Page images
PDF
EPUB

T. Cafe

To conclude, though the Asembly's Shorter Catechism itself be
above our recommendation, as having its praises already in the
churches of Christ ; yet we think it good to give it under cum
hands that this Explanation of it is very worthy of acceptation.
7. Owen, D.D. T. Manton, D. DT. Jacomb, D.D.
Joseph Caryl Will. fenky2
G. Griffith
C. Fowler

T. Watson
Hen. Stubs
T. Lye

T. Doolittle
Edn. Calamy T. Cawton

Jam. Innes
Matt. Barker T. Brooks
John Loder Ben. Needler

Rich. Mayo
John Ruyther Dan. Bull

Fohn Hicks
Nic. Blaikie Cha. Morton Edw. Veal
James Janeway
Will. Carslake

Edw. Weft
H. Vaughan

Robert Franklin. Edw. Lawrence Will. Maddocks Matt. Sylvester Jo. Chester John Turner

Nath. Vincent Fan. Sharp Will. Thompson

40. Wells

To the Masters and Governors of Families belonging to

my Congregation. SOME dedicate their baoks unto lords ard ladies, or other great persons ; such pojibly I might find out, had I a mind to feek : but as my love is most endeared unto you, to whoin I stand so nearly related ; fo my greatest ambition is to be ferviceable unts pour fouls. Your cordial and constant love to me and my labors (in a whiffling age) of which you have given many manifek proofs, deferveth a greater expression of my grateful sense, than ihe dedication of this book unto you. God, by bringing you under may ministry, hath given me the charge of your souls ; and God, by bringing persons into your families, hath

given you a charge of their souls. Our charge is great, and to be guilty of the ruin of fouls, is dreadful. Happy Mall we be if we be found faithful to our own and others' souls, in the great day of accounts. Too many, even in our nation and city, perish and run blindfold into hell, for want of knowledge ; and the most are without know

و

edge, for want of instruction. And as no way of inftruction doth convey clearer light of distinct knowledge in the principles of religion, than the way of catechising ; so the negkeet of this in ministers and masters of families, is such a fin of unfuitl.fulness unto the souls of then that are under their charge, that all of us should take heed we have it not to answer for at the appearance of our Lord. It is not fufficient for you to bring jout' children and fervants to receive public instruction ; but it is your

duty also to instruct them privately, and at home to examine i them in their catechisms. I know no catechism more full of

light, and found doctrine, than the Shorter Catechism of the late, reverend Asembly; which, because in many answers, there are thing's not easy to be understood by beginners, therefore, in this niy Explanation of it, I have taken pains to take abroa./ every anfwer, to open it in several under questions and answers, and to confirm the truths thereof by reasons and fcripture proofs ; which I have endeavored to do as plainly and familiarly as I could, that every thing therein might be the more intelligible and useful unto such as either learn or read it. Some chief controversies in religion I have touched upon, briefly propounding arguments for the backing of the truth, and not left objections wholly unanfwered; which I have the rather done, that all of you, especially the more unexperienced young ones under yoii, mnight get some armor against every where prevailing error. You know, that some have committed the whole of the Explanation, so far as we have gone, unto memory ; how beneficial they have found this, others beside themselves can speak : yet all have not that strength of memory, neither would I impose this Explanation to be learned without book by all : yet this I advise, that you, who are inasters of families, would set apart time, twice, or at least orice every week, to examine your children and servants in the Asembly's Catechism ; taking Mr. Lye's excellent method in the way of asking questions, whom God hath made singularly useful in the diffusing much light among young cues. And after they have given you the answers without book, which are in the Catechison, that then yourselves would read, or cause one of them to read, fome part of this explanation on those answers, so far as you can well go at a time. And if each of then that can read, mould, both in your families, and in our public assembly, hare one of these Explanations in their hands, to read along with them that read, or publicly answer, they would the better attend

