by Thomas Shepard
Modernized, formatted, annotated, addended, and corrected © by William Gross — www.onthewing.org
It is no disparagement at all for this wise master-builder to labor sometimes, by the hammer of the word, to fasten these nails of truth in a sure place — even in the heads and hearts of infant Christians. Neither is it below the highest scholar in Christ’s school to hold fast the form of wholesome words.
The great apostle himself (who was raptured into the third heaven — 2Cor 12:2), although he had received a commission of Christ, his Master, to make disciples, yet he was still a disciple; for he not only catechized others, but learned — again and again — the first principles of the oracles of God, which are called the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, and the depths of God; that is, in plain English, those doctrinal truths which are truly fundamental, and absolutely necessary to salvation; so that we may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convince the naysayers; and always be ready to give an answer to every man who asks, a reason for the hope that is in us.
Thus heartily beseeching you, in the name of Christ, to search the Scriptures, and to give yourself continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word, so that you may grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2Pet 3:18), I now commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified (Ac 20:32). So be it.
Friend, I am yours, if you love the truth and our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.
WILLIAM ADDERLEY, CHARTER HOUSE, LONDON; February 1, 1647
Being desired to peruse and give our opinion of the resolutions in this letter now presented to your view, we must confess they appeared very precious to us; for we have seldom seen acuteness, profoundness, and godliness so eminently, equally, and happily matched. There are in Christ’s school various grades: beginners, and men of exercised wits. The scholar proposing these cases was no puny thinker, and he was happy to meet with a teacher so able to analyze. Therefore whoever reads and heeds this will not regret his labor. But the more knowing the reader is, and the more experienced in the ways of Christ, the more delight he may take in, and the more profit may he reap by, these pious and profound resolutions. So we are
Yours, in Christ Jesus;
JOHN GEREE; WM. GREENHILL, March 27, 1648
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Man’s Duty to God God’s Sufficiency
The Attributes of God
The Works of God
The Fall of Man
Man’s Recovery: Redemption
The Application of Redemption
Living to God by Faith
Living to God by Moral Observance
Living to God by Ceremonial Observance