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the which, though by a strange
fanatic humour it be slighted, The cure of your souls
and by self-conceited persons being by the Divine Provi- |
derided, yet contains all things dence incumbent upon me, both of faith and fact necessary very unfit to undergo so great to salvation, being rightly, a charge, especially consider- | clearly, and fully understood. ing the liberty which most men Did you therefore rightly undo now assume in the way of derstand, and seriously consireligion : in the discharge of der, wherein your soul's health my duty, though I cannot say and edification chiefly consists, I have been so prudent and i you would be better pleased diligent, as the high and holy with the frequency of Catechisnature of my function re- | | ing, and be more versed in those quires; yet you know I have essentials of religion, than in not omitted frequently to put the hearing of many Sermons, you in mind, which is one which are of less concern. principal part of my office, of I have not spared my pains the whole will of God, in the | in preaching, nor my purse in careful observance whereof the the maintenance of others to health of your souls consisteth. assist me herein. But by long
The contents of God's re- experience it is evident, that vealed will, being delivered and Sermons (what through the dispersed through the whole variety, several modes and body of Holy Scriptures, are methods on the one hand, and collected and summed up into what through the great abuse general heads by the Church thereof on the other) have not of Christ, in her Catechism :) that influence upon the minds
of men as becometh “sound ) pressing the same in the most doctrine," but have too much easy way to be understood: sway with “men of itching as knowing that multitude ears, who heap to themselves of words, various, acute, and teachers after their own lusts:" quaint affected expressions, eswho, upon pretence of going pecially in the essentials of reon to perfection, go off the ligion, though they may more foundation, wax vain in their please, do not so much profit, imaginations, and their fool- nay, they do really rather disish hearts are darkened, whilst tract than instruct the minds of they conceit themselves en | most. For it is not the rattling lightened.
of the leaves, but the fruits of And therefore, for your mure the tree of knowledge, that feed ready, easy, and constant in- | the soul to life eternal. struction, I have committed to The prayers prescribed upon writing, and made public, The any the ensuing considerations, Summary of Christian doc- are not by way of one long trine, being the Catechism of continued oration without inthe Church of England Para- | termission, but divided into phrased.
several shorter prayers : and And because doctrine with- this because, out practice is but a body 1. The heat of holy zeal is of religion without a soul to hereby better maintained and quicken it; I have here added kept flaming in the soul, whilst a Summary of Christian Prac- | the ending of one prayer and tice, in the ensuing rules of beginning another adds new Self-examination, which will | fervour to the soul's devotion. equally discover unto you your 2. Long prayers do tire the sins and miscarriages past, and spirits, clog the memory, disserve for a guide to direct you tract the mind, and damp that in the future ordering of all the celestial fervour which is the actions of your lives in the life of all holy and acceptable ways of godliness.
prayers. In both which Summaries, 3. Such are all those prayers I have endeavoured to be both which are truly the prayers of brief and plain, delivering only God's Holy Spirit, and stand what I conceive generally ne- upon record in Holy Writ: cessary to salvation, and ex- | they are all divided and cut short into so many distinct | amine himself before he eat of verses, as into so many several that Bread and drink of that shorter prayers.
Cup,” as he believes he shall 4. Thus Christ has com- | be examined before the great manded us to pray, Matt. vi. Tribunal of Heaven ; and ac7-9. And according to this cordingly to purge and purify pattern, the prayers of Christ's his soul by confession, contriChurch, even for the length tion, and all the sacred acts thereof, are generally framed. and offices of true repentance,
My primary intention in the the practice whereof is in the ensuing Discourse, was chiefly following leaves delivered. to direct you for the worthy | I shall not further enlarge receiving of the Holy Commu- this Epistle, more than to pray, nion of the Body and Blood of that God may be pleased to Christ, whereunto a thorough assist you by His Divine grace self-examination is absolutely carefully to observe such usenecessary.
| ful instructions as be herein And being desired to enlarge given you: not vainly jangling, my Meditations upon that and talking of religion ; but, blessed Sacrament, I have according to the covenant you therefore now divided the have made with your God, former edition into two parts: “ to keep His Holy Will and the first, of Self-examination ; | Commandments, and to walk and the second, of the Holy in the same all the days of Communion.
your life;" remembering Who Wherein I must necessarily | it is that has said it, “ If thou tell you that since the danger wilt enter into life, keep the of unworthy receiving is equi Commandments a.” And that valent to the benefit of the | you may observe the one as the worthy ; it therefore concerns | way to the other, I humbly every one of you, that hath any beg may be thine for me, as it sense and sincere care of his is mine for thee, even the consoul's health as strictly to "ex- | stant prayer of
Your respective Pastor,
1 Matt. xix. 17.
It is the happiness of man, | aged to the great decay both of above that of the beasts that its life and lustre in the hearts perish, that he can both con- and lives of its professors. And verse with himself and the finally, through all the turbublessed Creator of himself, lent sects and factions of these Who hath enstamped His Di. last and most tempestuous vine Image upon his immortal times, to arrive safely at the soul, to have his conversation much-desired haven of the in Heaven ; and amidst the Heavenly Land of Promise; most startling changes of this where alone dwells unity and mortal life, have his heart peace, sweet blessed peace, surely fixed there where true and that joy which is unspeakjoys are to be found,
able and full of glory: whither Mens in Cælis, quies in terris.
may our mutual prayers for
each other, with such devout If we set our affections on tears and sighs which are the things above, all will be in breathings of the Holy Spirit quiet here below; so that we of God, waft and conduct us may securely sail through the all, through the alone merits of troubled waters of the many our dear Redeemer: and this various opinions and divisions, | I humbly beg may be thine as uncharitable contentions and it is mine, even the constant disputes in religion, too irreli- | prayer of thy loving brother giously maintained and man- ' in the Lord,