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there may be meet Shepherds, as many as are needful, every where Refiding with their Flocks, a Christian Nation should not be unwilling to render unto God the things that are God's.
The Duty of Godfathers and Godmothers in Inftru&tion. Of the Means of bringing all to do their Duty therein.
HE Daty of Godfathers and Godmothers is plainly enough told them in the words of the Church, Ye must remember that it is your parts and duties to fee that this infant be taught, fo foon as he fall be able to learn, what a folemn Vow, Promife and Profeffion he hath here made by you. And that he may know these things the better, ye shall call upon bim to hear Sermons. And chiefly ye shall provide that he may learn the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandment's in the vulgar tongue; and all other things which a Chriftian ought to know and believe to his Soul's Health; and that this child may be vertuously brought up to lead a Godly and a Chriftian life.
Altho' they cannot do this as the Parents and Masters may and ought: yet they may and ought, First, To undertake for none, when they are paft reasonable Hope of Life to perform what they undertake: Secondly, To undertake only for fuch, as they have reasonable Hope of Opportunity to fee taught and brought up to a Chriftian Life: and Thirdly, To call upon the Parents and others that neglect their Duties, and to give them all the Affiftance they can. They are to do carefully all they can for the child's Soul.
Ministers alfo are Godfathers to all their Parishioners, not only to teach and exhort them in the Church; but also as they can, in every place; (Acts 5. 42. Ch. 20. 20) and to endeavour to bring all to do their Parts in teaching, and bringing to a Chriftian Life those that belong to them.
But who can tell how to perfwade both Minifters, and others that call themselves Chriftians, to do their indifpenfible Duties of Teaching, or feeing taught those that belong to them, all things which a Chriftian ought to know and believe to his Soul's Health; and of doing their beft Endeavour to bring them to lead a Godly and a Christian Life ?
May God direct the Higher Powers to make effectual Laws, and profper the fame: that the Means of Inftruction may be every where fufficiently provided; and that every one's Intereft, both of Teacher and Learner, may be made Infeparable from his Duty, whether of Teaching, or Learning, or Living, as a -True Chriftian ought.
One good means of bringing young people to learn, may be read in Mr. Hales's Letters from the Synod of Dort. He gives an account of an Helvetick Law, That all young perfons that defign'd to marry, were to repair both he and the to their Minifter, a little before they defign'd to marry, and by him to be examin'd how well they had learn'd their Catechifm. If they had not done it perfectly to his mind, he was to defer their marriage until they had duly learn'd it.
This is no more than what the chief End of marriage declar'd in the Common Prayer-book requires *. And for that end †, One of the True Church ought not to be married to a Diffenter: because this is to bring his or her children into apparent danger of being brought up in a wrong way; efpecially if the children are left to the furviving diffenter before they are brought up.
But the good Laws already made for regular marriages, have loft their power, by the not observing the 62d and 102d Canons; which strictly require all to be married in the Churches or Chapels where the parties or one of them dwell. So that whatever unlawful or unhappy marriage the parties are refolv'd upon, they will obtain it even by a license. If one will not, another will: and neither Parents, nor any other, can hinder it. For vile lucre's fake, even by licenses, no Parents can be fecure of their children.
Another good means of moving people to learn, and to prac tife Chriftianity, would be the doing Juftice in their Burial. Why fhould thofe have Chriftian Burial, who evidently never would be Chriftians; who either would never learn any thing of Chriftian knowledge, or never practife it, or never would leave notorious negligence in their duty? And why should not a distinction be made between those who did their duty in their health, and thofe who, without any affurance of their fincerity, began to do it on their fick beds?
The Order for the Burial of the dead in the Common Prayerbook is plainly defign'd only for those who gave all reasonable proof of their Certainly dying true Chriftians. For the Mini
See Mal. 2. 15.
1 Kings 11.2, 4. 2 Cor. 6. 14. $ fter
fter fays, It bath pleafed Almighty God of his great mercy to take unto bimfelf the foul. We commit his body to the ground- - in fure and certain hope. He not only affirms this Certainty to the people: but he fays unto God, We give thee hearty thanks, for that it hath pleafed thee to deliver this our brother out of the miferies of this finful world. A fuppofition that we do not know to the contrary, is not fufficient in this cafe, without reasonable evidence. And this pofitive affirming of all both good and bad, must be an encouragement to that neglect and contempt of Chriftian knowledge, and that licentious living, which fo reigns among them that are called Chriftians.
All that can be now done until the Discipline of the Church has more power than now it has, is, that the Minister make fome alteration of thofe pofitive words, as need fhall require; and alfo if need requires, to omit these words, as our hope is this our brother doth.
And upon other occafions it may not be faid of any, that they put their trust in God, when they give no good proof of it. The Law of the Common Prayer cannot require us to lie, or fpeak rafhly unto God.
