by Matthew Mead
Or, The Advantage of Bearing the Yoke of Christ Early
This text has been initially updated from EEBO-TCP by Project Puritas (Logan West, with David Jonescue and Alex Sarrouf.) www.puritansearch.org. Further revision and editing done by Monergism. Copyright Monergism via universal text usage permission from the above.
Take my Yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek, and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my Yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:29-30
"The Good of Early Obedience" by Matthew Mead is a timely treatise that addresses the importance of guiding young people towards a life of virtue and obedience to Christ. The book's origins can be traced back to a request made by an unknown gentleman to the author in April 1674. This concerned individual, deeply troubled by the immoral and debauched behaviors exhibited by the youth on May Day, urged Mead to preach a sermon annually on that day as a means to counteract these negative influences. Recognizing the significance of the gentleman's plea and the potential to lead many young souls towards conversion and salvation, Mead agreed to undertake this important task.
Mead recounts his initial sermon delivered on May Day 1680, in which he expounded upon the advantages of bearing the yoke of affliction and the yoke of the Spirit as instruments of conviction for sin. Promising to further explore the concept of the yoke of Christ in conversion during subsequent sermons, the author found himself inundated with requests from both young and old to make the initial sermon public. Although initially hesitant, Mead eventually relented, vowing to fulfill their wishes once he had completed the entire series.
"The Good of Early Obedience" is a compilation of Mead's May Day sermons and subsequent Lord's day discourses on the subject. The author explores the transformative power of embracing the yoke of Christ in one's youth, breaking free from the yoke of sin and lust. Drawing upon biblical teachings and personal insights, Mead offers guidance and encouragement to readers, emphasizing the profound benefits that arise from early obedience to Christ. Through heartfelt exhortations and compelling arguments, the book aims to inspire young individuals to choose the path of righteousness, ultimately leading them to a life of spiritual growth and salvation.
Published in November 1682, "The Good of Early Obedience" carries within its pages the genuine concern and love of Matthew Mead for the souls of his readers. The epistle to the reader serves as a reminder of the author's sincere desire for the book to be a source of spiritual transformation and liberation from the shackles of sin. Mead encourages readers to pray for him, recognizing that their benefit and salvation through his words would bring him great joy.
Table of Contents
To the Right Honorable the Lady Diana Alington
The Epistle to the Reader
CHAPTER I. - Somewhat Proemial. The Yoke explained
CHAPTER II. - Afflictions called a Yoke.
CHAPTER III. - Showing the difference between the Yoke of the Spirit and the Yoke of Christ.
CHAPTER IV. - Containing some useful counsel and directions
CHAPTER V. - The Doctrine laid down
CHAPTER VI. - Holds forth the Reasons of the Doctrine.
CHAPTER VII. - Containing the last Reason, viz. from the good of Obedience
CHAPTER VIII. - Some Objections against early Obedience answered.
CHAPTER IX. - More Objections against early Obedience answered
CHAPTER X. - Wherein the reasons of slighting Christ are inquired into, and the evil of it aggravated.
CHAPTER XI. - Wherein the trial of our state is pressed with seven reasons for it.
CHAPTER XII. - Several Rules for the knowledge of our state laid down, both negatively, and affirmatively
CHAPTER XIII. - Shows the truth of our subjection to Jesus Christ by some things necessarily antecedent to it.
CHAPTER XIV. - Shows our subjection to Christ by such signs as are the Genuine Effects of it.
CHAPTER XV. - Exhorts to thankfulness to God who inclined the heart to this Yoke.
CHAPTER XVI. - Directs our obedience as to principles, matter, manner, and end.
CHAPTER XVII. - Exhorts to perseverance under the yoke of Christ, with arguments to press it, and directions to guide in it.
CHAPTER XVIII. - Contains matter of Counsel to Christless sinners, with motives and directions to further it.