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and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4. 24.
After fuch a manner as children are taught, must be taught elder ignorant Perfons. For they are as unapt to learn as children, or rather more unapt. A great deal of patience must be had with both young and old, until they can remember perfectly what they learn. And especial care must also be taken with both young and old, that they do not only fay words; but that they mind and understand the sense, and that as well in plainer, as in harder matters. Such need of this I have found even in elder perfons, that want not wit in worldly things, that it may be thought incredible: and I doubt not but others may find the like. When you have heard them fay the Creed, you must ask them, Whofe Son is Jefus Chrift? And as eafy questions you must ask them in all they learn.
If thou earnestly defireft the Heavenly Learning of thy children and fervants, (and what should't thou defire more?) get fome poor, whether children or elder perfons, to learn with them. And thy own will learn the better for more company.
And for this benefit of company, different capacities may learn together. All may read or hear the fame leffons, that they may take notice of every thing. And all may learn perfectly the Answers, and the chief Proofs. And while the weaker fort are getting these perfectly, others may learn by heart as many as they can of the Proofs, and of other things profitable to be learnt.
Together with these Inftructions, the daily reading of the Holy Scriptures may not be neglected. There are none fo full of their ordinary business, but, if they have a willing mind, may find time for reading every day one Chapter at least in the Old Teftament, and another in the New Teftament. And Mafters may very well allow fo much time to their servants. They that cannot read may hear those that can.
But what fhall they do where none can read, or perhaps give any account of the Catechifm? Surely they may by no means fail to do all they can, by conftant and careful attending in the Church, to the reading of the Scriptures, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments by the Minister, to the repetition of the Catechifm by the young people, and to the Minifter's Inftructions; and when they come from the Church, recollecting their Memories, and helping one another to remember what they hear. And no better thing can be done by any that cannot read, as well the elder as the younger, than to learn to read if it be poffible.
If their Minifter, or any other will on working-days give them at convenient times, the food of their Souls, they, and all that need it, ought most gladly and thankfully to receive it, as the food of their Life, and to hunger and thirst for it more than for any other food.
And for those that cannot read, and others alfo, it would be very expedient, if in all Parish Churches, where none or few come to daily Prayer, the Pfalms and the New Testament were read in continued Order upon Sundays. This would be more agreeable to the Defign of the Church, than every Sunday to pafs over many Pfalms and Chapters appointed to be read in continued Order.
All fhould strive hard to have their children taught to read, and to read well. And money given to charitable ufes, cannot be better beftow'd, than in fetting poor children, to school, and elder perfons alfo, if they be willing to learn. If Schooltime cannot be fpar'd, they may be there only while they say their Leffons; or they may have fome work to do there, or near the place. If day-labourers defire to learn daily, either to read, or to know for their Soul's health; their Masters wrong not only their bodies, but their Souls alfo, if they hold them to their work longer than the just time. Hath not Christ himfelf bounded the day-labour with the twelfth hour? Matth. 20. 6. 12.
And that all may have Time for the Duties of Inftruction and Learning, nothing is more Neceffary than the Strict Obfervation of the Lord's Day, and alfo other Holy days, as many as can be conveniently kept. For altho' it is poffible that all forts of people may diligently apply themselves every day, or almoft every day, to read the Scriptures, and to teach and learn the Catechism and Payers: yet the far greater part, fuch as fervants and day-labourers, and others who must work and follow bufinefs early and late, will hardly know how to fet themselves to do much on working-days. And the most diligent of them will want the time that is neceffary for following wholly bufinefs of Importance. Such bufinefs always mix'd with other matters, cannot be minded or done as it should be.
Nay all forts of people generally want to be driven and forced from the bufinefs and work of their bodies, that they may both have themselves, and allow their Servants Time for the great Work of their Souls.
Therefore it is Neeeffary that the Lord's Day, and as many other Holy Days as can be kept conveniently, be kept with all poffible Strictness their full time of twenty four hours; to bring Chriftians out of Egyptian bondage, into the True Chriftian
Liberty of Serving and Enjoying God, of getting Heavenly Riches, and needful Refting and Refreshing themselves. They must go to their reft in due time the night before, that they may rife in time, and be well difpos'd for the Serious and Weighty Work of the Day. And their due reft the night af ter is needful, if they have been diligent in the Duties of the Day; and to preserve the remembrance of what they have read and heard.
To these Ends it is alfo Neceffary that all Occafions of worldly business on the Lord's Day, which are not of great invincible neceffity, be taken away. Such is the going out of Higlers and Waggoners on Monday morning, who might, if they would, go out on Monday night, or Tuesday morning. Such is a great market for fat Cattle at four or five a clock every Monday morning at St. Ives in Huntingdonshire. And fuch is the merchants that trade with the manufactures of Norwich, their expecting them to be brought to London on Tuesday morning, and not giving notice in due time of what they will have brought. By all which, and by the going out of waggons and carts even on Sunday evening, very great prophanation is caus'd.
