« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
COLLEGE LIBRANY CONFESSION OF FAITH
The LARGER and SHORTER
in the Holy Scriptures, and held forth in the said Confession and Catechisms) and PracTICALUSE thereof,COVENANTSNationAL and Solemn LEAGUE,ACKNOWLEDGMENT of Sins and ENGAGEMENT to DuTIES, DIRECTORIES, Form of CHURCHGOVERNMENT, Loc.
Of Publick Authority in the
Acts of Allembly and Parliament, relative to,
and approbative of, the same.
Deut, vi. 6. 7. And these words which I command thee this day, Mall be in thy heart.
And thou fall teach them diligently unto thy children, and shall talk of them when thou fittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou lieft down, and Uber than riff to.
Printed by JAMES Knox, and sold at his Shop opposite to Gibson's Land Salt-mercat.
GENERAL CONTENT S.
HE Preface, by fundry English Divincs.
Mr. Manton's Epistle to the Reader. 1. The Confession of Faith. Il. The Larger Catechism. III. The Shorter Catechism. IV. The Sum of Saving Knowledge. V. The National Covenant. VI. The Solemn League and Covenant. VII. The Acknowledgment of Sins, &c. VIII. The Directory for Public Worship. IX. The Form of Presbyterial Church-Go
vernment. X. The Directory for Family-Worship.
S we cannot but with grief of soul lament those mul.
titudes of errors, blasphemies, and all kinds of pro
faneness, which have in this last age like a mighty deluge overflown this nation ; so, among several other fins which have helped to open the flood gates of all these ima pieties, we cannot but esteem the disuse of family-instruction one of the greatest. The two great pillars upon which the kingdom of Satan is erected, and by which it is upheld, are ignorance and error : the first step of our manumillion from this fpiritual thraldom consists, in having our. eyes opened, and being turned from darkness to Acts. 26. 18. light; how much the serious endeávours of godly parents and masters might contribute to an early seasoning the tender years of such as are under their inspection, is abundantly evident, not only from their special influence upon them, in respect of their authority over them, interest in them, continual presence with them, and frequent opportunities of being helpful to them ; but also from the sad effects which by woful experience we find to be the fruit of the omission of this duty. 'Twere easy to fet before you a cloud of witnefes, the language of whose practice hath been not only an cminent commendation of this duty, but also a ferious exhortation to it. As Abel though dead, yet Heb. 11. 1. Speaks by his example to us for imitation of his faith, &c. So do the examples of Abraham, of Joshua, of the parents of Solomon, of the grandmother and mother of Timothy, the mother of Augustine, whose care was as well to nurse up the souls as the bodies of their little ones; and
as their pains herein was great, so was their success no way unanswerable.
We should scarce imagine it any better than an impertinency, in this noon-day of the gospel, either to inform or perswade in a duty lo exprefly commanded, so frequently urged, fo highly encouraged and so eminently owned by the Lord in all ages with his blessing, but that our fad experience tells us this duty is not more reedful than 'tis of late neglected. For the restoring of this duty to its due observance, gives us leave to suggest this double advice.
The first concerns heads of famílies in respect of themselves, That as the Lord hath set them in place above the reft of their family, they would labour in all wisdom and spiritual understanding to be above them allo. 'Tis an uncomely fight to behold men in years babes in knowledge ; and how unmeet are they to instruct others, who need themselves to be
taught which be the first principles of the oracles Heb 5.12. of God? Knowledge is an accomplishment so
desirable, that the devils themselves new not a more taking bait by which to tempt our first parents, than by the fruit of the Tree of knowledge: So Mall ye be as gods knowing good and evil. When Solomon
had 1 Kings. 3. 5, 9. that favour Thewed him of the Lord, that
he was made his own chuser what to ask, he knew no greater mercy to beg than Wisdom. The under standing is the guide and pilot of the whole man,that faculty which sits at the
stern of the soul : But as the most expert guide may mistake in the dark, so may the understanding when it
wants the light of knowledge; Without knowProv. 19.2. ledge the mind cannot be good, nor the life good Eph. 4. 18. nor the eternal condition safe. My people are Hosea 4. 6. destroyed for lack of knowledge. 'Tis ordinary in
Scriptureto set profanene's and all kind of miscarriages upon the score of ignorance. Diseases in the body have many times their rise from distempers in the head, and exorbitancies in practice from errors in judgment: And indeed in every sin there is something both of ignorance and error at the bottom; for, did sinners truly know what they do in finning, we might fay of every fin, what the an postle speaks concerning that great fin. Had they known bim, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; did they
truly know that every fin is a provoking the Lord to jealousy, a proclaiming war against heaven, a crucifying the Lord Jesus afrelh, a treasuring
up wrathurto themselves against the day of wrath, and that, if ever they be pardoned, it must be at no lower a rate than the price of his blood, it were scarce pofable but fin, instead of alluring, Lhould affright, and, instead of tempting, scare. 'Tis one of the arch devices and principal methods of Satan, to deceive men into fin; thus he prevailed against our first parents, not as a lion, but as a serpent, acting his enmity under a pretence of friendship, and tempting them to evil under an appearance of good; and thus hath he all along carried on his designs of darknels, by transforming hinitelt into an angel of light, making poor deceived men in love with their miseries, and hug their own destruction. A most fovereign antidote against all kind of errors, is to be grounded and settled in the faith : perfons, unfixed in the true religion, are very receptive of a false; and they who are nothing in spiritual knowledge, are easily made any thing. Clouds without water are driven to and fro with every wind, and fhips without ballalt liable to the violence of every tempeft. But yet the knowledge we especially commend, is not a brain-knowledge, a mere fpeculation ; this may be in the worst of men, nay, in the worst of creatures, the devils themselves, and that in such an eminency, as the belt of saints cannot attain to in this life of imperfection": but an inward, a favory, an heart-knowledge, such as was in that Martyr, who, tho' he could not dispute for Christ, could die for him, This is that spiritual sense and feeling of divine truths, the apostle speaks of, Heb. v. 14. Having your fenfes exercised, &c.
But, alas, we may say of most men's religion, what learn. ed Rivet speaks concerning the errors of the Fathers, they were not so muchtheir own errors, Rivet. Crit. as the errors of the times wherein they lived, Sacr. Thus de most men take up their religioni upon no better account than Turks and Papifts take up theirs, because 'tis the religion of the times and places wherein they live, and what they take up thus slightly, they lay down as easily, whereas an inward taste and relish of the things of God, is an excellent preservative to keep us settled in the most unsettled times. Corrupt and unsavory principles have great A 3