THE THIRD Forme of knowledge, or the Fathers Cate∣chisme.
* That very same thing which in one word or tearme is called Felicitie,happinesse, or beatitude: o∣thers call it the chiefe good.
* Neither in 1 wis∣dome, Page [unnumbered] or knowledg, nor in 2 glory and honour, nor 3 in pleasure, nor 4 in dignitie, nor 5 in riches, nor 6 in health and strength, nor7 in favour and esteeme, nor 8 in mo∣rall vertue, nor 9 in tempo∣rall life, nor 10 in immorta∣lity it selfe. Neither any of these, nor all of these toge∣ther, nor any other created thing can quench the thirst of mans soule, nor be said to bee the chiefe good of the reasonable creature.
* Because whatso∣ever may prove mans chiefe good, must necessarily be in∣vested with this double pro∣pertie, 1. that it bee All-suf∣ficient, that is simply, and ab∣solutely able of it selfe to fill Page [unnumbered] the heart, and satisfie the soule, 2. That it be indefici∣ent, and perpetuall, so as the Soule cannot bee made sad either with the sence or feare of loosing it. Now the ve∣ry best of created, and sublunary felicities, if they incline any thing to suffici∣encie or perfection, they are commonly very short and momentany: if they be more lasting, they are usually ve∣ry dilute and imperfect.
* Onely the All-suf∣ficient Lord himselfe, who is All in all both in himselfe, and unto us: and who is onely able and willing to fill every corner of the heart with sátietie and content, Page [unnumbered] and to give us full measure, pressed downe, shaken together, and running over.
Religion is the thing which doth unite and cement man unto his God,* whence it hath its name from tying and knitting, be∣cause our soules which by lapse and sinning were dis∣severed from God, by reli∣gion and divine worship are conjoyned unto him againe.
Noe; onely the true christian religion can doe it. To which purpose the Page [unnumbered] words of the 18 Article a∣greed on by the whole cler∣gy of both provinces, Anno 1562. are worthy obser∣ving: They also are to bee accursed that presume to say, that every man shall bee saved by the Law or sect which hee professeth, so that hee be dili∣gent to frame his life according to that law and the light of na∣ture: for holy Scripture doth set out unto us onely the name of Iesus Christ,whereby wee must bee saved.
Whosoever is admitted, and matriculated by baptisme into the church and being there doth pro∣fesse the wholsome doctrine of Iesus Christ, and withall is of such a reformed life, that Page [unnumbered] his practise gives not his profession the lie, such an one is entituled to that ho∣nourable name and stile of a Christian.
Foure, 1. of Faith or thinges to bee beleeved, the rule whereof are the 12 Articles of the Creed, 2. of Love, or things to be done, the rule whereof are the ten Commandements: 3. of Prayer, or things to be asked, the rule whereof are the six petitions of the Lords pray∣er: 4. of the Sacraments, or thinges to be received.
To be theakey of Faith, andbEpitome or abridg∣ment of whole Scripture. For the canon of holy Scripture being large, and in many places hard to bee under∣stood, it was necessary to abridge those truths which were of absolute necessity to salvation, to the end that all might learne them, and take up the badge of their profession
All points neces∣sary to be knowne or belee∣ved to salvation, are either expresly and directly heerein set downe,* or else by way of reduction and reference may bee brought fitly to some one of these Articles.
There are three Creeds famed all over the christian world: 1. this of the Apostles, made for instru∣ction in the faith. 2. the Ni∣cene creed,* made for the ex∣planation of the faith. 3. A∣thanasius his creed, made for the defence of the faith. Now there are two reasons why it is called the Apostles creed; th' one is at the most but probable, because the A∣postles themselves made it, every one adding his arti∣cle, and as it were casting in his shot; th' other is cer∣taine;* because it containes the summe and abridgment of all the Apostles doctrine.
