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his laws, appointing the work and duty of the creature, as al so the rewards and punishments ; James iv, 12. “ There is one « Law-giver, that is able to save and to destroy.” In this case his sovereignty immediately and indispenfably binds the conscience of man, and no human authority can dissolve that obligation : Nor muft we snuff at the feverest command. (3.) The glorious sovereignty of God is displayed in his providential administrations, appointing every man to that station and condition in which he is in this world ; whether it be high or low, prosperous or afflicted: Pfalm lxxv. 6. “I said to the “ fools, deal not foolishly, &c. for promotion cometh not from «. “ the east, or the west, but God is Judge ; he putseth down FC one, and fetteth
ир. another." Let nog them that are at the top of the world be lifted up; nor those that are at the bottom be dejected; for God casts every man's lot, and changeth their condition at his pleasure ; a word of his mouth plucks down the lofty, and exalts the lowly; he woundeth, and his hands make whole. Hence it becomes the afflicted to be ftill, and know that he is God, Pfalm. xlvi. 10. to put his mouth in the dult, and quietly to wait for his salvation : All our fretting and struggling cannot shake off the yoke which he hath put upon us; but a meek and quiet submission to his will, and compliance with his designs, is the best expedient to procure our free. dom. There is not one circumstance of trouble befals
you, without his orderį nor can you expect deliverance, but by order from him.
Rule 2. Study the transcendent evil of fin, and what the demerit of the least sin that ever you committed is. This will becalm your tempestuous spirits, and at once work them into contentation with your present state, and admiration that it is no worse, Lam. iii. 22, 39, 40.
Consider, thou querulous and discontented foul, that the wages of sin is death, Rom. vi. ult. that tribulation, anguilh, and wrath, are due, by law, to every soul of man that doth evil; that so often as we have sinned, fo. often have we de. served hell : and shall we then charge God with severity, for scourging us with the rods of gentle, fatherly, chastisements ? Is this hell ? Dare you say the severest affliction that ever was upon you, is above the demerit of
sin ? It is true, indeed, the Lord tells Jerusalem, that she had « received of his hand double for all her fins,” Isa. xl. 2. But that is not the language of strict justice, but of compassions rolled together. There is not a gracious foul in all the world, but will readily subscribe Ezra's confession, that God hath at
ficted it less than its iniquities deserve, Ezra ix. iz. Oh ! if once we measure our afflictions by our fins, we shall admire they are so few, so mild and gentle as they are !
Rule 3. Confider, what a difference there is betwixt the faints meeting with afflictions, and their parting with them. You meet them with trembling and astonishment, but you shall part with them with praise and thanksgiving ; blessing God for the manifold blessings they have instrumentally conveyed to your souls. It is good for me, faith David, that I have been afflicted. By these things lin is prevented, discovered, and mortified; the insnaring world imbittered, and the reft to come sweetened.
Many other excellent rules may be added: try these, and the blessing of the Spirit accompany them.
To conclude ; be not swallowed up of sorrows for what you have lost, but balance all the troubles of this life with the hopes of the next. Your dear children are gone, your sweet husband is gone; but conGider who took them, and whither. It is said of Enoch, Gen. v. 24. «He walked with God, and
was not, for God took him.” Mr. Upton is not, and yet he is : he is not with men, he is with God: he ceases not to be, though he ceases to breathe : he is taken away, but God took him: he is better where he is, than where he was : though he be not in your bosom, he is in Christ's.
Imitate his zeal, plain-heartedness, diligence in duties, and you shall shortly meet him again, and never part any more; 1 Theff. iv. 15, 16, 17, 18. “For this we say by the word of " the Lord, that we which are alive, and remain to the com. “ing of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are afleep. « For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a thout, “ and with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God: « and the dead in Christ Mall rise first: Then we which are “ alive, and remain, shall be caught up together with them " in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air : And so fhall we
ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another “ with these words.” Did you but know the deep emphasis of these words, ever with the Lord; I doubt not, but you would find comfort enough in them for yourself, and a great overplus for the comforting of others.
