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To the moſt Reverend Fathers in God, Willi­am Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England and Metropolitan, and John Lord Archbishop of York, Primate of England and Metropolitan.

MOST Reverend Fathers in God, We Greet you well.

Whereas the bold abuſes & extravagan­cies of Preach­ers in the Pul­pit, have not only by the experience of former Ages been found to tend to the Dishonour of God, the Scandal of Religion, and Diſturbance of the Peace both of Church and State but did alſo (through the Licentiouſneſs of the late Rebelli­ous times) much increaſe, to the Infla­ming4 Fomenting, and Heightening of the ſad Diſtempers and Confuſions that were then among us: And whereas even at this preſent (notwithſtanding the merciful Providence of God, ſo ſignally manifeſted in Reſtoring Our Royal Family, and the Lawful Go­vernment of theſe Realms, and put­ting an end to the great Rebellion, and notwithſtanding the Pious care and endeavours of Our late Dear Bro­ther, and Our Self ever ſince, to Go­vern Our Realms in Peace and Tran­quility) it may juſtly be feared that in ſundry parts of this Realm, there want not men of unquiet and Factious Spirits, who inſtead of Preach­ing the pure Word of God, and build­ing up the People in Faith and Holi­neſs, will (if they be not reſtrained) make it a great part of their Buſineſs to beget in the minds of their Hear­ers, an evil Opinion of their Gover­nours, by inſinuating Fears and Jealou­ſies,5 to diſpoſe them to Diſcontent, and to ſeaſon them with ſuch unſound and dangerous Principles as may lead them into Diſobedience, Schiſm, and Rebellion: And whereas alſo ſundry young Divines, and Preachers, either out of a Spirit of Contention and Con­tradiction, or in a vain oſtentation of their Learning, take upon them in their popular Sermons, to handle the deep Points of God's Eternal Councils and Decrees, or to meddle with the Affairs of State and Government, or to wrangle about Forms and Geſtures, and other fruitleſs Diſputes and Con­troverſies, ſerving rather to amuſe than profit the Hearers; which is done for the moſt part, and with the greateſt Confidence, by ſuch perſons as leaſt underſtand them: We out of Our Princely Care and Zeal for the Ho­nour of God, the Advancement of Piety, Peace, and true Religion, and for the preventing for the future, as6 much as lieth in Us, the many and great inconveniencies and miſchiefs that will unavoidably enſue, if a timely ſtop be not given to theſe and the like growing Abuſes; Do, according to the Examples of ſeveral of Our Predeceſ­ſors of Bleſſed Memory, by theſe Our ſpecial Letters ſtraitly Charge and Command you, to uſe your utmoſt Care and Diligence that theſe Directi­ons, which upon long and ſerious Con­ſideration, Our late Dear Brother thought good to give concerning Preachers,**Anno 1662. and which we upon like Conſideration have Approved and cauſed to be Reprinted, and here with ſent unto you, be from henceforth duly and ſtrictly obſerved by all the Bishops and others concerned therein within your Provinces. And to this end Our Will and Pleaſure is, That you forth­with ſend them Copies of theſe Our Directions, to be by them ſpeedily Communicated to every Parſon, Vicar,7 Curate, Lecturer, and Preacher in eve­ry Cathedral, Collegiate, and Parish-Church within their ſeveral Dioceſſes: And that you earneſtly Require them to imploy their utmoſt endeavour for the due Obſervation of the ſame, whereof We shall expect a ſtrict Ac­count, both of you, and every one of them: And theſe our Letters shall be your ſufficient Warrant and Diſcharge in that behalf.

By His Majeſties Command, SƲNDERLAND P.