It imports and implies three thinges, 1. the knowledge of a divine truth, 2. an assent unto it, 3. an affi∣ance and trust in it.
Two grand do∣ctrines, to wit, first the do∣ctrine of the Creation of the world by Gods omnipoten∣cie: and then the doctrine of divine providence, or pre∣servation of the same, ever since it was created. Which two differ onely thus, that Creation was a short provi∣dence, and Providence a long Creation.
In it 5 things are propounded to our faith to beleeve, 1. that he is Iesus, that is, a Saviour, 2 that hee is Christ, that is, anointed and appointed by God to be our priest, prophet, and king, 3 that he is the Sonne of God, to wit, naturall and be∣gotten, 4 that he is his onely sonne, 5 that he is our Lord to governe us, as well as our Iesus to save us.
It containes that great mystery of Godlinesse that a Spirit was generative and a virgin fruitfull, that is, the admirable way of the incar∣nation of our Lord Iesus Christ: of which Article this is the orthodoxe sence, that the holy Ghost did by it's immediate vertue, and divine power, without any seminall commixtion, pre∣pare, sanctifie, and secundate the wombe of the virgine Mary, so as at once, and in an instant the whole humāe body of Christ was formed, and then his reasonable soule was created and infu∣sed into his body.
The five degrees of his Humiliation, each sur∣passing other. Namely, first his Passion, hee suffered, &c. 2 his Crucifixion, or manner of suffering, which was the en∣crease of his passion, was cru∣cified, 3 his death, a degree beyond his crucifixion, dead. 4. his inhumation, and enter∣ment, more then his death, and buried, 5 his descent into hell, a degree beyond the grave, hee went downe into hell unlesse you will make his descent into hell the first degree of his Exaltation, ra∣ther then the last of his Hu∣miliation.
I deeme it the sa∣fest way to hold the doctrin in generall, and implicite termes; that he went downe into hell, the place of the damned, as being the most ancient doctrine of the Ca∣tholique Church, but not too boldly or peremptorily to define either touching the 1 subject, or 2 manner, or 3 end, or 4 time of his descent.
The first degree of his Exaltation, to wit, his resurrection from the dead, together with the circum∣stance of time, the third day, upon which very point did depend all the credit both of his person, doctrine, and Page [unnumbered] miracles, and even of the christian religion it selfe, which should bee dispersed to all the ends of the world.
The second and third degrees of his Exalta∣tion, to wit, first, his Ascenti∣on, that the fourth day after his resurrection, upon mount Olive•, he did visibly, local∣ly, and corporally according to his humane nature, and by the vertue of his owne Godhead, ascend into the third and highest heaven. Secondly, his session at his fa∣thers right hand, by which is ment, that hee was exalted farre above all Angells and Page [unnumbered] men in his very humane na∣ture, and with his father is coeternall and coequall.
* How expound you the seventh article, from thence shall hee come to judge both the quicke and the dead?
It containes the fourth and highest degree of his Exaltation: and the mea∣ning of it is, that though the decree, and authoritie of judgement doe belong e∣qually alike to all the three persons, yet the externall vi∣sible act, or execution of judg∣ment shall wholly bee put into the hands of Christ, the sonne: when to the greater comfort of the godly, their Saviour shall bee their Iudge, and to the wickeds greater terrour, he whom they have crucified, shall sit upon them.
That there is an holy Spirit, which is a di∣stinct person from the father and the sonne, and yet e∣quall to, cōsubstantiall with, and proceeding from both: whose offices are,*1Illumi∣nation, or knowledge, 2Re∣generation or sanctification, 3 to unite and joyne us to Christ our head, 4 to guide, and governe us in the right way to eternitie, 5 to comfort our hearts in both inward tentations, and outward crosses, and 6 lastly, to seale us unto the day of redemp∣tion.
