THE Foundation of Christian Religion Gathered into Six PRINCIPLES And it is to be learned of ignorant People that they may be fit to hear Sermons with profit, and to receive the Lords Supper with Com|fort.
PSAL. 119. Ver. 133.
The entrance into thy Word sheweth light, and giveth understanding to the simple.
By William Perkins.
BOSTON IN NEW-ENGLAND Printed by Samuel Green, and sold by Mary Avery near the Blue Anchor in Boston. 1682.
TO ALL Ignorant People That desire to be INSTRVCTED.
POor People, your manner is to sooth up your selves, as though you were in a most happy estate: but if the matter come to a just tryal, it will fall out far otherwise. For you lead your lives in great ignorance, as may appear by these your common opinions which follow.
1. That Faith is a mans good meaning and his good serving of God.
2. That God is served by the rehear|sing of the ten Commandments, the Lords Prayer, and the Creed.
3. That ye have believed in Christ ever since you could remember.
4. That it is pity that he should live which doth any whit doubt of his salva|tion.
5. That none can tell whether he shall be saved or not certainly; but that all men must be of a good belief.
6. That howsoever a man live, yet if he call upon God on his death-bed, and Page [unnumbered] say, Lord have mercy upon me, and so go away like a lamb, he is certainly saved
7. That if any be strangely visited, he is either taken with a Planet, or bewit|ched.
8. That a man may lawfully swear when he speaketh nothing but the truth, and swears by nothing, but that which is good, as by his faith and troth.
9. That a Preacher is a good man no longer then he is in the Pulpit; They think all like themselves.
10. That a man may repent, when he will, because the Scripture saith, At what time soever a sinner doth repent him of his sin, &c.
11. That it is an easier thing to please God, then to please our neighbour.
12. That ye can keep the Command|ments as well as God will give you leave.
13. That it is safest to do in religion as most do.
14. That merry Ballads and Books, as Skoggin, Bevis of Southampton, &c. are good to drive away the time, and to re|move heart qualms.
15. That ye can serve God with all your hearts; and that you would be sorry else
Page [unnumbered]16. That a man need not hear so many Sermons, except he could follow them better.
17. That a man, which cometh at no Sermons, may as well believe, as he which hears all the Sermons in the world.
18. That ye know all the Preacher can tell you: for he can say nothing, but that every man is a sinner, that we must love our neighbour as ovr selves, that every man must be saved by Christ: and all this ye can tell as well as he.
19. That it was a good world, when the old Religion was, because all things were cheap.
20. That drinking and bezeling in the Ale-house or Tavern, is good fellowship, and shews a good kind nature, and main|tains neighbour-hood.
21. That a man may swear by the Mass, because it is nothing now: and by our Lady, because she is gone out of the countrey.
22. That every man must be for him|self, and God for us all.
23. That a man may make of his own whatsoever he can.
24. That if a man remember to say Page [unnumbered] his prayers every morning (though he never understand them) he hath blessed himself for all the day following.
25. That a man prayeth, when he saith the ten Commandments.
26. That a man eats his Maker in the Sacrament.
27. That if a man be no Adulterer, no Thief, no Murderer, and do no man harm, he is a right honest man.
28. That a man need not have any knowledge of Religion, because he is not book-learned.
29. That one may have a good mean|ing, when he saith and doth that which is evil.
30. That a man may go to Wizards called wise men, for counsel: because God hath provided a salve for every sore.
31. That ye are to be excused in all your doings, because the best men are sinners.
32. That ye have so strong a Faith in Christ, that no evil company can hurt you.
These and such like sayings, what argue they, but your gross ignorance? now where Page [unnumbered] ignorance raigneth, there raigns sin, and where sin raigns, there the devil rules; and where he rules, men are in a damnable case. Ye will reply unto me thus: that ye are not so bad as I would make you. If need be, you can say the Creed, the Lords Prayer and the ten Commandments: and there|fore ye will be of Gods belief, say all men what they will, and you defie the Devil from your hearts.
I answer again, that it is not sufficient to say all these without book, unless ye can understand the meaning of the words, and be able to make a right use of the Command|ments, of the Creed, of the Lords-Prayer; by applying them inwardly to your hearts and consciences, and outwardly to your lives and conversations. This is the very point in which ye fail.
