The key of knowledge which is, a little booke intended to bee of good use, as for all degrees of Christians, so especially for religious families, and religious schooles. The full use and contents whereof must be enquired in the preface or introduction to the worke, which is (first) deliberately to be read of those who desire to receive profit by the booke. By John Jackson, rector of Marsk neere Richmond in York-shire.
Jackson, John, 1600-1648.
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The Communicants Alphabet.

*A Sacrament is the visible word, as the Scripture is the word audible. By it Christ crucified is spoken and preached to our eyes, as in the scripture to our eares.

* BAptisme is the Sacra∣ment of our matriculati∣on, and admission into the Church, and the Lords sup∣per is the Sacrament of our establishment there, and confir∣mation after wee are admit∣ted.

Page  [unnumbered]* Christ is the principall Author, or efficient cause of a Sacrament in the Church. A lawfull minister is the secondary, or instru∣mentall cause. None but Christ alone who is the head of the Church can or∣daine or institute one, none but a lawfull minister, that is, who hath gifts from God and calling from men, can officiate or administer one.

* DIstinguish wisely be∣twixt the three parts which concurre to the con∣stituting of a sacrament, to wit, first, the outward signes representing: secondly the inward and invisible graces re∣presented; lastly the word of benediction, or consecration meeting with both.

Page  [unnumbered]* EXcept the word accede, and be added unto the Elements, it is noe Sacra∣ment, but common water, common bread, common wine.

*FOrme inward, or the es∣sence of a Sacrament, stands in the proportion or analogie betweene the out∣ward signe, and inward grace, which may bee cal∣led a Sacramentall union, or conjunction of the signe, and the thing signified, as namely, the proportion which outward washing holds with inward sanctifi∣cation is the essentiall form of baptisme, and the propor∣tion which bread and wine hold with the body and bloud of Christ is the es∣sence, Page  [unnumbered] and forme of the Lords supper.

* GIve diligent heed also all the while of cele∣bration to the whole leitur∣gie or office of the Church, that is, to all the words and actions of the minister, which are said and done ac∣cording to the institution of Christ, and according to the rule and prescript of the Church, whereof thou art a member: for so much is called the outward forme of a sacrament.

* HAve a stedfast regard withall to the three∣fold end of a sacrament, which are, first to be signes to represent; secondly, seales to confirme; thirdly instru∣mentsPage  [unnumbered] to conveigh Grace, for Sacraments were but poore thinges to what they are, if they had not an exhi∣bitive vertue, as well as a significative.

* IN preparation to the Lords table due respect must bee had,both to the worthinesse of the receiver, and to the worthinesse of receiving, that is called pre∣cedent worthinesse, or the worthinesse of the Person, and is to goe before; this is called concurrent Worthi∣nesse, or the worthinesse of handling, and is to goe a∣long with the act of recei∣ving.

* KNow then that as only sinne doth avile, and Page  [unnumbered]unworthy our persons, so nothing but Righteousnesse doth dignifie them, and re∣estate them in their former worthinesse and excellency.

* LEarne further that this righteousnesse must bee twofold; the one of Christ, which must bee imputed un∣to us, and therefore called the Righteousnesse of faith: the other our owne, which must bee imparted to us, and inherent in us, and therefore called the Righteousnesse of workes.

* MOreover the worthi∣nesse of handling, or of receiving consists chiefly in putting in practice that grand Apostolicall rule, 1 Cor. 11. 28. Let a man exa∣mine Page  [unnumbered] himselfe, and so let him eate of that bread and drinke of that cup.

* NEither is it sufficient to prove, unlesse (ou weaknesses and infirmities being mercifully abated us in Christ) we be able to ap∣prove our selves both to our owne hearts, and to God, who is greater then our hearts.

* OMit not then to exa∣mine diligently the present condition, first, of the Faith, and then of thy manners and life: the touch∣stone of the former is the Creed; and of the latter, the decalogue, or ten comman∣dements.

Page  [unnumbered]* PLace first before thine eyes the 12 Articles of that most auncient and Apo∣stolique creed, and examine thy selfe as in the presence of God, first whether thou be able to give stedfast cre∣dit, and firme assent unto each of them one by one; and secondly, whether thou canst apply each article par∣ticularly unto thine owne selfe, and interest thine own soule by affiance and trust, in the benefits and comforts which result from each Ar¦ticle.

* QUestion nextly thy life and manners, and ther∣in place before thee the ten precepts of the morall law, carefully searching by most diligent scrutiny through Page  [unnumbered] each commandement, wher∣in thou hast transgressed, and broken either the affir∣mative part of the comman∣dement by sinnes of omissi∣on, or the negative by sinnes of commission.

*REpent from the bot∣tome of thine heart, where thou findest ought a∣misse in either, and give not thy spirit rest, till thou hast brought it to a bleeding plight, and wrought it to some measure of godly con∣trition. For where wee can∣not offer a lambe, wee must offer a dove, that is, where wee cannot performe inno∣cency wee must pay penitency.

*SOrrow for what hath been amisse for the time past▪Page  [unnumbered] and carefull both resolution, and endeavour to amend, and reforme for the time to come, are the two parts of true and formall repentance God will neither accept our sorrow without reformatiō, nor our reformation with∣out sorrow and contrition.

* TAke heed with all thy might, that whilst thou art at that holy exercise, nei∣ther eyes nor mind wander, least thou offer the sacrifice of fooles; but strive both to confine the thoughts of thy heart, and to fixe the specu∣lation of thine eye. For (as was said before) it is the visi∣ble word, sermoning and preaching Christ crucified, yea Christ crucifying unto the eyes; in which regard Page  [unnumbered] not onely the Elements themselves, but also every action of the minister, while he is officiating is significa∣tive and representative.

* UNto all this one thing more is to bee added, which is the consequent, or subsequent disposition and tem∣per of soule, which is to fol∣low the holy Communion: for the end crownes the worke. Praeexistent congru∣ities, and coexistent con∣currences, and subsequent dispositions must all meet to make a good worke per∣fect and absolute. There is required first a right ingresse into, and then a right pro∣gresse in, and lastly a right e∣gresse out of every holy and pious performance, before it Page  [unnumbered] can bee put upon the file of good Workes. An action may miscarry upon one cir∣cumstance, it cannot bee good but upon all.

* WHen therefore thou hast received, and that the holy businesse is en∣ded, thanke God heartily for so great a favour, as to vouch¦safe to feast thee with his owne body and blood, and so make it as it is, an Eucha∣rist, that is, a sacrifice of praise and thankesgiving.

* YIeld also unto God re∣all thankefullnesse, that is, constant and uniforme obedience, eschewing even the least of sinnes which may defile the soule, and setting upon the most difficult of Page  [unnumbered] vertues, which may ingrati∣ate thee with God. Having washed thy feet, doe not defile them againe; having put off thy ragges, put them not on a∣gaine.