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The SUM of SAVING KNOWLEDGE || NATIONAL and SOLEMN LEAGUE. (contain'd in the Holy Scriptures, and held forth in the faid Confeffion and Catechifms) and Practical Use thereof. COVENANTS;










DEUT. vi. 6, 7. And thefe Words which I command thee this Day, fhall be in thy Heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy Children, and shalt talk of them when thou fittest in thy House, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thon lieft down, and when thou rifest up.






THE Preface, by fundry English Divines.

Mr. Manton's Epiftle to the Reader.

I. The Confeffion of Faith.

II. The Larger Catechism.

III. The Shorter Catechifm.
IV. The Sum of Saving Knowledge.
V. The National Covenant.

VI. The Solemn League and Covenant.
VII. The Acknowledgment of Sins, &c.
VIII. The Directory for Public Worfbip.

IX. The Form of Prefbyterial Church-Government.
X. The Directory for Family Worship.

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S we cannot but with grief of foul lament those multitudes of errors, blafphemies, and all kinds of profanenefs, which have in this laft age like a mighty deluge overflown this nation; fo, among feveral other fins which have helped to open the flood-gates of all these impieties, we cannot but esteem the difufe of family inftruction one of the greateft. The two great pillars upon which the kingdom of Satan is erected, and by which it is upheld, are ignorance and error; the firft ftep of our manumiflion from this fpiritual thraldomi confifts, in having our eyes opened, and being turned from darkness to light, Acts xxvi. 18. How much the serious endeavours of godly parents and masters might contribute to an early feafoning the tender years of fuch as are under their inspection, is abundantly evident not only from their fpecial influence upon them, in refpect of their authority over them, intereft in them, continual prefence with them, and frequent opportunities of being helpful to them; but alfo from the fad effects which by woful experience we find to be the fruit of the omiffion of this duty. 'Twere eafy to fet before you a cloud of witneffes, the language of whofe practice hath been not only an eminent commendation of this duty, but also a serious exhorta-' tion to it. As Abel, though dead, yet speaks by his example to us for inita-' tion of his faith, &c. Heb. xi. 4. So do the examples of Abraham, of Jofhua, of the parents of Solomon, of the grandmother and mother of Timothy, the mother of Auguftine, whofe care was as well to nurfe up the fouls as the bodies of their little ones; and as their pains herein was great, fo was their fuccefs no way unanswerable.

We should scarce imagine it any better than an impertinency, in this' noon-day of the gospel, either to inform or perfuade in a duty fo exprefsly commanded, fo frequently urged, fo highly encouraged, and fo eminently owned by the Lord in all ages with his bleffing, but that our fad experience tells us this duty is not more needful than 'tis of late neglected. For the teftoring of this duty to its due obfervance, give us leave to fuggeft this double advice.

The first concerns heads of families in refpect of themselves, that as the

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Lord hath fet them in place above the reft of their family, they would la bour in all wisdom and fpiritual understanding to be above them alfo. 'Tis / an uncomely fight to behold men in years babes in knowledge; and how unmeet are they to instruct others, who need themselves to be taught which be the first principles of the oracles of God?' Heb. v. 12. Knowledge is an accomplishment fo defireable, that the devils themselves knew not a more taking bait by which to tempt our first parents, than by the fruit of the tree ' of knowledge. So fhall you be as gods, knowing good and evil.'. When Solomon had that favour fhewed him of the Lord, that he was made his own chufer what to afk, he knew no greater mercy to beg than wisdom, 1 Kings iii. 5,9. The understanding is the guide and pilot of the whole man, that faculty which fits at the stern of the foul: But as the most expert guide may miftake in the dark, fo may the understanding when it wants the light of knowledge: Without knowledge the mind cannot be good,' Prov. xix. 2. Nor the life good, nor the eternal condition safe, Eph. iv. 18. My 'people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,' Hof. iv. 6. 'Tis ordinary in fcripture to fet profaneness and all kind of miscarriages upon the score of ignorance. Difeafes in the body have many times their rife from diftempers in the head, and exorbitancies in practice from errors in judgment: And indeed in every fin there is fomething both of ignorance and error at the bottom; for, did finners truly know what they do in finning, we might fay of every fin, what the apoftle fpeaks concerning that great fin, Had they known