And for an help in this your ignorance to bring you to true knowledge, unfeigned Faith and sound Repentance, here I have set down the principal points of Christian Re|ligion in six plain and easie Rules, even such as the simplest may easily learn: and here|unto is adjoyned an Exposition of them word by word. If ye do want other good directions, then use this my labour for your good instruction. In reading of it, first learn Page [unnumbered] the six Principles: and when you have them without book, and the meaning of them withal, thtn learn the exposition also which being well conceived, and in some measure felt in the heart, ye shall be able to profit by Sermons, whereas now ye cannot; and the ordinary parts of the Catechisme, namely, the ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lords Prayer, and the institution of the two Sacraments, shall more easily be un|derstood.
Thine in Christ Jesus, William Perkins
The Foundation of Christian Religion Gathered into six PRINCIPLES.
The first Principle.
Quest. WHat dost thou believe con|cerning God?
A. There is one God, Creator and Governour of all things, distinguished into the Father, the Son, and the holy Ghost.
Proofs out of the Word of God.
1. There is a God.
For the invisible things of him, that is, his eternal power and Godhead, are seen by the creation of the World,* being considered in his works, to the intent that they should be without excuse.
Nevertheless, he left not himself with|out witness, in that he did good,* and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, fil|ling our hearts with food and gladness.
2 This God is one.
3. He is Creator of all things.
In the beginning God created the heaven, and the earth.
*Through faith we understand, that the world was ordained by the Word of God: so that the things which we see, are not made of things which did appear.
4. He is Governour of all things.
*The eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the evil and the good.
Yea and all the hairs of your heads are numbred.*
5. Distinguished into the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.
*And Jesus, when he was baptized, came straight out of the water: and lo, the hea|vens, were opened unto him, and John saw the Spirit of God descending like a Dove, and lighting upon him.
*And lo, a voice came from heaven, say|ing, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
For there are three that bare record in heaven,* the Father, the Word, and the holy Ghost, and these three are one.
The second Principle.
Q. What doest thou believe concern|ing man, and concerning thine own self?
A. All men are wholly corrupted with sin through Adams fall, and so are be|come slaves of Satan, and guilty of eter|nal damnation.
1. All men are corrupted with sin.
As it is written, there is none righteous no not one.*
2. They are all wholly corrupted.
Now the very God of peace sanctifie you throughout,* and I pray God that your whole spirit, and soul, and body, may be kept blame|less unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This I say therefore,* and testifie in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk in the vanity of their minds:
Having their cogitations darkened, and be|ing strangers from the life of God,* through the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their hearts.
When tht Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth,* and all the imaginations of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually.
3. Through Adams fall.
Wherefore as by one man sin entred into the world, and death by sin, and so death went over all men,* for so much as all men have sinned.
4. And so are become slaves of Satan.
*Wherein in times past ye walk according to the course of the world, and after the Prince that ruleth in the air, even the spi|rit that now worketh in the Children of disobedience.
For as much then as the children were partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part with them,* that he might destroy through death him, that had the power of death, that is, the devil.
*In whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds, that is of Infidels, that the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, which is the Image of God, should not shine unto them.
5. And guilty of eternal Damnation.
*For as many as are of the works of the Law are under the curse: for it is written Cursed is every man that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the Law, to do them. Likewise then as by Page 5 the offence of one, the fault came on all men to condemnation: so by the justifying of one, the benefit abounded towards all men to the justification of life.
The third Principle.
Q. What means is there for thee to escape this damnable estate?
A. Jesus Christ the eternal Son of God, being made man, by his death upon the Cross, and by his righteousness hath perfectly alone by himself accomplished all things that are needful for the salva|tion of man kind.
1. Christ Jesus the eternal Son of God.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw the glory thereof,* as the glory of the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.
2. Being made Man.
For he in no sort took the Angels,* but he took the seed of Abraham.
3. By his death upon the Crosse
But he was wounded for our transgressi|ons, he was broken for our iniquities:* the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes w• are healed.
4. And by his righteousness.*
For as by one mans disobedience many Page 6 were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
For he hath made him to be sin for us, which knew no sin,*that we should be made the righteousness of God in him.
5. Hath perfectly.
Wherefore he is able also perfectly to save them that come unto God by him,* seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
6. Alone by himself.
Neither is there salvation in any o|ther,* for among men there is given none other name under Heaven, whereby we must be saved.
7. Accomplish all things needful for the Salvation of mankind.
*And he is the reconciliation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole World.
