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The PRAYER S.
Traitor Judas didft chuse thy faithful Ser- Preservavant Matthias to be of the Number of the twelve
tion of the
Church Apostles; grant that thy Church, being always from falle preserved from falfe Apostles, may be ordered Teachers. and guided by faithful and true Pastors, through Jefus Cbrift our Lord. Amen. 2
Midst of fo many and great Dangers, that Strength by reason of the Frailty of my Nature, I can- against not always stand upright ; grant to me fuch
Dangers. Strength and Protection, as may support me in all Dangers, and carry me through all Temptations, through Jesus Christ. Amen."
III. God, who feeft Phave no Power.of myself For God's to help
myself; that I am not wise enough Direction. - for my own Direction, nor able enough for my own Defence ; let me acknowledge thee in all my Ways, and not lean to my own Understanding. Let thy Light guide me, thy Providence protect me, thy Grace enable me, that I may faithfully discharge all the publick and private Dutics thou shalt think fit to call me to; that being thus armed with thy Defence, I may be preserved from all Dangers, through Jesus Chrift qur Lord. Amen.
IV. Against God, who art the Author and Giver of all Covetour.
that I enjoy, moderate my Affections to ness.
the Things of this World, that I may not pursue them with an eager and unsatiable Desire. Let no Greediness of Gain tempt me to the least Injustice, either by Fraud or Oppression, but that I may commit myself to thy Providence in the Use of honest and lawful Endeavours, and not torment myself with anxious Care about the Success. Suffer not the Concerns of this Life to make me negligent in the Concernments of much greater Importance; that while I am supporting a dying Body, I may remember I have an immortal Soul, which infinitely deserves my chiefest Care. And as for those good Things thou hast been pleased to bestow upon me, teach me to enjoy them as with Temperance, fo with Thankfulness and Charity, and readily to part with them rather than to forsake thy Truth, or to make Shipwreck of a good Conscience. That being delivered from the covetous Temper of the Traitor Judas, I may escape those Sins which such vile Affections lead to, and that Punishment which he felt, and those deserve, and this I beg for Cbrift his fake. Amen.
CH A P.
CHA P. XIV.
The Annunciation of the Blesled Wirgin Mary, Mar. 25.
HAT is meant by the Annunciation of QW
the blesied Virgin, which the Church Ibis Day celebrates ?
A. The Declaration which the Angel Ga- Luke 1. briel made to the blefied Virgin Mary, that she 31.1 should be Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ ; that this her Son should be great, and called the Son of the Highest : that the Lord God should give unto him the Throne of his Father David ; that he should reign over the House of Jacob for ever; and that of his Kingdom there should be no End.
Q. What dotb this Description made by the Angel Gabriel refer to ?
A. To the Prophecy of Isaiah concerning the Chap. 9. Meffias, who foretold, That the Government should be upon his Shoulder, and his Name should be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace; of the Increase of his Government and Peace there should be no End, upon the Throne of David, and upon his Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with Judgment and with Justice, from henceforth even for ever.
Q. What is the Importance of the Angel's Description of the Messias ?
A. That God should settle upon the Messias a Spiritual Kingdom (of which that Temporal of David was but an imperfect Representation) M 3
the absolute Government of the Church, that spiritual House of Jacob; and that this Kingdom of his shall continue for ever, shall never be destroyed, as the Kingdom of the Jews was to be.
Q. What preceded this Declaration ? Luk,1.28.
A. The Salutation made to the blessed Virgin by the same Angel in those Words, Hail, thou that art bigbly favoured, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among Women.
Q. What was the meaning of this Salutation?
A. That the blessed Virgin was most excellently disposed to receive the greatest Honour that ever was done to the Daughters of Men ; her Employment being holy and pious, her Body chaste, and her Soul adorned with all Virtues, particularly with Humility, which is in the Sight of God of great Price ; for though she was to be the Mother of an universal and everlasting Blessing, which all former Ages had desired, and all future Time should rejoice in ;. yet fhe resigns all this Glory to him that gave it her, and declares whence she received it, that no other Name but his might have the Glory.
Q. How did the blessed Virgin receive this Salutation ?
A. She was troubled at the Saying of the Angel, and cast in her Mind what Manner of Salutation it should be ; judging herself unworthy of so great an Honour, and being surprised with the Strangeness of such an Appearance in her Retirement. But when the Angel positively affirmed that the should conceive and bring forth the Meffas, fhe enquires how that could be, fince she knew not a Man.
Q. What is implied in this Answer of the blessed Virgin?
X. No doubt, I think, concerning the Thing, nor any Diffidence in respect to the Issue of it; but rather Admiration in respect to the wonderful Manner of effecting it. And if we have any Regard to the Tradition mentioned by Epiphanius, that Joseph was old when espoused to the blessed Virgin, it will be probable, what many of the Antients believed, that by this Answer, the Virgin seems to hint at some Refolution of continuing in a State of perpetual Virginity ; at least it implies that she desired to be satisfied in the Manner as well as in the Matter of this Mystery
Q. How did the Angel answer the Difficulty she fuggested?
A. By declaring the wonderful Manner how his Message should be brought about, viz. That Luk.1.35. ibe Holy Ghost hould come upon ber, and that the Power of the Highest should overshadow ber. By furnishing her with an Example somewhat of the like Nature in her Cousin Elizabeth; and by confirming her from the Power of God, to which nothing is impossible.
Q. Wbat Effect bad this upon the blesed Virgin?
perfect Obedience in her Reply; Behold the Hand- Ver. 38. maid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy Word. Neither is it to be doubted, but that upon her Consent and Desire the Promise began to be fulfilled, and the Son of God became incarnate, and was made Man, taking upon him human Nature, Body and Soul.
Q. Haw doth the blessed Virgin express ber Joy and Gratitude upon this Occasion ?