Foure particulars, 1. that there is a Church, to wit, a congregation of men and women elected before time, and called in time by the word and Spirit out of the whole masse of man∣kind, to bee a chosen gene∣ration unto God. 2 that this Church is holy both in re∣gard of 1Persons, 2 meanes, 3 time, and 4place of Gods worship. 3. that it is Catho∣lique, that is, not circum∣scribed or limited, but uni∣versall in regard of 1doctrine 2 members, 3 time, and 4place. 4. that in this holy Catho∣lique Church there is a Soci∣etie and communion of Saints, which have not onely union with Christ, but also Com∣munionPage [unnumbered] one 〈◊〉 another.
I beleeve the remis∣sion of sinnes, that is, I be∣leeve that every transgressi∣on of the law, whereof I am guiltie since I had a being, is not onely pardonable, but (after faith and repentance) pardoned unto mee, and fur∣ther, that though none but God can properly, and of himselfe forgive my sinnes, yet a lawfull minister, who hath gifts from God, and cal∣ling from men, may both de∣clare it to the peace of my Conscience, and also bee Gods instrument to conveigh the same unto mee.
It importeth 3 things, 1 that there shall bee the instauration of the same flesh, the recollection of the same bones and dust. 2 an e∣vocation of the same soule either out of the place of blisse or misery. 3 the reuni∣ting of them together, so as there shall be the same indi∣viduall compound after the resurrection, both for kinde and number, as was before death.
The wordes are these, I beleeve life everlasting the sence is this, that there is an unconceaveable, unut∣terable estate of perfect blisse, and full happinesse, where there shall be a neces∣sary absence of all evill, and a necessary presence of all good, which ere long shall bee the lot and portion of mee in particular, and in generall of all those who in this life are justified and sanctified.
It makes it of a perfect and circular forme. For Amen the last word is neither more nor lesse in va∣lue and importance then I beleeve the first, including three thinges, I knowledge, Page [unnumbered] 2 assent, and 3 affiance.
That is the ve∣ry same which was given by God, the Lawgiver him∣selfe, who divided these ten precepts into two tables, pla∣cing foure in the former, to point us out our duty to God; and sixe in the latter, to set forth our duty to man.
Shew mee both those parts in the first Com∣mandement.
The affirmative part is this, Thou shalt choose Iehovah to bee thy God, and him onely shalt thou know, feare, love, trust in, and serve. The negative is ex∣pressed, Thou shalt not have any other Gods, by which is prohibited 1. Atheisme, or the having of noe God to worship, 2. Polytheisme, or the having of diverse Gods, Page [unnumbered] 3. Idolatrie, or the having of a false God.
This is the affir∣mative: thou shalt worship God by such meanes, and after such a manner as is a∣greeable to his nature, and prescribed in his word, to wit, in spirit and in truth, John 4. 24. the negative is this: Thou shalt not wor∣ship the true God after a false manner.
The affirmative part of it is this, in all things give God his due glory, or con∣ferre all due honour to God Page [unnumbered] that is, both to his divine nature, and essence, to his word, and to his workes. The negative is this, thou shalt neither with unreve∣rend thoughts, or with blas∣phemous words, or with pro∣phane and irreligious actions strike through the glorious and ever blessed name of God, or bereave him of the honour due unto him.
It's affirmative part is this, Remember to keepe holy the Sabboth day, where∣by we are commanded two things, first, to keepe an outward rest, or cessation from labour: Secondly, to sanctifie, or keepe holy that rest. The negative part is Page [unnumbered] this: Thou shalt not pro∣phane the Lords Saboth, ei∣ther in the excesse by a Judai∣call and superstitious obser∣vation of the outward rest, or in the defect, by negle∣cting either the publique or private sanctification there∣of; as namely by taking li∣bertie to doe any manner of worke, which falls not under one of these three heads, workes of Pietie, Cha∣ritie, or necessitie.
