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my with their wives and children; their children probably are mentioned, to intimate, that their parents would, by their own example and affectionate farewel to Paul, breed them up in a way of reverence and respect to the pastors of the church. .
For the future, 'tis comfortable certainly to see a thriving nursery of young plants, and to have hopes that God shall have a people to serve him wben we are dead and gone; the people of God comforted themselves in that, Pfal. cii. 28. “The children of thy servant shall conti• pne.'
Upon all these confiderations how careful should ministers and parents be to train up young ones, while they are yet pliable, and, like wax, capable of any form and impresfion in the knowledge and fear of God; and betimes to instill the principles of our most holy faith, as they are drawn into a short fum in catechisms, as so altogether laid in the view of conscience? Surely these seeds of truth planted in the field of memory, if Ibey work pothing else, will at least be a great check and bridle to them, and, as the casting in of cold water doth stay the boiling of the pot, somewhat allay the feryours of youthful lusts and passions,
I had upon intreaty resolved to recommend to thee with the greatest earpestress the work of catechising, and, as a meet help, the usefulness of this book as thus printed with the scriptures at large: But meeting with a priFate letter of a very learned and godly divine, wherein that work is excelkeady done to my hand, I shall make bold to transcribe a part of it, and offer it to publick 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 principal cause of these mischiefs is the great and common neglect of the governors of families, in the discharge of that duty which they owe to God for the souls that are under their charge, especially in teaching them the doctrine of christianity. Families are societies that must be fanctified 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 conlidered or regarded ! But, while negligent ministers are (deservedly) cast out of their places, the negligent masters of families take themselves to be almost blameless. They offer their children to God in bapsism, and there they promise to teach them the doctrine of the gospel, and bring them up in the nurture of the Lord; but they easily 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 foals of their children to the devil, mult ly heavy on them here or hereafter. They beget children, and keep families, merely for the world and the lesh: 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 our several places to promote it! Men need not then run without 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 principal service they can do to God in this world, being restrained from more publick work. And doubtless many an excellent magistrate hath been sent into the common-wealth, and many an excellent pastor into the church, and many a precious saint 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 further privileges of the church, what happy, well-ordered churches might we have? Then one paftor need not be put to do the work of two or three hundred or thousand governors of families; even to teach their children those principles which they should have taught them long before: Nor should we be put to preach to so many miserable ignorant souls, that be not prepared by education to understand us: Nor should we have need to shut out so many from holy communion upon the account of ignorance, that yet have not the grace to feel it and lament it, nor the wit and patience to wait in a learning state, till they are ready to be fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the houshold of God. But now they come to us with aged self-conceitedness, being past children; and yet worse than children still; having the ignorance of children, but being over-grown the teachableness of children and think themselves wise, yea, wise enough to quarrel with the wiselt of their teachers, because they have lived long enough to have been wise, and the evidence of their knowledge is their aged ignorance: And they are readier to flee in our faces for church-privileges, than to learn of us, and obey our instructions, till they are prepared for them that they may do them good; like snappish currs, that will snap us by the fingers for their meat, and snatch it out of our hands; and not like children, that stay till we give it them. Parents have so used them to be unruly, that ministers have to
deal deal but with too few but the unruly. And it is for want of this laying the foundation well at first, that professors themselves are so ignorant as most are, and that so many, especially of the younger sort, do swallow down almost any error that is offered them, and follow any sect of dividers that will entice them, so it be but done with earnestness and plausibility. For alas, though, by the grace of God, their hearts may be changed in an hour, (whenever they understand but the essentials of the faith) yet their understandings must have time and diligence to furnish them with such knowledge as must stablish them, and fortify them against deceit. Upon these and many the like confiderations, we should intreat all christian families to take more pains in this necessary work, and to get better acquainted with the substance of christianity. And to that end (taking along some moving treatises to awake the heart) I know not what work should be fitter for their use, than that compiled by the assembly at Westminster: a synod of as godly, judicious divines, (notwithstanding all the bitter words which they have received from discontented and self-conceited men) I verily think, as ever England saw. Tho' they had the unhappiness to be employed in calamitous times, when the noise of wars did ftop men's ears, and the licentiousness of wars did set every wanton tongue and pen at liberty to reproach them; and the prosecution and event of those wars, did exasperate partial discontented men, to dishonour themIelves by seeking to dishonour them: I dare say, if in the days of old, when councils were in power and account, they had had but such a council of bifhops, as this of presbyters was, the fame of it for learning and holiness, and all ministerial abilities, would with very great honour have been transmitted to pofterity.
I do therefore desire, that all masters of families would first study well this work themselves; and then teach it their children and servants, according to their several capacities. And, if they once understand these grounds of religion, they will be able to read other books more underftandingly, and hear fermops more profitably, and confer more judiciously, and hold fast the doctrine of Christ more firmly, than ever you are like to do by any other course. First let them read and learn the Shortct Catechism, and next the Larger, and lastly, read the Confession of Faith.
