page 164] have added many sins to my for­mer score. How often, O Lord, have I this day forgotten my obedience to thee? How many vain thoughts hath my mind harboured? How many vain and impertinent words hath my mouth uttered? With how many passions have I been transported, beyond the bounds of Religion? How many sin­ful acts have I committed? How many opportunities of doing good have I omitted, wherein I might have glorified thy Name? And whereas thou hast given it me, as another day of grace, to be getting oyle for my lamp, and to be working out my salvation; O unhappy Creature! I have rather gone back upon the accounts of the Spirit: Trifling away that precious time in my indul­gencies to my carnal affections, or pursuits of worldly advanta­ges; neglecting the great prize [Page 195] of Christ, and treasures of eter­nity. So that had I but the sins of this day to answer for, at the barre of thy divine justice, O Lord, I might justly suffer thy wrath to all eternity. O what hath my soul to plead, for the sins of my whole life, if the sins of this one day may con­found me?

For Pardon and Grace.

And now, Lord, where is my hope? truly my hope is even in thee, who though thou art justly displeased with me for my sins, yet hath thy Iesus fully satisfied thy justice for them, and by the dear price of his blood purchased at thy hand forgiveness of them: O my dear Lord, I beseech thee there­fore shut not up the bowels of thy compassion from me, nor deny me the benefit of the death and passion of my Saviour. Lord, let his wounds heal me, his blood cleanse me, his death [Page 166] reconcile me to thy divine Ma­jesty for ever. And grant that in the residue of my dayes, I may wholly conforme to the Kingdom of Christ; that I may have peace of conscience here, a comfortable death, and a blessed eternitie; through the merits of Iesus Christ my Savi­our. Amen.

Thanksgiving.

O merciful Father, after all thy mecies to me in the whole conrse of my life, my soul hath this day further seen and tasted how good the Lord is, in many significations of mercie, and loving kindness to me. I bless thee, O Lord, for the great work of mercie in Iesus Christ; For that I have a time to repent me of those sins, for which I might even now have been suffering in an eternal punishment. I praise thee, that I am not roating in a torment, languishing in a di­sease, pining in a prison, nor a [Page 167] poor vagrant, nor a disconsolate captive. But on the contrary, O my Lord, thou hast given me a residence, a prot [...]ction, a plen­ty, a sound mind, an healthful body, and liberty; But most especially, that thou hast offe­red me sweet testimonies of thy present grace, and a blessed hope of future glory. Now, O my Lord, for every of these, and for all other the blessed evi­dences of thy love and goodness to me, I do from my soul ac­knowledg thy mercie, and bless, praise, and magnity thy great and glorious Name, for ever and ever. And, O Lord, keep me this night, under the same protection, and let the mercy of my God so preserve me, that neither sin nor danger, may make me miserable; through the might of Iesus Christ my ever blessed Saviour. Amen.

Ʋse the same intercession that is set for the Morning Service.

THE Largest Forme FOR Private Exercise.

Morning PRAYER.

When thou addressest thy self to thy morn­ing service, first frame thy mind to me­ditate of the glorious excellencies and presence of God: and worship him in this or the like manner.

Our Father, which art, &c.

O Most glorious and incom­prehensible Lord God of heaven and earth, whose im­mense essence and infinite per­fections no tongue can express, nor heart conceive. Before whose Dreadful Majesty the [Page 169] holy Angels vaile their faces, and the glorified Spirits cast their crowns. Thou, O Lord, art only worthy to receive Glo­ry, Honour, and Power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created. Therefore being sensible of my miserable no­thing, poverty and dependency; and admiring thy absolute and infinite excellencies, do throw my self, my soul and body, at the foot of thy Majesty, and do adore, and worship thy divine presence, acknowledging that blessing, honour, and power, is due unto thee, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Confession.

O Lord my God, who art a God of purity and holiness, and hatest the wayes of iniquity; Though thou hast sentenced sin to a wages of death, and an eternal punishment, and hast [Page 170] declared a dislike of all wicked persons, and their performan­ces; yet, O Lord, wretch that I am, I have not ceased to do evill in thy sight, and to depart from all thy holy wayes. For I have yeelded my self too much to satisfy the vanity of my cor­rupt mind, and my unholy lusts, not considering their inconsi­stencie with the Kingdom of Christ. I have inclined my af­fections, desires, and designes, too much to present enjoy­ments, and suffered my heart to be betrayed by them, to a for­getfulness or thee, and departure from thee. O Lord, I have ei­ther altogether omitted the du­ties of thy service and worship, or performed them too loosely, and subordinately, or with too much hypocrisie, or confidence in them. I confesse I have every way lived unanswerably to the infinite mercies, and strict com­mandments of the Gospel: too [Page 171] much neglecting the great sal­vation, and the excellencies of the peace of Christ. O Lord my God, when I consider the iniquities I have committed in my mind, with evill thoughts; in my tongue, in sinfull words; and how much all parts and fa­culties have concurred as instru­ments of sin: how I have of­fended against the motions of thy Spirit, and my own purpo­ses, against all thy lawes and all thy providences, in all my acti­ons and employments, and in every part of my life; my sins become an heavy burthen, too heavy for me to bear; [Here open thy soul to God in particu­lars] so that for them, and all other my sins, I have justly de­served thy wrath and indigna­tion, to afflict me in this life with signal punishments, and in the life to come with eternall torments

Petition for Pardon.

But, O Lord my God, give me a true and sincere repen­tance, such as thou shalt please to accept in Christ. O teach mine eyes to weep, my heart to break, my soul to mourn, for all my sins. O let my under­standing alwayes perceive, and be convinced of their filthinesse, and deadliness; even as when thou beholdest sinnes to pu­nish them, or as when thou re­quiredst the blood of my Sa­viour to satisfie thy justice for them. Lord, help me to pur­pose against them, and truly to depart from them, as if the shame and unprofitablenesse, the curse, and the hell of them, were alwayes before me. And, O Lord, I beseech thee for thy tender mercies, and bowels of compassion sake, who canst not delight in the death of a sinner, [Page 173] to pitty my poor soul lying un­der the burthen of my sins. O my dear Iesus, let these wounds of my soul, be healed by thy stripes, and the divine justice that I have offended, be satisfi­ed by thy dear sufferings. And since thou hast paid a price for my sins, and still intercedest for the pardon of them. O deliver me from the guilt and burthen of them, an unpeaceable con­science, and a miserable eterni­ty, the just wages of them; Through the merits of my dear Iesus, my Lord, and Saviour. Amen.