The fourth Principle.
Q. But how mayest thou be made par|taker of Christ, and his benefits?
A. A man of a contrite and humble spi|rit, by Faith alone▪ apprehending & ap|plying Christ with all his merits unto him self, is justified before God and sanctified
1. A man of a contrite and humble spirit.
Page 7For thus saith he that is high and excel|lent he that inhabiteth eternity,* whose name is the Holy one; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to give life to them that are of a contrite heart.
The sacrifices of God are a contrite spirit: a contrite and broken heart,* O God thou wilt not despise.
2. By faith alone.
As soon as Jesus heard that word spo|ken,* he said unto the Ruler of the Synagogue Be not afraid only believe.
So Moses made a Serpent of brass, and set it up for a sign;* and when a Serpent had bitten any man, then he looked to the Serpent of brass, and lived.
And as Moses lifted up the Serpent in the wilderness,* so must the Son of man be lifted up:
That whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have eternal life.*
3. Apprehending and applying Christ with all his merits unto himself.
But as many as received him, to them he gave power to be the sons of God,* to them that believe in his name. And Jesus said Page 8 unto them, I am the bread of life, he that cometh to me,* shall not hunger, and he that believeth in me, shall never thirst.
4. Is justified before God.
For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God,* and it was counted to him for righteousness.
Even as David declareth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righ|teousness without works,* saying,
*Blessed are they whose iniquities are for|given, and whose sins are covered.
The fifth Principle.
Q. What are the ordinary or usual means for obtaining of Faith?
A. Faith cometh only by the preach|ing of the Word, and increaseth daily by it, as also by the administration of the Sacraments and Prayer.
1. Faith cometh only by the preach|ing of the Word, and increa|seth daily by it.
Where there is no vision, the people de|cay,* but he that keepeth the Law is blessed
My people are destroyed for lack of know+ledge: because thou hast refused knowledge, I will also refuse thee, that thou shalt be no Priest to 〈◊〉:* and seeing thou hast forgot|ten the Law of thy God, I will also forget thy Children.
2. As also by the administration of the Sacraments
After he received the sign of circumcisi+on, as the seal of the righteousness of faith,* which he had when he was uncircumcised, that he should be the father of all them that believe, not being circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed to them also.
Moreover, Brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant,* that all our Fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the Sea, &c.
3. And Prayer.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
The sixth Principle.
Q. What is the state of all men after death?
A. All men shall rise again with their own bodies, to the last judgement: which being ended, the godly shall pos|sess the kingdome of heaven: but unbe|lievers and reprobates shall be in hell tormented with the devil and his angels for ever.
1. All men shall rise again with their own bodies,
Marvel not at this: for the hour shall come,* in the which all that are in the grave shall hear his voice.
And they shall come forth that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, but they that have done evil,* unto the resurrection of condemnation.
2. To the last Judgement.
*For God will bring every work unto judgement with every secret thing, whether it be good or evil.
But I say unto you, that of every Idle word that men shall speak,* they shall give an account thereof at the day of Judgement.
3. Which being ended, the godly, &c.
*And delivered just Lot, vexed with the unclean conversation of the wicked.
Page 11And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the City,* even through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of them that mourn and cry out for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
4. Shall possess the Kingdom of God.
Then shall the King say to them on the right hand, come ye blessed of my Father,* inherit ye the Kingdome prepared for you from the beginning of the world.
5. But unbelievers and reprobates shall be in hell tormented with the devil and his angels.
Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me ye cursed,*into ever|lasting fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels.
The Scriptures for proof were only quoted by the Author, to move thee to search them: the words themselves, I have expressed at the earnest request of many, that thou mayest more easily learn them: if yet thou wilt be ignorant, thy malice is evident; if thou gainest knowledge, give God the glory in doing of his will.
Thine T. S.
The Exposition of the Six Principles.
The first Principle Expounded.
Question. WHat is God?
A. God is a Spirit, or spi|ritual substance,* most wise, most holy, eternal▪ infinite.
Q. How do you perswade your self that there is a God?
A. Besides the Testimony of the Scri|pture, plain reason will shew it.
Q. VVhat is one reason?
A. VVhen I consider * the wonderful frame of the world, me thinks the silly creatures, that be in it, could never make it neither could it make it self, and there|fore b•sides all these the Maker of it must needs be God. Even as when a man comes into a strange country, and sees fair and sumptuous buildings, and yet finds no li|ving Page 13 creatures there besides birds and beasts, he will not imagine that either birds or beasts reared those buildings, but he presently conceives that some men either are or have been there.
