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EXPLAINING WHAT THEY ARE TO BELIEVE AND DO IN ORDER TO
BE SAVED. ADDRESSED CHIEFLY TO THOSE WHO ARE OF THE
Children, beloved in the Lord ! AS
S it has pleased Almighty God to call me, although greatly unworthy,
to take care of some part of his holy Church; so I am tirmiy persuadel, that He will one day require at my hands an account how I have discharged this trust. That I may not appear then wholly wanting in the performance of my duty, I take this inethod of addressing myself to you, putting every one of you in remembrance of the engagements ye are under by baptism; explaining to you, in a familiar way, the whole belief and practice of a Christian ; and extorting you to the performance of every Christian duty. And God is my witness, that I am very desirous that all of you, as ye grow in years, may grow also in grace ; that ye may all knozu God from the least to the greatesi, and obey him as ye ought, living as becometh Christians, and shining as lights in the world.
Remember then, my dear Children, that there was once a time, when each of
you was brought to God in baptism; being entered into Christ's Church by tlie sprinkling of water, as he himself has appointed. The sprinkling of water may seem to you as a thing in itself of but small account, and so indeed it is; but in baptism it is a matter of the utmost concern, insomuch that they who wilfully neglect it have no sort of title to the promises made to mankind in the gospel of Jesus Christ. For he has been pleased to make it the ordinary means of admitting persons into His Church ; and therefore without it no one can be said to be in covenant with God, or to have any assurance of being saved. Except a mun be born of water und of the spirit, (says our blessed Saviour) he cannot enter into the kingdom of God: and, He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved. For this reason ye were baptizedł, wher as yet ye were infants; and, from the beginning, it has been a custom in the Church to do the same : for our forefathers thought very justly, that it could never be too early to enter into covenant with God. And provided any security could be given, that children, when grown up, should be taught what had been done for them, and instructed how to perform the engagements which were entered into in their names, it seems to them most expedient to admit such to baptism although the children were not then capable of fulfilling the terms of it. This gave occasion for the requiring of sureties, or what we call godfathers and godmothers, in infant baptism; persons who have been baptized themselves, and are of good and pious conversation in the Church. These undertake to teach the children they have answered for at the time of baptism (ils soon as tiiey are able to learn what it solemn row, promise and profession, they are made liy
The Clergyman's Advice to his Parishioners. them their sureties. They are to instruct them in the nature of baptism, and the obligations they are under thereby; to exhort them to hear frequently the word of God; to see that they are taught to read and understand the Creed, the Lord's Prajer, and the Ten Commandments, in their own mother tongue ; and, finally, they are to take care that they be virtuously brought up to lead a godly and i Christian life.
These instructions, I trust, ye have received from your own codfathers and godmothers; or at least from your parents, whose duty, it is alsa to give you religious instruction. Permir me to join with them in this good work; as, by God's appointment, I also have a share with them in the care of your souls. Simor; (saith our blessed Saviour) lorest thou me more than these ? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord ; thou knowest that I love Thee. He then saith unto him, teed my Lambs. The teaching of youth the grounds of Christianity, and installing into them the principles of it in their tender years, is, it seems, a necessary consequence of the love of Christ, and the principal duty of the ministers of the Church. And besides the benefit which ye yourselves may receive from me in this labour of love, it may not be unprofitable to those of riper years; who, when they see the instructions here given to you, may be led to reflect upon themselves, and may from hence take occasion of ordering their lives more suitably to their Christian calling.