Petition for Grace.

O my most gracious God, I being sensible of my spiritual po­verty, and inabilitie, to under­stand, desire, or think of the things of my peace, without thy assistance, do beseech thee in thy tender mercies, not to leave my soule to the guidance of my [Page 174] sinful nature, nor to give me over to my own vile affections, but ra­ther grant me power, through thy holy Spirit, to crucify my lusts, and to deny my self in all things, that are inconsistent with thee. O strengthen me to encounter with the temptations of the world, and let not the seeming satisfactions of any outward en­joyment, betray my soul to for­get thee, or to decline my obe­dience to thee. Lord, grant me the compleat armour of thy grace, that I may alwayes pre­vent the wiles of the devil, and overcome the powers and rulers of darkness, in their temptati­ons. Give me a disposedness in all parts and faculties of soul and body, to exercise their offi­ces in obedience to Christ. En­lighten my understanding, to mind heavenly things; draw my will after thee, and command all my affections to thee. Fill me, O Lord, with every grace of [Page 175] the Gospel, whose exercise thou requirest of me, as a disciple of Christ. O make me able to live godly to thee in all parts of thy worship, righteously to men by the strict rules of justice, and so­berly to my self in all tempe­rance, and chastity. Lord, make me humble, sincere, meek, patient, and peaceable, and give me strength to obey the whole will of Christ, in all his com­maudments: That having run the race that is set before me, I may obtain through thy undeserved mercie in Christ, the perfect peace of thy presence for evermore. Amen.

The Thanksgiving.

O▪ Lord of Glory and Pow­er, whose eye of providence runneth through the world, to guide, govern, and provide for all things; in whom alone I live, move, and have my being, and from whom I have received, [Page 176] whatsoever comfort I enjoy. O Lord, my soul acknowledgeth thou hast done gracious things for me, and hast given me a large portion of thy fatherly mercies every way. I blesse thee, that when thou formedst me in my mothers womb, I re­ceived no signal defect in body or mind, and that thou hast since kept them both, from all fearful changes and deformi­ties: And that when the sen­tence of death was upon me, in the common fall of Man­kinde, Lord, thou gavest me thy dear Son to redeem my soul to a possibility of life. I thank thee for every grace and good work that may evidence thy Spirit in me; and for that I have not committed every grosse wickednesse, to which nature and temptation have made me subject. I praise thy Name, O Lord, for all the comforts I en­joy, that concern this life, my [Page 177] health, peace, liberty, friends, and livelihood: and for the safety of my soul and body this night under the protection of thy sweet providence. Keep me this day by the same father­ly goodnesse, secure me from all sad accidents, that attend upon my frail estate; and most espe­cially keep me from all offences to thy divine Majesty. O let no temptation prevaile upon me, nor let my soul give way to any occasion of evill. Give me grace to perform to thee all that thou hast commanded me, and all the good thou hast put in my power. O let me so live this day, as if this night following were to be my last sleep, and to morrow the last judgement; Through the might of Jesus Christ my Saviour. Amen.

The interc [...]ssions are put after the evening prayer: being to be used both after morning and evening ex­ercises.

Evening PRAYER.

The addresse to God by way of worship in the morning Prayer, the supplicant if he please, may now use also.

Our Father, which art in heaven, &c.

The Confession.

MOst glorious Lord God, that inhabitest eternity, and art cloathed with Majesty and power; I that am but dust and ashes, and thy poor crea­ture, desire to fall low at the footstool of thy Glories, magni­fying thine excellencies, and ac­knowledging my unworthiness, to lift up mine eyes to heaven, against which I have sinned; or to appeal to those mercies, which I have so much neglect­ed, and abused. For, Lord, when [Page 179] I consider my self, I am nothing but a masse of corruption and sin; to which I have made all the faculties of my soul, and members of my body, (which were created for good works, and thy glory) to become in­strumental. And all those ex­cellent lawes, which thou hast set before me to be the rule of my obedience, I have both lightly regarded, and wilfully transgressed, in the whole course of my life. Such, O Lord, as concern thy self and thy imme­diate worship, I have either alto­gether omitted, or carelesly per­form'd; in my dealings with men, I have not so strictly as I should, observed that rule of Christ, to do to all men, as I would they should do unto me: neither have I been so carefull to ob­serve the holy lawes of Christ concerning my self, as I should, in a temperate, chaste, and so­ber conversation. And as I have [Page 180] contracted a heavie burthen up­on my soul, by the sinfulnesse of my whole life, so have I this day in particular, added much to my former wretched ac­count. For I have not restrain­ed my thoughts from vain ima­ginations, nor set a strict watch before the door of my lips, to prevent sinful and impertinent discourses. Lord, I have been too dull & remiss in thy service, too negligent in the duties of my calling, too carelesse of the op­portunities of doing good to others. And though thou hast given me this day as another day of grace; yet I have made in it, little ot no progress, in the way of my salvation: that shouldest thou deal with me according to the carriage of my soul this day before thee, thou mightest just­ly deny me another day of mer­cie, and leave me to my selfe, and to the said wages of my sins for evermore.

For Pardon.

But, O Lord my God, whose mercies are over all thy works, and hast graciously promised to forgive and to accept a poor penitent soul, returning to thee in sorrow and true repentance, have mercie upon me, have mercie upon me: O hide not thy face from me, nor cast thy servant away in thy displeasure. Remember not my sins and of­fences, but think thou upon me according to thy great good­nesse. And though I come to thee with a weak faith, and an imperfect sorrow, even with such a repentance as ought to be repented of: yet, Lord, ac­cept of me; for I come in the plea of my Saviours blood, that satisfied thy justice for all my sins. Deny me not therefore, O Lord, the benefits of his bles­sed death and passion, let my soul have a portion in the rich [Page 182] price of that blood, by which I may have peace and reconcilia­tion with thee, my God, for evermore. Amen.

For Grace.