I. THat no Preachers in their Sermons preſume to meddle with Mat­ters of State, to Mo­del new Governments, or take upon them to Declare, Limit, or Bound out the Power and Authority of So­vereign Princes, or to State and Determine the Differences between Princes and the People; But that upon all good Occaſions they faithfully Inſtruct10 the People in their Bounden Duty of Subjection and Obedience to their Governours, Superiour and Sub­ordinate of all ſorts, and to the Eſtablished Laws according to the Word of God, and the Doctrine of the Church of England, as it is contained in the Ho­milies of Obedience, and the Articles of Religion ſet forth by Publick Authority.

II. That they be Admonished not to ſpend their Time, and Study in the Search of Abſtruſe and Speculative Noti­ons, eſpecially in and about the deep points of Election and Reprobation, together with the Incomprehenſible manner of the Concurrence of Gods free Grace, and Mans free Will, and ſuch other Controverſies as depend thereupon: But howſoever that they preſume not Poſi­tively, and Doctrinally to Determine any thing concerning the ſame.

III. That they forbear in their Sermons ordinarily and cauſleſly to enter upon the Handling of any other Contro­verſies of leſs Moment and Difficulty: But whenſoever they are occaſioned vp Invitation from the Text they Preach upon, or that in regard of the Auditory they Preach unto, it may ſeem Requiſite or expedient ſo to do; That in ſuch caſes they do it with all Modeſty Gravity and Can­dour, Aſſerting the Doctrine and Diſcipline of the Church11 of England, from the Cavils and Objections of ſuch as are Adverſaries to either, without Bitterneſs, Flailing, Iear­ing, or other unneceſſary or unſeemly Provocation.

IV. That for the more Edifying of the People in Faith and Godlineſs (the aforeſaid abuſes laid aſide) all Miniſters and Preachers in their ſeveral reſpective Cures shall not only diligently apply themſelves to Catechiſe the Younger fort according as in the Book of Common Prayer is ap­pointed; But alſo shall in their ordinary Sermons Inſiſt chiefly upon Catechetical Doctrines (wherein are contain­ed all the neceſſary and undoubted Verities of Chriſtian Religion) Declaring withal unto their Congregations what Influences ſuch Doctrines ought to have into their Lives and Converſations, and ſtirring them up Effectually, as well by their Examples, as their Doctrines, to the Pra­ctice of ſuch Religious and Moral Duties, as are the proper Reſults of the ſaid Doctrines, as Self-denial, Contempt of the World, Humility, Patience, Meekneſs, Temperance, Iuſtice, Mercy, Obedience, and the like; And to a Dete­ſtation and Shunning of Sin, eſpecially ſuch Sins as are ſo rife among us, and common to the Age we live in; ſuch are thoſe uſually Stiled the Seven Deadly ones, in short, all kind of Debauchery, Senſuality, Rebellion, Profaneſs, Athiſm, and the like. And becauſe the late Licentious Times have Corrupted Religion even in the very Roots and Foundations. That where there is an Afternoons12 Exerciſe, it be eſpecially Spent either in Explaining ſome part of the Church-Catechiſm, or in Preaching upon ſome ſuch Text of Scripture, as will Properly and Naturally lead to the Handling of ſome thing Contained in it, or may Conduce to the Expoſition of the Liturgy, and Prayers of the Church (as Occaſion shall be offered) the only cauſe They grew into Contempt amongſt the People being this, that they were not Vnderſtood, That alſo the Miniſter as often as Conveniently he can, Read the Prayers himſelf; and when he cannot ſo do, he Procure or Provide ſome fit Perſon in Holy Orders, who may do it with that Gravi­ty, Diſtinctneſs, Devotion, and Reverence as becomes ſo Holy an Action: And whenſoever by Reaſon, of his Infir­mity or the Concurrence of other Offices, the Time may ſeem too short, or he unable to Perform the Office of both Prayers and Sermon at length, he rather shorten, his Diſcourſe or Sermon, then Omit any thing of the Pray­ers, leſt he Incur the Penalty of the Act for Vniformity, Requiring them to be Read according as the Book Directs.