first, then, let me, in a few words, acquaint you with the nature and ado puntages of that most hoły religion into which ye are baptized. It is a religion built upon the surest foundation, no less than the hopes and expectations of good men in all ages; the testimony of phrophecies, even from the beginning of the world; and the actual revelation which God was pleased to make of bimself to inankind, by sending His blessed son to dwell amongst them: who in their flesh, and with their infirmities, but witliout si?, did, for some space of time, wholly employ himself in teaching them the way to everlasting life, contirming the truth of what he said by many miracles, which no one could have wrought except he had been sent from God. This holy person, called iu scripture the Word of God; who, in the beginning was with God, and was God; by who?n the world is said to have been made, and all things therein ; and who was of such high dignity that he thought it no robhery to be equal with God: this holy person, I say, did constantly and openly teach all men where ever he came, that there would be most certainiy a future state of rewards and punishments; to which all men, in all parts of the earth, from the beginmng or the world to the end of it, shall be called by a general resurrection of their bodies from the dead, and shall stand at the seat of his judgment, to receive their sentence from Him, according to what they have done in their lives, whether it be good or evil. Further; he taught them, that there was, no way of being reconciled to God, but through Him: that God's anger against them for the transgression of their first parents, and their own actual sins, can only be pacitied by a stedfast belief in Him and his doctrines, and by a sincere and willing obedience to his commands: that although repentance makes no amends for faults that are past, and therefore is, of no value in. the sight of God; yet, if real, and not too long delayed, it will be accepted · through faith in Hin, and through the merits of His sufferings and death : that thereby all sins will be forgiven to men, be they ever so great, or ever so often repeated: that whatsoever they stall ask of God faithfully, in His name, and shall be convenient for them, shall be granted: that, as he was himself a sacrifice and atonement for the sins of men, so he would continue, to the end of the world, a Mediator for them with God, always soliciting their pardon ; and that, during his absence from them, and whilst He was employed in this good and charitable office, He would cause the holy Spirit of Go to reside amongst them, assisting and comforting them under all ihe trials and temptations of this mortal state, and preparing them for an eternal state of happiness and glory.
This is the sum and substance of the Cliristian profession. And, blessed be Gous holy name, who las given you an opportunity of taking it upon you. Make it your constant prayer to God, that ile would he pleased to endow you with thut trisdom which is from above ; that he would enlighten your minds with the knowledge of your duty, and give you grace to practise it ; that you may lead your lives answerably to this profession, and finally obtain the prom. reut crerlasting life.
The Clergymian's Adrice to his Farishioners. But to be more particular : if ye would learn further, what are tlie benchts ve s'eap from being Christians; ye will find them briefly, yet fully summed up in the Catechism of our Church, which ye were once taught to repeal, aud do now (I hope) desire to understand. It is there said, that by baptisin ye are made members of Christ, children of God, and inheriigis of the kingdon of heaven. These are privileges so great and glorious, that human nature might well be thought incapable of them. But so far has it pleased A.lwigity God to be mindful of man, and so much has his love abounded towards us in Christ Jesus, that ye are most certain of all these advantages, if ye behave in all things as becometh Christians.
In the first place, ye are members of Christ; united, not to His natural body (for that were a thing impossible) but to llis spiritual body, which is the Church; that congregation of faithful men, in which the pure world of God is preached, and the sacraments are duly administered, according to Christ's ordinance, by bishops, priests and deacons; which orders of munisters, it is evident unto all men, diligently reading holy Scripture and ancient authors, have been in Christ's Church from the Apostles' time.*
This society of men our blessed Saviour is pleased to call his body, of which He himself is the head. The Church (says St. Paul) is the body of Christ, and Christ the head of the body, the Church. And asthe members of the natural body, being united to the head, do receive life, and sense, and motion from thence; so Christians, as members of the Church, being united in Christ, receive spiritual life and motion from Iliin. By him all the body by joints and bands, having rourishment ministered, and knit together, inerruseth 'rwith the increase of God. Again, as the body (that is, the natural body) is oul, und hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, üre yet tout one body; so also is Christ (that is, the Church of Christ
: ) for by one spirit rue are all baptized into one body. And as we have many members in one vodi,, and uti the members have not the same office; 90 zve, lieing many are one bodyin Christ. Therefore ye are the body of Christ,and members in particular. Now,by being members of Christ ye are assured that ye are continually under the more especialçare and dia section of God's Holy Spirit: that, as the head contrives and orders everything for the support and weiltare of the inembers of your own bodies ; sú does Christ, your head, always watch over and preserve you. Nay, ye are now become particular objects of his tenderness and pity , for as in your own bodies, when any one of the members is hurt the heart suffers with it; so is Christ your beau, concerned in all your afilictions, and will either deliver you out of them, or support you under them, and in the end turn them to your advantage. Now, if this is the case of those who are so happy as to be members of Christ, con, sider the deplorable state of such personis as remain excluded from the Christian Church, notwithstanding the frequent opportunities they have had of entering into it. As they have not yet put on Christ, most certain it is that they are still dead in their trespasses and sins. And, although they should perform good works, yet not being first reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, their goodness is nothing worth. Consider likewise tlie still more deplorable State of those persons, who having entered into covenant with God by baptism, do afterwards divide themselves from the Church of Christ, and cut theinselves off froin that body of which they were members. Such are they (if any such there be) who have entirely renounced their Christianity: such are they also, who have wholly abandoned and given up themselves to a wicked course of life.