O merciful Father, in the humble sense of my own insuf­ficiencie, not only not to do, but not to think of any thing in con­cernment to my salvation, with­out thy grace; I do humbly be­seech thee, in thy tender com­passions, to help me with thy divine assistance, that I may be able to live conformably to the example of Christ, and the strict holinesse of the Gospel. O convince my judgement, that there is no peace nor profit in the wayes of sin; and incline my will, and ingage all my affecti­ons to the pursuit of spirituall things, as the chiefest good. Let not, O Lord, my carnal lusts and affections, nor any thing that is desirable in the vaine world, [Page 183] nor the policie of the devil, de­ceive my soul, to neglect my du­tie to Christ, or the things of my eternal peace. Lord, make me sincere, and exemplarie in thy worship and service, diligent in my calling, and just in all my actions: make me charitable to my power to all that want me, and strictly sober, chaste, and temperate in my self, and in the use of all thy creatures. Lord, help me to be such, as I may please thee in all thy wayes, and as I may comfortably appeare before thee, when I come to death or judgement: Through the might of Iesus Christ my blessed Saviour. Amen.

Thanksgiving.

O Glorious Lord, who art my good God, and gracious Father; thou hast from time to time gi­ven me large expressions of thy love and goodnesse, even when for my rebellions against thee, [Page 184] and forgetfulnes of thee, I might before this time have been cast off from thy protection, and made a spectacle of thy justice to others in some signal punish­ments. O Lord, how great is thy goodnesse, that I can still sing a song of praise for mercies, when I might justly at this in­stant have been in sackcloth and ashes, breaking my soule with sorrow, for some great infelici­ty! Especially my soul blesse the thee, that my Redeemer liveth, and that I still live capable of that redemption, and have had another opportunity to sorrow for my sins in an hour of accep­tance, and am not desperately howling for them in a remedi­less eternity. I praise thee for every portion of preventing and assisting grace, for everie good thought, desire, and work I have done by the help of grace, and for every comfort I have this day enjoyed. They [Page 185] are thine, O Lord, thy Name be praised. And now to the same protection that hath this day, and all the dayes of my life, pre­served me; I commit my soule and body, and all that I have this night: Lord, cover me with the wings of thy power, and fa­therly mercies: keep my soul in my integritie to thee; and let me enjoy my natural rest, as thy blessing, free from all sad acci­dents, and trouble, through Ie­sus Christ my Saviour. Amen.

Intercessions to be used both morning and evening, which the supplicant may shorten by using an intercession of the les­ser forms.

For the universal Church.

O Lord, defend the borders, and peace of thy whole Church, from the invasion of the Turk, and all other enemies abroad: and from the great [Page 186] increases of Atheisme, and rui­ning factions, in its own bosom. Direct all Christian Kings, Princes, and Magistrates, to lay aside the interests of the world, and to concurre sincerely to up­hold the Kingdom of Christ. Enlarge the borders of the Go­spel, that the nations that sit in darkness, may see the great light of Christ: and that the Iewes may be convinced to an acknowledgement of him. Re­duce all those to Christ, that are departed from the faith; bring into the way of truth, all that have erred, and are deceived: and let all that profess the Name of Iesus, agree in truth, unitie, and concord, through Iesus Christ my Saviour. Amen.

For the Churches of CRIST in these Nations.

O merciful Father, bless the Churches planted in these Na­tions, let them be precious in [Page 187] the eye of thy mercie, and de­fend them with an especial pro­tection Let them not have the reward of this peoples crying sins, nor feel the effects of thy just deserved vengeance. O dis­apppoint the designs of the ene­mies of their peace: preserve a never-failing Ministerie to up­hold thy wotship; keep thine ordinances from contempt: and though thine enemies have di­sturbed their peace, and disho­noured their profession, yet let them not have power totally to waste thy holy vineyard. Let this poor people see their seducements that they may re­turn from their follies, and fa­ctions, to serve thee, with peace, unitie, and holy lives, through the might of Iesus Christ. Amen.

For the afflicted.

O most dear and gracious Lord, who delightest in the ex­ercises [Page 188] of mercie, and art a strong tower for the distressed to flie unto; I humbly beseech thee to give the comforts of thy countenance, and ready help to all that are in distress and mise­rie. Have mercie, O Lord, upon all that are now a dying, assist their spirits in the difficulties of that hour. Appear with com­fort and peace to the soules, that are oppressed with the heavie sense of their sins. Raise up friends and supports, for the de­solate, fatherless, and diseonso­late widowes. Pitie and help all prisoners, captives, and all that suffer banishment, povertie, and oppression: hear their cries, and help them. Let these, and all others that are in misery, and heaviness, find peace, patience, and contentmen in thee: And grant that their light afflictions here, through thy infinite mer­cies in Christ, may be exchan­ged for an exceeding weight of [Page 189] glorie eternally hereafter, for Iesus Christ his sake my Savi­our. Amen.

For Parents.

Look down, O Lord, with thy especial mercies upon my Parents, and make them thy children by adoption and grace. Accept of their repentance, re­ceive their prayers, and assist them to do the will of Christ. Comfort them in their ages, and afflictions: Teach them to number their daies, and everie day to be providing for their departure in the peace of Christ. Lord, pardon all my acts of dis­obedience to them, and give me an heart alwayes ready to ho­nour, obey, and comfort them, all their dayes, through Iesus Christ my ever blessed Savi­our. Amen.

For Children.

O merciful Father, as thou [Page 190] hast given me the blessing, to have children born to me in the flesh, so give them grace, to be born to thee in the Spirit. Make them true lovers of Thee, and Religion; and tender in the preservation of every circum­stance of it. Keep them in these common departures from the faith, that they may not be sedu­ced to errour and faction, nor be betrayed by ill examples to prophaneness and Atheisme. Let their estate in the world be neither too prosperous, lest they forget thee, nor too adverse, lest they be discouraged: let their educations and callings be honest, and not subject to great temptations. Lord, make them just, merciful, sober, and true followers of Christ in this world, and partakers of his glo­ries in the world to come, through Iesus Christ my blessed Lord. Amen.

Occasional PRAYERS.

A prayer to be used before the re­ceiving the blessed Sacrament.