and understand what is read or answered; which course, 1 apprehend, will exceedingly tend to their great profit ; and that such as do this with diligence, will (through God's blessing) at. tain in a short time, wuch proficiency in the best knowledge, which is such a jewel, that none, niethinks, should be contentedly with out, when with less labor than for other jewels of inferior value, it may be obiained. This Explanatory Catechisme was chiefly lif not only) intended for you, and the use of such as are of my congregation ; which, if it may find acceptation also with, and prove beneficial unto other families, I Mall rejoice. The more gener ally useful my poor endeavors are, as it will tend so much the more to the glory of my great master, so it will yield to myself the greatest comfort, especially in a dying hour. I mall take my leave of you, though I be not departed from you, with the departing exhortation of the apostle ; Aits xx. 32. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace,

which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance

among

all them which are fanctified. Your carnest fouls' well-wisher,

T. VINCENT

ENT.

AN

EXPLANATION

OF THE

SHORTER CATECHISM.

1. Quel. WHAT is the chief end of man?

Ans. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Q. 1. What is meant by the chief end of mani ?

À. The chief end of man, is that which man ought chiefly to aim at, or design, to desire, to seek after, and endeavor to obtain, as his chief good and happiness ; unto which his life and his actions should be referred and direct. ed: which is the glorifying of God, and the enjoyment of God forever.

Q. 2. May men have no other chief end than the glorifying and enjoying of God ?

A. Men ought to have no other chief end than the glorifying of God: but they may have subordinate ends; For, i. Men ought to be diligent in their particular callings, for this end, that they may provide for themselves and their families. i Theff. iv. 11, 12.

your own business, and work with your own hands, that ye may have lack of nothing.' 2. Men may eat and drink, and sleep, for this end, that they may nourish and refresh their bodies. It is lawfulto design, and desire, and seeksuch things as these in fuch actions, subordinately, or less principally i but in these and all actions, men ought principally and chiefly to design and seek the glory of God. 1 Cor x. 31. • Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.' 3. Men may moderately defire and endeavor after the enjoyment of such a portion of the good things of the world, as are needful and useful; but they ought to make choice of God for their chief

Do

good, and desire the eternal enjoyment of him as their chief portion. Pfal. lxxiii. 25, 26. · Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee,' or in comparison with thee. My flesh and my heart faileth : but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.'

0. 3. What is it to glorify God?

A. 1. Negatively to glorify God, is not to give any ad. ditional glory to God;

it is not to make God more glo. rious than he is ; for God is incapable of receiving the least addition to his essential glory, he being eternally and infinitely perfect and glorious. Matth. v. 48. Your fa. ther which is in heaven is perfect.' Psal. xvi. z. « Thou art my Lord : my goodness extendeth not unto thee.'

2. Affirmatively to glorify God, is to manifest God's glory ; not only passively, as all creatures do which have neither religion nor reason; but also actively men glorify God, when the design of their life and

actions is the glory and honor of God. i Peter, ii.

9. • That ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you,' &c. 1. When inwardly they have the highest estimation of him, the greatest confidence in him, and the strongest affections to him, this is glorifying of God, in spirit. Cor. vi. 20. Glorify God in your spirit, which is God's.' 2 When outwardly they acknowledge God according to the revelations he hath made of himself, when with their lips they shew forth God's praise. Pfal. 1. 23. 'He, that offereth praise, glorifieth me.' When they sincerely endeavor, in their actions, the exalting of God's name, the promotion of the interest of his kingdom in the world, and to yield that worship and obedience to him, which he hath prescribed in his word. Pfal. xxxiv. 3, O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.' Rev. xiv. 7. Fear God, and give glory to him ; and worship him that made heaven and earth, and the fea, and the fountains of waters.'

Q. 4 What is it to enjoy God?

A To enjoy God, is to acquiefce or rest in God as the chief good, with complacency and delight. Pfal. cxvi. 7. • Return unto thy rest, O my soul.'

Q. 5. How is God enjoyed here?

« PreviousContinue »