In the first ages of the Christian Church, it was usual to cut off such wembers from the body of Christ by excommunication ; that is, they were turned out of the Church for a time, and not suffered to communicate with utier Christians, until they had repented of their faults. This power was given in his Church by Christ himself, when he tells bis Apostles, that Ilhatsoever they bound on earth should be liound in heaven ; and, whatsoever they loosed on earth should be loosed in heater. The Church at present is cautious and tender in the use of this authority; inore so prehaps than is consistent with its own, peace, or the good of souls. But wicked and profligate men, although they are suffered to continue in the Church, are by no means members of Christ's body ; no more than a dry withered branch is a part of the vine, because it
* Articles of religion, and preface to the form and manner of making, or laining, and consecrating bishops, priests, and deacons,
Ecclesiastical Terms Explained. is not cut off from the vine ; or a dead mortified limb is a part of the body, because it is not separated from the body. As they are grown useless, being past feeling, they are an incumbrance to the body, and may probably do great hurt to it ; but they cannot themselves receive any benefit from it; for they are not vitally united to Christ, who is the head of it, and therefore they do not partake of the influences of His grace, neither are they quickened by his Holy Spirit. Finally, consider that as ye are now become members of Christ's body, the Church, by baptism ; ye ought not only to reverence Christ, who is your head, but also to love one another. The members of your own bodies teach you this useful lesson; for, they never abuse, nor injure one another; on the contrary, if any one of the members is hurt, all the rest immediately join in comforting and cherishing it. And so it should be amongst Christians, or the members of Christ's body; according to the Apostle, All the members should have the same care, one for another : and whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all ihe members rejoice with it. For think with yourselves how unnatural it would be for a man to hurt himself; how strange if the hand should strike the foot, or the fuot should trample upon the band. But so it is with Christians, when they envy or quarrel with one another: if one member is hurt, the whole body is wounded, and the head is grieved : that is, the Church of Christ is disgraced, and Christ, who is the head of it, is provoked thereby. There is now then so close an union amongst you, that, out of very self-interest, ye ought to do good one to another ; for if ye are not at peace one with another, ye are divided against yourselves. It may be said very properly of you in your present situation, that the merciful man doeth good to his own soul, but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh. For he amongst you who assists another, is so nearly related to him, that he may be said to be a benefactor to himself; and he that injures another may, upon the same account, be said to be
[To be Continued.]
his own enemy:
SOME ECCLESIASTICAL TERMS EXPLAINED, BY WAY OF Question
AND ANSWER. Continued from No. 2. page 23. Q. Why is the first day in Lent called Ash-Wednesday ?
A. Because in former timez Christians sprinkled ashes on their heads, in their solemn mourning on this day.
Q. What is Lent ?
4. Lent signities spring in the Saxon language, and with us it signifies the Spring-Fast.
Q. Why is the first Sunday in Lent called Quadragesima ?
4. Because it is about the Quadragesima, that is, the fortieth day before our Saviour's resurrection.
Q. Why doth this time of fasting, or abstinence continue forty days?
Q. Why is the Sunday before Lent called Quinquagesima and the second, and third Sundays before it cailed Sexagesima and Septuagesima ?