O Merciful Lord, I being in­vited at this time to re­ceive the blessed Sacrament, (to the performance of which I stand bound, by my obedience to the Gospel, and those many excellent ends for which it was ordained,) do humbly beseech thee to create in me a value, esteem, and desire of it, propor­tionable to so great a blessing. O make my soul hunger and thirst after my blessed Iesus, and the excellent purposes of his death and passion, which are communicated to me in that Sacrament. Lord, make me as willing to shew forth his death [Page 192] by this part of my Christian du­tie, as I would be; to partake of the comfort of the same death, to the salvation of my soul. And then fit me with thy grace, that I may be a worthy receiver of it: Give me a beleeving, penitent, and charitable heart, such as be­fits the entertainment of so great a guest: especiallie, give me grace to come with that reve­rence of soul and body, that may signifie a discerning the Lords body. And grant, O Lord, that the bread and wine, that shall be blessed for me, may spi­ritually become the communi­on of the Body, and blood of Christ to the salvation of my soul, through the same Iesus my blessed Saviour. Amen.

In time of sicknesse.

Most merciful Father, who hast pleased to visit me with sickness, and to lay thine hand upon me: make me to acknow­ledge [Page 193] my visitation to be an ef­fect of thy particular and father­ly providence upon me, that my soul may say, thou of very faith­fulness hast afflicted me. Lord, sanctifie it unto me, and make me capable, through thy grace, of all those blessed ends, which thou propoundest to thy self, when thou correctest thy chil­dren. Let my bodily distem­per, cure my soules infirmi­ties; and that I may learn there­by to hate sin, and fear thee; to see the vanity of worldly de­pendencies, and to flie unto thee, as the only refuge. Lord, let not the vanities of my health and prosperity be now laid to my charge; but accept of my repentance and sorrow for them, and grant me a peace and reconciliation with thee, through the blood of Christ. In my straits, let me look up to thee with comfort, as to a gra­cious Father: O do not appear [Page 194] to me in terrour, as a dreadful Iudge. Lord, I am thy servant, do with me as it pleaseth thee, yet for thy mercies sake, lay no more upon me then what thou seest necessarily to conduce to the salvation of my soul. If it pleaseth thee that I survive this affliction, O let me live answe­rably to thy gracious intention in chastising me, and to all those my holy purposes and promises made unto thee in this my visitation; that these light afflictions may be advantages to me; to the obtaining the exceeding weight of Glory, Through my dear Saviour and Mediatour Iesus Christ. Amen.

If the sicknesse appear dangerous, then adde this Prayer.

O, Lord my God, in whom alone is the power of life and death, and who precisely know­est the number of my daies, be pleased to go along with me in [Page 195] mercie to my last hour. And if it be thy pleasure, to order this sickness to end in my death, Lord, make that the entrance to a blessed life. Help me in all my natural, and spiritual di­stresses, let neither my paines nor my sins make me impati­ent, or unconfident. Lord let not my faith in Christ, nor hope of thy mercie faile, in the bitter hour: O let the light of thy countenance break through the terrours of death to comfort me, and let thy Spirit assist me when my strength faileth me. Grant, O Lord, that my death be neither very tormenting nor uncomelie; and when my soul shall depart, O receive me into the resting place of thy glorie, for Iesus sake my only Saviour and Redeemer.

When thou hearest any of thy neigh­bours to be very weak in sickness: Pray for him in this manner.

O blessed Lord, and fountain of mercies, I humbly beseech thee to look, with thy tender compassions, upon thy servant A. B. Give him faith to depend upon thee, patience to submit unto thee, and thy Spirit to comfort him in whatsoever af­flictions thou shalt lay upon him. Accept of his repentance and final preparation for the peace of his soul in Christ: ac­cept of his addresses to the throne of Grace; hear, and help, when he calls upon thee. Make his bed in the time of his sickness, and provide for him all things needful in his distress, both for soul and body. If it be thy will, raise him up to his for­mer health, but with an ingage­ment upon his Spirit, to live an­swerable to thy mercies and de­liverances: [Page 197] and if it be thy will to take him out of this life, O as­sist his Spirit in the terrours of a dying hour, and receive his soul into the armes of thy mercy, through Iesus Christ my blessed Saviour. Amen.

A Prayer to be used by a woman great with child.

O Lord God, who hast blest my womb with conception (for which I praise thy providence) and with that conception hast made me a partaker of the sor­row, common to my sex, for the sin of my first mother; grant me a part in the promised seed of a woman, my Lord Iesus, who came to bruise the head of the Serpent. And though he hath not delivered me from the trouble and miseries of my bo­dy; yet, O Lord, give me deli­verance by him, from the sin of my soul. Lord, keep me from sad accidents, and from an un­timely [Page 198] birth. Give my childe a perfect shape, and fitted for right senses, and a good under­standing. Grant it a naturall birth, and me patience for the pain; and a prepared soul, for the perill of it: when it shall be borne, grant me a safe recovery, my childe a timely Baptisme, that it may afterward make profession of the faith of Christ, and through thy grace may lead an holy life, Through the same Iesus Christ my blessed Saviour and Redeemer. Amen.

A Prayer to be used before, and in a journey.

Almighty and merciful Fa­ther; who with thine eye of Providence, that runneth through the world, beholdest me wheresoever I am, in all my wayes and actions: who leddest thy people through the wilder­nesse by a marvelous guidance, and didst direct with safety the [Page 199] Wise men by a Starre to our blessed Saviour: Defend me in this my journey from all kinds of dangers, from all temptations to sin, and forgetfulness of thee; from the hands of evill men, and all sad accidents whatsoever. Blesse my design, and all my re­lations that I have left behinde me: grant that I may go in safe­ty, and return in peace through the might and mediation of Christ my Saviour. Amen.

A short Prayer to be used by all, at their entrance into the Congre­gation. And I desire it may be taught to children, as a means to oblige them to a mindfulnesse of Gods service.

MOst dreadful Majesty, who hast promised thy pre­sence with them that are most met in thy Name: give me grace to serve thee reverently, as in thy presence; and to per­form my duty in thy worship [Page 200] acceptably, to thy Glory, Through Jesus Christ. Amen.

An Exercise of Humiliation, to assist humble penitents upon days of their private fasting, and for a due examination of themselves before the receiving of the blessed SACRAMENT.
A PSALM.

O Lord, rebuke me not in thine indignation, neither chasten me in thy displeasure.