Q. What other reason have you?
A.* A man that commits any sin, as murther, fornication, adultery, blasphe|my, &c. albeit he doth conceal the mat|ter▪ (that no man living know of it) yet oftentimes he hath a griping in his con|science, and feels the very flashing of hell|fire, which is a strong reason to shew that there is a God, before whose Judge|ment seat he must answer for his fact.
Q. How many Gods are there?
A. No *〈◊〉 more but one.
Q. How do you conceive this one God in your mind?
A, Not * by framing any image of him in my mind, (as ignorant folk do) that think him to be an old man sitting in heaven, but I conceive him by his pro|perties and works.
Q. What be his chief properties?
A. First he is *most wise, understanding all things aright, and knowing the reason of them. Secondly, he is *most holy, which appeareth in that he is most just, and mer|cifulPage 14 unto his creatures. Thirdly, he is *eternal, without either beginning, or end of dayes. Lastly, he is *infinite, both because he is present in all places, and because he is of power sufficient to do whatsoever he *will.
Q What be the works of God?
Q. How know you that God govern|eth every particular thing in the world by his special providence?
A. To omit the * Scriptures, I see it by experience: * Meat Drink, & cloath|ing, being void of heat and life, could not preserve the life of man, unless there were a special providence of God to give vertue unto them.
Q. How is this one God distinguished?
The second Principle Expounded.
Q. Let us now come to our selves, and first tell me what the natural estate of man is?
Q. What is sin?
A. Any * breach of the law of God, if it be no more but the least want of that which the Law requireth.
Q. How many sorts of sins are there?
A. Sin is * either the corruption of nature, or any evil actions, that proceed of it, as fruits thereof.
Q. In whom is the corruption of na|ture?
A. In all men, * none excepted.
Q. In what part of man is it?
A. In every * part both of body and soul, like as a leprosie, that runneth from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot.
Q. Shew me how every part of man is corrupted with sin?
A. First, in the * mind, there is no|thing but ignorance and blindness con|cerning heavenly matters. Secondly, the * conscience is defiled, being al|wayes either benummed with sin, or else turmoiled with inward accusations and terrors. Thirdly, the * will of man only Page 16 willeth and lusteth after evil. Fourthly, the * affections of the heart, as love, joy, hope, desire, &c. are moved and stirred to that which is evil, to embrace it; and they are never stirred unto that which is good, unless it be, to eschew it. Lastly, the * members of the body are the in|struments and tools of the mind, for the execution of sin.
Q What be those evil actions, that are the fruits of this corruption?
A. Evil * thoughts in the mind, which come either by a mans own conceiving, or by suggestion of the devil: * evil mo|tions and lusts stirring in the heart: and from these arise evil words and deeds when any occasion is given.
Q. How cometh it to pass that all men are thus defiled with sin?
A. By *Adams infidelity and disobe|dience, in eating the forbidden fruit even as we see great personages by treason do not only hurt themselves, but also stain their blood, and disgrace their posterity
Q. What hurt comes to a man by his sin?
A, * He is continually subject to the curse of God in his life time, in the end of his life, and after his life.
Page 17Q. VVhat is the curse of God in this life?
A. In the * body, diseases, •ches pains: in the soul, blindness, hardness of heart, horror of conscience: in goods, hindran|ances and losses: in name, ignominy and reproach, Lastly, in the whole man, bon|dage under Satan the prince of darkness.
Q. VVhat manner of bondage is this?
A. This *bondage is, when a man is the slave of the devil; and hath him to reign in his heart as his god.
Q. How may a man know whether Satan be his god, or not?
A. He may know it by this; if he give obedience to him in his heart, and express it in his conversation.
Q. And how shall a man perceive this obedience?
A. If he * take delight in the evil mo|tions that Satan puts in his heart, and doth fulfil the lusts of the devil.
Q. VVhat is the curse due to man in the end of this life?
A.* Death, which is the separation of body and soul.
Q. VVhat is the curse after this life?
The third Principle Expounded.
Q. If damnation be the reward of sin, then is a man of all creatures most mise|rable: A dog, or a toad, when they die, all their misery is ended; but when a man dieth, there is the beginning of his woe.