A. These are Latin numbers, and the full numbers of fifty, sixty, and severity are used with reference to the forty days of Lent; to put us in mind to prepare for that antient, and solemn time of fasting and prayer,
‘OF THE EPIPHANY. TIIE word Fpiphany, signifying manifestation, was antiently applied as day, when he was manifested by a star to the Gentiles.
The principal design of the Church in celebrating this day, is, to shew our gratitude towards God, for manifesting the gospel to the Gentile world ; thus vouchsating to them equal privileges with the Jews; the first instance of which divme savour, was in declaring the birth of Chirsi to the wise men of the East,
There are three manifestations of our Saviour commemorated on this day; that by a star conducting the wise-men; that of the glorious Trinity at his
Lecture on the Church Catechisin.
33 baptism, mentioned in the 2nd lesson of the morning prayer; thirdly, that manifestation of his divinity, by turning water into wine, which is contained in the 2nd lesson for the evening service.
The first lesson contains prophecies of the increase of the Church, by the abundant accession of the Gentiles, of which the epistle coutains the completion, giving an account of the mystery of the gospel being revealed to them. The collect and gospel are the same, as were used in the antient offices, but the epistle was inserted at the first compiling of the Liturgy, instead of part of Iwajah lx, which is now read for the first lesson in the morning.
OF THE SUNDAYS AFTER EPIPHANY. FROM Christmas to Epiphany the Church's design, in all her proper serthe flesh; but from the Epiphany to Septuagesima Sunday, and more especially in the four following Sundays, she endeavours to manifest his dirinty by recounting to us, in the gospels, some of his first miracles and manifestations of his divine power. The design of the epistles, on these Sundays, is, to excite us to imitate Christ, as far as we can, and to manifest ourselves his disciples, by a constant practice of all Christian virtues.
The Collects, Epistles, and Gospels for the five first Sundays after Epiphany, are all of them the same as in the Sacramentary of Gregory the Great, except, that the collect for the 4th Sunday, was a little altered at the restoration, and that before the reformation, the epistle for that day was the same, as the epistle for the first Sunday in Advent.
The Collect, Epistle, and Gospel, for the 6th Sunday, were all added at the restoration, till when, if there happened to be six Sundays after Epiphaay, the collect, epistle, and gospel for the 5th Sunday were repeated.
[To be continued.]
ON THE CHURCH CATECHISM.
ROMANS xviii. 19.-I know him, says God, that he will conmand his children
and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord. WHERE
THEN we consider the excellence of that religion which God has been
pleased to reveal by the ministry of Christ and his Apostles, we have some reason to expect that the professors of that religion should be more holy, wise, and good than other people. That those who are called by the distinguishing title of Christians, should be known from all other men by the purity of their lives, and conversation. To this end, Christ came into the woria'; that having freed man from the power and dominion of sin, he might purity unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. If, therefore, this end be not answered, if being freed from sir, we continue longer therein, if those who are baptized into Christ, live as if they knew not Christ, we do, so far at least, as we are concerned, render ineffectual the plan which God has laid for the salyation of sinners.
Nevertheless, however grievous the reflection may be, too true it is, that of those who frequent the service of the Church, who hear the word of God read, and preached week after week, many are for the most part as ignorant and as bad as other men. This may, in a great measure, be attributed to want of due attention having been paid to children at their setting out in the world. If after having been baptized into the Church, children are never taught what that service means, it is not to be wondered at, that the service itself should grow into disrepute, and that professors of Christianity shoulci not be found to differ in this respect from other men. I he misfortune is, that generally speaking, we satisfy ourselves with bare names. Vie call oursclves Christians for the most part upon no other ground than because our fathers did şo before us, or because we happen to be born ip a Christian country: l'pon