For thou art a God that hast no pleasure in wickedness: nei­ther shall any evill dwell with thee.

Such as be foolish shall not stand in thy sight, for thou ha­test all them that work vanity.

Have mercy upon me, O God, after thy great goodnesse: according to the multitude of thy mercies, do away mine of­fences.

[Page 201] Wash me throughly from my wickedness: and cleanse me from my sins.

For I acknowledg my faults: and my sin is ever before me.

Against thee only have I sinned, and done this evill in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified in thy saying, and clear when thou judgest.

My misdeeds prevail against me; O be thou merciful unto my sinnes.

I will therefore confess my wickedness, and be sorry for my sinne.

Turn thy face away from my sins: and put out all my mis­deeds.

For thy Names sake, O Lord, be merciful▪ to my sin, for it is great.

For my wickednesses are gone over my head, and are like a fore burthen, too heavy for me to bear.

Withdraw not thou thy [Page 202] mercie from me: let thy loving kindness and thy truth alwayes preserve me.

O Lord, let it be thy pleasure to deliver me: make haste, O Lord, to help me.

Haste thee to help me, O Lord God of my salvation.

The confession of sins.

I.

O Lord God, Judge of all men and actions, I am a miserable and wretched crea­ture; made so, by my great re­bellions against thee, and de­partures from thee: having all the daies of my life multiplied my transgressions before thee. I humbly confess I have too much inclined my will to the bent of my sinful nature, and corrupt desires; too often satisfy­ing my sensual appetite in for­bidden [Page 203] enoyments. And when the inward voice of thy Spirit hath checkt me, and thy grace impowered me, to contend with my unlawful desires; I have suffered my carnal part to prevail against thy Grace, and my duto to Christ. [here call thy self to particular observations of thy actions] So that Lord, thou mightest in justice have left me upon the account of a carnall estate, which is death, and en­mitie against thee, and cannot please thee. But O Lord, be merciful unto me, and pittie my soul for thy blessed Iesus sake. And let that degree of spiritua­litie that is in me, (though very weak and imperfect) upon my present sorrow, and promise of future amendmen, be reckoned for a state of Grace, Son-ship, and peace with thee, for my blessed Saviours sake. Amen.

II.

Lord, I am miserable and wretched, for I have too much embraced this present world, the love of which is inconsistent with all love to, and from thee. I have ingaged too many thoughts, and cares, and too strong designes, for temporall things: I have had too great a fondness for the honours, plea­sures, profits, and friends of this world. [here bewaile thy mis­carriages herein] So that in ju­stice thou mayest cast me off, as having too much of the world in me, for Christs Kingdome. But, Lord, be merciful unto me, and accept of my weak and im­perfect attempts, to despise the world, and to lay it aside; and my present sorrowes for my present miscarriages: that I may through thy mercies in Christ. be accounted one, (though of the least and lowest) of Christs [Page 205] Kingdom of Grace here, and may have my portion of his Kingdome of Glory hereafter. Amen.

III.

Lord, I am miserable and wretched; for I have, in some part of my life, contracted, and lived in many habits of sin, as of, &c. [here account before God the remembrance of them] where­by I have been sold under sin, and in a state of death, and enmity to thee; subject to every lust, and prostitute to every temptation. But, Lord, be mer­ciful unto me, and through thy infinite mercy, let me stand in the account of a New man, and under a free pardon of such sinful habits, as if they had never been: and that I may now ap­pear, washed, sanctified, and ju­stified in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of my God. Amen.

IV.

Lord, I am miserable and wretched, for besides my sad state of habitual wickednesse, I have multiplied an innumera­ble number of actuall transgres­sions, which surpasse the num­ber of the starres, and are an heavy burthen, too heavie for me to bear. If I measure my sins by my time [here mention the years of thy pilgrimage] Lord, I confesse, that in every day that I have lived, I have heaped sin upon sin, & iniquity upon ini­quity: If by thy laws; Lord, I ac­knowledg there is no one precept of Christ that I have not trans­gressed, having sinned against all the Commandments that con­cern my living godly to God, justly to men, and soberly to my self [here account by the rules of life in the preceding larger Ca­techisme.] If I measure my sins by the exercises of all the facul­ties [Page 207] and parts of my soul and body, I confesse O Lord, that all of them, in their several offi­ces, have been made instru­ments of unrighteousnesse [here account the miscarriage of eve­ry faculty, sense, and member] For all which, O Lord, I have deserved thou shouldest blot me out of the book of life, and de­liver me up to a state of death and reprobation. But, Lord, be merciful unto me, and accept of my hearty sorrow for these my sins, my purpose against them, and sincere endeavour to for­sake them; that I may be ac­counted capable of the grace of the Gospel, and pardon in Christ. Amen.

V.

Lord, I am miserable and wretched, for thou hast requi­red an uncessant course of ser­vice to thy self, both publick and private, in constant prayer, [Page 208] praises, and worship, and a pure intention to glorifie thy Name in all of them: But I have either altogether omitted them, or have bin very slight and imper­fect in the perrformance of them, or have corrupted them with the mixture of many mean ends, and designes. [acconnt thy failings herein] Lord, thou hast obliged me to abound in righteousness and every good work, and to do good to all men to my highest capacity. But I have neglected the oppor­tunities, and have often changed them into pleasures, and world­ly satisfactions. [confesse thy particular omissions] Lord thou hast required of me diligence in my calling, and a just, peacea­ble, and charitable conversati­on with all men: But I have not been so watchful as I should have been in the use of my time, nor so careful in my words and actions of doing to all men, as I [Page 209] would they should do to me. [here charge thy soul with thy fail­ings herein] And now, O Lord my God, if none shall enter into thy Kingdom, but those that keep thy Commandements: where shall I appear, that am justly chargeable with all these omissions? But, O Lord, be mer­ciful unto me, and for Jesus sake pardon to my soul these great neglects of my duty to thee: and graciously accept of my former weak and imperfect en­deavours to perform them, my present sorrow, and future amendment, to the comfort and peace of my soul. Amen.

VI.

