« PoprzedniaDalej »
brought him fourth, and after exquisite Tortures
Q. What Writings did St. Barnabas leave behind
A. Only one Epistle, which all the Ancients attributed to him as the Author. And though St. Jerome calls it Apocryphal, yet by that is to Hieron.de be understood only that it was not admitted Script. into the Canon of the Church. The main De Eccl. sign of it is to shew, that the Christian Religion hath superseded the Rites and Usages of the Mosaick Law. The latter Part of it contains an useful and excellent Exhortation, managed under the Notion of two Ways, the one of Light, the other of Darkness; the one under the Conduct of the Angels of God, the other under the Guidance of the Angels of Satan. The Way of Light is a Summary of what a Christian is to do, that he may attain eternal Happiness; and the Way of Darkness represents those particular Sins and Vices which exclude Men from the Kingdom of God; he closes the whole with presling Christians to live so that they may be blessed to all Eternity.
Q. What may we learn from the Observation of this Festival ?
A. To despise Ease, and even Life itself, when we have any happy Opportunity of
propagating Christian Knowledge, and to rejoice in any Success of that Nature. To compaflio
nate the Infirmities of our Brethren, whose Zeal moves in a low Sphere. To be ready to contribute to the Relief of our Fellow Christians ; and when their Necessities are great and pressing, to abridge ourselves of some Conveniencies, rather than suffer them to be oppressed with Want. To remember what Belief and Practice is implied in the venerable Name of a Christian, and to depart from all Iniquity, left we forfeit our Interest in that Faith. To have a greater Regard to the Rule and Measure of our Duty, than the Example of the best Men, by whom we ought not to be infuenced to do any Thing we think bad. That since Men are subject to different Thoughts in particular Matters, to avoid all Subjects of Strife and Contention; or to maintain Debates without Breach of Charity, which requireth no small Degree of Perfection.
Q. How are Civil Differences to be managed among Christians ?
A. We ought never to prosecute any Civil Difference purely upon the Account of Revenge, when there is no Prospect of compensating our own Lofs; nay we ought rather to recede from our own Right in small Matters, and exercise our Patience, than expofe ourselves to the Evils and Temptations of going to Law. But when the Matter is of Weight and Importance, we must be watchful over ourselves, left we contract Guilt in the Pursuit of it; by delaying of Justice, by any Arts of circumventing our Adversary, or by suggesting false Pleas, only to procure Time, and make the Suit expensive and vexatious; by envying any Good, or rejoicing at any Evil that happens to him. All which are against that Justice and Charity, which we owe
to an Adversary, who is still our Neighbour, and ought to be created as such.
Q. How ought Religious Differences to be debated among Christians ?
A. With a greater Regard to the Discovery of Truth, than to the establishing a Reputation for Learning and Knowledge. Without throwing Scorn and Contempt upon those that oppose us ; because if they are under the Power of Error, they are Objects of Christian Compassion, and are made unfit to receive the Impression of good Arguments,, by being prejudiced and provoked by ill Treatment. Without railing and injurious Refletions, which no way concern the Cause, and which are by Good-manners banished Conversation, and therefore are indecent to be used in Writing. Without detracting from the real Worth of our Adversaries, and charging them with believing Consequences which we know they abhor. Without ever suffering our Pasions to vent themselves under a Pretence of Zeal for God's Glory, but to give an Account of our Faith, with that Meekness that governs the unreasonable Sallies of Anger, and with that Fear which makes us cautious not to transgress those Rules of Charity which we are obliged to observe towards our Neighbour.
The PRA Y ER S.
1. Lord God Almighty, who didft endue thy For the
holy Apostle Barnabas with singular Gifts manifold of the Holy Ghoft; leave me not, I beseecb God. thee, destitute of thy manifold Gifts, nor yet of Y 3
Grace to use them always to thy Honour and
unruly Wills and Affections of sinful God, and his Laws. Men ; grant unto thy Servant that I may love
the Thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise ; that so among the sundry and manifold Changes of the World, my Heart may surely there be fixed, where true Joys may be found, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For Chriitian Cha- all Men, and hatest nothing that thou rity. haft
made ; teach me from the Example of thy Goodness, and the Sense of my own Únworthiness, to have a tender Regard to the Weakness and Frailties of my Brethren ; to make the best Construction of all their Actions ; to interpret all doubtful Things to their Advantage ; and charitably to bear with their apparent Infirmities. Make me ready upon all Occasions to contribute to the Relief of their bodily Neceflities, that they may share with me in the good Things thou hast bestowed upon me. And let me so improve all those Talents, of any Kind, thou hast intrusted me with, for their Advantage, that I may be able to give a good Account of my Stewardship when the great Judge hall appear, the Lord Jesus Chrift.
IV. GIVE IV.
VIVE me, O Lord, that Wisdom 'from for a
above that is peaceable, and gentle, and Christian easy to be intreated : That I may never prose-when cute my Neighbour to gratify the unreasonable obliged to Passions of my own corrupt Nature ; nor take go to Law, Delight in his Sufferings, when I can have no
or proseother Recompence from his Punishment : Make me willing rather to suffer fome Injuries, than expose myself to those Evils and Temptations that I am liable to in procuring legal Satisfaction: And whenever I am engaged in such Disputes, grant me, O Lord, the Help of thy Grace, that I may ever contend for Right more than Victory; that no Profit or Advantage may prevail upon me to transgress the Laws of Justice and Charity, nor provoke me to any unchristian Behaviour against my Adversary, but that in all Prosecutions I may preserve a charitable and equitable Disposition. And thou,
And thou, O God, who art never wanting to those that seek thee with an upright Mind, arm me with Meekness and Fear in all those Debates that relate to thy holy Truth; that I may fincerely desire That may always prevail, and that I may never sacrifice Brotherly Love and Christian Charity in the Defence of it, knowing that the Wrath of Man worketh not the Righteousness of God: Grant this, O Lord, for Jesus Christ his Sake. Amen.