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lawe, vnto theyr chyldren and chylders chyldren? Hath not thys knowledge continued from tyme to tyme, amongest them to whome God promysed to be theyr God, and they hys people? Doeth it not appeare by playne expressed wordes of Paule, that Timothe was ii. Tim. iii. broughte vp euen from a chylde in holy scriptures? Hath not the commaundementes of Almyghtye God, thartycles of the Christian faythe, and the Lordes Prayer, been euer necessarelye (sence Christes tyme) requyred of all, both yonge and olde, that professed Christes name, yea though they were not learned to reade? For doutles in these thre pointes is shortlye and playnlye included the necessarye knowledge, of the whole summe of Christes religion, and of all thynges appertaynyng vnto euerlastyng lyfe. In consyderation wherof in thys tyme of your gratious reformation of all vngodlynes, and the setting forth of Goddes trewe glorie. I knowyng my selfe as a subiecte greatly bounden, (and muche the more by reason of my vocation) to set forward the same, am persuaded that thys my smal trauayll in thys behalfe taken, shall not a lytle helpe the sooner to brynge to passe your godly purpose. For by thys lytle treatyse, not only the youth of your graces realme, may lerne to know God, and howe they maye mooste purelye and syncerelye honoure glorifie and serue hym, and may also learne their office and dewtie, howe they ought to behaue themselfes, first towarde God, secondly towardes your Magestie, and so towardes all ministers vnder the same, towardes theyr fathers and mothers, and all other persones of what sorte or degree soeuer they be: but also manye of the older sorte, (suche as loue God, and
haue a zele to hys honoure and glorye, and yet in theyr youth throughe negligence were brought vp in ygnoraunce) may by hearyng of their children, learne in theyr age, that which passed theym in theyr youth.
And as myne intente and endeuoure is to profytte both, and accordynge to myne office, to bryng bothe to the righte knowledge of God, so my most earnest and humble prayer vnto God contynuallye, shalbe that my good mynde and desyre maye haue good successe, and take effecte accordynge to myne expectacion. Whiche thing I assuredly hope shal come to passe, yf it woulde please youre highnes, to suffer this lytle boke by me offered vnto youre Magestie to be redde, taughte and learned of the chyldren of youre moste louyng subiectes, in whome is great hope of al grace godlynes and vertue.
Youre Graces humble Subiecte and Chaplayne
Thomas Archbishoppe of Canterbury.
A SHORT INSTRUCTION
THE SYNGULER COMMODITIE AND PROFITE OF
OUERSENE AND CORRECTED
BY THE MOOST REUERENDE FATHER IN GOD
THE ARCHEBYSHOPPE OF CANTERBURIE.
THYS treatice gentle reader, is not wrytten for the curattes and preachers, for manye of them haue so muche knowledge in holye scripture (thankes be to God) that they be alreadye sufficiently instructed in these matters: but it is written for the behoue of the yong children, whiche muste be brought vp with playne and shorte lesFor wee see daylye by experience, that who so euer wyll teache children, must vse muche discretion and wysedome, not to geue them to much at one time, (lest he dull and oppresse their wittes) and yet that which he gyueth theim, he muste often and many times reherse and repete vnto theim agayne, as nere as he can after one manner of wise, and with the same wordes. For if thei teache them now this, now that, now with these wordes, nowe with other, then the children learne litle or nothing, thei kepe almost nothing in memorye, and besyde that, they waxe wearie of learnyng, and conceaue a lothsomnes therto, and be more slothfull and vnapte to
learne. Forasmuch therfore as it was to be feared, that euery pastore woulde not take the paynes to drawe out such a shorte forme of teachynge to the children, nor we thoughte good to burden euery one with so great labours, and also yf eueri pastore seuerally should deuise a fourme for his parishe, it myght chaunce that there should be as many soundrye formes, as there be pastors, which diuersitie myght engender muche diuision and controuercie, and be also much hynderaunce to the children, yf in one place thei learne one forme, and in an other place an other forme. For to exchewe the said inconueniences, we haue thoughte good to deuise this shorte manner and forme tynstructe children and yong men, wherby they maye both shortlie and easely learne the chief pryncipilles and begynnynge of Christen religion and doctrine, and learne as well howe they oughte to lyue, as also what they shoulde belyue. And whan they haue learned this in their tender age, they shall not onely vnderstande godlye sermons and all other godly doctrine and bookes the better, but also they shall become godly men, and wyse, louers of true religion and godlines, and to al states and orders of lyfe, as well ecclesiasticall as ciuill be more apte and towarde, vnto whiche godly purpose, all fathers and mothers, curattes and preachers, and al Christen maiestrates and officers, should with all theyr mynde and endeuore gyue their ayde and helpe. Wherunto God of his grace graunt his fauour and assistaunce. Amen.