For, O Lord my God, I have no hope but in thy mercy, and in my blessed Jesus: in whom thou hast promised pardon to all sincere penitents, and entered Covenant with us, to be merci­ful to our unrighteousnesse and [Page 210] our sins, & to remember our ini­quities no more. O Lord, make good this thy gracious promise to my sinful soul, & for my dear Je­sus sake, forgive unto me all these sins of which I have pleaded guil­ty before thee, and all other my secret and unremembred trans­gressions. And, O merciful Fa­ther, furnish my soul with thy di­vine Spirit, which may (accord­ing to thy promise) write thy holy lawes in my mind, and in my heart. Strengthen me in the inner Man, that I may cru­cifie all my lusts, and overcome all the deceits and temptations of the world, and the devill. Lord, turn the stream of my af­fections to things above, and make mee diligently pursue them: Give me grace to hate and forsake every sin as death and hell: that in the whole course of my remaining life, I may deny ungodlinesse, and all worldly lusts, and live soberly, [Page 211] righteously and godly in this present world: through Jesus Christ, my onely Saviour and Redeemer. Amen.

Lord, have mercy upon me.
Christ, have mercy upon me.
Lord, have mercy upon me.

Our Father, which art in heaven, &c.

A Form for the Services of God in a FAMILY.

Morning PRAYER

Our Father, which art, &c.

Confession.

O Lord our God, who art in­finite in thy glories and perfections, incomprehensible in thy power and Majesty: before the brightnesse of whose holy presence the Angels vail their faces, and at the foot of whose Majesty, the glo [...]ified Spirits cast their crownes: How much [Page 212] more unworthy, are we poor sinful dust and ashes, to appear in the presence of so holy a God; whom we have so heinously of­fended, in thought, word, and deed, through the whole course of our lives? For, O Lord, we confess, that though thou hast declared how displeasing all sin is in thy sight, and hast manife­sted thy displeasure, by the fear­ful punishments of wicked men: yet miserable wretches that we are, what little regard have we had to fulfill thy will, or to depart from the ways of sin? We have still suffered our base lusts too much to prevail upon us, and the pleasures & profits of the world to surprize, and carry away our hearts; And when we have found our selves industrious, and exact, in the pursuit of worldly things, how faint and imperfect have we been, in doing the work of Christ? So that shouldest thou, O Lord, condemn us, for [Page 213] these our sins, and for the breach of all thy holy laws, in our loose and vain thoughts: in our sinful words, uttered in passions, mer­riments, and other impertinent discourses: and in all our acti­ons against piety, justice, chari­ty and sobriety; how justly mightest thou execute thy dis­pleasure against us, and make this day a day of vengeance to us, to deprive us of all present comforts, and to scal us up to everlasting torments?

Petition for pardon of sins and grace.

But, O must gracious preser­ver of men, who hast not ap­pointed us for wrath, nor wouldest that any should perish, but that all should come to Re­pentance: Create in us, O Lord, by thy holy Spirit, a true and sincere repentance, speedily and faithfully to turn from all our evill wayes: And do thou fully forgive us the sins we have com­mitted, [Page 215] even for thy fatherly mercies sake, even for thy Jesus sake, who hath satisfied thy ju­stice for them. O Lord, we be­seech thee to deliver us from the burthen and guilt of them: from thy vengeance, and the sad ef­fects of them, in temporal and eternal punishments. And now, O Lord, we humbly acknow­ledge, that we are unable to do any thing of our selves, that may please thee, without the assistance of thy grace, and thy Christ strengthening us. O blessed Lord, give us thy grace, O dear Jesus, afford us thy strength, that we may be able to perform to thee all our du­ties, as thy disciples; and yeeld obedience to all thy Command­ments. Raise up our thoughts, desires, and designes, unto thee: secure our affections to heaven­ly things: and let our souls stand alwayes ingaged to do the will of Christ. Lord, help us to watch [Page 214] over our selves, that neither the lust of the flesh, the love of the world, nor the temptation of the devil, may take us off from our love to thee, desire of thee, nor faithful obedience to thee: and that we may ever hereaf­ter, live a podly, righteous, and sober life, to the Glory of thy Name, & the present, and eter­nal peace of our soules, through the precious merits of Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Here I desire that the Master of the family, or who is concerned in the performance of the service for the family, would here interpose some of Davids Psalmes, and if he think fit a Chapter also in a judicious order. And after either, or both, let the whole company joyn in one profession of the faith, sayng.

I beleeve in God the Father Almighty, &c.

After which, let this short [Page 216] Petition be used, as was taught in the former private Form.

O Lord, preserve our soules in this faith, let us not depart from it, through any temptati­ons. Give us grace constantly to continue in the profession of it, all the days of our life, Through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

But when the employments of the Family be such, as there is not time for these interpositions, then go on directly to the Thanksgiving.

O Blessed Lord God, the gi­ver of all goodnesse, and the fountain of Comfort, who art pleased to engage a particu­lar providence, to the govern­ing and disposing of every crea­ture; we humbly acknowledge our necessary dependence upon thee, and that every comfort we enjoy, is but what we have [Page 217] received from thee. O what shall we render unto the Lord, for those innumerable mercies we have received in all parts of our lives? We blesse thee for the summe of all metcies, the redemption of our soules by the blood of Christ, and for the particular work of thy grace upon us. We praise thee for all thy temporal blessings, our health, plenty, & peace, that thou hast kept us this night past, from all troubles, and sad acci­dents; and that we are here to­gether in a condition to blesse thee, in an universal safety this morning, when justly for out sins, we might have set down in ashes, bewayling some great in­felicity. And since, O Lord, thou hast put our soules, and bo­dies, and all that we have, in thine own hand, to dispose of as it pleaseth thee: O keep them, gracious God, according to thy tender mercies, from every evil, [Page 218] to which sin, and a miserable nature, have exposed them eve­ry moment. O keep our soules, that we may not be surprised nor overpowered by any tem­ptation to sin against thee, this day. Lord, give us wisdom to balance every action, by its concernment to us at our dying hour, and enable us to be doing something that may make out account comfortable at the great day of Christ. Draw our affections nearer to heavenly things, and increase in us a greater care, diligence, and earnestnesse in doing the will of Christ; that we may this day live acceptably to thee, and af­ter a constant perseverance in well-doing to our lives end, we may obtain a portion in thy eternall glories, through thy free grace, and undeserved mercy in Iesus Christ. Amen.

