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Score. Never did any age of the church enjoy such choice helps, as this of ours. Every age of the go pel hath had its Creeds, Confeffions, Catechisms, and such breviaries and models of divinty as have been singularly useful. Such forms of found words (however in thele days decryed) have been in use in the church,ever since God himself wrote the decalogue, as a summary of things to be done, and Christ taught us that prayer of his, as a directory what to ask. concerning the usefulness of such compendi- Doctor Tuckney ary systems, so much hath been said already in his fermon by a learned divine of this age, as is lufficient an? Tim i iz to satisfy all who are not resolved to remain unsatisfied.
Concerning the particular excellency of these en'uing trea; tises, we judge it needful to mention tho'e eminent teftimonies which have been given them, from per'ois of known worth in respect of their judgment, learning, and integrity, both at home and abroad, because themselves (pake so much their own praile: Gold stands not in need of varnih, nor dia monds of painting, Give us leave only to tell you, that we cannot but account it an eminent mercy to enjoy luch helps
these are. 'Tis ordinary in these days, for men to speak evil of things they know not; but, if any are possessed with mean thoughts of these treatises, we shall only give the fame counsels to them, that Philip gives Nathaniel, Come and fee. 'Tis no small ad. John. I. 46. vantage the reader now hath by the addi. tion of Scriptures at large, whereby with little pains he may more profit, because with every fruth he may behold its scripture-foundation. And indeed, considering what a Babel ot opinions, what a strange confusion of tongues there is this day,among them who profess they speak the language of Canaan; There is no intelligent person but will conclude that advice of the prophet especially suited to such an age as this, Isa. viii. 20, To.the law and to the testimony, if they speak nct according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. If the reverend and learned compofers of these ensuing treatises were willing to take the pains of annexing Scripture-proofs to every truth, that the faith of people might not be built upon the dictates of men, but the authority of God: So some considerable pains hath now been further taken in tranfcribing those Scriptures,partly to prevent that grand inconvenience(which A 4
former impressions, except the Latin, have abounded with, to the great perplexity and disheartning of the reader) the misa quotations of scripturę; the meanest reader being able, by having the words at large, to ratify whatever mistake may be in the printer in citing the particular place : partly to prevent the trouble of turning to every proof, which could not bụt bę very great: partly to help the
memories of fuch who are wil, ling to take the pains of turning to every proof, but areụn: able to retain what they read; and partly that this may
fervo as a Bible common-place, the several passages of scripture which are scattered up and down in the word, being in this book reduced to their proper head, and thereby giving light each to other. The advantages, you see, in this design, are many and great : The way to fpiritual knowledge is hereby made more easy, and the ignorance of this age more inexcu. fable. • If therefore there be any spark in you of love to God, be pot content that any of yours should be ignorant of himwhom you so much admire, or any haters of him whom you to much love. If there be any compaffion to the fouls of them who are under your care, if any regard of your beịng found faithful in the day of Christ ,if any respect to future generations ; Jabour to fow these feeds of knowledge, which may grow up in after-times. That you may be faitḥful herein, is the ear. pest prayer of,
D. D. A, M, P,
Mr. Thomas. Manton's Epistle to the reader.
be ignorant of the general complaint concerning the decay of the power of Godliness, and more especially of the great corruption of youth; wherever thou goeft, thou wilt hear men crying out of bad children and bad servants : Whereas indeed the source of the mischief must be fought a little high er; 'tis bad parents and bad masters that make bad children, and bad servants; and we cannot blame so much their un, towardness, as our own negligence in their education.
The devil hath a great spight at the kingdom of Christ, and he knoweth no such compendious way to crush it in the egg,as by the perversion of youth, and supplanting family-duties. He ftriketh at all duties,those which are Public in the assemb. Jies of the Saints ; but these are too well guarded by the solemn injunctions and dying charge of Jesus Christ, as that he should ever hope totally to fubvert and undermine them: But at family-duties he striketh with the more success, because the institution is not so folemn, and the practice not so serious, ly and conscientiously regarded as it should be, and the omisli, on is not so liable to notice and public censure, Religior was first hatched'in families, and there the devil seeketh to crush it; the families of the Patriarchs were all the churches God had in the world for the time, and therefore (I suppose) when Cain went out from Adam's family, he is said to go out from the face of the Lord, Gen.iy. 16. Now the devil Ķnoweth that this is a blow at the root, and a ready way to prevent the fuc, cession of Churches: If he can subyert families, other Societies and communities will not long flourish and siblift with any power and vigour ; for there is the stock from whence they are supplied both for the present and the future.