A. It were so indeed, if there were no means of deliverance, but God hath shewed his mercy in giving a Saviour to mankind.
Q. How is this Saviour called?
A.* Jesus Christ?
Q. What is Jesus Christ?
Q. How was he made man void of sin?
A. He was * conceived in the womb of a Virgin, and sanctified by the holy Ghost at his conception.
Q. Why must our Saviour be both God and Man?
Q. What be the Offices of Christ, to make him an all sufficient Saviour?
A. He * is a Priest, a Prophet, a King,
Q. Why is he a Priest?
A: To work the means of salvation in the behalf of man kind.
Q. How doth he work the means of Salvation?
A. * First, by making satisfaction to his Father for the sin of man: Secondly, by making intercession.
Q. How doth he make satisfaction?
A. By two means: and the first is by offering a Sacrifice.
Q. What is the Sacrifice?
A. * Christ himself, as he is a man, con|sisting of body and soul.
Q. What is the * Altar?
A. Christ, as he is God, is the Altar on which he sacrificed himself.
Q. Who was the Priest?
A. None * but Christ, and that as he is both God and man.
Q. How oft did he sacrifice himself?
A. Never but * once.
Q. What death did he suffer, when he Page 20 sacrificed himself?
A. A death upon the Cross, peculiar to him alone; * for besides the separa|tion of body and soul, he felt also the pangs of hell, in that the whole wrath of God due to the sin of man, was poured forth upon him.
Q. VVhat profit cometh by his sacri|fice?
A. Gods * wrath is appeased by it.
Q. Could the sufferings of Christ, which were but for a short time, counter|vail everlasting damnation, and so ap|pease Gods wrath?
A. Yea, for seeing Christ suffered, God * suffered, though not in his Godhead: and that is more then if all the men in the world had suffered for ever and ever.
Q. Now tell me the other means of satisfaction?
A. It is the perfect fulfilling of the law
Q. How did he fulfil the Law?
Q. You have shewed how Christ doth make satisfaction; tell me likewise Page 21 how doth he make intercession?
A. He doth alone continually * ap|pear before his Father in heaven, ma|king the faithful and all their prayers ac|ceptable unto him, by applying of the merits of his own perfect satisfaction to them.
Q Why is Christ a Prophet?
A. To *reveal unto his Church the way and means of salvation: and this he doth outwardly by the ministry of his Word, and inwardly, by the teaching of his holy spirit.
Q. Why is he also a King?
A. That * he might bountifully bestow upon us, and convey unto us all the afore|said means of salvation.
Q. How doth he shew himself to be a King?
A. In * that being dead and buried, he rose from the grave, quickned his dead body, ascended into heaven, and now sit|teth at the right hand of his Father, with full power and glory in heaven.
Q. How else?
A. In * that he doth continually in|spire and direct his servants by the di|vine power of his holy Spirit, according to his holy Word.
Page 22Q. But to whom will this blessed King communicate all these means of salva|tion?
A. He * offereth them to many, and they are sufficient to save all mankind; but all shall not be saved thereby, because by faith they will not receive them.
The fourth Principle expounded.
Q. What is Faith?
A. Faith is * a wonderful grace of God, by which a man doth apprehend and ap|ply Christ and all his benefits unto him|self.
Q. How doth God bring men truly to believe in Christ?
A. First, he prepareth their hearts, that they might be capable of faith, and then worketh saith in them.
Q. How doth God prepare mens hearts?
A. * By bruising them, as if one would break an hard stone to powder: and this is done by humbling them.
Page 23Q. How doth God humble a man?
A. By working in him a sight of his sins, and a sorrow for them.
Q. How is the sight of sin wrought?
A. By the * moral Law: the sum whereof is the ten Commandments.
Q. What sins may I find in my self by them?
Q. What is the first?
A. * To make something thy God which is not God: by fearing it, loving it, and so trusting in it more then in the true God.
Q. VVhat is the second?
A.* To worship false Gods, or the true God in a false manner.
Q. What is the third?
A. * To dishonour God, in abusing his titles, words and works.
Q. VVhat is the fourth?
A. * To break the Sabbath, in doing the works of thy calling▪ and of the flesh: and in leaving undone the works of the Spirit.
Q. VVhat be the six latter?
A. To do any thing that may hinder thy neighbours * dignity, * life, * cha|stity, Page 24 wealth, * good name, * though it be but in the secret thoughts and moti|ons of the heart,* unto which thou givest no liking, or consent.