The intercession.

O most merciful Father, thou hast tyed us, by the charity of the Gospel, to pray for all men: O be merciful to the Na­tions, that sit in darkness, and to thy ancient people the Iewes, let the Sun of righteousness, with healing in his wings, rise upon them; that they may see & acknowledge the things of their peace in Christ. Preserve thy universal Church, from all the enemies of the faith of Christ, and from the sad effects of its own differencies and distracti­ons. Protect these Churches from their present dangers, and great distempers every where. Bless, O Lord, our Parents, chil­dren, friendr, and relations. Comfort all in affliction and trouble; Bring them into the way of truth, that are in errour: forgive and bless all our ene­mies: Gather us altogether to [Page 220] the resting place of thy Glory, through the merits of Iesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

THe Grace of our Lord Ie­sus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the holy Ghost, be with us all ever­more. Amen.

Evening PRAYER for a Family.

Our Father, &c.

Confession.

O Most infinite and Glori­ous Majesty, Lord God of heaven and earth, who hast granted us, poor creatures and wretched sinners, the mercy to appeal unto thee, as unto a mer­ciful and Gracious Father: who might justly for our sins, stand now confounded at thy pre­sence, as before the face of an angry Judge. For, Lord, who have ever provoked thee to an­ger, if we have not? who were ever justly accounted sinful, if we are not? For if thou accoun­test our sins by our time, what moment is it, in which we have [Page 222] not offended thee? if by the in­struments of action, what facul­ty of the mind, affections of the heart, what sense or member of the body, have not been em­ployed to sin against thee? if thou numbrest our sins by thy holy lawes, which of them that concern, either our duties to thee our God, our righteous carriage to others, or the sober use of our selves, or thy blessings; have we not transgressed? So that there appears a numberless number of sins before us, such as become an heavie burthen, too heavie for us to bear. And yet, O Lord, as if it had not been enough, to have thus offended thee in the former part of our lives, we have this day added to the sad ac­count, by many sinful imagina­tions, which we have given our mindes leave to multiply; by many offensive & sinful words, by many omissions of serving thee, and doing good to others; [Page 223] and by many acts that cannot but displease thee. That shouldst thou deal with us accordingly, thou mightest justly cast us off from thy protection, deprive us of our present comforts, and sweet enjoyments; and make us miserable by the effects of thy wrath, here and eternally.

Petition for Pardon and grace.

But, O Lord of mercy, though thou hatest sin in it self, and wicked men that continue in it, yet are thy armes alwayes open to accept, and thy mercies rea­dy to pardon all them that ac­knowledge and forsake their sins. We beseech thee therefore, O Lord, enable us truly to re­pent us of all our sins, that we may sorrow for them, and sin­cerely abhorre them; that we may have real purposes against them, and faithfully forsake them all the dayes of our lives. And then, O Lord, be graci­ously [Page 224] pleased to forgive all those our sins unto us, acquit us of the guilt, unload us of the burthen of them, and do thou accept of the blood of Christ in full satis­faction for them. O Lord, im­pute them not unto us, either to punish us for them in this world with miseries and sad accidents, or in the world to come with eternal torments. And, Lord, do thou help us for the time to come with thy grace, or we yet perish. O enlighten our under­standings and judgements, with all spiritual wisdom, that we may know and approve the things that are excellent: incline our wills to pursue them, and ingage all our affections to them. Wean us from the love of the world, and let our soules hunger and thirst after righte­ousnesse. Grant that we employ our selves in all our worldly la­bor & cares for the things of this life, with affections so subordi­nate [Page 225] to spiritual things, that we may first seek the Kingdom of God and its righteusnesse, and use the world as if we used it not. Lord, keep us intire in our obedience to Christ, that we may upon no temptation depart from the strict holiness of the Gospel: Lord, make us hum­ble, meek, peaceable, just, and charitable: make us zealous for thy glory and truth, careful of doing good to others, and of keeping our selves undefiled members of Christ, to our last end: Through Jesus Christ onr Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Here I also desire the supplicant may in­terpose the reading of Psalmes, a Chap­ter, and the Beleef, as in the Morning Service.

The Thanksgiving.

O most blessed Lord God, who art the fountain of blessing, [Page 226] and Father of mercies, who by thy providence, orderest all our particular conditions for us, in which, we every where observe great evidences of thy love and goodnesse to us; We humbly acknowledge our necessary de­pendence upon thee, and do confess to thy Glory, that every comfort we enjoy, is of thy free gift and bounty. We desire therefore according to our bounden duty, to offer up unto thee this evening sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, for all thy mercies and sweet provi­dences to us. Especially our souls magnify thy divine love, that thou hast given us thy Son, our Iesus, to pay the price of his blood to satisfy thy justice for all our sins: That thou hast engaged us, by being born, and living under the meanes of Grace, to make profession of the faith of Christ; and that thou hast not set us in the region [Page 227] and shadow of death. We bless thee, O Lord, that thou hast given us power, in any mea­sure to love or fear thee, to de­sire and intend heavenly things; and that thou hast not given us up to a reprobate mind, nor to be led away with the errour of the wicked, to fall from our stedfastness. We praise thy Name for the blessings of this life, for the present estate and condition in which thou hast placed us, and therein, for our portion of health, peace, friends, and provisions to live; all which, before this time, thou mightest have justly taken from us, for our manifold provocations. Blessed be thy providence, for the mer­cies of this day past, thou hast gi­ven us hearts in any measure to serve thee, and hast sweetened our affaires and enjoyments with any proportion of peace and contentment: That we have been delivered from all [Page 228] fearful accidents, such as might have made us to sit down in wo, and filled our souls with amaze­ment and sorrow. Lord, place us this night also under thy di­vine protection and providence. Free us from all terrors and af­frightments, and the sudden surprise of any danger or acci­dent, and when we awake and rise, grant, O Lord, that we may proceed in the way of good living, and so persevere in it, all the dayes of our lives; that when we come to our last sleep, and period of our time, we may rest in, and with thee, to all eternity; through thy infinite mercies in Iesus Chhrist our Sa­viour. Amen.

Let the intercession be the same that is used in the morning Service.

The lesser CATECHISM FOR CHILDREN.

BY VV. SMYTH.