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him, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;' did they truly know that every fin is a provoking the Lord to jealousy, a proclaiming war against heaven, a crucifying the Lord Jesus afresh, a treasuring up wrath unto themfelves against the day of wrath,' and that, if ever they be pardoned, it must be at no lower a rate than the price of his blood, it were fcarce poffible but fin, instead of alluring, should affright, and, instead of tempting, fcare. 'Tis one of the arch devices and principal methods of Satan to deceive men into fin; thus he prevailed against our first parents, not as a lion but as a ferpent, acting his enmity under a pretence of friendship, and tempting them to evil under an appearance of good; and thus hath he all along carried on his defigns of darknefs, by transforming himself into an angel of light, making poor deceived men in love with their miferies, and hug their own destruction. A moft fovereign antidote againft all kind of errors, is to be grounded and fettled in the faith: Perfons, unfixed in the true religion, are very receptive of a falfe; and they who are nothing in fpiritual knowledge, are eafily made any thing. Clouds without water are driven ' to and fro with every wind,' and ships without ballaft liable to the violence of every tempeft. But yet the knowledge we efpecially commend, is not a

brain-knowledge, a mere fpeculation; this may be in the worft of men, nay, in the worst of creatures, the devils themselves, and that in fuch an emipency, as the best of faints cannot attain to in this life of imperfection: But an inward, a favory, an heart-knowledge, fuch as was in that martyr, who, tho' fhe could not difpute for Chrift, could die for him. This is that fpiritual sense and feeling of divine truths, the apoftle fpeaks of, Heb. v. 14. "Having your fenfes exercised,' &c.

But, alas, we may fay of moft mens religion, what learned Rivet * speaks concerning the errors of the Fathers, "they were not fo much their own errors, as the errors of the times wherein they lived." Thus do moft men take up their religion upon no better an account than Turks and Papifts take up theirs, because 'tis the religion of the times and places wherein they live; and what they take up thus flightly they lay down as eafily: Whereas an inward taste and relish of the things of God, is an excellent prefervative to keep us fettled in the most unfettled times. Corrupt and unfavory principles have great advantage upon us, above thofe that are fpiritual and found; the former-being fuitable to corrupt nature, the latter contrary; the former fpringing up of themselves, the latter brought forth not without a painful induftry. The ground needs no other midwifery in bringing forth weeds, than only the neglect of the husbandman's hand to pluck them up; the air needs no other cause of darkness, than the absence of the fun; nor water of coldness, than its diftance from the fire, because these are the genuine products of nature: Were it fo with the foul (as fome of the philofophers have vainly imagined) to come into the world as an "abrasa Tabula,” a mere blank or piece of white paper, on which neither any thing is written, nor any blots; it would then be equally receptive of good and evil, and no more averfe to the one than to the other: But how much worse its condition indeed is, were fcripture filent, every man's experience does evidently manifest. For who is there that knows any thing of his own heart, and knows not thus much, that the suggestions of Satan have so easy and free admittance into our hearts, that our utmost watchfulness is too little to guard us from them? whereas the motions of God's Spirit are so unacceptable to us, that our utmoft diligence is too little to get our hearts open to entertain them. Let therefore the excellency, neceffity, difficulty of true wifdom stir up endeavours in you, fomewhat proportionable to fuch an accomplishment; Above 'all getting, get understanding,' Prov. iv. 7. And fearch for wifdom as ' for hidden treasures,' Prov. ii. 4. It much concerns you in refpect of yourfelves.

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Our fecond advice concerns heads of families, in respect of their families.

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