Q What is sorrow for sin?
A. It is * when a mans Conscience is touched with a lively feeling of Gods dis|pleasure for any of these sins, * in such wise that he utterly despairs of salvation in regard of any thing in himself, acknow|ledgjng that he hath deserved shame and confusion eternally.
Q How doth God work this sor|row?
A. By the terrible curse of the Law.
Q. VVhat is that?
A. He * which breaks but one of the Commandments of God, though it be but once in all his life time, and that only in one thought is subject to, and in dan|ger of eternal damnation thereby.
Q. VVhen mens hearts are thus prepa|red, how doth God ingraft Faith in them?
A. By working certain inward moti|ons in the heart, which are the seeds of faith, out of which it breedeth.
Q. VVhat is the first of them?
Q What is the second?
A. An * hungring desire, and a long|ing to be made partaker of Christ and all his merits.
Q. What is the third?
A. A * flying to the Throne of Grace from the sentence of the Law pricking the Concience.
Q. How is it done?
A. By * praying, with sending up loud cries for Gods favour in Christ, in the pardoning of sin; and with servent per|severance herein, till the desire of the heart be granted.
Q. What followeth after this?
A. God then * according to his merci|ful promise, lets the poor sinner feel the assurance of his love, wherewith he lo|veth him in Christ, which assurance is a lively Faith.
Q. Are there divers degrees and mea|sures of true Faith?
Q. What is the least measure of true Faith that any man can have?
A. When a man of an humble spirit, Page 26 by reason of the * littleness of his faith doth not yet feel the assurance of the for|giveness of his sins, and yet he is perswa|ded that they are pardonable; and there|fore desireth that they should be pardon|ed, and with his heart prayeth to God to pardon them.
Q. How do you know that such a man hath faith?
A. These *desires and prayers are te|stimonies of the Spirit; whose property it is, to stir up a longing and a lusting after heavenly things, with sighes and groans for Gods favour, and mercy in Christ, * Now where the Spirit of God is, there is Christ dwelling; and where Christ dwelleth, there is true faith, how weak soever it be.
Q. VVhat is the greatest measure of faith?
A. VVhen a man daily increasing in Faith, comes to be * fully perswaded of Gods love in Christ towards himself par|ticularly, and of the forgiveness of his own sins.
Q. VVhen shall a Christians heart come to this full assurance?
A. Not * at the first, but in some con|tinuance of time, when he hath been Page 27 well practised in repentance, and hath had divers experiences of Gods love to him in Christ: then, after them will appear in his heart the ful••ss of perswasion, which is the ripeness* and strength of faith.
Q. What benefits doth a man receive by faith in Christ?
A. Hereby * he is justified before God and sa••tified.
Q. What is this, to be justified before God?
A. * It comprehendeth two things: the first, to be cleared from the guiltiness and punishment of sin: the second, to be accepted as perfectly righteous before God.
Q. How is a man cleared from the guiltiness and punishment of his sins?
A. By Christs * sufferings and death upon the Cross.
Q How is he accepted for righteous before God?
A. By the * righteousness of Christ imputed to him.
Q. What profit comes by being thus justified?
Q. Do not good works then make us worthy of eternal life.
A. No: for God who is perfect righte|ousness it self▪ will find in the best works we do, more matter of damnation then of salvation▪ and therefore * we must ra|ther condemn our selves for our good works, then look to be justified before God thereby.
Q. How may a man know that he is justified before God?
A. He need not ascend into heaven to search the secret counsel of God; * but rather descend into his own heart, to search whether he be sanctified or not.
Q. What is it to be sanctified?
A. It comprehendeth two things: the first, to be purged from the corruption of his own nature: the second, to be indued with inward righteousness.
Q. How is the corruption of sin pur|ged?
Page 29Q. How is a man endued with inhe|rent righteousness?
A. Through the * virtue of Christs resurrection: which being applied by saith, is as a restorative to revive a man that is dead in sin, to newness of life.
Q. In what part of man is sanctifica|tion wrought?
A. In * every part of body and soul.
Q. In what time is it wrought?
A. It is * begun in this life, in which the faithful receive only the first fruits of the Spirit, and it is not finished before the end of this life.
