« AnkstesnisTęsti »
give him thanks, and call upon him, and that conftantly, both in Private, and at least in fome of the moft necessary Prayers in Publick, never without Understanding and Devotion; that they must honour not only God's Holy Name and Word, but alfo his Houfe, and Sacraments, and Minifters, and all things that are Holy to him; that they must do to all men as they would be done to, in the duties of Mercy and Charity, as well as of Juftice; what is the work of Repenting truly of their fins, &c.
And they must know what Confirmation is; And they must understand the Service of it, fo as to know how to do their parts in it with Understanding and Devotion, both in the Re newing of their Vow, and in all the few Prayers of it.
So there is a great deal more to be learn'd befides the words of the Catechifm. Which that they may do, it is neceffary for them diligently to read or hear the Scriptures, to learn fome good Expofition of the Catechifm, and to attend conftantly and carefully to the Expounding of it by their Minister; keeping conftantly to one and their own Minifter, if he is Honeft and Careful in his Duty; and never neglecting his Expounding the Catechifm, for the hearing of any Sermon.
For the True Expofition of the Catechifm is the Foundation of all Chriftian Knowledge: and the Neglecting it for the hearing or preaching of Sermons, is to feek to Build without the Foundation.
Some fuch help as young beginners have for learning to Understand the Catechifm, muft they also have for their Underftanding the Prayers of the Church. It is eafy to give the SaSacrifice of fools; (Ecclef. 5. 1) but not to worship God in fpirit and in truth, John 4. 24) by Praying with Understanding and Devotion. Before they are Confirm'd they may not be taught lefs, than to Confefs their fins in the Confeffion of the Church, to Pray for all men as well as themselves in the Lord's Prayer, to profefs their Faith in the Creed, to give thanks for all men, as well as themselves, in the general Thanksgiving; and at the reading of the Commandments, after each Commandment, to beg God's Pardon for their fins against it, and his Grace to keep it. This will be a good beginning to join in the Publick Worfhip. But if they begin to learn in due time, as foon as they are able, they may, with difcreet_teaching, learn all the Daily and Sunday Service, and the Offices of Baptifm, Confirmation, and the Holy Communion, before the time of being Confirm'd. If they do not understand at their first learning, what they are taught, they will understand something of it, and the rest by Degrees. And when they come
to age for Confirmation, a great Work will be already done; and they will not repent of the pains they have taken in it.
A due and reasonable Knowledge of God and our Duty, is not to be lightly had. But as it moft worthily deferves, so it requires a great deal of Pains and Time. They whofe callings require them to labour or do bufinefs from morning till evening, may lofe no time that can be gain'd for this great Work. And they who have more leisure, have no want of need to imploy all their leisure therein.
Ás thou must Diligently learn, fo thou muft Diligently practice all thou learneft, not only what thou art willing to do, or the world allows of, or thy worldly gain does not hinder. For Matth. 28. 20, Christ commands his Ministers to teach us to obferve all things whatsoever he has commanded. And Ch. 5. 19, he declares, that whosoever shall break one of the least commandments, and teach men fo, shall be called leaft in the kingdom of heaven; that is, fhall not be thought fit to enter therein.
When thou haft attain'd to a competent measure of knowledge, and doft live accordingly, thou may't not think thou art well enough. But, as long as thou liveft, and how learned and good foever thou art, the Command of St. Peter, 2 Ep. 3. 17, 18, is to be continually obferv'd with all diligence, (Ch. 1. 5) Beware left ye also being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jefus Chrift. And this is the very thing which the Bishop prays for, when he lays his hand upon thee.
When thou haft attain'd to a competent measure of knowledge, living according to it, and giving up thy felf with all diligence to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord, then, and not before, thou art fit to be Confirm'd.
And that thou may'ft then receive the inestimable Benefit and Comfort of it, there are three things to be done.
I, A Due Preparation before it :
2, A Devout Behaviour in it:
3, A Diligent Care after.
OR fo Important a Work, there must be fuitable Preparation. The Work is, to Pray for, and Obtain the Holy Ghost the Comforter, that is, a moft Comfortable Plenteous Increase of the Grace of the Holy Ghost given before in Baptifm.
Therefore to prepare thy felf duly for this Work, it is neceflary for thee to confider how thou haft made ufe of the Grace which God gave thee in thy Baptifm, by performing the Vow then made in thy name; and earnestly to repent of all the Breaches of it, and ftedfaftly to refolve to perform it fully to the utmost of thy power, as God fhall enable thee.
How this is to be done, our Church teaches in the Exhortation, wherewith warning is given of the Holy Communion, in these words; First, to examine your lives and converfations by the rule of God's Commandments; and wherein foever ye shall perceive your felves to have offended, either by will, word, or deed, there to bewail your own finfulness, and to confefs your felves to Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life. And if ye shall perceive your offences to be fuck, as are not only against God, but also against your neighbours; then ye shall reconcile your felves unto them, being ready to make reftitution and fatisfaction according to the uttermost of your powers, for all injuries and wrongs done by you to any other; and being likewife ready to forgive others that have offended you, as ye would have forgiveness of your offences at God's band..