Another moft neceffary means of bringing all that have any defire to do their Duty, to the doing of it as they ought, is, That none be admited to Confirmation, without being Prefented according to the Rubrick, and also call'd by his name before the Bifhop; and alfo That none be prefented to Confirmation, or admitted to the Communion, without his giving timely notice, and all reasonable Satisfaction that he is duly Prepared, both in Knowledge and Practice.
The neglect of this is dreadfully Fatal. For by this means the moft Ignorant, as well as the moft Knowing, the wholly Unprepared, as well as the moft Prepared, finding admiffion; all neceffary knowledge, all True Religion, and all doing any otherwife than what every one pleafes, are counted needlefs; and multitudes come Unworthily to the Holy Ordinances, even to be confirm'd and hardned in their ignorance and fins. O horrible and dreadful!
I fay Timely notice muft be given, that the Minister may have fuch Time to confider and fatisfy himself, as is needful in the most Important, and moft Difficult matters.
And that Ministers that take Due Care of their Duty, may not labour in vain; it is neceffary, That none be fuffer'd, contrary to the Rubrick and 28 Canon, to prefent to Confirmation, or admit to the Communion, any that are not of his own Flock. I have now fhew'd what is the Honour due to Confirmation, in preparing Souls for it by Instruction.
The Honour due to Confirmation in Prefenting to the
OTH young and old are brought and come to Holy Duties, without confidering how they are Prepar'd for them. So Children are brought up to fay Prayers rudely, without Praying. They are brought to Confirmation, without knowing so much, as to make an answer of two fyllables. Even they that answer for Children at their Baptifm, know not to make their short answers. And people come to the Holy Communion knowing little or nothing more than they fee.
That better regard may be had to Hcly Confirmation, God, grant that what follows may be duly Confider'd.
At the Baptifm of every Child, the Minifter gives this Charge to the Godfathers and Godmothers, and with them furely to the Parents, and alfo the Masters and Schoolmafters, Ye are to take care that this Child be brought to the Bishop, to be Confirmed by him, fo foon as he can say the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments in the vulgar tongue, and be further inftructed in the Church Catechifm fet forth for that purpoje.
This muft fuppofe, as is before fhew'd chap. 2, That they have a competent Understanding of the Catechifm, and live according to it; and also that they understand what Confirmation is, and how to join with the Bishop in it with Understanding and Devotion.
It must suppose alfo Such Preparation at the time before they are Confirm'd, as the Dignity and Benefit of the Ordinance require. For which read chap. 3.
Therefore Parents and Masters, Godfathers and Godmothers, and Schoolmafters, are to fee that. thofe under their Charge be fo Prepar'd; and to bring or fend them to their Minister in due Time; that he may fee whether they be duly Prepar'd See chap. 3.
Here all have the greatest need to take care that they be not too eafic. For that is the greatest Wrong they can do to the Souls they are charged with. For by fo doing, they cause them to partake of God's Ordinance Unworthily, to the Lofs of the Great Inestimable Benefit of it, and instead thereof to their hurt.
When they are found duly Prepar'd, the Rubrick orders, That every one shall have a Godfather or a Godmother, as a Wit nefs of their Confirmation. And the 29th Canon requires, That he or he be one that bath receiv'd the Holy Communion. And great Reason there is for their having fuch Witnesses, as will take care to fee them Duly receive Confirmation, and to put them in mind of their Duty afterwards.
The Rubrick alfo orders, That whenfoever the Bishop fhall give knowledge for Children to be brought unto him for their Confirmation, the Curate of every Parish fhall either bring or fend, in Writing, with his Hand fubfcribed thereunto, the names of all fuch perfons within his parish, as he shall think fit to be prefented to the Bishop to be Confirmed.
To the end that none may neglect this Duty, the Rubrick at the end of the Order of Confirmation, requires, That none be admitted to the Holy Communion, until fuch time as he be Confirmed, or be ready and defirous to be Confirmed.
This is the Duty of all Minifters, how much foever it is neglected; that they may not fuffer God's Ordinance to be defpis'd, nor the Great benefit of it to be loft. Befides, they have folemnly Vow'd at their Ordination, To give their faithful Diligence, always jo to minifter the Doctrine and Sacraments, and the Difcipline of Chrift, as the Lord hath commanded, and as this Church and Realm hath received the fame according to the Commandments of God; fo that they may teach the people committed to their Cure and Charge, with all Diligence to keep and obferve the jame.
They have alfo openly in the Church Declared their unfeigned Affent and Confent to all and every thing contained and prefcribed in, and by the book of Common Prayer, and Adminiftration of the Sacraments, and other Rites and Čeremonies, according to the ufe of the Church of England.
Therefore if any of their parifiioners think Confirmation not neceffary, or not ordain'd of God, they may not take that for an excufe.
If it were not ordain'd of God, it would yet be a Pious Good thing, as no fober Proteftant can deny. Therefore any that think it not commanded of God, need not doubt of the Benefit of their devout Praying with the Prayers of the Church