Q. What grace of the Spirit do usu|ally shew themselves in the heart of a man sanctified?
A. The hatred* of sin, and the love of righteousness.
Q. What proceeds of them?
A. Repentance, which is * a settled •urpose in the heart, with a careful en|•eavour to leave all his sins, and to live a Christian life, according to all Gods Commandments.
Q. What goeth with Repentance?
Q. What followeth after a man hath gotten the victory in any temptation or affliction?
A. Experience of * Gods love in Christ, and so increase of peace of conscience, and joy in the holy Ghost.
Q. What followeth, if in any temp|tation he be overcome, and through in|firmity fall?
A. After a while * there will arise a godly sorrow; which is, when a man is grieved for no other cause in the world, but for this only, that by his sin he hath displeased God, who hath been unto him a most merciful and loving Father.
Q. What sign is there of this sorrow?
A. The true sign * of it is this; when a man can be grieved for the very disobe|dience to God in his will, word or deed though he should never be punished, and though there were neither heaven no• hell.
Q. What followeth after this sorrow▪
A. Repentance *renewed afresh.
Q. By what signs will this repentance appear?
A. By * seven. 1. A care to leave the sin, into which he is fallen. 2. An utte•Page 31 condemning of himself for it, with a cra|ving of pardon. 3, A great anger a|gainst himself for his carelessness. 4. A fear lest he should fall into the same sin again. 5. A desire ever after to please God. 6. A zeal of the same. 7. Re|venge upon himself for his former of|fence.
The fifth Principle Expounded.
Q. What outward means must we use to obtain faith, and all the blessings of God which come by faith?
A. The Preaching* of Gods word, and the administration of the Sacraments and Prayer.
Q. Where is the word of God to be found?
A. The whole Word of God, need|ful to salvation, is set down in the holy Scriptures.
Q. How know you that the Scrip|tures are the VVord of God, and not mens policies?
A. I am assured of it: first, * because the holy Ghost perswadeth my conscience that it is so: secondly, I see it by experi|ence; for the preaching of the * Scrip|tures have the power of God in them to humble a man when they are preached, Page 32 and to cast him down to hell, and after|ward to restore and raise him up again.
Q. What is the use of the Word of God preached?
A. First, it * breedeth, and then it in|creaseth faith in them which are chosen to salvation: but unto them that perish, it is by reason of their corruption, an oc|casion of their further damnation.
Q. How must we hear Gods VVord, that it may be effectual to our salvation?
A. VVe * must come unto it with hun|ger-bitten hearts, having an appetite to the VVord; we must mark it with atten|tion, receive it by faith, submit our selves unto it with fear and trembling, even then, when our faults are reproved: last|ly, we must hide it in the corners of our hearts, that we may frame our lives and conversations by it.
Q. What is a Sacrament?
A.* A sign to represent, a seal to con|firm, an instrument to convey Christ and all his benefits to them that do believe in him
Q. Why must a Sacrament represent the mercies of God before our eyes?
A. Because we are dull to conceive, and to remember them
Page 33Q. VVhy do the Sacraments seal un|to us the mercies of God?
A. Because we are full of unbelief, and doubting of them.
Q. VVhy is the Sacrament the instru|ment of the Spirit, to convey the mer|cies of God into our hearts?
A. Because we are like Thomas, we will not believe, till we feel them in some measure in our hearts?
Q. How many Sacraments are there?
A. Two * and no more: Baptism, by which we have our admission into the true Church of God; and the Lords Supper, by which we are nourished and preserved in the true Church after our admission.
Q. VVhat is done in Baptism?
A.* In the assembly of the Church the covenant of grace between God and the party baptized, is solemnly confirmed and sealed.
Q. In this Covenant, what doth God promise to the party baptized?
A.* Christ, with all the blessings that come by him.
Q. To what condition is the party baptized bound?
A. To * receive Christ, and to repent of his sins.
Page 34Q. What meaneth the sprinkling or dipping in water?
A.* It seals unto us remission of sins, and sanctification, by the obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Christ.
Q. How c•meth it to pass, that ma|ny after their Baptism, for a long time feel not the effect and fruit of it, & some never?
A. The fault is not in God, who keeps his Covenant, but the fault is in them|selves, in that they do not keep the con|dition of the Covenant; to receive Christ by faith, and to repent of all their sins.
Q. When shall a man then see the effect of his Baptism?
A. At * what time soever he doth re|ceive Christ by faith, though it be many years after, he shall then feel the power of God to regenerate him, and to work all things in him, which he offered in Baptism.