Thus far he; whose name I shall conceal (though the excellency of the matter, and present stile, will easily discover him) because I have published it without his privity and consent, though, I hope, not against his liking and approbation, I shall add no more, but that I am
In the Lord's work,
. THOMAS MANTÓN.
An ordinance of the lords and commons assembled in parliament, for the cal
ling of an assembly of learned and godly divines, and others, to be consulted i with by the parliament, for the settling of the government and liturgy of
the church of England; and for vindicating and clearing of the doctrine of the said church from false afperfions and interpretations. June 13. 1643.
W H ereas, amongst the infinite bleffings of Almighty God upon this nam t ion, none is nor can be more dear unto us than the purity of our religion ; and for that, as yet, many things remain in the liturgy, discipline and goverment of the church, which do necessarily require a further and more perfect reformation, than as yet hath been attained : And whereas it bath been declared and resolved by the lords and commons assembled in parliament, that the present church-government by archbishops, their chancellors, comis. fars, deans, deads and chapters, archdeacons, and other ecclesiastical officers, depending upon the hierarchy, is evil and justly offensive and burdensome to the kingdom, a great impediment to reformation and growth of religion, and very prejudicial to the state and government of this kingdom; and therefore they are resolved, that the same shall be taken away, and that such a goverment shall be settled in the church, as may be most agreeable to God's holy word, and most apt to procure and preserve the peace of the church at home, and nearer agreement with the church of Scotland, and other reformed churches abroad: And for the better effecting hereof, and for the vindicating and clearing of the doctrine of the church of England from all false calumnies and aspersions ; it is thought fit and necessary to call an af. sembly of learned godly and judicious divines, who, together with some meme bers of both the houses of parliament, are to consult and advise of such matters and things, touching the premisses, as shall be proposed unto them by both or either of the houses of parliament, and to give their advice and counfel therein to both, or either of the said houses, when, and as often as they shall be thereunto required. Be it therefore ordained, by the lords and commons in this present parliament assembled, that all and every.the persons hereafter in this present ordinance named, that is to say,
And such other person or persons as shall be nominated and appointed by both houses of parliament, or so many of them as shall not be letted by lickness, or other necessary impediment, shall meet and assemble, and are hereby required and injoined upon summons Gigned by the clerks of both houses of parliament, left at their respective dwellings, to meet and assemble them
felyes felves at Westminster, in the chapel called king Henry the Viith's chapel, on the first day of July, in the year of our Lord, one thousand fix hundred and forty three; and after the first meeting, being at least the number of forty, shall from time to time fit, and be removed from place to place, and also, that the faid assembly shall be diffolved in such manner, as by both houses of parliament shall be directed: and the said persons, or so many of them as shall be fo assembled, or fit, shall have power and authority, and are hereby likewise injoined from time to time, during this present parliament, or until further order be taken by both the said houses, to confer and treat among themselves, of such matters and things, touching and concerning the liturgy, discipline and government of the church of England, for the vindicating and clearing of the doctrine of the fame, from all false afperfions and misconstructions, as shall be proposed unto them by both or either of the said houses of parliament, and no other; and deliver their opinion, advices of, or touching the matters aforesaid, as shall be most agreeable to the word of God, to both or either of the houses, from time to time, in such manner and fort, as by both or either of the said houses of parliament, fhall be required; and the same not to divulge by printing, writing, or otherwise, without the consent of both, or either house of parliament. And be it further ordained, by the authority aforesaid, that William Twisse doctor in divinity shall fit in the chair, as prolocutor of the said assembly; and if he happen to die, or be letted by Sickness, or other necessary impediment, then such other person to be appointed in his place, as shall be agreed on by the said houses of parliament: And in case any difference in opinions shall happen amongst the said persons fo assembled, touching any the matters that shall be proposed to them as foresaid, that then they shall represent the same, together with the reasons thereof, to both or either the said houses respectively, to the end such further direction may be given tberein, as shall be requisite to that behalf. And be it further ordained by the authority aforesaid, That for the charges and expences of the said Gvines, and every one of them, in attending the said service, there shall be allowed every one of them that shall so attend, during the time of their fad attendance, and for ten days before, and ten days after, the sum of four tillings for every day, at the charges of the commonwealth, at such time, and in such manner, as by both houses of parliament shall be appointed. And be it further ordained, That all, and every the faid divines, so, as : sforefaid, required and injoined to meet and assemble, shall be freed and acquitted of, and · from every offence, forfeiture, penalty, loss or damage, which shall or may ensue or grow by reason of any non-residence, or absence of them, or any of them, from his, or their, or any of their church, church* or cures, for or in respect of their faid attendance upon the said service; any.