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 Reasons 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 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 ashamed.

There needs no other Recommendations to this Pofthumous Piece, but the worthy Author's Name; he was removed before he had compleat


[ocr errors]

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 induftrioully 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 easily be difcerned by any obfervant Reader, who will find himfelf 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 Cause to bless God for the Author.



то тн Е



HE Divine Providence having unexpectedly caft my Lot for a few Days in Dartmouth, where that bleed Man of God Mr. John Flavel did for many Years honour Christ, and was honoured by him; I have been favoured with a Sight of that most judicious Explication of the Affemblies Catechifm, which is emitted herewith.

Being defired to testify my Respect to the worthy Author, by Prefacing this Excellent Labour of his with a few Lines; I can truly fay (as fometimes Beza of Calvin) Now Mr. Flavel is dead, Life will be less sweet, and Death lefs bitter to me.

My heart bleeds to look on this defolate Place, and not to jee him, that whilst living, was the Glory of it.

But neither the Author, nor his Writings ftand in Need of the Commendation of others, much less of


His Works already published have made his Name precious in both Englands, and it will be fo as long as the Earth fhall endure.

There are fome Confiderations which may cause the Reader to expect (and he will not find himself disappointed therein) that which is extraordinary in this little Manuel: for the Author's Heart was very much engaged in doing this Service for Chrift, in

thus feeding his Lambs. And he did himself defign the Publication of what is bere committed to the Prefs; and was very defirous (with an boly Submiffion to the Will of God) to have perfected this Work before his Deceafe: but had strange Intimations that he fhould finish bis Course, before that could be done.

When he did viva voce deliver his Meditations, there were many Enlargements, and lively Paffages which are not here inferted: nevertheless here is as much as he thought needful for publick View, not being willing that his Book Should be Volumi


In his laft Catechetical Exercife concerning Hallowing the Name of God, he was exceedingly enlarged; but he must himself go into the Kingdom of Glory, when he intended to have difcourfed on that Petition, Thy Kingdom come.

He also began fome Meditations on Joys of Heaven: But before he had an Opportunity to express what had been in his Heart, the Lord Jefus faid unto him, Enter thou into the Joy of thy Lord. And thus doth it happen many Times to the eminent and boly Servants of God.

Another Confideration, recommending what comes herewith, is, that it was amongst Mr. Flavell's laft Works. The (i§òdia guara) Laft Sayings of wife and great Men have been esteemed Oraculous; and the Scripture puts an Emphasis on the laft Words of David, the fweet Singer of Ifrael, 2


Sam. xxiii. 1. Not that those were the laft Wards that ever David fpake, only they were written not Long before bis Death, when he was come near Heaven.

So was what is now put into the Reader's Hand, written by Mr. Flavell not long before his Translation to the World of Souls, where the Spirits of Just Men are made perfect.

There was a more than ordinary Prefence of God with him to his laft; and in his laft Days, not the laft Sermon that he preached (which was June 21. 1691). He did more than once furprize his Hearers with an Intimation that, that might be the laft Time he should speak to them in the Name of the Lord. Aud was not then the Secret of the Lord with him?

Dartmouth will know, and Devonshire will know, that there has been a Prophet among them.

And now my Soul bleeds to look on the dear Flock of God, which are as Sheep without a Shepherd. The Lord Jefus, the great Shepherd of the Sheep, have Compaffion on them, and give them a Shepherd like to his bleed Servant Flavell, who did for many Years feed them with Knowledge, and with UnderStanding.

Dartmouth, March the 21st 1691.

Increase Mather.


« VorigeDoorgaan »