With Practical Inferences from each Question: * As it was carried on in the Lord's Days Exercises in Dart
mouth, in the first Year of Liberty, 1688.
Τ Η Ε
P R E F A C E.
HAT catechizing is an ordinance of God, few will
doubt, when they consider the apostles did first lay the fundamentals of religion ; Heb. vii si And “ fed babes with “ milk, teaching them the first principles of the oracles of “ God," Heb. v. 12. 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 short que
stions, and suitable answers thereunto; and therefore this has ChE W been a constant practice in the church of God; and the primir
tive church had a particular person appropriated thereunto, whom they called Catechift.
And fo all well-governed, and wisely managed churches, have still maintained and used it, aś knowing the necessity and usefulness thereof; for the younger fort to inform them in the principles of that religion whereinto they were baptized; and for the establishment of the adult and more aged therein.
Hence have issued 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 well deserved for their endeavours to inform and edify the people thereby:
But among them all, none excel this little catechism of the Assembly, for orthodoxy, fulness, and method.
And because the answers therein are some of them pretty
large, and treat of the most profound mysteries of our religi: on; therefore several persons have bestowed their good and laudable pains, fome in descanting more largely, and proving by fcriptural reasons the particulars : one has shewn the harmony thereof with the articles and homilies of the church of England (designed, I suppose, to remove the prejudice which fome 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 moft profitable labours, applied himself to the chewing of this bread of life, or crumbling it into smaller pieces, for the convenience of children, and, indeed, of all, wherein (as in all his other works) he hath shewn himself a workman, that needs not to be ashamed.
There needs no other recommendation to this pofthumous piece, but the worthy author's name; he was removed before he had completely finished it; he had prepared his questions and answers upon the second petition of the Lord's Prayer but lived not to propose them in the public congregation. God then translated him into his kingdom of glory above, while he was so industriously endeavouring to promote the kingdom of
The other five remaining questions and answers (to complete the work) were done by a ruder hand; as may be easily difcerned by any observant reader, who will find himself transferred from a plain, clear, and delightful ftile, method and manner, into more rough, disorderly and unpleafant ones; for, who, indeed, could equal this divine labourer? Not the compleater ; who would account himfelf to have made very great attainments in divinity and usefulness, if he were left but a few furlongs behind him.
Let the reader use and peruse this piece, and he will fee cause to bless God for the author.
V AL E.
TO THE R E A D E R.
HE Divine providence having unexpectedly cast my lot,
for a few days, in Dartmouth, where that blefled man of God, Mr. John Flavel, did for many years honour Christ, and
was honoured by him; I have been favoured with a fight of
Being desired to testify my respect to the worthy author, by
My heart bleeds to look on this desolate place, and not to see him, that, whilst living, was the glory of it.
But neither the author, nor his writings, stand in need of the 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 shall endure.
There are some considerations which may caufë the reader to expect (and he will not find himself disappointed therein) that which is extraordinary in this little manual ; for the author's heart was very much engaged in doing this service for Christ, in thus feeding his lambs., And he did himself design the publication of what is here committed to the press; and was very desirous (with an holy submission to the will of God) to have perfected this work before his decease ; but had strange Intiinations that he should finish his course before that could be done.
When he did, viva voce, deliver his meditations, there were many enlargements, and lively passages, which are not here inserted : nevertheless, here is as much as he thought needful for public view, not being willing that his book should be volu: minous.
In his last Catechetical exercise, concerning Hallowing the name of God, he was exceedingly enlarged; but he must himself go into the kingdom of glory, when he intended to have difcourfed on that petition, Thy kingdom come.
He also began some meditations on the foys of heaven ; but before he had an opportunity to express what had been in his heart, the Lord Jesus said unto him, "Enter thou into the « joy of thy Lord.” And thus doth it happen many times to the eminent and holý servants of God.
Another consideration, recommending what comes herewith, is, that it was amongst Mr. Flavel's last works. The (Exodice popsala) last sayings of wise and great men have been esteemed oraculous, and the Scripture puts an emphasis on the last words of David, the sweet finger of Israel, 2 Sam. VOL. VII.
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