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y f The. Epistk to the Reader.

milies. Whatever hath been said already, tba' it concerns every private Christian that hath a soul to look after, yet upon a doable accounr, 'it concerns parents and masters, as having themselves and others to look after: Some there are, who because of their ignorance, cannot; others because of their sluggishness, will not mind this duty. To the former we propound the method of Joshua, who first began with himself, and then is careful of his family. To the latter we shall only hint, what dreadful meeting those parents and masters must have at that great day, with their children and servants, when all that were under their inspection shall not only accuse them, but charge their cternal miscarrying upon their score. Never did any age of the church enjoy such choice helps, as this ofours. Every age of the gospel hath bad its creeds, confellions, catechisms, and such breviaries and models as divinity as have been fingulary useful. Such forms of found words (however in these days decayed) have been in use in the church, ever since God himself wrote the decalogue, as a summary of things to be done, and Christ taught us that prayer of his, as a directory what to ask. Concerning the usefulness of such corapendiary systems, so much hath been said already by a learned divine * of this age, as is sufficient to satisfy all who are nor resolved to remain unsatisfied.

Concerning the peculiar excellency of these ensuing treatises, we judge it needful to mention those eminent testimonies which hath been given them, from persons of known worth in the respect of their judgment, learning, and integrity, both at home and abroad, because themselves speak so much their own praise: gold stands not in Deed of varnish, nor diamonds of painting: give us leave only to tell you, that we cannot but account it an eminent mercy to enjoy such helps as these are. 'Tis ordinary in those days, for men to speak evil of things they know not; but, if any are possessed with mean thoughts of these treatises, we shall only give the same counsel to them, that Philip gives Nathaniel, 'Come and see,' John i. 46. 'Tis no small advantage the reader now hath, by the addition of scriptures at large, whereby with little pains he may more profit, because with every truthhe may behold its scripture foundation. And indeed, considering what a Babel of opinions, what a strange confusion of tongues there is this day, among them who profess they speak the language of Canaan; there is no intelligent person but will conclude that advice of the prophet especially suited to snch an age as ibis, Isa. vii. 30. 'To the 4 law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word. * it is because there is no light in them.' If the reverend and learned composers of these ensuing treatises were willing to take the pains of annexing scripture proofs, to every trusts that the faith of peopse might not be built upon the dictates of men, but the authority of Cod; so some considerable pains hath now been further taken in tran-. scribing those scriptures, partly to prevent that grand 'inconvenience.

(which

* Doctor Tuckney, in his Sermon on 2 Tim. i. 13,

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(which all former impressions, except the Latin, have abounded with, to the great perplexing and disheartning of the reader) the misquotation of scripture; the meanest reader being able, by having the words at large, to reëtify whatever mistake may be in the printer in citing the particular place; partly to prevent the trouble of turning to every proof, which could not but be very gerat; partly to help the memories of such who are willing to take the pains of turning to every proof, but are unable to retain what they read; and partly that this may serve as a bible common-place, the several passages of scripture which are scattered up and down in the word, being in this book reduced to their proper heads, and thereby giving light each to other. The advantages, you see, in this design, are many and great : The way to spiritual knowledge is hereby made more easy, and the ignorance of this age, more inexcusable.

If therefore there be any spark in you of love to God, be not content that any of yours should be ignorant of him whom you so much admire, or any haters of him whom you so much lovc. If there be amy compassion to the souls of them who are under your care, if any respect to future generations; labour to saw the seeds of knowledge, which may grow up in after-times. That you may be faithful herein, is the earnest prayer of,

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Mr. Thom'as Manton's Epistle to the Reader.

Christian Reader,

T Cannot suppose thee to be such a stranger in England, as to be ig■*■ narant of the general complaint concerning the decay ot the po war of godliness, and more especially of the great corruption of>*>uth; wherever thou goest, thou wilt hear men crjing out of b;Wchildren and bad servants: Whereas indeed the source of »he rolsehief must be sought a little higher; 'tis bad parents and bad masters that make bail children, and bad servants; and we cannot blame so much their uotowardnels, as our own negligence in their education,. . .

The devil hath a great spite at the kingdom of Christ, and he knoweth no such compendious way to crush it in the egg, as by the perverlion of youth, and supplanting family duties. He ifriketh at ail duties, those which are public in the assemblies of the saiats; but these ate too well guarded by the solemn injunctions and dying charge of Jesus Christ, as that he should ever hope totally to subvert and undermine them; but at family duties he striketh with (he more success, because the institution is not so solemn, and the practice not io seriously, and conscientiously regarded as it should be, aud the omission is not so liable to notice and public censure. Religion was first hatched in families, and there the devil sceketh to cryfu it; the families of the patriarchs were all the churches God had in the world for the time, and therefore (I suppose) when Cain went ou' from Adam's family, he is said to go out from the face of the Lord, Gen. iv. 16, Now the devil knoweth d-.at this is a blow at the root, and a ready way to prevent the succession of .•hutches: If he am s ubvert families, other societies and communities will not long flourish and subsist with any power and vigour; fpr there is the flock from whence they are supplied both for the present aud the future.

For the present, a family is the seminary of church and slate; and, if children be not w< 11 principled, there all rniscarrieth: A fault in the first concoction is not mended in the second; if youth be bred ill in the family, they prove ill in chut ch and common-wealth; there is the first making or marring, aud the presage of their future lives to be thence taken, Prov. xx. it. By family discipline, officers aie traced up for the church, i Tim. iii. 4. One that ruleth well his own house, &c. and there arc men bred up in subjection and obedience, \{$ doted, &Qjk

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