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AЯ$1.24. A. The Congregation of Chriftians made a folemn Addrefs to God, that he would condefcend to direct the Choice; and that he who knew the Hearts of all Men, would be pleased to fhew which of these two he faw beft qualified for fo facred a Function.

Q. What may be learned from this Manner of Proceeding?

4. It may ferve as a Direction to all thofe that are Candidates for Holy Orders, seriously to examine themselves whether they are moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon them that Office and Ministration; for though they may impose upon Man, yet God feeth their Hearts, and all thofe various Motives by which they are influenced in fo great a Concern. This Precedent is alfo ferviceable to the Governours of the Church, who after all their Care to admit Perfons duly qualified, must beg God Almighty's Guidance and Direction, that they may wifely make Choice of fit Labourers to work in his Vineyard; and all Chriftians ought to offer up the fame Prayers, fince the Welfare of the Church depends fo much upon the Piety and Capacity of those that are ordained.

Q. How was St. Matthias qualified for the Apostleship?


Acts1,21. A. He had been a continual Attendant upon our Saviour all the Time of his Ministry, from his being baptized by John, till his Affumption Ver. 21, into Heaven, which is intimated by St. Peter. He was probably one of the Seventy Disciples; and had been a Witness of our Saviour's Refurrection, and of the most confiderable Paffages of his Life; fo that he was fit to proclaim abroad thofe Matters of Fact concerning his Mafter, of which

which he had an equal Evidence with the rest of the Apostles.

Q. Where did St. Matthias preach the Gofpel?

A. He continued at Jerufalem till the Powers of the Holy Ghost were conferred upon the Apostles, to enable them to discharge their difficult Employment; and then he is thought to have fpent the first Fruits of his Miniftry in Judæa, with great Succefs. He afterwards very probably travelled Eastward, his Refidence being principally, according to St. Jerome, near the Irrup- Hieron. tion of the River Apfarus, and the Haven Hyffus. de Scrip. He was by these barbarous People treated with Eccl. great Rudeness and Inhumanity, and after many Labours and Sufferings in converting great numbers to Christianity, he obtained the Crown of Martyrdom.

Q. What was the Manner of his Death? A. It is very uncertain: Some report that he was feized by the Jews; and as a Blafphemer was first stoned and then beheaded. Others that he was crucified, and that as Judas was hanged upon a Tree, fo Matthias fuffered upon a Crofs.

lib. 3

Q. What Works have we of this Apoftle? A. None. The Gofpel and Traditions publifhed under his Name are rejected by learned Men as fpurious, though Clemens Alexandrinus Clem. relates a Saying of his, of great ufe in the Life Strom, of a Chriftian: That we ought to mortify and fubdue the Flesh, and maintain a continual Oppofition to it, by granting it nothing whereby its irregular and fenfual Defires may be gratified; but that we fhould on the contrary nourish and fortify our Souls with Faith and Divine Knowledge.

Q: What

Q. What may we learn from the Obfervation of this Festival?

A. In all difficult Cafes to addrefs ourselves to Heaven for Direction. To ufe our best Diligence, if we are Patrons of Churches, in providing Perfons duly qualified for the great Truft we commit to them; and not to fuffer any worldly Confideration to bias us in a Choice, of which we must one Day give a strict Account. To beware of Covetoufnefs, the Root of all Evil, which ruined the Traitor Judas, and will all thofe that embrace that facred Function with a Regard more to the Revenues than the Duties of their Profeffion. To preferve our Minds free from Guilt, because it makes us restless and uneafy, and robs us of all that Repose and Quiet which the most profperous Condition can promife us. Conftantly to attend God's Ordinances, though he who is called to administer may be a bad Man. To work out our Salvation with Fear and Trembling, and to be watchful and upon our Guard, because, if an Apostle fell, who had all the Advantages of our Saviour's Converfation, what Security can we promise ourselves?

Q. What is implied in the Duty of Watchfulnefs?

A. A conftant Care of our Lives and Actions, that we be always upon our Guard, that we refift the first Beginnings of Evil, and discover the first Approaches of our fpiritual Enemy; that we may neither be furprized by his Snares and Allurements, nor unprepared to encounter him whenever he attacks us. In fhort, it consists in wifely foreseeing the Dangers that threaten our Souls, and then in diligently avoiding them. Q. How

Q. How does Watchfulness forefee Dangers? A. By difcovering the Plots and Contrivances of our fpiritual Adversary, by making us fenfible of thofe Temptations we are expofed to, by reafon of our Conftitution, or that Profeffion we are engaged in, or that Company we converfe with; that our Guard may be fet in the right Place, where we are moft alarmed with Danger, and where Surprize would be moft fatal. For fo great is the Power of Paffion and Custom to give fair Colours to very great Disorders, fo mifchievous is the Complaifance of Friends and Flatterers to fortify thefe wrong Notions that except we are very watchful, we fhall unavoidably be made a Prey.

Q. How does Watchfulness avoid Dangers? A. By making Ufe of the fitteft and propereft Means to defeat thofe Defigns of the Enemy of our Salvation, which we have happily difcovered. For Temptations must be refifted differently, according to their different Kinds. To this End God hath provided feveral Sorts of Grace, the Ufe whereof is of great Importance to us. When Temptations flatter our corrupt Nature, our Victory confifts in Flight; when they would difcourage us with Difficulties and Dangers, we can never be Conquerors without looking them in the Face, and encountering them with Resolution." Without this Caution the best Difpofition of Mind will hardly preferve us from falling.

Q. How does Watchfulness prepare us to encounter Dangers?

A. By putting on the whole Armour of God, Eph.6.11. and fortifying thofe weak Places, in which we are most likely to be attacked. If we would not



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facrifice our Confcience to establish our Fortune, we must have impreffed upon our Minds a strong Belief of another World, where Virtue will prevail more than Riches and Honour. If we would not be overcome by the Pleasures of Sense, we fhould live under a lively Hope of enjoying thofe Eph.6.14. Pleafures which are at God's right Hand for evermore. We fhould gird ourselves with Truth, and then no Profit would prevail upon us to perjure ourselves, and to be infincere in our Words and Promifes, but we should be firm and steady in all our Actions. We fhould guard our Minds with Righteoufnefs, and keep a Confcience void of Offence, if ever we intend to overcome the Perfecutions and Sufferings we may be expofed to, upon the Account of our Faith. We fhould Ver. 17. put on the Sword of the Spirit, encounter all Temptations with those stronger Motives which the Word of God offers to engage our Obedience, and then they would lofe their Force, and appear contemptible.

Q. Whence arifes the Neceffity of this Duty of Watchfulnefs?

A. From the Nature of our Condition in this World, which is furrounded with Variety of Temptations, fo that there is no Circumstance of Life which is entirely free from fome Sort of Affault or other; all our Ways being ftrewed with Snares. From the Power and Strength of our Adverfary, who is Prince of the Air, and wants neither Skill nor Industry to work our Ruin. From our own Frailty and Weakness, whereby we have no Power of ourselves to help ourfelves; and from the Danger of our Overthrow, whereby we become liable to the Miferies of a fad Eternity.


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