It is a comman∣dement of relations, prescri∣bing the mutuall offices of all inferiours and superiours. The affirmative part enjoy∣neth all reverence, love, o∣bedience, and gratitude to∣wards Page [unnumbered] our elders, betters in gifts of body, mind, estate, patrons, and benefactors, domesticall parents, scho∣lasticall parents, ecclesiasti∣call parents, politicall pa∣rents: and back againe all care, governement, prote∣ction, provision, and indul∣gence of them to us downe∣ward. The negative part pro∣hibiteth all manner of disre∣spects, and disregards either of superiours towards their inferiours, or of inferiours towards their superiours.
The affirmative part is this: Thou shalt by all direct and lawfull means safeguard and defend the life and person both of thy Page [unnumbered] selfe, and of thy neighbour. The negative is this: Thou shalt neither with a violent hand, nor a virulent tongue, nor a hanging countenance, no nor so much as an uncha∣ritable thought hurt limme or life, soule or body of thy selfe, or thy neighbour.
The affirmative part is thus much, thou shalt preserve to thy selfe, and to thy neighbour both the in∣ward puritie of the soule, and the outward chastlty of the body. The negative thus much: thou shalt shun all fleshly uncleanenesse, both of the heart in motions and passions, and of the eyes in lookes and speculations, and Page [unnumbered] of the eares in listening to fil∣thy talke, and of the tongue in wanton speaking, and of the body in perpetrating any sort of uncleane action.
In it God makes an hedge about our estate; and the affirmation of it is this: thou shalt first by just getting, and then by faith∣full disposall and steward∣ship of thy goods, beare up thine owne, and thy neigh∣bours estate, that you may bee rather helpefull then needfull to others. The ne∣gation is this, thou shalt nei∣ther by idlenesse, nor im∣providence, nor cousenage, nor injustice, nor riot, or by any other meanes wast, or Page [unnumbered] impoverish the lively-hood and estate of thy selfe, or thy neighbour, whereby you •ought to provide for your selves, and your fami∣lies, and relieve the necessi∣ties of the Saints.
In it God setteth a watch before the doore of our lips, and the affirma∣tive of it is this: thou shalt not onely thy selfe not hurt or give a willing eare to the detractors tongue, but thou shalt uphold and propugne according to truth and ju∣stice, the credit and good name of thy selfe and neigh∣bour. The negative is this: Page [unnumbered] thou shalt neither by pub∣lique slander, nor by pri∣vate backbiting, nor by se∣cret whispering, nor by causlesse suspitions, nor by wrested misconstructions, nor by listening to others accusations and suggestions scandalize thine owne, or thy neighbours fame.
Oh this precept is able to humble, and smite on the knees, the most pre∣varicating sinner, and proud Pharisie in the world, for if there be any that be concei∣ted on his owne righteous∣nesse, and thinke hee hath kept the 9 former, yet must he needs confesse his guilt Page [unnumbered] in this last, for the affirma∣tive part of it enjoynes us holy thoughts, holy desires, sanctified imaginations, pure and unpolluted fantasies; and the negative forbids not one∣ly formed concupiscences, or those second motions which are accompanied with acts of reason, and consent of will, but even the first stir∣rings, and ticklings of the minde to sin, and even such imperfect concupiscences, as whereunto wee yeeld no li∣king or consent.
Yea, as it is qua∣lified by the Gospell, for E∣vangelicall obedience abateth, and taketh off the rigour of the Law, and is satisfied Page [unnumbered] with weake performances, if so be they bee filled up with repentance,* and faith in the bloud of Christ. The poore who could not offer a lambe were to offer a dove, that is, they who cannot per∣forme innocencie, must offer penitencie.
To strengthen our faith before wee pray, in the persuasion, and acknow∣ledgement first of his good∣nesse in that he is Our father,Page [unnumbered] and therefore will helpe us, and secondly of his power in that hee is in heaven, and therefore can helpe us.
