« PoprzedniaDalej »
that Purpose was endowed with great Excellencies: And the rather because fhe maintained fo lively a Sense of her own Unworthiness to receive fo great an Honour, and when fhe was advanced to be the Mother of the World's Saviour, feeks no greater Title than to be ftiled Handmaid of the Lord: But not to invocate Luke 16 her; because we are directed in Scripture to 38. offer up all our Prayers in the Name, and thro' the Mediation of Jefus Christ only; befides, the Church of God in the three firft Ages maketh no Mention of it; neither are there any Footsteps of that Practice to be found among them.
Q. What may we learn from the Obfervation of this Festival?
A. To admire and adore the great Goodnefs of God manifefted in the Incarnation of the Eternal Word; thereby fhewing that he thought nothing too great nor too dear to part with for our Sakes; and the wonderful Humility and Condefcention of our Saviour, who ftooped fo low when he undertook the Work of our Redemption. To exprefs great Modesty and Confufion when we meet with the Praises and Applause of the best Men, from a true Senfe of our own Unworthinefs, and by Silence and Fear to guard ourselves from Vanity. To endeavour to answer the Defign of our Saviour's being made Man, that we might become like unto God, and be made Partakers of the Divine Nature; and that Chrift might be formed in us, and that we might put on the Lord Jefus Chrift; by making no Provision for the Flefh to fulfil the Luft thereof. That as he was pleased to be united to our Nature, fo we
may make it the great Care and Bufinefs of our Lives to be really and fpiritually united to him.
Q. How are Chriftians united to Chrift? A. This Union is formed by Baptifm, when they are made Members of Chrift's myftical Body the Church, whereof he is the Head, and wherein they profefs to believe what he hath revealed, and to perform what he hath commanded, and engage to govern their Lives by that Gospel he hath published to the World. And all the Metaphors in Scripture that describe this Relation, plainly refer to their being Members of the Chriftian Church. Now this Union is farther maintained by preferving Communion with the Church in Prayers, and in the Sacrament, and by living in a regular Subjection to, and strict Union with our fpiritual Governours the Bishops and Prefbyters, Chrift's Repenfentatives here upon Earth.
Q. Doth this outward and visible Profeffion convey to us all the Privileges of being Members of Christ?
A. By being made Members of the Chriftian Church, we are in fome Measure entitled to all thofe Privileges that are derived from Chrift our Head; but yet we can never be made ef-fectually Partakers of them, except we perform thofe Conditions upon which thofe great Blef•fings were promised; we must be true to our Baptifmal Covenant, we muft renounce all Sins, which are the Works of the Devil, and thofe falfe and corrupt Maxims which govern the World, and mortify the finful Lufts of the Flesh; we must fubject our Understandings to the Obedience of Faith, and keep God's holy Will
Will and Commandments, and walk in the fame all the Days of our Lives, if ever we pretend to be really united to our Saviour, and expect the Benefit of fuch a fpiritual Relation.
Q. What are the great Privileges that refuls from this Union, from our being living Members of Chrift's myftical Body?
A. The gracious Promises of Pardon and Forgiveness of Sin upon our true Repentance, the Affiftance of God's Bleffed Spirit, and the Influences of his Grace, to enable us to work out our Salvation. The Benefit of Christ's Interceffion in Heaven, where he is an Advocate for us with the Father. A Share in all those Promifes of Care and Protection made to the Church. And to encourage our Perfeverance, an Inberitance incorruptible and undefiled, a Crown of Glory that fadeth not away. For though all Mankind are in the Hands of God's unlimited Goodnefs, yet his covenanted Mercies are the peculiar Lot and Portion of Chriftians, the Members of Chrift's myftical Body.
Befeech thee, O Lord, pour thy Grace into For the of nation of thy Son Jefus Chrift by the Meffage Death. Chrift's of an Angel, fo by his Crofs and Paffion I may be brought into the Glory of his Refurrection, through the fame Jefus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Praise for the Incarnation.
Defire, O Lord, to blefs and praise thy infinite Goodness, which took Compaffion upon Mankind in its greatest Misery; and hath provided fo admirable a Remedy, by fending thy only-begotten Son into the World to recover our corrupt and degenerate Nature; and by the Purity of his Doctrine, the Example of his Life, and the Sacrifice of his Death, to purchafe eternal Happiness for us, and to direct and lead us into the Way to it. All Glory be to our great Redeemer and Saviour; who came down from Heaven, that he might carry us thither, and took human Nature upon him, that we thereby might be made Partakers of a Divine Nature; and humbled himself to Death, even the Death of the Crofs, that he might exalt us to Glory and Honour. Unto him that was as upon this Day incarnate, to our Lord Jefus Christ, who hath loved us, and taken our Nature upon him, and hath made us Kings and Priests unto God and his Father; to him be Honour and Praise, Dominion and Power, now and for ever. Amen.
For Imitation of
Rant, O Lord, by the Affiftance of Grace, that I may moft heartily comply the bleffed with thofe great Things which thou haft done Virgin. and defigned for my Salvation: Teach me readily to obey thee, as the Angels do in Heaven : Give me Purity and Piety, Prudence and Modefty, thofe Virtues which made the bleffed Virgin fo highly favoured: That my Employment
Employment may be always holy, that my Affections may not be fet upon this World; that, as much as my Condition of Life will bear, I may frequently retire both from the Business and Enjoyments of it: That by Prayer and Meditation I may have my Conversation above : That by believing the Gospel of Chrift, I may entertain him in my Heart, and by Obedience to his Laws publifh him to the World: That he may dwell in me for ever, and that I may dwell with him above, in Mansions of Glory to all Eternity. Amen.
CHA P. XV.
Easter Sunday. A Moveable Feaft.
HAT Feftival doth the Church this
W Day obferve?
A. The great Festival of the Anniversary Commemoration of our Saviour's Refurrection, which for its Antiquity and Excellency challenges the Precedence of all other Festivals.
Q. How antient is the Obfervation of this Feftival?
A. As antient as the very Times of the Apoftles, as is clear to thofe that are converfant in the Affairs of the Primitive Church. In thofe purer Times the only Difpute being not about the Thing, but the particular Time when the Festival was to be kept.