For the present, a family is the seminary of Church and itate ; and if children be not well principled, there all miscar, Tieth: A fault in the first concoction is not mended in the Second; If youth be bread ill in the family, they prove ill in the
church and common wealth; there is the first Making or Mar. ring, and the presage of their future lives to be thence taken, Prov. xx. 11.
By family discipline, officers are trained up for the church, 1 Tim. iii. 4. One that ruleth well his own house, &c. and there are men bred up in lobjection and obedience. 'Tis not d, Acts xxi. 5. that the disciples brought Paul on his Way with their wives and children; their children probably are mentioned, to intimate, that their parents would, by their own example and affectionate farewell to Paul,breed them up in a way of reverence and respect to the pastor of the church
For the future, 'tis comfortable certainly to see a thriving nursery of young plants, and to have hopes that God mall have a people to serve him when we are dead and gone : the people of God comforted themselves in that, Pfàl.cii. 28. The chil. dren of thy fervants fhall continue, c.
Upon all these confiderations, how careful should minifters and parents be to train up young ones, whilst they are yet pliable, and, like wax, capable of any form and impression, in the knowledge and fear of God; and betimes to instill the principles of oxr most holy faith, as they are drawn into a hort Sum in Catechisms,and fo altogether laid in the view of Conscience ? Surely these Seeds of truth planted in the field of memory, if they work nothing else, will at least be a great check and bridle to them, and, as the casting in of cold wa. ter doth stay the boiling of the pot, somewhat allay the fervours of youthful lufts and passions.
I had upon intreaty resolved to recommend to thee with the greatest earnestnels the work of catechising,and, as a meet help, the usefulness of this book as thus printed with the fçriptures at large: but meeting with a private letter of a very learned and Godly divine, wherein that work is excellent ly done to my hand, I shall make bold to tranfcribe a part of it, and offer it to public view.
The Author having bewailed the great distractions, corruptions, and divisions that are in the church, he thus represents the cause and cure: Among others, a principle cause of these mischiefs is the great and common neglect of the governors of families, in the discharge of that dury which they owe to God for the souls that are under their charge, especially in teaching them the doctrine of christianity families are.
focieties that must be fanétified to God, as well as churches; and the governors of them have as truly a charge of the fouls that are therein, as pastors have of the churches. But, alas, how little is this considered or regarded! but, while negligent ministers are (deservedly) cast out of their places, the ne. gligent masters of families take themselves to be almost blameless. They offer their children to God in baptism, and there they promise to teach them the doctrine of the gospel, and bring them up in the nurture of the Lord; but they eafily promise, and easily break it; and educate their children for the world and the flesh, altho' they have renounced these, and dedicated them to God. This covenant-breaking with God, and betraying the fouls of their children to the devil, must lie heavy on them here or hereafter. They beget chil. dren, and keep families, merely for the world and the flesh; but little consider what a charge is committed to them, and what it is to bring up a child for God, and govern a family as a sanctified society. O how sweetly and successfully would the work of God go on, if we would but all join together in pur several places to promote it! men need not then run with out sending to be preachers; but they might find that part of the work that belongeth to them to be enough for them, and to be the best that they can be employed in. Especially women should be careful of this duty, because as they are most about their children, and have early and frequent opportunities to instruct them, so this is the principle fervice they can do to God in this world, being restrained from more public work, And doubtlefs many an excellent magistrate hath been sent into the common-wealth, and many an excellent pastor into the church, and many a precious faint to Heaven, through the happy preparations of a holy education, perhaps by a woman that thought herself useless and unserviceable to the church, Would parents but begin betimes, and labour to affect the hearts of their children with the great matters of everlasting life, and to acquaint them with the substance of the doctrine of Christ, and, when they find in them the knowledge and love of Christ, would bring them then to the pastors of the church to be tried, confirmed and admitted to the fur ther privileges of the church, what happy, well-ordered churches might we have? then one pastor need not be put to do the work of two or three hundred or thousand gover,