That Gods name that is, first himselfe, second∣ly his word, thirdly his works may bee magnified and hal∣lowed, and honoured, and praised, and glorified, and sanctified both of himselfe, of Angels, of men, of bruites, of vegetables, and of all creatures according to the power and language given them by God.
That whereas Gods kingdome is 3 fold, Page [unnumbered] of power, of grace, and of glo∣ry, wee pray that the king∣dome of his power may come upon us, the kingdome of his grace may come into us, and for the kingdome of his glory, that we may come into it.
Wee pray, first that Gods will may be done actively by us, that nothing that wee doe may displease God, and passively upon us, that nothing that God doth may displease us. And wee further pray that this both our active obedience in re∣ference to Gods commanding will, and passive obedience in reference to Gods dispo∣sall will, may be as cheerful∣ly, Page [unnumbered] speedily, sincerely, uni∣versally, and constantly per∣formed by us, as it is by the Saints and Angells in hea∣ven.
In it wee beg all necessary blessings, and eve∣ry word of the petition is to have the full weight: for the word bread teacheth con∣tentation, the word our teach∣eth us justice and diligence: the word us teacheth us cha∣ritie: the word give, Grati∣tude: the words to day and daily, moderation of minde, in regard of too much and sol∣licitous caring for to mor∣row.
As in the 3 peti∣tion God was mans patterne, so here in this man is Gods patterne,* for wee beg that God would remit unto us all our sinnes, whether actu∣all or originall, whether of omission, or commission, whe∣ther of ignorance, or know∣ledge, whether open or secret, whether great beames and ca∣mels, or small moates and gnats whether raigning, or onely molesting, whether of our child hood, youth, manhood, or old age, whether lastly of thought, word, or deed, and all this according to the rule, and stander• of our owne charity, as wee forgive them that trespasse against us: so that wee burthen our selves, and bind our selves with Page [unnumbered] most grievous ferrers,* if we our selves perform not what we undertake, and professe.
That whether tentations be ascending, or in∣jected, whether they be ten∣tations of probation or decep∣tion, whether they be tenta∣tions to sinne, or for sin, whe∣ther we be tempted by God, or by Sathan, or by man, or by our owne lusts and concu∣piscences, yet wee pray that God would deliver us from the evill of tentation, which is, that hee will not suffer us to bee tempted above our strength, but give a gracious issue together with the tenta¦tion.
It is the seale of this prayer, and is both the voice of faith, and the voice of desire, as much as to say, Lord I beleeve these thinges shall be so, and I desire ear∣nestly they may be so, both for thy glory, and the Churches good.
Of the sacraments, which in one word cannot better be defined, then that they are the visible word, wherein, and whereby Christ crucified is preached and declared to our eyes.
** Now whereas the most perfect and exqui∣site knowledge of any thing Page [unnumbered] is to see it in its causes,* and that there are foure causes of a thing, the efficient, from which it is, the matter of which it is, the forme by which it is what it is, and th' end for which it is, first shew mee which be the effi∣cient causes of a sacrament.
Christ himselfe, the head of his Church is the onely Author, or principall efficient cause of a Sacrament, none but hee alone having power to institute, or ordain one in the Church, but a lawfull minister is the instru∣mentall, or secondary efficient cause; hath power to admi∣nister and officiate, as Christ had to institute.
It is threefold, 1 the outward signe represen∣ting, 2 the inward grace re∣presented, 3 the word sancti∣fying.
In the analogy and proportion betwixt the out∣ward signe, and the inward grace, which may be called a sacramentall union, or con∣junction.
Twofold, 1. to signifie, 2. to exhibit the gra∣ces of God therein specified and sealed. And the 12 ar∣ticles thus beleeved, the ten commandements thus kept, the sixe petitions thus pow∣red forth, and the two Sa∣craments Page [unnumbered] thus administred and receaved, bring a man a∣bout in a blessed circular motion unto the first-point of all, to wit, true blessednesse or happi∣nesse.