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THAT Catechi2ing is an Ordinance of God, few will doubt, when they consider the Apostles did first lay the Fundamentals of Religion;, Heb. vi. i. And fed Babes with Milk, teaching them the first Principles of the Oracles of God, Heb v. 1.2. and questionless taught them in that Manner, which was most suitable to the Capacity of the Learners, which may well be supposed to be by plain and stiort Questions, and suitable Answers thereunto; and therefore this has been a constant Practice in the Church ef God: and the Primitive Church had a Particular appropriate hereunto, whom they called Qatechisl.
And so all well governed and wisely managed Churches, have still .maintained and used it, as. knowing the Necessity apd Usefulness thereof: for the younger Sort to infomj them. in the Principles of that Religion whereiatfi they were Bapti2ed; and for the Establifhment-of?(he Adult and more aged therein.
Hence have issued all those little Composures of all the fundamental Doctrines of Faith and Practice so handled (which we call Catechisms) in the Churches; and particularly in ours, whereof there are many and divers, whose Authors have A 2 well
well deserved for their Endeavours to inform and edify the People thereby.
But among them all, none excel this little Catechism of the JJsembly, for Orthodoxy, Fulness, and Method:
And because the Answers therein are some of them'prdtty large, and Treat of the most pro-" found Mysteries of our Religion; therefore several Persons have bestowed their good and laudable Fains, some in descanting more largely, and proving by Scriptural Reasons the Particulars: and one has shewn the Harmony thereof with the Articles and Homilies of the Church of England (designed, I suppose, to remove the Preiudice which some have taken against it). Others, have parted the Questions and Answers into several little ones, under each, to make them more intelligible to younger Ones, and more easy to be remembred.
Among whom, Worthy, Orthodox, and Excellent Mr. John Flavel may be ranked, who among other of his* many-awtenost profitable Labours, applied himself to the chewingjg this Bread ofLife, or crumbling it into smalpjPieces, for the Conveniency of Children ami (indeed) of alH wherein (as in all his other Works> he hath shewn himself a Workman that needs not to be ashamed.
There needs no other Recommendations to this Posthumous Piece, but the worthy Author's Name; he was removed before he had compleat.
ly ly finished it; he had prepared his Questions and Answers upon the second Petition of the Lordts Prayers but lived not to propose them in the publick Congregation. God then translated him into his Kingdom of Glory above, while he was so industriously endeavouring to promote the Kingdom of Grace below.
The other five remaining Questions and Answers (to compleat the Work) were done by a ruder hand-, as may easily be discerned by any observant Reader, who will find himself transfer'd from a plain, clear, and delightful Stile, Method,. and Manner, into more rough, disorderly, and unpleasant ones; for who, indeed, could equal this Divine Labourer? Not the Compleater: wha would account himself to have made very great Attainments in Divinity arid Usefulness, if he were left but a few Furlongs behind him. .
Let the Reader use and peruse this Piece, and hfcjpill fee Cause to bless God for the Author.
THE Divine Providence having unexpectedly cast my Lot for zfew Days in Dartmouth, where that blejjedMan of God Mr. John Fluveldidfor many Tears honour Christ, and was honoured by him; I have been favoured with a Sight of that most judicious Explication of the Assemblies Catechism, which is emitted herewith.
Being desired to testify my Respect to the worthy Author, by Prefacing this Excellent Labour of his with a few Lines; I can truly fay (as sometimes, Beza of Calvin) Now Mr. Flavel is dead, Life will'be less sweet, and Death less bitter to me.
My heart bleeds to look on this . desolate Place, and not'to fee him, .that whilst living, was the Glory of it.
But neither the Author, nor his Writings stand in Need of-she Commendation of others, much less of mine..
His Works already published have made his Name precious in both Englands,and it will be so as long as the Earth stall endure.
There are some Considerations which may cause the Reader to expect (and he will not find himself disappointed therein) that which is extraordinary in this little Manuel: for the Author's Heart was very much engaged in doing this Service for Christ, in