Q. How if a man never keep the Condition to which he bound himself in Baptism?
A. His * damnation shall be the grea|ter, because he breaketh his Vow made to God.
Q. What is done in the Lords Sup|per?
Q. Who is the receiver?
A. Every one * that hath been bapti|zed, and after his Baptism hath truely believed in Christ, and repented of his sins from his heart?
Q. What meaneth the bread and wine, the eating of the bread, and drinking of the wine?
A. These outward actions * are a se|cond seal, set by the Lords own hand unto his Covenant; and they do give every receiver to understand, that as God doth bless the bread and wine, to preserve and strengthen the body of the receiver; so Christ apprehended and received by faith, shall nourish him, and preserve both body and soul unto eter|nal life.
Q. VVhat shall a true receiver feel in himself, after the receiving of the Sa|crament?
A. * The increase of his faith in Christ the increase of Sanctification, a greater measure of dying to sin, a greater care to live in the newness of life.
Page 36Q. VVhat if a man, after the recei|ving of the Sacrament, never find any such thing in himself?
A. He may well suspect himself, whe|ther he did ever repent or not, and there|upon is to use means co come to found faith and repentance.
Q. What is another means of increa|sing faith?
Q. What is Prayer?
Q. In asking things needful, what is required?
A. Two things; an earnest desire, and faith.
Q.* What things must a Christian mans heart desire?
A. Six things especially.
Q. VVhat are they?
A.* That he may glorifie God. 2. That * God may reign in his heart, and not sin 3 That * he may do Gods will, and not the lusts of the flesh. 4. That * he may 〈◊〉 himself on Gods Providence for all the means of this temporal life. Page 37 5. * That he may be justified, and be at peace with God. 6. * That by the po|wer of God he may be strengthened a|gainst all temptations.
Q. VVhat is faith?
A. A * perswasion, that those things which we truely desire, God will grant them for Christs sake.
The sixth Principle Expounded.
Q. After that a man hath led a short life in this world, what followeth then?
A. Death, which is the parting a sunder of body and soul.
Q. VVhy do wicked men and unbe|lievers die?
A. That their bodies may go to the earth, and their * souls may be cast into hell fire.
Q. VVhy do the godly die, seeing Christ by death hath overcome death?
A. They die for this end, that * their bodies may rest for a while in the earth, and their souls may enter into heaven immediately.
Q. VVhat followeth after death;
A. The day of Judgement.
Q. VVhat sign is there to know this day from other dayes?
Q. VVho shall be the Judge?
A. Jesus Christ the Son of God.
Q. VVhat shall be the coming to Judgement?
A. He shall come * in the clouds in great Majesty and Glory, with infinite company of ••gels.
Q. How shall a man be cited to Judge|ment?
A. At the * sound of the Trumpet, the living shall be changed in the twinck|ling of an eye and the dead shall rise a|gain, every one with his * own body: and all shall be gathered together before Christ: and after this, the good shall be severed from the bad, * these standing on the left hand of Christ, the other on the right.
Q. How will Christ try and examine every mans cause?
A. The * books of every mans doings shall be laid open, mens consciences shall be made either to accuse them or excuse them, and every man shall be tried by the works which he did in his life time, be|cause they are open and manifest signs * of faith or unbelief.
Page 39Q. What sentence will he give?
A. He will give * sentence of salvation to the Elect and godly, but he will pro|nounce sentence of Damnation against unbelievers and reprobates.
Q. What state shall the godly be in after the day of Judgement?
A. They * shall continue for ever in the highest heaven, in the presence of God, having fellowship with Christ Jesus, and reigning with him for ever.
Q. What state shall the wicked be in after the day of Judgement?
A. In eternal perdition and destru|ction in hell fire.
Q. What is that?
A. It * stands in three things especially 1. A perpetual separation from Gods comfortable presence: 2. Fellowship with the devil and his angels. 3. An horrible pang and torment both of body and soul, arising from the feeling of the whole wrath of God, poured forth of the wicked for ever, world without end: and if the pain of one tooth, for one day, be so great, endless shall be the pain of the whole man, body and soul, for ever and ever.
THe foregoing Excellent Composure, (with his other VVorks) gave full occasion for this Epigram on its famous Author, who was lame in his Right Hand, but like another Ehud, did no small service to the English Israel.