V. And further Our Will and Pleaſure is, That all Mi­niſters within their ſeveral Cures, be enjoyed publickly to read over unto the People, ſuch Cannons as are or shall be in force, at leaſt once, and the Thirty nine Articles twice every year, to the end they may the better underſtand, and be more throughly acquainted with the Doctrine and Diſ­cipline of the Church of England, and not ſo eaſily drawn away from it as formerly they have been.

13VI. Since Preaching was not Anciently the work of every Prieſt, but was reſtrained to the choiceſt Perſons for Gravity, Prudence and Learning; the Archbishoys and Bishops of this Kingdom are to take great care whom they Licence to Preach, and that all Grants and Licences of this kind heretofore made by any Chancellor, Offieial, Commiſſary, or other Secular Perſon (who are preſumed not to be ſo Competent Iudges in matters of this nature) be accounted Void and Null, unleſs the ſame shall likewiſe be allowed by the Archbishop or the Bishop of the Dio­ceſs, and that all Licences of Preachers hereafter to be made or granted by any Archbishop or Bishop, shall be only during Pleaſure, otherwiſe to be void to all intents and puryoſes as if the ſame had never been made nor granted.

VII. Laſtly, That for the better obſerving of the Lords-Day too much neglected of late, they shall, as by often and ſe­rious Admonitions and sharp Reproofs, endeavour to draw off People from ſuch Idle, Debauched and Profane courſes as dishonour God, bring a Scandal on Religion, and Contempt on the Laws and Authority Eccleſiaſtical and Civil, ſo shall they very earneſtly perſwade them to frequent Divine Service on the Lords-Day, and other Feſtivals appointed by the Church to be kept Solemn; And in caſe any Perſon shall reſort unto any Taverns or Ale-houſes, or uſe any unlawful Sports & Exerciſes on14 ſuch days, the Miniſter shall Exhort thoſe which are in Authority itheir ſeveral Parishes and Congregations, care•••ly to took after all ſuch Offenders in any kind whatſoever, together wich all thoſe that Abett, Receive, or Entertain them, that they may be Proceeded againſt ac­cording to the Laws, and quality of their Offences, that all ſuch Diſorders may for the time to come be prevented.

By His Majeſties Command. Sunderland P.

DUBLIN, Re-printed by Joſeph Ray, for Robert Thornton at the Leather-Bottle, in Skinner-row, 1686.

About this transcription

TextTo the Most Reverend Fathers in God, William Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England and metropolitan, and John Lord Archbishop of York, Primate of England and metropolitan.
AuthorEngland and Wales. Sovereign (1685-1688 : James II).
Extent Approx. 12 KB of XML-encoded text transcribed from 8 1-bit group-IV TIFF page images.
SeriesEarly English books online.
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(EEBO-TCP ; phase 2, no. A87492)

Transcribed from: (Early English Books Online ; image set 172929)

Images scanned from microfilm: (Early English books, 1641-1700 ; 2656:14)

About the source text

Bibliographic informationTo the Most Reverend Fathers in God, William Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England and metropolitan, and John Lord Archbishop of York, Primate of England and metropolitan. England and Wales. Sovereign (1685-1688 : James II). 14 p. Re-printed by Joseph Ray, for Robert Thornton ...,Dublin, :1686.. (Without t.p.) (Initials.) (Caption title; imprint from colophon.) (Signatures: A-B⁴(-B₄)) (Royal arms on A₁ verso.) (Includes: Directions concerning preachers (p. 9-14), with caption title.) (Reproduction of original in: Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland). Library.)
  • Church and state -- England.
  • Preaching -- England -- Early works to 1800.
  • Great Britain -- History -- James II, 1685-1688.

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  • Text Creation Partnership,
ImprintAnn Arbor, MI ; Oxford (UK) : 2011-04 (EEBO-TCP Phase 2).
  • DLPS A87492
  • STC Wing J391A
  • STC ESTC R179603
  • EEBO-CITATION 47683472
  • OCLC ocm 47683472
  • VID 172929

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