And what indifpenfible neceffity is there for the ordinary Poft to travel, or take or deliver letters on the Lord's Day? Should the Great Neceffity of the Spiritual Work of the Day be neglected for fuch worldly matters! And what Superftition is there in fetting apart convenient Time for the moft Neceffary and the most Important Work, and in removing all unneceffary hindrances out of the way? Alfo why fhould Souls faft on the Lord's Spiritual Feaft Day, for the pleasure of Bodies? when nothing is eafier than to provide well and fufficiently for even the feafting of every fober body, without the fafting of any Soul from the Publick Worfhip upon that account, when there is no other neceffity. A duly fenfible Christian will not make neceffity of the worship of the belly, or of vain pride, or filthy lucre, or of his not liking the weather. He does not so undervalue Heavenly Enjoyments. Nor is he any ways unwilling that any that belong to him fhould have their due share of them. If he has need to ride to Church, he will take care that his fervant that attends upon him, fhall not need to stay without; but be in the Church from before the Beginning, till after the End of God's Service.
As to the Duty of Schoolmafters and Schoolmiftreffes: they have great Opportunity of Inftructing Souls. While the Scholars are learning to read, they may by the means before written, learn to fay the Catechism, and an Expofition of it. Many may learn together standing in a circle, or round the fides of he
fchool. Five or fix, or as many as fhall be needful, may fay or read one after another what they learn. So many next to them may read the Proof of it, or fo much of the Proof, as the Teacher fhall think needful, if it be more than a Text. So they may go on round, with another leffon, as they can learn. They that do not fay, attentively hearing, and they that do not read out, reading filently. This will be a speedy way of learning, as pleasant as profitable.
Let it never be forgotten to teach them to Understand as they are capable, what they learn, and to mind the sense of it, not only to fay it by rote.
When they learn the languages, it will be an excellent exercife for them to turn the expofition of the Catechism, and the Proofs into Latin: and when they learn the Originals of the Scripture, to give out of them the Proofs without book.
Nothing alfo can be better, than for a Schoolmafter to teach the Liturgy in Latin, or in Greek; and therewith the true sense of every Prayer and Hymn. It is not fo eafie to be duly understood, as they who have not confider'd it, or care only for the facrifice of fools, may be apt to think.
The Schoolmafter may caufe a Chapter to be read three times a day by one of the Scholars. And all the reft may read filently with him.
And when Schoolmafters and Parents, and Masters of families, or any of them, are diligent in teaching those that belong to them, let them take heed they be never negligent to bring them to do and live according to what they teach, and to go before them by a good Example.
The Duty of Minifters in Inftruction. The Neceffity of their Catechizing every Sunday and Holy day, and alfo Every day.
HEN due care of Inftruction is taken in Families, and in Schools, then the Conftant Catechizing in the Church will have good Effect. It will quicken that care, that the children and young people may give a good account of their proficiency. And the Minifters careful expounding and proving all things will be a great help to them.
There is indeed no want of printed Expofitions of the Catechifm. But this will no more excufe the not Expounding it in the Church, than the no want of printed Sermons will excufe the neglect of preaching. Whatever need there is of preaching; there is much greater need, and abfolute Neceffity of expounding the Catechism in all Parish Churches. For there are in all Parishes many that cannot read; and many more that having no more education than to read English, have not learnt to understand many plain words, much lefs words put together in fentences and difcourfes, not for want of natural capacity, but of education. And of both forts there are many that have none to teach them but their Minister.
For the instruction of these, it is neceffary that the Minister expound Conftantly the Catechifm in the plaineft words that it is poffible for him to ufe. If they will converfe with the unlearned of their Flocks, and try and examine their understandings, they will find it almoft impoffible to be plain enough for them. And by trying their memories, they will find that they cannot repeat Spiritual instructions too often, altho' other things. are easily remembred; and that nothing is more necessary than. their Diligent and Conftant Catechizing upon Sundays and Holy days, as the Laws of the Church require.
Nay, for all that are well inftructed, nothing is more useful than the constant and careful Expounding of the Catechism. For the most learned have need to be conftantly put in mind of the feveral parts of their duty; (2 Pet. 1. 12.) as the ignorant need to be inftructed. And there is no man, even of the moft learned, that does fo perfectly understand even the Catechifm, as to need no further inftruction in it; and who may not be improv'd by hearing it honeftly and diligently expound ed by one that is far inferior to him in learning. And likewife of the printed Expofitions there is none fo perfect, but a diligent Minister of lefs learning than the author, may add thereto useful obfervations of his own. He may explain some things more plainly, and prove more plainly or fully other things. He may alfo fupply omiffions, and correct miftakes. And if every time he renews his own expofition, he be diligent to correct and improve it; then he takes the right and the best for the edification of all his hearers. And nothing can be way more for the edification alfo of himself. Of this Bifhop Beve ridge, in his Preface to his Expofition of the Catechism, very truly fays, We baving at this time fo many worthy and learned men in cur Church I know not how they can employ their parts of learning to inore advantage for the Church, their people, er themselves.