But herein thou must remember to do according to the words in the fame Exhortation. So to fearch and examine your own confciences, (and that not lightly, and after the manner of dif femblers with God, but fo) that ye may come holy and clean.
In examining thy life and converfation, thou art to call to mind, and find out as many of thy fins as thou canst, and also their circumstances which do increase their guilt. Such circumftances are, 1, Doing that which thou knoweft to be a Sin, or leaving undone that which thou knoweft to be a Duty: Luke 12. 47) 2, Doing evil, or leaving undone a duty, when thou haft time to confider of it: 3, Sinning wilfully against
the admonitions and checks of thy confcience: (See Numb. 15. 30, 31) 4, Falling again into the fame fin: 5, Repeating it often: 6, Sinning after vows and refolutions of amendment: 7, Continuing in the fin until it comes to a habit: 8, Continuing in it after God's corrections, or his extraordinary mercies, or notwithstanding all reproofs and exhortations, either of Minifters, or of private friends: 9, Loving the Sin, and taking pleasure in them that commit it.
Here is alfo to be remembred, that it is a fin, to do that which thou believeft to be a fin; altho' it be in it felf innocent. Rom. 14. 14, 23:
In bewailing thy fins, thou art not only to bewail the danger of their punishment; but to do as the Church teaches in the Homily of Repentance, in these words; We must be earnestly forry for our fins, and unfeignedly lament and bewail that we bave by them fo grievously offended our most Bounteous and Merciful God, who fo tenderly loved us, that he gave his only begotten Son to Die a moft bitter Death, and to fhed his dear Heart's Blood for our Redemption and Deliverance. And the greater finner thou haft been, the more thou art to bewail and lament.
In Confeffing thy fins, thou art to confefs them not only in general, as is done in publick Prayers, but also all the particular fins, or kinds of them, which thou canft remember, with all the Circumstances that do increase their guilt. Levit. 16. 21. Thou art alfo to confefs that thou art guilty of many fins which thou art ignorant of, or haft forgotten. Pf. 19. 12. When thou haft fo confefs'd thy fins with that Godly forrow, and a full purpose of amendment of life, then thou may'ft, and muft humbly and earnestly beg of God to have mercy upon thee, and forgive thee all thy fins for the fake of his Son Jefus Christ, who was put to Death upon the Crofs for the forgiveness of our fins. Matth. 26. 28.
And for his fake, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purifie unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works, (Tit. 2. 14) thou muft humbly and earnestly beg the Grace of the Holy Spirit, to enable thee to forfake all thy fins, and to do thy whole duty all the rest of thy life.
Then, as the faid Homily of Repentance teaches, thou art to take hold upon the Promifes of God touching the free pardon and forgiveness of our fins, made to the truly penitent; (Luke 24. 47) and to believe stedfastly, that God, for his Son Jefus Chrift's fake will forgive thee all thy fins.
* Because he died for the forgiveness of our fins.
Thou art alfo to lay hold on the Promifes of the Grace of the Holy Ghoft; (Luke 11. 13) and likewife to believe stedfaftly, that for Chrift's fake God will give thee his Holy Spirit, to enable thee to do what he requires; and also that he will give thee in Confirmation, that bounteous Gift of the Holy Ghoft, which he has promis'd therein, John 7. 37, 38, 39.
But the Promises of God are upon condition that thou dost without delay carefully forfake all thy fins; (Prov. 28. 13.) and make reftitution and fatisfaction to the utmost of thy power, for all injuries and wrongs done by thee to any other; (Matth. 523 to 27. Ezek. 33. 15.) and from the bottom of thy heart forgive all that have offended thee. Matth. 6. 14, 15.
In forfaking thy fins, and amending thy life, the two first and great Commandments are to be very carefully done. Mark 12. 30, 31, Jefus faid, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy foul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy ftrength: This is the first commandwent. And the fecond is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy jelf. If thou duly obeyeft thefe Commandments, then thou wilt never be flack nor fparing, either of Labour, or of Time, or of Coft, in any Service of God; nor ever be injurious, or hard, or uncharitable to any man; as thou wouldst not have any man be fo to thee.
Thefe Duties of Repentance are no more, than what are neceffary to make every one fit for any fervice of God, and capable of receiving any mercy from him. Luke 13. 3, 5. And therefore they must be done to make us capable of the great Benefit of Confirmation.
For the Work of Repentance a day of Fafting is to be fet apart. We are thus often to repent folemnly of our fins with fafting, efpecially upon great and extraordinary occafions: fuch is coming to Confirmation. And if thou fastest in fecret as thou oughteft, Chrift has faid, Thy Father which feeth in fecret, fball reward thee openly. Matth. 6. 18. Befides in this Ordinance, what remains of Satan in thine heart is to be caft out. And Chap. 17. 21 of the fame Gospel, Chrift fays, This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fafting. Much more then thou art to faft, when thou art alfo to be fill'd with the Holy Spirit of God.
* Because he gave himself to die for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. For by his dying for the forgiveness of our fins, be obtain'd for us Grace to live righteously, and all other Mercies.