THE Lesser CATECHISME for Children.

QUESTION.

VVHat is the best thing to be desired, and laboured for?

ANSWER.

To be saved.Mar. 8. 36.

Quest. How is it to be ob­tained?

Ans. Rom. 6. ult. By the free gift of God in Christ.

Quest. To whom will he give so great an happinesse?

Ans. Rom. 8. 1. To all them, that per­form the conditions of the Gos­pel-Covenant.

Quest. What are those condi­tions?

Ans. These three: to Be­leeve, [Page 232] Repent,Ioh. 3. 15. and Obey the Commandments of Christ.Luke 13. 5

Qu. Heb. 5. 9. Thousaidst thou must believe: And what are the Articles of thy Christian faith, as they are con­tracted into one summe, called the Apostles Creed?

Ans. I beleeve in God the Fa­ther Almighty, Maker of hea­ven and earth, and in Iesus Christ his only Son our Lord, which was conceived by the ho­ly Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontins Pi­late, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell, The third day he rose againe from the dead, he ascended in­to heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Fa­ther Almighty: from thence he shall come to judge both the quick and the dead: I be­leeve in the holy Ghost: The holy Catholick Church: The Communion of Saints: The forgivenesse of sins: The Re­surrection [Page 233] of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Quest. What doest thou chiefly learn in these Artieles?

Ans. First, I learn to beleeve in God, who made me and all the world: Secondly, in God the Son, who redeemed me and all Mankind: Thirdly, in God the holy Ghost, who sanctifieth me, and all the elect people of God.

Quest. What else art thou bound to beleeve?

Ans. Rom. 4. 4. All other holy truths, as they shall be administred to me: especially all the promises of the Gospel, to be relyed upon; & the commands to be obeyed.

Quest. The second condition of the Gospel is to repent, and what is that repentance?

Ans. Ioh. 1. 3. 9. After a hearty sorrow for, and an humble acknow­ledgement of my sins, a total departure from them.

Quest. But are there no sinnes which may consist with this state of Gospel-repentance?

[Page 234] Ans. Yes, Sins committed in ignorance, through infirmi­ty, or by supprise in a sudden temptation;Ioh. 1. 1. 8. if we be truly hum­bled for them, and constantly strive against them.

Quest. What sinnes are not consistent with that estate?

Ans. Heb. 10. 26 All wilfull and delibe­rate courses of sinning;Gal. 5. 24. and a customary continuing in any known wickedness.

Quest. The third condition of the Gospel of Christ, being to obey his Commandments,1 Joh. 2. 6. among which are accounted the Ten Command­ments: and what are they?

1.Exod. 20. THou shalt have no other Gods but me.

2, Thou shalt not make to thy self any graven Image, nor the likenesse of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worship [Page 235] them: For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, and visit the sins of the fathers upon the chil­dren, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and shew mercy unto thou­sands, in 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 guiltlesse that taketh his Name in vain.

4. Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath-day, six dayes shalt thou labour, and do all that thou hast to do: but the se­venth day is the Sabbath 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, thy cattell, and the stranger that is within thy gates: For in six dayes the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, & all that in them is, and re­sted [Page 236] the seventh day, and hal­lowed it.

5. Honour thy Father and thy Mother, that thy days 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.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness 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 oxe, nor his asse, nor any thing that is his.

Quest. Are there not other Commandments of Christ besides these, which are properly the pre­cepts of the Gospel?

Ans. Mat. 5. 17. Yes: many: which may be observed by diligent hearing the Gospel preached, and read­ing [Page 237] the books of the New Te­stament; which together with the former Commandments, are reduced to these three principal heads.

Quest. What are they?

Ans. Tit. 2. 12. To live Godly, Righ­teously, and Soberly. The first, respects my duties to God, The second to men, The third to my self.

Quest. what is it to live godly, in such duties as respect God?

Ans. Luke 1. 14 To perform to him all that worship, and service, that is due unto him, publickly, and privately.

Quest. What duties art thou bound to perform to him publickly?

Ans. Heb. 10. 25 To joyn with the Con­gregation in the frequent recei­ving the holy Sacrament, in the publick prayers, and in hearing the Word of God read, and preached. And in all these, be­having my self with such reve­rence of body and mind, as be­fits [Page 238] the presence of so great a Majesty.Heb. 12. 28

Quest. What is that private worship, which thou art bound as a Christian to perform to God?

Ans. Mat. 6. 6. To offer up unto him the daily sacrifice of prayer and praise; giving him the exercise of the affections of my heart, and all other parts and faculties of my soul and body;Rom. 6. 13 to ho­nour him with my substance, in the maintenance of his worship, and relieving the poor;Gal. 6. 10. and to serve him truly all the dayes of my life.

Quest. What is it to live righte­ously, in respect of our duties to men?

Ans. Rom. 13. 1 To yeeld all honour and obedience to the civil Ma­gistrate: to submit my self to all my teachers,Heb. 13. 17 spiritual Pa­stors, and Masters:Eph. 6. 5. to love, ho­nour, and succour my Father & Mother:Eph. 6. 1. to be civil and respe­ctive to all my betters.Rom. 13. 7 To in­vade no mans rights or dues;1 Thes. 4. 12 [Page 239] nor to advantage my self by anothers losse;Mat. 7. 12. and in all things, both in word and deed, to do to all men as I would they should do unto me.

Quest. What is it to live soberly as to thy self?

Ans. Rom. 12. 10 Not to minde high things above my degree,Phi. 4. 11. but to behave my self contentedly in my present condition:Gal. 5. 25. to be tem­perate in eating and drinking:Mat. 5. 28. to be chaste in all my desires and actions: and to keep my soul and body undefiled members of Christ, and as becomes the tem­ple of the holy Ghost.

Quest. For asmuch as no man can do any thing without the grace of God, which he must conti­nually call for, by diligent prayer. What therefore are the words of the Lords Prayer?

Ans. Mat. 6 9. Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven, [Page 240] give us this day our daily bread, forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us: lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evill: For thine is the King­dom, the Power, and the Glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Quest. 1 Eim. 2. 1. But is God to be sought by no prayers but this?

Ans. Yes.

Here let the Master enquire into the childes progresse in the prece­ding Forms, or some other of that kinde, according to its capacity.

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