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HAT Catechizing is an Ordinance of God, few will doubt, when they confider the Apostles did firft lay the Fundamentals of Religion; Heb. vi. 1. And fed Babes with Milk, teaching them the first Principles of the Oracles of God, Heb v. 12. and questionless taught them in that Manner, which was most suitable to the Capacity of the Learners, which may well be fuppofed to be by plain and fhort Questions, and fuitable Answers thereunto; and therefore this has been a conftant Practice in the Church of God: and the Primitive Church had a Particular appropriate hereunto, whom they called Catechist.
And fo all well governed and wifely managed Churches, have ftill maintained and used it, as knowing the Neceffity and Usefulness thereof: for the younger Sort to inform them in the Principles of that Religion whereinto they were Baptized; and for the Establishment of the Adult and more aged therein.
Hence have iffued all thofe little Compofures of all the fundamental Doctrines of Faith and Practice fo handled (which we call Catechifms) in the Churches; and particularly in ours, whereof there are many and divers, whofe Authors have
well defèrved for their Endeavours to inform and edify the People thereby.
But among them all, none excel this little Catechifm of the Affembly, for Orthodoxy, Fulnefs, and Method.
And because the Anfwers therein are fome of them pretty large, and Treat of the most profound Myfteries of our Religion; therefore feveral Perfons have beftowed their good and laudable Pains, fome in defcanting more largely, and proving by Scriptural Reafons the Particulars and one has fhewn the Harmony thereof with the Articles and Homilies of the Church of England (defigned, I fuppofe, to remove the Prejudice which fome have taken against it). Others have parted the Questions and Answers into feveral little ones, under each, to make them more intelligible to younger Ones, and more eafy to be remembred.
Among whom, Worthy, Orthodox, and Excellent Mr. John Flavel may be ranked, who among other of his many and moft profitable Labours, applied himself to the chewing of this Bread of Life, or crumbling it into finaller Pieces, for the Conveniency of Children and (indeed) of all; wherein (as in all his other Works) he hath fhewn himfelf a Workman that needs not to be afhamed.
There needs no other Recommendations to this Pofthumous Piece, but the worthy Author's Name, he was removed before he had compleat
ly finished it; he had prepared his Questions and Answers upon the fecond Petition of the Lord's. Prayer; but lived not to propose them in the publick Congregation. God then tranflated him into his Kingdom of Glory above, while he was fo induftriously endeavouring to promote the Kingdom of Grace below.
The other five remaining Questions and Anfwers (to compleat the Work) were done by a ruder hand; as may eafily be difcerned by any obfervant Reader, who will find himself transfer'd from a plain, clear, and delightful Stile, Method, and Manner, into more rough, diforderly, and unpleasant ones; for who, indeed, could equal this Divine Labourer? Not the Compleater: who would account himself to have made very great Attainments in Divinity and Ufefulness, if he were left but a few Furlongs behind him.
Let the Reader ufe and perufe this Piece, and he will fee Caufe to blefs God for the Author.